by Dr. Orrel Steinkamp, The Plumbline, Vol. 6, No. 3, May/June 2001

In the current 'pretentious revival', certain abnormal states of consciousness are not only observed but are that apparent prize jewel of experience. (As we referred to such 'states' in the previous article).  There are many people who are seeking to be inducted into another state of consciousness.  How else can we explain people collapsing to the floor experiencing convulsive bodily movements, unable to walk, talk and/or loosing track of time etc.  The current revival practitioners assert that these uncontrollable spasms are the work of the Holy Spirit heralding the final global revival. (We have long since known that these mystical episodes are very common in other religious groups such as the Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists and Mormons).

Altered States of Consciousness (known as ASC) have been thoroughly researched since the 50's and it has been demonstrated that these ASC display a lowering of brain waves.  Now researchers have gone a step further to find out exactly where, in the brain, these changes take place.

I recently read a very interesting article in Newsweek, May 7, 2001, p. 57) regarding just this.

Dr. Michael J. Baine offered to engage in an experiment.  He settled into a small, darkened room, lit only by a few candles and filled with jasmine incense.  A string of twine was placed near him.  He then quieted his conscious mind until, what he called, his 'true inner self surfaced.  Baine then pulled the twine and his friend injected a radioactive tracer intravenously.

He was then quickly attached to a SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Topography) machine that traced the hemispheres of the brain and found the location of brain activity and inactivity.  As expected, the parietal lobe circuits, which orient time and space, were very quiet (in other words, this part of the brain was shutting down).  Thus, through this experiment they were able to pinpoint which regions of the brain turn off and turn on.

The brain is used to operating together - as a whole.  Some people appear to be more easily transported into ASC, as they are able to shut down their normal consciousness.  This is the theory behind hypnotizability.  Even people who have no apparent spiritual aptitudes, can suddenly be inducted into ASC.

The entrance into ASC can be assisted by the power of ritual drumming, repetitive singing or chanting.  The focus and riveting of attention on a single source of sensory stimulation can evoke powerful emotional responses.  Heightened emotion and the shutting down of certain parts of the brain appear to send the brains' arousal system into overdrive.  When this happens the hippocampus, responsible for equilibrium, "puts on the brakes" and inhibits the flow of signals between neurons like a traffic cop.

As Christians we must ask ourselves the questions: is this shutting down of the brain God's way to bless Ms people?  How can we "renew our mind" (Romans 12.2) and how can we love Him with ALL of our mind if regions of our brain have been shut down by some sort of induction into ASC?

Steve Hill, formerly of Brownsville, has apparently learned 'what works.' In the Fathers Day video, he is seen approaching the musicians and chiding them by telling them that they had not followed his instructions.  He had instructed them to "stay on" the one song and repeat it over and over.

Doesn't this sound more like a stage hypnotist trying to set up the focus on one stimuli and encouraging induction into ASC?

The Holy Spirit is not manipulated in this way.  The Holy Spirit needs no such induction techniques but rather the Spirit flows where he chooses (John 3:8).

Scripture teaches clearly, that the Spirit of God moves according to the will of God and not the will of man.  Paul asserts that the Holy Spirit distributes the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, "AS HE WILL!" (I Cor. 12:1 1)