Demons on the Brain
One of the Friends of Unfair Park has this to say about Doyle Davidson's bizarre theology and some stuff I've written in the past about Pentecostals:
Funny, this is the opposite side of the Charismatic movement that you wrote about in one of your earlier blog entries. While I thought that it was a very interesting observation that the Charismatic movement helps erase racial barriers, this is the BIG downside. The teachings seem to promote demon paranoia and irrational behavior. Not only that, but as I started reading the article to which you were referring, I started remembering when my church went charismatic and the "devil made me do it attitude" that seemed to fill the place. It seems that no one wants to be responsible for their own sins. Sign me up!
Let me say this: Doyle Davidson is way, way, way outside mainstream Pentecostal thinking. There is a fundamental flaw in his theology that any responsible Charismatic or Pentecostal Christian would recognize: He believes that any feeling he has, any utterance, anything he imagines God is telling him, somehow trumps the written Word of God--i.e. the Bible. Pentecostals do believe that God can supernaturally reveal truths to an individual or group of believers--they call this the gift of prophecy. But prophecy in the church age NEVER has precedence over the "perfect revelation" of truth in the Bible. In fact, if a so-called prophet speaks something that is clearly in conflict with the Bible, the prophecy is disregarded. So when Davidson claims God "gave" him another wife--even though she was already married to someone, and he was, too--this conflicts with the Bible (I could cite buckets of verses, but here's one: Matthew 19:9) and is therefore a false prophecy.
Our Friend of Unfair Park makes a good point about some Pentecostals' overemphasis on demons and how that can appear to absolve people of personal responsibility for their sins. (Do I believe in the existence of demons? Yes. I have personally observed a few exorcisms--which Pentecostals call "deliverance." No one could simply conjure up what I saw in those instances. But that's for another story.) But again, responsible Pentecostals—and yes, most of them are--realize that obsessing over the forces of evil distorts theology and practice.
But those forces are real. I'd say more, but...just look at the results in Davidson's church. --Julie Lyons