Q. I went to a meeting last week which left me feeling really odd. My sister wanted me to go to experience what she called a "new move of the Spirit," so I eagerly attended the meeting. People were falling over laughing, laughing so hard they couldn't stand up, or do anything but double over in hysterics. I don't want to judge this movement, I don't want to limit God, but if this is the Holy Spirit, why do I feel so spooked out?
A. The so-called "Toronto Blessing" or the "Laughing Revival," which is currently tickling the ears of many thrill seeking Christians, is one of the newest of a series of false signs and wonders deceiving many who are purportedly seeking God.
If we study our church history, we will see the legitimate revivals were earmarked by mass repentence and conversions. This is not the case with the Laughing Revival. Preachers referring to themselves as "the Holy Ghost Bartender" -- is that humility, reverent fear? Does that sound like one who is walking in holiness, or one firmly entrenched in show business?
Church Services are to be done "decently and in order." The fruit of the Spirit is "self-control." These are nowhere to be found in such meetings. Claiming the laughter is the "joy of the Lord," seekers fall down, get goosebumps, and laugh. I believe that we can narrow the cause of this phenomenon down to two possibilities.
The first is undisciplined flesh. Many babes in Christ will be asked to go to a "fall down meeting," and when the minister does not successfully knock them down, or they do not get psyched up with emotionalism because the music is great, the lighting is manipulative, and the message whips everyone else into a frenzy, the babe in Christ will pretend to be "slain in the Spirit," or will really attribute his desire to do so as a supernatural prodding. Thus, a manufactered spiritual experience makes the babe feel like one of the crowd. Babes in Christ often lack discernment, because they haven't spent much time in the Word yet. If you are a new Christian, pray for discernment, so that you will be able to spot the counterfeits.
The second is Satan. He is a prideful creature. He desires our attention and praise, even if we attribute his workings to the Spirit of God. Any attention is desired attention for the Enemy of our souls. Being "drunk" in the Spirit is not in the Bible, but the sin of drunkeness is. Women--do you consider what happens at such meetings to be in line with the pleasing meek and quiet spirit which the Lord wishes you to exhibit (1 Peter 3:4)? Men--how can you be the priest of your household if you're so filled with "Spirit filled laughter" you can't straighten up?
Do not worry about judging. You must make a decision as to whether or not something is of God. The Bible tells us to "make a righteous judgement"; Jesus even gave us a standard by which to judge--"By their fruits, ye will know them." We cannot judge a person's heart, only God knows our hearts. However, our actions bespeak our spiritual condition. Paul warned those to whom he preached about false teachers--by name! Was he guilty of sin? OR was he, rather, exposing the works of darkness?
It could be that you have already discerned the source of that meeting. You said you were spooked out. God has not given us a spirit of fear...what spirit, then, do you think was presiding over that meeting?
God cannot be limited, it is true. However, God also cannot lie, and does not change. The "laughing signs" (I consider it to be a mocking spirit) are not Biblical; therefore, either God has changed, or something else is masquerading as God.
More sites on this subject may be found at THE CONTENDERS Also there are links to The Toronoto Blessing: Instrument of Revival or Instrument of Deception? By Bob Hunter ; Was Jonathan Edwards the Founding Father of the Toronto Blessing? and The Toronto Blessing Examined , both by Needham. Also take a look at Unzipper Heaven Lord! by Mick Brown.