If you’ve been around the charismatic movement, or even old-school Pentecostalism before, you are aware that a common feature of altar calls in some churches is the ritual falling of people “under the power” of the Holy Spirit. The falling usually takes place after a minister lays his hand on the head of the seeker, however some preachers have been known to push hard and “help” the Holy Spirit knock folks to the ground. In some churches, this practice is so common that “catchers” and “coverers” are trained to catch the seeker when he falls backward, and, in the case of women, “cover” their legs with a blanket.
But what happens when the catcher misses, and somebody bangs his head on the ground? A 2.5 million dollar lawsuit, that’s what!
This last June, when Pastor Robert Lavala touched Matthew LIncoln’s forehead at the altar of a non-demonational church in Tenessee, Matthew fell backwards, striking his head against the “carpet-covered” cement floor. Now Mr. LIncoln is suing the church for 2.5 million dollars for “severe and permanent injuries” as a result of his fall. You can read all the details of the lawsuit here on the Smoking Gun’s website.
Over the years, I have prayed for lots of people at the altar, and I can almost always tell who is about to fall down. When I see somebody ready to drop, I usually grab a chair and have them sit down. They can be just as blessed in a chair as on the floor, in my view, and now it looks like I might have saved myself 2.5 million dollars.