An error easily crops up among well-intentioned people who launch out into prayer ministry. This error often takes the form of a belief that everything is a demon, or that everything has “spiritual causes”: these are two versions of the same error in spiritual thinking. Believing this error leads to an unwholesome extreme. It is not sound doctrine, and it can lead to disastrous abuse – I have seen it many times among people with otherwise good hearts.
The Truth that can be brought to correct this error is in a Truth that the Body of Christ has believed since the First Century. It is illustrated in something God told me when I was laying on a hospital bed with kidney stones.
I was laying there asking God, “Why? What’s going on? Is this the enemy? Is there something wrong with me?”
Immediately I heard the voice of the Lord. He clearly replied: “In this realm, stuff happens.”
After a moment, He went on: “There are three main reasons why bad things happen in this world. First, sometimes bad things happen just because you’re subject to an imperfect world. Second, bad things happen because of sin: your own sin, or the sin of other people. Lastly, sometimes bad things happen because the enemy is coming against you.” He then said, “Now — do you want to get this thing out of you?”
He then led me through some odd exercise poses, in which He told me to lie this way, hold the pose, squat another way, hold the pose, stretch one arm and leg another way, hold the pose, stand and stretch, hold the pose, and then I went to sleep. In the morning I passed the stone and was out of the hospital.
Jesus tells us the same thing in John 9. “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ’but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him’” John 9:1-3. Jesus was telling his disciples that sometimes these things are not due to a spiritual cause. This particular bad circumstance had no spiritual cause, but God can make everything work together for good! He can heal this man and show His Glory – He can show His Glory by healing blindness, and He can show His Glory through a kidney stone!
So the belief that everything is the result of sin, the demonic, or that everything has a “spiritual cause” is clearly in error. It is, among many Christians however, a common error.
Often, when you try to speak the truth into a situation with people who are under the power of this error, the people in error will try to discredit or ignore the person being ministered to if he or she doesn’t agree. This kind of response should always be a red flag of manipulation and control in the name of “prayer ministry”. If those attempting to minister won’t respect the boundaries of those who have come for prayer, they are not yet fully qualified to minister. The overarching dynamic that should be noted here is that the Word of God brings Life, and error brings division. This is the spiritual fruit of error. When division springs up, especially in a ministry situation, the situation should be quickly shut down – for everybody’s sake.
A Trip Down the Error Hole
The first common step of the brand of error that we’re talking about is coming with the premise that everything is a demon (or everything has “spiritual causes”: both mean the same thing.)
The next step of the error is, because someone carries this faulty premise they see every ministry or prayer opportunity as a deliverance session. They have their mind made up as to the cause, and they aren’t necessarily seeking God’s guidance as to what is the cause and how to proceed.
The next step in this error is often to transgress the boundaries of the person they’re ministering to, because the theology is more important than the person. Don’t judge their motives: this is simply what the actions and the words communicate.
The next step in this error is to keep badgering the person who asked for prayer, trying to convince them that the theology is correct. This is a trespass of the person who asked for prayer again and again, by not simply respecting the one who asked for prayer and letting it go.
If you find that you are the one who has been pushing your own agenda in the name of spiritual ministry, immediately apologize to every other person involved. Then go to your own private prayer closet and ask God to reveal the error that caused you to go there. Then simply repent of the error, and turn toward the truth. The single most powerful antidote to this kind of error is Love. We’ve got to minister in Love. Without Love — all of our efforts; all of our insight; all of our spiritual power – it all means nothing. Love is the key.
This is a cycle of error that SO OFTEN gives rise to a cycle of abuse, as outlined here — I’ve seen it many times.
Does this mean I believe that nothing is due to an attack of the enemy? No, not at all — spiritual warfare has a definite place, as does deliverance prayer. But all ministry must be done with care, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and it must be done IN LOVE. Without love, we are nothing.
So– when error like this does crop up, remember that Love is the answer. Love and repentance to the person abused, repentance to God, and turning away from the error toward the direction of the truth is the only way to break this kind of grievous cycle. We must not push our agendas. Love is the answer! We do want to minister freedom and healing and wholeness to a broken world. But we cannot do it in our own spiritual strength, or by the strength of our own dogmas. We can only do it by His power – the power of Love. May we truly learn to Love as we press forward in ministry today.