A week ago, I appeared on one of America’s most-watched television programs, CBS’s “Dr. Phil” show. After the original taping in late August, we were given short notice as to when it would air. I had previously appeared on the show about 12 years ago and received a warm reception. Not this time. I don’t regularly watch daytime TV, so I wasn’t aware how much Dr. Phil’s format had changed to a more sensationalized form of television.
Dr. Phil had heard about an exorcism I performed on a young couple named Thomas and Victoria. Thomas received a powerful deliverance, but Victoria’s time of ministry was less successful. I realized at the time, something she later admitted, that she wasn’t ready to deal with all her issues and be set free. That happens sometimes. Dr. Phil’s producers asked me to come on the show and talk about the situation. Fair enough. But I never expected that my ministry and motives would be questioned, and that spiritual disciplines of inner healing and deliverance would be dismissed as inferior to psychological therapy. It was disappointing to say the least.
Dr. Phil put down the idea of doing exorcisms by phone or Skype, something we do all day long, almost every day with a history of phenomenal success. I tried to explain that not everyone can receive face-to-face ministry, especially those halfway around the world. Dr. Phil stated but denigrated my credentials. (Anyone wanting to know the facts can easily go to our website and see my background and training.) He intimated that the problems of Thomas and Victoria were just relational and psychological. He waved the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM) of the American Psychological Association in the face of this hurting couple and, in so many words, told them that they didn’t need my help. Their answer could be found in the therapeutic “bible” he held in his hands.
I was never given a chance to state that I had no problem with appropriate psychological help. Our International School of Exorcism online training has several courses regarding the intersection of psychology, mental illness, and demonic possession. On the show, I strongly challenged Dr. Phil’s assertions. I stated that it was unfair to put a therapeutic template on this young couple and deny the efficacy of the exorcisms they had undergone. Dr. Phil had seen the live footage of their ministry encounter session so he personally witnessed the demonic manifestations and casting out of Thomas’ demons.
Dr. Phil’s perspective is typical of many in the mental health field who believe that the miracles of Christ through healing and exorcism are invalid. I appreciate being on Dr. Phil’s show, but I feel I was wrongly portrayed as someone who fails to appreciate the contributions of behavioral sciences. That’s untrue and contradicts what I’ve stated in many of my books and in our School of Exorcism. I also believe it’s unfair to tell a woman who has been a victim of physical rape and claims to experience spiritual rape ongoing that the DSM is THE answer to end her suffering. Many of the people who schedule personal encounters with me have heard that before, and it hasn’t ended their torment. Therapy often helps define a person’s problems, but if your issue is a demon, no psychological construct can cast out an entity of evil. That requires faith in Christ and an exorcism.
An encouraging word: GOD’S WRATH
“Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice . . . slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, and boastful . . . senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” Wow, what a list in Romans 1:29-30 (NIV). Who is this? Those who turn their backs on God and turn to idolatry and immorality. Paul tells us that such will suffer the “wrath of God” (v. 18). Now there’s something you don’t hear much about today, God’s wrath. Preachers of large congregations are more inclined to tread softly on judgment and instead speak of the Almighty’s love, His compassion, His graciousness. When was the last time, in the middle of some sappy-seeker-friendly-sermon, you heard the preacher suddenly warn of God’s wrath?