FALLING [“slain in the Spirit ... falling out”]:
Again, search the Scriptures.
- •• In the 66 books of the Bible, there is not one instance of a man or woman ministering this experience to someone else. No prayer lines to receive the experience! No pushers! No catchers!
- •• Jesus is not recorded as ever ministering this in the Gospels. What’s wrong? Did Jesus lack sufficient “Holy Spirit anointing”? I pose that ludicrous question because some of the leaders of this movement proclaim that people fall in the presence of the leader’s anointing. That is preposterous when compared with the absence of these manifestations in the presence of the Bible's most anointed Man — Jesus Christ!
- • A note of caution to those who misunderstand John 18:6 — When Jesus said to the soldiers in Gethsemane, “I am He,” it says “They drew back and fell to the ground.” They were not overcome by the Spirit!
- •• This never occurred in the biblically recorded ministries of the great apostles Peter and Paul — or of any other apostles, either!
- •• In the Bible, those who fell, fell before the LORD or an angel, not man! Paul fell before Jesus. John on the Island of Patmos fell before the glorious Lord Jesus. No man pushed them ... no man prayed for them to fall ... no one stood behind to catch them.
- •• In Revelation 1:17-19, John fell before the resurrected, glorified Jesus. Jesus had John get right up and got him busy writing down the Revelation. John was lucid, alert, awake. Jesus did not leave John lying down on the ground.
- •• Search the Scriptures. Again and again, people fell down before the Lord (or before an angel of the Lord), not before man; usually face forward; often voluntarily; and usually to worship. [Note: the angels never received worship from humans.]
- • 2 Chronicles. 20:18 “Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people...fell down in worship before the Lord.”
- • Ezekiel 3:23-24 “...the glory of the Lord was standing there...and I fell facedown. Then the Spirit came into me and raised me to my feet.” The Spirit lifted him up from the ground, rather than knocking him down to the ground!
- • 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 “...convinced that he is a sinner.... he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you’” = conviction of sin and a voluntary prostration before God, still in full control of his faculties.
- •• The common denominator was: whether voluntary or involuntary falling, it was before God, not man. And no man or woman ministered the experience to others anywhere in the entire Bible.
Read: Acts 2:4, 7-8, 11-15 These are not drunk as you suppose [verse 15].
- •• This passage is misused in the movement to justify conduct labeled as being “drunk in the Spirit.”
- •• But these verses do not say anyone saw any staggering or any loss of control whatsoever.
- •• To the contrary, the people’s amazement was over hearing the tongues-speakers clearly articulating the wonders of God in foreign languages. [verses 11-12]
- •• It was only the mockers [verse 13] who ridiculed them with charges of drunkenness.
Ephesians 5:18-20 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- •• Read what it actually says; don’t read into it.
- • It says don't get drunk on wine.
• It says do be "filled" (not “drunk”) with the Spirit.
- • Hear that again. It says don’t get drunk ... do get filled!
- • It then lists the results of this filling with the Spirit: speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs ... a song in your heart to the Lord ... abundant thanksgiving to God. No staggering! No spiritual intoxication!
”Some fall upon the ground, unable to bear the strained emotion or effect upon the mind; and some are thrown down by some supernatural power; others cry out in ecstasy; the speaker leaves the platform, passes by a young man, who becomes conscious of a feeling of intoxication upon him, which does not leave his senses for some time. Others laugh with the exuberance of the intoxicating joy....” [Author's note: This is not a 1995 meeting. This was written in 1912 about the Welsh Revival of 1904-05 and its aftermath.] “...Briefly put, this is a glimpse into the mixed “manifestations” which have come upon the Church of God since the Revival in Wales. For, almost without exception, in every land where revival has since broken forth, within a very brief period of time the counterfeit stream has mingled with the true....[pp. 99-100] — (Jesse Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts, from War on the Saints, 1912). The Famous Welsh Revival declined when these same manifestations began to break out, according to Evan Roberts, the primary leader of the Welsh Revival.
- •• Christ would not have warned His disciples, “Take heed ... be not deceived”, if it were not possible for well-meaning Christians to be deceived.
- •• Arrogance and judgmentalism have entered into this movement. At least one of its major leaders prophesied judgment on those who deny that this is the move of God. I heard this personally spoken 27 months ago by one of the early leaders of the "holy laughter"/"slain in the Spirit" movement.
- •• This move fails the test of John 15 and John 16, where Jesus says that the Holy Spirit’s mission is to testify of Jesus and to glorify Jesus.
- • This movement in many cases (certainly not all) glorifies its leaders ... it glorifies feelings and mood alteration ... it glorifies manipulated, mind-controlled conduct ... and it throws charges of “unbelief” at those of us who dare to declare that many aspects of the movement fail to survive examination in the light of Scripture.
In sum, what do I think is the source of much of what is going on in the Laughing/Falling Revival?
- 1. Unrestrained emotionalism
- 2. Learned responses, often manipulated by the speaker
- 3. An increasing element of the demonic
Is God present and even operating among all of this? Of course! Because God loves people. He wants to save and bless people. But just as in the Welsh Revival of 1904-05, the false, the carnal, and even the demonic are, in my estimate, occurring with increasing frequency in this movement.
My exhortation to those who have entered into this growing deception is to return to the preaching and teaching of the Gospel, the preaching of the Cross, the preaching of Jesus, and to seek confirmation of God’s Word with biblical demonstrations of the Holy Spirit and power.
As one pastor who fled from this movement said: “When worship of God becomes revelry, the next step is idolatry.”
Let’s obey the Bible command to test everything and hold on to the good.
Test these manifestations by the Word of God. Test “holy laughter,” “falling out,” and being “slain in the Spirit” when they are orchestrated by the efforts of men and women, as practiced in this movement. You will find that these things fail the test in the light of God’s Word.
- Postscript: Please remember that this message was written in response to nonbiblical excesses that I witnessed in a specific movement in the 1990s. By no means have I intended to speak against any and all genuine experiences with the Lord. God touches His people in many ways. My sincere hope is that we will embrace every genuine encounter with God and will reject that which is only orchestrated by man and falsely attributed to God. May the Lord give us all wisdom to discern the difference and to embrace every instance of the true blessings of the Lord.
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