The Deliverance "Church" (1979 or 1980)

While I was attending God's Freewill Tabernacle, there were some acquaintances of mine from Anderson College (where I was a student) who had also been attending God's Freewill Tabernacle. I hadn't seen them at GFT for awhile. I don't remember how this came about, whether I asked them where they were going or some other way, but somehow I ended up going with them to their new "church." I don't remember if it's because they pressured me to give it a try or because I was just curious.

They had said they had found their new calling, a ministry in "deliverance." Deliverance is the casting out of demons. I imagine I was wary of such a "ministry;" it's not like we have all these demon-possessed people around us in the USA that it would warrant a full-time ministry. But for some reason, I went.

They met in some office of some industrial building. The only ones I can remember being present were the couple I went with, me, and another woman. I'm sure there were a couple other people there but I have no recollection of that. I don't remember what we did in what order or anything, I only remember the deliverance part.

There were two aspects of this deliverance part: one was unnerving and the other disgusted me. The unnerving part was when they were praying to cast out the demons from the woman who was there, who was a prostitute. As they prayed for her and commanded demons to flee, there were a lot of strange sounds and movements coming from her. It was eerie. I wasn't sure what to think--was this real or not?

The disgusting part was when the woman I had come with--to my knowledge and to her witness, a Christian--wanted deliverance. She said she just couldn't stop eating sweet stuff and kept gaining weight. (She was not fat.) So they started "praying" for her and they started casting out all these "demons"--the demon of cake, the demon of cookies, the demon of candy, the demon of chocolate, etc. I could not believe my ears. I could not believe that somebody who had been regularly attending the same church I had was doing this in total seriousness. How incredibly unbiblical could you get? First of all, nowhere in the New Testament are demons ever cast out of Christians. The people who had demons were totally possessed, unable to function normally, and by the demon being cast out, they became able to act normally...and receive Christ. Secondly, there is no mention whatsoever of demons of any particular trait (like a cookie demon); the demons are just general evil possessors of a person's soul. How in the world could these people justify casting out a demon of cookies, a demon of cake, and on and on...and on top of that, from a Christian?

Perhaps I asked them these questions on the way back to campus. Or perhaps I didn't. At any rate, I obviously never went back. And I am sure this was another factor in dismantling my enthusiasm for the charismatic movement. Of course I knew this activity was not mainstream charismatic and would not be acceptable to most. But still, it was another example of people being more into the signs and wonders than Jesus himself. (For more on my discussion of my fading enthusiasm toward the charismatic church, go to God's Freewill Tabernacle.)

(I wrote this in the late 1990s for a website I planned to build, but never got the website built.  It is now finally appearing for the first time on the web via this website 10 years later.  This page was last updated on April 4, 2010.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: As with all churches in this section, please remember the following points:

1.All descriptions of the churches reflect my own observations and interpretations at the time I attended; these descriptions are not intended to be objective. The main purpose of these writings is to reflect on the effect churches had on my spiritual journey, thus the focus is my experiences at the churches and not an objective reporting of the churches themselves.

2.Keep in mind that churches, like any organizations, change over time. The descriptions I list describe the churches at the time I attended, but the church could have changed immensely since that time, for better or for worse. These writings are not for the purpose of helping one decide whether the church is one they should or should not choose; the church may be completely different by now.

3.Any criticisms put forth in any of my writings on the churches are not meant to be objective criticisms to be answered by the church, but rather, they are merely my opinions of the church at the time I attended there, and how those experiences and my opinions of them shaped my spiritual journey.

Churches I have visited that I have described so far:

  1. Bullet My First Charismatic Church

  2. Bullet The Most Bizarre Church Ever

  3. Bullet The Michigan Megachurch

Churches I’ve Visited is a sub-website of J Lee Harshbarger’s personal website.  To visit other sub-websites, click the links below.

All about music!  My Annual Music Awards, my music Hall Of Fame, and other writings about music and musicians I like are found here.../Music_Central/Welcome.html
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My political and religious beliefs, and my commentary
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Photo albums from some of my travels outside of Michigan.  Eventually I hope to include travelogues too.

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What does it mean to follow God?  What should the church be like?../Pondering_God_And_Church/Statement_Of_My_Religious_Beliefs.html

A list of all the churches I’ve attended, plus full stories about some of them. ../Churches_Ive_Regularly_Attended/Churches,_Part_1.html


Stories about churches I’ve visitedChurches,_Part_2.html
The “Home” section: my front page, the descriptions for each of my sub-websites, and the descriptions of all the places where I hang out on the web.../Bananaleaf_Central/Front_Page.html