These people – who seemed perfecly alright just minutes earlier – may fall down and start rolling or shaking hysterically on the floor, or may simply lie still as if comatose.
Others, may apparantly be compelled to do all sorts of movements, and actions, whilst being motioned by the ‘man of God’.
We are all made to believe that these actions display the power of the Holy Spirit working in these people.
Is there ever any reference in the Bible of people acting so hysterically as a sign of the power of the Holy Spirit?
There is nowhere in the Bible where seemingly normal people suddenly started acting hysterically – rolling and/or shaking on the ground, or being made to perform weird actions, albeit uncontrollably, at the behest of the Apostles – just to display the power of the Holy Spirit.
In fact, chapter 2 of the Acts of the Apostles states that when the Holy Spirit filled those gathered in the upper room, they all started speaking in other tongues.
There is no mention of any them breaking into some trances.
Acts 1:8, says: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem…
Clearly, the power of the Holy Spirit was to be shown in their ability to boldly proclaim the Gospel of Christ Jesus in all the world – and not in falling and rolling on the floor.
The Holy Spirit’s main role in every Believer’s life is to empower him or her to fulfil Jesus’ commandments – to love Jehovah God, to love one another, and to take the gospel to all nations.
He enables us to achieve these goals by teaching us all things, and leading us into all truth (John 16:13,14); giving us the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12); and in the bearing of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23).
As such, with the filling of the Holy Spirit we can speak in other tongues to take the Gospel to other people whose language we had never spoken before.
As we also use all the gifts of the Spirit given to us – wisdom, word of knowledge, faith, healings, miracles, prophecy, and discerning of spirits – we show the glory of God and the power of His Holy Spirit.
As we have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, we show the power of the Holy Spirit.
We show the power of the Holy Spirit as we have the boldness to preach the truth of the Kingdom of Heaven, in spite of persecution or ridicule.
At no time do we have to act hysterical to show the power of the Holy Spirit.
So how did all this hysteria in our churches start?
It is interesting to note that African Christians are the ones who mostly practise this.
This is because it has its roots in ‘Mashave’ ancestoral spirit possession.
According to Murphree, M.W. (1969), Christianity and the Shona, the Methodist and Vapostori encouraged the belief in the ‘mashave’ and utilised it as a means of recruitment.
As such, the falling into a trance-like state – that we witness in our churches today was incorporated from African ancestoral worship, by Christians who compromised their faith, so that people who practised such rituals – and did not want to stop – could still join their churches.
In fact, in my extensive study of African ancestoral worship, including their spiritual hierarchy, and possession and mediumship, it is clear that what we see in our churches today is derived from such practises as ‘kusvikirwa’.
Someone ‘asvikirwa’ acts as if the whole body is occupied by another personality.
Similarly, this trance can be induced on a medium, who moments earlier was acting normal.
This is exactly what these ‘men of God’ also induce in church congregants.
As such, one then wonders which spirit is working in these churches.
These churches also talk about ‘corporate spirit’ – an anoiting that only one receives as a member of that church, but departs once they leave.
That concept is also not biblical, but derived from ancestoral worship.
Thus, ‘corporate anointing’ would be the ‘mhondoro’ clan spirit, which only ‘anoints’ members of that particular family.
No wonder those congregants believe that their ‘men of God’ intercede for them – instead of relying solely on Jesus – with God, as he is a ‘svikiro’ for their ‘church’.
It is clear that the spirits operating in these churches are not of Jehovah God, but of ancestoral worship, and as such, should be purged.
* Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist, writer, and author. Should any organisations or individuals want to invite him to make a presentation at any gathering, please call +263782283975, or email [email protected]