They Shall Expel Demons
Reviewed date: 2018 Nov 28
They Shall Expel Demons is about demons and the way they oppress people and how to combat them. It's told from Derek Prince's personal experience. It's easy to read and approachable. Prince starts with explaining how he went from a place of having no functional understanding of demons and demon oppression to a having a wealth of practical experience with casting out demons. He keep it scripturally based (as much as possible) and throughout the book he displays an attitude of humility and a genuine heart for the suffering. He generally avoids sensationalism.
Using the four views of spiritual warfare from the previous book I read ()Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views, edited by James K. Beilby and Paul Rhodes Eddy) Prince would fall firmly into the Deliverance category. He believes demons are real. They are conscious, volitional agents who harrass and oppress people, believers and non-believers alike. Prince stresses what I've heard many others stress: that demon possession is an imprecise term. Demons do not possess, but they do harrass people, oppress people, and take up residence physically inside people.
Demons linked to specific sins
Prince goes to the Bible to link demons with specific sins. There isn't so much of that in the gospels, so he pulls a lot of examples from the Old Testament and the epistles. These are mostly references to "spirits" that I would think is more likely to refer to human desires, not demons, but he links them to demons. Fair enough, I guess that's one way to look at it.
Name the demon
Prince also suggests that when casting out a demon, it is often useful to question the demon to get its name. The name (usually a sin like "pride" or "lust") can be the key in casting it out. Prince also says that once a demon is cast out, a person must close the door that let it in--repent of the sin and fill one's life with Jesus.
Satan's will for your life
The most muddled part of the book is where Prince talks about Satan and his demons trying to trick people into accepting curses into their lives. He gives an example of a man who was fooled by a spirit of death into thinking that he was going to die soon. Sure enough, his health started to fail. He was knocking on death's door when he realized that he'd been fooled, at which point he cast out the demon and recovered. Another example: one woman's failure to reject Satan's lies over her family resulted in her husband's death. But I'm not clear how this actually worked: if Satan and his demons really have the power to arrange for a man's death, how does his wife's intellectual assent to a "destiny" enable that plan to come to fruition? Do the demons have a big conference and decide to carry out their plan only if the woman agrees? Why? How does that even make sense?
Demons vs. the Flesh
Prince spends quite a lot of time on explaining the difference between behavior that is linked to demons, and behavior that is simply the sinful fleshly nature of mankind. Acts of the flesh--like angry outburst, sexual sin, gluttony--can open the way for demons to take hold. Behavior that is compulsive or uncharacteristic of a person may likely be demon-related.
Do demons speak English?
Prince recounts stories of missionaries who encountered demons in Africa, demons that speak English (through the bodies of those they oppress.) So, are demons magic? Do they all know English? Do they know all languages? Do they have to learn languages like people do? Prince kind of glosses over this. I'm curious.
Can they tell the future?
What about fortune-telling spirits? Prince seems to suggest that some demons can actually tell the future, but is that real? How would demons have knowledge of future events? I'm sure some of them are clever and can make some predictions, but surely they don't have access to witness future events before they happen, right?
Can demons move objects in the real world?
Prince suggests yes, but he's unclear about this.
Can demons read your mind?
Prince is unclear on this. He suggests they can influence your mind, but he's not clear on how.
Souls of a pre-Adamic race
Unlike most deliverance ministers, Prince doesn't think demons are fallen angels. He points out that the characteristics of demons in scripture don't match what the scriptures teach about angels. He thinks fallen angels may correspond to principalities and powers. We might call them territorial spirits. Prince doesn't see that we need to be combatting those. Our job is to expel demons, as seen in the biblical accounts.
Demons, then, are some other category of spiritual being. Prince posits that perhaps they are the souls or spirits of a pre-Adamic race not mentioned in the Bible. But that's just a wild guess, and he says there's no way to know what they are. Nor is there any need to: just resist them, cast them out.
The final few chapters are practical advice. Prince tells how to look for evidence of demons, and how to combat them. You can even cast them out of yourself. He gives a series of steps and prayers one can do. Cool.
Prince also cautions that sometimes, demons can be hard to cast out. It may be because the demon is holding onto a stronghold created by sin that hasn't been repented of. Or it's possible that the person is simply being targeted by many powerful demons. Don't forget that Satan and his demons are conscious, volitional creatures. They may target a particular person for any reason or no reason at all. In that case, Satan and his demons aren't going to give up easily.