Brothers and sisters of Christ, there is a deliverance ministry that has come about that is affecting the Church worldwide; this deliverance ministry is called “Freedom Encounters” (1). This ministry has written a book called “Victory Over Spiritual Conflict, and they use this book to explain and teach people how to be set free (2). It has entered several churches, especially those that believe the Holy Spirit’s gifts are still active. The book is a doctrine of demons (1 Timothy 4:1, KJV), and the teaching of this book leads people away from their relationship with God by giving up their minds to be in control of this teaching. Freedom Encounters cause their students to be bound to legalism by instructing people they must use the prayers they specify and go through their deliverance ministry in order to be entirely set free. There are several fallacies with said teaching, including taking Scripture out of context, misrepresenting Scripture, and faulty reasoning. Such as saying one thing, then telling people to do another and using inaccurate translations for Greek words in the New Testament. To go over every fallacy in “Victory Over Spiritual Conflict” and the deliverance ministry would take too much time. However, there are two significant issues that affect those that practice/participate with the ministry, and these two issues are the belief that Christians are demon-possessed, or what they call demonized and legalism.
Can a Christian even be possessed? What is possession in the first place? Well, the quick answer is a Christian cannot be possessed, and possession is when a demon resides in a person. The Bible talks about unclean spirits, demons, and so forth when talking about people possessed by demons.
Acts 8:7, KJV “For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.”
The words “came out of many that were possessed with them” shows the unclean spirits were residing in these people, keep in mind they, the possessed people were not yet Christians. This event occurred during the time Philip went down to Samaria; they were not yet saved and baptized with the Holy Ghost until Peter and John went, in which they laid hands on the people to receive the Holy Ghost. So, the people who had demons were unsaved, read all of Acts 8, if you wish to look more into it.
In Matthew 8, it shows us that demon possession is real and that they reside within a person. As it “states the two possessed with devils,” so we know these people are possessed mind you again, these people are not saved, for Jesus Christ had not died and raised on the third day yet. Now the reason we know the demon resides in the person is that it says, “if thou cast us out” and “And when they were come out,” showing the demons were coming out of the person.
Matthew 8:28,31-32, KJV “28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.”
Matthew 12 shows us that when someone is delivered from demon possession and not saved, more wicked demons will enter the person. We know the person is unsaved because verse 44 says, “he findeth it empty” because if they were saved, the Holy Spirit would be residing in the person (Matthew 12:44, KJV). These verses again back-up that demon possession is real, and when demon possession takes place, the demons are within the person.
Matthew 12:43-45, KJV “43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
Now the Greek word for demon possessed is δαιμονίζομαι which is Strong’s G1139, or in English letter format daimonizomai (3). Which translated “to being under the power of a demon” (3); this means the demon is controlling the person they have entered. Another word that is used when the Scripture states of demon possession is when the Greek translates demon/unclean spirits and possession separate instead of together, such as Acts 8:7, where the word used is echō, which means to have/hold/possess/own (4). Even when this word is used instead, it shows the Scripture means demon possession is the correct translation. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states what the Jews of the time believed of demon possession,
“In the N. T. δαιμονιζόμενοι are persons afflicted with especially severe diseases, either bodily or mental (such as paralysis, blindness, deafness, loss of speech, epilepsy, melancholy, insanity, etc.), whose bodies in the opinion of the Jews demons (see δαιμόνιον) had entered, and so held possession of them as not only to afflict them with ills, but also to dethrone the reason and take its place themselves; accordingly, the possessed were accustomed to express the mind and consciousness of the demons dwelling in them; and their cure was thought to require the expulsion of the demon” – (3)
Keep in mind δαιμονιζόμενοι is daimonizomai Strongs G1139, just inflected and δαιμόνιον is daimonion G1140(3 & 5).
If one wishes to look more into the Word, a great resource is Blue Letter Bible Website. I will include a link of the information of this word used in the Scripture, at the end of this writing. Thayer explains that part of demon possession is the demon enters the person, then takes away the person ability to think for themselves and replaces it with the demons talking for the person (3). Thayer also explains in order to be free from a demon; an outside person must cast it out (3). The only way to cast out a demon is by being a child of God and rebuking it in the name of Jesus Christ.
Freedom Encounters teaches demon possession is actually demonization, which is a poor translation (2, pg. 28). Just because demonized looks closer to the transliteration does not mean it is a proper translation. The words related to people being possessed by a demon are to own, to have, and the actual Greek word is translated to meaning demon possession. As expressed before, this word means the person is possessed by a demon. They teach when a demon enters someone; it just resides within the person; it does not own them (2, pg. 28). However, as stated before, when a demon enters someone, it has taken control of them, therefore owning the person. Individuals who were demon-possessed were even thrown into the fire, that sounds a lot like the demon has ownership and control of the person. So how can a demon own/control a Christian?
The Scripture shows demon possession of a Christian is impossible; to put it simply when a Christian accepts Christ, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, making their body not empty; hence a demon is unable to enter their being because the Holy Spirit already occupies the Christian. Why can’t demons enter with the Holy Spirit, or maybe as the book says, enter their flesh? The flesh is the body and its desires, as well as the flesh, speaks of our old nature, our old man. In which we as Christians are commanded to put on the cross daily and go after the spirit man, instead of the desires of the flesh (Romans 7:15-20). We are no longer sinners, but saints. Our nature has changed, but then again, we still war with our fleshly desires, for we live in this body until we go to Christ. Does that mean a demon can reside in a Christian’s body, an emphatic NO it cannot!! When a demon possesses an individual, it possesses their being, their mind, which only relates to their flesh because the demon has control of their body. I am not discussing what parts the demon has control of during this possession, because it brings no understanding to this issue and is off-topic. Does this mean a Christian can be possessed by a demon, NO they cannot, because when we receive the Holy Spirit, our being is filled with Him, this includes our soul, our heart, our mind, and our bodies is not our own; but His. Since, as Christians, we are now owned by God almighty, no demon can possess what God owns. As in the case of Steven being full of the Holy Ghost.
Acts 7:55-56, KJV
“55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
Acts 7:55 the word full means “Strong’s G4134-Luke 5:12; of the soul, thoroughly permeated “with: πνεύματος ἁγίου, Luke 4:1; Acts 6:3; Acts 7:55;” (6). Being full of the Holy Ghost means to be filled throughout, during this time the Lord now owns you and you are His.
Romans 8:2-5, KJV
“2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, KJV
“19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
So, if our entire being on this earth, and when we die is the Lord’s, then how could a demon own or be within us? If a demon enters us, any part of us, it owns us or a part of us, and because Jesus Christ owns us, it is impossible for a demon to take control of us.
Some verses used by their book “Victory Over Spiritual Conflict” and their website claim that Christian’s can be possessed, and are based off of 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Acts 5:1-3 (7 & 2, pg. 29). The rest of the Scriptures they use to prove possession are misrepresented in their book, as none of the individuals in those verses that were demon-possessed, were saved or Christians.
So, let us focus on 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 2 Corinthians 12:7-8, Acts 5:1-3, because these verses are used incorrectly to prove a teaching of man not what the Scripture intended.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4, is talking about Christians leaving the faith for another gospel, 1 Timothy 4:1 back this. 1 Timothy 4:1, KJV states, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” The only reason these individuals were able to accept another spirit is that they left the faith, and the Holy Spirit was no longer in them.
1 Corinthians 5:1-13 speaks on the destruction of an individual’s flesh which could mean his death, it would be better for him to die, so he would not eventually leave the faith. It could also mean the destruction of his animalistic desires; if he went through trials, he would come out a stronger Christian. 1 Corinthians 5:5 has the word Flesh which the Greek word used in this scripture for flesh is Sarx G4561 (8). Flesh means the meat of an animal, the body, human nature, human being, or as the symbol of what is externally based on Strong’s G4561(8). This has nothing to do with demonic possession and does not prove demons can possess a Christian’s flesh, but that God wishes us to die to our humanistic desires.
Acts 5:3 states, “3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” Notice how it says, “Satan filled thine heart” and it did not say Satan entered their heart (Acts 5:3, KJV). The word filled in Greek is “plēroō” which means based on Strong’s “from G4134; to make replete, i.e. (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow).” (9). So simply to fill abundantly. What did Satan fill with their hearts then? Well the Scripture tells us what their hearts were filled with in the second part of the verse “to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?” (Acts 5:3, KJV). The enemy has the ability to give Christian’s evil thoughts, and desires since we are to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5, KJV). It is possible to have evil thoughts and desire evil things that the enemy has given. However, this does not equate to possession or ownership of any kind unless once a merchant sells you food, he now owns you? Which of course, this is ridiculous; just because the merchant or Satan sells you his product does not mean he owns you.
2 Corinthians 12:7 The Scripture says “7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” This does not mean demon-possession, it literally translates thorn, and flesh could be body, nature, etc. So, the more likely scenario is Paul has a problem with his old man, his old nature as before flesh can be considered human nature. It does not say a demon entered his flesh either. The enemy can use our old man against such as the desires of the body against us. Or literally, an actual thorn went into his actual body, causing it to hinder him. Such as a thorn in his foot that he could not get out. Now every time he walks, he feels the pain. We do not know what the thorn is, but what the Scripture does show us is that we are to remain humble, as the rest of this verse gives the reason for the thorn. The rest of this chapter speaks on humility and giving glory to God; the thorn was an illustration, not something to speculate.
Freedom Encounters form of ministry brings people into legalism by forcing them to follow their said prayers and rituals in order to obtain freedom. However, it is easy to claim someone is legalistic whenever they state the commandment of the Scripture, so what is legalism anyway?
Legalism can simply be understood as the rules of men; Colossians two explains it best. Colossians 2:8, 20-23, please read all of the chapter to understand the teaching of being in Christ and not the teachings of the world.
“8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” (Colossians 2:8,20-22, KJV)
This Scripture warns of traditions, philosophies, commandments, and doctrines of men that lead us away from Christ and towards the world. This does not negate what Christ’s commandments are, and if we love Him, we will follow His commandments (John 14:15, KJV). The issue is when instead of following the Word, we follow people to lead us. In this sense, Freedom Encounters teaching, although claims to be Biblically based is contrary to the Scripture. As again, it says in Mark 7:5-9.
Mark 7:5-9, KJV “5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
To quote one Scripture does not show understanding, but for something to be a precept of what legalism is, one must search the Scriptures. Of course, there is not time to have an exhaustive list or all the things that legalism is, so to keep it simple; we will focus on the overarching principle of what legalism is, rules of men. In Matthew 23, Jesus speaks about the sins of the Pharisees; all of this chapter speaks of false teachers that bring legalism onto people and can be a hint of what legalism is in this day. However, let us focus on Matthew 23:1-15.
“1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. 5 They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7 and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ. 11 The greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” (Matthew 23:1-15, KJV)
These verses shed light onto what legalism is, and what it stems from. Legalistic teachers lay heavy burdens onto others, yet not bearing it themselves. They wish to look righteous, sitting in the best seats, having others call them by their title. In verse 15, it shows us an important part of legalism, that they go to extreme lengths to make a new convert, which is what a proselyte is. Instead, the way to the Lord is easy; by believing in His name and confessing with your tongue, Jesus is Lord, one is saved (Romans 10:9-13, KJV). There is, of course, more in these verses but for now, the three main issues are rules that are much too hard to follow, the pride of the leaders being able to seen as high by men, weighty ways to get saved or set-free or to join in.
Which this teaching has these three issues, requiring people to go through lengthy education in order to go through the deliverance session (10). This teaching you are required to go through includes 13.5-hour videos to watch, and follow along with the video with their book while recording exactly what they are telling you to write during the video (10). The book and the DVDs, which are their teaching material must be completed before you are allowed to sign up and go through the deliverance (10).
Only the leaders may see the specific prayers, and deliver others, and before becoming leaders/teachers they must go through a “deliverance” session (10). You must go through their training to get any information about what happens in the classes, and you can only see what happens in the deliverance session after you have gone through their teaching. Please take notice if you disagree with any of their teaching, they will not give you the information about what is in the deliverance session. I have found this out myself after going through the classes at my own pace, and then I disagreed openly as one should. I was ignored when I asked for the information on what occurs during the deliverance session. The leaders at said place were appointed by the owners of “Freedom Encounters,” and I asked several times repeatedly, but they disregarded my question. So, I stated, that this is obviously darkness because the leaders of this teaching are hiding information of what they are doing to people who are involved in this teaching and deliverance ministry. The response I got was the FAQ’s page can be accessed with a password everyone can find on the FAQ page. I thought to myself then, why don’t the people I talked to in the church where the Freedom Encounters ministry was occurring have the password. An update on this is that two days after I was told the password would be found on the Freedom Encounters webpage under the FAQ section. When I went on said website the password had been removed (11 & 12). The deliverance teachers continued expressing the information of the deliverance ministry is only given after you go through the teaching, and the specific prayers for being delivered from demons can only be accessed by the leaders. I expressed, “I went through the teaching, and I have asked for it before, yet you guys have not given it.”
So, because of the inability to access the prayers and techniques they use during deliverance, I will only address the information and prayers found in the book. The prayers in the book are beyond the Scripture and cause people to focus on the prayers All DAY LONG to stay safe. On their website (10) it states what the leaders said to me, which explains the prerequisite courses, before being able to be delivered, as well as the 2nd course to become a team leader that includes over 40 hours of training to become a leader, that is able to deliver others (10). Under this information, it states, “Freedom for the Severe SRA/MPD” is only for the qualified members alone (10). So, this is confirmation that Freedom Encounters hides information from the public of what they do to the people during the deliverance ministry until after you go through their teaching.
I went through their first class, the one required before going through the deliverance sessions. During this class, each person was given DVDs and the Freedom Encounters book (10). As you watched the DVDs they told you to write down exactly what they said in the video teaching in your book, and by doing so, they force the students to think as Freedom Encounters, instead of allowing students the choice to write their own answers in the book. Of course, even if you go through the teaching, you have to be a qualified member to go through certain teachings, and if you disagree with the teaching, you are denied access all together of what occurs in the deliverance “sessions.”
Physicians and psychiatrists are required to give the patient standard of care, which means to give what an average physician and psychiatrist would give to the patient (13). This usually means going based off evidence-based medication (13). Doctor’s are required to disclose the care they are giving to the patient, so the patient may give informed consent (14) If providers have to be open with the care they provide, why are the leaders of Freedom Encounter the only people allowed to see the information of the deliverance session that could harm people? The individuals going through the deliverance sessions are not even allowed to know the prayers that occur during the sessions, until it occurs (10).
With the startling rise of mental illness and suicides, we must defend the sheep and require churches to share procedures of how they counsel others, to make sure it truly helps people (15). Especially if one is exorcising demons from people, if it is good and not evil then how one exorcises demons should be revealed to all, not just leaders. If they only give this information to the leaders, it creates a form of pride, making the leaders higher than others, able to deliver others when in reality, the only person who can truly deliver us is Jesus. Only allowing certain information to those in the “elite,” because they are more knowledgeable, is prideful in assuming you know more than others, when in reality you are telling people exactly what to believe and denying access to “higher” forms of information if they disagree with “lesser.”
The rules in this teaching are legalistic, making the people in the course pray over even a water bottle to “cleanse” it from demons to drink from it (2, pg. 71). These regiments rule the person’s lives and put an unnecessary burden on people of having to think constantly, “am I protected?” The ministry book gives an appendix for personal protection on Page 70, Appendix Roman numerical 1 of their book (2, Pg. 70). The book also expresses to the reader on how to pray, what way to pray, and what to pray over in a very specific manner (2, pg. 70). This requires readers to pray the way they tell them lest they be attacked and invaded by the enemy. This forces the reader to live their life in fear, thinking, “did I pray all the right things,” living with fear of doing the right prayer often leads to a cycle of anxiety. Prayer is communion with God designed to take away fear and anxiety not cause it. Philippians 4:6-7, KJV states, “7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 8 And the peace of God passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
The Lord does not require copied or rote prayers, He knows what you need, and He loves you, don’t you know He knows all and will protect you?
In Matthew 6:7-8, KJV it states “7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”
Prayer is a beautiful thing between you and God; the enemy cannot cut off your prayer, Jesus Christ knows when you pray to Him and what you need. There is no need to get so lengthy, just be honest; Jesus Christ is our Father.
2 Corinthians 3:17, KJV “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Prayer is not about saying the right words or pulling the right levers so that you can get something out of God. It is about talking to your Abba, your daddy, your King, your Savior, and to turn it into these ritualistic prayers that require you to pray rote specific things over yourself and objects is a legalistic prayer that follows the commandments of men rather than commandments of God.
Mark 7, KJV “6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.”
Freedom Encounters teaches in pages 63 to 68, the ways that one should pray in order to be protected (2, pg. 63-68). Praying prayers made by men is meaningless; the only Scripture that tells us how to pray is the way Jesus Christ directs us in Matthew 6:9-13.
Matthew 6:9-13, KJV “9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Yet on page 64, they contradict themselves saying there is no magic formula, and we are to be led by the Holy Spirit to pray (2, pg. 64). If this is true, then why tell people how or what to pray? The truth is the Holy Spirit gives us the ability and words to pray, or utterance and groaning we know not (Romans 8:26-27, KJV). The Lord gives us the ability to pray and what to pray, not man or man’s rules and rituals. If Freedom Encounters knows the truth, then why do they abandon the truth, then instruct people falsely, causing the sheep to spend more time on prayers made by Freedom Encounters then prayers given from God. Man made ritualistic or repetitive prayers cause people to move away from relying on and working with the Lord, and instead; however, unintentionally, it shifts people’s reliance from the Holy Spirit to men to know what to pray for different circumstances or to be protected. Causing the people to be under leaders of this teaching, need them and their teachings to protect them from evil is contrary to the Scripture and legalistic since God is the one who gives us the prayers to pray, which are not made up men’s prayers. Even though Freedom Encounters prayers relate to God, they do not bring forth fruit of working with God because the prayers originate from man, it brings people into bondage of needing men’s teaching and takes them away from a personal relationship with Christ.
Page 39 states in order to renew your mind and stand for truth, recite specific beliefs they describe (2, pg. 39). When the Scripture teaches on how to renew your mind,
Romans 12:1-2, KJV “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Renewing your mind is about doing what God commands by following the Word of God, which the rest of Romans 12 explains how to behave as Christians. Taking a stand for truth when in the face of lies and people coming against the Word of God, speaking the truth of the validity of the Scripture is about doing the work of God and staying in it as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, KJV “58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Requiring people to recite what Freedom Encounters has written in their book or videos to renew their student’s mind and stand in their version of truth is legalism. It is also legalism to require people to recite specific prayers with multiple words. Again, this takes them away from their Lord, requiring people to follow rituals of reciting that which comes from man is, in fact, vanity. Instead, we should follow the Lord in His ways; as He has taught us.
The last fruit of legalism that Freedom Encounters produces is requiring the person to use weighty ways, lengthy steps, or elaborate rituals to be set-free. They claim two forms of deliverance in their book, which is not Biblically based but a separate issue. What is important to take account instead of using Scripture, their deliverance method is derived from these man made procedures. Page 42-claims the “truth approach” of deliverance does not work as well, then page 43 explains an “authority approach” with deliverance with specific steps, they recommend using both methods together and claim these work best and people have to go through certain procedures (2, pg. 42-43). It should be noted both the authority and truth approach of deliverance are just doctrines of men and, therefore false, the truth is found in the Scripture, which is by using the name Jesus one is delivered, as we find in Luke 10:17.
However, on page 35, they contradict themselves, claiming there is no magical formula in paragraph 2, and various ways to acquire freedom, then explain every believer has the authority to gain their own freedom because God will instruct them (2, pg. 35-36). If the ability of freedom is through a relationship with Christ, reading the Word, and finding it in our walk with Christ as well as help from believers, why do we need a magical formula taught by this book to bring us freedom? Freedom Encounters expresses or speaks about true freedom when talking about a relationship with Christ, but then they contradict themselves by jumping into legalism and telling people they cannot be truly set free without going through their deliverance ministry (2, pg. 42 and 43).
Freedom Encounters states in order to be “truly” set free; one has to go through their ministry teaching “Victory over Spiritual Conflict,” which includes 13.5 hours of teaching (10). They require each person to go through their 13.5-hour video teaching before going through their deliverance ministry, which is led by their trained deliverance ministers (10). So, in order to obtain freedom from these said “demons,” one must have to go through their teaching first. If someone has demons, shouldn’t they be delivered first? The only logical reason they require the teaching first is so that way you will be able to stomach what goes on in those deliverance sessions. If a deliverance session requires 13.5 hours of teaching, to try to make it sound palatable, it most likely is false or includes erroneous things. If the fruit in itself is so unacceptable that you have to manipulate the minds of the sheep, then this fruit, that is produced by Freedom Encounters, is indeed rotten. When I went through the teaching, instead of taking notes on your own, they tell what exact words to write down in their training books. Usually part of teaching is giving your own answers to the questions in the book, why do they require the people to think just like them? Simply because what they do is blatantly false, and the only way is to force the people to think like them, by reciting what the ministry teaches. That way, the people are focused on writing the information down and remembering, not on critical thinking, which would make one think, “is this possibly wrong?”
So, based off what they teach to obtain initial freedom, one must go through the course of 13.5 hours of video and read the accompanying book. Then you will be able to attend their deliverance sessions, where only their leaders are able to bring people true freedom, or so they teach. Of course even after one goes through these sessions, one is not free yet, one must follow their teaching on cleansing objects, and making a “bubble of protection,” otherwise the person may get demons that can apparently jump on them from baseballs, and people giving each other a high-five (2, pg. 71).
The bubble of protection comes from a psychic practice, and the words are almost the same except for the covering of the blood, while God provides a hedge as in Job or a long shield as in Psalms, it does not state canopy. The understanding that this is used by psychics and in witchcraft is enough to give me serious pause go before God and repent. The most well-known strategy of psychic protection is that of creating a protective bubble or egg around yourself (16). You imagine and sense yourself to be inside a bubble, and no unpleasant vibrations can penetrate it (16).
As well as even their leaders must keep their freedom through their prayers they specify (2, pg.44). Based off their teachings if you do not pray and keep yourself safe, a demon could come onto you, so now you have to go back to their deliverance session (2, pg.30). Which just keeps you in cycle of paying them for their sessions. They also teach in the same book a demon cannot jump on you randomly, yet they contradict themselves in page 70, where they talk about the need for a bubble of protection and cleansing objects (2, pg. 70). So even if you go through their session, you still have to keep yourself “safe” (book pg. 71). So, they reject what Jesus teaches, that we are a new creation in Christ, and instead pick up traditions of men.
If one becomes totally set free through these deliverance ministries, why does it require people to keep coming back to these deliverance sessions? Which by the way, they give their leaders the ability to charge for the sessions (2, pg. 44)? So, to be set free, and reach your true purpose in Jesus Christ, they require people to pay to be delivered, well at least the leaders that choose to charge (2, pg. 44). However, even if you evade paying for the session, the requirement of going through their teaching could cost you more then $110 (10). So, Freedom Encounters’ price for freedom is 110 dollars plus shipping.
With these three fruits of legalism, it is obvious what Freedom Encounters produce is legalism. Instead of sending them to Christ, who sets us free for freedom’s sake when we cry out to God for forgiveness, Jesus is faithful to forgive us, and as we allow Him into our lives, we give up the sin nature for a new nature, as children of God. Do we battle with our flesh, yes, but our flesh is not demons, nor can demons reside in it. Instead, our flesh is our human desires and our old man, and until we get to heaven, we will battle our flesh.
Romans 7:15-25, KJV
“15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Freedom Encounters teaches to pray to Christ and relying on the Holy Spirit is the way to be set-free, yet they contradict themselves by adding on to this Biblical truth and teaching a different gospel. A gospel that teaches freedom through man’s prayers and rituals, a gospel that requires money to be set-free! They make the gospel of non-effect and lower God’s authority and power when requiring people to go through such rituals.
Freedom Encounters teaches that their leaders are the ones that will bring you true freedom, requiring people to go through the deliverance sessions. Please note which only the leaders who go through the courses Freedom Encounters teaches and sells can free others through the deliverance sessions. Requiring people to pray prayers, only taught in their teaching to remain safe is legalistic. Requiring the sheep to recite what they teach to renew their mind is legalistic. Requiring the sheep to follow their rules to remain safe is legalistic. Jesus did not tell us to recite man-made prayers, but to pray in the manner of the Lords Prayer. Freedom Encounters tells the sheep if they desire freedom, they must buy Freedom Encounters’ materials. Freedom Encounters also tells the sheep, that they have to pay the fee to go through the deliverance session to be freed. This is contrary to what to taught in the Scripture. In fact the Scripture reveals to us in the gospels that deliverance is always free, Jesus never asked for money before any of His miracles.
It is heinous that Freedom Encounters feed on people’s fear of demons, making a monopoly off people’s fear requiring them to pay their fee to freedom. When Christ teaches the gospel of being set free from the bondage of sin, by the power, the might, and the authority of God, by God sending His only begotten Son to the cross, pouring His wrath upon Him, taking the punishment of our sin upon Him, so that we may be freed. Raising on the third day showing a new life in Christ, and the power of Jesus over death, sin, and demons. Jesus is so powerful, by the simple utterance of the name JESUS, authority is found for every believer over the enemy! Prayers are found through a relationship with Christ and relying on the Holy Spirit to give you everything you need. Freedom is given when one cries out to God. Renewal of the mind is only through reading God’s Word and praying to Him. Protection is found in the Lord when He promises the righteous can run to Him as the strong tower.
So, if Freedom Encounters does not offer or teach the protection of God, what do they offer instead of what the Bible teaches? They offer practices/rituals made by men, which is legalism. This legalism does not bring what they claim but instead tricks the student’s mind in believing they are free.
I ask you brothers, and sisters if you see the teaching taught anywhere, speak out and pray. For the sake of the people who will be led into bondage, speak out as Moses did and say, “let my people go.” I pray for those that are held in bondage by this false teaching that God will set you free from its captivity. I ask that if you are participating in this teaching, you will take into account the Biblical truth in this article, and pray to God not with Freedom Encounters prayers, but a prayer on your own, and I hope you see the cell you are in and come to true freedom in Christ.
Brothers and sisters, the state of our Church, is as the walls were at Jerusalem right before Nehemiah was sent to rebuild them. I ask you, my brothers and sisters, warn the bride not only of this false teaching, but all other doctrines of demons that have insidiously crept into the church, causing our walls to fall. Let us rise up with God as our Commander, rebuild the walls of our church, and regain safety for the believer. God bless you, and may God receive all Glory, Honor, and Praise for He is worthy of it all.
(2) Thornberg, K., & Thornberg, S. (2016). Victory Over Spiritual Conflict. Boise, Idaho: Freedom Encounters, Inc.