Sinner's Prayer and Exorcisms

I’ll start off saying that I’m not positive if this thread will belong here, so please move if necessary.

I’ve never really heard of exorcisms done in the Protestant branch of Christianity before, so I found this curious and interesting. I admit, I don’t know a whole lot about exorcisms, or at least any in depth detail. I had a course on demons (and a corresponding course on angels) in college, but they didn’t cover too much on religion specific handling of demons.

More to the point, my sister fell asleep watching a channel which I assume had movies on at some point, but when I had walked in, whatever she was watching previously had ended. What was on was an obviously Evangelical TV talk show program. With yesterday being Halloween, they had on a kid who had apparently been possessed by a demon, or rather a demon entered his body and was in the process of possessing him (because they never suggested that the kid wasn’t in control of his body), after having done paranormal investigation as part of an assignment for English class for a “choose-your-own-topic” assignment.

At the end of the introduction video, the father of the kid sat with with him in the living room and started reading from the Gospels, or as they said “describing the Gospels to him” (with the kid apparently twitching as he read). Then they finished with the father “guiding” his son through the sinner’s prayer. The kid said that he could immediately feel a weight lifted from him, and his father said his eyes went back to normal (after pupils had dilated), and a smile came to the boy’s face.

Now, given my knowledge of exorcisms from my demons class, this might have been a proper exorcism given that some of the conditions for a successful exorcism were met, but my question is what do you guys think? Do you think this story was truthful, that it actually happened? Do you think the kid was actually possessed, or in the process of becoming possessed? Do you think that the sinner’s prayer combined with prior reading of the Gospel is a proper way of exorcising? Do you think, if the kid was possessed, or in the process of, that he was actually exorcised, or that the demon was just suppressed?

I just want to hear everyone’s thoughts on this since when we usually think of exorcisms, it is in the realm of Catholics and there is a priest doing the exorcising.

That was, as far as I can see, no possession.

Exorcism, being a special sort of blessing, can be carried out only by a bishop or an appointed priest (that is, an ordained minister), by the power of Christ and the authority of the Church. And it’s a very, very heavy struggle in which the exorcist can get in big trouble if he is not very careful, humble, in a state of grace, and in total submission to the Church.

How can someone who does not receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders or the Sacrament of Reconciliation even think of doing any of the above? :shrug:

This may have been, perhaps, some sort of disturbance that could be healed by prayer and by getting closer to God. But exorcism? No such thing. To exorcise is to command Satan to leave. If the pastor did not address the demon or Satan directly and command him directly to leave the body, it was by definition no exorcism whatsoever.

Just my two pence.

There are many Evangelical and especially Pentecostal Protestant groups who believe they are engaged in spiritual warfare and exorcism. You have already had one good answer to your post so I will just tack on to that by saying that one of the best ways to drive out evil is to invite in the good. This is the primary method used by the CC, which is taught in the form of remaining in as state of grace, and participating frequently in the sacrament life. When a room is dark, we don’t just go in and command the darkness to leave. We simply turn on the light, and there is no reason to focus on the darkness at all.

Inviting Jesus, of course, invites this Light into the human soul.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit