At one point, the disciples of Jesus witness someone using his name to cast out demons. This troubled them. Here's Mark 9:38-39:
The implication seems to be that this man was not (yet?) a true believer, but was successfully performing exorcisms nonetheless. And yet, we are later told that such exorcisms are in fact a sign of true believers. This is Mark 16:17-18:
So, is casting out demons a sign of a true believer, or not?
This problem doesn't strike me as difficult. Firstly, the verse in Mark 16:17 is part of the "Longer Ending of Mark", which is regarded by many scholars as suspect, and probably not part of the original gospel.
But even if we put that aside, is there really a contradiction? I think not. Jesus himself seems to imply that the man performing exorcisms was well on his way to becoming a genuine believer.
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