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Free Church Pastors in Germany – Perceptions of Spirit Possession and Mental Illness

Michael Grossklaus

This book focuses on Free Church pastors in Germany and their perceptions of spirit possession and mental illness. To explore Free Church pastors’ understanding of spirit possession and mental illness is critical in light of the overlap of symptoms. Misdiagnosis may result in a client receiving treatment that may not be appropriate. Interviews with Free Church pastors were conducted. The results were analysed and four themes were identified. Based on these interviews conclusions could be drawn which ultimately made it clear that the German free church pastors’ theological training needs to be supplemented in the area of psychology and that the pastors are unable to cope in the area of «spirit possession or mental illness».

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2 Theology and Spirit Possession


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2  Theology and Spirit Possession

Chapter 2 mentioned the definitions of the terms theology and spirit procession, also the historic development of the term spirit possession in theological Context. Hereafter it is shown how the pastors are trying to ascertain the spirit possession, respectively to diagnose it and how especially difficult it is for these professional groups to put this proceeding in practice. As a thematic completion follows the theological-biblical perspective about spirit possession in Old and New Testament at the end of the chapter.

2.1  What is Theology?

Theology is a word from the Greek language (qeos and logos) and means the words or the teaching of or about God and describes the teachings and contents of, in this case, the Christian religion. Since Christianity is a book religion, like Islam and Judaism, too, Christian theology is thus based on the texts of the Bible, that is on the Old and New Testaments and what has been said about them in the course of over 2000 years of church history. Similar to psychology, theology also has various sub-disciplines. These include church history, dogmatic (different Christian teachings), exegesis (interpretation of biblical texts), homiletics (learning to preach) and practical theology (for example weddings, funerals, communion). The sub-discipline of angelology, that is to say the teaching about angels, can be found in the area of dogmatic. Here the subject of demons is also dealt with.

Theology overlaps with psychology at...

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