What is wrong with being “slain by the Spirit?”
The question is not whether being “slain” by the Spirit is right or wrong, but whether it is biblical; does the Spirit slay people? The Holy Spirit has a ministry of convicting people of sin, and of indwelling, filling, counseling, and praying for believers. Nowhere however do we find Him having a ministry of slaying.
I grew up in a Pentecostal and charismatic church where there is the slain in the Spirit is frequently practiced, and as a young boy, I have always seen people fallen back and sometimes, pastor will begin to push people backward so that they can fall backward. People have injured themselves, wounded, and fainted in the name of being slain in the Spirit. But as a Bible believing Christian, I began to search the Scripture to see whether those things were so.
Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
It is interesting to note that in this charismatic phenomenon of being slain by the Spirit, people fall backwards. Often those who fall backwards also start rolling on the ground, and some go into uncontrollable fits or seizures. Can this be the work of the Holy Spirit?
Charismatics often cite Saul favorably as a biblical example of one being slain by the Spirit. In this incident the Spirit of God came upon Saul and he prophesied laying naked all day and night (1 Sam 19:23-24). The great Chinese pastor—Wang Ming Tao—has a good commentary on this episode: “Now, when Saul lay naked, he was not under the blessing of God but rather under His punishment to his shame. We should know that Saul at this time was long rejected for disobeying God. God had meantime anointed David king. God’s Spirit had departed from Saul and an evil spirit had come upon him. For envying David, he tried to kill him.
David had to run for his life to escape Saul. At last he came to Samuel.
When Saul came to know about this, he sent men to take David. But it turned out that three times men were sent to take him, three times, these men prophesied by the Spirit of God when they came to Samuel. They could not lay hands on David.
Finally this Saul, monster of monsters, went himself to take David, but who could imagine that before he could get his quarry, he was overturned with disgrace. Not only did the Spirit of God cause him to speak but also meet with what the three messengers did not experience—for a day and a night he lay down naked. Not only should we not seek Saul’s experience but rather flee from it. . . . Who would imagine that among these seekers of charismatic gifts there should arise those who regard those fearful and shameful experiences for a pattern? To be teachers of the Bible without understanding is dangerous business” (Timothy Tow, Wang Ming Tao and Charismatism, 74-5). If Saul was slain, he was not slain by the Holy Spirit but by an evil spirit (cf, 1 Sam 16:14-15).
The Bible records a couple of instances of people falling backwards.
In the Old Testament, we read how Eli the high priest fell backwards upon hearing that the ark of the Lord had been captured by the Philistines due to the fault of his wicked sons. In his fall backwards, he broke his neck and died (1 Sam 4:18). God judged him for his sins as Israel’s high priest.
In the New Testament, we find the murderous mob looking for Jesus. When Jesus said “I am,” they fell backwards (John 18:6). In light of these two incidents, it is readily seen that falling backwards is not cause for rejoicing but regret. If when confronted by the power of God, one falls backwards, then it is not a blessing but a curse—a sign of judgement. To fall backwards is thus not a good sign of one’s spiritual state. All who fell backwards in Scripture were judged by God. All who fell backwards were unbelievers.
On the other hand, we have numerous accounts in the Bible of people falling forwards. Those who fall forwards, fall down to worship the Lord (Num 22:31; Matt 18:26, 29; Mark 3:11; Luke 17:16; 1 Cor 14:25). The biblical posture of obeisance is that of falling prostrate to the ground. If a person is indeed touched by the power of the Spirit, he will fall to the ground face down, kowtowing to the Lord, weeping and groaning for his sins. This was what happened in God-sent revivals
during the time of John Wesley, George Whitefield, Jonathan Edwards,
and closer to home, John Sung.
And another point is that, being slain is the Spirit causes chaos in the church, and the Bible wants us to understand that, he is not the AUTHOR of confusion. Many people have allowed confusion in the church, and those things do not bring glory to God, but shame and confusion to the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Slain in the Spirit was not never a practice in the NEW TESTAMENT by the Apostles and early Christ. Being slain in the Spirit was never done in the New Testament churches, and if they were never found in the NEW Testament churches, where does it come from? Human philosophy and reasoning. It is full of manipulation. Even when the 120 disciples spoke with another language, and people think that they were out of control, then Peter stood up, and told them that they were not out of control, but in control under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:12-15 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
The Spirit of God does not take you out of control, but it will control you. Being slain of the Spirit is more of flesh oriental than Spirit filled. One of the fruit of the Spirit is self control. And many people that have slain in the Spirit are acutally not in control but get out of control. It is high time for Bible believing Christian to stand up against what is evil, and wrong in the churches today.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, TEMPERANCE: against such there is no law.
Let God be true and every man a liar.