Slain in the Spirit

Slain in the Spirit
   Slain in the Spirit is the popular term for an experience in which the believer, often at a Pentecostal revival meeting or healing service, reports a sudden influx of energy (identified with the Holy Spirit) and an accompanying loss of motor functions leading to physical collapse. The phenomenon often appears during the laying on of hands by a healer or evangelist, but on occasion it occurs spontaneously or after being pointed to by the person conducting the service.
   A variety of biblical accounts may be referring to this experience, such as the disciples of Jesus falling face down upon hearing the voice of God (Matthew 1:6), or Paul's experience on the Damascus road (Acts 9).
   The experience of being slain in the spirit did not become particularly noticeable until the 1960s, when it appeared in meetings held by healing evangelists Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-76), Kenneth Hagin Sr. (1917-2003), and Charles and Francis Hunter (b. 1916). Most recently, it has been prominent in the meetings conducted by Benny Hinn (b. 1953), an evangelist who claims to carry on the ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman. it has also been a part of the revivals associated with the Toronto Blessing. Following the widespread televising of the phenomenon, it has spread within the Pentecostal/Charismatic world.
   Critics of the phenomenon suggest that it is merely a learned behavior. Supporters, however, suggest that its spontaneous occurrence in many setting, the accounts of subjects themselves, and the changed lives that have followed it suggest that it cannot simply be reduced to a natural phenomenon.
   Further reading:
   ■ James A. Beverley, Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing: An Investigative Report (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1995)
   ■ Kenneth Hagin, Why Do People Fall under the Power (Tulsa, Okla.: Faith Library, 1980)
   ■ Allen Spraggett, Kathryn Kuhlman: The Woman Who Believes in Miracles (New York: New American Library, 1970).

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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