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In my blog post A Lutheran Take on Exorcism and the Demonic, I discussed the work of Dr. Robert Bennett, who has written two books on the subject and who has experience with exorcising demons. We heard from him at the Rural and Small Town Ministries conference I attended and I wanted to pass on to you what I learned.
In the real-life case that inspired the book and movie The Exorcist, the family of the child who seemed to be possessed by the devil first consulted a Lutheran pastor, who was flummoxed by the levitating furniture, ominous noises, and other weird phenomena he was witnessing, recommended that the family consult a Catholic priest.
Lutherans - History - Possession - Length - Dealt
But, actually, Lutherans have a long history of dealing with demonic possession. Luther discussed it at length and dealt with several cases personally. The founder of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, who cast out some demons himself, mentions this task almost casually in a list of the ordinary duties that pastors have to perform. The great LCMS dogmatician Francis Pieper discusses it. So do early pastoral theology textbooks.
That changed the middle of the 20th century with the rise of interest in psychology and its role in pastoral counseling. But more recently, according to Dr. Bennett, attention to demonic affliction and the pastor’s role in combatting it has come back. He cites Pastoral Care under the Cross by my good friend Richard Eyer. And though modern theologians have downplayed such overt supernaturalism, that is changing too. Dr. Bennett quoted Helmut Thielicke, no less, who takes demonic possession and exorcism dead seriously.
Dr - Bennett - Exorcism - Catholics - Pentecostalists
Dr. Bennett had associated exorcism with Catholics and Pentecostalists until he worked in Madagascar, site of one of the largest and fastest-growing Lutheran churches in the world, where Lutheran pastors casting out demons is commonplace. Dr. Bennett tells about...
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