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"Spiritual Warfare" and "Deliverance Ministry" 
and Seventh-day Adventists


We would summarize our findings briefly as follows:

1. Demonic forces of a supernatural character exist today, as they did in Bible times; and the goal now, as then, is the subversion and destruction of men and women, wherever possible, for time and for eternity.

2. We distinguish between the affliction/harassment/oppression of Satan and his evil angels on the one hand, and possession on the other. The former is the experience of acute temptation which comes to all mankind; the latter represents total control of human physiology and neurology, and is the experience of a more limited group of individuals.

3. Among various Christian bodies today there is a movement called "Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance Ministry" in which dramatic and highly ritualized ceremonies (which unwittingly bear some resemblance to pagan exorcism of Bible times) are used in attempts to cast out demons.

4. The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that there is a place for ministry to those who are tempted and controlled by Satanic agencies; and, furthermore, it is not a ministry to be limited to professional clergy, psychologists, and psychiatrists.

5. The church is also highly conscious of the fact that our Lord foretold false (and apparently successful) efforts at casting out demons, by professing Christians, just prior to His second coming to this earth; and He emphatically disassociated Himself from such activity in the strongest of terms (see Matt 7:22, 23).

6. Not all forms of gross human behavior are directly instigated by Satan, nor are they, in and of themselves, necessarily conclusive evidence of demon-possession. Ellen White strongly denounced the practice in her day of certain church members who went around declaring certain persons as possessed of the devil, then prayed with them, and then pretended to cast out evil spirits. She called such work fanaticism, and said it would destroy any church that sanctioned it.

7. Because Jesus specifically warned of deceptions, especially in the days just before He returns to this earth (four times in Matthew 24 alone), the church cannot endorse many facets of "Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance Ministry" as it is currently practiced by many Christians and some Seventh-day Adventists. Particularly objectionable to the church are:

a. Dialogue with demons: entering into conversation with them, asking them to identify themselves by name, asking questions of them, et cetera. The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy writings uniformly forbid human communication with the evil supernatural world of Satan and his demons.

b. Long protracted prayer seasons in which release from demonic possession is sought: there is not one instance in the Bible of such interminable, wearying exercises. The demons always left as a result of a brief, authoritative command to depart.

8. Christians may be called upon to participate, or even to lead out, in prayer services for victims of Satanic harassment or possession. An important work of personal preparation is spelled out in Scripture and in Ellen White's writings which includes close self-examination to discover the possible presence of sin which needs to be repented of, confessed, and forsaken before confrontation with the supernatural forces of evil. Fasting and prayer may be an important part of this preparatory work.

There is a place for this kind of ministry, conducted properly; but, important as it is, deliverance ministry is not to be the main thrust of the work given to Seventh-day Adventists to perform in these closing days of this earth's history.

Whether a counterfeit "spiritual warfare and deliverance ministry" is one of the fanaticisms into which Satan will seek to lead the remnant people of God in these last days, we cannot now say with certainty. But that the possibility exists in a very real sense, we cannot deny. And every member of the church should follow a prudent, yet positive, course of action. We believe that Jesus is an all-powerful Saviour, and that demons will be cast out of suffering souls today as in apostolic times.

Let us, however, keep in mind the counsel of the servant of the Lord as we ponder this whole question of satanic activity in our world, especially in these, its closing days:

There are Christians who think and speak altogether too much about the power of Satan. They think of their adversary, they pray about him, they talk about him, and he looms up greater and greater in their imagination. It is true that Satan is a powerful being; but, thank God, we have a mighty Saviour, who cast the evil one from heaven. Satan is pleased when we magnify his power. Why not talk of Jesus? Why not magnify His power and His love? [footnote 50]


Footnote 1: Selected Messages, Book 2, p. 53 (hereafter indicated as 2SM) See also pp. 48-55. Unless otherwise indicated, all sources are found in the writings of Ellen G, White.

Footnote 2: The Desire of Ages, p. 257 (hereafter abbreviated as DA).

Footnote 3: Ibid.

Footnote 4: Testimonies for the Church, 1:341 (hereafter abbreviated as 1T, 2T, etc.).

Footnote 5: The Great Controversy Between Christ and Satan, p. 524 (hereafter abbreviated as GC).

Footnote 6: See also Ibid., pp. 624-25.

Footnote 7: See 1T 295 and GC 516.

Footnote 8: GC 514.

Footnote 9: Mark I. Bubeck, The Adversary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1975).

Footnote 10: The Litany, p. 24.

Footnote 11: Cruden's Dictionary of Bible Terms (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1958), p. 110.

Footnote 12: Article "World," Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, rev. ed,  p. 1183 (1st ed., pp. 1152-53).

Footnote 13: Cruden, p. 380.

Footnote 14: Christ's Object Lessons, p. 156 (emphasis supplied).

Footnote 15: GC 511-517.

Footnote 16: 1T 341-47.

Footnote 17: Ibid., pp. 341, 343 (emphasis supplied).

Footnote 18: Ibid., p. 343 (emphasis supplied).

Footnote 19: Ibid.

Footnote 20: If only one person sees the ghost-like form, it may well be merely an hallucination. However, it several individuals see it, there exists the stronger probability of its being a spiritualistic manifestation.

Footnote 21: Prophets and Kings, p. 211.

Footnote 22: 2SM 45.

Footnote 23: Ibid., pp. 46. For background on this singular case, see "The Ralph Mackin Story" in Review and Herald, August 10, 17 and 24, 1972; republished in a White Estate shelf document, "Charismatic Experiences in Early Seventh-day Adventist History."

Footnote 24: Ellen G. White Letter 96, 1990 (emphasis supplied).

Footnote 25: Priesthood of All Believers," Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia (SDA Bible Commentary Series, vol. 10), rev. ed., pp. 1150-51.

Footnote 26: 3T 482-83.

Footnote 27: 5T 512.

Footnote 28: Bubeck, pp. 95, 96.

Footnote 29: Bubeck, p. 96.

Footnote 30: Kent Philpott and D. R. Hyhmers, The Deliverance Book: A Handbook for Ministers and Those About to Have Deliverance, (Van Nuys, CA: Bible Voice, Inc., P.O. Box 7491, 1977), pp. 105ff.

Footnote 31: Ellen G. White Letter 10, 1887 (February 23); cited in Richard W. Schwarz, John Harvey Kellogg, MD (Nashville: Southern Publishing Assoc., 1970), p. 133.

Footnote 32: 1T 301.

Footnote 33: DA 36.

Footnote 34: Ellen G. White Manuscript 27, 1907 (January 22), "The New England Sanitarium;" cited in This Day With God, p. 30.

Footnote 35: DA 431.

Footnote 36: DA 431.

Footnote 37: 2T 146.

Footnote 38: 1T 299.

Footnote 39: 1T 301 (emphasis supplied).

Footnote 40: Comprehensive Index to the Writings of Ellen G. White, 2:2113.

Footnote 41: The Ministry of Healing, p. 243.

Footnote 42: Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 196.

Footnote 43: 2SM 33, 34.

Footnote 44: 2SM, p, 34.

Footnote 45: 2SM, pp, 37, 38. For a more complete account of the "Holy Flesh" movement and fanaticism, see also Arthur L. White, Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years (Washington DC: Review and Herald, 1981), chap. 7.

Footnote 46: GC 612.

Footnote 47: 2SM 52, 53.

Footnote 48: Ellen G, White Letter 6, 1884; cited in Maranatha, p. 209.

Footnote 49: 2SM 55.

Footnote 50: DA

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