Why don’t Baptists do exorcisms?

“Why don’t Baptists do exorcisms, but some other denominations that aren’t Catholics do?” -Hunter

Great question! This has to do with spiritual warfare. This is a topic that many either ignore or exaggerate, but a topic that is real and really important.

Firstly, I think and I would say most baptists think demon possession (as presented in media, which is where most people get their idea of demon possession from) is a misrepresentation of how demons usually work. Therefore, exorcisms are not necessary in most cases of spiritual warfare. Secondly, exorcisms as seen in movies are misrepresentations of how exorcisms are in reality. They are not biblical examples. In the Bible, when someone is possessed by a demon, there are no chants and specific prayers to pray. There is no semblance of having to call the demon by name. There is no holy water or crucifixes. Biblical exorcisms are a lot easier. Here’s why, and the third reason. The worldly view of exorcisms incredibly misrepresents the overwhelming power of Jesus. Demons flee because of Jesus.

You see this in how Jesus performed exorcisms, and you see this from the Bible in the power that is given to us over demons and even Satan because we have Christ in us. In James it says “Submit yourselves to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” That’s the power of Christ in you. Therefore, exorcisms as seen in movies, etc. are misrepresentations of the overwhelming power of Jesus over the enemy and are not consistent with the biblical example.

Spiritual warfare, in general, is a more prominent theme than exorcisms in the Bible. Ephesians 6 is the perfect biblical example of how to fight spiritual warfare – and we MUST fight.

I would say this, though: I think it is more dangerous to ignore spiritual warfare or to not believe it is real than to exaggerate the nature of spiritual warfare. The kingdom of darkness really is waging war against the kingdom of light. There really is a battle. We really are in the battle. We really must fight. But remember, Jesus really has won the victory.

Thanks for asking!

Jacob

Advertisements

Does God love Satan?

“It talks about loving your enemies in the book of Luke. Does God love the Devil?” -Kayla

Great question! This has to do with God’s goodness. If God loves Satan, does that mean He loves evil? If God does not love Satan, does that mean that He is not all-loving? These are some of the underlying questions that this question raises.

There is no simple answer, and great theologians differ on this point. With that being said, I do not know if it is undeniably clear in Scripture, but we can do our best to interpret what is there. The passage you are talking about in Luke has a parallel in Matthew that gives us a little more insight. The Matthew passage shows why we are to love our enemies, and it is because God does. How does God love the good and the evil? By providing for both. “He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” We see God do this even with Satan. Satan is as good as defeated, but he is still allowed to be active. Satan is a created being, made by God. He has intelligence and angelic glory. He, in a sense, has experienced the love of God, even as God’s enemy, just as all sinful humanity has experienced the love of God, even as God’s enemies, in a general, non-salvific way. So, in that sense, I think God does show love for the Devil.

In another sense He does not, nor do I think He is obligated to. Satan is damned to eternal destruction, without the possibility of salvation. He is evil, the father of lies, and seeks to steal, kill, and destroy all that God wants to flourish. The Bible tells us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Satan fell because of pride.

We also see in the Bible that God does hate things. In order to be perfectly good, hatred of evil must be perfect as well. Then the question must be asked, “Is Satan all-evil?” If he is, I believe God is obligated to hate him. If he is not, there can be some semblance of love expressed toward him. I do not know the answer to this, though I would lean more towards the all-evil side.

My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that God is not obligated to love Satan. It does not diminish His goodness, but actually confirms His goodness. God is love, and that love is specially demonstrated to those He has come to save through His sacrifice on the cross, and it is generally demonstrated through His creation and sustaining of all things. In order to be perfectly loving, He must also be perfectly just. Therefore, He must hate evil. His love and justice do not contradict each other, but rather complement each other.

So, yes, God loves His enemies, but no, He is not obligated to love Satan, and no, that does not diminish His goodness.

Thanks for asking!

Jacob

 

Extra resources: John Piper; Cross Examined