For what is believed to be the first time ever in Mexico, an exorcism has been performed to chase demons from the entire nation.
But several pastors who are versed on the biblical warnings about the devil and his minions say the territory into which leaders of the Catholic Church recently ventured is unstable.
According to a number of reports, the nationwide exorcism against demons blamed for crime and violence in Mexico was performed by Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez and other clergy, including a Spanish exorcist and demonologist, behind the close doors of the cathedral of San Luis Potosí.
Archbishop Jesús Carlos Cabrero explained the ritual as a “blessing for the people.”
But exorcist Fr. José Antonio Fortea said the purpose of the rite, known as the “Exorcismo Magno,” was to combat demons who “tempt” people as “sin increases more and more in a country.”
He described the effort as the “first ever carried out in Mexico … to exorcise the powers of darkness, not from a person, but from the whole country.”
Pastor Karl Payne of Antioch Bible Church, who served as chaplain for the Seattle Seahawks football team for 21 years until just recently and is the author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization, and Deliverance,” urges caution in matters of demonology and exorcism.
Payne said, “There is much about demons and deliverance that I do not understand.” And says he has never met “anyone who owns the block or even the corner on this subject.”
He told WND: “I have never heard of a country-wide exorcism. I do believe that Daniel 10:10-13 indicates that countries can have demonic hosts assigned to undermine the work of God and the people of God doing that work. But I do not see any New Testament teaching on exorcisms being attempted on countries rather than people. This may reflect my lack of understanding on the subject, or someone else’s attempt to extrapolate beyond Scripture.”
Payne believes the ritual will have to be judged by its results.
“If there is city-wide revival and crime goes crashing down after these prayers, maybe others will look up and say, ‘What in the world is going on there?’ If things continue as normal, or get progressively worse, then these religious leaders have set themselves up for ridicule.”
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Payne states demons and demonic activity are real problems.
“Sin is an invitation for demonic activity and it makes sense that the more blatant the sin, the more demonstrative the demonic presence,” he said.
And according to his understanding, “until the people who have actually been demonized are the people who are seeking freedom from demonic bondage, it is a waste of time commanding demons to leave a person or place if they are actually there by virtue of habitual sin, ancestral sin, invitation or apathy.”
Catholic clergy have been highly critical of a rise in occult practices in Mexico, particularly the cult of Santa Muerte (Saint Death), which has been growing in recent years. Pope Francis had also blamed satanic forces for violence in Mexico in March, stating, “I think the devil is punishing Mexico with great fury” during an interview with Mexican television.
Pastor, talk-radio host and author of “Final Warning: Understanding the Trumpet Days of Revelation” Carl Gallups said, “I am not one that looks for a demon under every rock, nor do I blame a demon for every evil deed, sickness, or devastation that occurs in the world.”
However, Gallups said, “We would be remiss to discount the absolute biblical fact of demonic activity and demonic intervention in human affairs, which obviously abounds worldwide – not just in Mexico.”
Gallups had a mixed reaction to the church’s actions, commenting: “I admire the spiritual boldness of the Catholic church in this matter. However, it would have probably been best to leave the affair unannounced in the media. To broadcast the event certainly opens up all manner of ridicule, speculation, and castigation. Additionally, I have questions of just ‘how’ the ‘exorcism’ was conducted. I have been made intimately privy over the many years of my ministry to so-called ‘exorcism’ services that, to me, resembled nothing more than a ‘Christianized’ witchcraft ritual. I am not claiming that this is what the Catholic church officials conducted, but people will wonder and the speculations will follow.”
Gallups recognizes many people laugh at the mere mention of supernatural forces.
“I know that some people will have a difficult time with the all this talk about demons,” he said. “But the truth is that the Bible is clear on the topic; there is a demonic, evil, and incredibly dark spiritual side to the experience of human existence. We most often see the results of demonic activity played out on the stage of human affairs, but never doubt, the impetus is often initiated in the realm of demonic influence.”
Payne also believes that Daniel 10:10-13 allows for the possibility that territorial demons are real.
“I think the fact that major media outlets are covering this story is an implicit acknowledgement that sin is real, it is creating very real problems for real people in real towns, cities and countries, and neither empiricism, rationalism, economic redistribution, sociological experimentation nor political theory seem to be capable of resolving all of these issues. Maybe it is time to look up rather than in, or to God rather than government. It is also an indication that in spite of media and academic driven cynicism and skepticism toward religion in general and Christianity specifically, there are still more theists in the world than atheists, and there are questions, answers and problems that need to be explored further to be resolved.
“Romans 1 is clear that God has manifested Himself to everyone through the things He has made. This partially explains why atheism and naturalism must be taught, even though many of their suppositions are counter-intuitive. The bottom line is that sometimes we need help that goes beyond our own resources. Since man’s solutions to solving the sin problem are not working well, maybe it is time to look back to the teachings of Jesus Christ, and not be too proud to ask our Creator for help.”
Gallups believes there is both increasing media and popular interest in the occult, referring to the recent “Charlie Charlie” social networking craze in which participants try to summon a demon. Gallups, who believes the end times may be coming soon, notes, “The Word of God cautions us that as we enter into the ‘last days generation’ we will see an increase in worldwide demonic activity.”
“Some might say that this kind of evil and demonic influence has always been among us – since the fall of mankind. I understand that argument, but the difference is that we are now the first generation in the history of the planet to see worldwide instantaneous communication and information systems that intimately connect us to each other. This technology can be used for the dissemination of ‘good’ and even the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, it can also be used (and it is) for the worldwide acceptance of and the ubiquitous spread of abject evil. We live in times like no other.”