This article is a missiological reflection on the phenomenon of Christian demonization from a Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) perspective. The article argues from the four voices approach in theology (see Cameron et al. 2010; Cameron and Duce 2013), and contends that Christians can be demonized, have been demonized throughout the Christian church history, and are still demonized today across all Christian denomination lines. This is the position that appears in a few SDA publications, and is not in contradiction with the Scriptures. I suggest that demonization and demon possession are etymologically and phenomenologically the same. Thus, this paper builds on the assumption that Christian demonization is not just a claim from deliverance ministry practitioners with an operant theology but a missiological phenomenon with inreach and outreach dimensions. The phenomenon is encountered in formal and normative theologies as well, as it is an exposed theology from an operant theology.
As such, this article points out that many mainline Christian denominations (Roman Catholics, Protestants like non-charismatic evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventists, etc.) have recently emphasized practical ministries in their denominations to face the needs of their members struggling with demonization. These denominations have moved from an attitude closed to the possibility of ministry to demonized members to a more open attitude with a willingness to consider the issue and explore potential solutions.
The article first addresses briefly the seeming controversy on the translation of the Greek terms daimonizomenos (participle), and daimonizomai (verb). These terms, together with echo/echei daimonion, are translated in some Bible texts “possessed with the devil” (Mark 5:15, 16, 18, KJV), “demon- possessed” (Matt 8:28–32; Mark 5:15, 16, 18, Luke 8:27, NKJV or NIV etc.). Second, this article asserts that Christians are best categorized by the centered set theory and not otherwise (see Hiebert 1978, 1994, 2008). Consequently, this missiological reflection emphasizes that Christian demonization has missiological implications for Christian mission in general and SDA mission in particular. Finally, the article argues that theological research is enriched when the four voices of theology–the formal or academic theology, the espoused theology, the normative theology, and the operant theology are brought “into conscious conversation so that all voices can be enriched” (Cameron and Duce 2013:xxxi). This means that each theological voice must interpenetrate the others and influence them (xxx).
"Demonization of Christians: Missiological Perspectives and Implications,"
Journal of Adventist Mission Studies:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/jams/vol18/iss1/3