PentecoStudies, Vol 13, No 1 (2014)

Countering Exorcistic Excess in Russia: A Comparison between Russian Pentecostal and Russian Orthodox Teaching on Demons and Deliverance

Torsten Löfstedt
Issued Date: 19 Mar 2014

Abstract


This study compares statements by Russian Pentecostal and Orthodox leaders about demons, curses and exorcism, and their attempts at allaying people’s fears. In both denominations there are widely differing views about how great a threat demons are and on how one is to be set free from them. The study suggests that two competing metaphors have been used when speaking of freeing people from evil spirits, the medical and the military metaphors. The medical metaphor associates evil spirits and diseases, and connects deliverance from evil spirits with healing in general, while in the military metaphor evil spirits are seen as agents of Satan. Members of the top leadership in both the Russian Orthodox Church and in Russia’s leading Pentecostal denomination (the Russian Church of Christians of the Evangelical Faith) tend toward the medical model of exorcism. They see their exorcistic ministries more as a healing ministry. While they warn their followers about engaging in the occult, they try to downplay the dualism inherent in spiritual warfare language, as it encourages division within the church and may lead to increased fear on the part of the parishioners.

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DOI: 10.1558/ptcs.v13i1.80

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