I will describe the demon-deliverance movement using an invented term that might seem awkward at first glance. But it will carry the freight and highlight the distinctives that most need serious debate within the body of Christ. I will use the term "ekballistic mode of ministry," with the acronym EMM for short. Ekballistic comes from the Greek word ekballo, which means to "cast out." From ek--out--we get "exit." And from ballo--to throw or cast--we get "ballistic."Powlison later makes an important distinction between moral and situational evil, noting that demonization is consistently portrayed in the gospels as belonging to the latter category:
In the gospels when someone suffered an unclean spirit, Jesus showed mercy by casting it out. The practice of casting or driving out spirits captures the most distinctive feature of contemporary deliverance ministries, or EMM. Proponents say that Christians and non-Christians often require an "ekballistic encounter" to cast out inhabiting demons that enslave us in sexual lust, anger, low self-esteem, substance abuse, fascination with the occult, unbelief, and other ungodly patterns.
"All those who had afflictions [the sick and demonized] pressed about Jesus" (Mark 3:10, NASB). Demonization is in fact recognized and identified by its expression through miserable conditions, such as blindness, deafness, paralysis, dementia, and seizures. Sins, such as unbelief, fear, anger, lust, and other addictions, point to Satan's moral lordship, but never to demonization calling for EMM. People are victims of demonic sufferings, just as they are victims of lameness, blindness, or purely physiological seizures.As Powlison notes, demons were consistently cast out in order to alleviate suffering, not to morally improve people "except as the miracle prompt[ed] grateful faith in Jesus." Powlison also notes the different stance Jesus took toward those who were demonized and those practicing sin. Those in the former category he healed. Those in the latter, he called to repentance.
Unfortunately, Power Encounters is no longer in print. Why? My guess is that it was too biblical and not sensationalist enough for the Christian market. Unlike many popular treatments, Powlison puts the activity of Satan and his minions in its proper context--a universe governed by an absolutely sovereign God. That alone is enough to cut sales. Now, had he thrown in a few "warfare prayers" and a guide for how to put on the armor of God each morning, I'm sure the book would be sitting on the shelf of your local Christian bookstore. Anyway, if there's any way you can acquire this volume, I urge you to do so. This is a potent antidote to all the superstition and sensationalism surrounding this important topic. Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks the book is valuable.