Some Pentecostal preachers use the term “alignment” in their preaching, and it often goes un-noticed. But there is a whole theology that is behind the term “alignment”, which I found out several years ago when doing a course at my Pentecostal church.
The course is called “Cleansing stream” and was heavily promoted by my church as a worthwhile course for deliverence ministry, personal spiritual growth etc. The course includes a work-book, several books to read, several video sessions, and a final weekend workshop where demons were cast out of Christians. One of the key concepts we were introduced to was alignment.
A quote used in the workbook was from Watchman Nee “A spiritual man is not a man born again but a man born again and walking in alignment.” Walking in alignment means firstly to have each part of your being (Body, Soul and Spirit) in proper relationship to each other. Your body must be submitted to your soul. Your soul must then be submitted to your Spirit. As in the following diagram.
If your soul was not sufficiently submitted to your spirit, or your body not sufficiently submitted to your soul then you are out of alignment. Walking in alignment was said to allow you to hear God’s voice clearly, being out of alignment meant not really being spiritual. We were taught to pray for alignment “Body, submit to my soul. Soul submit to my spirit. Spirit submit to the Holy Spirit…” The Devil was responsible for pulling you out of alignment, more on that later.
The theory of alignment extends beyond the individual. For families there is also a proper alignment that should be adhered to ensure that the Devil does not influence their lives.
Here the fiery darts of the Devil are always raining down (causing bad things to happen), but as long as the family is in alignment – ie. the Children are submitted to the Mother who is in turn submitted to the Father, they are sheltered from these influences. Of course if they were to get out of alignment (by not submitting) there would be no protection from these demonic influences and misfortune would befall them.
And how does the father get protection from these fiery darts? You may have guessed that it is by submitting to the appropriate Pastor. This is the true meaning of having a “covering” – ie. it is covering and protecting you from the bad influence of the Devil.
If one is saved, how does one get out of alignment in the first place? Well here is a piece of information not known by many Christians. It stems from the words we say. Any negative confession however slight gives the Devil the right to have a hook and line into our souls. Over time, given the words we say from day to day, there are so many fishing lines stuck in our souls (with the Devil pulling at the other end of them) – that he simply pulls us out of alignment. From there we are essentially sitting ducks because we have no covering.
The solution is quite simple, although not widely known. Salvation alone is insufficient, you must cleanse yourself of all these influences – using the method given in the Cleansing stream course. The strange thing is that this is not some whacky course received as a prophecy by some stoner-christian pecking at a keyboard while eating baked-beans from a can. The course comes from the Church on the Way, and is endorsed by its Pastor Jack Hayford. I think that this indicates that these concepts are not just fringe ideas but have made it to the mainstream of Pentecostal thought.