Friday, December 02, 2005

Demonic Doorways?

I have recieved more than a few queries about so-called 'demonic doorways' from several Christians who have visited the main exWitch Australia Site (see LINKS). A typical query on this verse is as follows:

I've heard lots of talk about 'doorways' for demonic possession but am unaware of a single verse that says there is such a thing... As our faith is meant to based on Scripture rather than on 'experience' like New-Agers or on 'hearsay' evidence can you tell me if there is any Scriptural basis for this doctrine of 'demonic doorways'?


The topic of demonic possession, oppression or "demonization" has been influencing church ministries and counseling for some time. The issue of "doorways" is a relatively recent example of this. The concept of "demonic doorways" is based on the belief that there are certain passage ways that individuals either willingly or unwillingly offer to demon. A number of 'Deliverance Ministries' seem to base this upon a trichotomous view of a human - body, soul and spirit. The "spirit compartment" is the one where the demon are said to reside. The source also sited numerous activities ranging from sexual sins to occult involvement as passage ways for the demon. No 'Deliverance Ministry' or other source I have seen to date has offered any clear Scriptural support for this, but rather they seem to build briefly upon various presumptions then spend the majority of their teaching on 'closing' the presumed doorways.

The Bible does speak of individuals that had demon cast out from them. However, in none of the cases do I recall God offering explanation as to what passage way the demon used to take residence, or where in the person that the demon actually were. Aside from the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and portions of the Book of Acts, you do not read of the process of casting out demon. However, one does find several passages that expound upon the warfare that we have with the devil. I offer several elements of this below so that you can pick and choose that which will help you. Obviously this is not an exhaustive coverage of the subject, but it does represent some of the clearest passages in regard to spiritual warfare. I recommend that you do most of your own study in Ephesians 4-6 as it offers the most comprehensive coverage of how sin patterns are successfully championed and discusses the reality of spiritual warfare

As for the devil - we are told to stand against him (Ephesians 6:11), resist him (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9), be cautious of him (1 Peter 5:8), avoid giving him room (Ephesians 4:26,27), and protect against his temptation (1 Corinthians 7:5). In none of these exhortations is there description of demon entering the person. (The closest to this concept is in Ephesians 4:26-27 where the word "place" is used. This word could be understood as "a room", but more than likely is referring to territory or range of influence rather than residence.) The warfare does involve elements of control, but it is not assumed that there is a residence issue. The descriptions in Ephesians 6 assume a battle from without rather than from within. The protection is from the darts rather than from the residence. In James it seems that the concern is of being devoured by the devil. Again, this appears to be referring to the impact that would keep a believer from being useful for God rather than a residence.

Paul does speak of individuals given over to the devil. 2 Timothy 2:25,26 speaks of those who were taken captive in the snare of the devil. In this case escape is based upon coming to their senses in regard to repentance and their relationship with God.

1 Corinthians 5:5 refers to turning sinning, unrepentant "professors" over to the devil for the destruction of the flesh. The context was sexual sin. The "doorway" doctrine would imply that the devil was the cause of the sin, yet Paul actually advocates using the devil to help the sinner repent and experience salvation. No attempt is mentioned of casting out a demon. Paul actually turned individuals over to the devil for their own learning - 1 Timothy 1:20. And he describes some as having turned toward the devil on their own - 1 Timothy 5:15. In none of these cases do we need to assume occupation by the demon, or that there was a particular doorway for them.

Paul speaks of demonic influence upon his own self - He was hindered by the devil to go where he wanted to go - 1 Thessalonians 2:18; he was impacted by a messenger of the devil (2 Corinthians 12:7). He also noted that he was concerned about the devil's impact on his life. (2 Corinthians 2:11). Yet in each of these passages one does not see a specific passage way as depicted in the "doorway" doctrine. If anything, one gets the impression that the devil has impacts in ways without possessing individuals.

Satan influenced Ananias and Sapphira by putting into their heart the idea to sin against the Holy Spirit (Acts 5). Therefore, we know that the devil does have access to our mind. The text does not say that there was a residence of demon, but rather an influence in thinking.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 explains that there is a warfare that is not flesh and blood and that it does involve our minds. It states that we can cast down those things that exalt themselves against God and bring into captivity every thought for the obedience of Christ. It is not the demon being cast out, but rather the demonic thinking that is being cast down.

In summary, there is a spiritual battle that involves demon. Believers are warned to be careful of the influence of the spirit world. We are told that there are areas that we can be careless - anger (Ephesians 4:26,27), sexual abstinence from spouse (1 Corinthians 7:5), and pride (James 4 and 1 Peter 5) that could give the devil the advantage. However, there is no mention of these areas being actual passage ways for possession, but rather appear to be openings for temptation.

In that the Epistles offer instruction to believers, there may still be the issue of demonic involvement with unbelievers. However, should an unbeliever be demonized, we are given no other exhortation in evangelism than to use the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16). We are not taught to look for "doorways" other than the "door" that is open to preach the gospel. (Colossians 4:3). I hope that this short study is of assistance.

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