Deliverance Came BEFORE Water Baptism in the Early Church

Mark Virkler's picture

Between 1/4 and 1/3 of Jesus’ prayers/commands for divine intervention involved the casting out of demons. This ratio is often not practiced today, although I personally have made it my goal to practice it. So what was the attitude of the early Church concerning the matter of casting out of demons as people became believers?

Deliverance FIRST, baptism follows

In the book, Satan, The Early Christian Tradition by Jeffery Burton Russell, on page 101 we find this quote: “Until about A.D. 200, baptism was often preceded by a rite of exorcism. Beginning about 200, the exorcism and formal renunciation of satan were incorporated into the baptismal rite. You may view the original quote here.

In the book, Possession and Exorcism in the New Testament and Early Christianity published by Mohr-Siebeck Verlag and authored by Erik Sorensen, on page 200 we find the following: In 258 AD the "Seventh Counsel of Carthage viewed exorcism as a preliminary step toward the re-baptism of heretics. Exorcism also appears before baptism in the Apostolic Tradition.”

Mention is also made of the following: “In the early third century, East Syrian Acts of Thomas where exorcism takes place before the baptismal ‘sealing’.” You may view the original quote here.

How much of a difference do you think it would make if the modern Church did this?

Can you imagine what it would be like if we ensured the demons were out of new believers as we embraced them into the body of Christ? Once the darkness is out, the light can shine. Can you picture the healed marriages, families, the restored health and vitality, and ability to freely pursue your destiny without the baggage of demonic influence?

If we don’t cast them out, then they hang around messing up people’s lives, promoting division and divorce, pride and arrogance, sickness and infirmity. We can try to counsel the folks, or perhaps drug them into zombies so they can’t act out.

Don’t you think restoring deliverance to the Church is the better way to go?

I vote to restore deliverance as a normative, natural ongoing practice which is a standard protocol for all new believers. Why not? We have been under the dominion of the prince of the power of darkness. Why not firmly, fully and completely kick him and his demons out when we enter into the kingdom of light. If it was good enough for Jesus to do, it is good enough for us to do!

My personal experience with deliverance

I have been through deliverance on a couple of occasions, and both were life-changing. Early in my Christian life I had a demon of fear of stroke cast out of me, and my tendency to wake up in the morning feeling I had had a stroke and was paralyzed, was instantly and completely gone.

Later in my Christian life, I had a husband/wife team spend 3 hours with me and cast out about 20 demons I had picked up as a result of responding poorly to the slaps of life, and allowing festering anger, doubt, unforgiveness, fear and much more to fill my heart. I write about my experiences with deliverance and offer simple, clear steps for experiencing your own personal deliverance in our training module, Prayers That Heal the Heart.

Since everything always goes better and faster when you are teamed up, I recommend you get into a small group and go through this training. In the New Testament, people cast demons out of other people, rather than you casting them out of yourself.

I guess we will need to be humble and admit our need for deliverance

When I first got saved, I was trying so hard to be perfect; it was hard to admit I still sinned. Now, it is 48 years later, and it is easy to admit that I sin, and I receive His cleansing blood simply, freely, and daily. No sweat!

Jesuits do an annual spiritual retreat which involves a house cleaning of anything they may have picked up during the past year. Sounds like an extremely wise thing to do. I choose repentance and restoration over pride and justification. My passion is to walk in the fullness of God for me, so turning from my sins is a natural, ongoing part of this.


Prayers That Heal the Heart School of the Spirit Online Training Module - our focus is to first remove satan's legal right to harass you, and then kick out the demons, allowing you to experience full freedom deep within.

Want hard copies? Prayers That Heal the Heart materials only.

Blog: Deliverance from Demons Without Trauma! You Can Help Set the Captives FREE!