IS “SLAYING” IN THE SPIRIT SCRIPTURAL?
PASTOR JANNIE VILJOEN
When it comes to the working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians and in church meetings, many believers have no sound theological knowledge to distinguish between the true working of the Holy Spirit and the false workings of deceiving spirits. In his book “War on the Saints,” Jesse-Penn Lewis warns that “ ... evil spirit activity must be understood ... in the special forms of manifestations suited to the close of the age, which will be disguised as counterfeits of the Holy Spirit ...” (Whitaker House, New Kensington, 1996, P. 60). Dave Hunt warns of a “ ... great delusion (which) will be furthered by a spurious ‘Holy Spirit’ which is so evidently operating ...” (Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist, Harvest House Publishers, oregon, 1990, P. 272). The Bible is clear that there is a danger of deceiving evil spirits that will immitate the work of the Holy Spirit.
“But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray ... or if you receive a different spirit ... you put up with it easily enough” (2 Cor. 11:3,4).
The Bible further reveals that it is Satan himself that can manifest as “ ... an angel of light ... “ (2 Cor. 11:14). We are warned that he further deceives, through “ ... power, and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness ...” Christians who run after miracles, signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9,10).
Christians often fall victim to deceiving spirits in meetings where the ‘Holy Spirit’ is called upon to manifest in a tangable way because they do not understand how the occult operates. The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit always operates in conjunction with man’s will and does not bypass or “switch off” the mind (2 Tim. 1:7; 1 Pet. 4:7). The occult working of deceiving evil spirits on the other hand, requires their object to become passive so that they can take control.
“ ... the one condition and principle which ‘mediums’ have to fulfil in order to obtain spirit communication and working, is this: Every part of the whole being must be perfectly passive and out of action. The brain must be blank, the faculties dormant, the will ‘let go,’ and the body passive. This absolute passivity is the fundamental law for the working of evil spirits through human beings. The law for the working of evil spirits is passive submission. God desires ‘fellow workers’ with Him: Evil spirits want to use you as a passive instrument. If, then, passivity is the law for evil supernatural powers to work, and you as a believer, knowingly or unknowingly, fulfill that law in any degree, they will work” (The Spiritual Warfare, Jesse-Penn Lewis, Overcomer Publications, England, Pp. 21,22).
Another stratagy employed by deceiving spirits is to use a “good” man with a “godly” character to propagate their false teachings. The Christian is disarmed by the character of the preacher or teacher, and he accepts the message without testing it to see whether it is in line with what the Word of God actually teaches.
“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, ...” (2 Cor. 11:14,15).
It is also important to realise that deceiving evil spirits will give a person positive emotional experiences if it can further their deception. Therefore they will not only immitate the work of the Holy Spirit, but also give “feelings” in the body in the form of peace, joy and love. Dave Hunt tells of Robert Schuller’s good friend and repeat guest on his “Hour of Power” TV program, psychiatrist Gerald Jampolsky’s meeting with a Hindu Swami (witch doctor):
“He touched me with peacock feathers. I began to have the impression that our minds were joined. He touched me again on the head with his hand. After this, beautiful colours appeared all around me, and it seemed as though I had stepped out of my body and was looking down on it ... I began to talk in tongues. A beautiful light came into the room and I decided at that moment to stop evaluating what was happening and simply be one with the experience, to join it completely ... For the next three months, my energy level was heightened and ... I was filled with an awareness of love unlike anything I had ever known before” (The Seduction of Christianity, Harvest House Publishers, Oregon, 1985, P. 58).
Christians must also understand that the Holy Spirit is not a “power” or “force” that can be manipulated or used by any person as he or she wills. The Holy Spirit is God, the third Person in the Trinity! God will never abdicate His authority and place it in the hands of any person to use it as a “power” or “force” to manupulate others. Any person who “uses” the Holy Spirit as a “force” or “power” is involved in witchcraft and is under the influence of deceiving spirits, and it is forbidden by God (Daniel 11:38).
With these facts in mind, let us now investigate the teachings and manifestations of the “Slain in the Spirit” phenomena.
WHAT IS “SLAYING IN THE SPIRIT?”
This manifestation also goes under such names as Resting in the Spirit, Falling under the Power, Being overcome by the Spirit, Being in the Spirit, Under the Power and Being made prostrate by the Holy Spirit. It is mostly known by those who practice it as being “Slain in the Spirit.”
There are basically two methods being employed in “slaying” people in the Spirit. The one method is on an individual level where a person is prayed over and is usually touched on the head, after which the person falls over backwards in a state of “absence” or “unawareness” under the “power” of the “Holy Spirit.” Another method employed in meetings is when a person uses the “power” of the “Holy Spirit” to “slay” a group of people simultaniously so that they fall over backwards in this state of “absence” or “unawareness.”
This phenomena of “absence” or “unawareness” can last for various periods of time. Some come back to their sences almost immediately. These are mostly those people who had no desire to fall but could not keep standing in the presence of this “power.” Then there are those who fall down in a semi-unconscious state for a few minutes. They are aware of the people around them. They experience feelings of euphoria in the physical senses in the form of peace, tranquility and emotional happiness. Some have an out-of the-body experience which is attributed to the presence of God (Out-of-the-body experiences have long been associated with the occult, especially amongs those in the New Age movements who practice occult meditation techniques).
There are also those who fall down in a complete unconscious state. This state can continue for a number of hours during which time the person has no recollection of what has happened. These people are told that this time of unconsciousness was a time whereby God was busy working in their lives to bring about physical or inner emotional “healing.” That nothing like this is found in the Scriptures does not seem to concern those who are involved in this.
We have seen that deceiving spirits will give manifestations that immitates the work of the Holy Spirit. But some people who have experienced the “slaying” in the Spirit testifies to negative manifestations. Some have confessed that their experience was followed by bouts of depression, lack of desire to pray or read their Bible, and some have even started having thoughts of suicide. Others testify of experiencing blasphemous thoughts against God. There are also the sad and unfortunate ones who have completely forsaken their faith because of being the victims of this unbiblical practice.
The real possibility of a connection between “slaying” in the Spirit and Hinduism is revealed by Pastor Densil Dick in his booklet “Slain in the Spirit.” He tells of people, after being “slain” in the Spirit, that came for deliverance from negative experiences, who manifested during the deliverance a trance-spirit calling itself Schakti (also Satti or Sakti as it is known in Hinduism) These are the names of the Hindu goddess of fertility. According to Pastor Dick this spirit manifests in Hindu rituals by felling a person to the ground. (Slain in the Spirit, Pastor D.B. Dick, Pine Street 174, greytown, 3500, P. 11).
DOES THE BIBLE SUPPORT “SLAYING IN THE SPIRIT?”
When one looks at the Bible teachings concerning incidents where people fell down in the presence of God, two distinct ways of falling down can be determined.
First, when the people of God came in the presence of God, they fell forward onto their knees or face in adoration or worship. This was always a conscious and purposeful act of worship.
Genesis 17:3“And Abram fell on his face: and God talked to him ...” Here we find God appearing to Abram with the purpose of making a covenant with him. Abram did not fall over backwards in a swoon, but prostrated himself on his face before God in submission and worship.
Leviticus 9:24“... when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.” When the glory of God appeared and consumed the offering on the altar, the people fell forward on their faces in a posture of worship. This was a conscious act of adoration and had nothing in common with the mindless and unconscious state of being “slain” in the Spirit.
1 Kings 18:39“And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.” When God consumed the prophet Elijah’s offering in the presence of the prophets of Baal and the nation of Israel, the people realised who the true God was and fell down forward on their faces in an act of worship to the true God. They were not in a state of unconsciousness because they cried out “The Lord, he is God!”
1 Chronicles 21:16,17“And David lifted up his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven ... Then David and the elders of Israel ... fell upon their faces. And David said unto God ...” Here we find David and the elders of Israel falling down forward on their faces in an attitude of worship in the presence of the pre-incarnate Christ. They were not in a state of unconsciousness because verse 17 says that David spoke with God.
Ezekiel 3:23,24“Then I arose, and went forth into the plain: and, behold, the glory of the Lord stood there ... and I fell on my face. Then the Spirit entered into me, and set me upon my feet, and spake with me ...” When the prophet Ezekiel fell on his face to worship in the presence of God, the Holy Spirit drew him back up onto his feet and spoke with him. We must remember that in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit was not given to indwell people permanently as in the New testament. Jesus had to be resurrected first before the Holy Spirit came to dwell permanently in the believer (John 16:7).
Luke 5:8“When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Here Peter knelt down in the presence of Jesus when he realised who Jesus was. Peter saw in the presence of a Holy God that he was a sinner. Often during times of revival, when the presence of God becomes manifest, people will fall forward down on their knees in repentance and sorrow over their sin. This is under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and people do not fall unconscious, but in a conscious conviction of their sin prostrate themselves before God for forgiveness and repentance. Nothing of this is found during the manifestation of being “slain” in the Spirit.
It was sometimes that the person fainted in the presence of the holiness of God:
Daniel 10:9,10,11“ ... and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face towards the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me ...” When God gave Daniel a vision of future events, it was so frightening (verse 8), that Daniel fainted. Yet God touched him and raised him up, though he stayed on his hands and knees, and then God spoke to him and told him not to be afraid (verse 12).
Revelation 1:17“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last ...” When the resurrected Christ appeared to the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos, John fainted from fright in the presence of God’s holiness. But Christ straightaway raised him up and spoke reassuringly to him.
In both these instances the person was not “slain” by God, but merely fainted in fear of the presence of God. But we see here that God always raised the person up and gave him encouragement. In all of these Scriptures there are no indication of the type of manifestations that are seen and experienced in the so called “slaying” of the Spirit.
Secondly, people always fell over backwards when God manifested His holy presence in judgement:
1 Samuel 4:18“ ... he fell from off the seat backward ... and his neck broke, and he died ...” This was a judgement from God on Eli because of his disobedience to God.
Isaiah 28:13“But the word of the Lord was upon them ...that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken ...” This was a pronouncement of judgement upon the people of Ephraim because of their evil.
John 18:6“As soon as He had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” Here we find Judas and the enemies of Christ wanting to arrest Him in the garden of Ghetsemane. When they enquired whether he was Jesus of Nazareth, he responded in the affirmative. When Jesus used the words only used by God Himself in reference to Himself, “I AM,” Judas and these people with him fell backwards in fright and under the judgement of the presence of God.
From all of these Scriptures and from a study of other related Scriptures, we will see that God’s people always fell forward on their faces in a posture of worship and in full controll of their faculties when they experienced the manifest presence of God. In Scripture it is always the enemies of God or those people over whom God pronounced judgement, who fell backwards in fear of God and His judgements.
Christians need to understand that the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Trinity, is received at salvation, for no one can be a Christian without the indwelling Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:9). The moment a person comes to salvation in Christ, the Holy Spirit enters his life, regenerates him and makes him a child of God (Titus 3:5; Rom. 8:9,10; Eph. 1:13,14). But at the same time the Holy Spirit “baptizes” or “places” the person into the mystical Body of Christ, which makes him one with all other believers (1 Cor. 12:13). The Bible does not know or speak of any other type of Spirit baptism.
It is therefore unscriptural and spiritually dangerous for a Christian, who has the Holy Spirit indwelling him, to open himself up to a “spirit” from without. As we have seen, deceiving spirits will make use of such an opportunity to deceive the person into believing that what he is experienceing is the work of God. During many of the meetings where “slaying in the Spirit” is practiced, there is no discernment whether the person being “slain in the Spirit” is truly a born-again believer or not. And even if the person is not a true Christian, this “spirit” has no problem in manifesting in such a person’s life as the “Holy Spirit.”
The Bible clearly tells us to test the spirits, to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1) because there is the danger of “another (or false) Jesus” and “another (or false) Spirit” operating (2 Cor. 11:4).
When we look at this phenomena through the revelation of Scripture and realise its occultic character, we have to come to the conclusion that there is a spirit at work, but it is definitely not the Holy Spirit.