Following is an analysis of modern deliverance teachings, as taught by Derek Prince, Frank Hammond, Frank Marzullo, Glenn Miller (not the musician), and many others.
A classic work on the subject is "Pigs in the Parlor", by Frank Hammond.
In short, they teach the following:
My theological analysis concludes what they really teach is as follows:
As I shall attempt to make clear, the above are very dangerous, and can lead to eternal death.
Deficient view of the cross.
Consider the claim that when you sin, you give demons legal right to enter you (and your children) and torment you.
Our "legal" standing before God with regards to sin is exactly what gets us into heaven (a connection lost on the deliverance teachers), confusion on this issue is life threatening.
The cross declares us to be legally sinless before a righteous and holy God who tolerates no sin at all. Seperating our legal standing with regards to entering heaven, and with regards to anything else is not biblical.
Our sins are as scarlet, but are as far from us as the bottom of the sea says scripture.
When we sin we have an advocate (I think they forget this), and if we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive them.
I have also heard it taught that we must do our own advocacy and refute the accuser (Satan) before God's throne, this is more baloney and is dangerously self-righteous. Jesus is our advocate, and He never tires, and He never fails in His advocacy. His claim to have paid for our sins is 100% effective all of the time. To hear the deliverance teachers, you would think that He is a lot less effective than that.
Justification by Works.
Since deliverance teaches your legal standing before God is based on you not sinning, it is essentially teaching justification by works, a fatal teaching that leads multitudes to Hell. They deny this of course, but their theology is clear, you cannot seperate your legal standing with regards to demons from your legal standing with regards to salvation. Deliverance teaching is a seductive way to sneak in justification by works.
It must be stressed that you cannot even enter the narrow gate until you abandon all hope in self. Any form of self-righteousness is fatal. This is why deliverance teachings are so dangerous.
Deficient View of Sin.
Anyone who believes they can live a relatively sinless life has no understanding of God's view of sin. A proper study of the law and of sin will reveal that we all sin continually in every way. None of us loves God with all his heart, mind and strength (only Jesus ever did that). None of us are immune from pride. None of us are immune from lust, or covetousness, or can go through life and never lie. Failure to realize this is to be blinded to the true nature of your sin, and is yet another perilous thing indeed.
Consider that a true view of sin would lead us to necessarily conclude that Christians are the most demon possessed of all people. Ridiculous of course.
Ignores the fallenness of the flesh and blames it on demons.
The Bible describes the Christian battle with sin as a battle against the flesh, not a battle against demons. Demons tempt, but the culprit is the flesh or the body, as Paul makes abundantly clear in Romans.
Substitutes Deliverance for Repentance of Sins
Blaming your sin on demons (instead of the sinful nature or the flesh) essentially absolves one of the struggle against sin, and eliminates the need for repentance of sin. It is the demons fault, not yours. You aren't a wretched worthless evil sinner in bondage to sin who needs salvation (salvation is both from sins today and from Hell tomorrow), rather you are a poor innocent victim of the Devil.
While holding out the promise that all of your personality defects can be cured, and your physical ailments removed, the actual effect of these teachings are to lead many to Hell.
Substitutes fear of demons for fear of God.
While less perilous than the other doctrines, it is worth including here. The Bible plainly states we should fear God, not the Devil and his demons. Deliverance teachings turn this on its head.
Much time is spent by deliverance adherents praying to break curses off themselves and their children. They research past sins of their ancestors to see which curses need to be broken, it never ends. This is spinning your wheels and accomplishes nothing but self-deception.
The fear is developed to the point that even symbols of demons are believed to be cursed objects that allow demons into your home. Every unclean thing in the Old Testament Law is reimagined to be a cursed object.
Fear of images of owls, frogs, demons, and talking animals (cartoons) is taught. People are urged to clean their homes of any images of unclean things. One book claims that a picture of an owl caused disease for example, and it was only cured by removing the picture.
Dualism is an ancient heresy that taught that only good things come from God, and that only bad things come from the Devil. It saw the Devil and God as equal adversaries at war with each other, and mankind is caught in the middle (and is often the determining factor in the outcome of the war). This view is very popular in Hollywood movies today.
Deliverance doesn't teach full blown dualism, but rather an implied form of it. They would claim God is superior to the Devil, but in practice the Devil reigns supreme, God stands on the sidelines, and is dependent on man's anointed efforts to prevail. So if anything we could label it not dualism, but rather sovereign Devil theology.
The idea that most if not all bad things are from the Devil and demons is well developed in deliverance theology. There are spirits of poverty, spirits causing bad marriages, bad relationships, trouble at work, one for just about every imaginable trouble. There are ruling spirits that darken nations so the Gospel cannot penetrate (this openly denies the omnipotence and sovereignty of God). All these things are overcome by only one method, the saints have to go to war.
The truth is that God reigns supreme, and the Devil was defeated on the cross. The Devil is only a tool in God's hands and can only do what he is allowed to do. And even then the Devil will end up (albeit unwillingly) serving God's purposes. God can and does send discipline and judgement against people and nations, which includes hardening their hearts against the Gospel. God can and does allow suffering, we are not greater than our master, He did not spare Him, and neither is He going to spare us (in this life).
Whatever happens to you, know that it pleased God to allow it, and that if you are truly a Christian, He will make some good out of it in your life. Deliverance denies this of course, and ends up unwittingly spitting in God's face for every trouble that He allows, in direct disobedience to the Bible's command to praise Him in all things.
Several damnable heresies are here in embryonic form, not enough on their own to be declared full apostacy, but several steps in that direction are taken. Once confusion is sown about your "legal" standing before God, it is very easy to fall into full apostacy or works rightesousness without even realizing it.
Since such confusion is only possible where a weak understanding of the cross vs. self-righteousness is already present, these teachings are quite dangerous and are likely leading many to Hell by furthering works righteousness and dualistic thinking.
Date: July 2007