The Good News - Home
By David A. DePra
One of the most controversial things going on in the Body of Christ in recent years is the, "holy laugher," movement, along with the manifestations of people barking like dogs, crowing like roosters, rolling on the floor, and other phenomena. I have seen many video tapes of these kinds of things happening in services. People crow like roosters, bark like dogs, howl like coyotes, march around like soldiers, roll on the floor, and much, much more. This is said to be, "of the Holy Spirit."
Is this of God? We must ask that question. But in doing so, we have no right to allow any sort of bias against the charismatic movement to answer for us. Yet neither do we have the right to simply accept these things because we have a bias for the charismatic movement. This isn’t about a movement – for Truth and error are not defined as Truth or error by any group or movement. God doesn’t bless a, "movement," or curse it. God blesses His Son. He blesses people who honor and glorify Jesus.
Furthermore, God commands us to ask whether this is of God. He says, "Test the spirits to see whether they are of God." (I Jn. 4:1) And built into that command must certainly be the expectation that if we do test the spirits, the way God tells us to test them, that we WILL KNOW whether what we test is of God. We will know whether this is of God.
You will notice that when John said, "Test the spirits…..," he wasn’t writing to unbelievers. He was writing to Christians. The possibility is therefore opened up that even in the best churches, a spirit that is NOT of God could try to gain a foothold. Otherwise, why the need to TEST THEM?
I want to say up front that I do believe that all of the gifts of the Spirit are available today. None have been done away. I share much in common with what would generally be thought of as charismatic. But error is error wherever it is preached or practiced.
It must also be kept in mind that not all charismatics affirm what is included in the broad term, "the holy laughter movement." Not at all. There are many churches who do take these things seriously.
Furthermore, there are many who reject anything that looks, "charismatic," in nature – including overt worship and praise. For some reason, these folks feel that to have NO such worship and praise like that in your church is more Biblical than having what they think is too much.
But --- there is, you know, such a thing as a spirit of dead religion. I suspect that this is a spirit that is more widespread than some of the overt extremes. When is the last time one of our hyper-conservative churches tested THAT spirit? When is the last time anyone tested the spirit of legalism, self-righteousness, or division? The fact is, we need to recognize that NOTHING in a church along the line of praise and worship is a sign that something is wrong. And it may be of a spirit which has gained a foothold.
For some reason, Christian churches spend more time over-reacting to each other than they do in seeking the Lord. If a church or movement abuses the gifts of the Spirit, then others think that there are no gifts of the Spirit for today. Well, what about teaching? That is a gift of the Spirit. It is probably the MOST abused gift of all – yet I have never once heard anyone discuss the subject of teaching as a GIFT. Instead, people argue over tongues, healing, and the like. Maybe it’s time to stop looking at what people are doing to try to figure out whether something is Biblical, and start reading the Bible to see if it is Biblical.
Lastly, we must keep in mind that simply because these types of things have happened as a part of denominations, or even a local church’s history, it does not mean that everything there is wrong. Or that the individuals involved in these things are evil people. We are addressing here the THING that is happening, right now, more than we are the individuals – although we will need to talk about some specific individuals who are in leadership.
But back to the question: Is this so-called, "holy laughter movement," of God? Well, let’s cut to the quick. The answer is NO – it isn’t something God is doing. The animal sounds, the uncontrolled laughter, the rolling around on the floor, the shaking and yelling, the gold dust falling from the ceiling, and all of those extreme reactions – are NOT things God is causing people to do. This isn’t maybe. It isn’t the Holy Spirit.
How can we know? Is it possible for you and I to know for sure whether such things are of God? Well, YES. We CAN know. We’d better be able to know. Otherwise, what restraint is there against error? If we cannot know the Truth about this movement, then we cannot hope to know the Truth about anything else.
There is never anything that catches God off guard. Especially in His churches. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us into all Truth. And the Bible is filled with Truth. So we can be sure that God has provided us with the resources necessary to know what is of the Truth.
One of the things that sways people into buying into such movements is that their pastor, or a respected leader, affirms it. This not only shows the awesome responsibility of leadership in the church, but it also shows how many people don’t discern for themselves. Once people accept that THEIR church, or THEIR movement, or THEIR leader, is THE THING – at least for right now in God’s move – they tend to accept ALL that goes on as part of it.
This is dangerous, and the Bible says so. Everyone of the churches to which Paul wrote was a true Christian church. Yet look at the sins and the abuses! Did Paul excuse them, or suggest they weren’t doing any real harm? No.
We are never to accept something as Truth, or reject it as error, merely because your favorite minister says so. The test for Truth is never whether Oral Roberts, or even a good guy like Charles Stanley says it is Truth. The test is the Bible, and discernment, and prayer.
There is such a thing a group deception. This is when EVERYONE agrees that Truth is error, or error is Truth. And the deception keeps together because it is assumed that that many people could not be wrong. Plus, if questions arise, people usually don’t go to God. They go to each other, and are talked back into towing the line on the error.
Today some of the most popular and well-known teachers and preachers are responsible for error in the church. Others, while not teaching error, seem to see no problem in continually endorsing or affirming the ministries of those who do. Things are just that bad. We need to understand that God wants us to take personal responsibility for discerning the Truth. The most famous teacher in the world can nevertheless be deceived if they open the door for such deception.
Command to Test
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)
Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesying. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thes. 5:19-22)
John said, "Test the spirits, to see whether they are of God." BUT -- this command to test the spirits is almost universally ignored in the holy laughter movement. The proof is found in what is happening. It is not of God and people are saying it is of God.
In fact, in the holy laughter movement, people are encouraged to NOT test the spirits. That’s right. They are told NOT to test them. This is easily proven, for two of the most highly visible ministers who are involved in these strange manifestations have stated that the Holy Spirit is more powerful than evil spirits, and consequently, Satan could never deceive anyone with the Spirit in them:
Don't "even entertain the thought that (you) might get a counterfeit." (John Arnott, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, 12/16/94, audiotape)
John Kilpatrick said "Let (yourselves) go" ... "do not think about what you are doing" ... "just give yourselves completely to the `spirit'". (Revival ... or Satanic Counterfeit?, Jimmy Robbins, 1996)
How do these statements stack up against the Biblical command to, "test the spirits to see whether they are of God?" I mean, honestly? Didn’t John the apostle know that the Holy Spirit was more powerful than evil spirits? Sure. Yet he said to TEST THEM.
Shockingly, these leaders are actually saying the opposite of what the Bible says, aren’t they? The Bible says that we had better be concerned about being deceived! Arnott and Kilpatrick tell the people they pastor that they should not even entertain such thinking.
Ask yourself: Do you want to open yourself up to just ANYTHING – especially manifestations like these – simply because someone says so?
Let’s also ask a hypothetical question: EVEN IF every bit of this holy laughter movement were OF GOD, would those statements made by these men be Biblical? No. They would still be unbiblical, and dangerous. How much more dangerous because much of what is going on in this movement is NOT of God.
I have heard most of the Biblical reasoning that these folks give for validating what goes on in this holy laughter movement. My response is that Satan himself could pass the test they give to what is happening. It is no test at all.
Such statements as those above ought to make us wonder. They tell us what the mentality is of those leading these movements. Clearly, they have already bypassed the Biblical warnings to test the spirits, and have already decided that whatever happens at their services is from God. They are saying that we should, "not even entertain the thought," that what is going on ought to be tested.
And then there are these additional claims:
"Another thing that hinders (receiving the Holy Spirit or anointing) is people pray all the time."(John Arnott, at Holy Trinity Brompton, England, February 14, 1995)
"I'd rather be in a church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything... and if the devil manifests, don't worry about that, either. Rejoice, because at least something is happening." (Rodney Howard-Browne, The Coming Revival. 1991, p.6)
Rodney Howard-Browne is a leader of this movement – at one time THE leader. Can you imagine the apostle John, or Paul, saying that it is better to have the Devil manifesting himself in a church, than to have nothing?
Let’s face the facts: This statement, and the others quoted, reveal NO discernment, and an appalling ignorance of the scriptural warnings on the subject. Show me in the Bible where it says that the Devil in church is better than nothing in church? If that were true, we would NEVER NEED to test the spirits! – because the Devil is about the worst it could get! Not only that, but show me where it ever says that prayer hinders what God is doing. Show me one verse in the Bible where praying is discouraged. Never. In fact, my Bible says, "Pray without ceasing."
Again, I ask: If the Bible says to pray without ceasing, and your pastor tells you that prayer hinders what God is doing, what would you say about your pastor? What would it say about his ability to discern correctly what is happening in his church – the very things he is telling you to surrender yourself to?
I don’t personally know these men, and thus, don’t want to assassinate their character. I don’t know their true motives. So let’s stick to only their teaching, and what they have allowed in their churches – and address THOSE issues. We’ll allow God to judge where it is all coming from in their hearts.
Now note: These men, Kilpatrick, Arnott and Howard-Browne, are MAJOR PLAYERS in this movement. And they are saying things which ought to make the average Christian cringe. Yet these are not isolated statements. They have stated such things over and over and over –and have also defended them to those who questioned them. They are telling you and I to never entertain the thought that we could be deceived, that we hinder the Holy Spirit if we pray, and that even if the Devil gets in the church, at least something is happening. Does this sound Biblical? Does it sound like the Truth?
If you searched long and hard, I don’t think you could find better instructions to guarantee deception! If you wanted a handbook on how to invite the Devil in and bring people under his spell, you need only start with those statements! These statements are the exact OPPOSITE of what the Bible teaches. They GUARANTEE deception.
I have never – once – ever heard it suggested by any of these preachers, that there is a need to pause and test the spirits. No. What you hear is that what is happening MUST be of God, because, "we are God’s people," and, "this is God’s movement." Yet John the apostle, told the very people of God, who were in the first great move of God, to test the spirits. Being God’s people, and being in God’s move, does not lessen the necessity for testing the spirits. It heightens it. For wherever there is a REAL move of God, Satan will try to highjack it with his own devices.
Obviously, what we see happening in these services where such extreme behavior takes place is not happening because the Holy Spirit is doing it. But how about the Devil? Is what is happening in these churches devil-inspired? Well, I’m sure that possibility exists. But I don’t think that this is generally the direct cause – although I would add that we don’t know what is down the road, and that the Devil is probably pleased. But for the present, I am going to take an approach that most of what is happening in these services is NOT directly the result of evil spirits possessing people, or making them do these things. Rather, I would prefer to address the matter along the line of another possibility.
There is a great probability that most of these people have gotten caught up into something that is purely of the natural realm. They are acting the way they do because they have bought into something psychic. The Holy Spirit hasn’t forsaken them, mind you, but He is not causing what they are doing. THEY are doing it – but they are so carried away by this that they think He is doing it.
People do this all the time. People want to see God DO THINGS. And once a movement gets going, where God is supposedly doing things, people want to keep it going. All that is necessary to produce the crazy animal sounds, and the rolling on the floor, and the shaking, and the other antics, is for people to THINK that the Holy Spirit is upon them, and for people to THINK that this is what they ought to be doing. They then just give themselves over to it. They will do these things – not because they are knowingly faking something – but in sincerity.
I realize that the people who are doing these things would protest that they KNOW they were not responsible for what they were doing. I know that. But they ARE responsible for it. In fact, even if the Holy Spirit were upon them, they would be responsible for how they react. That’s Biblical, and we’ll see this in a moment.
Much of this type of behavior has died down somewhat – lost it’s momentum. But at the time it was in full swing, it was a big deal to those involved in it. It was applauded as GOD’S MOVE TODAY! Thousands of people came to those churches and millions of dollars were spent, and donated, to the ministries involved. It was something that spread everywhere. Yet NEVER has even on major player in this movement suggested that it was anything but ALL GOD.
The leadership of this movement, as well as the vast majority of people involved in it, have, in fact, defended – against criticism – what has happened in this, "holy laughter movement." Thus, not only have the errors been practiced, but defended. Trenches have been dug. Indeed, we have seen that this crazy behavior was encouraged, and that people were told to surrender to it as being of God.
There have been some leaders who have said that, no, this conduct is not caused by God. They admit that the behavior is strange, if not, in some cases, unseemly. But they explain it away, by saying that the people are merely reacting to the, "overwhelming power of God." In other words, God isn’t causing the behavior – the people are. But the people are reacting to the power of God. Thus, God is IN IT – although not directly.
I don’t think so. I don’t think this stuff is a matter of people overreacting to the power of God upon them. I think they are overreacting to what they THINK is the power of God upon them. I’m sure they feel SOMETHING overwhelming. But it isn’t God. It is, for the most part, a psychic thing – and even in some cases, a spirit which is not of God’s realm.
Of course, another question is whether the Holy Spirit – if He were this stuff at all to begin with – would continue to be part of such confusion and craziness. In other words, suppose people are overreacting to the power of God. Would God keep that power coming? I’m not suggesting that the Holy Spirit forsook the individual people involved. I’m simply asking whether God stays involved when people trash what He wants to do. I would say NO. And I believe that is Biblical.
And so we come down to these three basic questions: First, is the conduct we see in these meetings caused by God? Secondly, if we say that the conduct is not caused by God, then can we at least say that the Holy Spirit is in this movement, but that the people have been overwhelmed by the power of God – thus, resulting in this chaotic conduct? Thirdly, if we answer NO to the first two questions, that God does not cause this conduct, and that it is not caused by people who are overwhelmed by the power of God, then are we prepared for the REAL TRUTH: That NONE of this is of God?
Two passages answer all of our questions – IF we are really willing to look at things honestly:
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion (commotions and unruly behavior) , but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Cor. 14:32-33)
Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40)
If we are to, "test the spirits," then we must have criteria. Here the apostle Paul gives us two criteria. The Spirit of God will always do things decently and in order – and thus, if WE are yielded to Him, we will do all things decently and in order. Secondly, the Holy Spirit is always subject to the will of the prophet. Always. This isn’t because the Spirit isn’t more powerful. It is because the Holy Spirit will not TAKE A PERSON OVER.
Remember that Paul wrote these words to a church that was out of God’s will with regards to the gifts – in a chapter which spoke to the problem directly. So these passages are not taken out of context. They are addressing this very issue.
First, Paul said, "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." What does that mean? It means that the Holy Spirit, unlike evil spirits, NEVER TAKES A PERSON OVER! Ever! The Holy Spirit never falls upon someone and makes them do anything against their will. When the Holy Spirit is working, the person retains full control of their will. They can grieve the Spirit, or be used of the Spirit.
This is the case even with the gift of speaking in tongues. Someone speaking in tongues can STOP anytime they want. They may feel a real sense, or urge, to continue, almost like they want to explode, but in the end, they could stop. They retain full control, and even while speaking in a tongue they cannot understand, they are able to think, and do understand what they are doing: Speaking in an unknown tongue. They never relinquish control over their mind, body, or will.
I am fully aware of what it feels like to have the Spirit of God fall upon you. It can take your breath away – make you fill like you are filled with something beyond you, with no way of getting it out. Overflow, I guess, would be the word. And certainly, if you are not taught, you might react in a way that is not necessary. But that is exactly why Paul writes what he does. He is telling us that despite all of that possibility of overreacting – that we do not have to react in that way. In fact, Paul tells us NOT to overreact. It will not maintain the Spirit to do so, nor grieve the Spirit if we keep ourselves under control. Indeed, God tells us to continually be in control! "The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets."
We MUST see this. Paul is telling us that we have the responsibility of controlling our reactions to the Holy Spirit. We have both that ability and the responsibility. Thus, anyone who says that what they are doing is not voluntary is in error.
NOTHING anyone does under the inspiration of the Spirit is involuntary – God never takes a person’s body over. God doesn’t make people’s body do things by passing over their wills. He doesn’t make them make sounds. Indeed, Paul would not have told the Corinthians, "Let all things be done decently and in order," if control over these things were not possible, and MANDATED. If God makes people do things outside of their control, then the command, "Let all things be done decently and in order," is nonsense, because then, by definition, you and I wouldn’t have a say so about it! We couldn’t obey.
Furthermore, if God commands, "Let all things be done decently and in order," how possible is it that the Holy Spirit is going to do things in chaos and in confusion? – which is exactly what most of these meeting are! Case closed. God doesn’t contradict Himself.
The fact that the Holy Spirit NEVER takes over a person, and the fact that He always does things, "decently and in order," raises some serious questions about the holy laughter movement, wherein people are experiencing all kinds of involuntary bodily reactions. For instance, I have in my possession a video of a service held at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. People are lying all over the floor. Some are motionless and others are shaking and rolling. One lady is marching back and forth across the front of the stage, with one of her legs, "high goose stepping," uncontrollably. She is saying, "Oh, my gosh!" The implication is that she is not doing this of her own will – but that it is supposed to be something the Holy Spirit is doing to her – taking over her body.
We don’t really need to guess. The people who are involved in this continually say that they were not in control of their body. They eagerly admit it. Yet we are seeing that this is NEVER the case when the Holy Spirit is upon someone.
Now, let’s look at this lady as an example. She is marching around, kicking her leg high, and claiming that she is not in control; can’t stop. The problem is that if this is of the Holy Spirit, the lady most certainly CAN STOP. The Bible says so. There is no argument here. So if it is the Holy Spirit, then why does she think she cannot stop?
We might say, at best, that she has been taught error. She has been told she cannot stop. Yet if that is the case, why are the leaders in these places teaching such error? And then defending it? Why aren’t they reading the same Bible I am quoting? As we have seen, they actually ENCOURAGE this behavior. On the video tapes I have they are certainly encouraging it!
The fact of the matter is, even if the Holy Spirit was upon her – the Bible tells us that she needs to stop this crazy behavior. Her reaction, in this case, is NOT OF GOD – even if we are charitable enough to say the Holy Spirit is upon her. Thus, whether you believe the Holy Spirit is in any of this – and it is doubtful that He is – the reactions that we see are wrong, unbiblical, and DANGEROUS. They are dangerous, not because rolling on the floor is dangerous, but because every warning God has given to test the spirits, and every safeguard He has given against these things is being violated. There are going to be consequences.
I have another video of a preacher who, off and on through his sermon, crows like a rooster. He says this is the Holy Spirit giving the church a, "wake up call." But again, let’s ask: Is this man doing this by his own choice, or is the Holy Spirit taking him over, and causing him to crow like a rooster? THAT is the question.
Again -- according to the apostle Paul, the Holy Spirit never bypasses a person’s will. The Holy Spirit never takes over the person and makes their body do things. No. In fact, that is what happens when evil spirits are at work.
Put yourself in the place of this preacher. You are preaching a sermon. All of a sudden, you crow like a rooster. Ask: How does this work? Did the sound just come out, without you making the slightest conscious effort to make the sound? If so, then you have been, "taken over." Your vocal cords made that sound, and your mouth formed the necessary shape – but your brain did not generate the choice or the directions. Something ELSE did – and it was supposedly the Holy Spirit. The only other alternative is that YOU made the sound, by your own choice, even if you did it because you lapsed into some altered state of consciousness.
The fact is, once people are primed for this stuff by being told to let themselves go – and in this movement they are taught this – then they are capable of doing all kinds of crazy things, and then later they will say they didn’t do it. And they will be sincere. There is a psychic realm involved here, and people can literally be unknowingly hypnotized into this stuff. Especially in these kinds of atmosphere, people can be lulled into an altered state of consciousness, and the power of suggestion is easily able to take over. This can happen to the most intelligent of people, and even to those who would have never expected themselves to be caught up in such things.
Again, the point is this: The Holy Spirit does not take over people and make them do things. He does not cause grab the body of a woman and make her walk across a stage, all the while she is amazed at what is happening to her – almost as if she is a bystander to the experience. He does not make sounds through people that they are not choosing to make. Even the gift of tongues doesn’t work like that – the person speaking in tongues does choose to speak – and can start and stop anytime. (This is why Paul told the Corinthians NOT to speak in tongues all at once.) Same goes with prophecy. The Holy Spirit does not make people do things – does not take over a person’s body.
Why do people think that if God is working that it must be Him doing something TO us? That is nonsense. God works through us – and makes Himself subject to our choices to be used for that work. That is why we are instructed to, "Let all things be done decently and in order." In short, we are to STOP ALL THAT CONTRADICTS AND VIOLATES these verses.
That is NOT controlling the Holy Spirit. No. Rather, that is OBEYING the Holy Spirit. It is a shame that some folks cannot see the difference.
The Power of God?
Can all of this be merely a matter of people being overwhelmed by the power of God? In other words, ok, this stuff is crazy. But the Holy Spirit really IS upon them. They are just getting carried away. Is that possible?
I have to tell you, that I cannot see it being possible. I have personally experienced the power of God. And about the last thing you want to do is act like an animal. What you want to do is WORSHIP. The Holy Spirit is HOLY. There is a reverence which comes with the Holy Spirit that points us to Jesus. You don’t act like an animal. You aren’t thinking about acting like anything. You are thinking about HIM.
The Holy Spirit testifies to, and exalts, Jesus. The types of displays we see in these meetings do not exalt Christ. They exalt the spectacle that is going on. Sure, people say, "Look at what God can do." But it is mostly about the THING going on. If you don’t think so, then why, as these things die down over the course of time, does attendance die down?
These things are NOT of the Holy Spirit. In most cases, it is not even people reacting to the Holy Spirit. It is something else. It is a psychic thing, at best. People have been told to hand themselves over to what they have been told is of God. Once we do that, anything can happen.
It is amazing how many sincere Christians buy into something and believe it is of God, simply because it appears to be supernatural. But even if it IS supernatural, it does not mean it is of God. That is why we are warning to, "test the spirits," to SEE IF THEY ARE OF GOD! My goodness, how much more clear could God be in this matter?
Subject to the Prophets
There seems to be a widespread assumption among Christians that when God does something supernatural in His church, that it is something that comes UPON us, and which ACTS upon us, and almost TAKES US OVER – and that we are wrong to try to control it. Thus, as we have seen, we have ministers telling us that if we even so much as question what is going on that we are lacking faith. We are told that we simply need to surrender to WHATEVER is happening. Yet the clear Biblical teaching is that to do so is WRONG.
Let’s repeat what Paul said to the Corinthians:
And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion (commotions and unruly behavior), but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
(1 Cor. 14:32-33)
Let all things be done decently and in order. (1 Cor. 14:40)
The fact is, Paul told the Corinthians TO CONTROL what was going on – even the things that the Holy Spirit was doing. That is exactly what he is telling them. How much more clear could it be?
Does that seem wrong? It shouldn’t. Paul wasn’t telling them to try to control the Holy Spirit. He was telling them to control THEMSELVES – when the Holy Spirit was upon them. His instructions prove that the Holy Spirit never takes anyone over – because if the Holy Spirit did take them over, then you couldn’t control yourself, and Paul would have said so. Paul words clearly indicate that the person under an anointing retains not only full control over themselves at all times, but is responsible for retaining it. If the person does give themselves over to something else, it is not only WRONG to do so, but it certainly isn’t the Holy Spirit who is taking over in that case.
Remember that Paul gave this direction to a church that was guilty of the misuse of real spiritual gifts. So what we are talking about here with the Corinthian church is actually a BEST CASE SCENERIO – the Holy Spirit was in their midst. But they were not controlling themselves. Rather, they were allowing confusion, and other things to happen in their church, which were grieving God.
When Paul wrote, "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets," he used a common Greek word for, "subject." The word, "subject," is, "hupotasso." It means, "to rank under." Vine’s NT Dictionary says, of this verse, that the word means, "to be in subjection to." (Vine’s, on "subject.") Therefore there can be no misunderstanding as to the meaning of this command, or it’s context, as used by Paul. Paul says that the Holy Spirit working through a prophet will always be subject to the control of the prophet – and then he tells us what the outcome needs to be of that control: Not confusion, but peace. All things done decently and in order.
Can we see the clear message here? Paul could not remind them that they must maintain PEACE and avoid CONFUSION – Paul could not put that command upon them – if they were NOT supposed to control themselves when the Spirit was upon them! Neither would he command them if they COULD NOT control themselves! Do we see this? Thus, if anyone says that they are not in control when the Spirit is upon them, they are in error. Grave error.
Additionally, the phrase, "decently and in order," means, in Greek, "to arrange gracefully, becomingly, and in a seemly manner." This is the responsibility of leadership. What could be more the antithesis of the confusion and chaos we see so often in today’s holy laughter movement? Let’s be honest.
Now we begin to see some answers. If someone says they could not control themselves when the Spirit came upon them, they are in error – or it wasn’t the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, if someone says that the antics that are going on are nothing more than people overreacting to the overwhelming power of God – we now see that leadership is supposed to STOP THEM FROM OVERREACTING. Can we see this? It is clearly what Paul is teaching. It is exactly what is being taught.
Yet what do we find being taught in most of these churches about how people are reacting to what they claim is the Holy Spirit? We find them being encouraged to surrender! We find them being told never to question, but to let themselves GO. And the result is confusion, pandemonium, and really, what amounts to a disgrace.
Do we actually think that if such commands are ignored that there aren’t going to be consequences? God does not give us commands and mandates in the Bible because He likes to flex His muscles. These are PROTECTIONS against something much more dangerous than people making rooster sounds and rolling on the floor. For once you adopt the posture that you are never to control what goes on in the congregation, and that you are to simply GIVE IN, you are ripe to be deceived and controlled by Satan. You are neglecting to, "test the spirits, to see whether they are of God." And you have opened the door to the very spirit of the enemy.
The worst may be ahead in such cases. For you see, these compromises with the Truth are just a piece of a greater whole – a, "softening up," of people’s resistance. People are opening the door to anything Satan wants to bring. They NEVER test the spirits, and they NEVER question whether what is going on is of God. They have loosened all restraint and have forfeited all responsibility. And most of the blame for this lays squarely on the shoulders of leadership.
The Bible teaches that even what begins as a legitimate move of God can be corrupted and degenerated into something worse than if there had never been a move to begin with. It is a serious thing to play with the things of God. Satan will have a field day.
It’s time for Christian people who care, and who have some reverence for God, to take a stand against these things. Do we really believe that the need in the church today are these kinds of things? How about sound teaching? Holiness? Truth? God only knows where all of this is going to go in the end. *
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