I was saved as a teenager in a small Southern Baptist Church, and because I have always lived around Tulsa, I have been intrigued by the charismatic movement, which seems a very exciting form of Christianity. I have wrestled with doctrines about the Holy Spirit, and welcomed Him into my life, to fill me and work through me. I have also been cautious about some of the teachings that come from the charismatic branch of Christianity. Indeed, all flavors of Christianity have some teachings that need to be examined against the Scriptures and laid aside.
In January, 2012, our pastor at The Church at BattleCreek (Alex Himaya of thechurch.at) began a sermon series called Giants, where he took the story of David and Goliath as an allegory for the “giants” we fight in our life. During this series, he led the congregation in a series of prayers that were uncharacteristic for our church—a church that had Baptist roots, with a lead pastor with Baptist roots. The prayers were legalistic, both in the delivery (congregants repeated each line that he spoke) and content (“I cancel, renounce, sever & nullify any powers, gifts or workings”—the language of a legal contract). At one point, our pastor specifically addressed Satan: “Satan, I command that you give me back…”
It was at this point that my husband stopped agreeing with the prayer and became a bit alarmed. Years and years before, he had studied Jude at work with a Christian co-worker, who taught verse 8-9: “In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 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’!” My husband had learned to be cautious in addressing celestial beings, and he was concerned that our leader was calling on everyone in the room—lost, saved, mature, or young in the faith—to speak directly to Satan.
This sermon was not isolated. Over the next several weeks, we continued to be led in prayers with this element of legalism and addressing Satan. My husband drafted an email to our pastor, who responded in kind. In his brief email, Alex recommended we read Ephesians 6, 2 Corinthians 10, and a book on demonology by Dr. Joseph Allbright called Liberating the Bruised. The two passages he referenced speak about spiritual warfare: it exists, and Christians should be prepared for it. These passages were not unfamiliar to us, but they also did not shed light on our concerns. Allbright’s book, however, only increased our alarm.
The book by Dr. Joseph Allbright Liberating the Bruised claims to provide details about what spiritual warfare looks like. In reading it, it became obvious that the prayers that Alex was using in the Giants series were purporting to deliver us from ancestral demons and to break ancestral curses. Allbright contributes to the teaching in the church known as deliverance ministry. The concept of breaking curses, as a Christian concept, was new to my husband.
Here are just a few of Joseph Allbright's teachings that caused us concern:
- Born again, Spirit-filled believers can and do have demons, just like the people in the bible that have traditionally been referred to as demon-possessed.
- In such cases, the Holy Spirit dwells together with demons in the body of a believer.
- Christians often have “ancestral demons” from birth because God’s law requires it. This punishment by demon is because of sin committed by one’s ancestors. (Joseph Allbright and his deliverance counselors claim to have figured out how to cast out this punishment.)
- Christians may be "partially saved." They can have other personalities within them that are not saved. During a session with a deliverance counselor, these other personalities can be led to salvation so that the person is completely saved.
- These unsaved personalities are created when someone receives a traumatic emotional injury, creating a fragmented personality. This alternate/fragmented personality becomes frozen at the age of the injury and can be addressed in deliverance counseling. This personality usually "needs to be saved" and united to the person's "core personality."
- Not only does God create us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13), but demons are also busy at this time creating an alternate personality in the unborn child. (Note that this is a different personality from the other multiple personalities discussed above. Allbright calls it a "flip-side" personality.)
- When a demon is cast out of a born again, Spirit-filled believer, the demon can come back if the person does not “take back the lost ground.” The presence of the Holy Spirit in a Christian is insufficient to keep the demon from coming back.
- Speaking in tongues by Christians is of demonic origin.
In the spring of 2012, a deliverance ministry called Peace in the House has been present and working on the TCABC campus, operated by people trained in the teachings of Joseph Allbright. This ministry is currently listed on the TCABC (theChurch.at) website as a prayer ministry.
The Church at BattleCreek (theChurch.at) is large, and there are many people serving and learning in its various ministries. We had been involved in The Church at BattleCreek since its beginning, and we had no idea that Alex held to these teachings. Joseph Allbright's book is available in the church's bookstore; the ministry is promoted on the website. Yet we believe it rests on false teaching, and we could not continue serving there. It seemed to us that this teaching was being done quietly in a corner. We were told this was not the case. Since it is a public ministry, we feel it is appropriate to call attention to it publicly. We would have appreciated knowing about it earlier on in our ten-year involvement in The Church at BattleCreek.
Johnny & Angie Ellis