Deliverance vs. Exorcism

Deliverance vs. Exorcism

We recently saw Bob Larson on ABC’s Good Morning America AND Nightline and we wanted to comment in this article about him and others who conduct exorcisms and deliverance, and what the differences are between the two.

While Bob may be performing a good work for the Kingdom of God in his “exorcism” ministry, what we saw on TV smacks of “show business”. Several years ago, Mitsi and I were looking for a new church home and we visited MANY churches for a period of time trying to find a church that felt right to us. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay long at too many because the Holy Spirit would keep telling me “show business”. This would usually happen during the worship. I would be trying to get into the flow of the Spirit and lose myself in worship, but I couldn’t because the worship was more like a performance than a worship “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23). I would get to a point where I couldn’t stand the phony feeling I was sensing and would have to leave.

Bob and others like him are using “props” to perform their exorcisms. Using “holy” water, crosses and Bibles, as shown on the above-mentioned shows, is more like Catholic church exorcisms. However, the only “prop” we ever use is olive oil as anointing oil. (We do NOT use any store-bought “special” anointing oils – see Ex. 30:33.) We don’t even use the Bible to touch people with, unless the Holy Spirit directs us to, because the Bible is a only a printed representation of the Word, the true sword of the spirit (Eph. 6:17, John 1), which is all we need to take authority over the spirits. Just our spoken word, combined with the belief/faith/knowledge of who we are in Jesus, is enough to weaken the demonic stronghold, provided the one ministered to has repented all sins.

Now Bob has his daughter and two of her friends (called the Teenage Exorcists) performing his style of exorcisms, and they are about to appear in a reality TV show. So, more show business.

I noticed on the ABC shows that when Bob does his exorcisms, he needs up to four people to hold down the person being ministered to. In our ministry, we have rarely if ever had to hold anyone down. I also notice theatrics in Bob’s ministry as well as others, such as the raising of the voice and arguing with the demons. More show business.

Bob also has a set fee of several hundred dollars for his time. We ask for a donation of whatever God leads the person to give. If they don’t have money and can’t give a donation to our ministry, that’s fine too.

So we minister deliverance and Bob and the Teenage Exorcists minister exorcism. You can see some of the differences above that I noted on the TV shows. What other differences are there?

Both ways expel demons, but one way is possibly less stressful and more successful. Here are some differences:


  • Ministry only to believers in Jesus (unless the Holy Spirit directs otherwise)
  • Only use anointing oil (unless the Holy Spirit directs otherwise)
  • Calmly command demons out, no theatrics
  • No need to hold people down (with rare exceptions)


  • Ministry to anyone, believers and non-believers alike
  • Props include holding a large cross, sprinkling holy water, laying Bible on body, wearing special “priestly” garments
  • Raised voice, theatrical
  • People needed to hold down those ministered to

Perhaps the biggest difference is that we minister only to believers, which affects the power of the demons. This is why you might see more “theatrics” with an exorcism. The Bible says that deliverance is the children’s bread (Matt. 15:26), so unless the Lord directs otherwise, God’s children are all we minister to. Because God’s children are under a covenant blessing that others are not, the ministry is calmer because the demons know that WE know our authority in Jesus.

So, if you want show business, you can easily find it in churches and exorcism ministries. If you want the blessings of Jesus’ true deliverance power, seek out a deliverance minister who is grounded in the Word and is not interested in show business or theatrics.

Once Delivered, Always Delivered?

Once Delivered, Always Delivered?

Usually, we run into Christians who completely reject the idea of demons, much less demons actually inhabiting their bodies and souls. But lately, we’ve been running into Christians who have actually “been through” deliverance, and what they reject is going through it again.

We feel that people need to understand that deliverance is actually a life-long process. As long as your breathe, demons can and will be in the vicinity. Why? Because we have a sin nature that causes us to sin, and we live in a sin-filled world that affects us in ways we may not realize.

Let’s look at some examples:

Have you ever been to the doctor? Did you ever go back? Yes, you have probably been to the doctor dozens of time in your life. Why? Because you get something fixed, and something else crops up. You wouldn’t say, “Well, I went to the doctor when I was third grade, so I never need to go again.” Doctors treat your body. A deliverance minister is a like a doctor for your soul.

What about daily activity? What about the guy who got angry at you because you were driving too slow because you were talking on the phone? You could tell from your rear view mirror that he was spewing profanities and curses on you. If you’ve studied anything about curses, you know they are real. Do you want all the curses that some foul-mouthed stranger spewed all over your soul to stick with you? Who knows what he said or what he wished would happen to you? If you have someone pray deliverance prayers over you from time to time, you can cover that.

Usually the first few times someone goes through deliverance, there are some pretty heart-wrenching memories and situations to ask the Lord to deal with, many rooted in childhood. Yes, it can be a tough, but it’s worth it to receive Jesus’ healing and put things behind you. It will help you grow in the Lord. Then typically afterwards, deliverance is “maintenance”. Maybe some soul ties with people you have conflicts with need to be broken, or maybe you are having some fears about something that need to be dealt with, or maybe some medical issues that we could cast demons out of. Could be anything that you need to seek the Lord about. If you’re sensitive to the Holy Spirit, He will tell you.

In the meantime, I feel sorry for folks who CLEARLY are dealing with horrible issues in their lives of physical health or emotional well-being, and they don’t want any help because they’ve “been through” deliverance. They want your prayers, but they don’t want deliverance prayers. Of course, the Lord delights in ANY prayers He hears from His children (Prov. 15:8), but since Jesus spent 1/4 to 1/3 of His ministry casting out demons–which many times actually physically healed a person–it seems logical that we should spend an equal amount of time in spiritual warfare.