News/Norwegian Couple sentenced for Exorcism: - This Verdict will never stand in the Human Rights Court

Norwegian Couple sentenced for Exorcism: - This Verdict will never stand in the Human Rights Court

Translated from Norwegian from the newspaper «Norge Idag», Ingvill Mydland
April 18, 2024
Norwegian Couple sentenced for Exorcism: - This Verdict will never stand in the Human Rights CourtPOINTS TO FREEDOM OF RELIGION: Jan-Aage Torp emphasizes that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has shown no will to convict anyone of voluntary exorcism. Photo Credits: Oslokirken

A married couple was this week sentenced to seven months in prison for casting out demons, and Oslo pastor Jan-Aage Torp reacts to the verdict. - I am convinced that this should be regarded as regular Christian counseling and human compassion in Norway, says Torp.

The trial lasted five days in Buskerud District Court, and the prosecutor submitted a request for one and a half years in prison. The couple were sentenced to seven months in prison, with a deduction of 33 days after the couple were in custody. They are also ordered to pay compensation of NOK 100,000 to the offended woman, according to the newspaper Dagen.

Regarding the verdict, Oslo pastor Torp, who earlier in the 2000´s was in the media's spotlight with interviews about exorcism (more on that later), points out that there may be something to gain in an appeal case.

- Let me first emphasize the positive factor in that the sentence was significantly lower than the claim from the prosecutor. That is good, and shows that the two lay judges and the professional judge (*editors comment: according to the Norwegian legal system) have clearly decided to reduce the sentence.

Freedom of belief

Torp points out that freedom of religion is rooted in the European Convention on Human Rights, article 9, and if the case is appealed there, he is convinced that it will be rejected.

- Freedom of religion stands very strong in European legal thinking. Exorcism is not something that the ECtHR has pronounced verdicts against. That can be said quite unambiguously. I sincerely hope this couple does not give up, but that they boldly proceed with an appeal, says Jan-Aage Torp to Norge Idag.


Casting out demons is no stranger to Oslo pastor Jan-Aage Torp. He has both been accused of it, and he has also witnessed several exorcisms, and has even helped people who have asked for this ministry.

- The worldwide church practices exorcism, and it happens in Norway. If you take the New Testament, the Gospels are full of exorcisms. There was no active attempt by Jesus to cast out demons, they simply manifested when he was nearby, Torp points out.

He also points out that when Jesus preached and commanded, demons came out, and that was one of the things that caused people to be in awe of Jesus, he emphasizes.

«Sarons Dal»

When the Oslo pastor studied at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, which is the world's largest evangelical, cross-denominational theological seminary, he was influenced at that time by John Wimber's ministry, who focused heavily on exorcism. He witnessed several exorcisms.

- The first time I saw exorcism was in «Sarons Dal», when I was 15 years old. I remember the awe I felt when Aril Edvardsen spoke, and there was a man with long hair in the hall, which was common at the time, and in the middle of the preaching, this person who sat almost next to me, started screaming and jumped up, and started rolling around, frothing. That was in 1972. It was the first time I saw it in Norway, says Torp.

He has also experienced that a person came to his house in the living room and said that he needed help, because he was possessed.

- There was a person who worked in one of the largest media houses in Norway, who came to my house and said that he needed help, because he was possessed. He was very nice, and it was almost strange when it started to manifest itself, says Torp, who had not imagined that there would be a row.

- We had a normal chat, which I like best, and had a coffee together. I heard him talk about what was bothering him. This was in 1992. I was tired and suggested that we end the conversation and meet again later. I would like to end with the Lord's Prayer. Suddenly the man begins to foam and bark like a dog. He rolls off the sofa, ends up under the coffee table and screams. I simply prayed the Lord's Prayer and said «Come out in the name of Jesus!». Several years later he told me that he had been completely freed, says Torp.

Pat Robertsen visit

As far back in 1993 and 1994, the celebrity pastor Torp was in contact with circles that practiced church burnings and Satanism.

- I hosted for a week in Norway the American preacher Pat Robertsen, who warned in Grieghallen in Bergen against church burnings in Norway, and about what was happening in this country. He spoke about the demonic reality, says Torp. 

He adds that the conclusion must be overwhelming that exorcism is something the Bible elaborates on and provides for.

In the early church it is very clear, through the Roman Empire and up to the 11th century there was a lot of theology around the spirit world. When the church was split into the Eastern Church with the Greek Orthodox and the Western Church with the Roman Catholics, they continued on each side with exorcisms with confusingly similar rituals.

Through his ministry, Torp has had a lot to do with Russian Orthodoxy, as well as Romanian and Bulgarian Christians, and there is no question that even they practice exorcism.

- The Catholics have an emphasis on the liturgical, as in the Lord's Supper, with their belief that the Lord's Supper elements are actually Christ's body and Jesus' blood. This is something we have undercommunicated in our fear of becoming Catholic. But the Lord's Supper is used as a part of the exorcism, and in Lutheran infant baptism theology, the power of demons over babies is broken, based on the idea that children can be influenced whether through original sin or things that are passed down through generations. There is a clear biblical understanding of exorcism that we have distanced ourselves from, where intellectualism has prevailed over spirituality.

- There is no pastor in world Christianity today who does not believe in demons, and minister to people who want to be set free in varying degrees, says Torp, who emphasizes that this is found everywhere internationally, while many Christian leaders in Norway are often terrified of everything which can cast them in a controversial light.

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