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Shepherds and Demons

A Study of Exorcism as Practised and Understood by Shepherds in the Malagasy Lutheran Church

Series:

Hans Austnaberg

The Malagasy revival movement, which started in 1894 and operates within the structure of the historical churches, continues to have a profound impact on Protestant church life. This book focuses on exorcism as practised and understood by the so-called shepherds (lay, unsalaried, consecrated church workers) and defines «exorcism» as the expulsion of demons and prayer with the laying on of hands. This study, with Malagasy actors at its centre, argues that exorcism constitutes a synthesis between the biblical message and the traditional Malagasy culture. The shepherds, who vehemently oppose traditional religion, understand exorcism as a practice appropriate for people with a wide variety of problems, and they assert that the purpose of exorcism is to create a living faith in Jesus. The shepherds consider the battle with demons absolutely decisive because it concerns nothing less than salvation or condemnation.