As a change of pace I thought I would share a sliver of my Pentecostal experience — a disturbing incident involving tongues. This is not intended as a slam against Pentecostals, for many of them are Christians, but merely as a window into the spiritual dangers that await those who seek the power of the Holy Spirit without possessing sufficient wherewithal to test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3). Whether Pentecostal or not, if you don’t understand that tens of millions of fallen spirits are daily pretending to be the Holy Spirit — often with powerful evidences — then you are setting yourself up for deception. All these fallen instruments of error need to work their wiles is a heart with more gullibility than discernment.
My story begins with my new birth in December of 1978 in a Catholic charismatic meeting, which I had attended with a Pentecostal friend. Over the next few years I came to identify as Pentecostal, attended Pentecostal churches, and was even ordained by a Pentecostal ministry in California. But my relationship with Pentecostalism was often rocky because I challenged every doctrine and practice by the Word of God. By the time the summer of 1983 had rolled around, I was fed up with the errors and compromise and left the Pentecostal movement. But my desire to have the power of the Holy Spirit in my life was unabated.
In the fall of 1984 I was driving down a highway in central North Dakota — I don’t remember where — praying desperately that God would bless me with “power from on high.” I didn’t care what the cost was. I just wanted the power of the great preachers in church history. Out of the blue I heard a distinct voice in my head (not with my ears) saying “Turn here.” I obeyed and turned left onto a different highway. From time to time this voice spoke to me, telling me where to turn. It led me to a small town — I don’t remember which one. Then it led me down several streets, led me to an Assemblies of God church, and had me stop at the house next door. The voice nudged me to go to the house and share my burden. So I walked up to the house, knocked on the door, and a preacher answered. I shared with him my burden for the power of the Spirit and my amazing experience in the car that led me to his house. He invited me in, we knelt on the floor, and we began to pray. After a few minutes he reached out his hand and touched me on the head. Immediately my whole body felt like it was charged with electricity. It was far more powerful than the tinglies you can get in an emotional moment. And as soon as his hand hit my head, I began to speak in tongues — they erupted out of me like a volcano.
This was not the tongues I had spoken in while in the Pentecostal movement. Then I had consciously engaged in empty blabber-jabbering because it was expected of me. And I had been 100% in control while I was jabbering. This was different. I was not in control. A powerful spirit had gained control of my tongue. Every time I opened my mouth to pray, tongues came out. I wasn’t sure what to think of this. On my drive home I was first confused, then, after contemplating the situation based on what I knew from the Bible, I was forced to conclude that this was not the Holy Spirit. I began to resist this spirit, but it was strong. I began to get nervous.
When I returned to my basement apartment, I used the bathroom and happened to look in the mirror. Now I was horrified. I didn’t see my own face in the mirror, but a scary, distorted face. I fled the bathroom to the downstairs sitting room, knelt on the floor, and began to pray. Tongues came out. I fought this long and hard, seeking the Lord’s face and trusting the Scripture, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Finally, I was able to pray. And as I prayed, the grip of the power began to abate. But the battle was not over. For several weeks every time I tried to pray the power would try to use my tongue to speak in tongues. I would have to resist, look diligently to the Lord, and quote pertinent scriptures. Eventually, the spirit retreated and began to bother me only occasionally. Finally, after about six weeks, he tried to control my tongue for the last time.
My friends, make sure you are diligent to test the spirits. While deceiving spirits cannot possess a true believer, they can oppress him — sidetrack him with false doctrine and deceptive experiences. And mind you, these emissaries from hell come in many flavors — not just Pentecostalism. With wile and guile they lead believers to commit themselves to any of dozens of movements whose doctrines and practices are characterized by departure from the faith once delivered to the saints. If the devil can’t take a man’s soul to hell, he will pursue the next best thing — sidetrack the believer. The only way to overcome their deception is to cling tenaciously to the Word of God.
“Eyes wide open, brain engaged, heart on fire.”
Lee W. Brainard
For further information on this subject, see my article on Testing the Spirits.