Helena (that’s what I will call her here) was a mature lady with a strong Pentecostal background. She had been with our church for several years when she enrolled for a series of teachings on deliverance run by another church.
I had been close friends with the pastor of that particular church for a long time and met with him regularly for lunch. On one of those occasions he said to me; “Chris, you need to know that one of your church members is telling people that you are demon possessed.” I didn’t know if he was serious or just teasing me as he liked to do, but he went on; “She says she knows you are because of the evil glint in your eye.”
I couldn’t think of who it could possibly be but I did know that Helena was attending the teachings and I thought that she might know. So I phoned her. “Helena, please help me with something. Who else from our church is attending the teaching series at XYZ ? You see…”, and I told her what my pastor friend had reported to me. There was a long silence on the line and then in a little voice Helena said…” it was me pastor Chris.”
What had happened was that the course lecturer had listed symptoms that purportedly indicated that a person was demonised. One of them was ‘a glint in the eye’. I have a good sense of humour and I am told that my eyes often twinkle when I hear something amusing or am telling a funny story.
Helena had latched onto this and blurted out to the group that her pastor had a ‘glinty’ eye and so must be demonised. I am glad to say that my sense of humour did not desert me on that occasion and my eyes undoubtedly twinkled as I explained to the dear lady the difference between humour and hellfire. We remained on good terms and enjoyed fellowship for many years after that.
You would think that the main lesson to be learned from this incident was, ‘don’t go bad-mouthing someone else and certainly don’t accuse your pastor of being possessed.’ Perhaps it is, but my take away was different – don’t pay too much attention to lists that are derived from experience rather than from scripture.
Far too many ‘teachers’ develop doctrine and practice from their own experiences and the accounts of others. This is an unreliable source; it is far better to take what we teach directly from the Bible and what Jesus modelled through his teachings, actions and character.