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Weird Stuff May 20, 2010

Posted by thesociallyawkwardchristian in angels, Bible, charisma, Christianity, demons, Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts.
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Charismatic and Pentecostal Christians believe weird stuff. Being a charismatic Christian myself, I believe it is okay for me to say that. Some of the things I believe are weird. There I said it, and repeated it. But, just because some of the things we believe may be weird, doesn’t mean they aren’t true. I remember the first time I ever “fell out in the Spirit,” or was “slain in the Spirit” as some call it. I was 16 at a Southern Baptist youth camp. Now, just so you know, Southern Baptists don’t believe in falling out in the Spirit. So it was quite a shock to me and everyone around me when I fell face down in the middle of worship. Needless to say, it wasn’t much longer after that when I quit attending the Southern Baptist church and started attending a non-denominational charismatic church and began learning about what some of this weird stuff was about. There was more falling out, of course, and there was also speaking in tongues, prophecy, and a lot more talk about angels and demons. All of these are biblical and they all have mulitple interpretations. I’ll give you some of mine.

1. Speaking in tongues

This first appears in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost (Jesus did prophesy that it would happen in Mark 16:17). This phenomenon caused the many foreigners that were there that day to hear each other in their own languages. Most Bible scholars think this was xenoglossia and not glossalalia. The former meaning that people were speaking and hearing known languages and not unknown languages. Glossalalia, what we normally think of when we hear the phrase, “speaking in tongues,” is more of a “holy gibberish,” as ridiculous as that might sound. It is talked about extensively in 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians 12:10, Paul mentions speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift. It’s talked about more extensively in 1 Corinthians 14:1-5 which says, 

“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. 2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. 3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up” (ESV).

These verses mean to me that speaking in tongues is a personal gift, best used in private. However, if one speaks in tongues loudly enough in public worship, there should always be an interpretation of it for the church’s benefit. When it’s done in private, however, something does indeed happen spiritually, that is a good thing. The question is often posed to me, “Should all Christians speak in tongues?” My answer is that in verse 5, Paul does say that he wants everyone to do it, but the Spirit grants gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11). So I would say, if you want to experience speaking in tongues, ask the Lord for it, and then do it. I don’t think the Holy Spirit takes control of your body and makes you start talking gibberish, I think we first have to start talking gibberish, and when step out in faith and do it, then the Spirit will minister to us through it. Yes, it feels silly and weird, but that’s just how I think it works.

2. Prophecy

Most people today assume the word prophecy means a prediction of future events. It certainly can mean that but that’s not entirely what it means. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines a prophet as “one who utters divinely inspired revelations.” The Hebrew word for prophecy literally means “to bubble forth, as from a fountain.” So prophecy means to bubble forth a revelation from God, basically. That revelation might be one of the future, or it might also be from the past, or present. The main difference between prophecies of the Old Testament and prophecies of today is stated in 1 Corinthians 14:3. Prophecies today are to bring encouragement, comfort, and edification to the Church, whereas Old Testament prophecies usually had to do with God’s Wrath. Some people think preaching is modern day prophecy, but I think that way of looking at it is way too shallow. God can, will, and does speak to His people today, specifically. Now, it is important to remember that prophets today are human and can “miss” what they are hearing God telling them to say, so it’s always important to pray about and consult the Bible over any prophetic word we might receive.

3. Falling out in the Spirit

When the Spirit of God comes on a person very strongly, it can become impossible to stand in His presence. In 1 Kings 8:10-11, priests could not stand to minister in the Temple, because a cloud representing God’s Spirit fell on it. And the most compelling biblical evidence of falling out in the Spirit to me comes in John 18:3-6. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas brought the soliders to arrest Jesus. Jesus asked them, “Who are you looking for?” They responded, “Jesus of Nazareth.” When he answered them saying, “I am he” the Bible says that the soldiers, “drew back and fell to the ground.” What’s interesting is in the Greek, Jesus literally answers them by saying, “I am,” which is what God declared his name to be to Moses in the book of Exodus. I think that Jesus gave the soliders a revelation of who He really was, and with the power of that revelation, the soldiers had no choice but to fall. The sad part is, there are several TV preacher who have made a spectacle out of this. It’s not about the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s about them getting rich and famous. While some people might really be getting touched from the Holy Spirit, others are falling as a “learned response.” They see this on TV, so they know what they’re supposed to do when the preacher says the “magic word.”

So what do you think about this weird stuff?

Do you believe in these things? Why or why not?

Have you experienced anything that’s spiritually weird?

What are some things you believe that you might consider to be weird?

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