SLAIN IN WHAT SPIRIT?
BY: BRENDA IMUS
Many who frequent this site, or have read my work on other sites, understand that I make no pretense to possessing knowledge by right of my ‘holy life’ or ‘diligent study.’ My understanding comes not by some cerebral study of the organized church as it operates today, but through having participated in its many practices and come out ‘as through the fire’ – neither scorched nor burnt myself by the deadly flames that surrounded me. Each step of the way, the Lord has caused me to look, and see, what was actually at work. It is by grace that I’ve come through these things, by grace that I understand them, by grace that I teach them – and by God’s immeasurable grace that I continue to stand. Praise God!
I preface this article with that assertion because many may feel judged or condemned by what is to follow. But there is no condemnation to those who love God, and who are called according to His purpose. Are you one of His? Then read, and pray…and learn. God wants to separate you back unto Himself… to pull you from the fire, as He has done for me. Will you allow Him to do so?
When I first started visiting charismatic and Pentecostal services, the practice of being ‘slain in the Spirit’ seemed rather strange. But I assured the Lord that if it was from Him, I wanted it. For a very long time, I would go forward for prayer, and nothing would happen. People would lie prostate all around me… but there I’d be, standing and feeling somehow… left out… forsaken… cold. Why did the Lord love these other obviously sincere Christians more than He loved me? Was I too untrusting of God, as a few people claimed? Did I need to be more ‘open to the Holy Spirit?’
One early incident in particular stands out in my memory. I’d begun to travel in a wider and wider circle to be where God was ‘moving.’ This night I’d heard about a traveling minister from South Africa who had ‘the anointing of God’ very strongly. Wherever he passed, people passed out. I traveled 60 miles to see him, and went forward for prayer. Again, I told the Lord that I wanted only what was truly from Him. That minister walked through several hundred people, laying hands on every one of them. When he came to where I stood, he looked directly in my eyes… and veered sharply away from me. He lay hands on every other person who wanted ministry… they were falling at the altar, in front of the altar, on the stage, in the pews, aisles, and down this massive church’s hallways. Some were shaking, many were laughing or crying out. Finally, I was the only person left standing, the only person whom this minister had not touched. One of his assistants saw me, and kept trying to steer him toward me, but it was as though I had an invisible reverse magnetic barrier around me that made it impossible for him to get close enough to actually touch me. He deliberately veered away every time. I could tell that even the assistant was embarrassed for me.
As I stood there feeling left out, I told the Lord that being prayed for wasn’t the important thing. I only wanted to be held in His arms, as a daughter – as I had been on one other very special occasion in my life. That very moment, the worship leader began a song with the words, “I am holding you in My arms, My daughter.” Quietly weeping with gratitude, I went back to my seat knowing that I’d received what I needed from the Lord, whether I felt it or not.
In spite of this evidence, my quest for ‘more’ continued… carrying me to conferences and meetings in Toronto, North Carolina, Florida. Each place I visited, I recognized genuine spiritual power. I recognized genuine, Christ-loving Christians going forward and being ‘slain’ and otherwise ministered to. And there was the worship – always powerful, always carrying us ‘into the presence of God.’ Though there were always unanswered questions in my mind, I stifled them and began to surrender myself more and more to the experiences around me. Eventually, being ‘slain in the Spirit’ was a common occurrence. When my life became more messed up, rather than less, I believed it was because the Lord needed to bring me through a ‘healing process’ involving childhood traumas. He was showing me ‘curses’ that had been laid on me, or which I’d inherited. It seemed that part of my inability to get totally free from these things came from my insistence upon always keeping my senses about me, even when laying outright on the floor. I just couldn’t/wouldn’t ‘jump in the river’ as wholeheartedly as others around me seemed to do.
Leadership began to recognize my spiritual gifts, and to call on me to pray for and counsel others. But each time I would begin to feel like a real part of some move or ministry… the alarms of true discernment began to go off, loud and clear. At first I thought that leadership would be glad for the words of wisdom and correction that the Lord directed me to bring. After all, they were recognizing and responding to the Lord’s gifts in me in other ways, were they not? But it wasn’t long before I realized that the counsel I was offering – and eventually I – were definitely not welcome. It didn’t matter that the clear teaching of Scriptures were laid out for consideration, or that I came with true humility, a teachable heart, and a desire to be of service. Once the Lord began to move me in that manner, I was instantly tagged as ‘the enemy,’ and all anyone wanted was to shut me up. The methods for doing so were powerful – though I didn’t understand how powerful for a very long time. I was nearly destroyed on more than one occasion. (But that’s another story!)
At long last I began to see that these ministers and leaders didn’t want any counsel of discernment or correction because their hearts were simply not in the right place in the first place. I began to see the duplicity… the vulnerability of the flock to these wolves in sheep’s clothing… the way that Scriptures were twisted and distorted to suit their ‘revelations’ and teachings. God finally clearly called me to separate completely from the errors and dangers of this wide-spread ‘revival,’ and spent the next year showing me where I–and many, many others – had gone terribly astray. Most of these lessons have been set out in other articles. But until very recently I still believed there was validity to being ‘slain in the Spirit,’ misused though it might be. Now the Lord has shown me the danger of this widespread practice, and called me to sound a trumpet of warning!
It started a few weeks ago when I came upon – and actually saw for the first time – a Scripture in Daniel. It’s where the Lord showed Nebuchadnezzar an image in a dream that represented all of the kingdoms of the world, from his day to the last days. I was made sharply aware that the last days’ kingdom represents the time in which we are now living. Here is the part of the description of that kingdom that caught my attention:
Dan 2:42-43: 42] And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43] And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
When I saw the part of verse 43 that says, “they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men…”, I realized instantly that this is parallel to the account in Genesis:
Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
This in turn reflects what Jesus tells us about one of the primary characteristics of the last days earthly kingdom:
Matt 24:37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
One of the signposts of the ‘days of Noah’ was the mingling of the (fallen) sons of God with the ‘seed of men.’ According to the verse in Daniel, this scenario will be repeated during the days of the last earthly kingdom as well.
For several days I asked the Lord if this would be an actual physical or a spiritual ‘mingling’ of the ‘sons of God’ with the ‘seed of men.’ One evening as I prayed this way, I was struck by a sudden vision so strongly that I gasped out loud. In this vision I saw the prostrate forms of Christians laid out on an auditorium floor – as I’ve seen a dozen times in the past. In the past I used to be able to imagine (envision) the unseen forms of angels all around these people, ministering to each one in a different manner. This seemed like a good thing. But now the Lord threw His true light upon the picture – and it changed dramatically. Suddenly I saw that these unseen angelic forms weren’t just my imagination… and weren’t as benevolent as I’d thought. They were literally touching these men and women with their very essence, thereby ‘mingling’ their spirits with the spirits of men. Along with this vision came a very strong word: “They’ve given up their senses.” It was so strong that I repeated it out loud, three times. I understood that it referred to those gullible men and women who were blindly and willingly falling prostrate under the power of unseen – and unknown – spiritual forces.
At the same time, I began to see the downward progression of a once-dear friend of mine from a warm, sincere and caring Christian woman to a stand-offish, irrational, moody and somewhat spiritually superior person. This change had hurt and confused me for some time. My friend was strong in love for the Lord, but weak in her reliance upon the Scriptures. She often relied, instead, upon the teaching of others. This teaching led her – as it had me – into seeking more and greater spiritual experiences and revelations. As she became more open to these experiences, they became stronger.
At first, she would simply fall to the ground when receiving ministry. Then she started breaking into gales of laughter. Then at one point she began to make guttural sounds, and to be physically jerked around as she lay, seemingly senseless, on the floor. During this period she became more susceptible to temptation, confusion and unloving/judgmental behavior. As had I, she attributed her growing problems to ‘curses’ and a need for ever-more ‘healing’ and ‘deliverance.’ Unlike me, she didn’t spend time every day seeking the Lord on her own, through both prayer and Scripture. She didn’t lay down her own understanding, and ask to be filled with God’s. She believed that what she was being taught was a solid basis for understanding and truth, and saw little reason to question these things. Didn’t her continuing and powerful personal spiritual experiences ‘prove’ that God was confirming these teachings to her? Didn’t the ‘prophets’ have true words about/for her that could only be known by them through the Holy Spirit? These were all the proofs she needed.
As the Lord began to open my eyes to the deception all around, I tried to encourage my friend to distance herself from these teachings and experiences for a while, to seek the Lord for herself. I finally lost a dear friend. Close as we’d been… as much as we’d shared… she cut me off completely. My loving warnings fell on deaf ears, as she’d become convinced that I – and not the teachers she’d come to revere – was the enemy. I was out to ‘control and manipulate’ her, and she had to resist me with all her strength. I was a ‘Jezebel.’ After all (she told me), she was willing to come under ‘spiritual authority’ – unlike rebellious, fault-finding me, who couldn’t seem to be happy anywhere.
It took me awhile to sort things out. But I’ve found a place to be happy… the only place to be happy. And that place is one that too few of us ever find, and many of us are afraid to enter. It’s in the place of trusting God alone to be our strength… our teacher… our wisdom. It’s in the place of perfect loving obedience to Him, as He reveals Himself to us through His word, and by His Holy Spirit. It’s in ‘testing all things,’ and holding onto only those things that are right, and good, and true, according to His word – and letting everything else fall by the wayside.
That place, is in Christ.
Eph 4:14-15 14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ...
Respectfully submitted to the church by,
SLAIN IN WHAT SPIRIT [Brenda Imus] 1