Longtime expert on spiritual warfare says real danger lurks
As 2016 ends, priests are calling for more exorcists to fight what they are calling “an army of demons.”
Satanic groups openly organize against Christianity, even at Christmas. And trendy festivals like Burning Man are increasingly resembling something like a religion.
It’s part of a general trend that has Christians worried. And Karl Payne, former chaplain for the Seattle Seahawks and an experienced exorcist who authored “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” says the danger is real.
“Spiritism is clearly on the rise in North America; typically associated with contacting spirits to communicate with the dead in one form or fashion,” he told WND. “The media is replete with programs and movies glorifying walking and talking with the dead. Can successfully contacting demonic spirits, which is what practitioners are actually doing whether they understand this or not, open up a person to actual demonization? Yes, it can. Is this done purposely? Sometimes it is. Is this done innocently or naively? Sometimes it is. Do demons care whether a person’s motives are purposeful or innocent for involving themselves with demonic spirits?
Payne said he had worked with people in the past who found themselves caught in demonic bondage both purposely or through something thought of as a game or curiosity.
“Demons ultimately have one job, and that is to destroy,” he said. “A friendly demon is a construct of childish entertainment, not reality.”
Carl Gallups, a pastor and the author of “When the Lion Roars: Understanding the Implications of Ancient Prophecies For Our Time,” said he believes the Last Days are drawing near and the reported growth in demonic activity is the fulfillment of prophecy.
“America has, in many ways, fallen away from God,” the pastor told WND. “We are living in prophetic days. And the Word of God is quite clear that the last days would be marked by a demonic outpouring. Christians need to remember that the spiritual realm is real, demons are real and the battle we are waging as believers is real. And we need to return to faith even as popular culture grows increasingly anti-Christian. It may even come to persecution.”
Father Vincent Lampert, an American priest who claimed to be at an October meeting of priests in Rome dedicated to increasing exorcism efforts, was quoted as saying the culture was opening the door for demons.
“We’re in a fight with drugs, the occult, pornography,” he told the New York Post. “This is an entry point for evil and we need to take these souls back.”
Other exorcists quoted in the article claim drug dealers are incorporating occult spiritual practices into their dark trade, notably voodoo rituals and the worship of Santa Muerte, the skeletal figure at the center of a death cult that is increasingly popular in Latin America.
Payne has spoken against sensationalistic coverage of demons while simultaneously condemning the media’s seeming celebration of the subject. He urges Christians to avoid negative influences, even those celebrated by the culture.
“People by nature love darkness more than light,” the pastor mourned. “The idle rich are easily bored. The return of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent; demons are in panic mode, stepping up the fight. Too many Christians and churches are more interested in blending into culture than shining in the midst of it and standing for righteousness as obedient ambassadors.”
This includes the festival known as Burning Man, which in 2017 has announced its intention to become something more like a religion. The 2017 theme is to be known as “Radical Ritual,” featuring “interactive rites, ritual processions, elaborate images, shrines, icons, temples, and visions,” according to a post on the co-founder’s blog. Pastor Payne said there is no reason for believing Christians to go to such events or toy with such rituals.
“Should alcoholics spend time in bars?” he asked rhetorically. “Should people hooked on pornography go to strip clubs? Media sources I’ve seen state that the event was begun by people professing to be anti-Christian. Why, as a Christian, would I want to support events that are contrary to the teaching of my Savior, and function to draw people further away from Him than they already are?”
Pastor Payne admitted “the things of God are foolish” to non-believers and said Christians shouldn’t be surprised “when non-Christians think and act like non-Christians.” Instead, he urged Christians to pray and remember God is sovereign.
And Gallups said while Christians should never underestimate the dangers of spiritual warfare, believers should take comfort in how their final victory is assured.
“Every day, it seems we see one more symptom, one more example, of how evil is moving in the world,” the pastor told WND. “The problem is that man’s sinful nature is running amok with unfettered freedom. The world continually acquiesces to the growing evil and abject mockery of God’s Word that now surrounds it. Believers may soon be put under more pressure than at any other time in human history.
“But those of us who know the promises of the Word of God understand that Satan has a short time to reign. He will have his 15 minutes of fame, and then it will be lights out for the Great Deceiver. God’s Day of Judgment and his final destruction is coming. In the meantime, Satan knows his time is short and he seeks to wreak his havoc while he can. Yet those who belong to Christ know that we have been raised up for this time – and our goal is to advance the Kingdom of Jesus while there is still light.”