Dr. Karl Payne, pastor of Leadership Development and Discipleship at Antioch Bible Church in Washington who formerly served as chaplain for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, has warned that America's current cultural climate is paving the way for overt demonic activity. But he doesn't believe demons can possess humans.
Payne's 2016 book Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance was recently made available as an audio book and reflects his more than 25 years of experience dealing with demonized people.
"He holds that demons cannot possess anyone, believer or non-believer, in the sense of owning them. Rather demonization refers to an internal type of control to a greater or lesser degree and various manifestations," writes Fred Dickason, professor Emeritus of Theology at Moody Bible Institute, in the foreword of the book.
"Payne's analogies and illustrations are quite clarifying, and his case studies throw a great deal of light on the reality of spiritual warfare and the benefits of challenging wicked spirits who prey upon God's people. He challenges charismatics and non-charismatics to a solid biblical study and non-flashy treatment of demonization. The relief Christ offers is available to us today not due to gifts or personal powers, but through delegated authority granted to every believer in union with Christ," Dickason adds.
Payne, who has been a long-time critic of the glamorizing of the demonic in popular culture, said in a WND interview that the trend must be resisted by Christians.
"The growing fascination North Americans and Europeans seem to have with horror movies, spiritism, supernaturalism, the occult and Satanism is softening up the senses and consciences of the people watching and involving themselves in this nonsense," he said. "It's helping prepare them to function as predators or prey when Satan begins his ultimate reign over planet earth through his coming Antichrist and false prophet."
He continued: "When two fighters get into the ring, with one thinking the fight is a staged game and the other understanding it is for life or death, the fighter who takes the fight more seriously is generally the fighter who is going to win the fight. Too many Christians seem to think demonic warfare is a game to turn on or off at their convenience, and they are getting their behinds kicked in battles they should be winning rather than losing."
He urged Christians to "wake up" and he hopes his book can illuminate the discussion on spiritual warfare.
"Too much of the church today represents two sides of the same coin," he said. "On one side of the coin are people who like to talk about demonic warfare, but do not know how to stand against it in an effective manner. On the other side of the coin are people who ridicule or run from demonic warfare. They seem to think that in redefining demonic warfare they can eliminate the reality of the battle. This is naïve. Again, fighters who prepare for battle generally fare better than those who think it is all a game. Sloganeering is not helpful or effective in confronting demonic spirits who are tormenting Christians. Talking about a battle or playing video games simulating fighting in battles does not win actual battles," he said.
"With the media and public square vilifying the Judeo-Christian faith, and conservative Christianity in particular, people are going to put their faith in something or someone. But unfortunately, it just will not be the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is alive and well, and he is prowling around like a hungry lion, looking for those he can devour. Christians need to wake up."