Thanksgiving week, Thomas Bruce, of Imperial, Missouri, walked into a St. Louis-area Catholic religious supply store, and at gunpoint, ordered three women into a back room. Once there, he forced them to strip nude and perform sex acts upon him. Two of the women complied. A third refused, and Bruce shot her dead. Bruce has now been charged with murder and three counts of sodomy. He has no known criminal record. In fact, he founded a Calvary Chapel church which he pastored from about 2003-2007. How he went from military veteran and charismatic pastor to a perverted killer, we don’t know yet. A fellow pastor who knew Bruce during his ministerial days says the transformation from spiritual dedication to murderous perversion must have been “demonic.” I find that comment a little disingenuous and a bit sad. The Calvary Chapel movement of churches, though having done many great things for God since being founded by Chuck Smith in the sixties, has strongly opposed the ministry of deliverance. So, if Thomas Bruce felt he battled demons in his soul, there was likely no one in his ministerial circles to whom he could turn for help.
Let’s be blunt about this. Christians can, and do, sin. But the deeds of Thomas Bruce were more than mere moral lapses. We’re talking about murder, kidnapping, sodomy and sexual deviancy, perpetrated upon innocent Christian women. Only demons could inspire such heinousness. Yet Bruce had been an evangelical pastor, belonging to a theological group that teaches being “filled” with the Spirit. Is it possible, that Bruce was “filled” – and I use the term advisedly – with the Spirit but also inhabited with demon spirits? Students of our School of Exorcism, and those who’ve read our books, know that this apparent contradiction is possible.
How will those who say that Christians can’t have demons respond to Bruce’s actions? Ah, I can hear them already. “He was never really saved,” say the Calvinists; “He lost his salvation somewhere along the way,” say the Pentecostals. The truth, as observed daily by those in credible deliverance ministries, is that he may have been saved, but never got rid of the demons that were embedded in him before his conversion to Christ. Somewhere along the way of his walk with God, his faith grew weak and the demons grew stronger. This conclusion compels the notion that everyone needs deliverance for inherited evil and the sins of one’s past committed before conversion. To suggest otherwise, is to invite more terrible crimes like that of Thomas Bruce. The church needs to embrace exorcism and deliverance to help prevent more Christian killers.
An encouraging word: WHAT GOD EXPECTS
Christians get all sorts of funny ideas about what God expects from them. Some even feel they can’t measure up to the Lord’s requirements because they have a false concept of God’s desire for their lives. Micah 1:8 tells us clearly what the Lord requires: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” There it is, plain and simple. Lay aside all your misconceptions of God’s rules, regulations, and restrictions. Do these three things, and you will be blessed by the Lord.