ANOTHER COFFEE BREAK: HYSTERIA OR HOLY SPIRIT?
Jul 2, '08 4:32 PM
Wow! With all of the events of
the past two weeks, I haven't been able to sit down long enough to write.
We've been moving our daughter, Rebekah, from
We need to get back to our discussions on miracles -- and they just keep happening and happening and happening -- but I wanted to do at least one, and maybe two more articles that deal with the unbelief exhibited in so many quarters of the Body of Christ concerning the outpouring in Lakeland, Florida and now so many other places simultaneously.
One of my dear sisters in the Lord expressed the concern over what she perceived as "hysteria" associated with these events and movements, and wondered if that's all this was.
Folks, I know there are many genuine, committed Christians who are struggling with these kinds of events taking place because they are so "out of the box" and don't fit with any of the decorum (really, almost funereal attitudes in some churches!) and "order" we've all been programmed to expect.
Let's get to the Word first of all. Oh, and while you're getting your Bible out, don't forget that cup of good, strong, dark-roasted, oily, French Roasted Columbian coffee! Hehehehehehe..........
Take a look at an event recorded in the 4th chapter of Acts. Peter and John had been called on the carpet by the religious leaders of the day for healing a crippled man. Worse, they did it when they were supposed to be in prayer (at the ninth hour -- --) with everyone else!
We pick up the narrative at verse 23: "And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."
It is important to see these events in context.
First, the religious leaders of the day were standing in condemnation and opposition to the miraculous. Their reasons for condemnation and opposition are no different than those of today: were they to accept that what was happening was the power of God, it would be to their own condemnation and guilt for having so watered down God's Word and cheapened its value, its power and authority.
Secondly, Peter and John, and the believers who were gathered with them, began to pray all the more forcefully that God would demonstrate His Word through signs and wonders.
They'd hardly finished their prayer when the Scripture tells us that "the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness."
This is an interesting phrase in the Greek text.
It reads a bit differently than our English translations and comes out like this: "And having prayed, they were shaken in the place where they were assembled, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit."
That word, shaken, in the Greek text is: saleuo, and it
means agitated, rocked, toppled over, disturbed, incited, moved, shaken
violently. I don't know of a better word to describe precisely what
we are seeing at
Sound familiar? You say you've never seen "slain in the Spirit" in the Scripture? Yep. You have, but it just wasn't obvious in our English translations.
What's more, the word saleuo comes from salos, which means to vibrate, to be tossed like the swells of the ocean. J. H. Thayer, in his Greek-English Lexicon, adds the following description: "to cause to totter, to suffer instability as if produced by winds, storms, waves, etc."
Folks, I don't know of a better way to describe what
happens when a person is hit by the power of the Holy Spirit. All of the
manifestations we've seen at
Hysteria? Guess that's what a lot of folks would have thought if they'd seen Peter and John and everyone gathered together with them when everyone was shaking in the place. They were reeling and rocking! But wait. Isn't this just a repeat of what happened on the Day of Pentecost? Take a look at Acts 2.
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they
were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound
from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they
were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of
fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the
Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them
utterance. And there were dwelling at
Get the picture? Noise, confusion, tumult, cacophony, folks talking in languages they've never heard or learned before, tornadic winds and sounds, fire: in other words, nothing you'd associate with "normal" in today's vernacular. The world looked on and said, "Hey, these guys are drunk! This is the stupid behavior of someone who's been drinking new wine, and that wine has addled their brains!"
Yessir!! But to listen to some of today's unbelievers, what's happening today is unbiblical! Tell you what. The only folks who are calling the outpouring of the Holy Spirit "unbiblical" are people who've never been filled with the Holy Spirit or been personally hit by that power. Hate to be so blunt about it, but that's a fact!
Consider. What's one of the first manifestations of being filled with the Holy Spirit? Know what it is? Love. Agape love. Agape love isn't critical. It doesn't attack and accuse. It doesn't call people names who are strange or different from the church "societal norm". It doesn't call them "wolves in sheep's clothing." It doesn't call them "false prophets." It doesn't think evil of folks who operate in a different paradigm whose message is still the message of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of the Kingdom to the poor; and whose ministries exhibit Kingdom proofs in the form of healing, deliverance from evil spirits and restoration to wholeness in Jesus Christ.
Love -- agape love -- is tolerant of differences. It isn't easily provoked. It doesn't focus on people's personalities or character oddities to the exclusion of Kingdom proofs. Brother! If I had a nickel for every time someone had called me a "false prophet" or a "heretic" or that I was on some kind of "power trip," it'd take you a long time to count the money.
Really, folks! Why are some so quick to refer to Todd Bentley's piercings, his tattoos, or his trademark, "Bam" with such hostility and hatred? Would I do things like he does? Not on your life! By the same token, one could call Benny Hinn really "strange" because of his mannerisms. He dresses odd, too! (Hehehehehe.......) He's just on the opposite side of "odd" to Todd Bentley.
But I don't measure people or results by the way a person
looks, acts or talks. I measure him or her by the growth of the
Some folks laugh and ridicule those who smack, hit or kick someone as they minister healing. But they forget that Jesus essentially spit in someone's eyes. OK. He spit on dirt and rubbed it in a blind man's eyes. And there's a difference between that "weird" act and punching someone? What was the result of Jesus' act? The man was healed. He could see perfectly. But talk to a doctor or medical professional about the very idea of rubbing dirt in someone's eyes and they'd be horror-stricken! That's not God! He wouldn't do something like that!
It's time for God's people to wake up and stop looking at people and personalities and realize that the reason God is choosing these odd ducks is because "normal" Christians won't respond to the quickening of the Holy Spirit. "Normal" Christianity is the Christianity that exhibits the power and authority of Jesus Christ. "Normal" Christianity is the grace and love that heals, that transforms and restores broken lives, that raises the dead to life, that cleanses infected people from physical, financial and spiritual leprosy, and casts out demons in the name, the onoma, the authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Anything we call "Christianity" that doesn't do those things is not "normal." It is a sick, religious counterfeit thereof.
Are you among those who are critical of what is taking
Better wake up, my friends. You are standing on the wrong side of what Jesus is doing, saying and promising to those who believe.
This isn't hysteria. This is the Holy Spirit.
And He's grown tired of waiting for sub-normal, wanna-be
Christians who have the name but lack the power and authority to show the love
of Jesus Christ to transform the world around them. The Holy Spirit is
choosing and using people who are willing to be odd, who are willing to do the
unexpected, who are willing to be made fools of --
You are going to see the strange, the unusual, the so-called "unbiblical" things that take place in the midst of outpourings of the Holy Spirit. This doesn't mean that everything that happens is ordered of the Holy Spirit. It doesn't mean that every manifestation is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. You're going to see some flesh on display. You'll see screwball things like folks with animal behavior: barking, growling, howling, roaring. That's not God! But that doesn't take away from the reality of what the Holy Spirit is doing. When the power of the Holy Spirit downloads on folks who've lived their lives by fleshly thinking and behavior, you're going to get some of this. It comes with the package. But what ultimately results is a life that is radically changed and empowered by God.
What ultimately happens is that these screwy behaviors fall away as a person is being renewed, transformed, and conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. What we have to remember in the meantime is that just because these things are happening doesn't mean we're in the midst of hysteria or some false move of God. Every move of God recorded during the past five hundred plus years has had these kinds of displays at first. But these kinds of displays have fallen by the wayside as lives undergo real change by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit in operation.
Stop trying to clean up the acts of people and being critical of what's happening, and start allowing the Holy Spirit to do what He's been sent to do. Restoration is not an instantaneous act; it takes time and processing in a person's life. That's the business of the Holy Spirit of whom Jesus said, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth."
Got the picture? "Guiding" is a process -- not an instantaneous zap!
Healing is the gift of God. It is part of the Blessing of Abraham restored by the Lord Jesus Christ to and for all who believe. Do not for a minute think that sickness or infirmity is a blessing from the Lord. It is a curse from Satan. Jesus came to redeem us from that curse!
The Blessing of the Lord: it makes rich and He adds no painful toil and sorrow! (Proverbs 10:22) Be blessed!
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