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Sincere, but is it trustworthy?
on 30 October 1998
In many ways, this book seems useless. If you already accept Prince's personal views on demonic influence and possession, then (from a practical standpoint) this book will add little. And if you're a person who must evaluate the evidence before accepting it, well, you won't find any detailed case studies here to support Prince's claims.
You'll just have to choose whether or not Prince seems credible, and go from there.
Prince means well, and seems sincere. And, remarkably, his basic theology (which is, in fact, quite basic) seems on the money. Possession occurs because people allow it to, by providing vulnerabilities for demons to exploit. Christians have power over demons only through Christ. We should not try to learn directly from demons, as they will always seek to mislead. We best deal with demons by not having idols in our lives and by obeying God. I was surprised that, at the core, Prince's ideas of Christian life do not deviate from clear simple truth as espoused in the Bible.
Still, the big problem with this book is that Prince offers no means by which to weigh his experiences and testimony. No corroborative evidence is presented, and sometimes Prince's views on the demonic border of ludicrousness. For example, almost every sort of human evil, obsession, andexcess is attributed to direct demonic influence/possession: hate, anger, overreating, smoking, drinking, fear, flatulence, etc. (I'm not kidding! I wouldn't have been surprised to see Prince state, "Last night a demon of urination overcame me, so I went into the bathroom and expelled it.")
Prince even describes the "demon of nicotene" as a real entity, although nicotene did not exist when the angels were created. He immediately senses and casts out the "demon of allergies" from a six-year-old boy who won't eat. There's even the "demon of death" who can be rebuked in any situation. Prince sees little natural order in the world; almost everything is relegated to the demonic. My experiences as a thoughtful and maturing Christian have been much different than his.
The few long testimonies are either totally amazing or utterly fabricated. (One testimony in particular has it all: Although he was a Christian who wept over the souls of the lost, this fellow also did every sort of occult activity, taught obviously occult things to his church fellows without even noticing the discrepancy, was latently homosexual, had transsexual feelings, was obese, violent, angry, etc. Then he had a bunch of demons cast of him, and life returned to normal, praise God!) Prince also talks about how his wife Ruth got laid on hands by the wrong Christian, and a spirit of arthritis passed into her unknowingly, and she had to cast it out. Now we're passing out of the Scripture realm into mysticism, and sincerity only goes so far. It's time for the reader to tread carefully!
Scripture does seem to describe both natural sickness and demonic influence. Christ both healed disease and cast out demons. Prince's testimony is useful for reminding the Christian that demons are real, and can throw their weight behind seemingly innocuous or "natural" weaknesses. They are not to be ignored or forgotten. But seeing a demon behind every evil or weakness is almost psychotic, and ignores the broken nature of man on his own recognizance. Prince seems to pass from imbued vision to sheer fantasy in this book. I plan to get a refund.
For a more credible (although still questionable) account of possession, read Martin's "Hostage to the Devil." This book ain't it.