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glimpses of the devil

Published in 1978, The Road Less Traveled by Dr. M. Scott Peck has sold over 6 million copies in North America alone, and has been translated into 20+ languages. In 1992 Dr. Peck was acknowledged by the American Psychiatric Association as a distinguished psychiatrist lecturer "for his outstanding achievement in the field of psychiatry as an educator, researcher and clinician.”

1984 Dr Peck was the recipient of the Kaleidoscope Award for Peacemaking. 1994 he was awarded the Temple International Peace Prize. 1996 Georgetown Universtity awarded him its Learning, Faith and Freedom Medal.
After all his awards and success Dr. Peck fell out of favor as he became more adamant about his faith. In his final book, published the year he died, Dr. Peck opined, “There are two states of being: submission to God and goodness, or the refusal to submit to anything beyond one’s own will. We must ultimately belong either to God or the devil.”

Glimpses of the Devil, Dr. Peck’s final book, offers detailed accounts and clinical analysis of his personal involvement in two exorcisms. Should you desire more in-depth exploration of demonic possession than is available in the Bible or theological books, this book is for you.

I’m not sure what to make of
Glimpses of the Devil. And to his credit, Dr. Peck was unsure how to interpret what he experienced. In contrast to my own theology, his was existential. By that I mean Dr. Peck experienced things and then sought from the Bible or Christian teaching some validation for, or explanation of that experience.

My upbringing and academics were more biblically centered. I was trained to pursue experiences recorded in the Bible, and to
slough off what is not found in Scripture. Because demonic possession is recorded in the Bible, early on I accepted the possibility a person might operate under the power of some demonic influence.

Only late in life and quite reluctantly did Dr. Peck consider the possibility of demonic possession, and only after psychiatric and science failed. “We humans have a remarkable capacity to overlook things we don’t believe in,” he explained. When his medical profession could offer no help he at last looked to the Bible and reluctantly turned to church teaching. His divine vocation to minister to even the most damaged people drove him to push beyond the borders of his training and prejudice.

To the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Peck became persona non grata. But by that time he characterized cultural accolades as hollow, more often avenues for personal profit than pathways for helping others.

“To most in our culture the subject of Satan seems esoteric indeed,” acknowledged Dr. Peck. “But then I’m not sure how seriously most take God either. The problem is that ours is a materialistic culture. But both God and Satan are spirit.

“An early Christian theologian wrote about God, ‘The most we can hope for is to get a glimpse of His footprints on the ramparts He has walked.’” ~

Dan Nygaard