Pentecostals

 

 

8. As you know, in some Pentecostal Churches, principally during prayer, people fall to the ground through the laying on of the hands of the elders or pastors. Do you accept this manifestation? They claim that the power of God and the power of the Holy Spirit can manifest in this way? What do you think of it?

 

 

Before answering your question, I want to say something about this fall to the ground which occurs among some Pentecostals Churches. While people are in line before these preachers who lay their hands on them, they lose their balance and fall to the ground; in many cases there is somebody behind them, who accompanies their fall to the floor (so they drop back into the arms of strategically-placed ‘catchers’). This experience is called ‘falling under the weight of God’s glory’, being ‘overcome by the Spirit’, and it is said that those who fall to the floor ‘rest in the Spirit’. While people are lying on the floor, some will be lying peacefully, some will be rolling or flailing about, some will be moving their bodies rapidly and rhythmically and some will be laughing hysterically. Some of these people have reported that they felt physically anaesthetised and unable to get up. Those who fall to the floor describe this experience as pleasurable. How is this falling to the ground explained biblically? Those who preach the falling to the ground take the following biblical passages to support it:

● “As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake” (Ezekiel 1:28)

● “Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground” (Daniel 10:9)

● “And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid” (Matthew 17:6)

● “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last” (Revelation 1:17)

● “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 9:3-4)

What shall we say then? Shall we say that this falling to the ground which occurs in these Churches is of God? Not at all, because it is not the same phenomenon recorded in the Bible. Let me explain to you why. Ezekiel, Daniel, the disciples of Jesus, John and Saul of Tarsus fell to the ground after they had a heavenly vision.

Particularly, I want you to notice that Ezekiel and Saul fell to the ground before they heard the voice of the Lord, while Daniel and the disciples of Jesus on the holy mountain fell to the ground when they heard a voice (as for the vision that Daniel had, we are not told who was the heavenly being who appeared to Daniel and spoke to him, while the voice that was heard by the disciples of Jesus on the holy mountain was God’s voice). Concerning John; the Scripture says that he fell to the ground not when he heard behind him a loud voice speaking with him, but after he turned and saw the Lord. Therefore, we must not be surprised that today those who have such visions fall to the ground, for in these circumstances the power of God is so great that they have no strength left, their legs begin to tremble and shake, they breathe with difficulty and it is impossible for them to stand. So I believe that before such visions, a believer may fall or rather will fall to the ground by the power of God.

However, I am speaking about people who fall to the ground because of visions, that is, because of things that come from heaven, things that come from the Holy Spirit, which are therefore unforeseeable because they can occur all of a sudden. For you can have a heavenly vision from God while you are in the countryside, at home, while you are praying, while you are standing, but that is a glorious phenomenon that comes from God.

But with regard to the falling to the ground which occurs in these Churches, we have to say that it does not come from God for people fall to the ground because they are manipulated into falling to the ground (many of them are pushed to the ground by the preacher, who lays his hands on their heads or their shoulders and in the meantime he pushes them, so many think that these people were hit by the power of God).

But let us look closely at the atmosphere which is in these meetings. People are introduced to the idea of the blessing by means of introductory talks by the leadership and personal testimonies by recipients of the experience, therefore the hearers have been already told that they will fall to the ground; so those who attend these meetings expect to fall to the ground in order to receive the ‘Blessing’, that is, ‘to rest in the Spirit’. In some places of worship chairs are removed before people are called forward to receive the ‘blessing’ (while many are standing to receive the blessing or have already fallen). It really seems that those who attend these meetings must fall to the ground – whether they like or not – , as a result, most of the people who attend these meetings know that during the service they must expect to fall to the ground!!! After the introductory talks by the leadership and personal testimonies by recipients of the experience, people are called forward where there are several pastors or elders or preachers who are ready to lay their hands on people to let them receive ‘the blessing.’ What happens at this point? It happens that those who lay their hands on people begin to pray. However, it must be said that very often the laying on of hands is nothing but a push, so suddenly those who are looking for ‘the blessing’ begin to fall to the ground one after the other!! However, they don’t fall on their faces as Daniel, Ezekiel and the disciples of Jesus did, but they fall to the ground backward, and their fall is controlled by some assistants who are behind them to help them to fall carefully especially if they have back problems, pregnancy or fear of falling.

So we can’t help saying that these are improper behaviours, which are not supported by the Word of God, rather they are condemned by it. This phenomenon of ‘falling’ is the result of the power of suggestion exercised over people; and since people – included many believers – are easily influenced no wonder that many of them fall to the ground. Therefore we cannot say that they fall to the ground under the weight of God’s glory, but we must say that they fall to the ground because of the craftiness of astute and unscrupulous preachers in their deceitful scheming. It may happen also that some fall to the ground because of the excitement caused by these unscrupulous preachers but the fact is that they don’t fall to the ground by the power of God. So this fall to the ground is not a manifestation of the power of God.

I repeat myself, in order to avoid misunderstandings: I am convinced that when God manifests Himself with power, it may happen that some believers or even some unbelievers fall to the ground. Sometimes they fall to the ground because God strikes them for some sins they have committed. Yet, between this fall to the ground and the fall to the ground which occurs in these churches there is a big difference because the former occurs without any form of suggestion while the latter occurs by the power of suggestion exercised by some unscrupulous preachers: the former is true, while the latter is false.

I want to tell you the testimony of a sister who many years ago told me personally what had happened to her during a meeting (in Switzerland) conducted by one of these preachers who lay hands on people and they fall to the ground. Since she was still smoking and wanted to quit smoking, after she heard from this preacher that the Lord can set man free from all sorts of vices (the paradox is that this preacher is slave of smoking, but at that time this sister did not know it) she went forward to ask him to pray over her. While she was in line, she saw that many fell to the ground. When her turn came, it came to pass that this preacher – who is quite tall – put his hand on her head and while he was praying for her he began to push her with his long fingers to make her fall to the ground (those who were present at that meeting could not perceive that he was pushing her because he was pushing her cunningly) and his pressure was so strong that at a certain point she found herself on her heels and she was on the point of falling to the ground, but she did not fall to the ground. Yet this preacher is considered by many a powerful preacher!! However, his push was not seen by those who were present, but there are some preachers whose pushes can be clearly seen by everybody and sometimes these preachers even slap people. Obviously, their fellow workers are behind people to help them to fall to the ground and so to prevent them from hurting themselves!!! Furthermore, there are preachers who breathe on people to make them fall to the ground and many people fall to the ground!! How could we believe that all these things are the work of the Holy Spirit? You must be really blind to believe such a thing!

Therefore beware of all those preachers who push people and breathe on them to make them fall to the ground. Beware of this fashion which has became a dogma in many churches, so many have come to the conclusion that if in a Church nobody falls to the ground that means that the power of God is not in that Church!!!

 

The impressions of a pastor who attended a meeting conducted by Benny Hinn in 1995, who is a televangelist who very often makes people fall by pushing them to the ground

 

One Pastor's Experience and Response

After attending a Hinn meeting in New York, a pastor wrote the following to our Gen. Superintendent. (Note date.)

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July 16, 1995

 

The Rev. Thomas Trask, Gen. Sup't.

ASSEMBLIES OF GOD

1445 Boonville Ave.

Springfield, MO 65802

 

Dear Pastor,

This address is chosen deliberately because you are, above all, pastor to our Fellowship and my pastor/bishop/overseer. Since General Council is imminent and demanding your fullest attention, I am happy to wait for a reply for a month or two.

Friday, July 14, I attended a Benny Hinn Crusade service in East Rutherford, NJ. Like most A/G pastors, I have heard more than a fair amount of praise and criticism of his ministry and of our Fellowship's decision to issue Ordination credentials to him but I had no personal knowledge about him other than reading some of his writings. Since he was now a colleague in this great Fellowship, I decided to go and ask the Lord to minister to me through this man who now enjoys the endorsement of our movement and our leadership.

Out of that four hour-long service, many questions were raised in mind so I am writing to you- my Pastor- heavy in heart; confused; and in need of answers.

To give context to my further remarks know that I am 40 years of age and have served the Lord in the Assemblies of God- sometimes wisely and sometimes not so wisely- for 20 years. My maternal Granddad was and my Dad is an Assemblies pastor. I know Pentecost and treasure the fullness of the Spirit. He is the Life of the Church of Jesus. His power, alone, makes winning the world a possibility.

What happened to me that raised so many questions? Please be patient with my lengthy detailed account.

The service began with a self-congratulatory 5 minute video about the grand goals of Benny Hinn to reach the world and an appeal for "partners" who would be granted certain special privileges in future crusades for their support. That is standard stuff for evangelists and traveling ministries.

The next segment of the service was praise/worship and it was wonderful. The Spirit touched our hearts through the skillful ministry of music provided by the Hinn team and Alvin Slaughter of Brooklyn Tabernacle. Whatever negatives I might have carried into the service with me were melting away.

Following the praise, Benny used time "warming up" his audience with light humor and extended remarks, during which he was careful to recognize the Assemblies of God pastors present. He spoke at length about his relationship with the Fellowship. He spoke of meeting recently with you and your desire that our churches experience fresh fire of the Holy Ghost. That, too, was standard methodology for large meetings and did not raise any concerns.

Then, after another song or two, it started to get heavy. A grand lead-up to the offering started. For about 30 minutes Hinn treated us to an exhaustive listing of his achievements for Christ around the world with the clear implication that he was God's man of the hour. Then, with manipulation that was beyond any standard of integrity, we were instructed to faithfulness in our giving TO HIM. A minimum of $100 was set and $1000 was suggested. To further cap it off, Benny reminded us that if we failed to give to the Lord in obedience, "God would surely collect from us within the next year," possibly through financial disaster or business problems. He and his wife had, he assured us, been through that personally. His warning was to spare us those kinds of problems. Is this lapse of ethics any less serious in God's eyes than the recent lapses of Jim Bakker which were held to be so contemptible?

Following the offering, Benny presented a message on the "Blood of Christ." Given his new prominence as an example for Spirit-filled, fire-fresh, A/G pastors [i.e.; his inclusion in the recent Signs and Wonders Conference] I would have hoped for better than we got! It was a rambling, not well researched, presentation of God's Holy Word. His interpretations and conclusions sometimes were drawn from thin air, a tendency that has created heresy problems for him in the past.

NOW I come to the place in the service that I need you to help me understand.

The concluding 35-50 minutes were, in my humble opinion, the most grotesque display I have ever seen put on in the Lord's Name. There are no words to adequately describe ... the blare of music, the roar of a frenzied crowd, the amplified screaming of Bro. Hinn, and the falling, flailing bodies in and around the platform area.

"TOUCCHHH!" he screamed over and over into the microphone while flinging his arms at groups and individuals. Sometimes he ordered ministry teams members to stand a person up so he could have a second and even third go at them with his TOUCCHHH! I was unable to ascertain what was supposed to be happening or accomplished in Jesus' precious Name. There was no appeal for conversion, re-dedication, or even healing. It seemed {to me, at least} to be little more than a frenzy of blessing seeking.

A few years ago I saw a video entitled "God's of the New Age" in which there was a section showing a large group of people in so-called spiritual frenzy at the appearance of their guru on a ranch in Oregon. The scene at the Hinn Crusade instantly and vividly brought that video sequence back to mind.

If I write as one over-wrought, please forgive me. As I moved closer to see what was happening, I became intensely nauseated. I trembled, but not from the power of God. What shook my body was a combination of powerful emotions that included both terror and fury at the blatant manipulation of people that was going on while men I trusted watched and even occasionally participated. Even now as I write, tears come stinging my eyes.

Is this the new direction of our great and wonderful Fellowship? Is Benny Hinn the new exemplar of things desired in our ministries?

I would be the first to declare that our generation needs to experience God's Presence and Spirit in a fresh way. Many of us have lost the fervor that gripped our fathers. When they responded to the Spirit of God decorum was sometimes lacking, but there was purpose and meaning to their expressions of the moving of the Spirit. The passion they experienced moved them to plant churches across this nation and to send missionaries around the world. Far too much of what passes for seeking the fresh Fire of the Spirit today is really just a seeking after another spiritual high. The self-centered attitudes of this age are in the church and we say, "Bless me, Lord, and make me happy" while forgetting the call to sacrifice.

Thank you for your response. Yours humbly in His service,

 

JDS

 

From: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/hinn2.htm

 

P.s. In 1996 Benny Hinn resigned from the Assemblies of God denomination

 

 

 

 

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