Question: "My church has been involved in a revival in a neighboring town and now they are having people being slain in the spirit, swaying around like they are drunk and shaking and twitching. Is there any basis for this in the bible or is it demonic influence? I am on the verge of leaving the church thinking this is not of God at all. -Thanks"
Answer: You are right about your feelings on this matter. “Being slain in the spirit, swaying around like they are drunk and shaking and twitching” is not of God the Father. Being slain in the spirit is demonic influence from the adversary. It is the manifestation of devil spirits deceiving people by counterfeiting the gift of holy spirit.
The experience called “Slain in the Spirit” usually occurs in churches when the minister or speaker has an altar call and puts his hand on the forehead of the person who has come forward for ministering, who then falls over. Sometimes the minister does not even have to touch people, but only gestures toward them and they fall down. When they fall, the people may be unconscious, semi-conscious, or fully conscious. Occasionally, even people in the pews, or the audience, fall over when the minister gestures or waves his arm at them.
People under demonic influence are not simply people ignorant in a religious sense or ordinary sinners; these are people "In whom the god of this world hath blinded their minds" (2 Cor. 4:4) and whom he uses in the fight against God.
Here are some verses from Scripture that charismatic people erroneously use to show that people falling to the ground whenever God would manifest His presence is normal. The first verse is from the Original King James Version of the Bible, the rest are from the New King James Version.
“… that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.” (2 Chronicles 5:14)
"Jesus said to them, 'I am He.' And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Then when He said to them. 'I am He,' – they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6)
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” (Revelation 1:17)
“And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid.” But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” (Matthew 17:6)
“And as he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:3-4)
“So I arose and went out into the plain, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 3:23)
“Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.” (Numbers 22:31)
“And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. It was like the appearance of the vision which I saw – like the vision which I saw when I came to destroy the city. The visions were like the vision which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 43:2-3)
“Then He brought me by way of the north gate to the front of the temple; so I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; and I fell on my face.” (Ezekiel 44:4)
The term “falling down”, fell to the ground”, “fell on his face” etc. are orientalisms or figures of speech meaning that they willingly dropped to the ground in order to worship. The pose of kneeling on the ground and then bending forward touching one’s forehead to the ground at the feet of the one to be worshipped was considered proper etiquette of the time.
Demonic influence is distinguished from possession in that in the case of demonic influence the devil seizes the very reason and will of a person. In the case of possession the devil enslaves a person's body, but his reason and will remain relatively free, although weakened. Of course the devil is not able to enslave our reason and will coercively. He achieves this subjugation gradually, to the degree that the person himself falls under the devil's influence through his own aversion to diligent and proper bible study.
In fact, the Pentecostal circles in which the phenomenon of slain in the Spirit was first manifested were marked by a strong aversion to leadership of a worship service by ministers. Complete “submission to the Spirit” was encouraged, and this fostered a climate that discouraged spiritual discernment. Though the upside of this was the renewal of the godly manifestation of speaking in tongues in the Christian Church, ungodly manifestations were also let in, like being slain in the Spirit. Our challenge is to not throw out the baby with the bathwater spiritually, but to allow the Word of God, the “sword of the spirit,” to be our faithful guide in all spiritual matters.
Beware of any church that does not study, research and practice the accuracy of scripture.
God bless you for your stand on God’s Word.
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About Pastor Daniel Sweet:
Pastor Daniel Sweet is the President and founder of God's Word First Christian Ministry. He is an ordained minister, biblical healing scholar, teacher of the holy spirit and an expert author on the subject of Leadership.
He and his wife, Debbra Sweet have overseen the growth and development of multiple in home fellowships and have been instrumental in helping many people come to the knowledge and truth of God’s Word.