Southern Baptist Missionary Recalls Demon-Possessed Woman Writhing, Screaming

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Warning Christians not to ignore spiritual warfare, a Southern Baptist missionary and church planter shared of one recent instance in Ethiopia where he saw a woman that appeared to be demon-possessed.

Elliot Clark, a cross-cultural church planter who lived in Central Asia for six years, wrote on Southern Equip earlier this week that he recently visited Ethiopia, where he learned at an ethnographic museum that a significant percentage of citizens in the country believe they are possessed by spirits.

"In our Western culture, perhaps sheltered from overt demonic activity, we rarely see the supernatural at work. But in our post-Enlightenment milieu, it's also true that we might not see it because we don't expect to," wrote Clark, who has a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"However, what the experience of so many Ethiopians — and much of the world — demonstrates is that we must be ready for the things we do not see."

He said that the day after his visit to the museum in Addis Ababa, he went to another Ethiopian city, which he didn't name.

"As I walked down the street from my hotel, I noticed a commotion across the intersection. Someone was crying out. I assumed there had been an accident or incident. Turning my head, I saw nothing. Then I caught a glimpse of a woman, screaming," he described.

"She rolled on the ground, flailing and writhing in the dust. A crowd gathered. I was sure she was demon possessed. But then I second-guessed myself. And I did nothing. Because I wasn't prepared."

Clark said that he is sharing his experience to "awaken" Christians about the "reality of spiritual warfare."

"We must be prepared for such challenges. And such preparedness begins with an eye open to the supernatural in Scripture. Today, as much as ever, we need to reacquaint ourselves with the supernatural gospel for our supernatural world," he warned.

Earlier in his post, the missionary noted that even as much as the West becomes secularized, millennials and others are still interested in the supernatural, be it in the form of ancient mythology, astrology, or entertainment and fiction.

"Western culture may not be as naturalistic as we might think. Chances are your neighbors are infatuated with spiritual forces of one kind or another," he wrote.

"Which presents an incredible opportunity to us, because we have a supernatural witness to one who conquered death and possesses all authority in heaven and on earth," he added, referring to Jesus.

Some theologians have argued that born-again Christian cannot be possessed by a demon.

Stephen Wellum, professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, said in March, "To be demon-possessed would mean one is outside of Christ."

"When you think of Christian salvation, it is depicted in Scripture as a transfer. It is a transfer from being in Adam, and the entire age controlled by sin and death and the devil, and being transferred into Christ. In Christ we are no longer dead in transgressions and sins, we are born of the Spirit, we have new life, we are forgiven of our sins, we are joined to the Savior, we have the power of the Savior."

Still, he affirmed that "Satan is real, demons are real, in our sin they can greatly influence us and even control us."

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