Revival? Changed But Not for the Better

An e-mail message from March 1999.

Dear Midnight Cry:

I found your article on the laughter movement very enlightening. This is a dangerous movement that grieves my spirit to the core. Our pastor spent 8 weeks preaching against these kinds of false doctrines and encouraging us to test these kinds of things against what is written in the Bible.

I have had some experience with this movement. The first in 1993, when a pastor came to our church preaching, “Joy, joy!” Everyone was told to lay on the floor and receive the anointing which was characterized by laughing. After not receiving this “gift,” I was convinced that God loved me least. A very good friend, who also attended that church, committed suicide successfully after three failed attempts. Before the last attempt she confided in me that she went out to the beach and prayed for God to show her His love by giving her a new experience. When she did not receive one, she immediately tried to kill herself by running her car into a dividing wall on the freeway. I told her that God was showing her love by saving her three times. The intense desire to have a personal relationship with God can sometimes become unbalanced by the person looking for experiences. My third negative experience came when another close friend, who lived two hours away by car, decided to go with some friends to Toronto to “get blessed.” I should explain that at this time my husband and I had moved across the country and were involved in a very balanced church. My friend was involved in a sister congregation. Our young adults groups would get together from time to time. We had a retreat planned a couple of weeks after they returned from Toronto, our church hosting. She boasted of wonderful character changes going on in their group with the people being blessed. We personally experienced these changes at the retreat. These “blessed” people fell asleep during our teachings or mocked our teachers openly, giggled and laughed during worship, they made us feel like outsiders, and treated the retreat facilities so shamefully you would think that a group of unattended five year olds had been given full rein of the place. In fact, the retreat owner told us we were never welcome to use the facilities. They never thanked our church for putting on the retreat or picking up the full tab. I tell you these were indeed changed people, but not for the better. Later, my friend told me that after getting blessed at Toronto, God freed her from having daily prayer and devotional times and encouraged her to sleep in. I still am in contact with her, she tells me that these moves are “all good” and I should get involved.

Thank you again for your article. We should all pray against this spirit of deception. For it is written that in the last days false prophets will rise up. Sadly they are stealing those who are often earnestly seeking God’s love and salvation.

(From a subsequent letter):

It is a very deceptive thing, because it guilts people into going along with whatever the preacher tells them. I still have friends wrapped up in this kind of teaching. I once heard a pastor preach at my old church tell us that if we dared to question any of these “new movements of the Holy Spirit” we could lose our salvation. He said that the Holy Spirit was so sensitive that His feelings would be hurt and He would leave us forever. He said this was the unpardonable sin! In other words don’t question anything! At first I felt real fear, then I laughed to myself that I could even begin to believe that the God who created heaven and earth would be so fragile as to run away from a harmless question from one person! He encourages us to test the spirits and to test all things against the His Word. I don’t think God is afraid to explain Himself!

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