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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

If it Quacks Like a Duck: The Discovery of the Demonic by Secular Psychiatrists

Image result for duck
Fog of Battle:
Right at the start let me say that, for the Christian, talking about the demonic realm is both necessary, if one is true to the Gospel,[1] but difficult, due to multifaceted complications. As Christians, we are in a state of constant spiritual warfare against the demonic realm.  But as in most wars, there is a "fog of battle" in which our intelligence of the enemy is limited. Some Christian writers claim more than we can know about the demonic, as in the exact order of hierarchy and functions of the "thrones, principalities, powers, etc." Especially difficult is the discernment and demarcation in individuals between psychological issues, chemical imbalances, etc., and demonic activity in and through a person. Actually, all three of these factors might operate in a person at the same time.
A major problem in the struggle against the demonic is that most pastors and ministers are poorly educated in the ministry of deliverance and exorcism. More precisely, many ministers have been mis-educated in this field via the theology of cessationism which limits the miraculous, including the healing ministry and exorcisms, to Biblical times. This is sadly true not only of liberal denominations which write off the demonic as mythical tales or psychological disturbances, but of many conservative, Bible-believing groups such as the Southern Baptists. Exorcism and its allied gift, the “discerning of spirits” (1 Cor 12:10) as teachable and usable subjects are simply avoided in practically all seminaries.  Exceptions are the Pentecostal/charismatic seminaries and some Catholic and Anglican seminaries.

Learning about the Demonic:
I first encountered the demonic from my sojourn into the occult and New Age groups in the 1970s. That experience taught me that the spiritual word was real – an important lesson for someone coming out of several years as an atheist. Providentially, I recalled some of my earlier religious instructions as a Catholic, which taught that spiritual phenomenon was real but could be from God and his agents, or Satan and his agents. That base line of discernment made me a pest to my New Age colleagues as I kept on asking,” How do you know this experience is from God?” 



Their inability to give an adequate answer drove me to examine some of the works of traditional Catholic discernment that I had heard about in my years in Catholic schools.[2]  From reading some of these works I realized that the New Age was a reincarnation (pun intended) of the old Gnosticism and was laced with serious demonic infestation. I noted this especially in the sexual license that New Agers took. This was the 1970s, when traditional Christian values had not yet collapsed in the general society. I also discerned a lack of real agape, i.e., sacrificial love that I had experienced from the nuns and Christian brothers who had taught me as part of my Catholic education.[3]                  May be purchased HERE 

As I exited the New Age environment I determined to do a book on the demonic and the ministry of exorcism. I had reentered the Catholic Church via a Catholic charismatic prayer group, and from them discovered the literature of Pentecostal and charismatic writers such as Derek Prince Bob Mumford, Agnes Sanford and others. I determined to do a book comparing Pentecostal, Catholic and Evangelical traditions of exorcism and deliverance. In fact, “strait away” as the Gospel of Mark says, I ministered several deliverance/exorcisms. That was how the Lord demonstrated to me that what I was reading was real – not mythology nor psychological neurosis. But I wisely postponed writing the book, waiting for further spiritual maturity and experience. This was 40 years ago, and it is still to be written. I am not sure I am called to do it, as there are now many excellent works on exorcism, but the research I did was immensely useful to me in many ways, as in the years I spent at pastor to a Hispanic congregation in Smyrna, Georgia, where occult curnaderos were on the periphery of the community.
Product DetailsAt the time of my initial research I came across Wilson Van Dusen’s book, the Natural Depth of Man. Van Dusan was a psychiatrist in the California mental health system who treated many schizophrenics. He came to understand that many of these patients were assaulted by voices and entities that closely resemble the biblically described “demons.” Further, effective treatment required that the patient resist the voices’ suggestions to do immoral acts such as lying, stealing, or self-mutilation.  Even more revealing, Bible reading by the patient was especially helpful in subduing the voices.[4] Wow! Did you hear a quacking? 
Can be purchased HERE

Unfortunately, Van Dusen was into Swedenborgism, a spiritualist cult, and he used its doctrines as the interpretive theology of his findings. I imagine he consulted with Protestant theologians or local pastors who could tell him nothing about the demonic spirits or about the ministry of exorcism, so he stuck with Swedenborgism. But his core insights into the negative and demonic nature of the “voices” are valid and especially useful to Christian ministers and mental health professionals.
Just after reading the Van Dusen book I saw the very fine movie, “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” (1977). It was based on the autobiographical novel by Joanne Greenburg of the same name. The movie showed a young woman driven and harassed by "fantasy beings" - just as described in the Van Dusen work. “Blau,” the young woman, was tormented by a tribe from the “Kingdom of Yi” that dwelt in her mind. Originally they were inviting and friendly, but then rapidly turned negative. They tried to get Blau to injure herself and commit suicide as part of an initiation ceremony into the tribe. The psychiatrist at the treatment center was able to help Blau somewhat, but at the end of the movie the voices ominously whisper to her, “We will never leave you!” Well yes, there was no one who knew how to do an exorcism on her.

A test case:
A few months after this, a woman I knew was institutionalized for several days for severe depression, and then released with a medication regimen. She had been hearing nagging, negative voices that told her she was worthless, etc., and should commit suicide. After her release a prayer partner and I did a deliverance on her. In ten minutes, we challenged the assaulting voices/demons and cast them out. She never had further problems of this nature.
That was over three decades ago. Since then the secular psychiatric literature on schizophrenic voices/entities has increased greatly. An excellent review article on the literature and current practice of treating the  voices/entities was done by T.M Luhrmann, “Living With Voices.”[5] Luhrmann reports that many psychiatrists still treat schizophrenia exclusively as a chemical disorder of the brain, and try to medicate it to submission – but result in never really curing it. Many others have learned to treat the voices as if they were real entities. (Quack quack…) They encourage the patients to ‘negotiate’ with the voices and come to some sort of understanding and livable arrangement so that the harassment ceases.
The central case study that Luhrmann cited to demonstrate the negotiation technique was of “Hans,” a German patient from a nominal Christian household. Luhrmann reports:

Hans used to be overwhelmed by the voices. He heard them for hours, yelling at him, cursing him, telling him he should be dragged off into the forest and tortured and left to die. The most difficult things to grasp about the voices people with psychotic illness hear are how loud and insistent they are, and how hard it is to function in a world where no one else can hear them. It’s not like wearing an iPod. It’s like being surrounded by a gang of bullies. You feel horrible, crazy, because the voices are real to no one else, yet also strangely special and they wrap you like a cocoon.[6]

The psychiatrist first treated him with medication, which made him sleep much and gain weight, but he was no better in his waking period as the voices continued to harass him. But then Hans joined a new patient support group in the psychiatric center which was using negotiation technique with their voices. Han’s voices declared they would cease harassing him if he became a student of Buddhism for four hours a day. He negotiated it down to only one hour, and achieved relative peace. He was able to discontinue all medication and function again in normal society.
Success! But wait. Do you hear a quack? What is missing is spiritual discernment. The voices could have been totally dismissed from the Hans’ environment with deliverance prayer, or his own persistent Bible reading and prayers as Van Dusen had discovered decades earlier. In Hans’ case the demons were apparently satisfied that they were making Hans into a Buddhist, and he would thus be shut off from the Bible and the saving grace of salvation, and true healing in Jesus Christ.

A bold article: The quacks come from demons:
In 2014 an article appeared in the academic Journal of Religion and Health which affirmed that the, “Auditory hallucinations … may be a result of the presence of more than one demon in the body.” [7]  The author, Imak M Kemal, a Turkish psychiatrist, related that several schizophrenic patients he treated were healed by a local faith healer, and that this type of healing should be further investigated.
One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. Demons are unseen creatures that are believed to exist in all major religions and have the power to possess humans and control their body. Demonic possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors which could be interpreted as a number of different psychotic disorders with delusions and hallucinations. The hallucination in schizophrenia may therefore be an illusion—a false interpretation of a real sensory image formed by demons. A local faith healer in our region helps the patients with schizophrenia. His method of treatment seems to be successful because his patients become symptom free after 3 months. Therefore, it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia.[8]
The article caused an uproar in the psychiatric establishment. Several articles  vehemently contested Dr. Kemal’s findings via indignation and name calling. The author of one such the article, Luke Malone, whose training is in journalism, made multiple dismissive remarks around the argument that science and modern psychology has disproven the reality of demons. Further, he suggested that the Journal of Religion and Health should be censured for even running such an article.[9]  
But in reality, Malone was only repeating a profound confusion that is common among many people. That is, that the philosophical assumption of a “physical material only” universe is “science.”  Thus the demonic cannot exist, nor should an experiment be designed to see if that is true.  Actually, since the seminal work of Karl R. Popper, it is clear that science is philosophically neutral, and true science pertains to the methodology of knowledge gathering, testing and verification.[10] Modern science, coming out of the 18th and 19th Centuries did indeed have many scientists who believed that there was no spiritual component to the universe, but also some like Newton and Einstein who believed in God and a spiritual component to the universe.[11]

Testing for demons?
Image result for cloud chamberI suppose it is true that demons can’t be directly tested for. That is, they cannot be put in a cage or made to run a maze like mice.[12] Rather, their presence and activity can only be indirectly observed, as in the immediate behavior changes that happen to a person who has been liberated of oppressing demons. But science has often progressed without direct observation of the studied item. For example, particle science, the description of sub-atomic particles, developed without ever directly seeing the particles that were discovered. It was done in a cloud chamber of super-saturated vapor, as targets of specific elements were bombarded by particles. The cloud chamber showed patterns of vapor trails that could be measured, and conclusions about the inferred particles drawn. Note, the particles were never seen, only the results of their passage through a specialized environment. By analogy, I do not believe demons will ever be directly detected by scientific instrumentation, but the evidence of their presence could be inferred by changes in patients’ behavior. A cruder analogy, one can tell a fox has been in the hen house by the paw prints and dead and missing chickens - no one saw the fox.
But there is another issue in regard to demons and schizophrenia. Most psychologists and psychiatrists believe that schizophrenia is caused by chemical and physical disturbances of the brain.  Indeed, brain scans have found significant differences between the brains of normal persons and schizophrenics.[13] But here again there is a hidden materialist assumption, as well as the logical fallacy of assumed causality. When two things occur, one does not necessarily cause the other. A famous case of this was the law suit brought against Corning for supplying material to make breast implants. Some woman with these implants developed breast cancer, and claimed that the implants caused the cancer. Statistical evidence showed that woman with implants did not develop cancer at a higher rate than those without implants. Although some did, as in any group of women (i.e. women who eat carrots). But the lawyers were so cleaver and manipulative, and the cancerous women so piteous that the jury voted against Corning and made them pay a huge amount for damages.
Similarly, in the case of brain irregularities and schizophrenia, the presence of abnormal chemistry and structure of the schizophrenic’s brain does not mean those factors are the cause. In my hypothesis they are the signs of demonic presence.  That is, that demonic entrance into the person stopped normal brain development and caused various chemical imbalances.  The vector is: demon to brain, to abnormal brain. This of course could only be proven by large scale tests, including before and after scans of voice hearing schizophrenic patients who undergo deliverance prayer and the laying on of hands to restore normality to the brain. Such an experiment would be like examining the vapor trails of the cloud chamber. It would not show demons directly, but the “trails” of their destructiveness.
Lastly, I suppose most in the psychology and psychiatric professions will be offended by this blog posting. It suggests that their training, by avoiding considering the reality of the spiritual world, is inadequate. Indeed that is so. The good news is that incorporating prayer, including exorcism prayer, is not rocket science, and can be learned quickly as a supplement to their disciplined knowledge of the mind. The major obstacle is that of pride. A major profession cannot easily reverse itself regardless of the evidence or possible benefit to its clients. Thomas Kuhn, in his famous book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, demonstrated this quite well. Radical new discoveries have to seep in slowly with a few practitioners as the old guard dies out.[14]  
But perhaps this will not take so long. Now we have parallel institutions that have an inherent interest in seeing if the demon/schizophrenic hypothesis is true: the medical insurance companies. The cost of an exorcism and the laying on of hands for healing by a ministry team is infinitesimally small in comparison to the institutionalization of schizophrenic patients.  Are there insurance executives out there who would be interested in furthering a protocol on this, and seeing if the quacking is indeed caused by demons.




[1] James Kallas, The Satanward View: A Study in Pauline theology (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1966). I have found this work, now sadly out of print, to be the best discussion of the importance of Jesus’s ministry against the Kingdom of Darkness. To avoid the issue of the demonic it to short-change the Gospel, as indeed happened in liberal theology.
[2] Among the best of the discernment works that I read at the time was Augustine Poulain’s, Graces of Interior Prayer (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1910) Modern editions available in print and on the web. Full text online:  
The critically important part IV of Poulain’s Graces of Interior Prayer which studies the issue of discernment has been published separately as: Revelations and Visions. Trans. By Leonora L. Yorke Smith. New York Alba House, 1998.
[3] I talk about my excellent Catholic education in my work, Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2003 chapter 1). I owe a great debt of gratitude to the nuns and Christian brother and (some) Jesuits who molded my Christian faith. Of course, none of my teachers knew anything of the gifts of the Sprit, for I graduated from Fordham University before the Catholic charismatic renewal which began in 1967.
[4] Van Dusen, The Natural Depth of Man (New York: Harper & Row, 1972). A classic and still in print. Watch out for the spiritualist theology. See his spiritual autobiography in which he reveals that his paternal grandmother was a medium, Wilson Van Dusen, and David Rounds (Editor).  “The Universal Church and the Sacred Source,” Religion East & West, 5 Oct., 2005, 11-17.
[5] The American Scholar.  Posted June 1, 2012.
See also the very fine summary article on schizophrenic patients who hear voices by the New York psychiatrist, Paul Steinberg, Our Failed Approach to Schizophrenia,” New York Times, Dec. 25,2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/26/opinion/our-failed-approach-to-schizophrenia.html  Dr. Steinberg’s lament is that schizophrenic patients are released from hospitalization way too quickly, and the heavy medication masks that they are not healed. The costs of treating such patient is a major issue. (Note: exorcism of the harassing spirits cost very little. I would be happy to do it for a voluntary donation).
[6] Ibid.
[7] Imak M. Kemal, “Schizophrenia or Possession?” Journal of Religion and Health, 53 #3 (2014) 773-774.
[8] From the abstract of the Dr. Kemal’s article, available at: https://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10943-012-9673-y
[9] Luke Malone, “Journal Under Fire for Linking Schizophrenia to Demonic Possession,”
Vocative. Posted Jun 18, 2014
http://www.vocativ.com/culture/religion/schizophrenia-caused-demons-according-prominent-junk-scientist/   See also Russ Pomeroy, “Published Paper Blames Schizophrenia on Demons,” Real Clear Science. Posted June 17, 2014.
http://www.realclearscience.com/blog/2014/06/published_scientific_paper_blames_schizophrenia_on_demons.html
[10] Karl R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (London, Hutchinson, 1959) Often cited as “LSD.” This work is understandable only to those who are trained in mathematics or philosophy, as it contains many mathematical equations. For an explanation of Popper’s discovery in understandable English see his, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (New York: Harper & Row, 1960). I discuss Popper’s insights and their relevance to progress in theological knowledge in my work, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2015).
[11] Neuton of course was heavy into theology and astrology, a fact embarrassing to secular scientists who claim him as the father fo modern science. See: Karl W. Giberson, “The Last Magician: Isaac Newton with Contradictions intact,” Books & Culture (Sept./Oct. 2016. Posted Aug. 18, 2016.  http://www.booksandculture.com/articles/2016/sepoct/last-magician.html
[12] My suspicion is that we will never directly see demons with any scientific device, although some persons with discernment of spirits do seem to have that ability, but it is totally subjective.
[13] Psychiatric Advisor, “Brain Abnormalities in Patients With Schizophrenia Found.” Posted July 8, 2015.  http://www.psychiatryadvisor.com/schizophrenia-and-psychoses/structural-brain-abnormalities-schizophrenia-respond-treatment/article/425215/
[14] Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1992).

Announcements:

The noted Pentecostal scholar Dr. Jon Ruthven wrote a very positive review of my book, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal. You can access it HERE.

The book may be purchased on Amazon, either print or inexpensive Kindle HERE





Just released is my first book of  plays. Pentecostal (and Anglican) Plays (and Postscripts). It includes two plays and their postscripts.

The play, “One Day at St. John’s” depicts what everyday life can be like in a church that practices the gifts of the Spirit and the healing/exorcism ministry as normal. Among the events that occur in the course of the play are the healing of a waitress who was scalded with hot coffee, an exorcism (led by a layman) and the “laying of a ghost” to rest.

Pentecostal (and Anglican) Plays (and Postscripts) can be purchased HERE at Amazon.

The second play, “Joseph ben Jacob,” explores Joseph, husband of Mary, as the dream interpreter, master carpenter, and father of Mary’s other children. It helps explain why Joseph was able to discern correctly his dream about Mary’s first-born.

The postscripts examine the controversial aspects of the plays and focus on two false early gospels which distorted the meaning of the true Gospels. The “Proto-Gospel of James” claimed that Mary was “every virgin” and never had other children, and the “Gospel of Nicodemus” cancelled the true meaning of Jesus’ “descent into Hell” and his ministry there as described in 1 Peter 3 & 4



Watching God Work: The Stuff of Miracles by [DeArteaga, Carolyn Koontz]

My wife has written a funny and inspiring story of how she transited from a cessionist and Baptist to a Spirit-filled Believer. The book has many stories of our three decades of ministry together.  It may be purchased HERE.







Thursday, May 25, 2017

Is Childhood Psychopathology Rooted in Demonic Infestation?





This posting is in response to an important and widely noted article in the Atlantic Monthly by Barbara Bradley Hagertey, “When Your Child is a Psychopath.” [1] It is a depressing read.  It describes not only serious psychopathic and criminal behaviors (as in attempted murder) in very young children, but the tireless and fatiguing efforts of good parents to stop such behaviors and raise these children as morally normal – all to no avail.

I will proceed by first summarizing the article, then adding my own discernment and specifically Christian commentary to include suggestions of actions and prayers that Christians can take to help heal and prevent the development of psychopathic children.

Summary:

“When Your Child is a Psychopath” begins with the story of Samantha, an eleven-year-old who is now consigned to a treatment center where she is receiving intense treatment. As a six-year-old she practiced murder by decapitating her stuffed animals, and loved drawing the implements o murder such as guns, knives and poison bottles. She almost strangled to death her 2-year-old brother. And stopped in middle of the act by her mother, she declared, “I want to kill you all.”  Samantha’s parents, both well-educated and loving, began rounds of psychiatric analysis, tests and treatment strategies for Samantha. A curious thing, common to psychopathic children, was that Samantha’s negative actions were not impulsive, but deliberate and vengeful. Once, after being mildly scolded by her mother, she went upstairs and flushed down the toilet her mother’s expensive contact lenses.

The root cause of childhood psychopathology remains undetermined. It is presently surmised that is that some cases are attributable to genetic inheritance, and some to early sever abuse and neglect.[2] Psychologists don’t like to call children “psychopaths,” which sound hopeless. They have invented the term “callous and unemotional traits” to describe these children. In 2013 this vocabulary was added as a diagnosis to the standard psychiatric manual, DSM-5. (I don’t like the term, “callous and unemotional,” as it smacks of political correctness, and hereafter will use the more direct “psychopathic children.”)

The evidence indicates that as many as 1% of children in the United States have this condition, a huge number, and equivalent to those who have severe autism. Those with these traits are at least thee times more likely to commit serious crimes end up in jail than their peers. A large percentage of the murders committed in this country are perpetrated by persons who began as psychopathic children and proceeded to adults as full psychopaths. There are now many studies from different counties on psychopathic children.  A trained psychologist can spot its early manifestations. For instance, by age three these children do not respond at all to the sounds of other children crying – it’s of no concern to them. Normal children that age already show sympathy. By eight or nine these children delight in destructive and callous behavior when alone, whereas normal children are mean or destructive mostly in the setting of peers, as in a group of kids setting off fire-crackers to harass an elderly neighbor.
There is also an intense rage and hatred seated within these children. One recovering psychopath, now in his twenties, recalled:

“I remember when I bit my mom really hard, and she was bleeding and crying. I remember feeling so happy, so overjoyed—completely fulfilled and satisfied,” … “It wasn’t like someone kicked me in the face and I was trying to get him back. It was more like a weird, hard-to-explain feeling of hatred.”[3]
Ms. Hagertey describes how modern scan technology has discovered significant differences in the brains of psychopaths and normal persons. Specifically, the limbic system, and especially the amygdala area, is underdeveloped. This is the part of the brain that processes emotions.

But most the Hagertey’s article centers on new strategies for moving the children from psychopathic mental states to a more normal moral awareness. It is done by stressing one area the psychopath’s mental condition. That is, psychopaths respond very little to punishment, but readily to rewards.
At the Medota Juvenile Detention Center in Madison, Wisconsin, which is using this insight as strategy, progress has been made in turning off the patients’ psychopathic behaviors and leading them towards a moral normal. The psychopath’s negative behaviors are largely ignored. This takes heroic virtue from the staff as the children and youths placed there are skilled at mayhem and destruction such as squirting feces and urine at the staff. But gradually the staff builds trust, and begins to reward positive behaviors (and lack of negative behaviors) with such things as video game privileges, or baseball cards. Over the long term this strategy seems to work, at least for some. It is however immensely costly, as the Mendota center is manned with three time the staff a normal juvenile center of its size.

Hagertey’s article ends by tracing the life of one youth who transited from a psychopath to a semi-normal person, and in fact, became a successful undertaker. Ironically, as she flew to California to interview him, he had regressed and was arrested for abusing his wife.

Christian Commentary:

I believe that psychopathic children could be helped towards normal moral sensitivity by exorcism/deliverance ministry. In one of my earliest blog posting I shared that I had experience in dispersing the voices of patients suffering from “negative hallucinations” that are common to schizophrenics. I did so by exorcism, by commanding the voice entities (demons) to leave in the name of Jesus.[4] I can make no such claim regarding psychopathic children as I have not had the opportunity to minister to any – but I am certainly open to do so.

But I am speaking as an Anglican priest with exorcism experience and one who has read widely into the literature of exorcism and the demonic.[5]  As I read the quote cited above of the person who recalled the delight in biting his mother, I understood that to be a demonic thought pattern, not a human one.

Recently, when I shared the Hagertey article with my Facebook friends and suggested that deliverance could help these children, one person immediately messaged back, “Of course not. The article plainly shows this psychopathology is a brain abnormality, not a demonic problem.”  There is a materialist-philosophical assumption present in that statement that needs to be challenged. The commentator assumes that a spirit cannot influence the physical structure of the body or brain.  That is a philosophical assumption, not an established scientific fact.

The evidence from serious exorcisms points to the fact that persons who are possessed sometimes manifest bizarre and impossible physical properties, and super-human strength.  That is, the demons directly influence the possessed person’s body. My hypothesis is that the vector of causality in psychopathic children is that an early demonic infestation hinders the normal development of the limbic system. This hypothesis could be tested by repeated deliverance ministry on multiple psychopathic children and follow-up brain scans.

Many readers are appalled by the thought that infant children could be demonically infested before they are morally responsible. But those experienced in healing and exorcism prayer can affirm that is the case.  Although the Bible does not give an explicit example of demonic infestation of infants in the womb, it does clearly show that such infants are spiritually aware and active. For example, the Gospel of Matthew recounts that when Mary came to visit Elizabeth, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist, leaped in recognition of Jesus’s presence in Mary’s womb. (Luke 1:41).

The experience of exorcists and person in the inner healing ministry is that deep spiritual wounds and demonic infestation can lodge even in the womb. For instance, in inner healing prayer it is not uncommon for an adult to recall that they were unwanted in the womb because they were the “wrong” sex, or the family did not want or could not afford another child. This may result in a spirit of rejection which harasses the person until it is dislodged. Even secular sources now urge parents to talk lovingly to the developing child in the womb.[6] The Japanese are famous for being especially careful to positively influence their children while still in the womb, as in playing classical music in the house continuously. The MacNutts, a couple that have taught healing ministry to hundreds of thousands, urge parents to pray every day and speak to the developing child as soon as they are aware there is a pregnancy.[7] 



The famous healing team, Frank and Ida Mae Hammond, who produced the Pentecostal exorcism classic, Pigs in the Parlor, warned of the dangers of pre-natal demonic infestation. They described in that work several infant and child exorcisms that they have performed in their years of ministry. Possible ways of demonic infant infestation are a violent, drug-ridden home environment, fear on the part of the parents, a sudden severe fright as in a car accident, and of course any type of rejection by the parents. [8]






Resources and Present Action by the Church:

So lastly, and perhaps most importantly, how can the church minister to psychopathic children.

Most obvious, pastors and the Church as a whole need to be aware psychotic children and the possibility that such children need deliverance ministry.  Most pastors today are trained to affirm that extreme negative behaviors are psychological problems of brain disorders and should be referred out to secular psychologists or psychiatrists. They should begin considering such behaviors as diabolical in nature. Farming out a psychotic child to a psychiatrist is immensely expensive, and may in fact result in a diagnosis offering expensive treatment and medications not covered by most insurance.  An exploratory exorcism by the pastor cost nothing and may end the problem right there.[9]  This is both politically incorrect and counter to the understanding, or rather misunderstandings, of both liberal theology and cessationsits theology. Both systems underplay or completely eliminate the importance and activity of the demonic in the present world.

Church’s ministry to these children is buttressed from two angles. First, it was the ancient practice of the Church to couple baptism with exorcism ministry, and the present exorcism prayers still carried out in infant baptism by some liturgical churches. It is clear from the sources that the early Church took exorcism with utmost seriousness, and that the Catechumen (seeker) had to undergo various exorcisms before being permitted baptism.[10] The documents are unclear about infant exorcism/baptism in this early period.



Second, Liturgical churches such as the Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox churches have had a long tradition of coupling infant baptism with deliverance ministry, and some still do. For instance, up until 1969 the Catholic Church included a strong prayer of exorcism within the rite of infant Baptism which read:

I exorcise thee, unclean spirit, in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, that thou goest out and depart from this servant of God, N[ame]. For He commands Thee, accursed one, Who walked upon the sea, and stretched out His right hand to Peter about to sink. Therefore, accursed devil, acknowledge thy sentence, and give honor to the living and true God: give honor to Jesus Christ His Son, and to the Holy Spirit; and depart from this servant of God, N[ame]. because God and our Lord Jesus Christ hath vouchsafed to call him (her) to His holy grace and benediction and to the font of Baptism.[11]
That was cancelled due to the influence of Protestant Liberal Theology on the Catholic Church in the 1960s and 1970s.[12] Fortunately, the words were allowed if the parents requested them. Although that probably happened very rarely. Certainly this should be done at every infant baptism, for even in the best of families it is possible that the parents experience a sever fright or discord that could have given the demonic entrance. It would be prudent for ministers today who practice infant baptism to incorporate this or similar words of exorcism into the baptismal rite.

Most Evangelical and Pentecostal churches do not believe in infant baptism, but practice a rite of “presentation” modeled after the Biblical rite (and unfortunately never elevated to the status of sacrament in the Early Church). It is not hard to imagine incorporating word of exorcism in this ritual. Certainly the pastor would need to explain the reason, taking care not to condemn the parents in any way.

In the Episcopal and Anglican Churches infant baptism includes a litany of renouncing Satan and his works, and accept Jesus Christ as savior. This is a beautiful litany, and when I was pastor I would urge not only the god-parents, but the whole congregation to repeat the litany as a form of “renewing” their baptismal vows. But as beautiful as the litany is, it falls short of a definite exorcism. I often added to the litany my own words of exorcism, as in a simple command, “I command any evil spirit who has entered this child to depart immediately in the name of Jesus Christ.”  I never experienced protest or opposition to that.

In Summary, the evidence points to the fact that psychopathic behavior in young children may be of demonic origins. A Christian pastor should be able to minister to these children with exorcism ministry, and move toward incorporating the words of exorcism in the child and infant rites of initiation (Protestant Presentation or liturgical infant baptism). Adult baptism usually implies a period of instruction in which the pastor should discern if exorcism ministry is needed.
I invite comments on this difficult issue:




[1] Barbara Bradley Hagertey, “When Your Child is a Psychopath,” Atlantic Monthly, June 2017. The writer, Mrs. Hagertey worked as a reporter for NPR for 18 years on the legal and religious beat, and before that was a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. She is a meticulous and celebrated journalist.  The article can be sourced HERE  An NPR interview with the authro can bee accessed HERE
[2] This writer believes what passes as genetic inheritance, such as the propensity to alcoholism, is more often a chain of generational sin that alights on the child even in the womb (Exod 20:5).
[3] Ibid.
[4] “The Demonic Factor in Mass Shootings,” Anglican Pentecostal. Posted April 25, 2013. Accessed HERE 
[5] Immediately after my re-conversion experience and exit from the occult (1976) I began research on a planned book to compare the Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical and Pentecostal traditions of exorcism. I read much of the literature then available (it has expanded considerably since) but wisely decided that I was not experienced enough to complete the work. The readings were a great assistance to me later when I pastored a Hispanic congregation in Marietta Georgia where witchcraft and curanderos were part of the background culture.  See also my first book, Past Live Visions (New York: Seabury, 1982) where I described how the Demonic manipulates visions for morally destructive purposes. As you can see, I have been on the case of the demonic for a long time, and they have reciprocated with much harassment.
[6] The classic on this is Thomas Verny’s, The Secret life of the Unborn Child (New York: Dell, 1882).
[7] Francis MacNutt, Praying for Your Unborn Child (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1988).
[8] Frank and Ida Mae Hammond, Pigs in the Parlor (Impact Books, 1973) Chapter 14 “Ministry to Children.”
[9] For examples on how to do this with sensitivity and gentleness see Ibid.
[10]Leeper, Elizabeth,  From Alexandria to Rome: The Valentinian Connection to the Incorporation of Exorcism as a Prebaptismal Rite,” Vigiliae Christianae, 44 no. 1 (March, 1990) 6-24. Leeper notes that there is no coupling of exorcism/baptism in the New Testament. But by the time of the writing of the Apostolic Tradioton (c 215) it is common.
[11] Cited from the excellent blog posting by Msgr. Charles Pope, “Should the Church Consider Reintroducing the Exorcism Prayers in the Rite of Baptism?Community in Mission. Posted Jan. 7, 2014 Accessed HERE
[12] For a personal account of how liberal Catholic theology of the 1960s devastated  many see my work, Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), chapters one and three. 
Announcements:

The noted Pentecostal scholar Dr. Jon Ruthven wrote a very positive review of my book, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal. You can access it HERE.

The book may be purchased on Amazon, either print or inexpensive Kindle HERE 






Just released is my first book of  plays. Pentecostal (and Anglican) Plays (and Postscripts). It includes two plays and their postscripts.

The play, “One Day at St. John’s” depicts what everyday life can be like in a church that practices the gifts of the Spirit and the healing/exorcism ministry as normal. Among the events that occur in the course of the play are the healing of a waitress who was scalded with hot coffee, an exorcism (led by a layman) and the “laying of a ghost” to rest.

Pentecostal (and Anglican) Plays (and Postscripts) can be purchased HERE at Amazon.

The second play, “Joseph ben Jacob,” explores Joseph, husband of Mary, as the dream interpreter, master carpenter, and father of Mary’s other children. It helps explain why Joseph was able to discern correctly his dream about Mary’s first-born.

The postscripts examine the controversial aspects of the plays and focus on two false early gospels which distorted the meaning of the true Gospels. The “Proto-Gospel of James” claimed that Mary was “every virgin” and never had other children, and the “Gospel of Nicodemus” cancelled the true meaning of Jesus’ “descent into Hell” and his ministry there as described in 1 Peter 3 & 4



Watching God Work: The Stuff of Miracles by [DeArteaga, Carolyn Koontz]

My wife has written a funny and inspiring story of how she transited from a cessionist and Baptist to a Spirit-filled Believer. The book has many stories of our three decades of ministry together.  It may be purchased HERE.