How Did The Apostles Cast Out Demons?

Last week we looked at how Jesus expelled demons. He was never unable to cast one out. It wasn’t complicated or difficult. A word from Jesus was enough. Today we’ll look at casting out demons in the book of Acts.

How Did The Apostles Cast Out Demons?

Acts 16 tells the story of a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She was annoying Paul..

Acts 16:18 (NIV) Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

The Greek language in this passage shows us that this was a Python spirit. The Python spirit guarded the Oracle at Delphi. It was a well-known spirit with territorial influence.

According to what I was taught about deliverance, this slave girl would at least have needed to pray a prayer of renouncing witchcraft before she could be delivered. There would probably be a need to identify the point of entry, make sure everything is repented of, and identify and cast out accessory demons before such a “major” thing as this Python spirit could be expelled.

But how did Paul cast it out? With a command! When did the demon leave? Scripture says it left immediately.

Expelling Demons With Handkerchiefs?

Acts 19:12 (NIV) …so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

If anything more than the manifest presence of God was needed to expel demons, the demons would not have left when Paul’s handkerchiefs got near them. If the demon had a “legal right” to stay, it would have taken more than a handkerchief saturated with God’s presence to drive it out. If a “generational curse” could keep a demon from leaving, Paul’s handkerchiefs wouldn’t have worked.

What have we done when we command a spirit to leave and it doesn’t leave immediately? We assume “I did the right thing, and it didn’t work, so there must be a reason. There must be something else I need to do.”

We make faith into a formula and then when it doesn’t work, we make the formula more complicated. By doing so, we come up with all kinds of reasons that we aren’t able to do what Jesus and Paul did. A healthier response would be to let scripture challenge us to grow. If we are honest with ourselves, we have room to grow in manifesting God’s presence and power to a greater degree.

Is This An Argument From Silence?

Some have argued that this is an argument from silence, as if we are invalidating certain methods only because we don’t read of Jesus doing them.

First of all, I’m not invalidating teaching people to repent, renouncing witchcraft, or helping people to deal with heart issues. I don’t have a problem having a person renounce witchcraft. I don’t have a problem with Holy Spirit-led inner healing ministry.

I am saying that scripture challenges the idea that these things are necessary to expel demons. We should never say “I couldn’t cast out that demon because…” We should never treat any of these things as hoops we must jump through to cast out an evil spirit. The devil would love to make a simple thing complicated, because by doing so he wears us down and gets us to waver and doubt. Let’s let scripture challenge the traditions of men.

It’s not only that we never read of Jesus or the apostles needing to jump through hoops to cast out a demon. After Jesus’ disciples failed to cast out a demon, Jesus told them nothing would be impossible if they believed. If anything more than believing is ever needed to cast out a demon, Jesus’ words in that passage are not true. Questioning if anything more is needed is not an argument from silence because we invalidate Jesus’ words in scripture if we teach that believing isn’t enough.

Faith in God isn’t about mental assent or subscribing to a belief system. It’s about knowing God, and we are growing in the knowledge of him as the Holy Spirit is building us up until we reach the full measure of the stature of Christ.

We fall into a trap when we make things so complicated. The need right now in the church is for the simplicity that’s found in Christ.

When I share this point of view on deliverance, some people (especially some deliverance ministers) respond by assuming people who hold such views don’t have experience with deliverance. I’d like to point out that doing so is getting theology from personal experience instead of scripture. It’s lowering the standard of scripture to fit our experience instead of letting our experience change, and it’s exactly what many people have done with God’s will to heal. 

Because of this objection, next week we’ll look at how the Universal (not Universalist) church in Brazil is ministering deliverance to demonized people. If your experience has been that ministering deliverance is complicated and difficult, it will encourage you to know that it can be simple. Then we’ll examine the idea that Satan has “legal rights.” After that that we’ll go on to discuss deliverance and inner healing ministry, and deliverance during teaching.

If you liked this post, you may want to check out the Heaven Now book trilogy. It contains many insights into understanding simple gospel truths and exercising heaven’s dominion on earth. It’s also filled with testimonies of what happened when I put these truths into practice. I’m sure these books will encourage you and help you learn to walk as a heavenly person. Not only that, but your purchase supports our missionary work in Brazil and in every other place we go!

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2 comments on “How Did The Apostles Cast Out Demons?
  1. Cyndi says:

    Great post, I love reading them as it further cements the uncomplicated authority and power view. ? Looking forward to the next one!

  2. Riki says:

    Amen I agree and have been teaching the same
    God bless you