A Voice in the
February 25, 1998
"And We All Fall Down"
By: Ted Brooks
Why are we laughing so hard that we can't stand up?
I consider this to be a question that many of us should asking. Is this a Scriptural concept or merely a traditional one? Does the Bible have anything to say about spiritual experiences similar to giddy intoxication, falling down, or being overcome by strong feelings or emotions of exhilarating happiness - so strong that we end up feeling like we don't have a care in the world. Is what hurts in our lives supposed to be washed away in a flash flood of happiness? Is there any proof in the Bible of similar experiences which can be attributed to the Holy Spirit or any other member of the Godhead?
In order to give this subject a fair evaluation, I studied every Scripture I could find about falling, bowing, or laying before the Lord and as I studied I also had to consider the common Scriptures which are used as the premise for these new manifestations.
As we look at this subject we must also remember that there is a common assumption that spontaneous laughing, Spirit-induced impairment of physical and mental faculties and uncontrollable falling, are all part and parcel of today's mindset of what is supposed to happen when the power of God touches people.
Speaking From Personal Experience
First of all, before I share these findings, I would like to make it known that I am not an outsider who is looking in wondering what is happening to these holy-rollers. I was raised in a church where this was commonplace and I have had many such experiences throughout my Christian walk. But I have come to a place where I believe that I have been misled into accepting some of these new manifestations as from God. I truly believe that we need to re-examine our basis for some these traditions.
Why Do People Fall Down When Prayed For?
For instance, where did "falling under the power" come from and who started it? If the Bible doesn't mention the phrase, "Slain in the Spirit," then who invented it? As I studied Jesus' earthly ministry, which is our standard for ministry, this manifestation was not found in His ministry. The reason we have to consider Jesus is because Jesus was anointed more than any man who will ever live and yet when He prayed for people they did not fall down nor were they slain in the Spirit. They were physically healed, changed, and everyone could see the actual results.
These Issues are Hot Among North American Pentecostals
I take part in an electronic discussion group of mostly North American Pentecostal ministers via the Contemporary Pentecostal Issues Page. (www.pentecostal-issues.org)
Of course, the discussion of falling down comes up on many postings and we all get to respond to them.
One minister, who was obviously a Brownsville supporter, mentioned several passages of Scripture as his basis for justifying the many who are "Slain" at the Brownsville revival.
He cited when Jesus was approached by the temple guards in the garden and when He identified Himself, they fell backwards. He mentioned Saul on the road to Damascus and said, "he and ALL his company were struck to the ground." It would be good for us to clarify that the company of men who were with Saul did not have the same experience as Saul, for Acts 9:7 says, "And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless_" If they were standing what led the Brownsville supporter to say that they were "struck to the ground." This is a common problem among ministers. In fact, this was my downfall in years past. I preached what I heard from leaders I looked up to, rather than what I personally studied in Scripture. This is probably true for this Brownsville supporter as well. It is obvious that he has not studied the Scriptures to form his defence for being slain in the Spirit.
We could take this list and add the soldiers at the tomb and then ask the question, what do all of these situations have in common? What must be noted here is the guards, the soldiers, and Saul were considered non supporters of Jesus. They were not coming to Jesus for any ministry. Could we conclude then that there is a pattern in the Bible for people falling down and the majority of them were unfriendly toward God? Interesting, isn't it?
Fear of Missing Out
I have fallen "under the power" dozens of times. That is why I can tell you, by experience, that the fear of man and the fear of missing out was always the strongest reason to fall to the floor. I did not want to look less willing than anyone else. Nor did I want my inability to yield to the moving of the Spirit to be interpreted as rebellion or unbelief.
When you are standing in front of all your peers and respected leaders and they lay their hands on you, let me tell you, the pressure is on. Especially when you are up on stage and all expectant eyes are watching you. That is why many preachers have followed this pattern. They find more success with "manifestations" if they call miracle candidates up to the platform. The intimidation of the platform "weeds out" those who are uncertain.
I can tell you by experience that it wasn't the fear of God I was struggling with. It was the fear of not looking as spiritual as some of the others. Fear causes us to go with the flow even if it doesn't make sense.
I Was Pretending
As time went on, I got quite good at pretending when I was "hit by the anointing." At one time in particular, I was hungry for a move of God in my life. I went forward for ministry at a campmeeting. I was so deceived by this time that I actually believed that falling down was the same as a work of God in my life.
The floor of the old chapel was uncarpeted, cold, bare concrete. I went forward to receive what the preacher had to impart. It was typical of many meetings I had attended over the years.
There were ushers standing behind those receiving prayer to catch them as they fell backwards to the floor. The preacher laid his hands upon me and I immediately "yielded" and fell backwards according to my traditions. In the middle of my descent to the cold hard concrete floor, I realized there wasn't a "catcher" behind me and in midair I heard the entire congregation "gasp" in unison. I'm sure the building lost air pressure for a second. My tall frame hit the concrete with a thud. I lay there in astonishment and wondered what I should do. I was so used to playing the game by that time that I just lay there and pretended that God was doing a work in my life. I did not do this to deceive people. It was my Charismatic theology which led me to believe that pretending was the same as faith.
For many years as a pastor, I watched people fall to the floor and do other strange things when I laid hands on them. We the preachers and we the people were well trained in this and we all knew what was expected of each other. We had quickly caught on to the traditions of the Charismatic Church.
Did Jesus do it?
Did Jesus cause people to fall under the power in His ministry? Did He see people laugh, bark, and roll as they received their healing? Did Jesus' anointing overcome them and send them flying? Did they fall down and shake or cry when He touched them? Only the demon possessed manifested such foolishness and Jesus told them to be quiet. He did not accept these manifestations as a normal part of His ministry.
Why have we accepted this foolishness as from God? I believe that we have made strong traditions out of wrong spiritual manifestations. We need to repent and turn back to Jesus as our standard for what we believe. We need to cast down the high esteem we hold for "Azuza Street" and other revivals. We need to see them as gatherings of immature people who were eagerly seeking God but were easily misled. We can learn from them but we do not have to idolize them.
Jesus was anointed in greater capacity than any man of God today. Jesus had the the Spirit of God without measure and yet if Jesus was to compete with today's super preachers, He would fail according to today's standards of acceptable signs & wonders.
No preacher can boast that they are doing or teaching anything different than Christ and still be right in their doctrine. If they are constantly seeing different miracles and manifestations in their ministry than the ones seen in Jesus', they had better start asking some questions.
Slain In The Spirit
Who invented the phrase; "Slain in the Spirit?" We need to take a good look at the Scriptures we have used to substantiate this doctrine.
First of all, let's make it clear that the Scripture references to "falling on their face" before God, kings, rulers, and angels are very common in the Bible. But just because they bowed their faces to the ground and gave honor, does not mean that the Spirit of God made them do it. There are more than forty references in the Bible to "falling on their faces" as a gesture of honor and there are more than twenty that refer to "bowing down to the ground," none of them suggest that they were struck down or forced to the ground by God.
In the Pentecostal and Charismatic Church movements I have belonged to, two of the most popular Scriptures used to herald this doctrine are quoted from:
2 Chronicles 5:14 (KJV) So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.
1 Kings 8:11 (KJV) So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
The theory is that the priests "fell down" because of the "glory cloud." But this doctrine is based on an assumption which is easily exposed by the context which also states:
1 Kings 8:10 "And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,"
2 Chronicles 5:11 "And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place..."
How could the priests be "slain" by the "glory cloud" that filled the temple if they were no longer in the temple? A more accurate interpretation suggests that the priests could not "stand" or return to their place of appointed ministry simply because the glory of God had filled the place where they were to stand. It does not mean that they were flat on their backs unable to move. It simply means that the priests had to stand outside the temple with the rest of the people who were awed by the spectacle.
A Scripture which paints a better picture of what really happened here is found in 2 Chronicles chapter seven.
2 Chronicles 7:1-2 "When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from Heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord's house."
The Glory Cloud
The other assumption that is heard throughout Charismatic circles is that the glory and the cloud are the same thing. I have witnessed countless times when preachers have declared, "Oh the glory cloud has entered the building and it is billowing from the back of the Church to the front."
If we knew the Scriptural meaning of the cloud, we would not use such an analogy.
In actuality, the glory of God was the manifest presence of God but the cloud was the shield or the veil that separated the glory of God from man. Not only did it protect unholy man from being exposed directly to the manifestation of a holy God, but the true image of God was also hidden within the cloud.
This cloud and the typology it represented was removed when Jesus came to the earth. He revealed the glory of God to us so that we would never have to "look" through cloud cover again. This speaks of the tremendous unhindered clarity of the character of God he brought to us.
Jesus is the manifest presence of God to man. The manifest presence of God, which so many are searching for, is not a sensation in a meeting or a vision of the "glory cloud." To suggest the need for Old Testament manifestations of the glory cloud of God's presence contradicts the sufficiency of the revelation of Christ.
Raised Up By The Spirit
The other fact, in this subject of being slain in the Spirit, which has become clear to me; is whenever the prophets and apostles were exposed to the revelation of God's presence they were not allowed to remain prostrate on the ground.
They were repeatedly commanded to stand to their feet or they were raised up and strengthened by the Spirit of God to receive God's instructions.
Now this seems to be exactly opposite to our modern day interpretation of what happens when God reveals Himself. I've always assumed that if God manifested Himself to me that I would not be able to get up. But then why were so many of the prophets commanded to stand up in God's holy presence?
This happened to Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 1:28 - 2:2 "...the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking. And He said to me, "Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you." Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me, and set me on my feet; and I heard Him who spoke to me.
Here is another reference:
Ezekiel 3:23,24 "...the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory which I saw by the River Chebar; and I fell on my face. Then the Spirit entered me and set me on my feet..."
It also happened to Daniel:
Daniel 8:17 "...when he came I was afraid and fell on my face... but he touched me, and stood me upright."
It also happened to the Apostle Paul.
Acts 9:4-6 "Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him... So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
A similar thing happened to the Apostle John.
Revelation 1:17 "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying ... Write the things which you have seen..."
Since sharing this understanding with friends, we have had some fun with this idea. We have come to the humorous conclusion that the next time we are in a special anointing meeting, we should make our way to the front, perhaps laying on the floor until the "anointed man of God" lays his hands upon us to raise us up to our feet. That would be something to see! Yes, it sounds funny but let's remember, it still disagrees with Jesus' ministry.
My point is this; it is more scriptural to be raised up to obey God than it is to fall down. Instead of falling down as a sign of God's anointing, maybe we should simply just grow in the knowledge of Christ until God raises us up to preach the Gospel.
Is the Bible Silent About The New Revival Manifestations?
by: Ted Brooks
Recently I attended the P.A.O.C. Alberta district pastor's retreat.
While visiting with a former Bible school classmate, the subject of the new Brownsville manifestations came up. I was really surprised when he said that the Bible was silent on those issues. I also noticed several email postings from the Contemporary Pentecostal Issues Email Discussion Group that said the same thing.
The Bible is not as silent on these issues as we think but neither does this knowledge or information come without effort and study.
God's Word is written in such a way that it requires reading and research to see the examples of what is false and to discover the patterns for what is true. The Bible is not silent when it comes to revealing the characteristics of true prophecies, false prophecies, true miracles, lying wonders, true doctrine, false doctrine, the true Revelation of Christ and the pseudo image of Christ.
The Word is full of examples, which are spoken to us as warnings given for our protection.
But I have found that few of us meditate on these warnings for we feel they are too negative. In the end, what we innocently view as loving people and accepting fleshly immaturity, ends up revealing our gullible nature as leaders. I think we are tossed by every wind of revival and every new manifestation simply because we do not study the pattern for true doctrine and true miracles.
But I also don't think this happened overnight. It's been building since Azuza Street and beyond.
Instead of becoming strong discerning leaders who are progressively learning more truth, line upon line, line upon line, we, via our Pentecostal heritage have been preparing the Church for the manifestations of Brownsville, lie upon lie.
And now we are in a very dangerous position but the solution is right in front of us. It's time to re-emphasise the importance of the Revelation of Christ and re-examine our present doctrinal positions. We must test every manifestation, every miracle, and every doctrine, holding them up to the light and the glory of Christ. When we do, we will find that God is not silent about these new manifestations. God has spoken clearly to us in these last days by His Son and what He said through Jesus is more than enough to get us back on track. SRJ
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