I love a good story.
I love watching a good movie. I love reading all kinds of books. I normally read a couple of novels every week (I am a fast reader), simply because I love good, well-written fiction. One of my most valuable possessions is my library card. I find reading relaxing. However, in spite of the fact that I enjoy the wonderful world of make believe, I do know the difference between reality and fantasy. Lots of Christians don’t. Joyce Meyer said that “Some people have a difficult time facing truth and reality. They prefer to live in a make-believe world, pretending that certain things aren’t happening.”
What I do know, as a counseling professor, therapist, and deliverance minister, is that we are watching a whole generation getting eaten alive by drugs, alcohol, pornography, sexual addiction, etc. We are watching our families, our children, and our grandchildren being destroyed by what has become culturally acceptable. We wring our hands and then close our eyes because we don’t know what to do.
Check out this brief interesting video.
Many years ago when I was an undergraduate English major at the University of Delaware I was required to take several classes on Shakespeare. As we worked our way through all of his plays one thing that we learned about drama was that in order for a play to work the audience had to practice what the professor call a “Voluntary suspension of disbelief.” In short, this means that we have to decide to believe that which we know, in fact, is not true.
We do this all the time. When we sit down to watch television we know that the television set does not contain a whole group of people that are really really little who are living out their lives before our eyes. We know that when someone is “killed” in a drama, no one really dies. It’s all part of the fun. We know that none of it is real.
In the medieval days of the early map makers it was common practice to draw dragons along the far edges of the maps, beyond where any European had explored. From this practice came the phrase, “Here be dragons” – signifying that unknown creatures, lands, and peoples lay beyond the edges of the map.
Yet we Christians often prefer to believe that nothing bad lies beyond the comfortable boxes of our lives, our church, and our theology. Many times, rather than embracing painful reality, we choose to bring the wonderful world of make-believe into real life. We choose to live in Mr. Roger’s neighborhood, even though we know deep inside how well that works in real life. Fantasy can be much more comfortable than reality.
I have many friends who are pastors. Many of them know what I do. Many of them have attended deliverances and seen God’s power at work and his faithfulness displayed. They know that it is biblical. They have all the information they need to make an accurate assessment of this work’s legitimacy. Yet, they do nothing. They don’t have a place for this in their theological construct. It doesn’t fit into their current theological framework; there is no “box” for it. To adopt this “inconvenient truth” would call their other theological boxes into question. This new reality would be disruptive to them personally. It could rock the boat in their church. It could get them into difficulty with their denomination or church leadership. So they do nothing.
I’ve never been able to understand this. One of my heroes, Merrill Unger once said (excuse the paraphrase) that if given a choice of two positions, one of which was biblical, but didn’t relate in any way to the real world, and another position that was equally biblical, but corresponded perfectly with the real world, the later position was always to be preferred. In short, if you find a box that you know contains truth and it doesn’t have a place among your other boxes, throw out the other boxes and start fresh! But new boxes sometimes have ramifications.
One time I was asked by a group of people in a local church (I knew the pastor well) to teach a class in spiritual warfare/deliverance. I told them that I really didn’t know much about spiritual warfare, but, give me twelve weeks and I could have a deliverance team up and running in their church. When they heard that, it was decided that I needed to speak to the church board. When I met with them I warned them that if they decided to go down this path they would get a reputation for this kind of work in their community and that they would find that all kinds of really needy people would start coming to them for help. They would begin to be known as the church where God’s kids could come to be set free. I was enthusiastic and excited about the possibility. They decided to take a pass. They didn’t like the ramifications of this new ministry. This happens on the personal level as well.
A few days ago I received an email from a woman who had some questions about deliverance. They were not her questions, but those of a family member who, she believed, badly needed help. I answered her friend’s questions as well as I could but concluded by saying that she was probably wasting her time trying to convince her loved one that she needed deliverance. She was determined not to have demonic involvement as the reason for her torment. She didn’t have a nail in her head, no matter what others thought. I have found that the only thing worse than watching someone you love be destroyed is watching someone that you love be destroyed and not being allowed to help.
As one who has given the last thirty-five years of my life to practicing and promoting the “inconvenient truth” that Christians can be demonized and that our Savior is ready and able to set his tormented children free, I never cease to be astonished that there has been so little response to, or interest in, this inconvenient truth. While I have had the privilege of ministering to thousands of people over my career, I am still amazed that so few people are interested in seeing others set free. Counselors, generally, Christian or otherwise, have no interest and don’t refer. My faculty colleagues often just consider it to be “Dave’s thing.” Pastors rarely mention the whole subject area to their congregations; much less actively promote it as a ministry in their churches. Only those who are tormented have an interest in anything that will help them relieve their pain. Yet they have never been told that freedom is available. Jesus’ heart breaks for them. Mine does too. So sad.
“I mean, the more a man was in the Devil’s power, the less he would be aware of it, on the principle that a man is still fairly sober as long as he knows he’s drunk.” C. S. Lewis