What about strange manifestations?

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 (NKJV) "Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil."

I see a sweeping pattern developing in some Charismatic circles today. People are running from meeting to meeting to experience strange manifestations (barking, howling, roaring, slithering, hissing, shrieking, elongated screams, vibrations, spasmatic jerking, violent shaking, rapid head rotation, unusual laughter, drunkenness, swooning, burning, angelic visitations, spirit travel, visualization, etc.). Many Christians are claiming that these strange, weird, and extra-biblical manifestations are evidence of a new move of God. But where are these kinds of manifestations supported in Scripture? Regarding being "drunk in the Spirit" some will use a Scripture like Acts 2:13 where believers were accused of being drunk with new wine. However, this accusation was made by onlookers because believers spoke with new tongues (a valid Biblical experience) and NOT because they were staggering around and acting like drunken men! People fall into such sloppy interpretations when they try to make their experience fit the Word of God. As a result, this invasion of strange manifestations into the church is producing a growing disdain for the truth of Scripture or any attempt at discernment. Even pastors and ministers are not only asleep at the gate but are also opening the gate for these things to enter the sheepfold. Ironically, accusations are launched against faithful shepherds and laymen who dare question these experiences and who attempt to follow the Biblical command to "test the spirits" (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22; 1 John 4:1). They are often accused of having a "religious spirit", of being a "Pharisee", or of being guilty of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. These kinds of accusations make it clear that we are given no option but to just accept these bizarre manifestations by "faith" without any question or testing. But my dear brother and sister, the Bible tells us that the Spirit and the Word will agree (1 John 5:7). If these things are of the Holy Spirit, then why are these experiences not found in the Bible? Why didn't the prophets foretell of them? Some say, "Well didn't similar types of manifestations occur in past revival camp meetings?" Yes they did on the fringes because of human extremes. However, once faithful believers began to test these things by Scripture, they stopped occurring. Unfortunately today few ministers are testing them, thus allowing them to proliferate in the church. If we are honest, I think we would have to admit that these manifestations have more in common with ecstatic pagan and mystical New Age experiences than with the manifestations of the HOLY Spirit described in the New Testament. The services where these manifestations are allowed have no resemblance to the order laid out in 1 Corinthians 12-14 for church meetings. In fact, many of these services are nothing less than a "free-for-all" where anything goes. Some even refer to their meeting as a "Slosh-Fest." Is the Holy Spirit working contrary to the order set forth in His own Word? Unfortunately, we must abandon Scripture and discernment in order to embrace and endorse these highly questionable things. Sadly, I have had to do some soul searching myself. With regret I admit that in times past I have seen and allowed some of these strange manifestations in our own meetings. Granted, I believe God was moving in our midst bringing people to repentance and revival, but strange manifestations polluted the stream. At the time these things were new to me. Because I was unsure, I didn’t want to be quick to judge. I was open to the possibility they could be of God but I had my concerns. I understand now that if I had followed the Scripture and trusted the inner witness of the Holy Spirit, I would not have allowed these extremes to occur. In the midst of that however, God was faithful because I wanted to know the truth and kept seeking the Scripture for discernment. Based upon what I have learned, it seems that these more recent manifestations are directly related to impartation through the laying on of hands. The trail leads back to Rodney Howard Browne meetings in the early to mid-1990's when these manifestations were transferred from one group to another throughout our nation and the world. I am not judging this man's heart, but it does concerns me that these experiences do not generally manifest among churches and Christians where there has been no direct impartation or influence. Why is that? How do we know that this is a pure impartation of the Holy Spirit? Can we imagine Jesus or His disciples experiencing or celebrating these kind of manifestations in their meetings? What did Jesus do when similar manifestations took place in His meetings? Did the New Testament church experience these things? How do we know it is a "new" move of God? Are we suppose to just accept this "new move of God" without testing the message, the spirit involved, or the Jesus being preached? (2 Corinthians 11:4) People are hungry for a move of God. I understand that. So am I. However, we must not allow our hunger for a move of God to make us vulnerable to consume whatever is dished out on our plate. We must be discerning. I do not believe that strange manifestations are indications of a "revival." Neither do I believe that they are indications of a "refreshing" because New Testament refreshing comes after genuine repentance and conversion (Acts 3:19). What we are seeing is a growing emphasis on the "glory." I do not find a Scriptural precedent for seeking the "glory." We are to seek God and that begins with getting right with Him. When people are so determined to get the "glory" that they are bypassing true repentance and conversion and bypassing the truth of Scripture, they are opening themselves up to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. Sadly, they are more likely to experience a counterfeit glory. The Bible warns us that if we lose our love for the truth we will be given over to believe the lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). That's very sobering! Don't be gullible. Don't be intimidated. Don't fall in love with strange manifestations. Fall in love with Jesus. Fall in love with His truth. Love the truth enough to test the spirits. If something is not of God, get away from it. Don't be pressured by those who tell you that you are "missing out." Thank God that you are! Be assured that God will give you all of the daily experiences in His presence that you need as long as you love the truth and the God of the truth.

Pastor Keith

Interesting Documentaries on Strange Manifestations:

Shocking Documentary 1 (Andrew Strom): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBpw2oQrvMM&feature=related

Shocking Documentary 2 (Andrew Strom) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCcGaTRwG_4&feature=related

Shocking Documentary 3 (Andrew Strom) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWeUNoR30_0&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

Kundalini in Action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7Hidj1OGcE&feature=related

David Wilkerson on Weird Manifestations: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrpW6Xctg8Q&feature=related