Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 04:1 (Winter 1995)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Demon Possession and the Christian: A New Perspective, C. Fred Dickason. Wheaton: Crossway Books (1987). 355 pages, paperback, $12.95.

I was disturbed as I read Dickason’s book because I realized this book could damage a new or weak believer. My mind goes back to a fellow who by promoting this kind of teaching in our area severely disrupted a few churches, then landed in a mental hospital! It is unfortunate that Moody Press originally published this book, thereby promoting its teaching. Certainly Satan is that life-long foe who accuses, tempts and harasses believers externally, but this book goes beyond any such teaching.

It is Dickason’s premise that believers can be “demonized,” that is, invaded and inhabited by demons (pp. 37–38). And worst of all, his idea is that demons invade us because of our ancestors’ sins, which he thinks accounts for 95 per cent of the cases he claims to have handled. In fact, he says ancestral sins are the “chief cause” of demonizing activity (p. 221).

Of course, all he says is extra-biblical. He admits as much: “Thus we cannot conclusively say that the Bible clearly presents evidence that believers can be demonized. Thus we are left to look for other types of evidence that may contribute to answering our question: can genuine believers be demonized?” (p. 127). The other evidence is what Dickason calls “clinical considerations.” These considerations include demons speaking to him through the believers he has counseled as well as the testimonies and experiences that take place during the exorcisms. Case studies are given throughout, along with those from Unger, Ensign, Howell and others. His premise is established on the basis of experience and, by his

own admission, not from Scripture. That really is the bottom line.

There are a number of real problems with Dickason’s premise and arguments. It would take a book-length treatment to handle all the questions and theological nuances, so I will address just a few.

First and foremost, I have a problem with any offer of “spiritual truth” that is extra-biblical. “We have come to the conclusion that neither the Bible itself nor any logical or theological extrapolation of biblical truth can finally solve the question” (p. 325). So how do we know? Because Dickason claims to have talked to demons and can verify it out of his experiences. The demons told him about ancestral demonic bondage, which they were keeping hidden from Christians to defeat them. How can we be sure demons tell the truth? Isn’t Satan the father of lies? Wouldn’t demons spawn diversions and confusion? Can we use the testimony of a demon or, wh...

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