Hi there, and welcome to another edition of Monday Musings. Last week, we talked about grave sucking, also known as grave soaking, and the week before, Christian tarot cards. Both of those practices are tied to Bethel Church which I find interesting. This week we will talk about laughter. Yes, laughter and not just any laughter, but holy laughter.
I first heard about this from a friend who read a book title “Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing” by Tyndale Publishers a few years ago. She let me borrow her copy of the book, and I read it. Wow, I learn a lot about a phenomenon I didn’t know existed. Of course, I don’t know anyone who practices holy laughter or goes to a church that practices this, but I thought I would share the information I found when researching this subject online.
Check out the following information I found online that accompanies what I learned from the book.
Holy laughter can occur no matter the topic being addressed by the current speaker from the pulpit – even when the speaker is expounding on such matters as Eternal Judgment and Hell. It is taught in such settings that this is a supernatural manifestation which indicates a special in-filling of the individual by the Holy Spirit.
Although this phenomenon has been reported in isolated instances for the past one hundred years or so, holy laughter first attracted widespread attention in the early 1990s as one of the typical manifestations involved with the Toronto Blessing movement.
Quotes from Bible Teachers/Professors
“What I’m hearing about the Toronto Blessing has none of the marks of the Bible,” says Henry Blackaby, Southern Baptist director of prayer and spiritual awakening.
Differing opinions among scholars concerning the definition of revival also contribute to the debate. “True revival begins with an awareness of God’s holiness,” says Wheaton professor Timothy Beougher.
Others believe that defining revival is irrelevant. “Any outsider trying to estimate spiritual fruit of revivals always has trouble, even with 100 years of history, let alone at the moment,” says John Stackhouse, professor of religion at the University of Manitoba.
“The term “holy laughter” was coined to describe a phenomenon during which a person laughs uncontrollably, presumably as a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit’s joy. It is characterized by peals of uncontrollable laughter, sometimes accompanied by swooning or falling down to the floor. Firsthand accounts from those who have had this experience vary somewhat, but all seem to believe it to be a sign of a “blessing” or “anointing” of the Holy Spirit.
The experience of holy laughter is, by nature, a subjective one. Therefore, in an effort to find the truth of the matter, we must try to be objective. When our definition of truth depends upon our experience of the world, we are a very short way from becoming entirely relative in our thinking. In short, feelings do not tell us what is true. Feelings are not bad, and sometimes our feelings are aligned with scriptural truth. However, they are more often aligned with our sin nature. The fickle nature of the heart makes it a very unreliable compass. “The heart is more deceitful than all else, and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). This deceitful-heart principle is specifically applicable to the phenomenon known as “holy laughter.” There is no doubt that people have indeed begun to laugh uncontrollably at revival meetings. That is a fact. But what does it really mean?
Laughter is addressed a number of times in the Bible. Often it is used to describe a mocking or scornful response, as was the case with Abraham and Sarah who laughed when God told them they would bear a child in their old age. Some verses use it as a sign of derision (Psalm 59:8; Psalm 80:6; Proverbs 1:26), and still others make pointed statements about the nature of laughter itself. Solomon, for example, made the following observation in Ecclesiastes 2:2: “I said of laughter, ‘It is madness,’ and of pleasure, ‘What does it accomplish?’” He then goes on to say, in 7:3, “Sorrow is better than laughter, for when a face is sad a heart may be happy.” Proverbs 14:13 says the reverse: “Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, and the end of joy may be grief.” Both of these verses are true: a sad person may laugh to cover his sadness, and a person may cry although he is inwardly happy. So, not only does emotion fail to give us truth, but we also see that laughter is not always indicative of joy. It can mean anger, sadness, or derision. Likewise, the lack of laughter does not automatically mean sadness. Laughter is clearly subjective.
The most convincing scriptural argument against what is called “holy laughter” is found in Galatians 5:22-23. It says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” If self-control is a fruit of the Spirit of God, how can uncontrollable laughter also be a fruit of His Spirit? Revival leaders claim that being filled with the Spirit means that we are sort of “tossed about” by His whims. But the idea that God would make people act drunk or laugh uncontrollably or make animal noises as a result of the Spirit’s anointing is directly opposed to the way the Spirit acts, according to Galatians 5:22-23. The Spirit described in Galatians 5 is one who promotes self-control within us, not the opposite. Finally, there was no one in the Bible more filled with the Holy Spirit than Jesus, and not once does the Bible ever record Him laughing.”
Last source for today: Jesus Culture Awakening Blogspot
I have seen the small gems that suddenly appeared in the people’s hands as they worshipped God. Since early in 1998, we have had feathers fall in our meetings. At first I thought birds were getting into our air conditioning ducts, but then they started falling in other rooms of the church not connected with the same ductwork. They now fall most anywhere we go – airports, homes, restaurants, offices and the like…He [God] wants to take us farther, and we can only get there by following signs. Our present understanding of scripture can only take us so far. (Page 204,205)
In my research on holy laughter, again I find Bethel’s name. Pray, and pray some more for all those caught up in things, not of the Lord, whatever they may be.
There are more articles on holy laughter that you can read for yourself. As I like to say, at the end of the day, I will stay in the Word of God and find joy in Him.
As with anything, please do your research and be informed. Monday Musings takes an opportunity to look at what is going on inside and outside the church in America today. Our goal is to be educated and not to degrade or bash anyone. We want to make others aware of some rituals taking place today inside and outside the church so we can be praying accordingly.
Blessings to you and your family. Stay close to the Lord. He is near.
The Teaching Lady