Answering the call to the ministry, I left a career in the U.S. Army in 1980, and entered Columbia Graduate School of Bible and Missions in S.C. During the summer of 1982, I completed an internship at Bethel Colony. On January 1st, 1984, I was hired as Associate Director of Bethel Colony and have held that position for 23 years.
As Associate Director, my responsibilities include counseling, teaching, and preaching the Word of God to men in addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Having been instructed well in the methods of nouthetic counseling, I used the Word of God to address the difficult issue of addiction. After a season at Bethel, I noticed many relapses in the men that came through Bethel Colony and then left in seemingly good standing. Seeing that something else needed to happen for these men, I began to investigate the possibility of demonic strongholds.
When Paul Ritchie was hired as Executive Director in 1986, I was pleased to discover that he came with experience in the area of demonic strongholds. We began to fight together against these strongholds.
As the ministry grew under this new directorship, I took on the ministry of deliverance. Since that time, we have found that students who experience deliverance are less likely to go back into addiction than those who do not. Certainly, deliverance is not the end of the story. These men must continue in the various means of grace God has provided for them as believers. Regular church attendance, prayer, the study of God’s Word, quiet time, worship, fellowship among the people of God and putting on the armor of God daily are all essentials to maintaining one’s deliverance.
Many pastors are confounded with the problem of addiction and we sympathize with their dilemma. Some believe it is a medical/clinical problem and send the addict to a psychologist or psychiatrist. There are times when this is warranted; especially in the case of those with suicidal thoughts and/or panic attacks. The addict may need to be stabilized in order for him to be able to respond to Biblical counsel.
Once the addict is stabilized, the Word of God is used to minister grace and to help heal their wounded lives. Many addicts are dealing with failure, rejection, bruised emotions from past trauma, depression, fear, guilt and shame. Repentance and/or salvation are the first steps to breaking any bondage. All issues of the past will have to be dealt with by repentance, acceptance, and identity in Christ. In The Bondage Breaker, Neal Anderson does a great job of pointing a person to Jesus Christ as the One who will set them free.
We appreciate all that are involved in this devastating war on addictions. At Bethel Colony, we have gone further in ministry by advocating John 8:36 which says; “If the Son shall set you free, you shall be free indeed.” It comes down to a power encounter with our adversary in order to free people from addictions. We see from Luke 8:29, the crux of the problem with the Gerasene demoniac. “He (Jesus) had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bands and was driven by the demon in the wilderness…:” It was only by a power encounter that the enemy was able to be driven out. As one preacher in Africa has been quoted; “You Americans counsel demons; we cast them out.”
Bethel has taken this last statement with great consideration and has gone with Jesus’ charge to his disciples in Mark 3:14 & 15; “… He sent them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and cast out demons.”
There is much to be said about the ministry of deliverance and we would be glad to help any who are interested. Here are a few resources you might consider:
The Adversary, by Mark Bubeck, is a very powerful book which addresses praying doctrinally against the enemy.
They Shall Expel Demons, by Derek Prince, is an excellent resource for understanding the grounds for giving place to the devil, Scriptural examples of the demonic, some illustrations of the demonic, the preparation and process of deliverance, and how to keep your deliverance.
The Strategy of Satan: How To Detect and Defeat Him, by Warren Wiersbe is a good follow-up resource.
These are just a few resources which we think will be helpful if you are entering the arena of Spiritual warfare against demonic forces.