“All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…” – 2 Timothy 3:16
There is a phenomenon practised especially in some Charismatic and Pentecostal churches known as “Slain in the Spirit.” I have witnessed it in some church services I have attended in the past. Slain in the Spirit is said to be a manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit that overcomes a person to the point whereby the person falls over and loses control and consciousness of themselves. Some people claim to have felt completely paralyzed by the experience. Others say they received an overwhelming peace as a result. But on close examination, I find more relevance between occultism and ‘slain in the Spirit,’ than with Scripture and ‘slain in the Spirit.’ It seems as if we are getting closer to merging Christianity with occultism because there is so much liberalism in the Church. Interestingly enough, you will find similar practice and technique at hypnotic shows, or with the Chi energy manipulation of the Eastern religions. When I see people flying backwards, heads hitting the ground, the first thing that comes to mind is occultism.
To be clear, the Holy Spirit is NOT a Spirit of confusion. The Holy Spirit is the very third person of the Trinity (Matt. 28:19; Ac. 5:3, 4; 1 Cor. 2:10, 11), the very Spirit of the mighty living God (2 Cor. 3:17, 18, Ro. 8:9), and not just a loose force in the world that you toss to people like a football. He is not something you blow on people and they fall, No! You don’t blow on people the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter (John 14:16), not the slayer. How could the Holy Spirit cause anyone to lose control of themselves, let alone cause them to be hurt when the scripture says (Galatians 5:22-23) the Holy Spirit produces self-control, peace, gentleness? How can the Holy Spirit be involved in such a dangerous activity where people are knocked over and so easily hurt as a result? I don’t think the Holy Spirit wants you smashing your head, but I can think of someone who does – Satan. Many people have even been injured in these antics, Churches have been sued and ordered to pay compensation. I wonder if these Churches go to court claiming the Holy Spirit is responsible for the accidents, just as they claim that the Holy Spirit is behind the act of being ‘slain in Spirit.’ There is a difference between God giving you His Spirit and God attacking you with the power of His Spirit.
The immediate result of the Spirit indwelling (baptizing) those in the upper room was evangelism. The newly-indwelt disciples began to preach the Gospel in the street, heard by those listening in their own mother tongues (not some unintelligible “spirit language” – Acts 2:7-11). Unfortunately, some have focused on the ability of the first Spirit-indwelt believers to be heard in various tongues and have made speaking in tongues a litmus test for being saved and being supernaturally-empowered by God. The tongues in which these first Christians spoke, however, were manifested in order that they might share the Gospel, not to prove they were saved or possessed supernatural power.
Voluntarily falling down prostrate in fear before the Lord in His glory as Paul (Acts 9) and John (Rev 1) did, is not the same as being ‘zapped’ by a touch from a charismatic minister. Falling to your knees in reverence is a Holy act. But having a preacher wave his coat across a crowd in front of him causing them all to fall backwards is not… Immediately after Paul and John fell to the ground, were they involuntarily incapacitated and lay there unconscious for a while? No, they were both fully conscious and aware of their surroundings. They immediately heard God speaking to them and recorded the words spoken, and in Paul’s case, he even had a conversation with the Lord. Clearly, they were not ‘slain in the Spirit”. Nobody touched them and they did not fall to the ground unconscious. When they fell to the ground, it can only have been voluntarily in reverence and fear. Wouldn’t you do the same if heaven opened up before you and you saw the Lord in His glory?
We ought to be very careful about things that are not clearly scriptural. Not once in all of the New Testament is anyone “slain in the Spirit.” There is no instance in the entire New Testament, nor is there any teaching in it, that supports the practice. Even in the instance with lying Ananias and his wife Sapphira, the Holy Spirit does not throw the two around, or convulse them, or make them scream in agony. They simply drop to the ground dead (Ac. 5:1-11). There is no teaching in scripture to support the idea that a preacher has the ability to control the power of the Spirit and send Him on whomsoever he wants. The Holy Spirit comes on who He wills (John 3:8), not who the preacher wills.
Since there are no clear accounts in scripture of the manifestation of the power of the Holy Spirit moving in people, by slaying them in such a way, how can we trust that the experience is genuinely from God? If you believe Satan has no power, he has deceived you already. The power of darkness can perform wonders as well. The question is, can a true believer distinguish between them by measuring up to scripture? Satan is very sneaky, and he can easily mimic darkness to be indistinguishable from light to the point whereby some Christians have to twist scripture, in order to make room for darkness disguised as light.
There are churches that have a “spirit” fall on the people, and they roll around on the floor laughing and some mourning. It looks more like something from a horror movie. Ecstatic prostration accompanied by convulsions, and/or incoherent babbling, and/or manic laughing or crying have no biblical parallel except in instances of demonic possession! (Mk. 9:17-27; Lu. 8:26-36). In fact, Jesus did the opposite, he picked people up who were incapacitated, he didn’t cause them to fall down. In Matthews 17:14-21, we see a man approach Jesus kneeling before him and interceding on behalf of his demon-possessed son by crying out, “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not heal him.” Jesus rebuked the demons and the boy was immediately set free.
Satan is the Great Counterfeiter. At every turn, he is looking to deceive believers with false facsimiles of God’s truth, presence and power. He comes to us as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), offering us half or twisted truths, and/or outright lies made to look like “good sense.” If we aren’t “sober and vigilant,” as Scripture warns us to be (1 Pe. 5:8), we will soon fall prey to his deceptions. We must have more than “I just know!” as a basis for our claims that the Spirit is at work. If we say, “These shivers are the Holy Spirit!” We must be able to prove it; if we say, “This healing is by the Spirit’s will and power!” we must be able to show that it really is; if we say, “This vision is from the Spirit!” we had better be able to fully justify our claim. When believers get in the habit of making unfounded, unproved and unprovable claims about the work of the Spirit, they run the very great risk of falling under false beliefs and the destructive manipulations of the devil.
Christians ought to show scepticism and be cautious towards anyone who makes a claim about the Holy Spirit especially when the claim cannot be properly justified by Scripture or proved to be true by standard rules of evidence. If someone claims the Spirit gave sight to a blind person, produce the once-blind person for examination and verification of the claim; if someone claims to have healed a person’s bad back, let them show that there really was a genuine back problem to begin with and that true healing of it has occurred; if a person claims the Spirit raised someone from the dead, such an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence in its support. If believers don’t insist on solid justification for claims made concerning the Holy Spirit, they may soon become guilty of blaspheming Him.
If I started levitating and said it’s the Holy Spirit. What would you say? Amen? I could point to scripture, like Jesus being lifted to heaven to justify the act. Eastern mystics also claim to levitate. So how can one discern between which is light and dark, if both perform similar works? I know for a fact that New Age occultists have similar experiences as John of Patmos (Rev 1) where they come out of their body and demons disguised as angels, show them wonders. If one is to automatically assume that everything is the Holy Spirit without discernment, then the person would be an easy target for Satan’s manipulations. So, unless you genuinely know the Holy Spirit is working. You can’t automatically say it’s the Holy Spirit. We are told to, “test all things and to test every spirit” – 1 John 4 & 1 Thess 5:21.
So many people get excited for all sorts of signs and wonder today. Even during Jesus earthly ministry, some of the scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He (Jesus) answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” – Matthew 12:38-39. So many people today are more enthusiastic about all this momentary emotion experience and appeal instead of being more enthusiastic of a solid conviction of the Holy Spirit driving them to their knees in a deep and full confession of and repentance from their sins.
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