JOHN WESLEY AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE (2)
Wesley believed that sickness and misfortune could be caused by evil spirits. He attributed nearly all accidents as well as calamities of nature to the devil. The only difference between his view and that of Luther’s is that his does not seem to attribute all sickness and misfortune to the enemy, but mixes in with it the element of natural occurrence. He believed Christians could be possessed as well. Of course, this could only happen by “divine permission.” Epilepsy was often the result of demonizing. He gives several cases of such disease, where the afflicted person believed that he or she was possessed by an evil spirit, and who were partially or completely cured by spiritual deliverance.
There is often a strong relationship between spiritual deliverance and physical healing. Often physical problems are also gone when the demons leave. That is because the demons were causing the physical problems. Examples of these in the Bible include: crippled limbs (Luke 13:11), Paul’s thorn in the flesh (eye disease? – II Corinthians 12:7), muteness (sometimes dumbness, too – Matthew 9:32-33; 12:22; Mark 9:17-18,24-25), blindness (Matthew 12:22), seizures (Mark 1:26; 9:17-18,20,22,25; Matthew 17:15,18; Luke 9:39), deafness (Mark 9:17-18,20,25), sores (skin cancer?) (Job 2:7), boils and other painful afflictions (Psalm 78:49 – the plagues in Egypt were demon-caused), and physical torments of all kinds (Revelation 9:5,10). The Bible states that Satan can cause illness (Job 2:7-8), even death (Job 1:19). Physical healing can be a result of deliverance. If any of the demons were causing physical problems those problems will be resolved when the demons are removed.
It must be noted that not all illness is demonic in origin. Jesus healed physical ills that weren’t demonic (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16-17 fulfilled Isaiah 53:4; Mark 1:34; Acts 10:34; etc.). The Bible clearly talks about illnesses that are not demonic: severe pain (Matthew 4:24), seizures (Matthew 4:24), paralysis (Matthew 4:24; Acts 8:7), leprosy (Matthew 10:8), blindness (Luke 7:21), crippled limbs (Acts 8:7) and many other various diseases (Matthew 4:24). The fact that some physical ailments are on both lists (like seizures) shows that many ailments may have demonic or natural causes. They could be from one source or the other.
Jesus often cast out demons and cured illness at the same time. Jesus said he would do this (Luke 13:32). He did this at the start of His ministry (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41), around Tyre and Sidon (Mark 3:10-12; Luke 6:18-19), and in the middle of His ministry (Luke 7:21). Many female followers of Jesus were cured of both (Luke 8:2).