|Occult Bondage & Deliverance|
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Does bondage to the occult manifest itself in someone's life through mental or physical symptoms? Can mental and physical illnesses have a spiritual root feeding them? Many in our culture, particularly in the medical and mental health communities, would scoff at the suggestion. And many Christians would be inclined to agree, even though there are several accounts in the Bible where certain, specific illnesses were linked to spiritual oppression, according to Jesus. On the other hand, there are some Christians who would ascribe all illnesses, both physical and mental, to spiritual oppression, namely, the activity of demons. Therefore, balance may be difficult to find or maintain. Kurt Koch wrote Occult Bondage and Deliverance to help people find the balance.
Koch affirms that some illnesses, particularly those termed mental illnesses, can and often do have a spiritual root, i.e., they are due to demonic subjection. But he also affirms that some (in all likelihood, most) illnesses are purely biological and can be healed through medicine. The focus of this book is those cases where there really is demonic subjection or oppression, and those people whose illnesses have not been treatable by medicine. The stated goal of Occult Bondage and Deliverance is freedom, and Koch hopes to offer support to those ministering to free people from the impact of the occult. This freedom often does involve physical or mental healing, but that is secondary to the much more important spiritual freedom and healing.
Koch identifies and explains several occult activities which can lead to demonic subjection or oppression. He defines many terms used in the occult culture, and offers practical information for distinguishing between disease and demonic (particularly in part two, where Dr. Alfred Lechler offers medical advice). Hope and freedom is available, Koch reminds us, through the Bible and through the name of Jesus. And the counselor who is armed with accurate knowledge about the occult and its manifestations will be empowered to help bring that freedom to completion. Occult Bondand and Deliverance is full of practical advice; according to Christianity Today "it is highly recommended for use in seminary counseling courses." It is also recommended for all those who are dealing with occult bondage in their church or ministry. Don't wait another day to start bringing freedom to the oppressed.
|From the first chapter, "Disease and Demonic Subjection," in Occult Bondage and Deliverance: Counseling the Occultly Oppressed by Kurt Koch and Alfred Lechler|
I. Disease and Demonic Subjection
Ex. 1. While on a lecture tour of Brazil a few years ago, a young man of 31 came up to me after one of the meetings. He told me that he suffered from severe attacks every four weeks, in fact during the nights of the full moon. His doctor had treated him for epilepsy but there had been no improvement at all in his condition. However, what troubled him most was not so much his strange illness but rather the fact that he found it almost impossible to exercise faith and to pray. After talking with him at considerable length I discovered that both his mother and grandmother had been active charmers. In South America these sorcerers are called the 'bruchos.' The term seems to be derived from the German word 'Brauchen,' which means a process of magical charming. Further questioning revealed that my story-teller had been once charmed as a boy against an illness.
As a result of this counseling session the young Brazilian confessed his sins, and in prayer renounced the occult practices of his ancestors. Following this, by the grace of God he was wonderfully healed, or rather delivered.
An example like this, which could be supported by hundreds of similar instances from a ministry which has lasted now for 40 years, raises innumerable problems in the minds of many people.
Many of today's modern theologians and doctors are immediately angered when they hear of epileptic fits and similar attacks being associated with sorcery. A well-known psychiatrist once said, "Theologians should stop meddling in illnesses like this, and leave them to the experts."
Does this mean then that we should just throw in the towel? Never! However, to avoid any misunderstanding arising let me say quite clearly that some forms of epilepsy are entirely explicable in medical terms and are completely unrelated to the sins of sorcery. For instance, the type of epileptic fit that can be localized to a particular part of the brain by means of probes is demonstrably pathological in nature. Let each of us then keep within the limits of his own practice.
|Many Christians already find it difficult to understand why Jesus was prepared to say that certain people were demon possessed, when for all intents and purposes they appeared to be suffering from epilepsy. The so-called experts of today usually retort that Jesus was merely a child of his times. "He didn't know any better, and anyway, the Bible isn't a medical textbook. Today, we are more informed."|
However, I find it impossible to accept this present day outlook. Many years of counseling have shown me that Jesus was right in all that he said.
Ex. 2. A minister accompanying me on one of my lecture tours of South America told me the following story. He knew of a family in which one of the children suffered from several attacks of epilepsy each day. When the minister had first met the child he asked him, "What's your name?" To his immense surprise the child replied in a deep voice, "We are three." After talking with other members of the family the minister came to the conclusion that the child was really possessed, and not suffering from epilepsy. While he was questioning the parents the root cause of the trouble came to the surface, for it transpired that the child had once been cured of a certain illness by means of sorcery, but as a result of this he had developed these fits which the doctor had diagnosed as epilepsy.
In my own experience I have found that this form of 'epilepsy' cannot be treated successfully by medical means since such treatment is simply 'alien' to the complaint.
Ex. 3. A young married couple came up to me after a meeting and asked to be shown the way to Jesus. The wife had been suffering from epileptic fits for some years. In spite of treatment there had been no improvement in her condition, and so she was finally admitted to a university clinic. They diagnosed that she was suffering from a very rare form of epilepsy called myoklone epilepsy. Since she was the first case the clinic had come across, they treated her free of charge. Various medications and methods of treatment were tried on her, and yet, although she returned to the hospital on several occasions to receive new forms of treatment almost as if she were a guinea-pig, there was still no change in her condition. However, counseling revealed that there was one important fact that she had failed to tell the doctors. Her mother had once told her that before her birth she had tried to bring about an abortion by occult means. But the sorcery had not been strong enough. Quite naturally, a doctor, unless he were a genuine and mature Christian, would reject as pure superstition the thought that there can be any connection between epileptic fits and sorcery. Those who only give credence to what their intellects can grasp will be scandalized by an assumption of this nature. And yet the phenomenon exists. We must therefore realize that our human understanding does not supply us with a key to all the secrets of creation.
|There are metaphysical and metarational facts, which, although experienced by man, cannot be explained satisfactorily by him. One is almost forced to the conclusion, as Dr. Lechler has expressed it, that, "If a case of epilepsy can be cured medically, the demonic is not involved. If, however, the illness can be cured by prayer, then it was not an instance of epilepsy."|
In the case of the first two examples we quoted the doctors arrived at a false diagnosis. And even in the third case the doctors failed to get at the root of the problem.
The fact that Jesus himself dealt with demonic forms of epilepsy is a confirmation of what we are trying to say. Obviously, though, we are not excluding the possibility of purely pathological forms of epilepsy existing which have not connection whatever with occultism or sorcery.
This brief appraisal of the problems involved should make it quite clear that in order to avoid serious confusion and erroneous forms of treatment, one must distinguish very clearly between the facts of medicine and the facts of Christian counseling. Let us not forget therefore:
This book is not dealing with some special branch of psychiatry but rather with one special aspect of Christian counseling as outlined in the Scriptures.