Hostage to the Devil - Reissue: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans by Malachi Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've finished reading this for the third or fourth time. It isn't the kind of book that you enjoy, but it is fascinating. Each time I have read it, I felt like I have peeled back a layer in the study of spirituality. Because of an incident in my life, I can say that the book is an accurate description of the way evil beings act. It also reflects the same reality that C. S. Lewis portrays in Screwtape, and, of course, reflects what we know of evil from the Bible.
This time I paid more attention to the the way evil spirits attempt to possess people...what windows of opportunity people provide them with and how they go about deceiving humans. The author deals with that question, but he also says it is hard to understand just why some people are chooses and others flirt with evil and recover.
In their comments several people seem negative about the Roman Catholic Church and the rituals established to deal with possession, but they seem to be the only denomination with a consistent and established ritual for defending and rescuing people who are possessed. C. S. Lewis said that the devil uses different ways of tempting people based on their culture. One of its best attacks is to describe him as a horned being in his red pajamas with a trident and ask how anyone can believe in him. Other generations have been encouraged to see him around every corner. Either way works. Most people have no idea whom to contact when someone they love is in trouble and they have tried counseling, psychiatry, and approached various pastors and ministers. They end up being referred to the Catholic Church which does recognize possession and has exorcist who are willing to offer themselves as a hostage to the devil.
If you are looking for wild scenes and descriptions of non stop horrors, this won't be the right book for you. If you would like to understand this complicated and dangerous subject and understand it in ways that relate to your own life, this book is tremendously important. While it is about possession, it also helps to understand the way the devil works in day to day temptations.
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