Monday, October 17, 2011

Demonology: Wearing a Collar to Provoke Not Wise

It has come to my attention recently that some people, even demonologists, attempt to provoke demons by wearing a clerical collar. I'd like to address that subject and provide my insight into that "practice." As far as using provocation itself, I do think that it is sometimes necessary in order to unmask a demonic presence or presences who are hiding and/or "masking" behind the scenes or even passing themselves off as a human spirit. It is standard operating procedure for demons to remain covert as long as possible, and some will go to great lengths to remain hidden. In fact, the Romanum Ritual was designed to do just that, draw out the demonic and force it out into the open. I do not subscribe to the view that says simply, "If it's demonic you won't have to provoke it." That belies common sense as well as experience that shows that demons strongly prefer to remain covert rather than overt. Simply showing up as a person deeply committed to God is not going to cause them necessarily to manifest or "uncover." This is especially true with powerful demons, whom it can sometimes take hours and even days of reciting scripture, going through the Rite, and prayer before it begins to manifest. So, religious provocation is indeed sometimes necessary, in my experience and in my opinion. However, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. A better way to put it is to say there is the correct method and technique, there is the correct person, there is the correct moral approach, and the correct time. Thus, we arrive at the practice in question, using a clerical collar by a person who is not a clergy member in order to provoke the demon or demons into manifesting and making their presence known.

Simply put, I think the use of a clerical collar as stated in the sentence above is a very foolish and unwise gesture. To me, it is an issue of both identity and humility. Using a clerical collar when one is not a cleric or a priest is, on the face of it, dishonest. It is simply not who you are. To those who use a collar in order to do this I would ask, "Why are you pretending to be someone you are not? Do you not think the demon knows who you really are and that you are not an ordained priest or clergy?" How foolish, unprofessional and immoral. It's also quite dangerous. That is tantamount to going to a gunfight with a water pistol. In doing such a thing, you are guilty of impersonating something that you are not. That is, of course, not a very righteous or moral position to be in when confronting a demon, to be lying about who you are to something as unholy as a demon. Properly ordained priests and clergy have been called by God and gone through years of training and organizational processes of vetting, including sacred Rites of Ordination, in order to earn that distinction.

People who simply purchase a collar and put it on are therefore impostors of the worst kind, just as one would be if he or she were just a citizen but donned a police uniform and pinned on a badge and went around attempting to arrest bad guys! Such people never went through the vetting process of applying to be an officer with all the background, psychological testing and criminal checks, and then going through physical and medical exams, an interview process, and then the brutal law enforcement academy. Then, they raise their right hand and swear an oath and literally become held by law to a higher standard than the average citizen! The analogy is the same for ordained clergy and priests who wear the collar, and then someone comes along and just purchases the thing and straps it on? No. That is morally abhorrent and is as wrong as wrong can be. Those who do this should be exposed as the frauds and unprofessionals they are.

In both instances, it is the man or woman wearing the uniform, or in this case the collar, not the collar itself, that is relevant. A demon is going to be focused on the person and his character and spiritual vitality and how tied in they are with Jesus Christ, as to how they fear and respect who they are dealing with, not a simple piece of stiff fabric around one's neck, no matter how white. It is the "whiteness" of one's soul, not the whiteness and presence of a collar that is important. This whiteness is not the person's own righteousness, but how much they allow the Holy Spirit in and through Christ to operate in their life. The righteous person's identity is firmly rooted and based in Christ and therefore they have an identity that is powerful because of Christ in them (John 15). They are honest and humble before God in who they are as a human - recognizing God's place and worshipping Him, and knowing who they are within God's created order. So, this is what I call the identity problem with such a practice. The identity is being borrowed, even stolen - it is not their own. It is not genuine. For scriptural support I cite Acts 19:13-16 as what can happen if you assume to be who you are not: 

Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

The second problem I have with this, is the lack of humility, in that the person doing this is focused upon himself rather than in the power and strength of the Lord. It is closely related to the problem of identity, but involves, I believe, a bit too much pride and self-focus on behalf of the demonologist. By putting on a collar and attempting to provoke, a person is basically saying, "I am a man of God and I want you to come out from hiding and show yourself to me." In contrast to this, look at what even the Archangel Michael said to Satan in Jude 1:9-11:

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

Scripture seems to very clearly condemn those who take authority in their own hands and not give it to the proper Beings who have real authority. The passage above also seems to clearly condemn those who slander what they do not understand - in this case with foolish demonologists who don't respect the power of fallen angels, but angels nevertheless (they still retain their nature and power as angels). Being humble and knowing one's proper position and giving proper respect to those who are over you, is the heart attitude that God is looking very closely at. The prideful position of wearing a collar that you have not earned and attempting to take upon yourself a position of authority that you do not have is prideful, arrogant, and extremely foolish and dangerous.

It would seem to me the wise thing would be to use sacramentals, such as holy water, blessed oil, the sign of the cross, crucifixes, scripture, prayer, and the Rites as means of drawing out and exposing the demons - all done in the Name of Jesus Christ and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - rather than putting on a collar that one has not properly earned, and being focused on the "me" rather than Almighty God as the source of authority that makes the demons eventually expose themselves. Certainly, priests and clergy who have earned the collar may wear them, that is their right and even duty. Those of us who are truly Christian demonologists must remember our proper role, that of humbly aiding and supporting the Church as a whole and just doing our part in the ongoing spiritual war that is raging all around us. Our role and mission is diagnostic in nature - we are there to find out what is there, and if something paranormal, or preternatural is there, then do our best to find out who, but it must be done properly, and with a full, cogent understanding of our true identity and done in true humility, not in false identity and with overblown sense of self.

Yes, sometimes (in minor cases) we can deal with the demonic properly, but my own position is to not be a lone ranger, and to call in a priest or clergy and together, deal with a solution to clearing, exorcising, and binding the demon. To my way of thinking, it is the Church calling upon Jesus Christ that must deal with the dark powers...not lone rangers posing as clergy. The Church, properly understood, is those followers of Christ who are individually gifted with specific roles to play within the mission of God, who come together to accomplish and advance His kingdom. Indeed, 1 Peter 5:5 reads, "In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

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