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Is being “slain in the Spirit” biblical?

A couple of days ago I wrote a blog entitled A skeptic visits the Lakeland revival.  Justin asked a great question and Melinda responded.  It’s a provocative issue and their exchange I thought was worth bringing up with a broader audience.   Justin asks:  I saw someone “…
By Seth Barnes
A couple of days ago I wrote a blog entitled A skeptic visits the Lakeland revival.  Justin asked a great question and Melinda responded.  It’s a provocative issue and their exchange I thought was worth bringing up with a broader audience.
 
Justin asks: 
I saw someone “fall out” for the 1st time last night at a tent meeting
in NC. I had volunteered to be an alter worker so I actually caught the
guy when he fell (that was one of my jobs). I still doubt, yet I saw
and even felt this happen. For me, even seeing isn’t believing.

Seth, where is falling out in the Scriptures? Or is this a new movement
of the Holy Spirit? Why? It doesn’t make sense. I understand healing,
but falling out?
 
Melinda replies:  
Justin, I am in the thick of preparing a team to minister in Mozambique, so
please forgive me for not taking the time to answer your question with
extensive references.

I will tell you though that ‘falling out’ is nothing new. Many times in
Scripture when people came into the presence of God, they fell to the
ground. They were overcome. Throughout history, if you read of revivals
in the 1800’s and 1900’s, there were many reports of people ‘falling
out.’ Jonathan Edwards addressed it once as it was ‘outside his
theological experience’, but he came in contact with it and deemed it
real and gave some strong Biblical reasons for it. After I return from
Mozambique in late August, I can send you references if you’d like.

The first time it happened to me, no one even touched me. I wasn’t
inclined to such things, but I was ‘open.’ Being open is more than a
mental assent though, it means actually putting yourself in places to
explore that openness. (I am glad Allison is having the courage to put
herself in unfamiliar territory.) I went to a meeting where I knew no
one, and the preacher called my name out. I had not signed my name on
anything either (my skeptical mind first went there…as I thought
maybe he lifted my name off a sign-up sheet, but I didn’t register for
the meeting…), so I went to the front, and will admit to having some
fear and trepidation. The preacher kept calling other people out, and
as different ones came up to the altar, I decided to deal with my
‘nervousness’ by closing my eyes and singing worship songs to my Lord.
 
I thought, “I can’t go wrong if I am seeking Him first, so I am going
to just concentrate on Him.’ Well, as I was doing this, I suddenly felt
like I was being lightening-bolted. It was as if I had stuck my tongue
in an electrical outlet. And at the exact time I was experiencing this,
the preacher, who could not see me at all, interrupted what he was
doing to say, ‘Melinda! Melinda! Where is Melinda?! God is doing
something in you right now. Just let Him have His way.” Well, I ended
up on the ground and God clearly ministered to me while I lay there. I
can give you specifics in August if you want. (Seth can give you my
email.)

Of course, just as someone can close their eyes and mimic ‘being in
prayer’, there are people who can ‘mimic’ falling out. Don’t judge them
too harshly though. Many are just hungry, and inclined to do whatever
they think might help move them closer to God. That’s not a sign of a
bad heart though. I hunger after the genuine, but I know there are
strongholds in our minds that can keep us from giving the heart chances
that the mind doesn’t understand. Jack Deere used to say that God
sometimes offends the mind to reveal the heart.
 
Having been a
valedictorian and honors student in higher education, I’ve discovered
that my mind sometimes needs to be shaken from its place of
pre-eminence. Please don’t hear me saying not to use your mind. Just be
careful that you don’t let it be the ‘be all and end all.’ That is a
position for God and God alone. And let me tell you, having traveled to
more than 50 nations, I’ve had my mind and beliefs stretched way beyond
their original borders. Thank God! Though my upbringing with a Western
rational worldview has its benefits, it is not without its shortcomings
as well. Will Willimon says it best:

“Just when I get my church all sorted out sheep from the goats, saved from the damned, hopeless from the hopeful, somebody makes a move, gets out of focus, cuts loose and I see why Jesus never wrote systematic theology.

 

So, you and I can give thanks that the locus of Christian thinking is
shifting from North American and northern Europe where people write
rules and obey them, to places like Africa and Latin America where people still know how to dance.”

I remember hearing a wise preacher at a large conference comment
on some of the ‘unusual’ events going on 20 years ago in Toronto and
elsewhere. He said “Only 60% of what is going on there is of God.”
Almost everyone at the conference made a kind of ‘Whoa’ response, as
they were surprised he would publicly make such a statement, even if he
privately believed it. But what he said next, caught people by
surprise, but they had to agree:

“60% is sure better than the 30% that we’ve had.”

It made me think, ‘How many people sit in churches thinking about what
they are going to eat after the service, if they’ll beat the crowds to
a restaurant, if the preacher will finish before the game starts on
tv…yet because they are sitting quietly and staring ahead with a
docile smile on their face, we think God was honored in that church.

Bottom line, God is most concerned with your heart, and if you’ve ever
been in love, you know that sometimes love can be ‘messy’ and go
outside the lines you’re used to.

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