Exorcism vs. Deliverance – What’s the Difference?

Many people use these two words interchangeably, but we take a more nuanced approach, as we will explain.

Exorcism is a process whereby a servant of God confronts demonic oppression in an individual, and forces the demons to leave. Exorcism is focused on identifying any demonic presence and evicting any demons present. Exorcism may be preceded by preparatory or follow up ministry, or not. When people hear about deliverance ministry, this is often what they visualize.

It should be noted that while the word ‘exorcism’ is often used in Roman Catholic circles and often brings to mind a Catholic ritual, it is not an exclusively Catholic term. It is a helpful term that distinguishes the expulsion of demons from the rest of what we do to bring healing and wholeness to the person.

Deliverance as taught by our ministry is a process that looks at the whole person and their needs for healing of heart, soul and body. It aims to bring freedom from all forms of demonic oppression, no matter when it started or where it originated. It involves extensive preparation, diagnostics, curse breaking, close attention to any needs for inner healing, exorcism and follow up.

The ministry of deliverance that we practice and teach looks for the sources and root causes of the problems that trouble the person who comes to us for help. It is our conviction that exorcism alone, though it can help some people long term, usually results in the person’s troubles returning later on, since the root causes were not addressed.

So when we use the word exorcism, we are referring to a very focused part of deliverance, where we directly address demons, take authority over them and force them to leave. It is an important part of deliverance, but not the only part.

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