Is it Biblical to be "slain in the spirit" (when a pastor prays and pushes you down)?

(Trishka ) #1

Greetings, I trust you all are well in GOD’s strength!
So I have a question, I have been doing some research on “being slain in the spirit”. And by this I mean like when a pastor prays over you and pushes you down. I don’t go to a church were this happens, but I have visited a few churches & it happens. But I feel uncomfortable. My husband & I become so aware of our surroundings, that we feel as if someone is going to fall on us or come up to us & push us down. And then we feel as though we can’t worship GOD properly because we are worried about all of these things. Now I don’t wish to be rude to people that I know who attend these churches, so I am seeking answers from all of you. Is this Biblical?
Thank you so much for helping me to understand. God Bless you!

(Jean Daniel Slabbert) #2

Dear @trish53787

Thank you for this question. Personally, I would like some clarity on this too.

I do believe that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, it is rather overwhelming, but I KNOW that Jesus lives within me at all times. Thus, I have a tension within me regarding this too. Also, if I am overcome by the presence of the Holy Spirit, I don’t feel that it would be necessary for an individual to ‘assist’ the Holy Spirit to push me over…

I attended a church that my mother-in-law attends a couple of years ago. The pastor came to pray for me as he heard that I was paralyzed and blind a few months before that. I obviously have no issue with someone praying for me, BUT he kept on trying to physically push me over.

In his prayer he kept shouting. “HEALED!!” and proceeded to physically push/bump me on my chest with a chair behind me.

This experience made me very uncomfortable…

Therefore, I am just as eager as you to receive more feedback on the matter.

Thanks again for the question

(christopher van zyl) #3

@trish53787, this is a very good question and I look forward to reading the responses. It’s a question that I’ve also struggled with, and so although I can’t provide you with a satisfactory answer, I can give you what helped me.

When I look at what’s happening, with people being “slain” in the spirit, I see them fall (although often pushed) backwards.
When I look at what’s happening, with people realizing God’s presence in scripture, I see them falling forwards, onto their faces, in awe and repentance at the mere presnece of our Lord.

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Isaiah 6:4‭-‬5 ESV

For me, it’s important to test what is happening. 1) Though this may seem arbitrary, I see what direction they are falling in. (physically, but more so metaphorically)
2) I look for the fruit of repentance.

This is in no way exhaustive, but I just thought it might be even a little helpful.

(christopher van zyl) #4

And then I think of the logistical questions. If it’s a sign of the Holy Spirit, does that mean I’m not saved if I haven’t fallen over? It’s the same with tongues. I had a pastor tell me if you don’t speak in tongues, it’s a sign you don’t have the Holy Spirit and aren’t saved.

Again, for me, it’s about the fruit that you bear after your encounter. Has there been repentance? Is your life lived in a manner worthy of the gospel? If these aren’t there, I would call it sensationalism and a play on the emotions.

(Trishka ) #5

Good day Christopher,
I have similar thoughts to yours as well. I have read about falling forwards in awe of GOD’s presence.
And about your point on speaking in tongues, during this 1 year of my “spiritual rebirth” whilst my husband was praying, in my mind i started speaking in tongues. However it was in NO way similar to anyone’s that I have heard. I believe that you cannot be forced to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit, because you get distracted, you start to question did that really happen? So I have family members that attend churches like this so when the topic of being slain in the spirit comes up, I hardly say anything because I don’t want to offend anyone neither do I want to pass judgement about GOD’s word if they are indeed correct. That is why I am doing this research because it would be very sad if people are just holding onto “falling” in church as their healing or salvation. Because you are right, they fall & walk out of church but there’s no change at all.

(SeanO) #6

@trish53787 Thank you so much for that question. In my opinion, being ‘slain the spirit’ is not Biblical - or at least not normative for the NT believer. Furthermore, per Paul’s advice in I Cor 14, it is not orderly and could lead both believers and unbelievers alike to legitimately question to validity of the worship experience.

I Corinthians 14:39-40 - Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

A few of my thoughts on the topic are:

  • there is no Biblical precedence for it in the NT - especially not as something normative
  • it is disorderly and disruptive at best and emotionally manipulative at worst

Here is an article from Hank Hanegraaff on the topic. The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom and discernment.

"First, as aptly noted by pro-Pentecostal sources such as the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (DPCM) (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988), “An entire battalion of Scripture proof texts is enlisted to support the legitimacy of the phenomenon, although Scripture plainly offers no support for the phenomenon as something to be expected in the normal Christian life” (p. 790).

Furthermore, the experience of being “slain in the spirit” can be attributed to mere human manipulation. According to the DPCM, “in addition to God, the source of the experience can be a purely human response to autosuggestion, group ‘peer pressure,’ or simply a desire to experience the phenomenon” (p. 789). Cynics may write off the use of altered states of consciousness, peer pressure, expectations, and suggestive powers as mere socio-psychological manipulation, but Christians must perceive an even more significant threat—these techniques are fertile soil for satanic and spiritual deception."

The early church in Acts
(Trishka ) #7

Wow this reply is just epic!

Too the point and straight from the Bible. Thank you so much and GOD bless you!

(christopher van zyl) #8

I agree. Very brilliant

(christopher van zyl) #9

How would you respond to someone who insists on its validity? @SeanO

(SeanO) #10

@trish53787 Glad you found it helpful! May the Lord Jesus bless you as well!

(SeanO) #11

@c3vanzyl That is a great question. It would depend on how well I knew that particular person. If I had a meaningful relationship with them, I would ask to sit down over a coffee and hear their story / experience with this practice. I would then go through 1 Corinthians 14 with them and ask how they handle Paul’s very clear exhortation to do all things in order. I would then ask if they would be willing to hear my position.

If they were willing, I would then talk more with them about the dangers of this practice and the Biblical reason that we should not expect it to be normative. They may point to the apostle John in Revelation or the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus or King Saul in the Old Testament when he was like ‘one of the prophets’. I would explain why those experiences, while certainly valid, are:

1 - not normative for all believers - being slain in the spirit is not a normative part of the Christian experience in the NT
2 - culturally located (as in the case of King Saul’s experience)
3 - look very different from modern being ‘slain in the spirit’ - nobody hit Paul or John in the head - no one pushed them over - in fact, in the case of John no one else was even there - God is the one who initiated it
4 - these experiences are God initiated - people in the NT do not expect to encounter God like John did when writing Revelation or Paul on the road to Damascus - those were unique God initiated events

Hope those thoughts are helpful. The Lord grant you wisdom as you interact with friends / family / Church members.

If someone feels very strongly on this issue and is not open to listening, then I simply pray for them and leave them in the Lord’s hands. You cannot change someone’s mind for them or argue them into changing their mind - they have to want the truth or be pursuing it.

(Trishka ) #12

Thanks Sean, this was really informative.

(SeanO) #13

@trish53787 Very glad it was helpful. Feel free to ask more questions and the Lord bless you with a spirit of wisdom and revelation in knowledge of Him.

(Warner Joseph Miller) #14

It may not have been exhaustive, brother, but it was right on the money!:+1:t6: Amen!

(Dennis Gladden) #15

I have seen people “slain in the Spirit” and the replies to this question are insightful, especially that the response of people in God’s presence in the Bible is to fall forward.

The answers also trigger the thought that the very term, “slain” in the Spirit a paradox. The Bible tells us the Spirit quickens — the opposite of being slain. If there is any slaying in the Spirit, Paul tells us it is this, “…if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).

Witnessing others being “slain in the Spirit” has raised the same doubts in me that others in this conversation mention. I agree with Christopher about the importance of repentance and living worthy of the Gospel. The Spirit produces His life and fruit in believers and these are a safer and better measure than physical manifestations.

(christopher van zyl) #16

I really appreciate that @WarnerMiller! Praise God

(Jimmy Sellers) #17

I come for a part of the country were healing services were/are carried out. I have seen people healed and slain in the spirit but always equated the persons response not as an act of worship but as the response of the evil in them (usually a disease or an addiction) being cast out of the individual. This response was the same response that demons and evil spirts had in the presences of Jesus. Here are a few verses to support this:

  • 26 And it came out, screaming and convulsing him* greatly, and he became as if he were dead, so that most of them said, “He has died!” (Mk 9:26)

  • Leave us alone⌋, Jesus the Nazarene! Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And after* convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, the unclean spirit came out of him. (Mk 1:24–26)

  • 42 And while* he was still approaching, the demon threw him down and convulsed him.* But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. (Lk 9:42)

  • 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And after* throwing him down in their midst, the demon came out of him without hurting him at all. (Lk 4:34–35)

I used this verse to show how people lacking moral authority respond when confronted with the TRUTH incarnate.

  • 6 So when he said to them, “I am he,”* ⌊they drew back⌋ and fell to the ground. (Jn 18:6)

My thoughts.

(Warner Joseph Miller) #18

Hey there, @Jimmy_Sellers!! I appreciate that background. My only humble pushback to that view and in using those scriptures is that it tends to create doctrine based off an experience(s) and sets the exceptions (albeit extraordinary) as the rule.

It’s similar to how in the Acts 5 we hear great signs and wonders taking place amongst the apostles. So much so that when people find out that Peter is outside, they bring their sick around him with the expectation that his mere shadow would heal them. (Acts 5:12, 14-15). Further along in the book of Acts, chapter 19 we hear of people being healed by Paul’s handkerchief and towels.

“God was doing extraordinary and unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or face-towels or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out [of them].” ~ Acts 19:11‭-‬12 AMP

So, as a result of those isolated incidents, there are now televangelists and preachers who sell “healing cloths” to desperate people hoping to receive a healing from these things – yet more than likely receiving zero results.

My point is not to discount the miraculous. Not at all. Rather just to acknowledge that it’s a dangerous often misleading practice to create a whole doctrine and create expectation based on the isolated incidents of what scripture itself describes as extraordinary, unusual and miraculous.

(Jimmy Sellers) #19

@WarnerMiller, Thank you for you reply. I always look forward to want the community thinks.

To be clear my comments should not have been taken as an encouragement of the practice. It simply was/is my understanding of the POV of those that participate in those types of services. Part of my answer was in response to the idea that every encounter with a Holy God automatically cause one to worship (ie prostrate on one’s face). I believe these verses could be used to challenge that thought. Evil is repulsed by good.

As to miracles there is nothing in the Bible that even comes close to the resurrected Messiah. No resurrection no Church. For someone to require more evidence than that is to call into question the finished work of our Lord.
And finally there is a great divide between doctrine and dogma. There are many things that are called doctrine that are not “go to hell issues”. By that I mean there are doctrines that cause men to stumble or doubt but by themselves they are powerless to save or condemn. I believe that the resurrection by definition qualifies as dogma and is the supreme Truth of the church.

(Gregg Johnston) #21


Excellent thoughts. While I do believe that being overwhelmed by God can lead to one having a physical reaction, the question as posed indicates that minister of the Gospel induces the reaction, not Holy Spirit. There are many folks out there who are focusing on themselves and their own signs and wonders and they are easy to spot. When they talk about their own power and their own gifts, then they are false and dangerous. But having experienced the genuine overwhelming presence of Holy Spirit working through me and having a physical reaction that was not falsely induced by a person was very real and lead to a very real healing in my life. Normative? Maybe not in a Baptist or cessationist church. But in a fellowship that is open to the working of Holy Spirit in a healthy and Biblical way, then it can be.

@Jimmy_Sellers I appreciate your thoughts as well and echo your scriptural foundation.