I’m not Pentecostal.
Not only do I not have the energy required to be Pentecostal, but I also have some serious questions about the Charasmatic movement in general.
For example, why is it that the so-called “gifts of the Spirit” don’t exist throughout vast majority of Church history (post early church era, and even then it was not that common) and don’t appear until 1906 when they miraculously show up in Los Angeles, CA at a place called Azusa Street?
Was the Holy Spirit too busy for the 1800 years or so before that time to dole our Her gifts? Or were there just not enough genuine Christians around worthy of receiving these gifts?
And before you play the “we’re living in the last days” care, remember we’ve been living in “the last days” ever since Jesus walked out of the tomb and the kingdom of God began to dawn on earth.
Now, I tease. Pentecostal Christians are just as Christian as the rest of us, but these are legitimate questions that I think anyone in the Pentecostal movement needs to wrestle with.
That being said, this story is absurd to me.
If you show up to a Pentecostal church today you know, or at least you should know, what you’re getting yourself in for. In other words, if you’re not ready to join the holy mosh pit, then you’ll probably want to go somewhere a little less exciting.
Which makes me wonder what in the world the lady who is suing this church thought was going to happen when she visited. Did she think this was one of those non-Charismatic, Charismatic Church?
Maybe it’s just me, but this story seems to be just one more example of how ridiculously litigious our society has become.
Evangelical Churches Catch Suits From ‘Spirit’ Falls
ABC News’ Lyneka Little reports:
A parishioner at the Disciple Fellowship Christian Church in East St. Louis, Ill., claims the spirit moved another worshiper so much during service that she caused others to tumble over backwards into her, causing injuries. Now she’s suing the church for damages.
Cheryl Jones alleges in a complaint filed in December that she was visiting the church when member of the congregation received the “spirit” during praise and worship and with no ushers or members to assist, the parishioner fell backwards knocking several members into the plaintiff, who was injured falling to the floor.
“They should have either warned Cheryl and people like her of the potential dangers -especially if they’re not going to have deacons or parishioners to help these people when they fall,” attorney for the plaintiff Brian Millikan told ABCNews.com. Because falling during the service, according to Millikan, is something that “seems to happen often” at the church.
“One of the interesting questions of this case is what standard to apply: someone engaged by the holy spirit and not fully accountable or someone that should be treated objectively as assuming the risk of this activity,” said Jonathan Turley, a tort law professor at George Washington University and legal blogger told ABC News. He is not involved in this case.
When filled with what is often called the holy spirit, “participants are worked up into such a frenzy that they may no longer appreciate or respond to risk. The question is how much is the church responsible in anticipating people will be acting without concern for danger or injury,” said Turley.
“The whole idea of being touched by the holy spirit is to surrender yourself. In doing so, these are people that surrendering themselves to collapsing involuntary. These churches tend to treat this response as the holy ghost has taken away the power of the individuals to even stand,” Turley continued.
But, it’s this alleged negligent behavior, according to the complaint originally posted on the legal news Website On Point News, that allegedly caused Jones to hit her head, neck, back and buttocks and lose consciousness during the Jan. 5, 2010 services. She wants the church to pay for her medical bills.
Jones is suing the church for failing to protect her. The complaint states on that day the church typically had “two ushers that would stand on each side of the member to prevent the person receiving the ‘spirit’ from falling and injuring themselves” but no one was when she was injured.
The suit asks for a trial by jury.