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Jim Goll: Deliverance from Darkness

In the fourth part, Goll discusses how to break curses and how to instill blessings in one’s life. For him, curses can be generational, they can come from other humans, or they can emerge from disobedience. However he maintains that curses are broken through “prayers for release.” Goll argues that blessings, which include prosperity, good health, and God’s favor, can be obtained from God, although one may have to wrestle with God for its bestowal. Blessings can be claimed through biblical promises, family genealogy, ethnic groups, churches, or geographic area. In conclusion, according to Goll, the key is confession and repentance of sin. He adds that retention of deliverance is secured by praying, fasting, reading the bible, following Jesus, and living in the power of the Holy Spirit.

This book will certainly evoke some controversy depending upon one’s theological leanings. Those who believe in demons as autonomous beings are likely to agree with Goll on many points. But those who hold a progressive or more liberal view are likely to find his personification of demons to be problematic and unpersuasive. Regardless of one’s theological position concerning the ontologization of the demonic, Goll does present some practical and much needed advice. For example, in the section on deliverance ministry he cautions the reader that mental illness can be mistaken for possession, so one should partner with medical professionals to avoid a misdiagnosis. This is a necessary step when we consider notable cases where instances of abuse and neglect arose, some of which have led to death. Despite the value of these points, it is probable that many readers across the theological spectrum will find some of Goll’s remarks to be dubitable. For instance, he writes, “Believe it or not, deliverance can be easy!” (183). He also claims that those who have overcome evil will mostly not be bothered by the demonic. On several occasions he states that demons have a legal right to operate in certain realms. These remarks, in addition to his theology of blessings, appeal to the prosperity gospel and overlook important theological issues, such as theodicy. The third point even contradicts his assertion that demons lack authority. In conclusion this book has a popular audience in mind, but it may face some criticism from an academic audience. Nevertheless, I suspect that one’s opinion of Goll’s work will be influenced largely by the theological commitments that are brought to the text.

Reviewed by David Bradnick


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Category: Ministry, Spring 2016

About the Author: David Bradnick, Ph.D. Theological Studies (Regent University School of Divinity), is an instructor in the philosophy department at Stevenson University and York College of Pennsylvania. His dissertation is titled "Loosing and Binding the Spirits: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic" (2015).

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