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Roger Olson: Should Western Christians Rediscover Exorcism?

Roger E. Olson, “Should Western Christians Rediscover Exorcism?” Patheos (June 9, 2016).

This is a most interesting article. The author, a noted Evangelical scholar and pastor, was involved in the early charismatic movement where he saw some of the extremes of the early charismatic deliverance movement. For instance, in some meetings, charismatic evangelists/exorcists provided the audience with bags to contain their vomit, as airlines used to do, so that in the course of the mass deliverance ministry the floors could be kept sanitary. That of course was an extremism the sort of which Olson remembers and rebukes.

Roger Olson

But Olson’s thoughtful article should have given a more positive answer. Yes, there can be extremism in any ministry, as in some evangelical ministers that stress the altar call and forget about discipleship afterwards. But extremism does not negate the real ministry.

I believe Olson advocates for a biblically based awareness of the demonic and for ministers to be prepared to do exorcism/deliverance. But I wish he would have written the article with more clarity and with a less ambiguous tone. Perhaps his audience, predominantly Evangelical (and some cessationist) would not be ready for a straight forward endorsement of exorcism/deliverance.

From my perspective, and an Anglican priest with an ongoing healing ministry, I recognize the need for exorcism/deliverance. There are many issues about this ministry that would warrant long discussion. But in short, any Christian who does healing ministry needs to know something of deliverance ministry. I believe every Christian minister should be informed on the topic. Needless to say many seminary programs are remiss here. I would recommend Dr. Francis MacNutt’s Deliverance from Evil Spirits as a primer.

Reviewed by William De Arteaga


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Category: Ministry, Summer 2016

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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