Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Holy Laughter Or Demon Inspired Nonsense?

  • Discussion:
          -Having its origin in Pentecostal tradition, the central focus of the Word of Faith Movement is health and prosperity. This loosely affiliated, diverse group upholds doctrine that ranges from heretical to outright bizarre. The Founding Father of the Word of Faith Movement is commonly regarded as Kenneth E. Hagin, who was heavily influenced by E. W. Kenyon in the development of his theology. One of several problematic teachings prevalent in the Word of Faith Movement which will be addressed in this article is the notion of holy laughter.

         These episodes of uncontrollable laughter are believed by proponents to be the result of the work of the Holy Spirit. These wildly emotional experiences are attributed to supernatural intervention, and are associated with what British newspapers called the Toronto Blessing. This note from an online encyclopedia provides further background as to the mysterious nature of such phenomena:

          "The Toronto Blessing, also known as "the Father's Blessing" or "the renewal," began in the storefront facility of the Toronto Airport Vineyard Fellowship in January 1994, when participants in revival services manifested intense physical responses to prayer—crying, twitching, shaking, uncontrollable laughter, and falling to the floor in a trancelike state that lasted for hours. Word spread quickly through the Vineyard Fellowship, and the meeting place soon teemed with visitors. By mid-1994, people flocked in from across North America and Britain. Soon the crowds became more diverse as Australians, Europeans, Malaysians, Africans, and others found their way to the congregation's new, commodious quarters in a converted warehouse close to the Toronto airport. The revival's characteristic physical manifestations, folksy music, and dance spread beyond the Vineyard into congregations of many denominations whose pastors hoped for increased fervor in their ministries, especially in Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand."

          So, what are we to make of all these random, ecstatic bouts of laughter that have been taking place among neo-Pentecostals? Advocates of holy laughter assert that the Christian church is going through a great revival. On the contrary, Scripture nowhere describes as a consequence of being filled with the Holy Spirit believers making incoherent animal sounds. That is decidedly unbiblical. Reason has been substituted with subjective feelings. Furthermore, the Apostle Paul declared self-control to be a characteristic of the Spirit:

          "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)

          In the context of properly administrating spiritual gifts, Paul uttered the following words:

          "For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints." (1 Corinthians 14:33)

          The so-called holy laughter experiences that we hear of nowadays are uncontrollable to those who partake in them. Such occurrences are very much disruptive. It therefore does not make any sense to consider God as their source. The Holy Spirit speaks through the Word of God (John 17:17). Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Both are accomplished through an objective standard. Unintelligible expressions do not get us anywhere. Laughter is not even a fundamental theme of the Bible.

           Apparently, there have been cases of intimidation on those who refuse to engage in these irrational laughing fits by certain leaders. As Dr. Cathy Burns observes,

          "Not only is this move not of God but people who attend these meetings are actually coerced into experiencing the laughter. Howard-Browne intimidates and humiliates people by calling them "ugly," "sad," etc., if they don't laugh.(19) Al Dager even reports: "On several occasions I've witnessed him 'slay people in the Spirit,' and if they didn't begin to laugh he would place his foot on their stomach and tell them to laugh. Some he would kick as they lay there, and accuse them of not yielding to the Holy Spirit. He would keep at it until they would obviously begin to force some kind of laugh out of themselves."(20)"

          Another factor worthy of consideration is the fact that the New Testament contains warnings against false teachers (2 Corinthians 11:4; 2 Peter 2:1-3). It also contains warnings against false signs and wonders (2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). That is why we have been instructed to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1-4). It should be obvious to any biblically grounded Christian that the idea of holy laughter revolves around a counterfeit revival. It is a surefire sign of apostasy. Similar incidents of disorderly laughing spells can also be found in the Kundalini Yoga, Subud, and qigong exercises.


  1. Ecc 7:3  Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. 
    Ecc 7:4  The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 

    I just thought that I would include some relevent verses. What do you think Jesse?

  2. That passage certainly seems to weaken the neo-Pentecostal idea of uncontrollable laughter.