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Should Christians Expect Miracles Today? Objections and Answers from the Bible, Part 3, by Wayne A. Grudem

Pneuma Review Summer 2000

The Power of the Cross: The Biblical Place of Healing and Gift-Based Ministry in Proclaiming the Gospel

Wayne A. Grudem15. Why do people speak directly to demons today and command them to leave, rather than just praying and asking God to drive the demon away? Isn’t it safer just to pray to God about this?

In a way, this is similar to asking why Christians should share the gospel with another person rather than simply praying and asking God to reveal the gospel to that person directly. Or why should we speak words of encouragement to a Christian who is discouraged rather than just praying and asking God Himself to encourage that person directly? Why should we speak a word of rebuke or gentle admonition to a Christian, whom we see involved in some kind of sin, rather than just praying and asking God to take care of the sin in that person’s life?

The answer to all these questions is that in the kind of world God has created, He has given us an active role in carrying out His plans, especially His plans for advancing the Kingdom and building up the Church. In all of these cases, our direct involvement and activity is important in addition to our prayers. And so it seems to be in our dealing with demonic forces as well.

As a wise father who does not settle all of his children’s disputes for them, but sometimes sends them back out to the playground to settle a dispute themselves, so our heavenly Father encourages us to enter directly into conflict with demonic forces, in the name of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thereby He enables us to gain the joy of participating in eternally significant ministry and the joy of triumphing over the destructive power of Satan and his demons in people’s lives. God could certainly deal with demonic attacks every time we prayed and asked Him to do so, and He no doubt sometimes does. But the New Testament pattern seems to be that God ordinarily expects Christians themselves to speak directly to the unclean spirits.

We see this pattern of speaking directly to demons first in the ministry of Jesus. He spoke to the demon troubling a man in the synagogue, saying, “Be silent, and come out of Him!” (Mark 1:25). He commanded the demons in the Gadarene demoniac, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (Mark 5:8). When Jesus encountered a young boy severely afflicted by a demon, “He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again'” (Mark 9:25). This was Jesus’ general pattern, for people said about Him, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out” (Luke 4:36).

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Category: Pneuma Review, Spirit, Summer 2000

About the Author: Wayne A. Grudem is Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, Phoenix, Arizona. He has authored over twenty books, including Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (1994), Politics According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture (2010), The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution (2013), The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, and "Free Grace" Theology: 5 Ways It Diminishes the Gospel (2016). He was also the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Book of the Year, 2009).

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