Can unbelievers be demon-possessed? Can Christians cast out demons today? If so, how do we do it?

By Pastor Ron Jones,

Can unbelievers be demon-possessed? Unbelievers can clearly be demon-possessed. Demon possession is mentioned frequently in the gospels.

Can Christians cast out demons today? If so, how do we do it?

We need to make a distinction here between a third party casting out a demon from someone, and the demon-possessed victim himself or herself getting rid of a demon.

The examples we are going to look at are all demons being driven out by a third party.

There is no question that special authority to cast out demons was given by Jesus to his apostles and certain others.

1) The twelve were sent out to preach and were given authority to drive out demons.

Mat.10: 5-8

Notice that this is miraculous power of the same quality as healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing those with leprosy

2) Seventy other disciples were given authority to cast out demons.
Lu.10: 1, 8-9, 17

3) After Jesus ascended to heaven, we see the authority to cast out demons displayed not by everyone, but certain key individuals as they did miraculous signs for the spreading of the gospel.

Acts 8: 6-7
Philip cast out demons and healed.
They saw the miraculous signs he did.

These verses show that the casting out of demons was not the normal everyday ministry of believers, but was part of a supernatural ministry.

4) God gave to the church certain miraculous spiritual gifts in the first century.

1 Cor.12: 8-10

v. 10 “miraculous powers” (not healings, mentioned later)
The miraculous gifts were gifts through which God suspended natural law or intervened in the supernatural world.

The gift of miracles may have been "the spiritual ability to perform supernatural acts over the human or demonic realm" (1 Corinthians 12:10, Acts 13:6-11; 20:9-12, Luke 9:1-2, Acts 16:16-18, Acts 5:14-16; 8:7)

Summary: It appears that the casting out of demons by a third party was part of the supernatural signs ministry of the apostolic age. God wanted to show that Jesus and the apostles and other designated believers during the apostolic age had power over the demonic realm. When there is a demon inhabiting an unbeliever who wants to come to faith in Christ, when the unbeliever repents and turns to Christ the demon will come out of that person as the Holy Spirit enters that person.

By Acts 4:4 there were about five thousand men who were believers in Jerusalem, that does not count women and children. Surely some of them had demons who came to Christ and the demons left.

I believe that today, demons leave when people come to Christ. If they do not turn to Christ then all the prayer and rebuking of the demon mean nothing. Plus, the Lord has not given to his church the command to cast out demons from unbelievers just to get them out. The church is to bring people to Jesus Christ.

So today, we cast out demons now by bringing an unbeliever to salvation.