Posted by CC on Wednesday, October 8, 2014
The Early Church Fathers' Experience With Unclean Spirits
Tertullian, 160-225 A.D., in his Apology to the Rulers of the Roman Empire said: "Let a person be brought before your tribunals who is plainly under demoniacal possession. The wicked spirit, bidden to speak by a follower of Christ, will as readily make the truthful confession that he is a demon, as elsewhere he has falsely asserted that he is a god. Or, if you will, let there be produced one of the god-possessed, as they are supposed--if they do not confess, in their fear of lying to a Christian, that they are demons, then and there shed the blood of that most impudent follower of Christ. All the authority and power we have over them is from our naming the Name of Christ, and recalling to their memory the woes with which God threatens them at the hand of Christ their Judge, and which they expect one day to overtake them. Fearing Christ in God and God in Christ, they become subject to the servants of God and Christ. So at one touch and breathing, overwhelmed by the thought and realization of those judgment fires, they leave at our command the bodies they have entered, unwilling, and distressed, and before your very eyes, put to an open shame ..."
Justin Martyr, 100-165 A.D., in his second Apology addressed to the Roman Senate, says: "Numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world and in your city, many of our Christian men exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate--have healed and do heal, rendering helpless, and driving the possessing demon out of the men, though they could not be cured by all other exorcists, and those who use incantations and drugs."
Cyprian, 200-258 A.D., declared, "Nevertheless, these evil spirits adjured by the living God immediately obey us, submit to us, acknowledge our power, and are forced to come out of the bodies they possess." These Apostolic Fathers lived into the third century after Christ and ministered long after the death of the original Twelve; none believed the Holy Spirit's power had diminished. Quite the opposite, they continued in the same pattern which Jesus gave. In a very different pattern, the modern Church has yet to comprehend the tragic loss it has forced upon those who trusted themselves to its care. No one is more guilty than I–but no one is more determined to correct the problem than I now am.