Hostage to the Devil, by Malachi Martin

July 28, 2008 § 4 Comments

I’m curious, I know many of you have an eclectic and varied taste in reading and I was wondering if anyone else out there besides myself had read Malachi Martin’s Hostage to the Devil. This little bit of non-fiction has always presented a bit of a paradox to me. I find it invaluable reading for anyone interested in demonology, spiritual warfare, or the paranormal, yet it is such a … difficult read.

Difficult in that it is most profoundly disturbing. Basically the book chronicles 5 real life case studies of demonization (better known as “demon possession” but I take issue with the term, since that is not an accurate translation of what Scripture says.) The writer, Malachi Martin, is (was?) a former Jesuit priest who meticulously studied these occurances based on the very precise records kept by the Roman Catholic church for the exorcisms they perform. Apparently, they keep immaculate records of personal histories, including notes and written records, and also are in the habit of taping the actual exorcisms themselves with audio and video. So the “vignettes” Martin gives of each of these is very detailed.

The problem I have in recommending the book for anyone who might be interested is that the descriptions of the exorcisms themselves are so… brutal, and defiling.

I came away from this book at once admiring the RC church for at least having the integrity and courage to continue an invaluable ministry that was ordained by Christ Himself, and yet also feeling such repugnance and anger with them for how very badly they have gone about it. In one of the final case studies, the priest performing the exorcism was so brutally scarred– emotionally, psychologically and PHYSICALLY– that he immediately went into early retirement.

It just makes me question… I mean, spiritual warfare is real. Very real. Demons are out there, and they want to kill you. But the Church (as they are on so many issues) is mixed up, torn, and in many cases, in egregious error. Either they go to the extreme of ignoring this important ministry outright, or the pendulum swings the other way and people end up getting unnecessarily hurt or even killed.

It’s just one more ministry I would like to see properly restored from the proper perspective; with wisdom, discernment and love, with a healthy understanding of the Power and Authority in which it works.

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§ 4 Responses to Hostage to the Devil, by Malachi Martin

  • eric_hinkle says:

    All I know about Martin right now is that he’s been called a total con man. You might want to be cautious about taking anything he says at face value.

  • starbiter says:

    Is it just the RC church that exorcises demons?

  • DT says:

    Well, I think it is the only the RC church that refers to them as “exorcisms.” Evangelical Protestants usually refer to “deliverance” when talking about the same thing. There is less liturgy and pomp and circumstance among the Prots but it can get just as messy and bogged in man-made error.
    This has been a pet area of study of mine for many years now. It’s scary how badly these things can go.

  • DT says:

    I’ve read of some controversies surrounding him, but the claims I read seemed insufficient and unsubstantiated.
    Regardless, the info in the book still seems to be an accurate transcript of how the RC church handles demonic activity, especially in light of other sources as well.
    It doesn’t change my take on the whole thing.

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