• The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19).
  • Monday, 11 March 2013


    Let's begin by looking at the concept of speaking in tongues. The gift of tongues is used widely in many Pentecostal and charismatic churches. It is important to know that they are not much used in the right way however, nor really a correctly used gift in the first place. The intentions of believers are good, but in light of how many tongues are put out there inside the church we need to visit God's actual Word on how we are to approach this.
    Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, said that he wishes that all speak in tongues, and specifically instructs the Corinthians that there needs to be order in the church. "But everything must be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1 Cor 14:40) I
    n verse 33 he adds, "God is not a God of disorder but of peace". Many people may be speaking in tongues in a church gathering (two or more people) at the same time, yet there can be no particular order to it and no interpretation of these tongues. His intention of this part of letter is specifically addressing the disorderliness going on in that city regarding the gift of tongues to the church.

    There are two different cases when it comes to the gift of tongues: 1)Tongues used for prophesy and 2) Tongues used for edification. Tongues, unless used to specifically edify the church with someone to interpret what is said, is not to be used out loud in a corporate gathering, but in one's personal prayer time according to Scripture (1Cor 14:18): "If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God." In other words, tongues are not to be spoken out loud by anyone in a corporate gathering unless there is a prophetic word to the church. In verse 19 Paul has further instruction. "But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue. Sometimes even those on the pulpit speak in tongues on the pulpit in the middle of an otherwise understandable message, and even others go further by instructing the masses on how to do it. Joyce Meyer has done this, instructing thousands at once on how to speak in tongues and having them repeat gibberish as she spoke them. I was there! But since tongues is a gift of God, teaching it to someone is trying to give the gift of sonar perception to something only a bat has. Trying to teach others how to receive a gift that God may not even be giving them is heresy. This is an indication that some in the Pentecostal movement encourage speaking in tongues because it is perceived to be an evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We run into another problem in the church. Many may claim to speak in tongues, but most everyone does not prophecy through someone speaking out loud. If it were so, the church would have to follow Paul's ruling in that they should speak one at a time with an interpreter, to "edify" the church. In most all cases not only is there interpretation but it can end up being a chaotic chatter of tongues, and in some cases with most everyone doing it. I've been in those environments as well.

    At Pentecost, believers were hit by the power of the Holy Spirit and they spoke in tongues. Pentecostals use this as a justification for what they practice. But the believers at Pentecost did not speak in unknown tongues or blabber, but in real languages so that the foreign unbelievers nearby could understand in their own native tongue . In turn the hearers gave glory to God, and many believed and were saved. I believe this is also an indication that God is not intending for believers to speak aloud in misunderstandable gibberish out loud in a corporate environment. Tongues were spoken out loud at Pentecost, and they were also understood at the same time. We can and should apply this to tongues used as prophecy in the church today.

    Here is a biblical example of how tongues used with interpretation can provide good fruits in the church: In 1 Cor 14:23-35 we read, "So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God , exclaiming, 'God is really among you!'" The first thing to notice is that an unbeliever may think that Christians have gone off the deep end when they're all speaking in tongues. This experience would not bring the unbeliever to a knowledge of Christ and to salvation.

    Slain in the Spirit

    Another thing we see is that the man here falls down and worships. This is nothing like being "slain in the spirit". The difference is that the man fell and worshiped God at the realization of his sin; it was not an "experience" that today's believers claim to have. Note that the man was a non-believer.
    This does not limit what God can do to and for an individual, for He is all powerful and nothing is impossible with God. But it has to be supported biblically. Some use the example of the Roman guards who experienced a "falling down" when they were arresting Jesus as an example of being "slain in the spirit". It is important not to ignore the fact that most all were very likely non-believers, and we don't know if they themselves became saved after they fell down; Scripture never tells us, but if they did, they would have worshipped Jesus and not arrested Him. It says that each one "drew back" and fell down when He said "I am He". As one source put it, they did not experience revelation or receive an anointing, or conversion, they got right back up and arrested Jesus. There was no change in them; they were still enemies of Jesus.1
    What then is the purpose of guiding people to do this in church if even non-believers may fall down, and never believe on Christ for salvation? To add to this, more time can be spent operating under these pretenses than in teaching the words written in the bible, something that ought to be emphasized more greatly. Here is a contemplative question to ask: which believer can gain a greater understanding of God by being slain in the Spirit? Is God really teaching some new thing that's not written in the bible? If so, the claim would be that there is something added to the words of the bible. We're warned a about that in Rev 22:18. " I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book."
    So, should the church engage in practices claimed to be of God and not have to biblically support whatever is happening? In the experience of being "slain in the Spirit", perhaps some do have a real encounter with God in various ways and places outside the church. But we don't know who legitimately does and who doesn't, something even admitted by an ex-Pentecostal pastor. In a church service practicing slaying people in the Spirit, it is foreseeable and possible that there can be not one person who actually gets "hit with God's power" yet there can be people still falling down all over the place. Benny Hinn has been rightfully accused of using mass hypnosis in his slayings of the Spirit (reference needed).
    All of this is a misrepresentation of the church because it flies in the face of the Scripture. And more importantly it is a misrepresentation of Jesus, the very one who promised to send us the Holy Spirit. In church we may act like being "slain the Spirit" is a real encounter, but in reality it may not be so real at all. The same ex-pastor also revealed that it may in fact not be God moving people in this way at all; he wasn't sure if it was God making them fall or that person just falling backward due to peer pressure, etc. This leaves the door open for deception by the Enemy and from even our own selves. In a personal experience as a new believer I fell backward many times while attending a Pentecostal church, but I believe that it was me and not the Holy Spirit . I would go as far as to say that Satan was involved in the entire process because of its confusing nature. There was nothing that indicated that this was from God, I was always confused if it was me that fell backward or if it was God. But I do know that I definitely never ever lost control of my body. A few times I fell backward because I lost balance because the pastor had put too much pressure on my forehead. I was "gently" forced many times while the pastor claimed he had been anointed and the power of God was being moved through him, and I even felt like there was a sort of unspoken expectation from him and from others within the church to fall as he prayed over me. I thought that perhaps If I didn't then I would be demonstrating that I didn't get hit with God's power (most everyone fell), and in turn felt that I didn't measure up, or that I didn't have enough faith or something to that effect. For me, the pastor never said anything like that, but there was a battle in my mind. This was not edifying in the least for me. It was of a deceptive nature. Now, that was my own thinking, but nobody explained to me that it "may not be of God" as the then pastor indicated to me some time later after I left the church. But deep inside I knew something wasn't right. If being slain in the spirit is true, I thought, I wasn't gaining anything from it accept that this was "supposed" to happen if I'm filled with the Spirit. But everyone probably thought my falling was pretty dog gone genuine. I had them fooled. Again, it was a misrepresentation of the gospel. And this time it was everyone including myself. So though some may actually receive some kind of revelation from God, it can be an avenue for deception by the Enemy. As in revivals past, namely the Toronto Blessing, manifestations of the "spirit" yielded uncontrollable laughter and people barking like dogs, and uncontrollable twitching of the body and states of comatose (reference needed). This still happens to this day in some churches (reference needed).

    Sometimes people get caught up in thinking it's the Spirit doing something to them or telling them something when it's not. One time I was behind a certain man in a Four Square church standing near the altar, and he suddenly out of nowhere fell backward towards me, supposedly "slain in the Spirit". I had been worshipping behind him with my hands raised. If my eyes were closed he would have fallen right on me and really injured me, but luckily I saw him during his mid-fall and I was able to react, but I hurt my arm catching him. Is this from God? Why would God do such a thing? I was forced to break his fall in a split of a second and it was a total shock, and it interrupted my worship in a dramatic way. If the argument was used that God caused me to see it coming, then it was either that man or an influence of Satan that made him fall. To think that God did that just doesn't add up.
    I do believe God can do this to a person, though I think it is extra ordinary, and I don't think God would allow possible injury to both the slainee or others around him or her. But since we don't know if it's really from God or not, I really am convinced at this point that we should definitely not do it in a church gathering. The same is also true with corporately speaking in tongues . Perhaps there is a prophetic message, but if there were, how could anyone discern it amongst everyone speaking gibberish? There can be an extreme disorder within the church if we let people do things that can be out of line, disruptive or chaotic or open to interpretation.

    I've heard an argument to this by a reference to Phil 1:18"…in every way, whether false motives or true, Christ is preached.", the idea being that there are things that don't fit in a category of right and wrong and may not be referred to within Scripture. The problem is that in this passage Paul is referring to enemies of the cross, people who distorted the gospel and who were opposed to it, to make trouble for Paul. It was not directed toward those who have a sound doctrine. The danger in this way of thinking and in interpreting the bible in this way is that we can give a green light on doing whatever we want in the name of Jesus so long as he is preached. This is not a biblical concept and is blasphemous. If God does something extraordinary it will line up with the rest of Scripture. Few people in this movement are willing to look at God's Word to test their experiences. (Reference Scripture…"test all things..")

    Many think that those who are opposed to such teachings and endorsement of speaking in tongues in church and being slain in the spirit are stifling the spirit and interpreting the bible to their own liking. I've been accused of that. Those who oppose seem to be interested in the truth of what the gospel says about the subject use the bible as a guide to help come to the soundest conclusion. Here is a scripture related to interpreting the bible: : 2 Peter 1:20 -"But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation". So we instructing to interpreting together as a fellowship of believers. Along with this idea we read that the Scripture itself is used for "reproof and instruction" (2 Tim 3:16).

    The Anointing

    There are also many questions regarding the " anointing" of the Holy Spirit , a term commonly used in conjunction with getting "hit" with God's power and being slain in the spirit. A pastor or preacher may use these terms. The first thing that happens before a person is "slain" is that the preacher claims to have a certain extraordinary anointing from the Holy Spirit. The bible seems to say that the "anointing" is experienced not sporadically to highly favored people at His command, but by all who put their faith in Christ. John said, "But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth." (1 John 2:20). We all are equal in God's eyes, and not one more favored than the other: Romans 2:11- "For God does not show favoritism". Now if all believers are already anointed, why does the church sometimes try to pass this anointing on from one believer to another? It is biblically impossible. From the perspective of a weaker brother under this leader's care, it may appear to him that the pastor or teacher claiming to have this special anointing as somehow more spiritual, or above him and hence more available to be used by God. The end result is a "weaker brother" becoming even weaker, if you can even define that as brotherhood by this example. That was my experience when I was attending a Pentecostal church. I was never able to feel up to par with those that were "moving in the gifts" since I apparently had been given fewer gifts. Not everyone has the same gifts, as 1 Cor 12:8 says, "To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills." One who may be weaker in faith can feel looked down upon in an environment where gifts are highly emphasized. More than not this is an avenue that leads to pride and arrogance. The good news is, all believers are filled with the spirit and God gives everyone differing gifts as He pleases. Notice also that speaking in tongues is not a gift that not everyone gets according to this passage. But since we all have various gifts, we are all equally anointed, and we received this anointing when we first believed.

    Pentecostals may feel that non-Pentecostals do not fully believe in miracles today and in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as it pertains to giftings of the spirit. I believe that the majority do believe in miracles however, and I think they feel the number or type of gifts of the Holy Spirit can be fewer or "less desirable" - as viewed by some in a person, but God can still perform a miracle through them. Non-Pentecostals believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit but they don't believe that one must speak in tongues as "the" evidence of salvation. This concept is not found in Scripture whatsoever, nor is it even alluded to.

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