#tithe #slaininthespirit #perspectives
Sunday, 19th of December 2021
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title: Perfect WORDS, Perfect WORKS and Perfect WONDERS :Is being SLAIN in the Spirit Biblical? Hear three (3) Perspectives + Much ado about payment of tithes
Hello Friends, in the course of my waiting within the last quarter of 2021, the Holy Spirit kept flashing to me the words, PERFECTION. From this singular words, several other related words followed, such as, “Perfect WORDS, Perfect WORKS, and Perfect WONDERS” in relation to being SLAIN in the spirit and tithing.
Ever since, I have looked at every word, every works and every wonder from the the following prism: – What did God say? What did Jesus say? And what did the Holy Spirit say concerning these words, these works and these wonders coming from me and others? It is on this premise I bring you today’s title, “Perfect WORDS, Perfect WORKS and Perfect WONDERS :Is being SLAIN in the Spirit Biblical? Hear three (3) Perspectives + Much ado about payment of tithes”.
There are so much error going on around our lives and our gatherings that have absolutely no divine backing to them but we do them anyways hoping that one day, they will either correct themselves or until God begins to judge our WORDs, our WORKS and our WONDERs we purport to be coming from Him.
The following scriptures give credence to this and future exercises via our blog so that some of us can begin self corrective action so that we are not condemned on the day of judgement and find our words, works and wonders burnt down by fire of judgement: let’s dive in and explore some scriptures:
Matthew 12:36-37New International Version
36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
1 Corinthians 3:10-15New International Version
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
Matthew 7:15-23New International Version
True and False Prophets
15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
True and False Disciples
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
We bring you some inputs from others on tithe, and being SLAIN in the spirit for us to judge by ourselves. These inputs are well researched for our further meditation and application where necessary:
if you missed our last post titled, “VFC Men Fellowship Bible Study : Analysis and Synthesis of the letter to the seven (7) Churches in the book of Revelation”, follow this link:
Ambassador Oreojo Monday OGBE
Gods Eagle Ministries
Much ado about payment of tithes December 18, 2
By Donald Mark C. Ude
LET me begin by shocking you: In the entire Gospels, there is not a single place Jesus clearly commands us to pay tithes! I shock you the more: In the only two places Jesus mentions tithes, he is discernibly cynical about it!
Admittedly, he never tells us not to pay tithes, either. However, from the Gospels, it could be deduced that his overall attitude towards tithes is that of cynicism and ambivalence.
I think this point is very important because it brings you (the reader) face-to-face to the fact that this whole ado about tithes is actually about something our Lord treats with so much cynicism and ambivalence.
So, one begins to wonder why the fuss about something Christ himself didn’t consider worthy of attention. If it weren’t for ideological and financial interests, the people emphasising tithes today would have been the same people who would ask their typical question: “Where did Christ say it?”
Now, let’s check out those two places in the Gospels. (As a matter of fact, Jesus uttered the word “tithe” only three times, but one is essentially a synoptic version of the other – so we are basically left with only two). The first: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.
It is these you ought to have practised without neglecting the others” (RSV. Matt 23: 23; cf. Lk 11: 42). The second: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus: ‘God I thank you that I am not like other people … I tithe a tenth of all my income.’” (Lk 18: 10-12).
These two passages buttress my argument to the effect that Jesus’ overall disposition towards tithes is that of cynicism and ambivalence. In the first passage, Jesus clearly indicates that the concern about truth, justice, fairness, mercy, love, etc. is “weightier” than, and therefore preferable to, tithe-paying. Tithe-paying is secondary and must take a subsidiary position.
If one must pay tithes, one must not do like Pharisees, but should first and foremost take care to fulfill those “weightier” matters. I live in Europe. The first thing that confronts me each time I step my feet on Nigeria, right from the airport, is unimaginable wickedness, extortion at every turn, bribery, lies, dishonesty, fraud, violence, brigandage, brutality, rascality, filthiest forms of indiscipline, etc.
I think any evil that is not yet practised in Nigeria has not crossed the mind of mortals. Yet this is supposed to be a nation of ‘tithe-payers’! The second passage is placed in the context of the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, where the former brags about being a tithe-payer, while the latter humbles himself before God and eventually goes home fulfilled.
I’m aware that we Nigerians have been so ‘terrorised’ and benumbed by religion that we hardly pause to think. But I repeat the question I mooted earlier: Does it not strike you that each time Jesus mentions tithe, it is always associated with hypocrisy and Phariseeism?
Isn’t this already a red flag vis-a-vis tithes/tithing?
Now, what are the “weightier” parts of the law in our Nigerian context (that your priest/pastor/GO has refused to draw your attention to)? No doubt, honesty and self-discipline with regard to money must count. You must reject bribery and corruption in your workplaces.
It is difficult, but it is an act of faith. Nigerians like to talk of ‘challenging’ God; here is a fine opportunity to ‘challenge’ God by rejecting bribes and acting with integrity – to see if He wouldn’t bless your life! You are being told that you “rob” God when you don’t pay your tithes, but you aren’t told that you also rob your fellow humans when you pocket the funds meant for them.
You are not told that you might be the major cause of accidents, malnutrition, infrastructural deficit and avoidable deaths in Nigeria when you steal the money meant to forestall them, using the position you occupy.
You pay your tithes in the cities but allow your poor parents and relatives in the village to suffer – perhaps because you have been told they are witches and wizards waiting to kill your destiny. Integrity, solidarity, solicitude, self-control, faith and charity are the “weightier” part of the law that Jesus refers to.
If you neglect them, even though you pay N1billion as tithe, you are a hypocrite and a Pharisee by Jesus’ standards!
How about the bogus relationship being established between tithing and being blessed/favoured? Now let me make this clear: One of the most blasphemous lies being peddled in the name of God in recent times is that God needs your tithes in order to bless you.
It is blasphemy because it is an insult on the holy and unfathomably righteous God. I do think that the dynamics of God’s blessings are too complex and mysterious to be reduced to monetary handouts or ‘bribery’ given to His supposed ‘representative.’
It is even more scandalous and laughable to see pastors threaten people with hellfire should they not pay their tithes. Many were appalled and disappointed upon seeing a video-clip, where a general overseer threatened – and I quote – that members would “miss heaven” if they did not pay their tithes.
Another implication of our Lord’s cynical disposition towards tithes is that it should occupy little (if any) space in the preaching and sermons of all true ministers of the Word. I might even recommend that the attention given to it should not exceed a total of five minutes in an entire calendar year.
The reason is that, if tithes were an essential element of the message of salvation our Lord Jesus came to preach, He would have surely included it in the Beatitudes or even dedicated an entire discourse to it.
For instance, Jesus took time to teach us how to pray, how to fast and so on and so forth. But this isn’t the case with tithes; it simply didn’t worth His attention. As it were, He may have seen it as a distraction, perhaps one of those annoying traditions that could have stymied the New Message He came to proclaim.
ALSO READ: Tithe: 3 things we must consider
At this point, let us address one of the most notorious passages being cited in support of tithes – the “robbing God” mantra. Malachi 3:8-12 suggests that abdicating from tithes might be tantamount to “robbing” God. How do we interpret this? The passage specifically states: “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house” (v. 10).
As I see it, this points more to material food and less to monetary donations to seemingly insatiable and bottomless church coffers. It refers to a practice of bringing a tenth of one’s harvest to the priest/Levite who then went ahead to share it to the poor among the people of God to ensure that no one starved.
In other words, the focus was basically on the poor, and “robbing” God in this respect is squarely robbing the poor.
Therefore, the ugly scenario in Nigerian churches where so-called ‘top’ tithe-payers owe their workers but are quick to impress the pastor/priest with their tithes is actually tantamount to “robbing” God. This is the true interpretation of that passage! The average Nigerian priest/pastor/GO isn’t worried about this and is even scared to say it the way I do because they fear it might come with dire financial implications.
Meanwhile, they are the same that would be quick to ask “Is it in the Bible?” if monetary tithing weren’t in their favour. Once again, I make bold to say that the form of tithing that is OT-supported is tithing in kind and not by cash.
Well, I do not think this is a big issue because a few things have to change with time, otherwise Christianity becomes mere casuistry. I only brought it up to expose the hypocrisy of those who are quick to ask “is it in the Bible?” when it serves their interest.
The mention of priests/Levites calls to mind what I consider an important dimension of the debate on tithes – namely, the question of who a priest really is in ourpresent context.
The Bible recounts that Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem (Gen 14:18-20; Heb. 7: 1-2). That passage is a bit shrouded in mystery, given that it is merely mentioned in passing.
Since there is hardly any further clue, its interpretation becomes a lot more complicated. Yet I suspect it must have been the practice in ancient Mesopotamia that a tenth of one’s harvest, including war booties (in Abraham’s case), was given to such an exalted priest-king figure.
This practice was then appropriated by Judaism when it became systematised as a religion, probably facilitated by the institutionalisation of the Levitical priesthood.
Now, let’s return to the question: who is a priest (who should receive tithes) in our contemporary context? Does it include the young pastor who was fired – and so ‘de-ordained’ – by his bishop some months ago because he wasn’t ‘doing well’ (‘doing well’ in this case being nothing but making much more money for his church)?
If this is so, then priesthood would be no less than a precarious and temporary position where the priest/pastor could be ‘un-priested’ according to the whims and caprices of his bishop.
Does it include the young man who, having failed in all previous endeavors,worst of all in academics, decided to convert a warehouse near Onitsha Main Market to a church to hoodwink unsuspecting traders?
Does it include the young man from a neighboring village to mine who, for no fault of his (i.e., given the general unemployment in the country), began to feel ‘called’; and so, submitted himself after some weeks of training to be ordained by a self-acclaimed bishop who pays himN30k per month to lead a branch of his church?
Should we focus onthe priest/pastor/venerable of more traditional churches that have existed for a couple of centuries? Or should we limit the term ‘priest’ to the Church that has had an unbroken chain of succession from the Seat of St. Peter, spanning over 2 millennia, and possessing a self-understanding of the priesthood the considers it an indelible character, quite immune to the vicissitudes of life?
Dear reader, your guess is as good as mine. But irrespective of what you consider priesthood and who you consider your priest, the point is that tithe is epiphenomenal (i.e. of little importance) to Christianity. Indeed, for Christ, the “weightier” part of the law is summed up in the four-letter word, LOVE.
What is more, the key significance of the Melchizedek imagery for our purposes, as invoked in the Letter to the Hebrews, is that Christ is our eternal High Priest, who has offered the one single efficacious Sacrifice for our sins. The import is that you don’t need to pay tithes to be blessed by God.
The one single Sacrifice – Christ – is enough blessing for you. I’m aware Nigerians are crazy about ‘favors’; then know it today that Christ and Christ alone is your Favor! And, certainly, you will not “miss heaven” if you don’t pay your tithes, quite contrary to the GO’s threat I referred to above.
I wish to remain true to my promise not to interfere with your decision and to even suggest ways in which one could be supportive to the church outside the ‘tithe’ framework. In a place like Germany, where I spend most of my Summers, there is an organized system whereby willing members part with some portion of their monthly incomes for the support of the Church.
The priest/pastor does not even know how it is administered; all he knows is that he receives his salaries promptly, the church is well-maintained, the secretary, cook (if he has any) and other functionaries are paid.Well, our people may not be as disciplined and advanced as Germans –and, if you think about it, it’s all a symptom of a culture whereby the priest/pastor wants to control everything.
Yet something could still be done.
For instance, Nigerians are some of the most generous people I have seen on the planet when it comes to giving to the church. Therefore, occasional but prudent fundraising, offering and free-will donations could be organized to address specific needs.
As has been established earlier, the poor is the ‘God’ that is being directly robbed in matters of tithes. Hence, beyond being used for the normal functioning of the Church, such fundraising, offering, and donations should also benefit the poor. Nigeria is not in short supply of the poor. If the singer,Davido, could put up a well-organized nation-wide outreach to the poor, the Church could do even better.
We can begin with our immediate neighborhoods, the hospitals and orphanages nearby.The New testament is replete with examples where Christians made collections for the poor.There are examples where richer churches contributed to poorer ones. We find a good example in Rom. 15: 28 (also see 2 Cor. 9: 6-10).
In fact, if one reads the Letter to the Romans properly, it becomes clear that the letter was primarily occasioned by such instances of richer churches contributing to help poorer ones (see Rom. 15:28).
The early Church demonstrated so much solidarity that there “was not a needy person among them” (Acts 4:34). This is the true meaning of tithe! We should therefore put an end to the culture wherein tithes are collected from poor members to erect universities and institutions that are not accessible to the children of the same poor tithe-payers.
“But the hour is coming,” says Jesus, “when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth” (John 4.23). If you want to really serve God in “spirit and truth,” devoid of hypocrisy, you must choose today if tithing would play any role in this regard. You may also opt for more robust ways of being supportive to the church and the poor.
TITHES: TO PAY or NOT TO PAY? That’s the question. Dear Christian, the choice is yours.
*Meaning of Slain in the Spirit*
In some charismatic denominations, when a preacher places a hand on someone, often the forehead, the person falls backwards or collapses. Some Christians believe this is evidence of person being “overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit,” as GotQuestions.org said.
The term “slain” typically refers to the scriptural passages which assert people fall to their faces (or fall in general) as though dead when in the presence of God.
Certain denominations split over whether this has biblical roots and as to whether the manifested power of the Holy Spirit has actually caused a person to react this way. The article will present arguments from both sides of the issue.
Arguments for Being Slain in the Spirit
Denominations and Christians who believe being slain in the Spirit is an act of the Holy Spirit will often point to the following verses which show people falling to the ground, seemingly by supernatural causes:
– When the soldiers and Judas came to arrest Jesus and Jesus answered, “I am he,” (asserting his divinity) they collapsed on the ground (John 18:6).
– When John saw a vision of God in heaven, he fell as though dead (Revelation 1:17).
– Saul, when on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians fell to the ground when he heard God’s voice (Acts 9:3-4).
You can find other examples in this article. You can also find another argument for the biblical accuracy of being slain in the Spirit here.
Some other main arguments on this side would state:
– The power of God can be transferred via touch (Acts 19:12, Mark 5:30).
– Not every instance of Scripture involved someone falling on their faces. Some will argue against “being slain in the spirit” because it involves people falling backwards instead of forwards. Some people simply “fell” in Scripture, without the verse mentioning the direction.
– Some people who fell in Scripture were believers, such as the apostle John.
Arguments against Being Slain in the Spirit
Apart from the examples listed above, those who argue against being slain in the Spirit would say the term doesn’t exist anywhere in Scripture. Granted, other terms such as “Trinity” never make an appearance in the Bible either.
As mentioned above, people who do not believe being slain in the Spirit is biblical may argue the following:
– Those who fell in Scripture never fell backwards, as is usually the case with being slain in the spirit. In Scripture, it was always forwards or just falling in general (Daniel 8:17-18).
– The act is easy to fake, and many people counterfeit this experience, as stated in this article.
– The same article above suggests it may be the work of a supernatural force, but perhaps not from the Holy Spirit.
– Many of the people who fell on their faces or fell in Scripture weren’t believers. If it’s the work of the Holy Spirit inside of someone, this calls into question examples such as the soldiers falling around Jesus.
– As stated in this article, being slain in the Spirit can sometimes appear more like a theatrical display than a work of the Holy Spirit bringing glory to God.
Is it biblical?
It’s difficult to say because Scripture does not explicitly speak about this subject. Although we can see Scripture laced with examples of people falling in the presence of God via supernatural means, we do have to take into consideration that not all of them are believers.
However, we do have to keep in mind the Christian church splits massively over whether certain gifts from the Holy Spirit still are at work today. Many churches have Christians who speak in tongues and who prophecy, while other churches believe such gifts do not exist today.
Whenever it comes to supernatural phenomena, Christians must exercise caution and always turn to Scripture. Because Scripture is silent, for the most part, on this issue (having only examples and no explicit teachings on this), I suggest Christians do the following when it comes to discerning this topic:
1. Exercise caution.
With anything supernatural, we have to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3). Whether we believe it to be biblical or not, in some instances, something beyond natural phenomena seems to be occurring. Observing a person’s actions afterward can determine if they experienced an inward change prompted by the Holy Spirit.
2. Engage with both sides of the argument.
Because this doesn’t fall into the crucial doctrines of the church (salvation, the resurrection, etc.), we should understand that different orthodox Christians and denominations split over this issue. In spite of personal convictions, we should listen to believers on the other side have to say and test it against Scripture.
3. Know counterfeit experiences for this do exist.
Because it’s easy to fake something like this, know counterfeit experiences do happen. Although this does not mean all experiences of “being slain in the Spirit” are fake, we need to be wary about any instance we encounter. Even if we believe the Holy Spirit does work in this capacity, as mentioned above, we should always exercise caution when it comes to supernatural matters
*Don Stewart :: What Does It Mean to Be Slain in the Spirit?*
What Does It Mean to Be Slain in the Spirit?
The Holy Spirit and Us – Question 11
There is an act known as being “slain in the Spirit.” This occurs when a person is supposedly overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit and faints, or falls to the ground, in physical powerlessness. Is this an experience that believers should expect to have? How should we view people who are “slain in the spirit?” Do we find examples of this in the Bible?
The Case for People Being Slain in the Spirit
There are a number of passages that are usually cited as examples of being slain in the Spirit. They include the following.
Ezekiel Fell over When He Saw a Vision
The Bible says that the prophet Ezekiel fell over when confronted by the vision of a moving object. Scripture reports it as follows.
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking (Ezekiel 1:28 NIV).
The prophet fell down when confronted by the glory of the Lord.
The Priests Could Not Stand to Minister
There is a passage in 2 Chronicles that is also quoted by those who argue for believers being “slain in the spirit.” This passage speaks of the priests not being able to stand in the presence of the Lord. It says.
In unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God (2 Chronicles 5:13, 14 NASB)
It is argued that the glory of the Lord would not allow the priests to remain standing while they ministered. The assumption is that that all fell down.
Judas and the Crowd Fell Back
There are also alleged New Testament examples of this occurring. We find that Judas Iscariot and the crowd that was with him fell over when arresting Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. John’s gospel reports what happened as follows.
Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:4-6 ESV).
These people were knocked over by the power of God. Some see this as an illustration of being “slain in the spirit.”
Saul of Tarsus Fell to the Ground at His Conversion
Saul of Tarsus, who became the Apostle Paul, was knocked off of his feet on the Damascus road when he met Jesus Christ. The Book of Acts says.
Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:3-4 ESV).
This is another example of someone falling to the ground when confronted by the Spirit of God.
John Fell down like He Was Dead
The Apostle John fell as one dead when seeing the risen Christ. We read about this in the Book of Revelation. It says.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last” (Revelation 1:15-17 NIV).
Therefore, Scripture gives examples of people falling down when being overwhelmed by the Spirit. This practice of being “slain in the spirit” thus has biblical support.
These instances, however, do not actually teach that the Holy Spirit overcame them, causing them to fall to the ground in worship. A number of points need to be made.
Some Fell over Voluntarily
Some of these examples are actually people voluntarily falling to the ground. Apart from the episode in Gethsemane and Saul’s conversion, where the people fell back, the other instances can be understood as people voluntarily falling down to worship God. In other words, they were not overcome by the Spirit to the place where they could not help but all over.
They Fell Forward, Not Backward
Those who are supposedly “slain in the Spirit” fall backward. With the exception of those in Gethsemane, all of them fell forward, not backward.
Those in Gethsemane Were All Unbelievers
Those who fell backward in Gethsemane were not believers, but unbelievers sent there to arrest Jesus. Therefore, we can hardly attribute their falling down backward to some mighty spiritual experience!
Spirit Led Behavior Means Producing the Fruit of the Spirit: Self-Control
Though people have attempted to find a biblical basis for this phenomenon, none can be found. The Scripture nowhere advocates passing out while being overwhelmed by the power of the Holy Spirit. Quite the contrary, the Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit’s power is self-control, not some sort of uncontrolled ecstasy. Paul wrote to the Galatians.
But the fruit of the Spirit is… self-control (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV).
When God’s Spirit is truly controlling a person’s life there is not a showing off or some outward theatrical display. Any act, such as being “slain in the Spirit,” is not a work of God’s Spirit but a work of the flesh. Whenever people call attention to themselves, they are not glorifying the God of the Bible. This is not the way the Holy Spirit works, for His ministry is to call attention to Jesus Christ.
The Fruit Must Be a Continuous Thing in a Person’s Life
In addition, the Lord requires permanent results in the lives of those who trust Him. He is not looking for some temporary act that supposedly displays devotion to Him. Paul wrote about the need to conduct our lives by the power of the Spirit.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25 NASB).
This is the way in which we must live; by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus also made some comments about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Matthew records Him saying the following.
Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them (Matthew 7:15-20 NIV).
A good tree will continually produce good fruit. Therefore, we are to look at the totality of a person’s life rather than some momentary experience.
In sum, the idea of one being “slain in the spirit” has no biblical support.
Summary – Question 11
What Does It Mean to Be Slain in the Spirit?
There are a number of people who have fallen down while being in the presence of the God of the Bible. This includes the prophet Ezekiel when confronted by the vision of a. moving object. Another example seems to be certain priests who could not stand to minister as recorded in the Book of Chronicles. In the New Testament, Judas and the crowd with him fell to the ground when they confronted Jesus Saul of Tarsus fell to the ground at his conversion on the Damascus road. Finally, John the Apostle fell to the ground when seeing the risen Christ. These examples have been offered as biblical proof of the legitimacy of the experience known as “slain in the Spirit.”
Supposedly this same work of the Spirit happens today in the lives of people who are touched with His power. Indeed, many examples are cited of people falling backward when overcome with the power of the Spirit
However, there is no evidence that the Bible supports such an experience for believers. The passages used to support the belief do not do so.
First, we find that some of them fell over voluntarily – they were not knocked over. Therefore, it was not the power of the Spirit which seized them and caused them to fall over.
Moreover, most of them fell forward, not backward. This is contrary to the modern-day experience which people attribute to the power of the Holy Spirit.
In addition, the ones who fell down backwards were unbelievers, not believers. The fact that they were not believers clearly shows they were not overwhelmed with the power of the Spirit in the same manner as people claim today! Indeed, they fell back in judgment, not worship.
The Bible says that when one is filled with the Holy Spirit they exhibit self-control – not lack of control. This self-control, or fruit, is something constant throughout their life.
Consequently, some one-time experience of falling down and passing out is not an indicator of the spirituality of a person. True spirituality is living a consistent Christian life.
*Is being slain in the Spirit biblical?*
slain in the Spirit
Most commonly, being “slain in the Spirit” happens when a minister lays hands on someone, and that person collapses to the floor, supposedly overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who practice slaying in the Spirit use Bible passages that talk about people becoming “as dead” (Revelation 1:17) or of falling upon their face (Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 8:17-18, 10:7-9). However, there are a number of contrasts between this biblical falling on one’s face and the practice of being slain in the Spirit.
1. The biblical falling down was a person’s reaction to what he saw in a vision or an event beyond ordinary happenings, such as at the transfiguration of Christ (Matthew 17:6). In the unbiblical practice of being slain in the Spirit, the person responds to another’s touch or to the motion of the speaker’s arm.
2. The biblical instances were few and far between, and they occurred only rarely in the lives of a few people. In the slain in the Spirit phenomenon, falling down is a repeated event and an experience that happens to many.
3. In the biblical instances, the people fall upon their face in awe at either what or whom they see. In the slain in the Spirit counterfeit, they fall backwards, either in response to the wave of the speaker’s arm or as a result of a church leader’s touch (or push in some cases).
We are not claiming that all examples of being slain in the Spirit are fakes or responses to a touch or push. Many people claim to experience an energy or a force that causes them to fall back. However, we find no biblical basis for this concept. Yes, there may be some energy or force involved, but if so, it is very likely not of God and not the result of the working of the Holy Spirit.
It is unfortunate that people look to such bizarre counterfeits that produce no spiritual fruit, rather than pursuing the practical fruit which the Spirit gives us for the purpose of glorifying Christ with our lives (Galatians 5:22-23). Being filled with the Spirit is not evidenced by such counterfeits, but by a life that overflows with the Word of God in such a way that it spills over in praise, thanksgiving, and obedience to God.
*Slain in the Spirit or slaying in the Spirit are terms used* by Pentecostal and charismatic Christians to describe a form of prostration in which an individual falls to the floor while experiencing religious ecstasy. Believers attribute this behavior to the power of the Holy Spirit. Other terms used to describe the experience include falling under the power, overcome by the Spirit, and resting in the Spirit. The practice is associated with faith healing because individuals are often slain while seeking prayer for illness.
People slain in the Spirit after receiving prayer from faith healer and Catholic priest Fernando Suarez
Sociologist Margaret Poloma has defined slaying in the Spirit as “the power of the Holy Spirit so filling a person with a heightened inner awareness that the body’s energy fades away and the person collapses to the floor”.: 28 Slaying in the Spirit may occur in a variety of settings, including while a person prays in solitude. However, it usually occurs in group settings, including small prayer groups, religious conferences or retreats, regular church services and large healing crusades.: 232
In church services or healing crusades, attendees may be invited to the front of the church or other venue to receive prayer from a minister or a team of ministers.: 91 Often, the prayer is accompanied with the laying on of hands and anointing with oil. Those being prayed for perceive the Spirit of God upon them and they fall, usually onto their backs. In most cases, their fall is broken by ushers or “catchers”. Once fallen, a person may lay on the floor face up and eyes closed for several seconds to several hours in some cases.: 232–233
People who have experienced the phenomenon report different degrees of awareness ranging from total consciousness to complete unconsciousness. They also report feelings of peace and relaxation.: 241 While lying down, they may speak in tongues, laugh, weep or speak praises to God. According to anthropologist Thomas Csordas:
In Charismatic ritual life, resting in the Spirit can serve the purposes of demonstrating divine power; of exhibiting the faith of those who are “open” to such power; of allowing a person to be close to, “touched by,” or “spoken to” by God (sometimes via embodied imagery); of preparing a person to receive and exercise a spiritual gift; or of healing.: 247
Not all incidents of falling or swooning in Pentecostal and charismatic churches are attributed to the Holy Spirit. Besides the possibility of fraud, charismatics may also attribute the behavior to demonic activity.: 229 Analyzing accounts of early Pentecostal religious ecstasy, historian Grant Wacker concluded that communal cues helped religious communities determine whether specific incidents were instigated by the Holy Spirit or not.: 56 Other explanations of the phenomenon have also been proposed, such as autosuggestion, peer pressure, or a desire to experience what others have experienced. In addition, sociologists note that similar phenomena, such as spirit possession and trance, can be found in other religions.
Joe Nickell, writing in the Skeptical Inquirer, observed the use of slaying in the Spirit during a Benny Hinn healing crusade in 2001. He compared the practice to hypnosis, writing that participants “merely engage in a form of role-playing that is prompted by their strong desire to receive divine power as well as by the influence of suggestion that they do so … In short, they behave just as if ‘hypnotized.'” According to Nickell, a professional hypnotist stated that “This is something we do every day”.
Beginning with the First Great Awakening that impacted Protestant Europe as well as Britain’s American colonies in the eighteenth century, bodily movements became a prominent and controversial part of Protestant revivalism. Supporters of the revivals within various denominations including Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists and Methodists argued that trembling, groaning, screaming and falling to the ground “as dead” were signs of divine power in those who were becoming aware of their own sinfulness. This bodily agitation, as well as the problem of sin and guilt, was resolved through a conscious conversion experience, which was marked by peace and joy.: 35
John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, considered falling down and other bodily movements to be natural (not supernatural) human responses to the supernatural “testimony” or “witness” of the Holy Spirit in conversion. Occasionally, Wesley attributed bodily movements to Satan’s attempt at disrupting the conversion process, but at other times, he described bodily movements as natural human responses to God’s love.: 36 Wesley, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards all record instances of people falling during their ministries. During the Second Great Awakening of the early nineteenth century, Peter Cartwright and Charles G. Finney also recorded similar behavior.
In the twentieth century, “prostrate trance” became chiefly associated with Pentecostalism and its offshoots. The term “slain in the Spirit” was used in this context as early as 1920 by American healing evangelist Maria Woodworth-Etter, whose ministry was often accompanied by this phenomenon. In her book The Holy Spirit, published in 1920, she wrote:
“It will come to pass in the last days,” says the Lord, “that I will plead with all flesh, with the sword and fire, ‘and the slain of the Lord shall be many.'” (See Isaiah 66:16.) The sword is the Word of God. The fire is the Holy Spirit. The slain of the Lord are those who fall under conviction or who fall like dead men under the power of God.
Historian Grant Wacker argues that early Pentecostals replaced the liturgies and sacraments of traditional churches with the “disciplined use of ecstasy”, including the regular occurrence of slaying in the Spirit. Regarding the sacramental undertones of slaying in the Spirit, Wacker writes:
In those situations Christ’s physical death and resurrection was re-embodied—not just reenacted but literally re-embodied—night after night, before the very eyes of believers and nonbelievers alike. In one account after another we read that prostrate worshipers covered the floor. The stories sometimes stated and often implied that no one was left standing, which suggests that prostration gained a ritualistic significance comparable, perhaps, to kneeling or genuflecting in liturgical church traditions.: 108
The frequency of slaying in the Spirit and the importance that Pentecostals placed on it decreased over time as Pentecostals attempted to shed the stereotype of being “Holy Rollers” (a derogatory term derived from instances of people literally rolling in the aisles when baptized in the Holy Spirit).: 84 In 1989, Margaret Poloma noted that some pastors and even high ranking leaders within the Assemblies of God USA, a Pentecostal denomination, were critical of the practice.: 272
Slaying in the Spirit saw a resurgence during the 1960s and 1970s due to the influence of the charismatic movement, which disseminated Pentecostal beliefs and practices among mainline Protestants and Roman Catholics. During the 1980s, it experienced another surge in visibility due to the influence of John Wimber, an evangelical pastor and founder of the Vineyard Movement.: 230–231
Biblical basis Edit
Christians who support the practice cite biblical evidence for its authenticity and use. Michael Brown quotes a number of scriptures which he claims support the practice of being slain in the Spirit. Wayne Grudem states that while the phrase “slaying in the Spirit” is not found in Scripture, there are a number of instances where people are described as falling to the ground or falling into a trance in the presence of God.
Caption: Claimed Biblical Examples
Ezekiel 1:28 Ezekiel saw the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord and fell face-down. Similar in 3:23
Daniel 10:5-18 As Daniel saw and heard a vision, his strength left him and he became helpless, then he was unconscious face down, then later trembling on his hands and knees
Matthew 17:6 Three disciples fell face-down to the ground, overwhelmed, on the mount of transfiguration.
Revelation 1:10-18 The Apostle John heard a loud voice behind him, then he turned to see the voice and “fell at His feet as though dead”. Also see 4:10
Gen 15:12; Exo 40:35; Dan 8:27; John 18:6; Acts 9:4, 10:10; These are other passages that describe someone falling down but they are disputed because it is not clear if they involuntarily fell
Acts 19:12, 9:12, 28:8; Mark 5:30; James 5:14-15; These passages are examples of how the power of God can be transferred by touch or by laying on of hands
Christians who oppose the practice dispute the interpretation of those Bible passages, arguing that there is no biblical precedent and that the practice may be satanic in origin. Those skeptical of the practice have explained it as being caused by hypnosis, autosuggestion, or peer pressure. Christians who lean toward Cessationism tend to refute the claim that this practice is scriptural such as Calvinist pastor and author John MacArthur who argues that the practice is neither described nor prescribed specifically in the Bible and that it is, at best, of satanic origin. Some within Charismatic Christianity critique the practice, such as David Pawson, a Bible teacher and charismatic Christian, who states the closest Biblical reference is the story of Ananias and Sapphira, which has a quite different connotation. Matthew Slick of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry advises caution and discernment.
References in culture Edit
The 1967 film Holy Ghost People by Peter Adair documented an Appalachian Pentecostal church service in which several people were slain in the Spirit.