It was sometime during the year 1997 that I began to experience things in the spirit that were a bit unusual from the past...

Tony Loeffler
Tony Loeffler

I was seeing rather clearly and perhaps too clearly that Satan and his regime of falling angels have infiltrated many areas of life. They were obviously very active within the world. One only needs to think about all the rapes, robberies, violence, and senseless killings, just to name a few that go on in our world everyday, to realize that these demons are active.

But what about them operating in our families? Or you could say, what about their involvement and infiltration in the Body of Christ? We all seem to go through life thinking that these unclean spirits mainly operate in what we consider the bad places. The reality is that their most strategic operations are within the body of believers, as they know quite well where the power to defeat them comes from.

What do you do though if you are raised in the faith like me? My wife and I joined a church that was considered one of the best in the New York Metropolitan area. This church had the respect of many other denominations and also had a good history of missionary support and evangelism. No one ever said anything bad about the testimony of this church. At least they never said anything to my wife or me. The church taught the word of God faithfully also conveying a strong dispensational point of view.

This was all fine with me until I was physically attacked by my first demon in July of 1997 at a Christian Festival in Devon, England. I'll never forget the experience. I had finished my performances and was enjoying some worship in one of the tents when someone came and said, "Tony, can you help us, a woman needs help in the next tent?" My response of course was to go and see what was going on.

Now earlier that day Joe, a drummer friend of mine and I had a chat about a story that was printed in an international contemporary Christian music magazine about Beverley, a great sax player from Florida who performed with Van Morrison in the past. The story talked about some miraculous events that Beverley went through, which we had no problem understanding. But, then the story continued to include more details of when she went to her apartment and saw a demon in her kitchen.

At this, Joe says to me, "I'm tired of these demons in cornflake stories. What about you Tony?" I said, "Me too Joe, I just don't understand how this magazine even prints stuff like this." Don't get me wrong, I had the utmost respect for the leadership of this particular magazine, but my exposure to this spiritual side of life was quite limited. By the way, that was the last time I ever mocked or laughed at something that the Lord permitted to occur.

What was about to happen to me next is something that you just don't go looking for, at least not as a fundamental evangelical who had little experience in this area of life. Since then, I've learned that some of the most uncomfortable or unreasonable moments are the ones filled with the most precious qualities of the Kingdom of God.

As I left the worship tent I was reassured of the nearness of God by a momentary vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. I didn't know it at the moment but I would know it later that evening. I saw what looked like a large mist but in it was the figure of the Lord. It made no sense to me at the moment, as a matter of fact I did a double take to see what it was and it was gone. So I concluded rather quickly that it must have been a figment of my imagination perhaps caused by the different lighting from inside the tent and going to the outside where there was less lighting. But later that evening the Lord revealed to me that it was Him and it reassured me that all this was part of God's design for my journey in life.

Once inside the tent where this lady was struggling, I asked her some questions. "Excuse me, can you tell me what is bothering you?" The response was strange. I couldn't really detect her answer, never saw her face and only heard this strange voice saying, "I don't want to talk to you." As I continued to press in for some response, the voice got louder, growling like, and even more angry. The more I tried to reason with her, the more unnatural the voice became. My first thought was that this woman was either emotionally disturbed or mentally ill and needed some serious counseling.

Finally after a good amount of effort on my part, I asked the people who were kneeling and praying for her if anyone knew her name. Someone said, "It is Ruth." So I said, "Well Ruth, since you don't want to tell me what is going on, I'm just going to pray for you and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to comfort you and help you."

As soon as I began to pray for Ruth, just as I was ready to mention the Lord Jesus Christ, I was attacked by a very violent demon. I mean this thing wanted to tear my head off. The sequential timing of my voice and my thoughts of the Lord Jesus Christ and the attack of this demon were very clear confirmation that at that moment, I was in a spiritual battle. But, what was I going to do with my limited exposure and experience?

Fortunately, I had heard a story in Walla Walla, Washington at a homeless awareness tour that I performed. I wasn't sure if I agreed with it or not at the time, but at least I had it as a reference point. This story was about a pastor who had a deliverance ministry. At that time I didn't even know what that was. All I remember is that he would torment the demons with the name of Jesus Christ and the power of the blood and of course they would listen to him.

As this older, lightweight woman was about to tear my head off with the strength of twenty men, I was able to get the words out of my mouth, "In Jesus Name, get off me." And they did. The woman fell to the ground like a dead weight and the battle continued for about 40 minutes before the three demons were gone.

Man, this was the terror of my life. I never expected it, never looked for it, never wanted it. I only was asking at that time in my life, "Lord, please give me more. I don't want to just get up each day and do the same routine. Give me more Lord." I'm not sure if I had known at that time where that prayer was heading if I would have voluntarily asked for more. But now, Wow! Give me more Lord!

In that battle with those demons, when I hardly even knew what I was doing, I thought they had teeth. This one did try to bite me but got nowhere. Once I executed the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, those demons were simply helpless.

From the day of my conversion I launched out into the ministry of evangelism and many came and continue to come to Christ for forgiveness and reconciliation. One problem I had was that my church did not inform me well on what to do if I was ever attacked by a demon. Because of this lack of balance in my spiritual education and experience, I developed an unhealthy view and fear of the powers of darkness.

Not only did I have an imbalance as to the power of darkness, thinking they were more powerful than they were, but also a lack of understanding of the real power that came with a life in Jesus Christ. Now things are much different. Now I know that demons don't have teeth. The power of life and the power of light, darkness never has and never will put out. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.