For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of being "slain in the spirit", or "going down under the power", these phrases generally refer to an event most commonly associated with charismatic/Pentecostal churches. The event itself typically takes place when some preacher is praying for a person. The person being prayed for suddenly appears to lose the ability to stand up, their knees buckle and backward to the ground they fall. Sometimes the event is so common in a service that the church actually has people appointed as "catchers". It is the job of the catchers to make sure the person lands softly. Certain tele-evangelists don't even have to pray for someone to have this happen. Sometimes all they need to do is blow on them, wave a hand toward them, or swing a suit coat in their direction. Why some preachers apparently have so much of the Spirit that they can slay an entire stadium at one time under this "power"!
Well the question is, Do we have any Biblical support for anyone being "slain" by the Spirit of God? You may be surprised to find out that answer is an emphatic, YES!.
But before we look at that support, let me take just a moment to make a few brief observations about the more typical settings associated with this event of being "slain".
It almost always happens in the following manner:
*It will be at some kind of gathering with numerous people -- from a small church, to a huge stadium.
*The person who will be "slain" is usually being prayed for by someone.
*The pray-er usually lays a hand on the person being prayed for.
*The person being prayed for, falls down BACKWARDS under the "power".
*AFTER the person who was slain is "back to normal" if you were to ask them what happened when they were "slain", you will get a variety of answers but some of the most common are the following:
- I received the gift of tongues
- I received the baptism in the Spirit
- I was healed
- I saw a vision
- I saw Jesus
- I got a revelation about ....
- God spoke to me about....
So the Biblical support for these things? Well it is coming like I said, but first let me point out a few things regarding the above listed scenarios:
First you must know that numerous times in the Scripture we find men "falling" when overcome by the presence of the Lord (e.g. John, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc...) However, in each of these cases we should notice what the similarities are, and what the differences are between the Biblical accounts and being "slain" as discussed above.
First the similarities:
1. Someone fell to the ground.
2. Some saw a vision.
Secondly the differences:
1. They were alone, not in a group of people.
2. No one was praying for them.
3. No one laid hands on them, or blew on them, or waved something at them.
4. They did not first fall and then have some spiritual experience. Instead, every single time, they first saw something and then, in response to the holiness of what they saw and heard they fell to the ground.
5. If it is ever recorded how they fell, it is always that they fell forward not "backward". They did so because the holiness of the moment led them to want to hide their face.
A few other points worth noting:
The Bible records dozens of times when the following things happened:
*People were healed.
*People were baptized in the Spirit.
*People spoke in tongues.
*People manifested other gifts of the Spirit - miracles, etc...
Yet in none of the these occurrences did one person ever fall to the ground "under the power", of course, with the exception of the healing of the demon possessed boy in Matt 17. But there, it was an evil spirit that flung him to the ground. And, again, you should notice that EVERY SINGLE TIME when a man of God fell to the ground it was ALWAYS in response to SEEING something. He saw something FIRST! He did not fall and THEN see something or experience something. The experience/vision left him needing to get on his face in light of the holiness of the moment. It is NEVER recorded that he fell backwards.
So upon examination of the Scriptures in an attempt to support today's concept of "being slain" we find that every Biblical example of a man of God "falling under the power" seems to be drastically different than these modern examples, with many more differences than similarities. Therefore, if one is going to attempt to defend that these modern occurrences are "of God", they must do so knowing that, not only do they NOT have Biblical support, but any attempt at using the Scripture will only support the refutation of this experience.
So what about the Biblical support of "being slain" that I spoke of earlier, saying that it indeed did give us examples of this happening? Well the support I was referring to is that spoken of in the book of Acts, chapter five. Here we find two people being "slain by the Spirit". Yet, I doubt we would have many church folk wanting to get in that line. After all, these two people, Ananias and Sapphira, were literally "slain by the Spirit". The Spirit of God struck them and they died. This was very frightening event by any standard. I don't think this is the kind of Biblical support any of us would be too excited to be a part of. However, it does leave us with an important lesson: We serve a POWERFUL and HOLY God -- A God worthy to be feared and honored. A God who desires us to worship Him in spirit and truth! I pray God help you to see the truth in regard to this sometimes confusing issue.