With 25 years experience in a private psychiatric practice and as a professor at New York Medical College and Columbia University, Dr Richard Gallagher has a rare vantage point to observe human behavior. And then there is the inhuman.
He is also a sought-after psychiatrist for discernment, the initial step in determining the need for exorcism. Dr Gallagher has evaluated hundreds of cases of possible possession and, in a wide-ranging and rare interview with the Telegraph, explains why he believes the phenomenon is genuine.
Earlier I wrote about him here. As I wrote then,
The gospel is light by nature and suppresses the darkness of demonic activity; this is why demonic activity became much rarer in western civilization as the gospel spread (in contrast to pagan geographical regions). But now as the culture largely rejects the gospel and darkness descends like a wet blanket, demonic possession is becoming more widespread particularly as it is fueled by uncontrolled drug use, blase' prevalence of human sacrifice (abortion), rampant growth of the occult, gender identity confusion, skyrocketing homosexuality, escalating sexual immorality and hyper-sexuality.
From the early church writings, we know the early church fathers believed mental illness was distinct from demonic possession. John Chrysostom wrote, “Physicians, when they are kicked, and shamefully handled by the insane, then most of all pity them, and take measures for their perfect cure, knowing that the insult comes of the extremity of their disease …. If we see persons possessed by devils, we weep for them; we do not seek to be ourselves also possessed” (St. John Chrysostom, 1978, p. 127).
As I concluded,
With our culture descending into darkness and once-rare demonic possession becoming widespread, only the true gospel can restore sanity and light. The church is empowered by Christ to free those in demonic bondage, but must be willing to act as needed and use the gospel with love, wisdom, discernment, maturity and above all - faith.