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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Deliverance or Ghost Hunting?

I recently received a telephone call requesting that my church deliverance ministry team perform a deliverance service because the people thought they were being influenced by demonic or negative spirits and energy. When I told them that we would also have to check out their residence and that we would be using such tools as EMF meters and cameras, they became quite concerned and confused. They said they did not want a "ghost hunting" team because they were afraid that ghost hunters would stir up the spirits and make things much worse for them. They were already experiencing such phenomena as the sound of footsteps, objects moving, and feelings of oppression and didn't want the situation to become worse. It became apparent to me that they did not know the difference between a deliverance ministry and a paranormal research group, and I want to discuss two of those differences in this post.

Differences in Purpose:
Most paranormal groups exist in order to simply document phenomena. They do not intend to disrupt or change the supernatural environment in any way. They may attempt to make a judgment as to whether the phenomenon is dangerous or not, but their ultimate goal is simply to report substantiating evidence that something supernatural is actually happening. While this goal can have a positive effect in confirming to the people experiencing the phenomenon that in fact something supernatural is happening, it does not bring any relief from or real understanding of the phenomenon itself.
The purpose of a deliverance ministry is totally different from that of a paranormal research group. A deliverance ministry attempts to determine what is actually going on spiritually, and then to bring about significant spiritual change both in the individuals involved as well as the environment.
While a deliverance ministry may use the same tools as a paranormal research group to establish the reality of the supernatural phenomenon, the deliverance ministry has no intent to either communicate with spirits or to give them permission to continue interfering with the lives of living people. In other words, a paranormal research group is there to document the phenomenon, while  a deliverance ministry group is there to eliminate the impact and influence of spirits and negative energy.

Differences in Power and Authority:
If a paranormal research group or a ghost hunting group does attempt to change the paranormal environment it may use some form of shamanistic or ritualistic method. Exorcisms of this type do not depend on the faith of the group, and are not founded in the authority and power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. These types of exorcisms may bring about a measure of relief, but because they do not exercise real authority in the spirit universe,  this relief is temporary or may actually make the situation much worse over time. In most cases, however, a paranormal group simply does not have the power to initiate any kind of change in the energy environment. They may record the presence of spirits or energy, but they can not do anything about it.
The Christian deliverance ministry is based on the authority and power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. While the group itself does not "possess" this power, it is authorized by Christ to bring about a change in the supernatural environment through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. As a result, spirits can be dismissed and commanded to leave both the individual and the environment, and negative energy can be transformed into positive energy. There is no spirit or negative energy that can resist the power of God, and so no matter how difficult the situation may seem, the deliverance ministry is more than capable of handling it.

While both the deliverance ministry and paranormal research group might use the same tools to document spiritual phenomena, their purpose, power, and authority is radically different. With these differences in mind, individuals experiencing troublesome paranormal phenomenon should not hesitate to call a deliverance ministry to help free them from both frightening and potentially harmful experiences. Because of the absolute control that Christ has over the spirit universe, a deliverance ministry shall always produce positive effects. On the other hand, a group who simply documents paranormal phenomena may, unintentionally, make the situation worse and therefore extreme care must be exercised by paranormal research groups to do no harm.