Power Encounters: Reclaiming Spiritual Warfare

By David Powlison
Grand Rapids : Baker (1995). 160 Pages.

Reviewed by Dr. Richard Mayhue
6.2 (Fall 1995) : 255-256

David Powlison has served the evangelical community well with this excellent volume. In recent years a number of surprising, even alarming, evangelical books have appeared proposing that demons can bodily indwell Christians creating the need for exorcism, i.e., casting out. The names Anderson, Bubeck, Dickason, Murphy, and Unger are the better known writers who have proposed this theory based more on natural revelation and clinical data than biblical evidence. This teaching runs counter to both historical Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal teaching.

 Powlison makes a convincing case with regard to a true believer's spiritual battle against Satan and demons. His book is thoroughly biblical, non-pejorative, and irenic throughout. He evidences pastoral involvement with people, indicating that he is not writing as a mere ivory tower theologian.

The author focuses on what he calls the "ekballistic mode of ministry" (EMM), the method claimed by so-called evangelical exorcists. Powlison demonstrates clearly that the approach is in error biblically and lays out for the reader a biblical perspective and biblical response when dealing with Satan and demons. With regard to EMM he writes, "Some aspects, in fact, are down right dangerous to the churches' view of God, sin, the Devil, the Christian life, prayer, and ministry."

Powlison concludes that EMM specialists are masters at misdiagnosing spiritual problems and dispensing unbiblical advice. In the end, he answers a number of commonly asked questions such as "Should we name demons?" "Can we inherit demons from our ancestors?" "Are there stages of demonization?" "Should we bind demons?" and "If it's wrong, why did it work for me?"

This reviewer recommends this volume highly to those who seek clear, compelling biblical answers to questions regarding Christians and demons.