Subscribe via RSS Feed

Supernatural Physical Manifestations in the Evangelical and Holiness Revival Movements, by Paul King

During the Welsh revival of 1859, “many leaped and danced in the exuberance of their rapture.”[27] Sometimes related to the laughing phenomenon is a spontaneous dancing for joy. Praying Hyde, a staid Presbyterian, is described after a time of intense prayer at the Sialkot Convention (similar to Keswick), “He begins to sing, ‘Tis done, the great transaction’s done,’ and he is so full of joy that his whole body begins to move, he claps his hands, then his feet begin to move, and look! he begins to dance for joy, and others join him until the whole place rings with God’s praises.”[28] Such dancing also occurred upon occasion in C&MA meetings. Simpson writes of an African-American C&MA meeting he visited in 1895: “We witnessed a sacred dance by about fifty of the women.” They swayed and moved arms and feet, keeping time to the music. “The effect was truly grand.”[29] As Vinson Synan notes, for some holiness groups, spontaneous dance or holy laughter was considered an evidence of Holy Spirit baptism.[30]

Physical Sensations

Such manifestations of laughing or falling were sometimes accompanied by unusual bodily sensations. Charles Finney avowed his baptism in the Spirit was “like a wave of electricity, going through and through me.”[31] Early C&MA pastor Dr. E. D. Whiteside’s testimony of healing in 1888 included both physical sensations and falling under the power of the Spirit: “Like a flash of electricity, I was instantly thrilled. Every point of my body and nerves was controlled by a strange sensation that increased in volume, until I bowed lower and lower to the floor. I was filled with the ecstatic thrill. My physical frame was unable to stand the strain.[32] Reminiscent of holy laughter, he reported that he felt he was on the verge of “dying from overjoy.”[33] The C&MA journals record many instances of physical sensations like heat, electrical shocks or bright lights accompanying healing.[34]

Trembling, Shaking, and Convulsions, Strange Sounds and Behavior

Along with swooning, such phenomena as trembling, shaking and convulsions occurred in the ministry of Jonathan Edwards and the Great Awakening. Quakers received their name because they shook. At the outset of the Welsh revival of 1904, Evan Roberts experienced the manifestation of shaking on several occasions: “In the spring of 1904, Evan found himself, as it were, on the Mount of Transfiguration. In his own home and out on the countryside, his loving Heavenly Father revealed Himself to His child in an amazing overwhelming manner which filled his soul with divine awe. At these special seasons, every member of his body trembled until the bed was shaken.”[35]

A more intense form of trembling or shaking is a convulsing or jerking of the body in contortions, characteristic of some under intense conviction. Jonathan Edwards described a child in this condition, “She continued crying, and writhing her body to and fro, like one in anguish of spirit.”[36] Speaking of the revival of 1740‑1742, Edwards writes, “It was a very frequent thing to see a house full of outcries, faintings, convulsions, and such like, both with distress, and also with admiration and joy.”[37]

Sometimes strange sounds accompanied some of these manifestations, such as groaning or weeping. A companion of Praying Hyde relates of Hyde and the Punjab Prayer Convention of 1906 (similar to Keswick), “We began to pray, and suddenly the great burden of that soul was cast upon us, and the room was filled with sobs and cries for one whom most of us had never seen or heard of before. Strong men lay on the ground groaning in agony for that soul.”[38] In 1902, after being anointed by C&MA pastor Peter Zimmerman, a woman who had been an invalid for 18 years received a gradual healing over three days accompanied by jerking sensations. She described it as, “The quickening power of God began to come into my body until it seemed every bone in my body would unjoint. . . . For weeks I felt the quickening power four or five times a day, until I became strong in body.”[39]

Pin It
Page 3 of 812345...Last »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Category: In Depth

About the Author: Paul L. King holds a D.Min from Oral Roberts University and a D.Th. from the University of South Africa. He served for 16 years on the faculty of Oral Roberts University as Coordinator of Bible Institute programs and Adjunct Professor in the College of Theology and Ministry. Author of 10 books and more than 50 articles, he was ORU 2006 Scholar of the Year and also served as Scholar-at-Large for the D.Min. program at Alliance Theological Seminary. He is currently Doctor of Ministry Mentor for the Randy Clark Scholars program at United Theological Seminary, Leadership and Church Ministry Consultant and Trainer, an ordained pastor with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and Interim Consulting Pastor for the Plano (Texas) Chinese Alliance Church. Twitter: @PaulLKing. www.higherlifeministries.com

  • Connect with PneumaReview.com

    Subscribe via Twitter 1257 Followers   Subscribe via Facebook Fans
  • Recent Comments

  • Featured Authors

    Amos Yong is Professor of Theology & Mission and director of the Center for Missiological Research at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena. His graduate education includes degree...

    Jelle Creemers: Theological Dialogue with Classical Pentecostals

    Craig S. Keener, Ph.D. (Duke University), is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is author of many books<...

    Listening for God’s Voice and Heart in Scripture: A conversation with Craig S. Keener

    William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major w...

    Evangelist of Pentecostalism: The Rufus Moseley Story

    Wolfgang Vondey, Ph.D. (Marquette University) and M.Div. (Church of God Theological Seminary), is Reader in Contemporary Christianity and Pentecostal Studies at the Universit...

    Steven Felix-Jager: Pentecostal Aesthetics