In case you’re not familiar with Larson he is a long time Christian radio personality who claims to be an expert on cults, the occult, and supernatural phenomena. [Since this article was written in 2004 Bob Larson has also had a reality TV show called “The Real Exorcist”.] Actually that’s not quite fair. Larson is an expert on cults and alternative religious practices and has written some very good reference materials on the subject. His focus these days though is on his so called deliverance ministry.
Larson first came to widespread attention within the Christian community during the 80’s when his radio program Talk Back aired on hundreds of stations nationwide. During the show he would take calls from listeners who were struggling with everything from satanic ritual sexual abuse, to demonic oppression and even possession. He even took calls from critics and those who seemed to be wildly opposed to what he was doing. Needless to say the broadcast usually got quite contentious, making for some very compelling radio. It was during this time that Larson seemed to move away from being a Christian apologist and researcher to become more of what one would call a deliverance minister.
During his heyday and even recently, Larson has appeared on numerous television shows including Oprah, Donahue, Montel, Sally Jesse, Larry King Live, & Politically Incorrect. His focus always seems to be satanic cults and activity. According to Larson, satanic cults are widespread in our society and extremely dangerous. Many day care centres are fronts for satanic cults who wish to indoctrinate and sexually abuse our children. Virtually all our problems, as individuals and as a society are caused by demons. For Larson, there is a demon behind every corner and of course he is one of the few people on earth with the expert knowledge to effectively deal with them.
Larson conducts what he calls Spiritual Freedom Conferences in cities around the country almost every weekend. In fact he spent quite a bit of time in this one talking about how often he flies and how many cities he’s visited in recent years.
The conference is a 2 day event with the first evening being free and open to the public. The second requires a reservation and costs $39 at the door. [This article was written in 2004.]
According to the promotional material the Spiritual Freedom Conference is designed to: “Find the person God meant you to be”.
Bob draws upon his more than 20 years of experience investigating the occult to reveal how evil influences people’s lives. Unlike the Hollywood version of the occult, Bob’s conferences feature the supernatural centre stage without smoke and mirrors! He teaches his audiences about the many ways that evil attacks human beings. “The devil traffics in human suffering,” Bob explains, “and we take people to the ‘point of the pain’ to discover where their souls have been scarred, allowing Satan to torment them. Sometimes, exorcism is part of the healing process that follows.”
The first thing that one receives when attending is a resource catalogue displaying all Bob’s books, tapes, and training programs. The catalogue header claims that this is: ”Information that you can’t get anywhere else”.
I’ll vouch for that claim because the information presented certainly is not found in the Bible
There were approximately 50 people in attendance for the free portion of the seminar including 10-12 who were either part of Larson’ travelling group or were part of the local deliverance team known as the DWJD (Do What Jesus Did) group.
Bob Larson claims that he has performed more exorcisms than any person on the planet. He takes pride in this. It is interesting to note that the word exorcist occurs only once in the Bible. Found in Acts 19:13 and is the Greek word exorkiste which means conjurer. That is an accurate description of what I witnessed.
After beginning with a worship song Larson launched into a pitch for his latest book, introduced several members of the DWJD team and began recounting various exorcisms that he and they have been through. Throughout the evening Larson touted these local deliverance teams that he is “planting” in cities throughout the country. He explained that even after he leaves an area the deliverance team remains to minister to those who need it. I later discovered why he is so excited about these deliverance groups. (Hint – it involves money!)
While talking to one of his DWJD leaders Larson began to speak of abandonment issues. He told the story of one person who was demon possessed because her parents left her in day care. According to Larson, the demon told him that he had entered the girl at the age of 2 when she was left in day care. This day care facility was a front for a satanic cult. Cult members dressed in priestly robes sexually molested the children. Larson called this the curse of Melchizedek. He claimed that this is the curse under which the Catholic Church is operating.
To attach the name of Melchizedek to the sin of paedophilia borders on blasphemy. Here’s what the Bible says about Melchizedek:
“….King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Heb 7:2-3)
Melchizedek was an Old Testament manifestation of Jesus. He was a King of righteousness and peace. It is not surprising that a demon would want to attach such a vile sin to that name. What was surprising was that a supposed man of God would believe the demon and perpetuate that idea. This was only the beginning of Larson’s extra biblical pronunciations.
After this, Larson asked for any person who was born out of wedlock or felt abandoned by a parent to stand for prayer. About a dozen people stood. The first thing he did was tell them that the feelings they had were not their fault.
He first went to one young man on the front row and prayed. When he did, the young man began to growl in a demonic voice. Bob hugged the young man close to him for a few seconds but did not attempt to cast out the supposed demon. Then he called for his DWJD team to come forward and help pray for these people. He asked several times for the team to disperse and pray for the people standing but they never did. They all seemed to want to stand around Bob as he went from one person to another. After praying for about three people and anointing them with oil he brought forth a particular girl named DeeDee (not her real name). This began an hour long deliverance session and the other 8 or 9 people who were standing for prayer never got prayer. Very strange.
From that point on DeeDee became the star of the show. Under questioning from Bob she admitted that she had been born out of wedlock, that she never knew her father until she was 12 and that she herself had born three children out of wedlock. This all seemed very embarrassing to her. I found out later that she had already been going through some deliverance sessions with the local DWJD group. Anyway, Larson hugged her and loved her and assured her that nothing was her fault. All her problems were because of the curse of the bastard.
Larson claims this curse comes to persons who are born or conceived out of wedlock based on Deut 23:2: “A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD”. Larson stated that people born out of wedlock always have a hard time going into a church or becoming a part of a church group. This he said was the basis of DeeDee’s problems.
During a deliverance session Larson calls up demons and converses with them. He “forces” them to tell him how they came in, by what “right” do they stay, what generational curse they have brought with them, etc. He also calls on a person “alters” meaning alternate personalities which he says are not demons but are personalities developed by the individual to “protect” themselves, for example protection from further emotional harm. He says some alters are good and some are bad. Working with the alters can help determine which demons are present.
He does not simply tell a demon to depart in Jesus name. He spends a great deal of time conversing with the demon and asking questions. Somehow he assumes they are telling the truth, probably because of his great power over them. Sometimes he asks them “are you telling the truth?”
Larson uses the “sword of the spirit” by placing a bible physically on the demonized person. This appears to cause them great discomfort. While two male deliverance team members physically held her, DeeDee struggled, writhed around and screamed as if in pain whenever Larson touched her with the Bible. He actually “stabs” the demon with the “sword” (bible) which appears to force the demon to tell him what he wants to know. Under questioning the demon finally admitted that it had gained entrance to DeeDee’s family line seven generations back when her ancestors sacrificed pigs and called on demon spirits for power.
Eventually Larson and the deliverance team got through all DeeDee’s “alters” found the source of her curse and expelled her demons sending them to “the pit” and to “torment”. As I said, it was quite a show.
As I was watching this farce I was asking God what was really going on here. It was clear that I was seeing demonic manifestations but it was also clear that Larson and his team were using non scriptural means of dealing with them. The first word that the Lord brought up in my spirit was conjurer. Then the Lord clearly spoke to me the words Simon the sorcerer.
In Acts 8 we see the story of a man named Simon who practised sorcery. He was a Samaritan and had bewitched the people of that region with his great power. Simon offered the apostles money in exchange for power of the Holy Spirit. Peter rebuked him and told him that he needed to repent. There is no evidence in scripture that Simon ever did repent.
Historical documents indicate that Simon became a leader in a pseudo Christian sect known as the Gnostics. This is from the Greek word gnosis meaning to know. Gnosticism is the idea that God has revealed additional knowledge beyond the scriptures. This additional knowledge is required if one wants to truly seek God. What Bob Larson practices is Gnosticism.
In Larson’s world, casting out a demon is a complex process. Only a person with the knowledge he possesses could possibly be successful. A simple believer, one who obeys the words of the Lord could not possibly do what he does. No, a simple “come out in Jesus name” would never work. You must first determine the name of the lead demon, discover the source of his entrance, find out the curse under which he is allowed to stay, deal with any “alters” the person has developed as a defence mechanism. It’s all very complicated. Larson himself said that after thirty years he is still coming across new curses and new spiritual rules by which demons dominate people.
I felt sorry for the people present. They were obviously mesmerized by this man and his supposed power over demons. They were captivated by the idea that with proper knowledge they too could have extraordinary power over the powers of darkness.
What was missing from all this was any presentation of the gospel. Not once did Larson or any of his team preach repentance from dead works and faith toward God. DeeDee was told that her having children out of wedlock was not her fault. It was the fault of her ancestors. Demons caused her to do what she did.
The truth is that while people may be pre-disposed to certain sins due to the iniquity of the fathers (see Ex 34:7), each one of us is ultimately responsible for our own behaviour. What DeeDee needed to do was confess her sin before God and ask God to grant her repentance. She should turn to God and believe the gospel which is the true power of God.
Casting out devils is a sign that is to follow the preaching of the Gospel
Mark 16:15-17: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”
The signs should never be the focus themselves. They are only seen as proof of the power of the death, burial, and resurrection, of the Lord Jesus.
Like Simon, Bob Larson has attached money to the supposed power of the Holy Spirit. Earlier I told you how excited Bob was to plant these DWJD deliverance teams across the country. He should be excited because to become a member of the DWJD team you must first pay Larson $4,000. I am not making this up. You can see it for yourself on his website.
And the $4,000 fee is only the beginning. After that you must attend Larson’s workshops and seminars on topics like “ Uncovering the Mystery of Multiple Personalities” only $299 plus transportation and lodging.
Please note that this article was written in 2004 and figures are not updated
Or perhaps you’d like to attend one of Larson’s 5 day “Restoration Retreats”. During these five days, Bob Larson, along with a staff of medical and mental health experts, financial advisors and experienced lay ministers, will minister to your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Only $1,500 (tax deductible) plus transportation.
If you don’t have time to travel you can take advantage of Bob Larson’s expertise by phone in the privacy of your own home or office. Larson’s personal coaching program is “A 12-step program designed to meet your needs and goals. Your journey to full spiritual potential begins with your very own Personal Profile. This 20-page spiritual diagnosis will uncover crucial aspects of your life. Bob will personally pray over your Profile and God will reveal to him the keys to your freedom and spiritual development.” Only $199 per week payable in three easy instalments.
If you can’t do that, there are plenty of books and tapes available to you such as:
Larson’s Book Of Spiritual Warfare ($15.99)
All you need to know about demons, deliverance, angels, exorcism, Satanism, witchcraft, the occult, and psychic phenomena.
The Four Laws of Spiritual Warfare (video $29.95)
Learn how to confront, identify, deal with, and cast out demons.
The Warfare Workshop (Six one hour tapes $49.95)
In this series you’ll learn:
How a Christian can have a demon
How to know if you have a demon
How to call up a demon
What Scriptures Satan Hates Most
Quite a profitable little business he’s got going here isn’t it?
All this reminds me of the simple words of Jesus when He said unto them “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And don’t forget your checkbook!”
Steve Lumbley 2004
[This article may be reproduced and distributed free of charge as long as it remains in its original form]
Pastor Bob DeWaay has written extensively on deliverance ministries and spiritual warfare. For additional study see his excellent article: