Very Strange Behavior In Some Churches

(Elizabeth Hall) #1

Can someone please explain this kind of thing to me? These crazy churches that have people shouting and freaking out like they are having a seizure. I have seen these kinds of things in churches and it really does not seem like something from God. Are the people in this acting to fool people? Are they truly being attacked by demons? I have been to a church where they forced me to try to speak in tongues which to them was literally speaking in gibberish. It was a church where people were shouting and getting on the floor crying and going into spasms. I left right away terrified. Can someone PLEASE tell me what is going on here?? There has to be some explination behind this!

Thank you so much for reading my question.

(SeanO) #2

@Zenshii There are a number of different denominations that sit on the more extreme end of the pentecostal spectrum. I have met pentecostal folks who love Jesus and do not force people to speak in tongues or roll around on the floor. So I think we have to be careful about labeling an entire movement.

I think these types of behaviors are the result of false teaching and a strong desire to have a spiritual experience. They generally occur within the pentecostal denominations. People are prone to sensationalism by nature - gold dust falling from the ceiling, healed aching teeth, writhing on the floor in spasms - all of these things can have a strong attraction for people that are desperate for some type of experiential knowledge of God and are struggling to understand what that means.

Even in ancient times, the Apostle Paul struggled with people who wanted to work themselves into a frenzy, which occurred in pagan rituals. But Paul urged them to maintain order and self-control - 1 Cor 14 makes a good read on this topic.

I Cor 14:29-33,39-40 - Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people…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.

I do not think these behaviors are necessarily demonic, but they are not Biblical.

(Elizabeth Hall) #3

@SeanO Thank you very much for answering my question. I’m really sorry that I seemed like I was labeling people, it was unintentional. I was just very confused. Your knowlage is very helpful. As a new Christian this kind of thing really scared me and I was deep in uncertainty because no one seemed to have an answer. A lot of people who comment on videos with people screaming and on the floor are like: “Praise God! They were healed!” And I was just confused if this is what Christianity really is. Thank you again for answering my question and for being patient with me. I really appreciate it. Thank you also for the verses, it pleases me to know that the Bible says to stay calm and keep a sober mind. You were very helpful!

If anyone else has anything to add I would be really interested in hearing your thoughts. Thank you!

(Matt Western) #4

I have never been in a church in which the people behave like the video you posted. I agree it’s extremely strange. The video you posted has the following titles.

Spirits causing smoking and alcohol addition
Demon of poverty
Vomiting up demon poisons
Demon says “I surrender”
Evil spirits manifesting
Demon says “Don’t talk to me”
Demons caused mental illness, financial failure, insomnia, joblessness, digestive illness,
Demon causing breast cancer
Demon that caused a tumor to crush the neck spinal bone

and the last subtitle: the power of the Holy Spirit driving the demon out.

I’m sorry but I can’t see anywhere in Scripture that states that demons cause financial failure, joblessness, digestive illness or breast cancer, or tumors, vomiting up demon poisons.

I will say only two things. Mental illness is real. Demons are real. I’m sure there are some sort of cross-over between the two, but as a ‘Christian skeptic’ in a Westernized society I tend to lean towards mental illness, that can probably be handed better by trained Christian psychologist, and Christian psychiatrists, not by an untrained person casting out demons, and then recommending after they are healed to stop all medication. Just my view.

My view is, if a person is a Christian who has accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour, and who the Holy Spirit indwells, is impossible to be physically controlled by demons like in the video you posted.

The academic question to look into is simply ‘Has the miraculous sign gifts ceased?’.

I believe the miraculous sign gifts were evident to show that the church was God’s will, and then ceased as Scripture was complete. I’m a cessationist. My gentle question to the non-cessationist why was there a gap of almost 1900 years between the original miraculous sign gifts in the early church history, and then they started again during the 1900s. :slight_smile:

I think the video you posted does not represent any normal pentecostal gathering, as I have many friends in pentecostal churches whom I agree on just about everything. The ones I’ve been in tend to have louder music, and people tend to worship more emotionally than liturgically, but that’s just a style. I love them in the Lord, and I humbly agree to disagree - because we both agree that salvation is by faith, in response to God’s grace, not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

yes, your video is strange, and I would say quite disturbing. I would not be attending such a church myself, as it seems a long way from Scripture where as Sean quotes in the above post ‘things are to be done decently and in order, for God is not the author of confusion’.

Perhaps some others can suggest some balanced reading material to look at both sides objectively from Scripture, in order to clear the confusion?

Also my view in Scripture is that any speaking in tongues was an actual language - not gibberish. Of course, in the great love chapter 1 Corinthians 13, Paul mentions speaking in the tongues of men and of angels (who knows what angels speak like). :slight_smile:

Maybe some further reading her to get you started? (obviously, as a cessationist, I’m going to provide links that lean towards my viewpoints, so it would be excellent if someone from a Pentecostal church would be able to provide some further reading in support of the non-cessationist viewpoint)

A passage to consider is Matthew 7:21-23 (be sure to read the entire chapter 7 and surrounding chapters for context, and in this passage it’s Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the mount)

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

I hope this is a helpful and encouraging start :slight_smile: - we are all encouraged to be like the Bereans who don’t just take anybody’s word for it, but to go and study the Scripture and make sure it’s correct for ourselves. :slight_smile:

(SeanO) #5

@Zenshii No need to be sorry :slight_smile: I was only talking about labeling because I’ve struggled with doing so myself in the past. Your question was fine.

I agree that these experiences can be very confusing. Many of these strange behaviors are explained as the work of God’s Spirit, but that is due to a misunderstanding of how God’s Spirit functions. Regarding the work of the Holy Spirit, you may find the following two threads helpful. In essence, the Spirit of God empowers us to live in obedience to Christ and fills us with love for God and others. The Spirit of God is not chiefly about high emotional experiences or the miraculous, but about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5 / Romans 8). Yes, He can do the miraculous, but Biblically that is not the main point.