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In the three gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus repeatedly casts out demons, speaks to them, etc. He tells his disciples to do the same. There are so many references it would be difficult to put them all here.

This is not a topic that is very frequently mentioned (if at all) in my experience in the modern church (here in the USA at least). But reading the New Testament it cannot be easily glossed over.

What is the church's view on demonic possession today, especially in light of modern psychology and drug therapy? Where people possessed by demons in ancient times but not today? Are people with certain types of psychological disorders (or in certain times/cases) actually possessed?

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Here is an interesting page about how demon possession can occur: logoschristian.org/possession.html –  James Black Sep 11 '11 at 17:11
    
Related: Can Christians be demon possessed? –  Caleb Sep 11 '11 at 17:45
    
demonized today are called epileptics –  Iulian Nov 26 '12 at 3:04
    
@lulian that should be an answer not a comment then... –  aceinthehole Nov 26 '12 at 3:07

3 Answers 3

Yes, people can be possessed by demons today. There is no particular Scripture to indicate that anything changed form the time that Jesus pronounced certain people as possessed to now.

It's very important to remember that Jesus is always trump. The disciples were amazed to find that even the spirit world (however that manifest itself) was subject to the the authority of Christ and his teachings1, not just when he gave them but when they went out to proclaim them2.

Also, it's not something focus on or draw our attention from the main message of the Gospel3. It's sort of an incidental problem that we overcome just like any other problem in this world. Undue focus on the realms of evil, spirit or physical, is unhealthy. In fact many things are often mistaken for spirit world problems that are just the fruits of our flesh. Sorcery is one example4.

Lastly, Christians cannot be possessed. The enemy has no authority over the temple of the Holy Spirit. Christians have been raised into life with Christ and are temples of the Holy Spirit. Those temples are are off limits to the enemy because the victory has already been won5 and we have been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to that of light6.

  1. Mark 1:27 (ESV) And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

  2. Luke 10:17-19 (ESV) The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.

  3. Luke 10:17-20 (ESV) Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

  4. Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

  5. Colossians 2:15 (ESV) He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

  6. Colossians 1:13 (ESV) He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son

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Influence of evil spirits some times manifest in similar ways as described in Bible even in these modern days in some parts of the world. I heard accounts, saw many eye witnesses of manifestations similar to biblical story and they going away with prayer or at the name of Jesus –  Jamess Sep 12 '11 at 2:53
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Can you point out credible examples of possession? –  Sklivvz Sep 12 '11 at 16:40
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Also, remember that Jesus said that "This kind [of demon?] goeth not out but by prayer and fasting". This isn't child's play, it's war against the powers of darkness. –  Arlen Beiler Jun 20 '12 at 20:55
    
@Sklivvz, he said he's seen it and heard about it. These kinds of things normally don't get media attention. They're too supernatural. There might be a few, but you normally hear about it word of mouth and through newsletters (i.e. not usually easily accessible). –  Arlen Beiler Jun 20 '12 at 21:42
    
"These kinds of things normally don't get media attention. They're too supernatural." It's actually the opposite, normally. The real problem is that such things are utterly false, and completely unbelievable to a modern, well-educated person. –  Sklivvz Jun 20 '12 at 22:29

The Anglicans and the Catholics perform exorcisms from time to time which means they believe in possession. I recently read "The Dark Sacrament" half the book is exorcisms from an Anglican and half is from a Catholic (it has 10 stories altogether), also Malachi Martin's "Hostage to the Devil" is interesting. I've also heard good things about "The exorcism of Anne Louise Michelle"

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Are people possessed by demons today? What is the modern Christian perspective?

There was a very prolific writer on this subject named Kurt Koch in the early part of the 20th century. He initially started investigating problems people were having in southern Germany (similar to the Appalachia area of the US). In these regions it was not uncommon for people to practice the using of charms, spells, and other things associated with demonic activity. As a result people would become influenced, oppressed, and even possessed.

People in these regions were more like those living in tribal areas where intentionally contacting, communicating with, and invoking evil spirits was a more common practice.

Since the practices that bring people into demonic contact were severely abandoned in the latter part of the 20th century, it can seem now as if these conditions were just superstition. While most people consider demonic activity to be a sort of fairy tale, there are those who over emphasize demonic activity such that they see themselves as a sort of crusader that has to bind demons in every room they enter.

Today there is an increase in the cases of demonic influence, oppression, and even possession as a result of an increase in the practices that bring people into contact with spirits.

Things like meditation to contact spirit guides (often done as an imagery exercise where people are just told that what they are contacting is just an expression of themselves). There is an increase in people participating in practices such as automatic writing where messages come through (similar to an Ouija board but using hand writing - TV psychic James Van Praagh gave classroom instruction on this practice on his cable show). The effects of these practices are often diagnosed as mental problems and treated with medication.

It is important for the Christian to remember that he cannot be demonically possessed.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

As the modern or developed world turns more rapidly from Christ and embraces practices that bring them more and more into contact with evil spirits, it should be expected that there will be a corresponding increase in those with demonic afflictions.

It is beginning to be more popular to consider exorcisms today. However, these are of limited benefit because the only permanent "cure" is to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Luke 11:24-26 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

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