Have you heard someone say, they were slain in the Spirit? What does this mean? Is it from Scripture?
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is not a force or a power of God, but God Himself as the Third Person in the Trinity, as there is also God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit, but why is the Holy Spirit called “the Holy Spirit?” Why isn’t He called “the Spirit of God,” or as He is sometimes referred to, the “Spirit?” Why shouldn’t it be God the Holy Father and God the Holy Son since the Holy Spirit is also God? Both the Father and the Son are also without sin, and therefore holy. I believe it is because the Holy Spirit helps us to live holier lives than we could without Him. He convicts us when we have sinned; He prompts us to do something good for someone when we would not otherwise do it; and He helps us pray when we don’t even know what to say. He makes us holier in our thinking, living, and speech. Although we are made righteous by Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:21), the Holy Spirit is our Counselor and helps us to know what to say and when to say it. All Three Persons of the Trinity are holy, but it is the Holy Spirit that quickened us to new life (Eph 2:1-2), and gives us the power to choose the right. He abides in us to make us more holy.
Led by the Spirit
There are phrases like walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:16-25), praying in the Spirit (Eph 6:18), having the power of the Spirit (Acts 1:8), being led by the Spirit (Gal 5:18), and being filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18), but I know nothing of being slain in the Spirit. I know we can grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:19), but that’s usually from sin, but we know that every child of God has the Holy Spirit living in them (1 Cor 2:12, 6:19), so the only thing that’s been slain is the old man (hopefully), although he does like to come back to life at times. There are many cases where people had an encounter with an angel of God or God Himself and they fainted and fell to the ground as though dead (Num 22:31; 2 Chron 5:14; Ezk 3:23, 43:2-3, 44:4; Matt 17:6; John 18:6; Acts 9:3-4; Rev 1:17), but this was not being slain the Spirit. It had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. It had to do with their encounter with God or an angel of God which would cause anyone to fall on their face! That is not an act of the Spirit but a human reaction to the holiness of God or His holy angels.
Slain in the Spirit
The most frequent occurrence of being “slain in the Spirit” might be when a preacher or evangelist touches a person and that causes them to be “slain in the Spirit.” It’s also been referred to as “falling in the Spirit” or “resting in the Spirit,” because many who are supposedly “slain,” fall to the floor. They might be “resting” to the point that they look dead. When someone is touched by some minister, the person they touched might start shaking all over and begin to lose control of their body. Some may even fall to the ground and appear as dead, but my question is this: Is this a real supernatural work of God, or is it the work of demonic spirits? Only God knows, but I couldn’t find this particular phrase (slain in the Spirit) being used in the Bible, nor could I find any such occurrences of the same thing or similar things happening in the Bible, and I searched many different translations. It just doesn’t appear that this happened in the New Testament church. A few fell as though dead in the presence of God or an angel, but some actually did die, like Ananias Sapphira (Acts 5) who lied to the Holy Spirit.
I haven’t even mentioned being “drunk in the Spirit,” because it’s obviously unbiblical. The Bible tells us to be sober minded and not be drunk with wine, but never does the Bible say to be “drunk in the Spirit.” Some were accused of being drunk after they spoke in many different languages (Acts 2:13), but the Apostle Peter corrects them, so being “drunk in the Spirit” is not biblical but of human origin. If you see or experience someone being “slain in the Spirt,” you know that it can only come from one of two sources. One may be from the God of heaven Who can do as He pleases, but the other may be from demonic influences. Only God knows, but the absence of such occurrences in the Biblical record leads me to believe that the vast majority of these things are not the normative, and they are not found in the Bible, therefore, they are not from God. They do not glorify God, but often they glorify the minister who is slaying someone in the Spirit. To me, that’s very problematic. God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him and He is the One Who initiates the Spirits indwelling of a person, so the minister cannot think that He can dispense the potent powers of the Holy Spirit, or dispense the Holy Spirit Himself at his whim or command. That’s spiritual arrogance. That is what God Himself does. This is reserved for Him and Him alone, and He does it as He wills, not the minister commands.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.