Frequently asked questions about Spiritual Warfare
Question: What about the use of anointing oil in deliverance? Is it necessary?
Answer: I see no Biblical foundation for the use of anointing oil in deliverance. In James Chapter 5 we see the use of oil accompanying the prayers for the sick. The oil I believe had no special healing qualities. The oil was a “helping symbol” in the praying for the sick. Much like baptism is a helping symbol for us today. The water doesn’t cleanse our sin. The baptismal waters help us see the picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord. It is a pictorial of the identification of the new believer in Christ. Much the same way the oil represents the Holy Spirit. I see no danger in using anointing oil in deliverance as long it is seen as a “helping symbol”. However, if it is seen as holding some supernatural power it becomes occultish and should be avoided.
Question: What is the gift of discernment? Does a Christian have to have this special gift to be able to do deliverance?
Answer:
Discernment is simply the ability to listen to the Lord. He said, “My Sheep hear my voice”. Deliverance is a work of Almighty God. No one is able to understand the heart of man. Remember, “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked who can know it”? (Jeremiah 17:9) It is the living Word of God who is the “discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. (Heb. 4:12) The Lord alone is able to know what is going on in a man’s heart. In deliverance He allows us to join Him in the cleaning and healing process. In deliverance I feel like I am an assistant to a master surgeon. The Lord is in charge. Discernment is listening to the Lord when He speaks.
In 1 Corinthians 12 the Apostle Paul is writing to a church in trouble. The Corinthian Church had begun to fight over which spiritual gift was more important. The flesh had begun to rule in the Church. Each one thought since the Lord had given him or her a certain gift that they were more important than their fellow believers. I believe that Paul is listing all the different gifts of the church to show the Corinthian Church that any one particular gift was no more important than any other. The theme of the passage is “The Lord is in Charge of His Church”. All the spiritual gifts and their manifestations are for His glory.
We have a tendency to follow the logic of the Church instead of the wisdom of the Scripture. What I mean is, we think, since they thought the gifts were given separately to specific believers, then God must only give certain spiritual manifestations to certain believers. I do no think this is so. It is my conviction that our Lord will give any believer at any time whatever is needed for the Lord Jesus to be exalted in and through his or her life. We have been created for the glory of God and His will. All the Lord is looking for is a willing vessel for His glory through which His will to be done. As in all the manifestations of the Spirit, you’ll have it when you need it.
Question: Do we actually take authority over evil spirits in deliverance?
Answer:
The concept of “taking authority” must be carefully understood. You and I don’t have any authority over evil spirits. Only Christ has the authority over such matters. (Matt. 28:18) It is only through our union with Him that we share in His work of deliverance. (Eph. 2:5-6) It is Christ who takes authority over evil spirits. In deliverance we only join Him as He takes the authority over evil spirits.
Question: Do you believe in prayer walking?
Answer:
Any approach to prayer that encourages us to come boldly before the Throne is a good thing. As an aid to help encourage our faith, the prayer walk can be very helpful. However, if by prayer walking you mean a strategy by which we challenge the authority of territorial spirits, it can be dangerous and misleading. There is not a Biblical basis for such matters. In the Book of Acts you don’t see such a strategy in winning people to Christ. They prayed, praised, and proclaimed the Good News of Christ.
Let me refer you to a book written by Dr. Clinton Arnold on the subject. The book is entitled, “Three Crucial Questions about Spiritual Warfare”, Baker Books Publication. The last section of this important work is “Are we called to engage territorial spirits”? The professor does a wonderful work in helping dispel the confusion around such matters.
Question: What about Spiritual Mapping?
Answer:
Spiritual mapping is a process of isolating areas of darkness within a given area. Once the darkness is recognized, prayer is offered up to dispense “principalities and powers”, territorial spirits. The assumption is that if these territorial spirits can be dispersed, our evangelism will become more fruitful. Let me again refer you to Dr. Arnold’s work on this matter. It is most helpful.
May I say that any procedure that helps us to become aware of the spiritual battle we find ourselves and encourages us to believe and trust our Lord is a good thing. However, the idea of going up against these powerful principalities may not be the best idea. Until the “ground is taken back”, the sin contract broken, to do such battle with these spirits would be ultimately futile.
Question:
Do you believe in territorial spirits? Are there super demons that are assigned to geographic locations such as churches, cities, and the like?
Answer:
I do believe that these demons do exist. I believe that satan has a kingdom that is carefully designed to do the most damage to the cause of Christ. Long before I studied spiritual warfare, I became aware of the concept of the spiritual battle in a given territory. As an evangelist it became obvious that some towns were easier to evangelize in than others. There was a spiritual resistance in many places that was stronger than other places. The Bible does indicate in Daniel that these spirits do exist. Why, the very use of the word principality indicates such spirits.
Because of their greater authority and power, territorial spirits, principalities, must be approached with extreme caution. I do not believe it is appropriate for the believer to go up against these powerful spirits. We do not read where Daniel approached these spirits. We do not read where Paul ever went up against these principalities. To do so could result in tragedy. I do believe however that we can pray for the Lord to confront these spirits so that His will can be done in a given place.
Question: Is it possible to corporately “remit” the sins of others?
Answer:
No. This practice is not Biblical. It smacks of Mormonism or some of the pagan practices of the Roman Church. Believers cannot remove the curse of unbelievers. If a Christian leader today publicly confesses his or hers city’s sins of drug abuse or prostitution, what good does this do if those involved with these evils have not made a confession of faith in Christ. Without faith in Christ, the door is wide open for evil spirits to remain.
Some few years ago, The Southern Baptist Convention publicly prayed for forgiveness for its forefather’s participation in slavery. I was extremely uncomfortable with it then and just the mention of this practice makes me very nervous. It is impossible to remit the sins of others. However, if a corporate sin has been committed by a family, church, city, country, etc., it is important to confess that sin corporately. If we have done it together, we can repent of it together. (Neh. 1:6-7)
Question: Spiritual warfare seems to me to bring us to close to the occult. Should not a believer avoid such matters?
Answer:
We are in a spiritual battle. Whether we like it or not, the Lord has placed us in a hostile environment. This environment is controlled by a very powerful personalities with which we must wrestle. (Eph. 6) The schemes of the enemy are darker and more complex than man in his most wicked moment can conceive.
While battling these schemes and assigned evil spirits, the believer will constantly find himself bumping up against the works of darkness, the occult. It is impossible to avoid it. However, just because these matters are revealed for the sake of someone’s deliverance, doesn’t preclude we have been involved ourselves in the occult.
Question: If it works, then it must be of God, right?
Answer:
Our experiences can be deceptive in terms of looking to them for truth. Our flesh can easily be deceived. Every experience, every procedure and approach in the invisible war must be carefully and prayerfully filtered through the truth of God’s Word.
Demons are so full of tricks and deception that many are named, “False deliverance” and the like. We cannot believe everything we see, hear, or feel. It is the Word of God that is living and able to discern what is going on the heart of man. (Heb. 4:12) The so-called end does not justify the means when it comes to deliverance.
Question: Should deliverance be done in public or in private?
Answer:
In this regard the old adage may be appropriate, “Never say never”. Biblically we read where many of the deliverances were public, whereas, many of them were private. Let me say two things here.

1. A stern warning should be given concerning so-called public “deliverance services”. The Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthian Church makes the argument that the manifestations of certain gifts of the spirit in public worship could be opened to abuse and misunderstood by those we are trying to reach for Christ. (I Cor. 14:23-26) Our flesh is of such nature that we tend to exalt the one who practices the spiritual gift instead of the One who gives the gift. All manifestations of the Spirit of God are for the glory of God and the edification of the whole body of Christ.

2. I believe it is best to handle a deliverance session in private. Deliverance in a “dirty business”. The ground that the devil has been allowed to occupy in the life of the inflicted is most often a sorted and filthy affair. I never cease to be shocked at the horrible evil the enemy inflicts upon the life of the demonized. There is no personal gratification for the deliverance minister outside the love of our Heavenly Father. The deliverance minister is the “trash collector” in the Church. To protect the individual from the further abuse of the “gossip mill” these matters must be held in strictest confidence and remain private.
Question: Is it O.K. to call on angels to help in deliverance?
Answer:
In the Book of Hebrews we find an amazing verse concerning the angels that says, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” All of the angels, good and evil, are under the ultimate authority of God. They are on assignment to, “render service”, help believers in the receiving of God’s will.
It is important to note that we do not control the angels. Only in our union with Christ is the participation with the angels possible. It is never appropriate to call on the angels to help. It is however appropriate to ask the Lord to allow His angels to help in matters of deliverance according to His will. Angels don’t have any power to deliver. Only Christ has come to set the captives free. Any practice that brings attention to the work of angels and not to the work of Christ can be spiritually dangerous. We are warned in Scripture that we must worship only God not the Angels. (Col. 2:18)
Question: Should not these matters be relegated to the professional counselors?
Answer:
There are those Christian counselors in whom I have the highest respect in these spiritual matters. We have much to learn from these men and women who have been called of God to do this work. However, I do not believe that man has answers to man’s problems. Only God understands fully what is going on in the hearts of men and women. I know of well trained, well educated, so called Christian Counselors who are of little or no help in these matters of deliverance from the darkness. One who has received a liberal education in psychology is no more prepared to handle these matters than any other worldly counselor.
No where in the Scripture do we find where these matters are relegated to the “professionals”. Man does not deliver anyone. He doesn’t have the power. Only Christ has come “to destroy the works of the devil”. (I John 3:8) We are only “workers together with Him”! (2 Cor. 6:1)
Question: Is it important to stay within your relegated ministry or “authority” when facing the forces of darkness?
Answer:
: Absolutely! God has called each of us to a specific ministry within His Church. God has set up in His Kingdom certain authority. For instance, the husband is the head of the wife and the home. (Eph. 5:23) The pastor is responsible for the flock to which the Lord has made him overseer. (Acts 20:28)
In God’s economy and for His glory, He has established certain authority under His Lordship. It is necessary for the one who comes up against the powers of darkness to stay within his or her place of spiritual responsibility and authority. Let me explain. I never counsel with anyone outside of my ministry.
Unless the pastor has invited me to come under the umbrella of his church and ministry, I do not go. No matter what I may believe concerning the demonization of a person, unless the inflicted person comes to me there is no encounter. It is extremely important for the one involved in deliverance to stay within his or her relegated authority and assignment given to him from God.
Question: Why have Baptists not faced the issue of deliverance?
Answer:
The Randall Family has been serving Southern Baptist Churches in the ministry of Evangelism for over 100 years. My Father and both of my Grand Fathers were Southern Baptist preachers. First of all let me say that since Baptists are a congregational people in terms of their polity, no one can speak for all Baptists. To attempt to do so would be foolish at best. You’ve heard the old sayin’, “When you’ve got two Baptists who have three opinions”.
Baptists do and have faced the issue of deliverance. Talk to our thousands of missionaries around the world concerning these matters. Most of our pastors have their “demon stories” from their ministry encounters. I have heard many of them throughout the years as they have come up in conversation. I do believe that because our educational institutions have been preoccupied with the matter of politics, (raising money), as well as the pressure to comply with the accrediting boards, these matters of dealing with the invisible war have been on the “back burner” instead of the forefront of the curriculum. However, let me state that in most of our seminaries such a course has existed. At my seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, these matters were taught for many years in a course called “Spiritual Foundations for Missions”.
Just because we have not gone “public” with these matters, one cannot preclude that Baptists don’t believe and practice deliverance. As I have stated in this book, I do believe that since so many of our children are now in spiritual bondage and spiritual jeopardy, we as Baptist can no longer ignore getting them help. Because of the great spiritual needs of this generation, our institutions must begin to teach our leaders how to be used of God to set the captives free.

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