Revival — It’s no laughing matter
cheo3000 wrote:lately i've been hearing a lot about a sort of holy laughter that manifests its self in believers..
I just wanted to know if this is holy because based on the bible i've found no evidence of the "Holy lauhter".
p.s. i've seen video's of the so called Holy Laughter...and found them to be crude and repulsive...that cannot b a real manifestation of the Holy spirit can it??
Position paper number four
By Jay RogersMedia House International, P.O. Box 362173, Melbourne Florida, 32936
This paper may be copied without permission for distribution anywhere.
Pre-awakening occurrences have sometimes included clamorous phenomena during evangelistic meetings. These have included — cries and shrieks in response to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, shakings, tremblings, falling down under the weight of God’s glory — and, yes, sometimes uncontrollable laughter. We are reminded of the revivals in the hills of rural Kentucky, such as the Cane Ridge Revival Meeting in August of 1801. The scenario is a six-day camp meeting attended by 20,000 people, a remarkable gathering since this occurred in the sparsely populated frontier. Among the thousands who were affected was a young skeptic, James B. Finley, who wrote this account:
“The noise was like that of Niagara. The vast sea of human beings seemed to be agitated as if by a storm. I counted seven ministers, all preaching on stumps, others in wagons and one standing on a tree which had in falling, lodged against another.... Some of the people were singing, other praying, some crying for mercy in the most piteous accents, while others were shouting most vociferously. While witnessing these scenes, a peculiarly strange sensation such as I had never felt before came over me. My heart beat tumultuously, my knees trembled, my lips quivered and I felt as though I must fall to the ground. A supernatural power seemed to pervade the entire mass of mind there collected.... I stepped up on a log where I could have a better view of the surging sea of humanity. The scene that had presented itself to my mind was indescribable. At one time I saw at least five hundred swept down in a moment as if a battery of a thousand guns had been opened upon them and then immediately followed shrieks and shouts that rent the very heavens.” (Mendell Taylor, Exploring Evangelism, Beacon Hill, 1964, p.142.)
This was the beginning of the Second Great Awakening from which many great personalities emerged in the 1800s: Charles Finney, Peter Cartwright, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Methodist circuit riders and the Baptist revivalists. The spiritual manifestations described by Finley were also prevalent among the Puritans of the 1500s and 1600s, and during the First Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s, and among the Pentesostals of the early 1900s.
But historic revival is more than a case of the giggles. In fact, there may be spiritual manifestations without accompanying revival and spiritual awakening. The charismatic renewal movement has often emphasized the same phenomena we are now seeing in the “laughing revival.” But these manifestations should not be thought of as being synonymous with historic revival, simply because they have sometimes accompanied revival.
True biblical revival is to be distinguished from evangelism. Revival may be defined as the recovery of the Lord’s testimony in a given generation in the Church. This recovery implies that the Truth of the Word of God has been tarnished or lost. Indeed, our anemic 20th century evangelicalism desperately needs revival. Charles G. Finney said: “Revival is nothing more than a return to obedience to the Word of God.” Miracles, salvations, healings, signs and wonders may be part of revival, but these do not define revival.
True revival is defined by: (1) Recovery of the Law-Word of God in the church and society; (2) Tremendous judgment of sin in the church and society; (3) Societal transformation (A.W. Tozer said: “Revival changes the moral climate of a community”). These characteristics have been borne out by historical fact and were recorded in the writings of past revivalists such as Charles Finney, John Wesley, George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards.
I see none of these characteristics in the so-called “laughing revival.” Some view the current manifestations as a “pre-awakening” stage, but I dissent. While I am forever prayerfully watchful for signs of spiritual awakening in our nation, I have decided that this current movement is spurious. But let me clarify: I do not stand against the “laughing meetings” because I believe they can never be valid. Nor do I doubt the validity of the testimonies of those who have been profoundly affected by these meetings. (I was one of them in Lakeland, Florida in 1993.) I stand against the “laughing revival” because it is being promoted in the context of lawlessness and false doctrine. Preaching of grace while ignoring the Law of God
The preaching of forgiveness and grace is meaningless without an understanding of judgment and the wrath of God. How can we be saved without first knowing that we are sinners? What good does a life preserver do for a man who doesn’t understand that he’s drowning? It’s not just a “Vineyard thing” but I’ve noticed that chief among the enemies of the Law of God seem to be preachers from the Vineyard movement, such as Randy Clarke, promoter of the Toronto Vineyard’s “laughing revival” movement.
In Clarke’s meetings, he makes frequent reference to “not wanting anyone to feel under condemnation” and “not wanting anyone to feel guilty.” If we have, in fact, sinned, then isn’t guilt and condemnation the result of our rebellion against God? I’m not singling out the Vineyard and Clarke in particular, this error is rife in the charismatic and evangelical movement. We are so afraid of the preaching of the threats and terrors of hell and the guilt of sinners, that we’ve settled for a watered-down, deficient message.
How does this compare with the revival preaching of past centuries? Take Jonathan Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” for example. This sermon was first preached to a congregation in Connecticut in the 1700s:
“The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire; He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire; He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.... And there is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God’s hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the house of God, provoking His pure eyes by your sinful wicked manner of attending His solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell. O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in: it is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell....”
How does this compare to the cotton-candy, milque-toast preaching that we hear in the laughing meetings? We are fortunate to live in an age when we can look down the corridors of history and see Jonathan Edwards standing at the other end with his oil lamp burning bright — a wise virgin — crying out to 20th century Christians: “Buy for yourselves oil, that you might see through your darkness!” We would do well to listen to his warnings, but sadly, Edwards would not be welcome today in the laughing meetings.
How does Jonathan Edwards’ preaching compare to the psycho-babble and “inner-healing” seminars offered by modern charismatic churches? We are so concerned with warm fuzzy feelings that we have neglected to hear about the terror of the Lord, the judgment seat of Christ, God’s sorrow over our sin, repentance as a prerequisite to salvation, the necessity of holiness in order to please God, and the Cross of Jesus Christ. The “laughing revival,” with its message of cheap grace, is producing “Me”-centered Christians, and selfish, “blessed,” feelings-oriented “converts.” Antinomianism (literally, “anti-law”)
Antinomianism is a position which states that since Christians are saved by grace alone, we are no longer bound to obey the moral Law of God. Antinomianism denies all standards for Christians. There is an idea among many evangelicals and charismatics that the moral Law of God cannot be applied as a standard of holiness for Christians. To their credit, the Vineyard denomination has made some recent attempts to give their “signs and wonders” movement some historic orthodoxy. Hopefully, this will include a correct teaching on the moral Law of God. Antinomianism is, unfortunately, still abundant in the movement.
A salvation message which does not require repentance and holiness as a visible, measurable result of saving grace is damnable heresy (Romans 6:1,2; Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26). Yes, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God, but this implies that something happens to them between point A and point B — repentance!
The trampling of the Law-Word of God is an underlying crack in the foundation of the “laughing revival.” If churches build on a foundation that does not include repentance and holiness, the resulting structure will be so weak and flawed that it will be unable to stand on its own. When the Spirit of the Lord comes with a true revival of the Law and with judgment, the structure will crumble. This is exactly where the “laughing revival” is headed.Concluding reservations
The “laughing revival” is not a really a revival at all in the historic sense, but a series of nightly charismatic meetings which emphasize the gifts of the Holy Spirit over and above correct exposition of biblical Truth. These phenomena are not unique to our generation. In fact, Edwards and Finney often sought to suppress the more vociferous manifestations because they found that Truth could often become squelched by the hysteria. In our present day, it is not the manifestations themselves which are suspect, but the lack of correct doctrine among those promoting this movement. It is doubtful that such meetings, lacking a foundation of historic orthodoxy, can result in revival and spiritual awakening.