Mythbuster: “Slain in the Spirit”

It had been over three hours since the service started, and I was really starting to feel God’s presence in the building. As I stood next to my friend, the music was deep and intense. The lighting made everything feel so intimate, and a slight fog danced through the air. The lead singer’s voice was so beautiful – Jesus Culture’s music is so anointed. The voices all around me sang in unison, and I felt myself slipping into a deep, rhythmic trance as I swayed to the song. The pastor had been continuously telling us to expect an encounter with God and that God was going to touch us all in some special way. Could this be the solution to my problems in life? I’d been through so much heart-ache and insecurity. I was tired of being told that God’s word and prayer was enough. Maybe this was the real deal – maybe this was the encounter I needed. Just then, the pastor interrupted the singing and shouted, “Jesus is here! The anointing is yours! If you want a fresh touch from God get down here to the front of the stage!” I looked at my friend quickly and said, “Are you coming?! This is it!” He shrugged nervously and stayed put. I think he was skeptical of this sort of thing – he’s a Baptist. Oh well, I thought – his loss. Bodies poured out into the aisles as people just like me hurried desperately down to the stage. As I got closer to the front I felt adrenaline pump through my veins and soon found a spot just a few feet away from the pastor. Looking up at him I felt like God was telling him who to lay hands on. His eyes scanned the sea of young people below his platform. Then, my moment came. He told one of his assistants, “Get that girl right there! The power of God is all over her!” I felt so special that he picked me it caused me to sob uncontrollably. I was pulled up on the platform and it felt like I had made it to the holy of holies. My hands were shaking from the nerves, my breaths were short but heavy, and I sensed the catchers getting into place. Then he shouted, “FIRE!!! on you…” The emotion of the moment was too much for me to take as I felt something take a hold of my body. I abandoned all rationale and was powerfully forced to the ground. My body began to convulse and contort while I was laying on the stage; sounds poured out of my mouth I’d never made before. I could hear and feel other bodies beginning to fall around me and on me. Some people were laughing hysterically, others touched me and groaned deeply, and some were screaming while crawling on all fours. I have heard some Christians say this sort of experience was demonic, while others say it’s just hypnosis. To be honest, I haven’t seen it in the Bible and don’t really know what it is…but I really feel like it’s the Holy Spirit…

The virtual tour you’ve just read through is taking place all over the world every single week in tens of thousands of charismatic churches, healing crusades, youth groups, kid’s camps, Third Wave revivals, and N.A.R. conferences. Many conservative Christians are scared to death of their children ever going to one of these services but when asked what the issue really is, most cannot explain it but to say, “It’s unbiblical” or “not God.”

We need a better answer than that.

So what exactly does someone mean when they say, “I got slain in the spirit!”? This phrase describes what many believe to be a touch from God that sends them falling to the ground – literally. Those who ardently defend this practice claim that it’s God’s manifest presence in a service that causes people to fall over. According to them, God’s power is usually “imparted” to people by a pastor who lays his hands on them, blows his breath on them, waves his hand, waves his jacket, or shouts a phrase like, “Fire!” or “Touch!” These gestures cause people to go flying in all directions. Sometimes it even occurs when a certain song is sung by the worship band, or because people are overcome with emotion during a portion of the service. Often times those being slain in the spirit will manifest on the ground by making animal sounds, crawling, slithering, shaking, convulsing, weeping, laughing, and experiencing trance-like euphoria. Some say they feel electricity when the pastor touches them, others feel warmth, while others are not able to stand under their own strength for hours afterwards. All of this is believed to be the work of the Holy Spirit as He refreshes and renews spiritually empty and broken people. With over 500 million charismatics, and 1.5 billion Hindus (Kundalini Awakening)  practicing slaying people in the spirit, it is no exaggeration to state that at least 2/7 of the entire world has beliefs tied to falling or shaking under the power of some sort of spirit. This is not fringe behavior. This is now mainstream spiritualism and considered highly normative – it’s everywhere.

But does the Bible have any evidence to prove normative activity by the Holy Spirit that causes people to shake, slither, laugh, bark, crawl, or convulse in the church? When God interacts with people in the Bible, does He electrocute them into a seemingly drunken state where speech is slurred and the body uncontrolled? Can a preacher (shouting “FIRE!”) really cause heaven to invade your life on earth? Is there a chance that when some of these charismatic experiences are identical to manifestations found in Hinduism that there is a demonic aspect to it? maxresdefault-1

The best way to understand the charismatic practice of being slain in the spirit is to understand the position of those who support and practice it.


First, there are a number of varying claims depending on what charismatic group is explaining them. That in itself proves how much confusion there is surrounding the practice.

Here are several key claims:

  • Slain in the spirit experiences are the result of the manifest presence of God the Father.
  • Jesus is the one doing the slaying.
  • The Holy Spirit is a force that cannot be stopped. When He touches people they fall
  • People who are “empty” need to be slain in the spirit to get filled with the Spirit.
  • When God touches human flesh, something will happen.
  • When heaven touches earth, things shake.
  • The power of God is overwhelming. When it shows up, people fall.

To support these general claims and explanations, charismatic enthusiasts use specific Bible passages as proof-texts for being slain in the spirit. Christians who aren’t biblically literate won’t usually notice the interpretive gymnastics being utilized, but when we study what the Bible actually says, the myths behind being slain in the spirit get biblically busted.


It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-11).

The context of this passage is the completion of Solomon’s temple in which the manifest glory of God literally descended. God’s presence dwelt in the temple as was consistent throughout the Old Testament. A similar experience happened in Exodus 40:34-38 to Moses when he was unable to enter the tent of meeting because of the glory of the Lord.

BUSTED: God’s glory descended upon the temple to signify His residence in the temple. The priest could not to stand to minister (1 Kings 8:10; 2 Chronicles 5:13), and Moses was unable to enter the tent of meeting because of the cloud of glory that filled it – not because they were laid out on the floor. There is nothing remotely close to today’s slaying in the spirit that provides evidence for the practice. God’s presence did not once slay people in the spirit, He did not cause people to fall hysterically, burst out into holy laughter, nor manifest with strange noises. None of what the Old Testament says about God’s presence or experiences at the temple has anything to do with the practice of being slain in the spirit today.

Though still a complete misinterpretation, if charismatic enthusiasts insist on using these texts as proof for their antics, then they must reconcile how the O.T priests were unable to stand or serve in the manifest presence of the Lord while modern day preachers, catchers, organ players, singers, and rest of the audience is able to stand, clap, use the restrooms, and film the antics with their cell phones while only people being “touched” are slain the spirit?

If the glory of God literally shows up, nobody will be filming for YouTube. All will be faced down.

Other texts that are poorly twisted in a similar way to the aforementioned example are:

Genesis 15:12Abram fell into a deep sleep.

Exodus 19:18Mount Sinai shakes from the presence of the Lord.

1 Samuel 16:13The Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David.

Judges 6:34The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.

There is not a theologian on earth who can make any of these truly mean that being slain in the spirit is biblical. Did God move in powerful ways throughout the Bible and does He still today? Absolutely. Is there a single instance in the Old Testament where He “slays someone in the spirit” or instructs a prophet to form a fire tunnel and knock people down in a heaping pile? Absolutely not.


They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:5-6).

Jesus the very Son of God stood face to face with a betrayer, and a mob of soldiers and high priests, then sent them straight to the ground with a declaration of who He was. This was the ultimate sign of power and authority by Christ and a clear display of His divine sovereignty over those He was allowing to kill Him. Not once was the Lamb of God not fully God and not once was He without control.

BUSTED: When we observe Jesus sending these men falling to the ground, several things cannot be overlooked: 1) They were His enemies 2) He did not impart His anointing to them 3) They did not have a euphoric encounter with God 4) They did not manifest by barking, shaking, convulsing, or sobbing 5) They were not filled with the Spirit 6) They were not healed while lying on the ground 7) They carried on with arresting Him. The events of this text cannot be divorced from the application of this text. What Jesus did, and how the mob responded offers no support for modern day practices.

Other New Testament texts poorly twisted in a similar way to the example above:

Acts 8:17Peter and John lay hands on people who receive the Holy Spirit.

Acts 19:12Handkerchiefs that touched Paul were used to heal and deliver people.

Acts 26:13-14Paul was knocked off his horse by a beam of light.

Revelation 1:17John falls on his face before Jesus out of fear. Jesus says, “Do not be afraid.”

To use any of these examples of God’s power in the New Testament as proof to support the normative practice of slaying people in the spirit today is beyond far reaching – it’s dangerous hermeneutics.


There is literally nothing in the Bible that supports the practice of slaying people in the spirit, being slain in the spirit, or even uses those terms. Some may argue that the term “Trinity” is not in the Bible either yet we believe in the Trinity. This is not a good argument since the doctrine of the Trinity is explicitly proven through countless texts that describe the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and we apply it exactly as the scriptures teach it. Terminology is not the issue with determining the biblical evidence for being slain in the spirit – finding any evidence is.

Even the most commonly known chapters on spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14) do not at all deal with the practice or give credence to it. In fact, Paul does more to tone down the chaos of Corinth than to invoke further antics that would confuse the church.

The burden of proof to legitimize this completely unbiblical practice ultimately lies only with those sympathetic to being slain in the spirit.


Since we can conclude it is not found in the Bible, there must be other factors at work. After 26 years of personally experiencing, or being a part of tens of thousands of “slayings”, I’ve come to find that five conclusions quantify what in the world is going on when people fall under this supposed power.

I. People think they have to fall down – Peer pressure at these sort of services is intense. Nobody wants to look bad or make the preacher look bad. It is widely believed that there is something wrong with you if you don’t “feel” God’s presence and have a manifestation of some sort, so peer pressure plays a huge factor in falling. Sadly, kids end up being the biggest loser in this forced behavior as they seek to please and soon are brainwashed into the system. In many cases, people see other people falling and just follow suit. Finally, it is common for seekers who come to these services to think they have to fall down in order to get the experience that the preacher is promising.

II. People are told they are going to fall down – The power of suggestion and hypnosis is real. Documentaries like “Miracles for Sale” have proven that the power of suggestion and hypnosis can be used to make complete strangers do whatever the hypnotist commands. This isn’t news to those with an understanding of psychology and social science but many Christians are still unaware that many charismatic extremists who slay people in the spirit are experts at hypnosis and manipulation. Three hours of sensual and soothing music, countless bursts of saying, “Jesus is here! He is going to touch you! You are going to feel something you’ve never felt before! Just receive it!”, gets people in the mood. Then, they are ripe for the picking. Hypnosis is also proven to put people in a trance-like state – something common at these services.

III. People want to fall down – Reverence is a big deal in Third Wave, N.A.R., and charismatic extremist circles. People are taught to honor leaders in a god-like fashion because they are literally on His level. Many former followers in these movements have admitted that they wanted a deeper connection with God, and wanted the anointing that was being promised by the leader – so they chose to fall in hopes of having a spiritual experience. This often leads to the weeping, praying, and emotional responses seen after the pastor lays his hands on them.

IV. People are faking it – I’ve personally interacted with friends, family, and followers who have faked it. By the grace of God, people who don’t grow up in charismatic chaos have no idea this happens but when you grow up with a special anointing service every week and it lasts 4 hours a shot – you start falling just to get it over with. I once asked someone close to me why they threw themselves back and acted so crazy on the platform to which he claimed, “Come on man, we gotta make him look good and get this over with.” Make no mistake about it, people fake it.

V. It is demonic – In many cases where a false teacher is involved (Start @ 3m:15s) modern day slayings in the spirit are akin to the biblical accounts of someone who is experiencing demonization and demonic possession (Mark 9:17-18). Being seized, thrown to the ground, and rigidness of the body are all things people experience – this is exactly what demon possessed people experienced in the Bible. This isn’t a blanket statement to say that all slaying in the spirit practices today are demonic, but it is to say that when the other four points aren’t in play, you can bet it’s not innocent charismatic behavior. Some may wonder how anyone could dare attribute this to demonic behavior, but think about this for a second. Can a false teacher, teaching a false gospel, being used by Satan (2 Corinthians 11:13-15), lay hands on false Christians (or anyone for that matter) and cause them to experience the true Holy Spirit? No. It’s a false imposter – a demonic spirit.

At best, well-meaning people are seeking an encounter with God in the wrong way through the wrong means and will end up confused and disappointed. At worst, desperate people and apostates are being overtaken by hypnosis, the power of suggestion, demonic forces, or a false spirit that they believe to be the Holy Spirit.

If it doesn’t match the Bible, isn’t found in the Bible, or can’t be truly backed up by proper interpretation of the Bible, you’re not missing out on anything. The Holy Spirit is accessible today through the power of the gospel and He exists to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, not to put on a show (John 16:14-15). If people surrender to Christ, embrace the true work of the Spirit in their life, and submit to the Bible as sufficient and final revelation, being slain in the spirit becomes obsolete.

No matter what a person’s position is on spiritual gifts today, all discerning Christians can confidently say, “I’ll pass” when it comes to being slain in the spirit.

94 thoughts on “Mythbuster: “Slain in the Spirit”

    1. The Spirit of God lives in us, therefore, we live in the presence of God & the Bible says we reflect His glory… The Old Testament stories are types & shadows of Jesus Christ & His indwelling His believers & us reflecting His glory… Christians need to stop chasing God’s presence, & seek more of knowing Him & His love… Its not about feelings, it’s about faith.. When you have an intimate relationship w/ God, you can encounter Him daily & the manifestations, miracles, etc will flow naturally, & no one will be thrown down… That’s not God…

  1. This is an excellent post and worthy of hearing. Just a few other gospel truths to consider. Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. If, as Paul teaches, there is only one baptism, how do we reconcile the baptism of water which was brought by John before Jesus and the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Simply put, the baptism of water is a type and shadow of a thing to come and was an outward sign of brotherhood, such as circumcision for the Jew. The OT is full of types and shadows of Jesus’s coming, sacrifice, and resurrection. After the cross, there is only one baptism and that is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Like circumcision, water baptism to itself is to no effect. Otherwise Paul would have written there are two baptisms – however, there is only one baptism of the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:44-48 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days. When Peter was preaching the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles in front of the Jews and those Gentiles began speaking in tongues and praising God – there is no mention of them convulsing, or being on fire, or falling to the ground – they simply spoke and praised God. Luke 24:36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” Even the first appearance to the disciples who were locked in a room, fearful of the Jews, bickering among themselves were suddenly aware of Jesus being in the midst of them saying peace be with you. You may not think much of this until you read Revelation where the fearful are cast into hell. Jesus brings us peace – even when we are shut in our darkest moment and see no way out, Jesus brings us peace to our torment, our addiction, our sorrow and if you know His character then you know the fruits of the Holy Spirit which is: Galatians 5:22-26 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
    If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Sprit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Once you are saved, your body has been washed pure – you are made righteous by faith, and now the Holy Spirit may dwell in you and not fall on you as it did in the OT. You live with the Holy Spirit in your body as a temple to Jesus – you have the Holy Spirit every second of your life – and the fruits mentioned earlier say nothing about falling, or squirming on the ground in the isles of church – it’s not the Holy Spirit – It is just you. It’s ok to become overjoyed at the word of God, to get emotional, to should Hallelujah and Praise God – However, if your antics in church are so boisterous and animated, you are taking the attention off the preached word of God and placing it on yourself – the Holy Spirit would never do this – therefore – its all on you at that moment in a conceited, provoking manner which the Holy Spirit would not support or transform you into and Paul wrote of these things that we should not do. When John wrote about seeing God, he stated: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. – Revelation 1:17. So even when we fall, God touches us gently and says Do not be afraid – peace be with you.

    Kind regards,
    J Arnn
    Jewish Studies for Christians


    2. Remember when those men acused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil? (When it was the HS) Are you not doing the same thing in reverse? Saying the demon is the holy spirit? (When its a demon) Yes you are…..
      Foolish people if its not in the word its demonic and you had a demon in you

    1. What makes you think he hasn’t “experienced God’s Spirit” ? Just because he doesn’t fall over when someone touch him? This is the saddest, most common and most boring reply from charismatics ,when someone question their theology. It’s getting stale now. Just because a person does not get “drunk in the spirit” or something does not mean he hasn’t experienced God. That is a myth made up by charismatics.

      1. Slain in the Spirit = murdered in the spirit…. who wants to die in the Spirit? We are to LIVE by the Spirit not DIE.

        Drunk in the Spirit? We are not supposed to get drunk why would the true Spirit teach us something CONTRARY to the New Testament?

        Zech 13:2
        2“And it shall be in that day,” declares יהוה of hosts, “that I cut off the names of the idols from the earthn, and they shall be remembered no more, and I shall also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the earth.

      2. Excellent Bible based comments, Herman. The Holy Spirit has indeed led both you and Pastor Costi to proclaim the truth of the Word to a mislead generation

    2. you do realize he’s Benny Hinn’s nephew right?? He used to travel with uncle Benny all the time… and I’m sure you think Benny is so “full of the spirit,” because of those TBN specials.. ?

      1. Your statement made no sense at all. The writer may be related to another person but that does not make the writer the other person nor does it mean they influenced the writer (in his ways). Each person has their own relationship with God and does not hinge on who you are related to. I was born of my mother but I am not her – my walk with God is not her walk with Him, it is mine and vice versa.

      2. This man is Benny Hinn’s nephew but has been very critical of him. He in no way agrees with his uncle. Look it up on Youtube for verification.

    3. It is the God who convicts and compel the lost to surrender.The pastor only has to be faithful to speak the word. This is a well thought out statements.I found this info in Christianity Today some thirty years ago with KC fellowship.

    4. Well, dear Anonymous, let me ask you a question in return: Why is it that when Ananias and Sapphira fell on the floor (which was a judgment of God, Acts 5:1-11), while people in the charismatic churches when they are falling in the Spirit, it is called not a judgment but a blessing of God instead? There is no difference between these two manifestations. The only difference is, those who fell into the Spirit ( and began to crawl, moan, to slither etc), had the luck to stand up afterward. Ananias and Sapphira, however, had no such luck; they died. So, tell me, why do lie some charismatic preachers to their followers by claiming that “falling in the Spirit” is a blessing while it is not?

  2. Further proofs. In the passage from 1 Kings 8, v14 “While the whole assembly of Israel was STANDNG there, the king turned around and blessed them.” No one was falling down.
    Eph 6:13: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND.”

  3. Good article ,thanks.

    Falling on the back is not a blessing or touch from God but actually a symbolically judgement from God.
    The Holy Spirit is given to the church to stand firm in Christ not to shake and drop the church ,He makes us mature in Christ by His word!

  4. What a mess our church is in today!Facts,faith and then feeling is the Devine order. Feelings have their place, but they can change quickly from delight to despair and if we trust them they will. How can a healing service with the presents of the Holy Spirit only heal a couple of select people with thousands attending and needing healing themselves. Does the Holy Spirit pick and choose in a service like that? Several times in scripture, it speaks of Jésus’ ministry and it says that when the people came,”And He healed them all.” It’s hard to imagine that so many “Christians” will follow this nonsense and practice it weekly in their local churches.

  5. If you havent experienced it, you really cant talk about it.falling under the power of God is very peaceful.

    1. Not true.. I came from a NAR church and I believe 90% of what goes on there is entirely demonic. Even if it is peaceful it can be of the devil. It says Satan comes as an angel of light to deceive…. MANY.

      If you are “testing the spirits” by how you feel vs what it says in Scripture you are already going off a cliff.

      1. The day that we receive something from Satan while we’re worshipping Jesus Christ is the day we should all give it up!
        Glad that I found out that there IS a baptism in the Spirit that is truly life changing before someone taught me that it’s of the devil if I spoke in another tongue or became weak kneed, appeared to be drunk, whatever.
        It’s wonderful and no person will ever be able to take that away.

      2. Bobbi Jones I don’t believe you read the article word for word. He did not say anything about speaking in tongues being wrong. He did not say if you get weak in the knees when worshiping was wrong. The article is about a specific thing called “slaying” and he defines what he is talking about – it is a practice in certain churches and with certain people. The practice he is talking about is not biblical and he quotes the scriptures that hold this to be true. It is written that in the church during services there should be order – I Corinthians Chapter 14 speaks about it clearly. I ask you to read that chapter and this article and then come back and comment.

    2. We can talk about it because thruth is determined by the word of God not experience! Your measure of truth is experience not the word of God.

    3. I have gotten knocked down by Benny Him, Creflo Dollar, Oral Roberts, Juanita Bynum and pretty much every other high profile preacher out there…. but is all false.

      The Brownsville Revival demonstrated true repentance for sins, those lives were changed and people walked in Holiness as a result of spending time with the Holy Spirit.

      These other manifestations I got up completely unchanged and neither did anyone else. Anyone who loves the truth can speak against the lies of falsehood. The Spirit of Truth manifests to those who love the truth, not those who fall for spiritual knockoffs.

      I had lived the falsehood for 20 years watching all sorts of distinction operating in the Body of Charismatic believers. But when the truth comes, real eyes will realize real lies.

    4. I agree about the utter peace after being slain. I feel it for many months afterwards. And how it steers me from wanting to do any wrong. How is that demonic? It’s as though guidance in me is much quicker and stronger. It shows me that’s not right. Or Saying that is wrong or negative, don’t do it. I notice Anger and negative thoughts makes that Calm and peace dissipate. It seems to wear off a little with every wrong I do. since my first slay, I now make a conscious effort everyday to get scripture in and improve my relationship with God. How’s that demonic?

      While I am in Total surrender to my God the Father, While praising and worshipping with every ounce of my being, I can’t believe my All powerful God will step aside, and forsake me,… in a church, and let a demon slay me and give me such a huge amount of contentment and peace. ?? Doesn’t make sense.

      The reason why not everyone gets slain, is focus and intent.

      In powerful prayer groups, for years, I could feel something pouring over me and my legs wanting to buckle but I would fight it and resisted. I didn’t want to lay on the floor laugoing.

      Why does slaying only happen in a holy settings where there is prayer and worship? Why not while walking down the road, do demons only wait to pounce when u r in deep connection with your Maker? I think not.

      My 1st time,
      I’m not bothered whose falling and not falling. My only focus is on my God. Faking is a from of lying. Why would people tell a lie in church. That’s sick.

      I surrendered and I prayed: I open my heart to You, Lord. My spirit I commit into Your hands Lord. Every atom belongs to You. Your will Father, not my will. Heal and fix in me whatever wrong u see in me Lord. You know what’s best for me.
      While worshiping I could feel this cloud, it’s like the air is thick with the Holy spirit. I sensed it more than saw it. I could no longer hear what the priest was loudly praying and declaring, I think it was healing, home issues will gone..And financial burdens lifted. In the name of Jesus. Then it happened…. It’s as though I was falling onto a cloud, it’s sooo beautiful. That God would do this for me. I didn’t worry about knocking my head on my Way down /where I would land/or hurting myself falling/how I was going to get up.

      I remember that feeling as though it was yesterday. falling onto a floating cloud. No, falling onto a breath. No, falling without any any fears, onto air.

      Then laying on the ground, not moving, not wanting to move. I asked God, am I dead? But my nasal drip made me cough a little and I could feel tears running. I was laying on a carpet ,I would normally have worried about germs, but I was at such peace, I didn’t care. I seemed to be laying funny or awkwardly But I felt no embarrassment. I felt someone throw a blanket on me. Normally I don’t do blankets because of allergens, I didn’t seem to care.My eyes might have been open. Then I quiet cried the saddest cry from deep deep within my soul. I think it was letting out the sorrows as I’ve been different ever since. Now, I believe the Holy goes where he is welcomed and bad stuff will be removed. At a point, I couldn’t judge how long I’d been in this state so I wanted stand up. I didn’t know how it worked. And I didnt want to be the only one laying there and everyone gone home, but i struggled to stand and started shuddering. But no pain, no discomfort.
      Someone said don’t try, the Holy spirit it still working on u. I just rested there. So content. Eventually I could stand and felt so good. Little later got slain again. I’ve never been the same since

      I’ve been back a few times, each time my life and my family life getting better. I don’t even need her to touch me or blow on me, she and the group can just be praying when I invite the holy spirit to wash over me. And I drop. I’m sure I could ask for the Spirit when I’m alone in my room and end up on the floor. It’s been a while and I have to go and get some more of that indescribable feeling. I think it purges bad stuff in us, itI corrects and heals.

      There’s lots of secrets and mysteries not in the bible. The oral Torah for example.
      Wisdom is telling me it’s actually demonic to denounce spiritual interactions with God. Also there’s some demons that only come out by fasting and prayer. To all those questioning the Holy Spirit and what God can and can’t do. I think there r all sorts of demons that live in people, be very careful that’s it’s not some dark energies in you, talking. What else would be making hissing and barking noises. all that darkness can be pulled out of you.

  6. IF people would do as the apostles taught then they would find out what is behind this:

    1 John 4:1 (KJV) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

  7. That was an excellent article and I could feel God guiding your words. I grew up in an extreme charismatic church and every Sunday night I dreaded the slaying. Like you said, people fake it, I did. When I decided at the age of 9 that I wanted Jesus Christ to be my savior and one Sunday night I made my way to the alter to pray and receive His holy gift of redemption. What I didn’t know was that the elders would all come and lay hands on me, not to just pray for me, but to ‘pray me through to speak in tongues’. It was taking forever and I didn’t have any urge to speak in tongues or be slay in the spirit, so because I was so tired I started babbling like I was speaking some unknown language. After they were satisfied they had fully done their duty they left me and the service ended. We got home really late that night and I felt exhausted and disappointed that I had to pretend so they would stop. I knew that I was saved because I had accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, and God wasn’t telling me I needed to do anything more at that time.

    I remember sitting in church often watching women running up and down the isles with their hairdos falling apart and then them laying on the flooring mumbling and twitching…men too. I just thought it was strange and I kept my distance. I think even as a child I knew there was something wrong. All the bible reading and teaching I had been through had never mentioned these actions. I believe what it says in the Bible that we can be easily deceived ~ it’s the devil job and I’m pretty sure he’s good at what he does. What I think is sad, is that the people doing it believe it to be good and right. I wish people would read their Bibles themselves instead of letting a preacher do it for them.

  8. When i was. 7 years old my mom and i go ti this church that have a woman pastor and during prayer time i always get scared becausr of all the weird noise, the climbing on the walls, screaming, and i will tug my mamas skirt and ask her if we can go home. She always tell me not to open my eyes. I always hold tight into her skirt.

  9. INTERESTING Article.
    In my 36 years as a Christian.SUCCUMBING to that’call for Prayer.’
    Only once did I feel a ‘zzzing’ at the back of my kneejoint & almost fell…
    The rest of the 35x+ I felt I wasn’t Good/holy enough to be ‘ANOINTED’

    1. Shaun; If you have Jesus living in your heart you are “good enough” because Jesus forgives our sins and gives us new spiritual life. It is Christ I. You the hope of glory.
      (Ref. please read Psalm 91; Acrs 4:12; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15; 2 Corinthians 13:5;
      Colossians 1:27; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Revelation 4 in the Bible).

      1. Shaun; a Correction, should say “it is Christ in you the hope of glory..”
        (Ref. please read Colossians 1:27 in the Bible).

  10. Interesting article. But people who are “slain in the spirit” give glory and praise to God and not to anyone else. I know lots of people, including myself, that are above peer pressure or faking and experience and know God’s word enough to have experience his presence.

    You can experience his presence and yes it should be emotional. If you claim the Holy Spirit is working in your life either through the word or worship or just practicing his presence and you don’t have an emotional reaction then youre a flat out liar and completely ignorant to his power.

    The Bible is the final revelation of God’s sovereign prophecy but God continues to reveal himself, his love and his plans for us to this day. Amos 2:24 says as much and it’s solidified as doctrine in 1 Corinthians. Honestly I wish Christians were as passionate about correcting the heretical teachings of cessationists as they are at criticizing people’s reaction to God’s presence.

    1. I have made to some others leaving comments…did you read the article word for word? There is a difference between what he is talking about and what you are talking about. I see that you mention I Corinthians, then I ask that you read chapter 14 from beginning to end and then come back and say that the practice of ‘slaying’ is biblical. He wasn’t talking about people speaking in tongues and worshiping in the Spirit. The author is in no way ignorant of God’s power, nor is he a liar. He is exposing a non-biblical practice which invites the devil to play tricks with people. If you don’t think that satan and his followers go to church, then think again! He is seeking every opportunity to deceive people and he is the master at it. He quoted the Word of God to Jesus when he was tempting Him! It is written that satan comes as a thief in the night; that means that most are unaware of when they have been deceived, it isn’t until the dawning of the light that they see the destruction around them.

      1. The Bible does not say Satan is the thief in the night, it says JESUS is the thief in the night.

  11. Very good read. I’ve often thought that the reason people fall down could simply be that they are in such awe of God in their worship that they just lose balance and fall over. (However, this is in the case where a pastor is not initiating it)

    1. Yes Good read. When I have any questions on church conduct I always refer back to the 14th chapter of I Corinthians which is very specific about it. 🙂

      1. Every thing must be done peaceably and in order according to the 1 Corinthians 14. As a Pentecostal believer since 1966 I have seen some unbelievable thing in some of our meetings. Pray for those who haven’t read the Scriptures to see how to act in a service. This article was great and did not come against speaking in tongues.

  12. What is wrong with slaving in the power of God? God gave us different measures of Grace and be content of what you have dont evy other ministries we are all called for one purpose is to serve God.

  13. Let not one of us dare to say WE KNOW EVERYTHING!!! We are treading on dangerous grounds!!! We do not know everything about the Spiritual world!! It is very, very high above our understanding!!!!
    Thank you Father God for Your love and Your mercy!

    1. We can only know what the Word of God says. We may not know everything about the spiritual world but what we need to know is in the Bible. God says the Word is sufficient and if we know it we can test all things against it.

  14. As one who has been slain in the spirit, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and speaks in tongues; I truly have to say that it grieves the Holy Spirit when false doctrine is being promoted. I do agree that there are charismatics that have “faked” these incidences, however many more experience it under sound doctrine and deep study of God’s word. One could not enter the holy of Holies before Christ “rent the veil” without being so overcome by the power of God that their physical bodies could not accept it and they DIED!!! If the Bible is without error which I believe to be true; then if experiencing his power could kill you, the idea that in modern times he could merely knock you off of your feet seems quite reasonable. I feel as if we entering into the last days. If this be the case God said that he was going to pour down his spirit in a might way and in Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” This pouring out of his spirit is beginning to happen around us and it is going to become much more prevalent the evidences of God’s spirit moving in the ways in which you are condemning. You say in many places on your site that we should not abstain from telling the truth to our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. In the spirit of that statement I admonish you for speaking against the power of God and attributing his powerful workings unto demonic spirits. I understand that different denominations have differing beliefs on such matters. However, do not hinder the spirit of God and call his works evil and expect to not be admonished by him one day for it.

    1. “I do agree that there are charismatics that have “faked” these incidences” these are your words from above and that is what the article was about. It doesn’t matter that more people have a ‘real’ experience, it matters that he spread light on a false practice called ‘slaying’. His article was specific and backed by scripture. In no way did the author indicate that speaking in tongues or praying in the Spirit were wrong, neither did he speak against the Holy Spirit.

  15. I grew up in a very active church. People dancing shouting running falling out. Here’s my question? Do you do that at home as well or do you save it to perform in front of people to “show how spiritual you are” at church? It’s not biblical. There would be a very clear example in the record of the early church if it were a normal human response to the Holy Spirit. The 120 didn’t fall out and start acting crazy when they were filled in the day of Pentecost, and that was a big deal they simply spoke with other tongues (very clear response indiciated in scripture). I’m tired of doing things because it’s what we’ve been taught. If I can’t find it in scripture I’m not believing it. And just because the preacher gets up there and says it’s true doesn’t make it true. Or if it’s what you’ve always known doesn’t make it true. (Understood you, everyone learns that in elementary) STUDY to show THYSELF approved.

    1. Thank you! finally I come across an understanding mind! I grew up in the same kind of church, and yes, the only time the people ever acted as you described was on Sunday at church. At home, never. I agree, study to show thyself approved!

      1. While I have no evidence and can only speculate, I interpret that verse as a joke by Peter. The primary reason I interpret it this way is because he adds: “It’s only nine in the morning!” or “it’s just the third hour of the day” That seems like a punchline to me. Like I said, it’s only speculation, but seems like reasonable speculation to me.

  16. I have been “slain in the Spirit” twice. There was one time that proceeded these where I was touched but did not fall down at all. But of the other two times, one was no. 1 on your list: I felt I was supposed to fall down so I did.

    The other occasion though is not on your list. I came forward and the Healer swung his coat at me (like Benny Hinn is known to do). Apparently this gentleman had a large wad of car keys in his coat pocket, so as the coat hit me in the face I was knocked to the ground quickly, and I lost conciousness for a minute or so. Someone stationed behind me “caught me”, so thankfully I did not hit the ground very hard when I fell.

    I awoke with quite a sore jaw though. And what displeased me the most about this was that the Healer never apologized to me. He actually asked that we all make a donation after all of that, and surprisingly I dropped a $5.00 into the gasket. I know this amount was a pittance when you consider the price of fuel for his jet but I did donate that night, even after having been knocked out by the swing of a coat.

  17. Hi, very informative article. Thank you. But could you link the “miracles for sale” video(s) up there in the body of the article where you mention it, so we know exactly what you’re referring to? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Linda,

      Sorry about not linking that. Please know that I only encourage this to be watched for research and discernment. There is some profanity at one point when one of the main actors had a breakdown from faking faith healing. I do not endorse everything in the film.


      1. COSTI, I’ve seen your name bouncing around and I call,out bethel and kundalini folks and new age mystism in these fallen away churches but you have been doing straight up work for THE MAN OF PERDITION HIMSELF!
        I don’t care who you are and I’ve been to Benny Hinn fiasco.
        He’s a complete fraud and our church, way up in the balcony fell back in our chairs when he said “Take it up in the balcony” I looked at our deacon, my pastor, then my foot got trampled up under my husbands foot and we all fell and It had nothing to do about the power of God.
        The bleacher chair SPACE was just tight but we laughed and laughed.
        He’s a fraud and your taking a new road “supposedly” to show the world Hinn Is a fraud.
        It’s 2018! You think 80% of the Christian world have not figured out he was a fraud.
        Give me a break!
        You sir are attacking the CHURCH AS A WHOLE. The attributes of why we follow God. Why we serve him, why we put our trust in HIM not in man.
        Many are steady making the path straight for the antichrist and the merging of religions, the introduction of this kundalini demon by people such as Bethel, claiming the manifestations of that HINDU demon is the Holy Spirit. Utter blasphemy.
        Your job is to tear down the SANITY OF THE WORD CHURCH.

        ITS NOT ALL FAKE HYPNOSIS and you know it.
        We see fake stuff 5 to 10 times a week. we get it.


        Brother will betray brother, a daughter her mother, a son his father…
        Remember that scripture Jesus said?

        You have a job commissioned to you by Lucifer?
        The plan is to tear down Christianity to those who are not going along with this merging of religions that we all serve the same God’s,

        That’s exactly the atmosphere the antichrist needs to come in on so that he can easily convince the world “he is god”

        You are a part of this road being paved for his coming.
        You need exposed.
        Your probably still on a salary from Binny Hinn!
        He does antichrist work too!

        You may have fooled some but you have never fooled this ole girl!
        Discernment is a wonderful thing.
        Good luck with your pathetic life. Hopefully you will wake up and beg God’s forgiveness and ask for his help over this P.T.S.D your uncle put you through.

        God is real.

        You were just around a talented charalloten.

  18. All interesting comments and thoughts, but how did Paul, who was commissioned by God to bring the gospel to the Gentiles and separate Judaism from Christianity, which Peter- a Jew, could not do – how did Paul correct the church at Corinth? He reminded them who they were in Jesus. Paul reminded them of the message and that if they were wailing and speaking in tongues which drowned out the message of the pastor and were taken as fools by new comers – then they were in error. If you are “slain in the spirit” good for you. However, read the characteristics of the Holy Spirit from your bible – not what some other person tells you. You will find these characteristics very different from modern day mans interpretation and the antics used by those who would glorify themselves rather than glorify God.

    Kind regards,
    J Arnn
    Jewish Studies for Christians

  19. I understand what this article is saying and I don’t disagree with all that is being said but, If you Read Acts Chapter 2 after the 120 leave the upper room everyone thought they were drunk. Tongues of fire came and rested upon them and everyone thought they had lost there mind. Peter preached the gospel after this and 3000 were saved. 5000 were saved after Peter and John told the lame man to rise up and walk! All this happened after a group of believers came together and prayed. Did the pastor come and lay hands on them? Probably not. Were they all talking about getting “slain in the spirit” before they entered the upper room? I doubt it. They all came together in unity and did what God told them. People talked about them, mocked them and thought they were crazy but in the end they were filled with the Holy Spirit and power was endued upon them. Do I believe this is what is happening all across America and the world? Not necessarily but in some companies I believe it is. I believe there is revival and reformation coming and already happening but the charismatic Pentecostal denominations have made more of a “show” out of there services rather than a move of God. Joel chapter 2 says “”It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”
    ‭‭Joel‬ ‭2:28-29‬ ‭NASB‬‬
    This started in Acts chapter 2 in the upper room and we are still feeling the wave from it to this day. I believe If God can fill a group of 120 with his spirit and they all appear drunk to the common person back then after the crucifixion of the Christ, then He can do it again. What eye has not seen, and what ear has not heard is what he has for his beloved ones. It’s not always going to look like what we are use to and if we’re not open for change then we may miss what God is doing. I just want the real Jesus and want others to encounter Him as well. I hope this helps!

    1. Imagine that you lived in a large neighborhood and everyone knew each other, at least on a shallow level. back in those times people knew one another more than we know each other in our time.

      Now imagine that you hear a loud rushing wind out of nowhere and then all your neighbors and their friends who you also know of, came out and they all were talking in different languages. You only know Hebrew, or Greek. To you, seeing all these people you know talking languages you probably never heard of will sound like drunkenness. You know they don’t know other languages besides Hebrew. How else would they be speaking like this?

      It’s not far fetched to conclude your neighbors were all drunk.

      1. Exactly. Speaking about such miracles, individuals today are sadly not thinking of speaking in foreign languages when they talk about tongues. And yet, that is exactly what is happening here as you have beautifully explained, . Thank you for your clear input on the subject., Some One in Christ!

  20. this is what i have been preaching for the last 25 years since i got saved. People can not prove others are faking it, but the bible does, and thats all thats needed. Even JESUS didnt argue with those against the word, he just keep going to others towns, etc.. This is the one fact people seem to ignore that is obvious according to scripture, “NOT ALL WILL BE SAVED”. Once the church understands this, and stops trying to count everybody on their church roster as a member, the sooner we can be done with foolish in the church and what people call the movement of GOD. In my experience I’ve learned this, everybody can fake tongues, interpretation of tongues, falling down, being slain what ever they wanna call it, yet apostle Paul says he would rather speak in understandable words then in 10,000 tongues. I highly doubt Paul would affirm or condone falling down to show the movement of the HOLY SPIRIT filling someone, and any theologian in their right mind would agree if they are indeed studied in the bible. Great article, very scriptural, and written, A+.

  21. I apologize first off for this “wordburger,” but if you allow me to enlighten more people on tongues from somebody who is more learned about this.

    There are volumes that can be written on the subject of “tongues” – the below is an attempt at a brief two-part summary on the phenomenon as viewed and studied through the lens of linguistics.

    When it comes to “tongues”, there are two separate issues at hand; ‘tongues’ as described in the Bible, and the modern Pentecostal/Charismatic practice/understanding of ‘tongues’. With the latter, we may also include ‘tongues’/glossolalia as practiced by many non-Christians in their various cultural traditions. The first issue (Biblical tongues) is, contrary to how many view it, in no way mutually inclusive with the latter two; they are totally different phenomenon.

    Let me first state that I am neither a so-called cessationist nor a continuationist (I’ve never heard the two terms until just late last year). Thus, the views offered below are not derived from any particular religious context, view, or slant, but ones based on a more in depth reading of the two main sources cited as evidence for modern ‘tongues’: the Pentecostal narrative of Acts, and in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Since I am a Linguist, these texts have been viewed primarily through the lens of linguistics.

    I am strongly of the opinion that Biblical ‘tongues’ are simply real languages, perhaps unknown (i.e. foreign) to those listening to them, but known by the speaker (typically his/her native language). Further, all Biblical references to tongue(s) (‘glossa’) describes one of two things: the physical organ in the mouth, or real language(s).

    Let’s take a look at both Acts and Corinthians with respect to ‘tongues’. I’ll start with Acts.

    In general, there are many “misreadings” (for lack of a better term) that most people don’t even think about when reading both Acts and Corinthians. Many people tend to gloss over things that are critical to fully understanding the context of the text, or assume one thing means something else entirely. These misreadings have resulted in many misinterpretations of the texts.

    What do I mean by a misreading? Perhaps the best example is the “list” in Acts 2:9-11 – the common belief and assumption is that it is a list of languages. But look closely at that list again…..what do you notice? It’s not a list of languages, is it? It’s a list of geographic locations and ethnic groups. Is there any sort of relevance to these places referenced in the list? Well, yes indeed; upon closer inspection, we discover that they are specifically those lands and areas of the Jewish Diaspora (Cyprus and Syria are missing – perhaps due to copyist errors over time). Both the Western and Eastern Diaspora are included which is significant, but we’ll get to this later.

    So what about the languages? Read the entire narrative again carefully. Did you notice anything? It may not be apparent at first, but it’s there. Not one place in the entire Pentecostal narrative is even one language ever referenced by name…not one. Further, nowhere in the entire narrative does it suggest or imply that communication was even a problem to begin with! For me, this would send up a few red flags if I were to postulate modern Pentecostal/Charismatic tongues for those of Acts.

    So if communication was not the issue, what was the problem?

    The Pentecostal narrative, contrary to how many interpret it, does not describe xenoglossy, nor does it describe a miracle of hearing one’s own language when someone is speaking another (a phenomenon called “akolalia” by some); the “other languages” referred to were simply Greek and Aramaic; the mother tongues (sic!) of those local Jews, as well as those of the Diaspora, visiting Jerusalem for Shavuot.

    With respect to the Diaspora, again to try and keep it brief and without several pages of explanation, Jews of the western Diaspora spoke Greek as their native language; those of the eastern Diaspora spoke Aramaic. They would have been familiar with the local languages these places (particularly the eastern Diaspora), but would not have spoken them as their first/primary language. The Jews already in Judea would have spoken Aramaic as well, though some possibly grew up with Greek.

    So, wait a second – why are they referred to as “other languages”? Other than what? The answer lies in an overlooked aspect of Judaism; ecclesiastical diglossia. The rules of ecclesiastical diglossia of the time demanded that teaching, evangelization, religious instruction, etc. such as what occurred at Pentecost be done in Hebrew (though Greek was slowly gaining influence as an acceptable alternative). The Jews gathered there expected to hear Hebrew, the culturally (and religiously) correct language to use in this situation and on this occasion – instead they heard the apostles speaking in their native languages of Greek and Aramaic; both of which the apostles would have spoken. The result was amazement, wonder, astonishment and even ridicule at such an obvious breach of cultural “etiquette”. These men were Galileans after all; they should know better!

    What we are witness to here is the breaking of a cultural barrier that was necessary in order to spread the message of Christianity to the world. Indeed, the real miracle of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost may simply have been to give the disciples the courage and spiritual strength to “spread the word” and to dispose of the cultural necessity to do so in one (or two) language(s) (i.e. observe strict adherence to ecclesiastical diglossia). That cultural barrier would now be broken without fear of any reprise and local vernaculars would be used to teach the people. With this cultural barrier now broken, the disciples, one could almost say, “paved the way” for the quick spreading of a new religion called Christianity.

    Let’s quickly get back to our list for a moment. Was there any significance to specifically name the lands of the Jewish Diaspora? As we have just discussed, it certainly does not appear to have been to represent and demonstrate linguistic diversity since we’re only talking about two languages. Indeed, it could very well be argued that Luke’s purpose in presenting this list (with Cyprus and Syria missing) may strongly suggest that the first apostolic ministry was to the Jewish Nation as a whole (Diaspora included).

    Pentecost – no modern concept of ‘tongues’, no xenoglossy, no akolalia, no language miracle needed here folks; simply Greek and Aramaic instead of the culturally correct and expected Hebrew.

    Let’s turn now to Corinthians.

    First, and I think foremost, it is critical to understand that Corinth was a multi-cultural, linguistically diverse city on not one, but two ports. As a major seaport city, one would expect to find a constant influx and varied mix of visitors, travelers, transients, freedman and slaves. Though Greek was the language of Corinth, as well as the ‘English of its day; i.e. almost everyone in the Mediterranean basin was familiar with it to some degree, communication in general between people from different lands and countries must have been difficult at best as it would have had to be conducted in Greek; a language, not everyone knew equally well.

    A church, any organization really, tends to reflect its environment. Since Corinth was multilingual, one would also expect to see this diversity reflected in its church and other social/religious organizations.

    At first glance, Corinthians presents what at first may seem like a slew of evidence for tongues-speech (T-speech), most people focus on two passages: 1 Cor. 14:2, and 1 Cor. 14:13-14.

    Many use 1 Cor. 14:2 as “proof” of tongues being spiritual language(s) – but upon closer examination, it simply describes real language, though a foreign one to the “hearers”. Note that nowhere does the passage state that the speaker does not understand what he himself is saying.

    To explain it further, as one writer put it, “Think of it this way; if I showed up at a Bible study and began to speak in German, but no one else in the room could speak German, I might impress a few people, but no one would understand me. So if I speak in a language that no one else in the room can speak, I am in fact not speaking to men, but to God (who alone can understand all languages). Anything I say would be a mystery to those in the room. That is what Paul was trying to convey” by people speaking a foreign language at a public worship.

    Another way to look at it is this: if I attend a worship service in ‘East Haystack’, Alabama two things are going to be evident: one; there’s only going to be so many people at that service (i.e. there will be a finite given amount of people there) and two; the chances that anyone in East Haystack speaks anything *but* English is pretty slim to nil. If I start praying aloud in say Lithuanian, there’s no one at that service that’s going to understand a bloody word I’m saying. Even though I’m speaking a real language, no one *there* will understand my “tongue”. That does *not *mean or imply that no one else understands Lithuanian; just no one at that particular service. So it ends up being a “real language no one understands” (within that given context). To the people listening to me, I am speaking ‘mysteries” in the Spirit (i.e. I’m praying earnestly from my heart and from deep within my being = praying ‘in the spirit’).

    Corinthians 14:13-14 seems to present a problem with respect to asserting that ‘tongues’ here is meant as real language(s). “Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.”

    Or to paraphrase the first part, “If a person speaks in a foreign language (as his first language), let him pray that he can adequately translate what he’s saying into the language of Corinth (Greek)”. It seems somewhat odd at first, but when you take into consideration the intricacies of translating (even something that appears easy and straightforward at first glance), it’s really no wonder that Paul admonishes the person to pray for guidance that he may translate it (adequately and correctly) into Greek.

    As an example, I have translated a simple four line ‘meal’s grace’ into several local Native American languages of northern New England and can attest that what seems so simple at first; four simple lines, can be maddeningly difficult – it’s not just the grammar, it’s also the cultural aspect – what you say, or the way you say something, in language X, may not be anything like how it needs to be said in language Y, particularly in a religious context. In light of the intricacies involved in translating, I don’t see verse 13 as being an issue with respect to real language.

    With respect to verse 14, I am going to quote from an article (A New Look At Tongues Part II) by Robert Zerhusen who explains it much better than I can:

    “1 Corinthians 14:14 is probably the main text used to argue that the language speaker did not understand his language. Paul says that if he should speak in a language (without translation), “my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful [akarpos].” Lenski takes akarposas passive: “my nous or understanding” is inactive and thus akarpos–“barren,” “unfruitful,” producing no distinct thoughts”.

    Paul could also be using akarpos in the active sense:

    A decision upon its meaning centers in akarpos (“unfruitful”) whether the adjective is passive in sense, meaning the speaker himself receives no benefit, or active in sense, meaning his nous (understanding) provides no benefit to others…The view that assigns akarpos a meaning of “produces nothing, contributes nothing to the process”… is not convincing, because akarpos does not mean “inactive.” It is a word for results and does not apply to the process through which the results are obtained. The present discussion does not center on the activity or nonactivity of the tongues speaker’s mind, but rather on potential benefit derived by listeners.

    The whole context of 1 Corinthians 14 is the effect upon the hearers of untranslated languages.
    Paul’s concern is the edification of the group. Therefore, 14:14 should be taken as “My spirit prays but my mind does not produce fruit [in others].” This says nothing about whether or not the speaker understood his own utterance.”

    In fact, you’re not going to find anywhere where it specifically indicates that the speaker either does or does not understand what he is saying. It’s simply never definitively stated. It has to be inferred from context. If you adhere to T-speech, then the speaker does not understand what he’s saying. With real languages, he does.

    We can quickly dismiss 1 Cor. 13:1 with respect to modern tongues/prayer language/heavenly language, etc. as it’s simply hyperbole.

    With that passage in Corinthians (14:13-14) as well as verses 27-28, what one has to keep in mind is that this is simply a letter. Paul is not writing a religious treatise here; he’s just responding to (presumably) a letter written to him describing the situation in Corinth where the writer is simply asking his advice on how to handle the language situation in Corinth.

    Throughout this entire section of his letter Paul’s main concern is clarity, understanding, and intelligibility during a public worship service such that everyone there can benefit, not just one or two people.

    How do you establish this when you’re in the middle of a huge multi-cultural and linguistically diverse city where everyday communication can be a challenge?

    In this case, yes, I would definitely posit that Paul states the phenomenally obvious solution (though in an extremely elaborate and eloquent way). To paraphrase – “Make sure people can understand each other in a public worship so everyone has an opportunity to benefit from what’s being said. If you have some guy come in and start speaking his native language and no one understands it, it’s not doing anyone any good but him – everyone needs to have the opportunity to benefit, so…best case scenario is to have him learn enough Greek so he can translate what he’s saying, but obviously this isn’t going to happen overnight, so in the meantime either have him find a translator or, if no translator can be found, better for him to not say anything at all so as not to add to or create any further confusion.”

    I don’t think it’s any more complicated than that; real language issue, real language solution to the issue.

    Yes, when paraphrased in a very blunt manner as above (i.e. “have the dude learn some Greek but in the meantime, tell him to either get a translator or keep quiet), Paul seems to be having a “Captain Obvious moment”, but it sounds like perhaps the obvious needed to be stated in this instance. In fact, I’ve often wondered if Paul wasn’t even a bit irritated with the issue and gave (in a very eloquent manner) an intentionally blunt remark (“read between the lines”, so to speak). I think many times these passages are interpreted by certain religious groups to fit their understanding and practice of modern tongues (T-speech).

    Given the demographic make-up of Corinth, and the common everyday issues such cultural and linguistic diversity bring, to postulate anything here but real language being referenced just doesn’t stand up to the reality of the situation. Not everything in the Bible needs to be divine or miraculous; sometimes it just describes common everyday issues; in this case here, one of clarity and communication in a place where those two things were difficult to achieve at best.

    Let’s now turn to modern Pentecostal/Charismatic ‘tongues’. These are completely different from Biblical ‘tongues’. It’s simply the Christian form of glossolalia. A phenomenon practiced by many other cultures and religions. It’s all done essentially the same way.

    Glossolalia itself being simply, as Robert Zerhusen terms it, “non-cognitive non-language utterances” (NC-NLU’s) composed of random free vocalization – essentially “playing with language”. Due to the nature of glossolalia, the language producing centers of the brain (particularly the area controlling grammar) are not overly engaged when one practices it, as a study done by the University of Pennsylvania (2010), using SPECT imaging, demonstrated. Mr. Zerhusen, by the way, whom I refer to frequently in these posts, is a pastor and theologian whose interests include the application of cultural anthropology and linguistics to NT studies.

    As a Linguist, I have studied glossolalia and my findings concur with other previous studies done. Let’s look at some facts regarding glossolalia/tongues – Glossolalia consists of only those sounds found in the speaker’s native language (and any language they may have been exposed to) ,though typically the phonemic inventory (set of sounds) that any given speaker will use is considerably less than what occurs in his/her native language. Anyone can learn to produce glossolalia relatively easily in a matter of minutes. Further, ‘word’ stress and general accent are typically those of the speaker’s native language. A person from Georgia is going to sound like a person from Georgia when “speaking tongues”, i.e. there’s no “foreign accent”, so to speak, in glossolalia. It is the generation of simple syllables all of which are almost exclusively ‘open’ syllables. There is no grammar, thus also no syntax.

    Concerning sounds, American speakers do however typically trill their r’s when “speaking in tongues” (with some it’s more a what’s called a ‘flap’ – the ‘t’ in “water” – than an actual trilled ‘r’) – it makes the glossic utterance sound more “foreign”.

    All of the preceding also applies to the so-called “singing in the Spirit”; it is simply sung glossolalia rather than spoken.

    The above, as well as many additional features too lengthy to explain in detail here, demonstrate that ‘tongues’ fail as language on virtually any criteria by which ‘language’ is defined.

    Incidentally, just because the sound or tone of someone’s glossolalia/tongues does not match your preconceived idea of what a ‘tongue’ is supposed to sound like, does not make it inherently “demonic”. Further, there is no such thing as “faking tongues” – the question is “faking what?” Faking the fluent production of syllables? To produce syllables fluently is to produce syllables fluently. I would posit a definition of “faking tongues” as the ‘conscious effort of a speaker to produce glossolalia’ as opposed to the natural flowing of syllables as is normally produced by the subconscious.

    Glossolalia as practiced in most other cultural and/or faith traditions around the world typically entails a petitioner seeking aid in the emotional and/or spiritual healing process, who is helped by the practitioner (minister, priest, shaman, healer – whatever s/he is called in that culture). It is rarely, if ever, the petitioner him/her self who is engaging in the actual glossolalia; it’s almost always involves a third party.

    In these instances glossolalia is used as a tool to establish a ‘connection’ to the divine, a message is received (either directly or indirectly via an interpreter) that is extremely pertinent to this third party’s situation and, as a result, with the message delivered, the petitioner may begin the process of emotional/spiritual healing.

    Though this more ‘correct”, if I may call it that, use of glossolalia does occur the context of Christianity, from all accounts I have read or been told about, instances of this are exceedingly rare. Whether or not it is rare because most people do not practice glossolalia ‘correctly’ (due to a misconception of what it actually is) is a matter for further study/debate. In addition, whether or not Christian practitioners realize that glossolalia is simply the tool used to enter into the process (not the means) may also be a matter for debate.

    The bottom line is that by far the more common practice used by Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians seems to be one of interpreting Scripture to fit the modern practice/connotation of what glossolalia is perceived to be. The only praying going on with tongues is the deep subconscious praying of the individual (in whatever their native language happens to be); inspired, of course, by their deep faith and beliefs. There is nothing divine or miraculous going on here. There is nothing being done that can’t be explained in natural terms. If you really stop and think about it, the Holy Spirit (being one of three aspects of God, if you subscribe to the concept of the Trinity) does not need to inspire people on how to pray to itself.

    Interpretation may again also be inspired by one’s deep faith and beliefs, but the relatively generic messages of most interpretations do not suggest anything that is divinely inspired. This is clearly evidenced in that if one gives the same glossic string to ten different people who can interpret tongues, one will get ten different interpretations typically non-related to each other. In this respect, glossolalia fails even the most basic criteria which define communication itself.

    The all too common come-back to this issue of ‘multiple interpretations’ is that God/the Holy Spirit simply gives different interpretations to different people. As one on-line writer quips (and I couldn’t have said it better myself), “Pentecostal Darwinism does not exist – there’s no mutation or transformation of one message into several for the sake of justifying an obvious discrepancy. If this were the case, it would completely eradicate the need for glossolalia in the first place.”

    Another internet writer puts it rather bluntly – “People who claim to speak in tongues need to understand that they are making a testable claim. The claim has been tested, numerous times. And the tongues speakers have failed the test, every single time.”

    This same writer further goes on to say: “You want this to be real. You’ve convinced yourself it’s real. The only reason it sounds like a language is that you want it to sound like a language. But it’s not. It’s meaningless. You’re not producing a language. It’s a purely manufactured experience initially created by psychological manipulation (all the praise music and the sort of altered state that it puts you in to begin with… and the emotional frenzy of the service before that) as well as intense pressure to perform from those standing around you.”

    The above is admittedly a somewhat harsh statement from a former tongues speaker, but it begs the question of just how accurate the above paragraph really is. I suspect more than most practitioners would care to admit.

    Glossolalia mimics language, but upon further closer examination, it is simply a façade of language.

    If T-speech met the criteria of language and had a definite lexicon, structure and grammar, I’d be the first to say, “Hey, you’re on to something here that’s supernatural and really needs to be looked at more closely and studied”, but tongues simply isn’t that. Neither are modern tongues xenoglossy – there are, in fact, no known provable cases of xenoglossy…anywhere.

    Let me ask if you have ever heard someone speak in tongues and thought “That doesn’t sound like tongues” or “That sounds demonic”. What was your basis for thinking that? What was it that made you doubt the ‘authenticity’ of their tongues as opposed to yours? I’d be curious to know.

    Next time you speak tongues, take out your phone; put it on voice recorder, and record yourself for about a minute. Then play it back and take a listen, truly listen to the utterances – play the recording back over and over and write them down and look at them. Can you see the patterns, the play on sounds, repetitions of syllables, predictability of syllable structures, the constant use of particular vowels over others – then ask yourself, is this language or simply something that mimics it and is only a façade of language? Next, listen to the tongues/glossolalia of say a Shaman from Siberia and you’ll notice he’s producing his tongues the same exact way you are. They may even sound like something you’ve heard before – are his ‘tongues’ any less divine than yours?

    As a Linguist who has studied the phenomenon, my take on it is that tongues/glossolalia is to some Christian believers a very real and spiritually meaningful experience, but consisting of emotional release via non-linguistic ‘free vocalizations’ at best – the subconscious playing with sounds to create what is perceived and interpreted as actual, meaningful speech. In some extreme cases, it is clearly a self/mass delusion prompted by such a strong desire to “experience God” that one creates that experience.

    I am not condoning glossolalia; particularly if it is a way for the speaker to strengthen his/her own spiritual path, but understand what it really is and perhaps just as importantly (indeed, if not more importantly) ……understand what it is not.

    1. So I read your whole post and found it fascinating! I never thought about those biblical references in that light before. I’m a former tongues speaker and wholly agree with your conclusion concerning present day glossolalia.
      I just wanted to posit another explanation of what tongues might be (my current understanding and belief): where one is addressing a foreign group of people and as they keep talking they no longer need an interpreter because God is causing them to speak the language of those he is addressing without the speaker realizing it. These instances would be seen mostly in the line of work of a missionary going where the Word of God is not widely known or heard, and God uses that instance to set His stamp of authenticity in that person as His messenger.
      As I write it out that could be more of a miracle in Its own right as opposed to an actual definition of tongues, but I haven’t heard anyone outside my circle of believers describe it as such and was interested in what you might think…

      1. Rebecca, you are absolutely correct. In the NT glossa was a real foreign language (i.e. Acts 2:6). In appendix two of “Defining Deception” we document the background on all of it for you.

  22. Though I know this article isn’t on speaking in tongues but ii saw a few comments on it..I’d like to put in a littlesomething. Something puzzles me about believers who call it question is how do they know that babbling is not a foreign tongue from some other nation?? If I were to talk Spanish around people who only understood English or Chinese wouldn’t it sound like babbling to them!! Lol I speak in toungues myself but I also delt with the battle myself whether it was or not but I stuck on praying and asking the Holy Spirit asked me the same question how do I know if I can’t interpret it..he acknowledge me to continue till I receive the gift of interpretation then ill be judge. As long as your asking.seeking and will receive.

    1. Thank you, Daniel for your right on comment. I have the gift of speaking in tongues and do not get the interpretation. Paul said this was prayer language that only God understands. Different from speaking to the congregation.

  23. I have a teacher who when experiencing the black out event for the first time had zero emotion leading up to it. He wasn’t expecting anything. He was a visiting drummer at a church he’d never been to and the pastor wasn’t touching anybody or doing anything pentecostally. The pastor looked at my teacher, laughed, then asked him to come up front from behind the drums. The pastor touched my teacher’s forehead with one finger and teacher was out for hours in a euphoric state. He never saw it coming. Nothing was going on in the church leading up to it. No emotion leading up to it. The experience changed his life for the better.

  24. About 30 years ago, I led a church for at-risk kids. They led the worship, fixed the food, went through Bible Study, prayed for and ministered to one another. On several occasions a couple of girls fell under the power of the Holy Spirit while worshiping. When they got up we had them describe what happened. They indicated that they saw a vision of Jesus. Upon inquiry they indicated that he communicated to them but that they could not describe what he said – it was either beyond human description or they didn’t have permission to share. I had not taught them or exposed them to any videos on this phenomenon. They had observed legs grow out and some adults being dramatically delivered from evil spirits. So they understood the significance of being open and empowered with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit leads. Another time, in another group we were praying together with hands joined. I had my eyes closed. I felt something pulling on my right arm. It was a child falling under the Holy Spirit. I have never fallen in the Spirit. Once at a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship Meeting, I asked the others to pray over me for the experience. They did pray over me and I felt like I was standing in a power beam, but I did not fall. Bottom line: God has given us the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the power to cast out demons. I have experienced them all. They are valid today as they were yesterday. Would that the church use them – with signs following. That changes lives: people, including children, are never the same afterwards; they’ve seen the power of God. Those in bondage to the world get set free. A friend of mine went to a Benny Hinn crusade in Montana some 30 or so years ago. He was slain in the spirit at that meeting. The electricity that went through his body actually affected his heart pacemaker, that he had to have something done by the doctor days later. The Apostle Paul said that he didn’t convert people with words, but with signs and wonders. Get the Holy Spirit and don’t leave home without it!

  25. Here is another disturbing article that ignores scripture (such as the description of Pentecost, or Paul being knocked out and blinded by the spirit) in order to beat up on other Christians and accuse them of being demonic!

    You sound just like the people who accused Jesus of being demonic.

    Try to spend more time loving and less time hating.

  26. I don’t know if anyone have coment in the same way, but I have noted that in the Bible when someone, like profets and apostle John, have a real encounter with the majesty of God and fell down with is face on the ground worshiping God, in almost all the cases God (or an angel) first lift them up and then, only then, speak with them… How it seems very diferent that this mith of ‘slain in the spirit’…

  27. this site sure does edify the body. look at all the love and building up of the body that’s going on in here. if the body continues to fight and argue over who’s right and who’s wrong who in their right mind is going to want to partner with any church or desire to be a follower of Jesus

  28. Honestly, there are a variety of biblical manifestations, even extra… outside the box biblical manifestations in the Scriptures (Peter’s shadow and healings, Paul’s handkerchief with healings… which I am aware people abuse today). Yet let’s not dismiss or labels things (they are not of God) ’cause we do not agree or it is not in scripture. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost with Peter quoting Joel…. well, some of the manifestations were not within Joel’s prophecy. In fact, no where in scripture does it mention a mighty rushing wind in connection with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
    On another note, both Daniel and John fell down like they were dead [they were not possessed by an evil spirit]… (Dan. 8:17-18; 8:27; and later in Dan. 10:8-10 and Rev. 1:17) ultimately due to presence or power of God’s presence.
    There are abuses, but who is to say it is false overall. One does not know how another will respond within God’s presence. Let it be and let us not dictate what God will do or how one will respond.

    1. I appreciate your comment Vincent – you’ve made some good points. While I completely agree with being careful not to call things “false” just because they appear to be abused today, that would be in reference to things that actually show up in Scripture. Like you’ve pointed out, the work of the Holy Spirit can certainly be mysterious (like the rushing wind in Acts 2), but even that didn’t result in the falling down of mass crowds. There is 100% no biblical instance of anybody being slain in the spirit as is practiced today. Does God move in mighty ways according to His sovereign power and will? Absolutely. Has He ever sent people flying through the air or toppling like dominoes at the hands of a man? Aside from some wild Old Testament wars, it would be beyond a stretch to claim such a thing. I hope this article helps us at least use some discernment with modern practices and manipulation.

      1. I get what you are saying Costi, but is it necessarily practiced purposefully everywhere? Yet I am sure you are aware there are places where people are prayed for and they fall over… and they do not make much of a deal of it. In fact, most of the places and people I have been around do not make anything more of it.
        I mean I have been in the ministry myself for a number of years. People have fallen over when we have prayed for them. I (we) do not make much of a thing about it.
        I would say the thing to tackle or be concerned about is the way we do ministry in the “Westernized” church.
        So much ministry is about drawing attention to one’s self or their particular ministry. When you, I or anyone does ministry alone or the ministry without others, then we are actually out of the will of God and that is what actually leads to the extremes. We have always done church with the multiplicity of leaders. I myself am not always preaching and certainly we have a team that is raised up to pray for others. Giving ministry away is the key to leadership.
        Whether it is you, your Uncle, or me… if we are doing this and we are always in the forefront, then something is wrong. That is more disturbing… that is more unbiblical… than being “slain in the Spirit.”… not to take anything for what you are trying to convey. Certainly, it is proper that you are trying (I presume) to draw proper perspective with perhaps calling attention to some of the abuses.
        People do fall down and the descriptive in the scriptures has been “like they are dead.” Again, I think it is good to point these things out as I presume you are doing. To me, for the longest time their needs to be more of an apologetics as it relates to the supernatural and the use of the gifts.
        Look, why do people feel the need to call themselves “prophets” or “apostles”? Jesus and the early church spoke about these things. That is where the danger actually begins my friend… those are “red flags”.

      2. Hi Costi,

        Please do not harden your heart to the holy spirit and the Lord’s miracles. You have seen things that most wish they could have seen and you have been greatly blessed. Benni Hinn is only human- and we are all sinful by nature- but please do not take away from the Spirit of the Lord and His power in modern times. I have never been slain by the spirit- but at home on my own I have worshiped the Lord and the Lord and the Spirit has taken over my voice and body and worshipped- singing hymns to the Lord. The spirit also once came upon me in my home after the laying on of hands and baptism in the spirit and I began to speak in tongues. Later also at home, those tongues were then translated by google translate voice set to arabic saying ” There is no God but God, Papa” , and there were many things said/ translated about love. I have never studied or tried to learn arabic a day in my life. I have no arabic background and have never been to an arabic/Semitic language speaking country, except recently for a 4-day stay in Dubai with my wife.

        I grew up in american churches where the holy spirit is never mentioned and the power of God is never seen. only the word is read. Without the power of God and the displays of miracles seen (Hebrew 2:4) – I have seen the word twisted and woven to mean whatever people feel comfortable with. Whatever is not too outlandish and this resulted in; Sex before marriage eventually is not a big deal, watching porn also becomes an ok practice, gay marriages are ok in some churches. In love, I believe we must encourage the gifts of the spirit (which come from the holy spirit) and miracles which are not limited to only stories that have already taken place in the bible- (John 14:12). We must do this because it serves to validate the firmness of the word. It also in love encourages all of us and our brothers and sisters caught in sin (although we are all in sin) to know that the word as it is written is true and our sins become more obvious, as the spirit of the Lord brings light to darkness and sins become ever more open for us. The word is empowered and sins are made more and more obvious by the word.

        Costi- I love you because you are my brother and the blood of Jesus covers you. Benny Hinn is my brother. We are all on the same team, which is for Christ and for the glory of our Lord, and we will all see each other in Heaven, because we are all saved by grace not by works. We have all sinned and all fall short – but God’s mercy and love is what saved us. (Hebrews 4:1-4, I felt like the lord wanted me to put this- Im not sure why but perhaps you will understand this)

        Love,- Elijah

  29. Ok folks hold on. Being slain in the spirit, falling out under the anointing or whatever you choose to call it is not a practice. When the Holy Ghost starts moving and the power of God is in a service or anywhere else you, me or anyone for that matter may fall out. It’s not a game and it’s not foolishness. I understand that sometimes that people are in the flesh rather than the spirit in some services but not everyone is a “courtesy faller”. If you are under the real anointing and the glory of God is really in the building then you don’t have to have hands laid on you to fall out. You can be in worship or prayer and fall out just under the anointing. It’s not demonic. All the powers of darkness tremble at the name of Jesus. When the prescense of the LORD sweeps in and everyone is really calling on Jesus and worshipping then I seriously doubt that any devil would be able to stay. We have been given the Holy Ghost and discernment so if we really got the Holy Ghost and really are Sons of God then yes you should be able to tell what’s of God and what isn’t. I encourage anyone and everyone to go where the anointing is flowing and try to be in a spirit filled church. Let the Holy Ghost have his way.

    1. So… it’s all about the experience, then? Where’s the ‘discernment’ of the Holy Spirit from one who is not testing the spirits as the Word says? First and foremost, the Holy Spirit does not go against the Word. All you have described is experience and emotion and manifestation. “Letting the Holy Ghost have his way” is not the way to ‘test all things’ as Paul exhorted to have order – and the Holy Spirit will always have order and no confusion and always point to Christ Jesus. As one who grew up in the Charismatic movement (AofG, Foursquare), there is nothing Biblical about this whole practice. 1 Tim. 4.

  30. I was “slain in the spirit” once and when I was on the ground, looking at all the others that had also fallen, I felt like I was at a morgue. And the minute I went down I seem to recall my first thought being “I don’t like this”.

  31. I’ve been on both sides of this discussion. I grew up hearing derisive comments about the “Holy Rollie’s”. I carried this into adulthood. But then, I was saved by the grace of God which is the biggest miracle and accepted a piece of God himself inside me and my life was forever changed. One thing I’ve learned is not to criticize and judge other Christians. That is not our job. I think many of the people posting here have neglected that part of scripture. One thing I’m sure of is that God will do whatever he wants to whomever He wants and I for one will not put myself in God’s place. That’s exactly what many of you are doing. You are telling God to come down from His throne so you can climb up there and pretend you know better than He. Be very careful my friends.

  32. Again, there are manifestations of power that happen even in scripture. There are men that fall down like they are dead in the presence of God. It happened to Daniel and John as an example. Additionally, there are other occurrences with those who are demonized. The key is not to build a doctrine over anything. It is all about Jesus.

  33. Just as a note – all of the falling BACKWARD in the Bible, as (most) slayings are, is receiving God’s judgment – as in, punishment.

    Anyone in a good way fell forward – even if some slayings are forward, it doesn’t make them right.

  34. The presence of the Lord is so powerful and holy. I believe he touches some believers to let them experience his awesomeness. I was a new Christian and knew without a doubt Jesus died for my sins. I went to alter to pray and felt his holy presence. Someone came from behind me and said God wants to give u holy spirit. Stand up and raise your arms. As soon as my arms raised, I fell back. I FELT the power of God. It was not mass hysteria as noone else was falling or was it even suggested to me. Noone touche my.forehead or pushed me back. It was God’s holiness that touched and I fell in a spasm on the floor praising Jesus’s name. I do believe there are those that are counterfeit but it was a real Holy experience I felt. I had felt him with me before when I got saved but being inexperienced I was afraid. That day I just told God I am yours and let him have me. He blessed me so much and I have faith he will continue.

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