London Bridge: The Dangers of Attention-Seeking Showmanship

When I was a child, I enjoyed playing “London Bridge” with my siblings.  Was this game part of your childhood?  We held hands in a circle and sang with gusto, “London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.  London bridge is falling down, my fair lady.” Then, we all dropped to the ground in explosive laughter. Hey, it was cheap entertainment! However, I never did know who the fair lady was.

Throughout my ministry, I remember a lot of falling down in church, too.  Especially when guest evangelists came to our churches.  The altar area was often lined with individuals who fell under the power of God, and we had specially-made covers ready for those who needed modesty assistance.  While I never wish to undermine and question a move of God, I honestly wonder about a lot of the falling.  Was some of it a conditioned response?  Perhaps so.  Falling for the sake of falling is not a good idea.  We must never reduce the “real” to Pentecostal calisthenics. I truly believe that if we’re not different in some way when we get up from the floor, then what’s the point?  Some even measure the anointing of the Spirit by their ability to lay hands on people and watch them fall.  How ludicrous and even pride-driven is such a measure.

Then, on the other hand, I know that “being slain in the Spirit” is real, although this phrase cannot be found in the Bible; and that God does at times touch individuals by His power, causing them to fall to the ground.  I’m just not sure that assembly line falling is always God’s modus operandi.   I found only four isolated incidents in the Bible that come close to describing this phenomenon:

John 18:6 — “So when he (Jesus) said to them (Judas Iscariot and the soldiers with him), ‘I am he, ‘they drew back and fell to the ground.”

Revelation 1:17 — “When I (John) saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man.  And he placed his right hand on me saying, ‘Do not be afraid, I am the first and the last” (Jesus).

2 Chronicles 5:13b, 14 — “…then the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.” This particular description, I feel, comes closest to what we deem as falling in the Spirit.

Acts 9 describes the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who later became the apostle Paul.  Versus 3-4 read, “As he  was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 

The common denominator in all four descriptions centers around the glory and power of the Lord, not individuals. I have taught, and continue to believe, that God refuses to share his glory with men.  Attention-seeking ministers who draw attention to themselves in sensationalized fashion need to be aware.  Trained catchers rank up there with classes on how to speak in tongues or how to give a prophetic word. Showmanship based on human ingenuity has no place in gospel ministry. 

Okay, so what’s the bottom line?  God appears in the Scriptures as the facilitator of the original.  He can be quite unpredictable in his approach to human need.  We read about Peter’s shadow healing the sick in Acts 5:15-16.  We read about Paul placing handkerchiefs on the sick in Acts 19:6.  Jesus made mud with his spittle, rubbed it in a man’s eye and restored his sight (John 9:6).  Perhaps Jesus was the first to lend credence to the phrase, “Here’s mud in your eye!” In truth, God is sovereign and can use whatever method he wishes to bring forth miracles. Why do we feel it prudent to build doctrines out of isolated incidents in the Scriptures?  

Please do not regard me as skeptical.  I relish any genuine move of God. In 1993, a knot on my wife’s neck grew to a fearful size.  Doctors were amazed at its firmness and were at a loss for a diagnosis. Exploratory surgery became necessary. The night before surgery, we attended a revival meeting at a neighboring church.  Visiting evangelists, our friends, Dr. Harry and Joanne Cash Yates were leading the service.  Naturally, we were concerned about the growth, so we stood at the altar for healing prayer.  Lori was standing next to me when Dr. Yates approached us; however, before he could lay hands on my wife, she fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes. She fell before I had a chance to catch her.

What happened next was nothing less than supernatural intervention.  My wife laid there, obviously not hurt, but basking in the presence of the Lord. For her, it was heaven on earth!  Visually, nothing changed, as far as the knot was concerned.  It was still there.  The proof of a miracle came the next morning when surgeons watched tentacles that looked cauterized, loosen from the lymphocele-turned hard, unravel from my wife’s neck!  The Great Physician healed my wife that previous night on the floor, and reduced a probable, delicate six-hour surgery to a 45-minute clean up session in the operating room.

Lori fell under the power of God and a miracle was documented the next morning.

Do people still fall under the power of God?  Of course!  But can we quit pushing them down in assembly line fashion, and conditioning people to fall, thinking that time on the floor always ensures supernatural intervention?  God is perfectly capable of touching our lives in ways that surpass predictability.   


Did this inspire you? Visit my other blogs HERE to read more.



Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *