Hi, love your blog!! So i recently had the experience of “holy laughter” during a prayer group at someone’s home. Before it happened to me i had never heard of it and they told me it was from the Holy Spirit but now after some googling i’ve learned it is apparently evil and from demons which honestly has me a bit freaked out. What’s your opinion on this? And if it is evil what do i do? Should i stop associating with those people at church who support it? Thanks 🙂
Please allow me to cut straight to the bottom of this issue:
Is it biblical? Is it edifying? What’s the motive? What’s the purpose?
I know there is tons of history, culture, and tradition behind spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues, healing, and prophetic visions, so I also know that I will offend one group of people or another. But again — what’s the bottom line here? What’s the appropriate biblical place for something like “holy laughter?” How is it being used? And why?
Even legit biblical disciplines like prayer can be abused with false motives, like competing with other Christians or praying only for health and wealth. Ascetic monks of the early church would play American Idol by praying louder and longer than everyone else. Or they’d pray in their isolated chambers but never lift a finger to help a dying stranger.
Sometimes “spiritual gifts” are just working yourself into a frenzy as if the religious experience of ecstasy somehow equates to meeting with God. While emotions play a part in worship, it’s definitely not the basis. And trying to work yourself into a fervor every week is downright exhausting. If you base your faith on how well you can shake on the floor, then you’ll hate yourself when you just don’t want to do it one day. Or you’ll go through the motions and be severely disillusioned while pretending.
Let’s take the example of speaking in tongues. I often get the feeling that when people publicly go on a tongue-rage, they’re saying, “Look at my awesome divine ability to yell holy gibberish!” If you read 1 Corinthians 14 (especially verses 18-19, 23, 27-28), you’ll see the true biblical parameters for speaking in tongues which are almost always violated. Tongues are supposed to be done away from non-believers, always with an interpreter, quietly, and it’s at the bottom of the list in significance. God’s Word is super-specific here: there’s no getting it wrong.
God is a God of order, and He knew how whacked out we could become if we over-emphasized these things. The fad of “holy laughter” has also led to animal noises and bouts of shrieking weeping. At some point, somebody needs to blow a whistle and say, “Okay man, stop being an attention whore. You’re holy, okay? We get it. Congrats bro.” If that’s harsh, I’m just saying what everyone else is already thinking.
While I’m not sure all this is demonic or evil, I’m also not entirely sure that much of it is born from a right heart. I have no idea how it could NOT distract others and break the atmosphere. I’m not sure how it connects with God, either. You’ll really have to pray about attending this church by asking: Why are they really doing this? Ask them the same thing. Be thoughtful.
It’s cool to rejoice in worship and have fun in fellowship and shout for joy, and there’s a right time to laugh too, but I think spiritual gifts do not go far enough. They’re just extras. The authentic Christian submits to the Spirit of God so He will gloriously flex the fruit of love in serving one another. Love is the priority; it is the greatest gift; it’s the bottom line. Anything else that impedes it should be tossed.
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
— 1 Corinthians 13:1, 8, 13
Oh man, I can’t wait until you go to heaven! You’re going to get rocked beyond your wildest dreams haha! Matt 6:10 man!To the Anon who asked about if “holy spirit laughter” was right or not, I’ve personally experienced it myself and let me tell you, nothing but love for Jesus and others came out of it! I do agree with you Mr. Park! Love NEEDS to be the center of all things. However, God doesn’t always need to do things in the order that we see. God just wants to have fun sometimes 🙂 Be blessed!
Thanks for your message. I really appreciate your graciousness too.
You know, when we get to Heaven I’m sure we’ll be dead wrong about a lot of stuff. If it turns out that speaking in tongues, having a word of knowledge, and interpreting dreams were all gifts that I was missing out on, then I’ll be completely humbled. It’s okay if I’m wrong about that.
But I don’t want to be wrong about Jesus. These secondary issues are not worth arguing over when we already have a difficult time with the primary core.
Please understand that I’m coming from the background of a former atheist, I’m still a very skeptical Christian, and the entire subculture of “spiritual gifts” is almost like an elective: seems cool, but I don’t need it to pass. When I already struggle severely with doubt, have overcome a porn addiction, and walked away from a mess of a past, I’m about to keep it as basic as it gets.
I can hang with the most erudite scholarly theologian and I can respect the charismatic guy with visions, but in the real world, I’m sticking to the simple love of Jesus. If God loosens my tongue and I start doing holy laughter, that’s cool. But I won’t be praying for that. I’m praying to finish strong in loving Him and loving others.
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