Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exorcisms in Mark

Mark 1:32-34 (ESV) That evening at sundown they brought to him all who were sick or oppressed by demons. [33] And the whole city was gathered together at the door. [34] And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. What always startles me, is that during his earthly ministry Jesus is constantly trying to hide who he is. He heals people. He lets the cat out of the bag, but he is always trying to hide who he is. Here he won’t let the demons speak. They know who he is. Perhaps he cares a bit who it is that is testifying for him. I don’t know. Today, it often seems incredible to hear of all these exorcisms. For the most part it is something that occupies a movie screen for us. We rarely ever hear of them happening. Thing is you can’t believe in Scripture without recognizing the reality of demons. Montgomery is quick to point out that, if only one percent of all claims of demon activity were valid then it would be enough. Yet I suspect most Christians are bit like me. We believe in the existence of Demons, and look cross eyed at the shop owner who complains of the activity happening in his store. One wonders if the morning incense hasn’t gotten to his brain. I suppose some skepticism is warranted. Luther cautioned against believing every tale of demonic possession. He also believed very firmly that there were demons, and is recorded to have given counsel concerning exorcism. Today, the Lutheran church of Madagascar has grown to over three million. My friend Robert Bennett has written and is publishing a book on this phenomena. It has grown into what might be the largest Lutheran church body, chiefly through a lay led exorcism movement. And to hear the accounts sends chills up one’s spine. The book has made me reexamine my own suspicions.

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