XXI. CASTING OUT THE DEMONS
In Matthew 12:28 the Lord said that He cast out demons by the Spirit of God. We need to realize that demons and demon possession are real. About one hundred years ago, a Presbyterian missionary from the United States by the name of Dr. Nevius went to China. He wrote a book entitled Demon Possession and Allied Themes, in which he told story after story of cases involving demon possession.
Today in the United States, it is difficult to see a real case of demon possession. What the Pentecostals say concerning demon possession is not trustworthy. Their so-called cases of demon possession are actually cases of mental illness.
In 1948 I was in Nanking, China. There was a boy there who suddenly became crazy. Some of the saints considered that he was demon-possessed. They came together to pray to cast out the "demon," but the more they prayed, the more he was active. Then they wondered about this situation. It seemed to them that the Lord’s name was not that powerful or mighty. They prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus for the "demon" to depart, but it did not work. Then they referred the case to me and told me what had happened. I told them that this was not a case of demon possession, but a case of mental illness. I told these saints that this boy should be sent to the hospital for a period of time to be under some medical care. Eventually, the boy was admitted to the hospital, and he became well.
Today, cases of demon possession occur mostly in backward countries which are very primitive and poor. Many people in these backward countries do not have much education or knowledge. They are very poor and under all kinds of depression. The demons can have the opportunity to possess such persons. In modern countries many people are educated, so the opportunity for the demons to possess people is rare. Modern countries, however, are full of people with mental illness. Too much knowledge and education can be a factor of mental illness. In the primitive countries, there are more cases of physical demon possession, but in the educated countries, there are more people with psychological problems. At any rate, the Spirit is the means by which the demons can be cast out.
(The Christian Life, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)