I’m perpetually amazed and amused at the naiveté of many seemingly mature and multi-degreed Christians when it comes to a difficulty in acknowledging the prince of demons. They are quite reluctant to give the devil his due. It’s as though being well-educated precludes a belief in the supernatural–particularly the part of the supernatural that is evil. Most likely, backing off on doctrines of demons represents a futile attempt to defer criticism from the secular world. But as I point out in Satan’s Top Ten Tricks, invisibility is his best trick of all.
The fact is that Jesus spent a good deal of His ministry casting out demons. And He granted that authority to His disciples as well. What He cast out were not symbols or metaphors for various illnesses like schizophrenia, influenza or epilepsy. He threw out actual entities who sometimes sought other dwellings (Luke 8:32, Luke 11:24).
“He (satan) allows himself to be cast aside like some embarrassingly eccentric Uncle Nick who was somehow inadvertently not sent an invitation to the wedding. There are a few old members of our family we wouldn’t want our new in-laws to meet, now would we?” That line is from my book Jesus v. satan: The Message of the Wilderness Temptations. The fact that he allows himself to be parodied and seen as a caricature cartoon character is part of his invisibility
Jesus mentions Satan some 15 times. That is a not insignificant number of references. I believe that if we acknowledge Jesus as Lord then (unfortunately) we have to acknowledge his adversary and his demonic helpers as well. We can’t just pick and choose; it is part of our Christian DNA. We are also called to engage in spiritual warfare. It is in Mark’s version of the great commission (16:15). However, per C.S. Lewis’s famous dictum, it is not good to get obsessive about demons either; when we do we make an idol out of them and are in danger of losing our focus on Jesus, the bondage breaker.