If you’ve spent much time at all in charismatic circles, you’ve no doubt encountered various forms of manifestations in a service, seminar or big conference. Most involved in this movement have come to a place of comfort where manifestations are concerned and they have simply been explained as being “manifestations of God’s presence when He comes upon or moves on a person.”
Mike Bickle himself makes reference to these manifestations in the Appendix of his book on God’s Manifest Presence: Growing in the Prophetic, (op. cit., pg. 196. 227) In this section, Bickle presents a list of phenomena from contemporary experience such as:
“Shaking, jerking, loss of bodily strength, heavy breathing, eyes fluttering, lips trembling, oil on the body, changes in skin color, weeping, laughing, ‘drunkenness,’ staggering, travailing, dancing, falling, visions, hearing audibly into the spirit realm, inspired utterances (that is, prophecy), tongues, interpretation; angelic visitations and manifestations; jumping, violent rolling, screaming, wind, heat, electricity, coldness, nausea as discernment of evil, smelling or tasting good or evil presences, tingling, pain in the body as discernment of illnesses, feeling heavy weight or lightness, trances (altered physical state while seeing and hearing into the spirit world), inability to speak normally and disruption of the natural realm (for example, electrical circuits blown).” (Growing in the Prophetic, op. cit., pg. 209)
I have attended countless conferences in previous years hosted by IHOP (and by Metro Vineyard Fellowship/Metro Christian Fellowship prior to IHOP’s launch) and have witnessed first hand all of the above. At the time, I also was convinced these were things that happened to people when God’s presence came upon them…and I had been conditioned and told to believe such by leaders. But after leaving IHOP and the entanglements of being there, I spent the following few years researching and delving into IHOP’s teachings, processing what I had come out of, and really questioning what was a fruit of the Spirit of God and what was a manifestation of another kind of spirit altogether.
Since the inspired words of God in scripture are the plumb line and measuring stick that all teachings, manifestations, doctrines and actions should be held up against as a standard, let’s go there to determine whether the many manifestations Bickle lists above are really as they say “movements of God’s spirit”.
In everything I have read, studied and researched in scripture on this subject, I came to the conclusion that the ONLY time I saw anything resembling the above manifestations in scripture was when a demonized person was manifesting demons and when our Lord and Messiah or one of His disciples was casting them out. There was never mention of this bizarre activity or behavior occurring amongst spirit-filled believers including Peter, the apostle Paul and others.
Demonic manifestations in scripture:
Violence, screaming (Matt 8:28-34; Luke 8:29))
Blindness and/or muteness (Matt 9:32, 33; Matt 12:22)
Shaking/seizures, falling into fire & water (Matt 17:14-18)
Demon throws a man down on the ground and then comes out of him at the Lord’s rebuke (Luke 4:35)
Those who manifested demonic activity were loud, drew attention to themselves, were violent, shaking, etc. Those that the Lord touched, ministered to or healed were instantly made whole, put into their right mind and at peace. He even discouraged those who received miracles from telling the people of certain regions who He was. He gave praise and glory only to the Father…never drawing it to himself.
So, knowing what we know to be true about the character and nature of God as mentioned above, what glory does the Lord receive from barking, shaking, drunk staggering, screaming, etc? Clearly, this is not fruit of the Spirit but manifestations of the activity of the evil one. Satan MUST draw attention to self. He must make loud displays. God is clear about the activity He involves Himself in and what is truly of Him. He says to test the spirits and the outrageous fanfare mentioned above is not the character or nature of the God we serve. Period.
A good rule of thumb to consider: when you see something in a church, a meeting, a conference, a worship service, a prayer time, etc. that there is not a standard set for in scripture, be very cautious about attributing it as being a “movement of God”. More than likely in those cases, it’s just man-concocted doctrines and teachings that have evolved out of deceptions and mis-interpretations of the word of God.
For further info on these said “manifestations” do a Google search on a Buddhist yoga practice called “Kundalini”. Click here for a YouTube video which compares the ancient “serpent force” called Kundalini with what is seen in most charismatic churches today and called “manifestations of God’s presence”. Also visit this blog for more info and videos on the subject.
Click “here” for my follow-up post to this one titled “Does Acts 2 Justify ‘Manifestations’?”