Month: November 2015

The old adage “Man is wolf to man” was gruesomely punctuated last week by terrorist attacks in France and elsewhere. It is especially disturbing when such beastliness is performed in the name of religion. Of course Christians are right to condemn such attacks, but we have to address our own credibility problem on this issue. When nonbelievers look in from outside, they don’t distinguish between the Islamic call to Jihad, and the Crusades.

Logically, most “Christian” violence can be dealt with fairly easily by noting that the perpetrators were failing to live up to the tenets of their own faith. The prescription for this is better faith, not less faith.

A harder issue, and one which has come up for me recently in discussions with fellow Christians, is the violence that appears to be sanctioned in the Old Testament.

We have addressed this in our Q and A section: “Christians believe that God is good, and yet why did God order the slaughter of all Canaanites? Isn’t that a contradiction? Isn’t killing the Canaanites a violation of God’s own Law in the Ten Commandments?”

“Men have forgotten God”


Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.” Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”

(Source: “Godlessness: the First Step to the Gulag”, an address by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn given when he received the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion on May of 1983).

(Image credit: This is an image from the Nationaal Archief, the Dutch National Archives, and Spaarnestad Photo, accessed on Wikimedia Commons, and used in accordance with Creative Commons 3.0 license).

Who hasn’t felt a chill in their spine when alone in a creepy place, and who hasn’t felt momentarily terrified after watching a scary movie? For the vast majority of us, demons and exorcisms are ideas that seem primitive and ultimately unreal. Until, that is, one is unfortunate enough to be confronted by that “unreality” up close.

At one time I was fond of saying that demons may be little more than dark psychological forces that lurk inside of us. As to the reality of the demonic, I became converted–or “re-converted”, to be more accurate–because of knowing a couple of people who have had encounters with apparitions of evil. That’s a story for another time. (Disclaimer here, I still struggle with disbelief at times).

My wife recently came across an account of demon possession, that stirred some discussion while we were vacationing. The victim in question was a young lady named “Lacey” or “Roxane” (neither is likely her real name), who called a radio station that was operating out of a church. She claimed to be possessed and indeed her young terrified female voice would be interrupted by guttural snarls and demonic sounds. The DJ, Bill Scott, who didn’t much believe in demons at the time, nonetheless tried to help her, even inviting her to his home. He has written a book about his encounters, called The Day Satan Called. You can find summaries of the story in the following links:
The Christian Post and The Examiner.
The quoted passages below are from the second article.

Doors opened and closed, lights turned on and off, on and off. Their feet were pulled and poked while they were in bed at night, and on one occasion, Scott saw a black figure in the hallway.

He said to the figure, “In Jesus’ name, why do you feel you can be in my home?”

The entity’s eerie reply was, “I’m an invited guest into this home…”

They learned that the girl had been in a witch coven, and been involved in rituals that involved sex, consuming human flesh and blood, and invoking the names of demons. Her particular demon was Abbaddon, mentioned in Revelation 9:11 as guardian of the Abyss.

After two weeks of this demonic ordeal, Scott and his wife were finally able to find a safe house for women that could take Lacey in, providing her with a safe place to live and professional medical assistance. Now life would return to normal. Or, so they thought.

But the manifestations continued. On several occasions Scott and his wife had to leave the house in the middle of the night due to the overpowering sense of evil.

One night, during another demonic confrontation, Scott says he heard a voice say, “Have you looked under her bed?”

He didn’t know if it was the voice of Satan or of God but he did as suggested and looked under the bed Lacey had been using while in their home. There he found several occult items, including a black ceremonial robe. He immediately burned everything he found.

…But that’s not the end of the story. By this time, the shelter where Lacey was staying was also experiencing demonic activity. “Things” were looking in the windows and they weren’t human beings. “Things” were jumping on the women while they were in bed at night.

The girl drifted out of the life of Mr. Scott. The story goes on to describe a series of coincidences, or else a trail of destruction, left in her wake: Church splits, divorces, and ruined lives.

Now, I don’t know Mr. Scott, and therefore I have no more insight into this story than would any other reader. As to corroboration from others, here is a blogger who provides some support:
She says, “I know the author. Bill and I worked together in Christian Radio in the early 90s. I had heard bits of this story back then and I am glad that he has finally put down his experiences for the world to read and learn from.”

A person named Dave Stewart also offered the following in an Amazon review of the book: “As someone who was working with Bill at the time this incident occurred, I wanted to take a moment and let folks know that what was written was accurately portrayed. (An earlier reviewer asked why no other person had come forward to verify the story, and I wanted to answer that inquiry). It brought back a lot of memories that scared me witless when they were happening, because this was the stuff of movies and the product of Steven King’s mind to be honest with you. I also experienced what Bill did; with my own 2 ears hearing that voice on all phone lines ringing at once. It was a great reminder about who we really are dealing with in this world. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood….” are not cute lines in a book. Satan is alive and well, and if you stop and take a good look around, is quite active in many aspects of everyday life now. I got my copy and read it through in a single sitting; a few friends I have recommended it to have not been able to get past a few chapters. As you are reading the book I encourage your takeaway to be praying against the power of evil, and doing so in Jesus’ name. “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit” is the real deal. The great thing about this story is that the final chapter hasn’t been written yet. The girl Bill writes about is still alive and living her life, and Bill is still trusting God. Get your copy today, and also check out Bill’s blog at All eyes on Jesus. Everything else, you get your butt kicked.”

The veracity of this story aside, it does sound like other possession accounts:

-The person feels, and seems to others, to be under the control of a malignant entity
-The entity seems to have a personality and mind, and is not merely a mood or bad feeling.
-The “demon” seems to know things about people in its vicinity that shouldn’t possibly be known.
-there are eerie manifestations, such as disembodied voices or sounds, or telekinetic activity, that are difficult to explain in naturalistic terms. (This is, in fact, a requirement for some groups, such the Roman Catholic Church, to validate a case of possession, prior to authorizing an exorcism).
-The entity typically gains a foothold based on some sort of susceptibility or invitation, such as dabbling in the occult.
-The possessed shows a strong aversion to the name of Jesus, and the entity can be (at least temporarily) overpowered and commanded by invoking Jesus’ name.
-The process of freeing the person from the entity can be long and arduous, and destructive to the person performing the prayers of deliverance.
-The attempt at deliverance / exorcism may not succeed.

As to this lack of success, one might raise questions. Why should not the evil entity vanish immediately upon command? Is Jesus less powerful than we believe? The Bible speaks to this, when it describes our role against this kind evil in terms of “struggling” or “wrestling.” New Testament indicates that Jesus’ own disciples had troubles at times:

And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:26-29, English Standard Version)

Another author (none other than the famous M. Scott Peck, who pursued a “road less travelled” in his book, Glimpses of the Devil) has suggested that the longer a person has been possessed, the harder it is to bring about release from the demon. He speculates that social isolation plays a role also. The possessed must repudiate the demon, and the longer the demon has been his or her “only friend”, the less likely this is to happen.

Fortunately, possession of this severe and dramatic kind seems quite rare, and that is probably a gift to the world of our Heavenly Father, a part of that “common grace” that is extended to all. It could also mean that there aren’t all that many evil spiritual entities available to go around.

I’ll conclude with a disclaimer. I am not an exorcist, nor do I play one on TV. I also do not seek to become any part of a story like this one. If it is forced on you somehow, I would recommend extreme caution approaching such a situation. Don’t face such a darkness alone. Best to get help, and don’t get in over your head. Otherwise, as I stated in the title, when Satan calls, it’s best to hang up.