Dennis Rader says that demons made him do it—stalk, strangle, mutilate, rape, sodomize 10 men, women and children, over a 17-year period 1974-1991. The admission came in a recently aired documentary (Oxygen Network) that uncovered a previously unknown confession he gave to police 13 years ago. Rader was an active leader in his church, but stated, “I personally think, and I know it’s not very Christian, but I actually think it’s a demon that’s within me. It entered me when I was young, and it controlled me.” He had already planned his 11th crime, hanging a woman upside-down in her home, when he was caught. This is one more in a long list of killers who have been confessing Christians, like the “Washington Post” story we reported in December 2016 (to read blog “The Devil Made Him Do It” 12/22/16 click here) where a North Carolina man killed his wife and 14-year-old daughter and threw their bodies in a 40-foot deep well.
The Dennis Rader revelation raises two crucial questions; 1) Can a Christian be demonized, and 2) can a demon control a Christian to the extent that they act in unimaginable ways? We’ll set aside the first question. Our books and our School of Exorcism have adequately handled that issue from a theological and practical standpoint. It is demonstrably true from church history and contemporary reality that Christians can have demons. But what about the second question? How far can a demon go in the life of a believer? Let’s explore that by posing a series of rhetorical questions.
Can a Christian murder? Is abortion murder and do Christians ever kill their babies by abortion? Also, King David murdered, and he was the anointed of the Lord. Are Christians capable of lying and blasphemy? Peter was. Do Christians, even pastors, ever abuse drugs and alcohol, commit adultery, lie, cheat and steal? If you don’t know of such individuals, I have a long list I can loan you. The crucial question is this. When a Christian is under some measure of demonic influence, are there any limits on the moral crimes they may commit? Sadly, the answer is an emphatic NO!
Horribly egregious sin may not be common with Christians, but we can’t say that there is a limit to any kind of bad behavior committed by a Christian. If so, then a demonized Christian’s actions could theoretically know no bounds. This hard truth should make all of us consider our walk with the Lord, lest we become, as Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 9:27, a “castaway” (KJV — “disqualified” NIV). Read on in the next chapter, where Paul speaks of those who drank of the rock, Christ, and because of their rebellion “their bodies were scattered over the desert.” First Corinthians 10:1 puts it this way: “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall” (NIV). You may not be the next BTK serial murderer, but you may be capable of sins you never imagined, especially if you haven’t had prayers of deliverance to get rid of your demons!
An encouraging word: WATCH YOUR WORDS
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21 KJV). This verse has been over-applied and misapplied by prosperity preachers, but that doesn’t demean its significance to what we say. This is especially true in the family. What spouses say to each other and parents say to their children is significant. Many times I’ve counseled an adult in mid-life who was wounded by the caustic comments of a parent (“You’ll never amount to anything!”). Wounding words set the tone for later bad decisions that were driven by the fulfillment of the negative prediction. Watch your words and speak life and hope to those you love.