Recently, I watched a videotape containing footage from churches participating in the "Toronto Blessing". I was sickened and disturbed by the occultic and animal-like manifestations which I witnessed. I would like to examine a behavior which I witnessed over and over on this video, in videos from the Brownsville Assembly of God and which I have also seen from time to time in Spirit-filled services in which I have participated. This behavior is commonly labeled 'being drunk in the Spirit'. Those in this state exhibit certain signs; staggering, falling down, slurred speech, impaired mental functioning, and bizarre behavior. People leaving 'renewal' meetings have been reportedly pulled over by police for drunk driving.(1)
Pastor Randy Clark shares that it was hard for him to enter into this experience because of his non-drinking background, and then says " but my worship leader's a recovering alcoholic. Man, he can get right in there."(2) So being a recovering alcoholic enables you to enter more deeply into the power of the Holy Spirit? Hmmm . Let us begin our examination by looking for examples of Scriptural precedent.
Acts chapter 2, of course, is the logical starting place. After all, the Spirit-empowered believers there were accused of being drunk. Read chapter 2, and then let us consider these points:
* No drunken behavior mentioned--only the works of God being
praised in the varied languages of the crowd.
Our next stop is Ephesians 5:18, which tells us not to be drunk with wine, which leads to ruin, but to be filled with the Spirit. Again, let us observe:
* This is not comparing the effects of an alcoholic stupor
with being drunk in the Spirit. It is a contrast of opposites!
Drunkenness removes self-control. The Holy Spirit produces the
fruit of self-control (Galatians 5:23).
What an insult to a Holy God, to attribute drunken behavior to His Holy Spirit! While the Bible never refers to being 'drunk in the Spirit', it contains numerous condemnations of drunkenness, and it does refer to spiritual drunkenness as a judgment from God. Consider the following passages:
I continued my search by computer, through the writings of the Church Fathers. Again, much condemnation of drunkenness, but no examples of being 'drunk in the Spirit'. Which leads to the $1,000,000 question -- If no precedent is found in Scripture (indeed if the opposite is found), and if no examples are found in the writings of the Early Church, then what in the world are we permitting and perpetuating? If we open the door to the Flesh, or demonic deception, then all sorts of things will come through. We ignore Scripture at our own peril. We cannot afford to follow the traditions of men, and ignore God. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 tells how God will send a strong delusion upon those who do not believe the truth, so we cannot afford to let things slide.
One of the most serious things about this experience of being 'drunk in the Spirit', I believe, is that it makes a mockery of our holy God. It reduces Him to the level of Bacchus , the Greek and Roman god of wine and merrymaking. He is the divine bartender, handing out drinks, encouraging riotous behavior, playing to the laughing, staggering crowds. The ideal 'worship' service resembles a frat party beer bust. What a novel idea; come to Christ, not for forgiveness and cleansing, but for a buzz. Get your heavenly high! Fall down, not in holy fear and adoration, but in a spiritual intoxication. God must be deeply grieved at how easily we drag His name through the mud. How quickly we forsake the truth and chase after illusory experiences. If we can engage in carnival sideshow behavior in the name of worship, do we really understand our God at all?
"This is the pastor of a church? Lord, don't tickle him, just bless him. Drunk on the new wine. Drunk. (8 times) That's one pastor between the pews. Hallelujah. Have another drink, here sister . What about you? Are you on vacation or something? Have a double dose Have another round sister cocktailer, in the good sense of the word. Ha ha Filled. Filled More. More Drunk, I said drunk. I said drunk. I said drunk "
Evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne transcribed from The Coming Revival videotape.
New Winos Drinking Song Number One
(Kathryn is the wife of Toronto revival historian Richard Riss)
The Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship recently held their "Have Another Drink" conference. I include some of their own description of the conference so that you can get a feel for the ungodly and profane nature of their 'worship':
Have Another Drink -
Never a Sober Moment
"If anyone had any concern that the Have Another Drink conference this week would get off to a slow start, those fears were quickly squelched. Not five minutes into the week-long festivities, you could see the main speakers stumbling toward the front of the auditorium in a drunken stupor! Darrel Stott, John Scotland, Peter Jackson and Georgian Banov spent most of the morning session in a pile at the foot of the front row. About 1,500 worshippers flooded into the main sanctuary for the 10:30 a.m. meeting. As TACF celebrated its 43rd month of renewal, the festivities got off to a resounding start. Worship leader Jeremy Sinnott kicked off the morning with several of the renewal favorites as well as some new 'drinking songs' like Intoxicated by Chris Roe - a fitting theme for the conference. It was clear that worship, as usual, was going to be a highlight of the conference.
Ian Ross led the meeting in his typical fashion as he plodded along in a daze, trying to put together his thoughts enough to get his welcoming message across. "John asked that we give thought to uh ..something .." was about all the thought he could muster. "I'm so drunk, Janice (his wife) and I got the wrong teeth in this morning!" Trying to collect his thoughts wasn't working too well as Banov, Scotland and Stott were praying for him from their more-or-less prostrate position on the floor in front of him. It was clear from the first session that this was not going to be an average conference at TACF.
Before Darrel Stott came up to speak, John Scotland, from Liverpool, England, was introduced. When asked what his thoughts were on what he expected of the week, he immediately grabbed the microphone and yelled "OOOOOOHHHH" a few times before wobbling off to the side for prayer. We're still checking, but we think he may have actually said something in the five minutes he spent on the stage, but we're not too sure yet!
Darrel Stott, from Seattle, Washington, was an Assemblies of God pastor who innocently took a trip, paid for by his father, to Toronto in early '95 and has never been the same. The intriguing part about Darrel was that although he was in a drunken daze, babbling aimlessly and sounding a lot like George of the Jungle in his sleep, between all of this, he would preach like a Southern Baptist Minister. He would come out with fiery charges to the audience, reminding them of the calling and the power that God is ready to anoint them with, but then returning to his dizzy state of babbling while holding on to the glass podium for dear life. A truly fascinating sight to watch, but the display also reminded us that although what God is doing on the outside may look funny, what He is doing on the inside is quite powerful. He also made a serious comment to the general audience: "If you're pretending to be drunk, knock it off," a good point to make to start the conference off right and a reminder to those who may have come to take advantage of a rather - shall we say - 'loose' week."
http://www.tacf.org/confs/anotherdrink1.html (underlining added for emphasis)
Many more examples could be given of the attitude which prevails in these meetings. There appears to be no fear of God. After all, who fears a jolly bartender? Supposedly the presence of God is at these meetings in a mighty way. Strangely lacking however, is the biblical response to the awesome presence of almighty God. Consider these things before the Lord. Search the Scriptures, and if you find what I'm saying to be true, then take action. Don't place yourself under the influence of those who promote such practices. Rebuke this behavior if you see it occurring. Speak out against this desecration of the character and name of God. Love the truth and honor Christ. Maranatha.
This article may be copied for free distribution only. John Green email@example.com
1. Vineyard newsletter March 1994 Vol. 1
2. Randy Clark, Let The Fire Fall Conference, Anaheim Vineyard, July 1994