HOORAY-HALLELUJAH! “DELIVERANCE” AND THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER
I am currently writing my memoir, Hooray and Hallelujah! 70 years of Ordained Ministry, 1949-2019, and now share a portion of it with you. Pray that I get the manuscript finished! If you would like to assist in its publication you may send your contribution to Charles Carrin Ministries, P.O. Box 800, Boynton Beach, Florida 33425 or through PayPal at www.charlescarrinministries.com.
One of the first Spirit-filled ministers I met in returning to South Florida in 1977 was Fr. Richard Bass, a priest at St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Boynton Beach. We met, bonded, and within one minute were on our knees praying together. It was an astonishing union between two strangers--but God knew how quickly our relationship would be needed.
Soon after that, Laurie and I were in bed asleep, it was one o’clock in the morning when the phone rang. I answered and the Priest shouted an address in my ear, yelled “Get over here!, and slammed down the receiver. In that split-second, I recognized demonic noises in the background and knew Richard was involved with a heavy-duty deliverance ministry.
When I arrived at the house I found the yard filled with police cars, fire trucks, a paramedic wagon, and neighbors huddled together. Rushing inside a woman grabbed my arm and hurried me to a bedroom, “It's my son,” she said, fearfully, “he’s gone crazy!” The Police want to take him! Please help!,” I stepped into the room where her teenage-son was pinned to the bed by three large men.
The 200-pound father lay across his chest facing me, a fireman sprawled across his legs the other way, holding onto the bedframe, and the priest was gripping his feet. The youth was roaring lion-like, trying to get up. Immediately, I knew we were dealing with a spirit of witchcraft and told the men that fact. I had access only to the boy’s face and when I anointed him with oil in the Name of Jesus, commanding the demon to go, he raised all four of us to a standing position. His roar was heard across the neighborhood.
I learned later that the police were at the door demanding the mother let them take him to the hospital. They were tired and wanted to leave. She stood, arms and legs stretched, barricading the entrance, insisting they give me time. When she refused, the office in charge said, “We are Christians too but we don’t believe in hocus-pocus.” An hour passed--I was still encouraging the men to expect the youth’s deliverance--when suddenly it happened. The boy fell limp, motionless, we backed away, and a moment later he slowly sat up. Looking around the room, he hesitated, then said, “Where am I?” Turning to his father, said, “Dad, what happened! What’s going on?” He was totally unaware of the crisis.
A few minutes later, when the boy stepped out of the room, perfectly normal and sane, the expression on the Police Captain’s face was one of utter shock. The other officers were equally astonished. I thanked them for coming but
explained the crisis was over and they could go. To the family I said, “Please do not give my name to anyone—tell no one who I am.” Fr. Bass and I hugged, I went home and crawled back in bed.
A few days later, the National Enquirer magazine published the story on its front page, quoting the Boynton Beach Police Officer who reported, “We witnessed a successful exorcism.” True to the Enquirer’s sensationalism, they described me as a “mystery man who arrived after midnight and disappeared into the room carrying a strange black bag.” Fortunately, they did not know my name, and unfortunately they did not know the “strange looking black bag” was my Bible. In a short time, other tabloids carried their version of the story and it went international.
While I thanked God for setting the youth free, I was deeply grieved for another reason: Such a Biblical event--rescuing a young man from the powers of darkness by Jesus Christ--would quickly be published by secular papers-while Christian publications wanted nothing to do with it. This was a Jesus-event! It was His Name that brought deliverance and safety to that teenager!
How up-side-down can the church get? If that young man had been taken to a hospital and drugged into submission, which most pastors would have allowed, he might never have been normal again. He could have been locked in a psychiatric ward for the rest of his life—but that did not happen because Jesus Christ set him free! Church! Where are you?!
True to what I told the father, the boy later confessed that he and another teenage-friend had secretly studied books on witchcraft and satanism. Years later a stranger came to my office, asked if I remembered that night. When I said I did, he held out his hand and said, “I am the firemen who helped hold him to the bed!” He went on to explain, “That made a believer out of me! At that time, I was a nominal Catholic. Now I am a ‘Bible-thumping’ Christian!” Thousands more like the fireman could be converted and changed if the church preached a full-gospel and let the people see the power of God in action.
Significantly, the church I then served in Florida, the Delray Beach Primitive Baptist Church, was under severe attack by the denomination for my doing such Deliverances. When I refused to submit to them, my Ordination was canceled and our church banned from the denomination. Which would you choose; Rescuing a teenager from the powers of darkness or submitting to a dying, scripture-rejecting organization? I have never regretted my choice.
Occasionally someone says to me, "Pastor, you are over-emphasizing the importance of `Deliverance Ministry.’" If I am "over-emphasizing," it is because I have been on both sides of this theological fence and know the consequences each side has to offer. In my early years, some of my church members died as alcoholics, suicidals, killers, because I failed to provide them with the full benefits of the gospel. It was not the will of God that one young woman (a member of my church) kill her husband, four children, herself, and bring severe agony to hundreds of others. Never! I can think of no grief so horrible as came to the children’s grandparents when a Police Officer came to their door and told them their son, his wife, and all their grandchildren were dead.
Please hear this carefully. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are vital! God gave them for our protection and the Church desperately needs all of them. Here in Florida, I counseled a man who murdered his wife--stabbing her with a butcher knife—in front of their teenage daughter. At the time of her mother’s death, the girl told the police officers, “My father did not kill my mother! He did not kill her!” “Who did?!, they asked. “A demon!” She screamed, “I saw his face. It was not my father! It was the face of a demon!” My heart broke for him–he had been a leader in his church--but a church that denied the miraculous gifts of the Spirit. “I loved my wife!,” he sobbed, “I loved my wife—why did I kill her?! Why?!” The explanation was this: He had a demon of murder. There was absolutely nothing I could do to reverse the tragedy; he was sentenced to decades behind bars and his young daughter was bereft of both parents. Had the man received deliverance ministry the woman might be alive today and he be a free person.
When I speak about demons and the hazard they bring into Christian lives, I am not preaching "theory." Rather, I am drawing from scripture and a background of personal experience and ministerial-failure. Occasionally, I hear some well-known pastor scorning the gifts of the Spirit and those who teach them. I weep for such men! More than weeping for them, I weep for their congregations and the needless deprivation they suffer. Operating in the power of the Holy Spirit is not a luxury the church can accept or reject. People's lives are at stake! Homes are needlessly destroyed. Children run away!
A woman in Atlanta telephoned me who had been a severe alcoholic for eighteen years. She lost everything. Her husband divorced her, her children avoided her, and her grandchildren were growing up without knowing her. She was the neighborhood-drunk. Combing her hair, wearing clean clothes, caring for her appearance, were concerns she ignored. Years earlier I had been her pastor–but as a cessationist had been unable to help her. My solution for such problems was secular therapy. I had nothing else to offer. But that had changed and that wonderful day in a ten-minute telephone “deliverance-ministry” the woman was totally set free. Why? I had received the power Jesus promised. He said, “These signs will follow those who believe: In My Name, they will cast out demons.” Mark 16:17. On the authority of that promise, the demon of addiction was cast out. Alcohol never bothered her again. Not only so, but she was also filled with the Holy Spirit.
For the first time in years, she was normal and excitedly told her church about the Holy Spirit freeing her. The alcoholism was gone. She was a new woman–and she anticipated how thrilled they would be to hear her good news. But her testimony frightened them. The pastor (a cessationist) had no theological explanation for her miraculous "deliverance" and did not want to be challenged by it. Such a spiritual-experience was not identified in their "Articles Of Faith" which held pre-eminence over Scripture. As cessationists, they did not want to talk about such things. Church friends soon began avoiding her.
The frightening truth is this: The church could accept her alcoholism because it did not challenge their theology. But they would not accept her deliverance because it disproved their cessation-theory. In effect, they were willing to let her drown in addiction rather than correct their denominational error. In time, she was forced to leave the church where she had been a member for twenty-five years. Thankfully, she found another congregation that could rejoice in her Holy Spirit-rescue. To her dying day, she lived a happy, fruitful–sober–life.
I soon discovered that her deliverance would become typical of my new ministry. More amazingly, the action of her church only motivated me to love the unbelievers more. I wanted them to experience everything the Holy Spirit had done for me–and their alcoholic member. My experiencing Kingdom-power fortified my love for the local congregation and enabled me to better serve them. This fact became supremely clear: I could properly minister to the church only if I fully identified myself with the Kingdom.
Everything the church possessed, believed, taught, or received, had come through the Kingdom. Jesus said, “If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God no doubt the Kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matthew 12:28. He never said that about the church. For the first time I saw the church in her universal reality and beauty–but–in subordination to the Kingdom. I realized the gospel was the “gospel of the Kingdom”. Matthew 24:14. The parables of Jesus were illustrations of the Kingdom. More importantly, He instructed us to “seek first the Kingdom.” The list of Kingdom-instructions goes on and on.
Spiritual gifts are fundamental to Christianity; they are Kingdom Realities. They are needed. Best of all, they are available to any believer who will accept them. Many times in my early ministry my members perished in alcoholism, violent anger, depression, and other demonic symptoms because I did not preach a full gospel. Their marriages, homes, children, were destroyed, as a result of my depriving them of full Bible truth. Would I ever surrender to the half-gospel of my former ministry? Never!
A young Assemblies of God pastor came to me one time at a Conference in Florida. And asked if I would minister deliverance to him. I agreed and we went to a private room. This gentleman was a well-groomed college graduate with a successful ministry and family life. Even so, he had a serious problem: "My ancestors have practiced Druid worship and psychic-powers for generations," he explained, "I am not participating in any way with witchcraft but I experience torment from its presence in my family. Its darkness constantly hovers over me." He paused. "I explained the problem to my Presbyters and asked them to minister deliverance to me but they refused. Our doctrine denies that Christians can have demons in their minds or bodies."
I reminded him that none of us have yet been through the Resurrection, our mortal has not yet "put on immortality," nor our corruptible "put on incorruption." (I Corinthians 15:53,54.) Demons can go anywhere sin and disease can go. Until we reach that state we will be vulnerable to demonic attack. If Christians are already immune to demons they are also immune to sin and sickness. Like it or not, we are still vulnerable to powers of darkness and must fight as Jesus taught. Spiritual warfare is a constant, on-going battle. (Ephesians 6:10-18.)