Please Stop the Holy Ghost Smackdown

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J. Lee Grady

Do you want the
real power of the Holy Spirit? Then don’t pretend by pushing people to the
floor when you pray.

I love it when the Holy Spirit shows up in church
gatherings. Whenever sinners are converted, backsliders repent, bodies are
healed or self-centered believers are broken by God, we see evidence of the
Spirit’s work. But I don’t appreciate it when people fabricate spiritual
manifestations to prove God is using them.

A few years ago a popular charismatic preacher
spoke at a meeting I attended at a church in Orlando, Fla. After his message he
asked all ordained ministers to run to the platform so he could lay hands on
them. Immediately this man’s team of beefy bodyguards began grabbing people,
dragging them onto the stage and holding them in place until the evangelist
could pray for everyone.

“We seem to have become
masters of mixing the anointing with other ingredients. The charismatic
movement has become an embarrassing mixture of flesh and spirit.

I felt queasy about this spectacle. It resembled a
charismatic version of World Wrestling Entertainment: lots of smacking
noises, falling bodies and cheers from the excited crowd. We Christians seem
to love a good show, even if it is staged!

I cringed as I watched the bizarre theatrics. But
before I could move to the side of the auditorium, one of the evangelist’s
220-pound goons strong-armed me onto the platform. When I looked up, the
wild-eyed preacher was heading toward me with his arms flailing. I tried to
duck, but when he got close enough he shouted “in the name of Jesus” and
slapped me across the face. I tumbled to the floor.

My face and neck were stinging with pain. I had
not been slain in the spirit, as some observers assumed. I had been assaulted.
This man used his own strength to make people think he had imparted a special
anointing to me. All he did was give me a headache.

Because of this embarrassing smackdown, I decided
I would never push people during prayer, not even gently, or do anything to
manipulate the Holy Spirit’s power. I want the real thing. I don’t want to
grieve the Holy Spirit by pretending.

Why do some Christians insist on pushing people
during prayer? Some do it out of ignorance or because they have seen famous
evangelists doing it. Others push to force spiritual results. They think if
enough bodies end up on the floor, people will assume God showed up.

I know there are times when people can be so
overcome by the Holy Spirit’s presence that they become weak in the knees. King
David trembled in God’s presence, and the priests in Solomon’s day could not
stand in the temple because of the heaviness of God’s glory (see 1 Kings
8:10-11). But there is absolutely no biblical precedent for forcing people to

In Exodus
30:22-29, God gave Moses the recipe for the holy anointing oil that was to be
used in the tabernacle. Each ingredient—cinnamon, myrrh, fragrant cane and
cassia—had to be crushed first and then blended in olive oil. All five
components represent Jesus, who was crushed for us. Moses was warned that the
oil was never to be misused, nor were any ingredients to be left out or

God commands us
never to cheapen the oil of the anointing, mix foreign substances into it,
dilute it or create our own version of it. The Holy Spirit is holy!
People in the Bible who tampered with the holy recipe (such as Aaron’s sons,
Nadab and Abihu, who offered strange fire on God’s altar in Lev. 10:1-2)
suffered serious consequences.

Today I fear we have blended the anointing with
other ingredients. The charismatic movement has become an embarrassing mixture.
Some preachers dangle God’s promises over people’s heads and offer elusive
promises of prosperity “if people will call this number now and give a donation.”
Others fake certain body movements to make people think they are super-charged
by God. Others mix exotic anointing oils (on sale now for only $12.99!) or they
create anointed candles, suggesting that certain scents can trigger the
Spirit’s power. This borders on witchcraft.

Please search your heart. Do you push people to
the floor when you pray for them, rather than trusting the Lord to do His work?
Are you trusting in Him, or in the arm of the flesh?

Have you lied to the Holy Ghost by faking the
anointing? Have you mixed your own version of the anointing oil, adding exotic
substances that are not of Christ? Have you become addicted to sensational
experiences, always craving a sign yet never satisfied with Jesus alone?

How sad that a movement that began in the Spirit
has wandered so far from the holiness of God. He sees through our charade.
Let’s repent of our childishness, throw out the fake oils, stop making false
claims, and quit abusing and manipulating people to make ourselves look

J. LEE GRADY is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow
him on Twitter at
leegrady. He is the author of several books including 10 Lies Men Believe and The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale.

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J. Lee Grady is an author, award-winning journalist and ordained minister. He served as a news writer and magazine editor for many years before launching into full-time ministry.

Lee is the author of six books, including 10 Lies the Church Tells Women, 10 Lies Men Believe and Fearless Daughters of the Bible. His years at Charisma magazine also gave him a unique perspective of the Spirit-filled church and led him to write The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and Set My Heart on Fire, which is a Bible study on the work of the Holy Spirit.

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