Being "slain in the Spirit" is a term used within charismatic Christianity
- It describes a religious behaviour, in which an individual falls to the floor
- This usually happens during an event they perceive as a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit,
- often associated with the practice of laying on of hands.
- Being slain in the Spirit is a practice, where on occasions of public prayer ministry
- when, in following the direction of the scriptures, laying on of hands is practiced,
- church members or attendees may come forward to the front of the church
- to receive a special work of the Holy Spirit from the Pastor, service leader or a team of ministers.:91
- Often a significant amount of time is spent singing and praying during the church service
- before this point.
- Attendees are then prayed over and touched by the service leader or leaders.
- They perceive the Spirit of God upon them, and they fall, usually onto their backs.:235
- In most cases, their fall is broken by deacons, catchers, ushers or orderlies behind them to prevent injury.
- Beliefs associated with this phenomenon include divine healing, receiving visions, being set free of demonic spirits, hearing God speak.
- As Thomas Csordas says: "In Charismatic ritual life, resting in the Spirit can serve the purposes:
--- of demonstrating divine power;
--- of exhibiting the faith of those, who are "open" to such power;
--- of allowing a person to be close to, "touched by," or "spoken to" by God
--- (sometimes via embodied imagery);
--- of preparing a person to receive and exercise a spiritual gift;
--- or of healing.":247
- Being slain in the Spirit was extremely common in early American (late 18-th-century) Methodism,
- particularly at camp meetings and love feasts.
- Other names for the phenomenon are:
--- "falling over", "falling under the Spirit's power", "falling before the Lord", "slain under the power" or "resting in the Spirit".
- Whether voluntary or involuntary, "falling before the Lord" as a human response to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit
- is seen by many charismatics as a phenomenon that is in harmony with the Scriptures.
- In the Bible, falling, while in the presence of God, was at times also accompanied by manifestations ofL
--- trembling, convulsions, writhing, physical weakness or deep sleep.
- Instances of voluntarily falling before the Lord to worship or pray may be found in:
--- Genesis 17:3
--- Joshua 5:14.
- References to voluntarily falling as the result of feeling overwhelmed by a divine presence are found in:
--- Numbers 22:31, Judges 13:20, Ezekiel 1:28, Ezekiel 3:23, Ezekiel 43:3, Ezekiel 44:4, Daniel 8:17 and Matthew 17:6.
- However, these verses seem to imply falling forward in humility,
- and it would seem there are no verses to imply falling upon being touched by someone.
- But there is one passage in the Bible, where people "fall to the ground" just by hearing the words "I am He".
- That is when Judas has betrayed Jesus and the soldiers come to get Jesus
- This is what it says in John 18:4-6:
--- (4) 'Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him,
--- went forward and said to them "Whom are you seeking?"
--- (5) They answered Him: "Jesus of Nazareth"
--- Jesus said to them "I am He"
--- And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.
--- (6) Now when He said to them "I am He" they drew back and fell to the ground' (NKJV)
- Instances of involuntarily falling before the Lord
--- as the result of feeling overwhelmed by a divine presence are found in:
--- 1 Kings 8:10-11, Daniel 8:27, Daniel 10:8-11 (possibly implied), Acts 9:3-4 (also Acts 26:14) and Revelation 1:17.
Both voluntary and involuntary falling before the Lord can also occur
- as the result of a power encounter:
--- a person feels that the power of God is overtaking the power of a demonic force
--- that has sought to control or oppress him or her.
- References to falling in the context of power encounters are found in:
--- Mark 3:11, Mark 9:20 and Luke 8:28
- Some Christians argue that the practice is neither described nor prescribed specifically in the Bible,
- and that it is, at best, a psychological phenomenon
- or, at worst, of satanic origin. :91
- David Pawson points out that the closest Biblical reference is the story of Ananias and Sapphira,
- which has a quite different connotation.
- Proponents of the practice consider that it cannot be satanic
- as it occurs in services centered around Satan's enemy, Jesus Christ.
- Some critics point out that Christianity is not reality, and
- that simple psychological explanations for the effect discredit the technique's exploitation
- as a supposed spiritual healing tool.
Sociology of religion
- Other sources of the phenomenon can be autosuggestion, peer pressure, or a desire to experience what others have experienced.
- Perhaps the most obvious sociological category is the "possession trance."
- A similar state that could be described as religious ecstasy may occur in the rituals
- and dances of other religious and cultural traditions, for example:
--- Kundalini awakening through shaktipat;
--- some sufi practices.
References in culture
- The 1967 film "Holy Ghost People", by Peter Adair, documented an Appalachian Pentecostal church service
--- in which several people are slain in the spirit.
1. a b c Burgess, Stanley M., and van der Maas, Eduard M. (2002). The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements s.v. “Slain in the Spirit”. Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-22481-0.
2.^ a b MacArthur Jr, Dr John F. (1993). Charismatic Chaos: Signs and Wonders; Speaking in Tongues; Health, Wealth and Prosperity. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
3. a b Csordas, Thomas J. (1997). The Sacred Self: A Cultural Phenomenology of Charismatic Healing. Berkeley: University of California Press.
4. Is the Blessing Biblical?, 1996, David Pawson, Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 0-340-66147-X
- "God Struck Me Dead, Voices of Ex-Slaves" by Clifton H. Johnson ISBN 0-8298-0945-7
--- describes similar experiences in the accounts of nineteenth century African American spirituality.
- See also:
- "Toronto Blessing", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_Blessing
- "Сражение Духом", http://www.midnightinamerica.net/rus/docs/lit/a5/a5-isg/a5-isg-03_rus.htm