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Luke 8:2
and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;

1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;

Can a Christian be possessed by a demon?

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  • Mary Magdalene followed Christ after being healed by Him. – Lucian May 5 at 22:50
  • Please define possessed. Can someone owned by God (a Christian) be owned by an unclean spirit? No. Can they be demonized (have an unclean spirit)? Yes. – Nihil Sine Deo May 5 at 22:58
  • This is a theological synthesis question, and would be better directed to the Christianity site, though you'll need to specify a denomination there. – curiousdannii May 6 at 1:20
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A Christian is such, according to Rom 8:9 -

You, however, are controlled not by the flesh, but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.

By contrast, a person controlled by a demon is called, NOT a Christian but a "demoniac" (δαιμονίζομαι) as per Matt 4:24, 8:16, 33, 9:32, 12:22, Mark 1:32, 5:15, 16, 18, Luk 8:36, John 10:21, etc.

Jesus pertinent parable (Matt 12:43-45, Luke 11:24-26) about the unclean spirit that returns shows that the human "house" (1 Cor 3:16, 17) must be occupied by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19, 20) else it will be occupied by a demon.

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This question is awkwardly phrased, because of the connotation ‘possessed’, possesses in the modern English language.

Let’s first establish who removing of demons was intended for.

“And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:26‬ ‭

The children are intended to be believers, or children of the father of faith, namely Abraham. (I cannot go into the depths of each word, children, dogs but if it interests you, a Bible study on these words will confirm what I’m saying)

The dogs are unbelievers. And we know it’s not an animal but a person because we are talking about the woman and her daughter.

What is the bread? What was she after?

Deliverance

“And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:22‬ ‭

So if the bread is deliverance in this case from unclean spirits and it’s not for unbelievers but believers, then the obvious conclusion is

deliverance is for believers

Now the issue is why or how can a believer be demonized?

There are many reasons. One case is unforgiveness

“And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:34‬ ‭

Without going into too much demonology consider this short hand list

Seven demon activity

  • Entice
  • Enslave
  • Torment- spiritual, mental, physical
  • Compel- compulsive behavior
  • Defile
  • Harass
  • Deceive- misrepresent

Restlessness- sums up demon activity

Why are there no example of demonized Christians in the NT? Because the early church didn’t baptize people demons and all. They followed the mandate

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭16:17-18‬ ‭

Notice that Philip the only man to hold the title of evangelist in the Bible did exactly this

“Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed.” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭8:5-7‬ ‭

Can a Christian be owned by an unclean spirit? NO

Can a Christian have an unclean spirit? YES In fact God will send them a tormenting spirit if necessary.

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  • Your observation that "the children are intended to be believers" is incorrect. The "children" here were the Israelites. Note that the "woman" in Matthew was a Canaanite (15:22). Christ was merely stating that the Message He preached was intended for the Jews first, then everyone else. Your point about our being "tormented" is correct, and your other comment that "NO" we cannot be owned (possessed) by an unclean spirit is also correct. – Xeno May 6 at 20:28
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Can a Christian be possessed by a demon?

Although I tend to believe that demon possession was strictly a first century phenomenon, the acts of certain sociopaths or psychopaths are clearly demonic. Note that I stop short with their acts, as I wonder if it is prudent to go claim "possession". Certainly, some (most?) unconscionable deeds can be attributed to the influence of the Devil, but it may be presumptuous to suggest that such is the result of actual possession. While Satan can tempt us, he can no longer deprive us of our free will.

Many would claim that no modern-day demon possessions exist, all having passed away by the end of the first century A.D. The reason is that casting out demons was a matter of spiritual authority, something demonstrated only by Christ, His apostles, and chosen disciples in the first century A.D.

The demon-possessed often exhibited near super-human abilities as we see in the Gospel of Mark:

Mark 5:3b-4: "And no one was able to bind [the demoniac in the tombs] anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him."

Further, in the Book of Acts we read how the special gift of exorcism was limited to a very few:

Acts 19:14-16: "Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were [practicing exorcisms]. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, 'I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?' And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded" (emphasis added).

Here, the demoniac recognized Paul's authority, something given to him by God -- but certainly not to everyone. And, as an apostle, Paul could lay hands on whomever he felt would further the cause of the Gospel. In doing so he imparted special gifts to them: they too might then cast out demons. This powerfully demonstrated godly authority where the people might then be convinced of the veracity of their (apostles', disciples') words.

Since Scripture has been completed and delivered to us today, and no apostles are alive to impart such gifts, there is no longer any reason for God to allow such possessions. Nonetheless, that does not mean that many people are not influenced by the Devil. The perils of human frailty know no bounds.

As for whether a Christian can be so possessed, this is especially unlikely because God protects them, just as He did with the faithful of the first century (Mary Magdalene, etc.), who were cured of such horrific indwellings.

We should understand that "as we walk in the Light" we are "cleansed of all sin and all unrighteousness" (1 Jn. 1:7, 9). God will not allow us to be tempted (and certainly not possessed) beyond that which we able to bear:

1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it" (emphasis added).

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    “Although I tend to believe that demon possession was strictly a first century phenomenon” what are you basing that on? – Nihil Sine Deo May 6 at 1:40
  • The ability to cast out demons was a miraculous sign to demonstrate that gifted people were spreading God’s Word. Exorcism confirmed their message (Mk. 16:17-20; Heb. 2: 3, 4). I believe this terminated with the death of the apostles: 1 Cor. 13:8, 10: "[If gifts] of prophecy, they will be done away; if [tongues] they will cease; if [knowledge], it will be done away." I 'm convinced that true demon possession, and the gifts of expulsion, ceased around the end of the first century. Is it reasonable that without the gift of demonic expulsion, God would allow this to continue to afflict us? – Xeno May 6 at 4:44
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    And where does it say in 1 Cor13 that it terminated with the death of the apostles? Are people not sent out today also? – Nihil Sine Deo May 6 at 10:49
  • @Nihil I did not reference 1 Cor. 13, but rather 1 Cor. 10. Nonetheless, I believe my improved answer may address some of your concerns. My argument is based on apostolic authority, where only the apostles and certain chosen disciples (apostles hands laid upon them) possessed the gift of exorcism. That no longer applies today in the absence of such men. If you were referencing 1 Cor. 10, then my observation there is merely that we are protected from the darkness of the world "as we walk in the Light" (1 Jn. 1:7, 9). – Xeno May 6 at 20:16
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    You know why you’re still wrong because Philip was not an apostle. And yet people were still delivered. And the sign of being a Christian FIRST is casting out demons. I’d hate to believe like you because then I would have had no hope against two extremely powerful addictions – Nihil Sine Deo May 6 at 21:06

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