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Gary Graff: Can a Christian Have an Unclean Spirit?

 

Gary Hal Graff, Can a Christian Have an Unclean Spirit? Volume I: Satan and the Angels (El Cajon, CA: Christian Service Network, 1999), 200 pages, ISBN 9781879854802.

Gary Hal Graff, Can a Christian Have an Unclean Spirit? Volume II: The Theology and History (El Cajon, CA: Christian Service Network, 1999), 249 pages, ISBN 9781879854147.

Gary Hal Graff, Can a Christian Have an Unclean Spirit? Volume III : The Psychology and Book Apologetics (El Cajon, CA: Christian Service Network, 1999), 232 pages, ISBN 9781879854222.

Writing a book on demonology is a risky business, because you will always find enough “enemies” as well as “friends.” To one of the most sensitive, thus often avoided, theological question, the author’s answer is an affirmative “yes,” that believers can have an unclean spirit. Now this is good enough to turn many people off. However, not so fast.

Even if many (including myself) have a fundamental disagreement to the author’s belief/thesis, this book contains an exhaustive amount of valuable information, especially two long lists of potential objections: logical (24 items, ch. 5) and biblical (56 items, ch. 6). He responded to each one of them. For me, even these lists alone provide valuable information as they are gathered in one place for the first time, and would make a copy of this book worthy. Also uniquely valuable is the History of Exorcism (ch. 10), again perhaps the very first in this magnitude.

This book is also quite different from many popularly know third wave authors who propose many “how-to” stuff. Nor is the book fadded with plenty of stories. This volume mainly deals with biblical, theological and historical arguments to support the author’s thesis.

It is expected that the author comes from a predetermined firm conclusion, thus, making his arguments consistently one-sided, obviously leaving no room for any valid counterarguments. But this is how a good book is written (although it will be the readers to decide on this, not me): to call for a serious dialog, discussion and debate, and even a response to the same “objections” from a radically different perspective of beliefs.

Do not let the academic qualification of the author fool you. The author has only a B.A., his serious and diligent work can shame many graduate and post-graduate degree holders who have never taken time to make a serious contribution like this.

This book sermons a loud call for an equally serious and exhaustive response.

Reviewed by Wonsuk Ma

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Category: Ministry

About the Author: Wonsuk Ma, PhD (Fuller Theological Seminary), is Executive Director of The Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. Wonsuk is an Old Testament scholar who spent close to three decades in the Philippines as a Pentecostal missionary where he and his wife, Julie Ma, were involved in theological education, evangelism and church planting among mountain tribes, and research on Asian Pentecostalism and mission. He served as Vice President of Academic Affairs of Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Philippines, Founding President of Asian Pentecostal Society, and Founding Editor of Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies. He has spoken at numerous international conferences, including the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (Athens, 2005) and International Gathering of Global Christian Forum (Limuru, 2007) and seeks to represent theological perspectives from the Global South. He is the author and editor of numerous books and academic studies including Mission in the Spirit: Towards a Pentecostal/Charismatic Missiology and Until the Spirit Comes: The Spirit of God in the Book of Isaiah. Faculty page: OCMS Facebook

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