Re: [asa] RE: Demonic possession

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Tue Sep 09 2008 - 18:46:14 EDT

Hi Jon,

Was your remark in the below prompted by an impression given by myself that I believe demonic possession can be cured by psychotherapy?

If not and it was your own musing on the subject then I'm well pleased!

But if so, then a clarification is in order;

I have good reason for insisting that there ought to be close consultation with a trained and experienced mental health practitioner, namely the fact that my pastoral interest is in helping people live healthy and well-rounded lives in which the entire person finds integration of all aspects of the psyche.

And whilst it might sound very enlightened to insist that psychology has all the answers to the mystery of our internal lives or, alternately, it may sound very pious to wax lyrical about confronting demonic powers and etc, the reality is that a false diagnosis leading to inadequate treatment does nothing to assist the person afflicted.

The potential dangers in this context were brought home recently when an attempted exorcism in New Zealand (very close to home for us in Aus.) lead to the death of a woman (http://tinyurl.com/5dhubl). Even more disturbing are the reports on the following website which I found when trying to locate a reference to the NZ case (http://tinyurl.com/6nc7rm).

There's no need to labour the point here, except to say that it might be interesting to run through the case studies on the "whatstheharm.net" site and see how many of these tragic outcomes might have been prevented by the application of a few simple safe-guards.

Of course, I don't think you naive enough that any of the above escapes you - only I wanted to be very clear that I wasn't advocating that a serious spiritual disorder could be cured by psychotherapy. Rather, I'm attempting to hone the means by which we might determine when exorcism or psychotherapy is the appropriate means of treatment. And I'm quite sure we can't make that determination without a trained and experienced mental health practitioner involved.

Blessings,
Murray Hogg
Pastor, East Camberwell Baptist Church, Victoria, Australia
Post-Grad Student (MTh), Australian College of Theology

Jon Tandy wrote:
> I hesitate to suggest that cases of true demonic possession could be cured simply by psychotherapy, but I think a useful analogy could come from considering physical diseases. In Jesus' day, medical practitioners were lacking most of the knowledge of modern medicine, and Biblical miracles are often recorded in healing diseases that are well-known today. In today's medicine, many of those diseases can be cured or greatly helped by medical practice without reference to spiritual healing.

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Received on Tue Sep 9 18:46:55 2008

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