Exorcism was a common practice among Roman Catholics in earlier days. A statue of the Mother of God was used, as well as a crucifix. Bernard of Claivaux would pray, put wine on the possessed person’s lip[s, use the sign of the cross, and hold the crucifix over the head of the one possessed. St. Francis of Assissi used prayer and the sign of the cross. He didn’t even use the name of Jesus but would say, “In virtue of obedience, I bid thee go out of her, thou unclean spirit.” And it did!, they claim.
Christians (falsely so-called) must be cautious about validating too much by their power to cast out demons. .If the Christian (?) claims that this action verifies his power (a baptism of the Holy Spirit, or a spiritual gift) and verifies his God, then what about the special pagan mediums in Ceylon, India, China, Japan, etc.? If supernatural experiences determine the credibility of my faith what about the “other” religions which also practice exorcism with “success”?
So you know that E.R. Dodds in The Greeks and the Irrational has documented evidence that ecstatic utterances attributed to the divine spirits were practiced among the Hittites as early as 1400 B.C.. The Phoenicians as early as 1100 B.C. spoke with strange tongues as evidence their “god” was with them!! In Greece, ecstatic utterances are as old as the religion of Apollo at Delphi. This was centuries before Christ! In their religion, it was believed that the “god” entered the vocal cords and controlled the speech!! The religions of Cassondra, Bakis, Cybele, Dionysius, Eurcycles, and Pythos all practiced tongue-speaking!! In east Africa it was believed that the tongue-speaking was caused by the spirit Mpepo, a kind of vampire spirit! Ecstatic utterances are still common among some pagan religions, and the experience is still attributed to the power of a deity taking control of the vocal cords!! In the first century, ecstatic utterances were hardly new and fresh. The appearance of tongue-speaking, if it were just ecstatic utterances and not a bonafide language heard, would hardly have been a sign of a new age dawning, for this was very common among the ancients, since the days of the Exodus!!
There are those die-hards who still claim tongue-speaking an evidence that God is with them. So, what about someone who begins to speak in a legitimate foreign language which he or she had never learned?? What would that prove?? In 1906 a scientist by the name of Algar LeMaitre found a boy of 14 years named Fritz. Fritz and Algar’s spirit talked audibly together. One day Algar’s spirit told Fritz to speak in Latin, which Fritz did not know nor had studied. According to honorable witnesses, Fritz spoke in good Latin!! How did this happen? Immediately, those who desire an expression of importance and a feeling of being “special” to God claim this as proof that tongues are “still being spoken, today”.
We are now understanding that our mind stores everything it receives—even information which we are not aware we are receiving. After a close study of Fritz, it was learned that when he was 4 or 5 years old, he had heard a servant speak the Latin poetry that he had spoken for Algar’s spirit!! His subconscious had never forgotten it, although he had not remembered that he had been exposed to Latin. We need to be real careful about explaining the unusual by the miraculous or a supernatural power taking control of the speech!!
Do supernatural phenomena really exist, today? Are there good and bad spirits? Is a supernatural spirit present in every case in a disease-exorcism-healing miracle service??