We were visiting a church in another city when my son announced that he wanted to return that evening for the youth meeting. He is a young adult more than youth but the topic, music, interested him. We returned thinking there would be a discussion. Instead, the youth minister played a DVD. My son immediately wanted to leave. I vetoed his request. We should have left.
The entertaining minister on the DVD told an interesting story. He started his message with King David, the man after God’s own heart. David’s music drove away evil spirits from the wayward King Saul. Since music could drive evil spirits out Craig reasoned music could drive them in.
Skepticism immediately surfaced. A person can invite an evil spirit into his life. Disobedience may open the door for an evil spirit to come in. But I had my doubts God left us so helpless that listening to music would deposit evil spirits into our lives without our consent.
Craig’s story became dramatic. A well-known musician and friend of Craig’s decided to leave the music industry. The musician’s devils, 42 of them, were not willing to release him. The musician’s wife made a 911 phone call to Craig’s house pleading for help. He reluctantly drove to his friend’s house to cast the devils out.
Craig successfully cast out 41 devils in the name of Jesus. The last devil proved stubborn. Apparently, Jesus’ name was not enough to conquer this devil. Craig asked the Holy Spirit what to do. Allegedly, the Holy Spirit told Craig that this devil was played in and would have to be played out. Craig, also a musician, ordered someone to play music. The wife played a song Craig had written and recorded. You guessed it. The song he wrote had more power than the name of Jesus.
This powerful story of deliverance awed some people in the church. I wasn’t among them. I didn’t understand why the name of Jesus failed to cast out devil #42 when God gave Jesus “the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth . . . (Philippians 2:9-11, NIV)
I seriously doubt Craig meant to suggest that his music contained more power than Jesus’ name, but that is exactly what he did. These kinds of messages undermine our confidence in a loving God and instill fear. Wouldn’t it be better to fill us with the knowledge of God?
I’ve seen more than one minister with a crusade regarding a specific subject fall by the wayside. One minister built his ministry around saving marriages. For twenty years, his conferences proved helpful at salvaging many a shipwrecked relationship. Apparently, he didn’t follow his own advice. Divorce ended his marriage and ministry.
Another minister focused his ministry on preserving the messages and biographies of famous preachers. He believed clergy could learn how to have a successful ministry studying the success and failures of these men and women. He was wrong. His homosexual affair ended his ministry.
“Pray one hour a day” reverberated throughout Christendom in the 1980s. The man who lead this crusade had proof. He prayed one hour a day and became the pastor of a large church that sprang up practically overnight. Was his church a beautiful flower in God’s garden or a weed uprooted when his church fell apart practically overnight?
Okay. Enough examples! I’ll leave you with a question.
When will Christians learn that it’s not what goes in us that defiles us but what comes out of our mouths?