The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Has the Holy Spirit slain you lately?


#1

At Church on Sunday, the speaker was a young guy who gave a talk about people being baptised in the Holy Spirit. He cited an example of the Spirit touching people when he went to Soul Survivor and people there falling back as the Spirit touched them. Alarm bells started going off for me, as I try to stay clear of all the falling back, laughing stuff that you get at many ‘evangelical’ churches and here’s why I give it a wide berth:

youtube.com/watch?v=eBpw2oQrvMM

The documentary is in three parts, each only ten minutes long. I must warn you that it really is a SHOCKING documentary and I’d welcome your opinions on this matter.


#2

grew up with that stuff. thought it was good and that something was wrong with me that i didn’t feel it. now i know why: i am not the sort of person that is able to be manipulated by emotional climates etc. Darren Brown would not pick me for his experiments/magic tricks.

one thing that always bothered me was that you’d get some people groaning and rolling round…fair enough i thought…it’s God doing some big work (ha!)…well every week they would be doing the same thing, over and over. surely i thought God must’ve finished what He started…why would they STILL be in the same place every week? it didn’t add up for me.

God can and does move through things i don’t understand/agree with (like this stuff). but i believe He only works in those that regardless of the circumstances have come to Him in their hearts.
i don’t really think falling over, laughing, groaning, screaming, whatever is a sign that the Holy Spirit is at work. personally i don’t think He is out to sensationalise what He does…i think He works far more subtly.


#3

Derren Brown is a good example of someone who can ‘cause’ people to fall over by pretending to be a minister of God and so he is using suggestion and a type of hypnoticism. I don’t know if the ‘force’ at work in this documentary is coming from the people themselves or is an external force i.e demonic. Either way it’s not the holy spirit and thousands of people are being misled and fed ‘poison’. :frowning:


#4

Uh-oh, we’re getting into Benny Hinn territory again. :open_mouth: :smiley:

I’m with you guys on this one. I think the Toronto blessing, slaying by the spirit stuff is carnival barker baloney. Mass hysteria, basically.

By the way, if you type Benny Hinn Dark Lord of the Sith into You Tube it brings up an absolutely hilarious clip of Benny ‘slaying’ worshippers Star Wars style. Watch that and you can see what a load of crap this slaying by the spirit business is. If you can be bothered, there are other clips on You Tube showing Benny Boy slaying folk, and in some of them it’s brilliant because the stooges, sorry the good people don’t always fall over straightaway, so Benny actually ends up pushing some of them over. I kid you not. :smiley:

Cheers

Johnny


#5

the difference with Darren Brown is that he does this as a larger experiment to educate people as to how easily they can be manipulated. quite interesting stuff!

Johnny you’re right!


#6

I watched the videos and have several thoughts. I’ve experienced some of the things he’s denouncing. For example, I’ve experienced the presense of the Lord so strongly that I could not stand. And even today, when in prayer or worship or just studying scripture, I often feel my chest filled with pressure, like someone has put a hose in my chest and turned it on. And though it could comfortable, even cool in the room, I’ll sometimes start to sweat on the top of my bald head. It’s strange, weird even, and something that I don’t point to or not, or even speak of but rarely, but it happens. Why? I do not know. I’ve had visions from God that have radically changed me. I’ve experienced many of the spiritual gifts mentioned in scripture and experienced some things that are not mentioned. I’ve also seen abuses, seen people fake things, give into “peer preassure” and act things out that are not inspired by God, give words that are not from the Holy Spirit, do things they claim are inspired by God but are clearly not, etc. So yes, we do need to be discerning, but we also need not throw out everything, the baby with the bath water.

Also, just because Todd Bentley ended up divorcing his wife and remarrying does not mean that everyone associated with him, or those who supported him were/are messed up. Experiencing manifestations of the Spirit are not badges of spiritual maturity. Paul challenged such attitudes and weird stuff, abuses going on at the church in Corinth, but that does not negate the reality of God moving in and through the lives of people.

I’ll confess that I’m not very “discerning” and I rarely experience the manifestation “discerning of spirits”. I tend to be more of a tank than a radio operator (to use a WWII analogy). But I do seek to base my life upon a real love for God and people. And I’ve experienced religious deception, especially judgmentalism, and thus I tend to be reserved in thinking negatively of others who do what I think is weird.

Concerning the fruit of such movements, I’ve seen people who were depressed, filled with joy that remained, people who were filled with fear filled with an abiding faith, people who were stoic and negative towards others, humbled and embracing of others. And I’ve seen people stirred to seek a deeper revelation of God and his love. And yes, I’ve seen people healed of sickness and disease and delivered from evil spirits.

Well, I suppose that’s all I have to share right now.

Blessings upon you and yours,
Sherman


#7

Check out the youtube Benny Hinn vid called ‘Let the bodies hit the floor’- that’s a cracker. :laughing:

Interestingly, Derren Brown used to be a Christian and is now an atheist. He can produce the signs and wonders that are prevelant in churches and as you say corpselight, he does it to show how easily we can be mistaken or deceived.

Sherman, I have experienced a real tangible power in the room (coming down in waves above me) that caused me to have to kneel down, or I would have fallen if I’d remained standing. I don’t know if this power was God? I also experienced some of the other stuff like in the video: the shaking and trembling, crying even though I didn’t feel sad, and a pressure in my throat or upper chest area like something was trying to come up out of my mouth. I think I uttered some sounds but can’t be sure, as it was a very powerful experience. I didn’t feel any kind of love, elation, or peace or anything like that. It could have been the combined energy of the people in the room with me, praying around me? The leader and some of the others had put their hands on my head and shoulders. :confused: I studied this experience and concluded it was very similar to the kundalini arousal as opposed to a full blown awakening which sounds a lot more intense (examples being of people in the video that are jerking uncontrollably and howling out and that sort of thing). I even toyed with the idea that the kundalini energy and the holy spirit are the same universal energy and I found many ‘Christians’ (on the net) who are ‘kundalini Christians’. I concluded that the stuff you see in churches (not what you have described) is the same stuff that happens in eastern religions. I have not witnessed anything that I would know for sure is God’s power e.g I haven’t seen anyone get healed of something tangible like a withered arm or an eye misted over with cataracts or heard someone speak in a tongue and someone from a foreign country say ‘hey he just spoke in my language’. I’ve heard someone get up and speak some sentences that comprised of five ‘words’ that seem to repeat themselves in different orders, that is then interpreted into something far more complex and ‘boring’- a rehashed psalm maybe. :unamused: I’ve seen people who have a bad leg or back say they ‘feel’ better and the next week hobble into church with the walking stick they’d put to one side the week before. :question: I have a friend who is prone to fits of laughing which she says is the spirit. It’s quite disconcerting to watch, especially if it was during a service. (I don’t go to her church now cos of all that weird stuff). My little Baptist church seems to be free of all that and hence my concerns that some might want to bring that stuff into it. If they do, I’ll try warning them and show them this documentary.


#8

Personally, I’ve only witnessed one miracle immediate healing, though I’ve prayed for many who recovered over time. It was is in a little dinner downtown Houston. I met and took a homeless drug addict to lunch. He was so messed up he could barely put two words together. He also had terrible congestion. I walked with him into a little dinner at the base of some skyscraper, bought him lunch, and while sitting with him felt impressed to pray for his physical health. Prayed for him and he coughed up a wad of junk and spit it into a cup. It was nasty, but he could breath clearly. He looked at me and said, “Wow” and went back to eating. I noticed that people in the dinner got very quite and started listening in our conversation.

After sharing further for a few minutes, I then remebered and showed him the passage in James that speaks of asking for wisdom. Asked him if I could pray for him. He said yes. Took his hand and prayed. He jerked loose from me and started screeming like he was being shocked, holding his hands to the side of his head and shaking. After a couple of seconds/minuntes (I don’t know because I was so freaked out by his reaction) his eyes cleared. He looked at me and in complete scentences said, “I can think.” I replied astutely, “what?” He said, “I can think. I can think.” paused for a couple of seconds and continued. “5 years ago I OD’d on acid and fried my brain. And ever since then I have not been able to think clearly. Just like a lame man cannot walk and knows he cannot walk, I could not think and knew I could not think. But, I can think.” He went on to tell me that he was a believer but had gotten caught up in drugs and on the street.

Of course, everyone in the little dinner was now really listening. As we talked the waitress came over and said, “Sir, we couldn’t help but overhear what was happening and well, what denomination are you part of?” At first I couldn’t understand what she was getting at and asked her “what?”. She said, “You know, what denomination do you belong to?” And I understood she was asking a religious question like the woman at the well asked Jesus. I replied, “Oh, I don’t belong to a specific denomination; I just love Jesus!” She said “Oh.” Looked a little confused and walked away. Well, we continued to talk about Jesus for an hour or so, and if I remember correctly, no one left the dinner during that whole time but eaves-dropped on our conversation.

I paid the bill, went outside and was about to say good-bye when I noticed that his hands were shaking. You know, the drugy jitters. Anyhow, I asked him to hold out his hands and said, “Bro, you what you need?” He said, “What?” I replied, “Peace”, looking at his trembling hands. He said, “I sure do!” Grabbed my hands and said, “Let’s pray!” which struck me as very funny. Well, I began to pray and had an open vision. I saw a gold vase appear over his head and a clear golden oil began to pour over his body. Everywhere the oil touched, he stopped shaking.

After a few minutes, we looked at his hands and I said, “Now that’s awesome, isn’t it.” Talked a couple of minutes more and in closing I said, “Well, Fred, I don’t think we’ll see eachother on this side of the river again. But when we get to the other side, you’ve got to come over for dinner!” And we parted ways. It was a cool day!


#9

that’s really interesting about the kundalini thing. i hadn’t heard of that before, but was peripherally aware of “religious experiences” happening in other faiths to some degree. it interests me if this phenomenon happens in non-Christian communities and i think weakens the argument that it is God (the alternative is to relax the proprietary grip we Christians believe we have in God and accept that possible, just maybe, He touches people through other faiths too without insisting they accept a Judeo-Christian Charismatic doctrinal set…and actually there is merit in that idea, so perhaps we shouldn’t sweep it aside).
anyway, hopefully to help Sherman feel a bit better about this thread. i hope you don’t feel judged…honestly i believe God can and does work through a variety of means, and often what “works” for one person may be exactly what you described. it may not work for me, however, and what works for me doesn’t necessarily need to work for you to be just as valid.
i don’t think we are judging a minority of people that do strange things, i think we are questioning an overwhelmingly large movement of people that actually are more guilty of judging us who dissent.
my personal ire and bad feeling is down to a few things. when i was younger back in Canada, we had these revival meetings, where a preacher would stand up and say a bunch of stuff that sounded good at the time (of which i can remember almost nothing), followed by some worship (using suitably emotional(ly manipulative) music (i am very conscious of musical manipulation. i pay attention to sound tracks and cheap attempts to enhance emotion that the actors or plot can’t dredge up really irks me. i get the same thing in church sometimes, especially with modern choruses which are often very ME centric, but that’s another topic…dragging myself back from this tangent!), followed by this altar call bit.
now, at this stage, i expected to feel something. i didn’t. i may’ve shaken a bit, i may’ve fallen down once or twice, but i didn’t feel connected with God. in fact, i was just as distracted by my surroundings as at any other time. other people couldn’t read my thoughts, so they couldn’t judge me…but i could. i judged myself as somehow inadequate because God seemed to be touching everyone else, but not me. that was very hurtful, and i am still recovering from this.
the thing that makes me a bit more bitter is that all these other people…i went to school with them. they were not nice people. they went and they “worshiped” and they “prayed” and they “fell over” and the next day went back to being just as rejecting of myself and other un-cool people as they were before.
does that sound like God’s real power at work?
does this deny that God could possibly act in these situations? no. i know from my own single experience that God actually reached me once at a meeting. but…it could’ve been anywhere.
i guess my point is that these types of meetings, this type of Christianity can help people get closer to God, sure. it’s in their heart attitude. however, it doesn’t have to.
i have felt closer to God listening to blasphemous black metal than during these services, and i’m not exaggerating.
the mistake i feel people make by confusing these emotional atmospheres with God’s REAL Spirit (who i have encountered in a sex shop, at a Marduk gig, hanging out with non Christian friends with a beer with arguable results in myself and in the situations), they give these events far more credit then they deserve…at the expense of meeting God at other less “obvious” places like i listed above.
my God doesn’t need catchy worship songs to move…He doesn’t need to make people shake and scream…He isn’t put off by people denouncing Him…
this is an emotional topic for me, so i apologise if i’ve been either incoherent or offensive!


#10

No offense at all bro. I know Charismania can be pretty crazy and flaky. And it often seems that emotionally distrubed/flaky people get caught up in things pretty easy. And for some people, it’s easy to be emotionally manipulated and can give into suggestions easily. And it amazes me that God uses people as a vessel of His power and anointing though they be a complete mess. It reminds me of what was going on in Corinth, Christians misusing valid manifestations of the Spirit. Paul had to reign them in noting that if an unbeliever came in he would think they were crazy. And to me there does seem to be a connection in scripture between being “drunk” and being baptized in the Spirit. Acts 2, people thought the disciples were drunk, why? Likely because they were acting differently, possibly a little giddy. And then Paul says to not be drunk with wine but to be filled with the Spirit. And then from experience, when I first experienced the baptism with the Spirit I was so overwhelmed with the presence of God that it was almost like being drunk (though I’ve never been drunk on alcohol before). And since then sometimes when I sense a weighty presense of the Lord, I sometimes feel a little light headed. In all these things it’s important to remeber that the Spirit manifests differently through different people. I’m also reminded of a line from Avatar where the mother priestess said something along the lines of “It’s hard to fill a full cup.” When we come to the Lord empty, in dire need of Him, we are ready to be filled. And what I want to be filled with is His love for people. I’m always reminded that the #1 reason that is noted for Jesus working miracles and healing the sick is Compassion! And then Paul wrote his beautiful chapter on love (13) in the middle of discussing the manifestations of the Spirit (12 & 14)! Sadly, in charismania, this is often forgotten and we give into the show dynamic that the Corinthians were having problems with.


#11

Sherman, that is an awesome testimony. :smiley: It is not what seems to be happening at these gatherings where people are going up to the front and having some guy pray over them for God to heal them or ‘touch’ them (making them fall back it seems) and not getting healed. I have attended many meetings over the years where the guy seemed very sincere in his prayers for God to heal someone, and yet NOTHING ever seemed to happen like in your case. If anything had happened like what you relate, I would have been on my feet and jumping and shouting for joy.

Corpselight, I relate to what you’re saying. :smiley: I nearly got deceived into thinking that all these experiences were from the same power and so God is working in other religions too, but once you look into kundalini, it doesn’t have much positive stuff going for it. It may even cause severe mental health issues whilst the kundalini is rising and you are ‘apparently’ learning how to harness it or rather get it more under control. If you look at the people in the three videos, they don’t look like they’re having positive experiences. They look weird, silly, blasphemous, demon possessed, if such a thing is real. Some look like they’ve gone mad and they look out of control or out of their minds. :open_mouth: Basically the opposite to what Sherman has related. Your guy got his mind back. :smiley: Maybe I’m classing every experience as dodgy or self induced. My only experiences of this stuff have been mostly negative and some neutral. It’s no wonder I suspect it all.


#12

I met Jesus in a charamatic church. I came from a non-church home so I had no preconceptions. I can only speak to what happened to me when I received the Holy Spirit. I felt warm and safe and closer to God. I did speak in tongues but that was it, no shaking, or jerking or animal howling.I never lost control over what was happening to me. Nor was there any of those things occurring to any other members of the church. This was about 1972 and I was 16. Oh–and you recieved the Holy Spirit AFTER you accepted Christ. And it did not require any special person to lay hands on you. Sometimes the congregation would pray for you.

I left the church which was very hard for me because the church members were among some of the most loving, kind people I had ever met. But I just couldn’t accept the number of people they thought were going to hell. I guess I was a Universalist before I had a name for it.

Now, as to those films–l look at them both from my personal experience and my background as a registered nurse and a person with BP2. Personally, I do not see the Holy Spirit in them. I see a lot of mass hysteria and induced involuntary bodily movements. In pysch. land we call them extrapyramidal movements or tardive dyskensia and they are caused both by Parkinsons and as side effects of some of the medications those of us with the Bipolar(s) take. They certainly are not anything I would want to happen to me voluntarily. Once they start, they can be very hard to get stopped.

If the leaders of this movement are somehow tapping into the brain and causing damage which promotes these movements, they are not doing good to my way of thinking. Also, I don’t see how howling like animals has anything to do with worshipping God.

Do I believe people can recieve the Holy Spirit and feel it happening----yes. Do I believe people can be overcome by the Presence of God in worship and that miracles can happen----yes. But I also believe you know the Presence of the Spirit by the fruits of the Spirit. I would run away from any such gathering----fast.


#13

Thanks for you input Lizabeth. :smiley: You talk much sense. As regards the kriyas (the jerky movements) two guys at my old church had these. They’d be praying and then jerk forward suddenly. It seemed weird at the time, but then when I saw the documentary, I realised what it was. In most other respects they were great guys, lovely to talk to, reasonable, not at all weird. :confused:


#14

Sherman, it sounds like you approach these things sensibly! that’s cool. it reminds me that my own experience isn’t all there is to it!
God can definitely move anywhere He wants, especially when we want Him to


#15

Wow, Sherman that is indeed an awesome testimony!

Some of you guys will recall we got into this whole charismatic healing thing pretty good a while back on this thread:

I’m not going to rehash all those arguments. What I will say is that I do believe God can and does heal people miraculously, but He doesn’t seem to do it very often. I’m sure every one of us here can come up with numerous examples of people they know who prayed for healing, or had others, sometimes whole churches, praying for their healing, without success. That everybody dies is a brute fact about this created world, and some people die in great pain and distress, perhaps after years of debilitating illness.

As we have discussed elsewhere, evil and pain and suffering are endemic in this world. For reasons none of us can truly discern, either God permits this situation to endure or He is unable to do anything about it (although I believe the former to be the case). Now I would say that the relative paucity of miraculous healings is more evidence of God’s ‘hands off’ modus operandi in His creation. It seems that He prefers a world where people and things can act freely in accordance with their natures, even if that nature is to be a cancer cell or a virus, to one in which everything is controlled in such a way that nothing ‘bad’ ever happens. And since I trust Him enough to believe in Him, I have to trust that ultimately He will be proved right – one reason, incidentally, why am a believer in UR.

As for Todd Bentley, the Home Secretary refused him a visa to bring his circus to Britain a few months ago. I think that speaks volumes.

Peace and love to all

Johnny


#16

I can’t agree more with you Johnny. :smiley:


#17

I agree.

Sherman - great testimony! Thank you.

I was once encouraged to join a prayer line and noticed that some in front of me were falling down when the minister prayed with them. It came to my turn. He put his hands on my forehead and gently pushed, and pushed and pushed. I thought - if I don’t take a step back I’ll lose my balance - so I took a step back to which he responded “Don’t resist”, so I responded rather loudly: “Well stop pushing!”
I think more people were offended by what I said than by what he was doing.

I wonder how many times Jimmy Saville used those words ‘Don’t resist’? I think both are cases of abuse.


#18

I’ve often been asked what I think is the difference between receiving the Spirit when one accepts the Lord and being baptized in the Spirit. To me it’s like the difference between drinking a glass of life-giving water and swimming in a river. The first gives you life and the second moves you. It’s the same medium, water, but different effects on the person. In like manner, receiving Christ, being born of the Spirit gives one eternal life, reconnects one with our Father; being baptized in the Spirit moves one and is usually evidenced by some manifestation of the Spirit, whether that be prophecy, praise, or speaking in tongues - at least that seems to be what happened in Acts.

Also, have you ever wondered what the difference between prophecy, gift of prophecy, and being a prophet are? I believe that all believers can prophecy (hear and share the voice/word of our Father). But not all are “gifted” in prophecy. And fewer still would be seen as prophets. It’s similar to baseball. We can all play baseball (prophecy), but some are “gifted”. And those who are gifted usually love the game, have a natural talent in it, and study and practice a lot, honing their skills (gifted in prophecy). And then there are a few who love the game, have the skills, and can help others hone their skills and provide leadership for the team - coach/prophet.


#19

Also, it seems to me that Luke uses 6 different phrases in Acts to reference the “baptism with the Spirit” - 1) baptized (immersed) in, 2)receive, 3) come upon, 4)poured out, 5)filled with and 6)gift of. Received and gift of both highlight to me that this is something that is by grace, not according to how good we are. Come upon and poured out highlight to me that the source of this event is from outside ourselves, not something we can work up. Baptism/immersion highlights to me that it can be an overwhelming experience. And I especially like the phrase “filled with” because it reminds me of sailing. A sail boat can be powered far beyond the human power on board if it sets it sails and catches the wind. Some know how to set their sails and move forward. Others who do not can catch the wind sometimes, but often are just buffeted by the waves. And it reminds me that if the wind isn’t blowing, then I ain’t going!


#20

Thanks Sherman for an interesting perspective (as always)

I believe what you say here should be the case. However I’'m perplexed that manifestations apparently are more prevalent in Christians with charismatic leanings but not in Christians who aren’t.

Many years ago I studied a great deal into this and could not understand why Christians from my background apparently weren’t receiving the Baptism of the H Sp whilst others from a different persuasion were.
The argument seemed to rest on: if you believed then you were open to the Spirit , if not, then you were quenching the Spirit. Yet I didn’t think this quite gelled with the idea that it was a gift of Grace.

Most of the Christians from my background viewed it as deception from the Devil at worst or self deception anyway at best. I didn’t find this satisfactory as I felt that God wouldn’t allow genuine seeking Christians to be led astray whatever their denominational background; but after some time spent in prayer and study I came to no conclusion and still haven’t, and I haven’t revisited the subject too often since.

Cheers S