Those involved in “deliverance ministries” say it is necessary to bind Satan in the unsaved in order to give the gospel. “The experienced deliverance minister can compel evil spirits to tell the truth. I do so all the time….To evangelize the demonized we must learn how to bind demonic activity from the minds of demonized unbelievers” (Ed Murphy, We Are at War pages 51 and 58).
Charles Ryrie believes that Christians can be temporarily demon possessed (or have the base of operations within the believer). Ryrie is weak on this issue stating “the argument against a believer’s being able to be demon possessed is often based on the fact of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s heart. In other words, since the Spirit indwells the believer, it is impossible for Satan or demons also to indwell and thus possess the believer at the same time. But do not the Spirit and the flesh war within the believer? (Gal. 5:16-17) If it be argued that the old man has been judge (Rom. 6:6), it may also be pointed out that Satan has been judged too (John 12:31). So if Spirit and flesh, the new and old, can be present within the believer at the same time, why cannot the Spirit and Satan (or demons)?” (Basic Theology, page 167).
The problem is not between the Spirit and the inanimate principle of the old nature dwelling together in the believer but the problem is the Holy Spirit dwelling in a believer with another evil person like a demon. 1 John 4:4 assures us “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
The following verses are used to argue that believers can be demon possessed: (1 Sam. 16:13-14; Lk. 13:11-16; 1 Cor.5:5; 2 Cor. 12:7; Acts 5:3). Ryrie makes another mistake by citing Ananias who allowed Satan to fill his heart. “Since there is no reason not to believe that Ananias was a believer, here is a clear statement that Satan did fill the heart of a believer. Nothing is said about demons here, though presumably if Satan filled his heart, demons could have also….Neither Satan nor demons can permanently indwell a believer nor ultimately have victory over him” (pages 167-168).
One weakness of Ryrie’s argument is to assume to be filled by Satan equals demon possession. To be filled in Scripture means to be controlled as believers who are filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit or the Pharisees who were filled or controlled by envy toward Christ. Dr. Ryrie does not give any Scripture for this view. Ryrie argues against permanent demon possession from 1 John 5:18 and John 20:17.
There are persuasive arguments against believers being demon possessed. None of the verses used to prove believers can be demon possessed are convincing. The Trinity would not share their abode in believers with demons.
Christ is in every believer (Col.1:27). The Holy Spirit is in every believer (1 Cor. 6:19-20) as a matter of fact, the entire Trinity is in every believer (John 14:23). How can such conflicting personalities dwell in the same person?