DRUNKENNESS IN THE SPIRIT

A BLESSING OR A JUDGEMENT?

The self-proclaimed "prophets" of the renewal/laughter movement today tell us that we should "drink" in this "wine". Read this personal eyewitness account of drunkenness, quoted from Cathy Woods, photographer at the Brownsville Assemblies of God in Pensacola:

  • I was being filled with a fresh anointing of the Holy Ghost. This continued all the way home (have no idea how I drove). I would start wailing out loud then would just grin a few minutes and then back to wailing. I feel like I was in intercession for loved ones about to attend the revival for the first time.

    When I walked in the door my husband thought I had been accosted in the parking lot or something. He left only 30 minutes before they announced than PT members would get prayer (too bad,,, should have stayed!) I continued jerking and extremely deep inhaleing ??? so much that I had to sleep on the couch. It was the most awesome night. I would drift off to sleep and awaken with the biggest JERK! The breathing and pushing back of my head have continued today although not to the same degree. Oh.I just love being Filled with the Holy Ghost!! Hector said before he prayed for us that God wanted us to filled with the Holy Ghost even to the point of being drunk and that the world and even our natural mind would not understand. When a person is drunk, they are usually more bold and have less fears.

  • Cathy Woods is suggesting that this is something to be greatly desired.

    In the introduction to his book "When the Heavens are Brass", John Kilpatrick of the Brownsville Assemblies of God church tells says:

  • Our local law enforcement officials have had to make some interesting adjustments to accommodate the revival. They first noticed a difference when reports of traffic jams and erratic drivers started to filter into their stations. Now drivers who seem to be shaking or drunk while driving are common-place. The officers who stop these drivers often wave the people on when they hear, 'We've been to Brownsville' or, 'Oh, it's the Lord.' (pp:x-xi)
  • Putting aside the rather incredulous statement that police officers would simply wave on drivers who are driving erratically, or in a drunken manner, or who are shaking and thus impaired, it is clear that John Kilpatrick wholeheartedly endorses the phenomena.

    Further, I do not mean to focus solely on Brownsville. If you read the testimonies, take for example this excerpt from an email to Richard Riss dated July 30, 1995 from Beth McDuffie wrote:

  • ...My Pastor is John Kilpatrick, and he has been our pastor for over 13 years. He was slain in the Spirit the first night and was out for several hours. For the first two weeks or so, he couldn't do anything in church. God's presence would come upon him so heavily that he couldn't move. (His wife, Brenda, has been having this happen to her ever since she went up to Toronto. Several nights people have had to drive them home and help them inside the house!! Even the neighbors asked what was going on...and one Baptist lady came because her interest was peeked when she kept seeing them drag Pastor in the house during the middle of the night!!)
  • Beth McDuffie points out that the drunkenness began after John Kilpatrick's wife visited what was then known as the Toronto Airport Vineyard (now the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship), and thus brought it back from the source of the movement. Reports of drunkenness in the spirit are widespread and the norm throughout this movement.

    Because of the fact that it is impacting the church and we are being told that it is of the Holy Spirit, it is important that we be a Bereans (Acts 17:10-11), and go to scriptures to determine if these things are so.

    In support of their contention that drunkenness is not only acceptable, but is of God, the proponents typically refer to Acts 2:

    Acts 2:5-8

  • And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
  • Clearly, a miracle had taken place. I will skip ahead a few verses, where we see the discussion about what exactly it was that had just taken place:

    Acts 2:12-13

  • And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
  • Note that the "mockers" were trying to discredit the events and the preaching of the gospel by suggesting that the apostles had consumed too much "new wine, and therefore were drunk.

  • Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary has this to say, "The scorn which some made of it who were natives of Judea and Jerusalem, probably the scribes and Pharisees and chief priests, who always resisted the Holy Ghost; they said, These men are full of new wine, or sweet wine; they have drunk too much this festival-time, v 13. And, if they called the Master of the house a wine-bibber, no marvel if they so call those of his house-hold."
  • Let's go on to what scripture tells us in response to the accusations of the mockers:

    Acts 2:14

  • But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
  • So, Peter is clear that the mockers were not presenting the reality of the situation by suggesting that they were drunk. Note that Peter does not qualify that statement by suggesting that it was not wine, no, he leaves no opening for any type of drunkenness. Further, and quite contrary to drunkenness was clear preaching of the gospel, as see in the part of the sermon which is transcribed in scripture in Acts 2:22-39.

    Contrary to what we see in drunkenness in the spirit, we did not see any record of the preacher staggering, we do not see any record of slurred speech or inability to speak, quite the contrary. We see that the only people who even tried to bring forward such a false accusation were the mockers. We see that the apostles spoke the gospel so clearly, and so boldly, and we see a miracle such that all heard in their own language such that 3000 people were saved that day (Acts 2:41).

    Those who make the accusation that the apostles were drunk in the spirit at Pentecost stand in harmony with the views of the mockers, not in harmony with the apostles as recorded in scripture.

    Throughout the New Testament, we see many times that scripture mentions the infilling of the Holy Spirit, but never does it associate either the symptoms of or mention of drunkenness in the spirit as being associated with it. Indeed, we see admonitions in scripture to avoid drunkenness:

    Eph 5:18

  • Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
  • In 1 Peter 4:7, we see that scripture goes a step further, and urges us to keep a clear mind so that we can pray.

  • But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
  • It is interesting that we find associated with this movement, exhortations not to pray during their "ministry" time. It appears that they have discovered what scripture says, and that is that God, prayer and drunkenness are not compatible, and indeed the spirit that causes drunkenness and the one true God are not compatible.

    So, we see that the apostles were not drunk at Pentecost, in the spirit or otherwise, but does the Bible mention drunkenness, and if so what does it say about it? Lets go to another verse which is commonly used to support drunkenness in the spirit:

    Jer 23:9-11

  • Concerning the prophets:
    My heart is broken within me;all my bones tremble.
    I am like a drunken man,like a man overcome by wine,because of the Lord and his holy words.The land is full of adulterers;because of the curse the land lies parched
    and the pastures in the desert are withered.
    The prophets follow an evil course
    and use their power unjustly.
    Both prophet and priest are godless;
    even in my temple I find their wickedness,
    declares the Lord.
  • This passage is understood by many exegetes as having been written in the time of Zedekiah's reign, when false prophets (among others) sorely oppressed Jeremiah. As the Matthew Henry Commentary says,

  • He expresses what a trouble it was for him to see men who pretended to a divine commission and inspiration ruining themselves, and the people among whom they dwelt, by their falsehood and treachery..............Jeremiah was a man who laid things much to heart, and what was in any way threatening to his country made a deep impression upon his spirits...........He trembled to think of the ruin and desolation which were coming from the face of the Lord (so the word is) and from the face of the word of his holiness.
  • There is no indication in this passage that Jeremiah was overcome by a spirit of drunkenness, rather it appears, as this commentary says, that he was so very distraught about what was happening, and about the judgement which would fall upon the people because of the false prophets that he liken his state to that of a drunken man.

    If there be a connection between this passage, and it application to what we see today, it can only be with regard to a coming judgement due to false prophecy. In no way can it be suggested that this verse justifies an experience such as drunkenness in the spirit without taking the entire verse out of context.

    Isaiah also speaks of drunkenness, but perhaps his references get closer to what we see happening today:

    Isa 29:9-10

  • Be stunned and amazed,blind yourself and be sightless;be drunk, but not from wine,stagger, but not from beer.The Lord has brought over you a deep sleep;
    He has sealed your eyes (the prophets);
    he has covered your heads (the seers).
  • As can be seen in Isa. 6:9-10, Isaiah was very aware that his word wouldn't be accepted. Thus, in contrast to the Jeremiah who was a true prophet who was so distraught that he likened his state to that of a drunken man, those who are discussed in this passage of Isaiah's that are described as drunk the false prophets.

    Further, what we see in this passage is that these false prophets are drunk and scripture is very specific that it is a judgement brought on them from the Lord, and that it is not as a result of drink, but rather it is a spiritual drunkenness. IT further says that they display the outward signs of drunkenness such as staggering.

    The churches today who are in this movement are in large discouraging use of scripture in favour of new revelation from their prophets, many of whom are drunk and staggering in church from what we hear from reports from within the movement.

    Isaiah also describes drunkenness in Chapter 63.

    Isa 63:6

  • I trampled the nations in my anger;
    in my wrath I made them drunk
    and poured their blood on the ground.
  • The use of this verse in opposing drunkenness in the spirit is questioned by some in the movement who say that this is not applicable because it refers to the coming of the Redeemer. As one person wrote to me:

  • God's winepress, and the wine he presents, are prophetically used to represent God's wrath (cf. Rev. 14:19-20; 19:11-16). Revelation shows this as referring to Christ at his second coming -- *not* prior to, but _at_ his coming... what we call Armageddon.
  • Again, refers to drunkenness, though, and not positively. Still it is judgement. Whether it refers to a future event, and whether it refers to an event prior to or at the Second Coming is not valid, because God does not have situational ethics or morals. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8).

    So, where are there any positive references to drunkenness? I have not found any in scripture, and to date, no one has been able to come forward with any scriptural basis where we are exhorted to drunkenness or where God provides for, or the Holy Spirit causes or endorses, or any men of God speak positively of drunkenness in scriptures. Yet the movement promotes drunkenness in the spirit very strongly. So strongly that we see Rodney Howard-Browne call himself the "Holy Ghost Bartender", we see websites such as "Tim Gibson's Drinking Songs", and we see conferences titled or advertised in such ways as to promote drunkenness. We see men such as John Kilpatrick speak positively about drunkenness in the spirit, and we see testimonies everywhere about drunkenness.

    What does scripture tell us that Jesus will give us to drink? Living water. (John 4:10) Note, not intoxicating drink, but living water.

    Read what God says about substituting his living water for another source of drink in Jeremiah 2:13.

  • Jeremiah 2:13
  • For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

    We need to look only to Jesus for the living water. Not to be seeking to dig our own cisterns, to seek our own sources of water in replacement of his by seeking experiences such as drunkenness in the spirit. Hold true to His word, and seek only the joy of His spirit. As they say in advertisements, accept no substitutes or imitations.

    Tom Smith, April 20, 1998 (updated March 30, 2002) Send email to Tom Smith

    Bibliography:

    1) Cathy Woods (Photography for Brownsville Assemblies of God), July 14, 1996 Sisterwood Report, http://www.info.net/~oflare

    2) When the Heavens are Brass, John Kilpatrick (Brownsville Assemblies of God), Revival Press, 1997

    3) Beth McDuffie, Email to Richard Riss dated July 30, 1995, as reported in "A History of the Revival 1992-1995", Item 27, Richard Riss, 1995.

    4) Matthew Henry Commentary, Zondervan, 1976 (pages 979 and 1641).


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