Getting drunk in the Spirit

The following is a thread of discussions in a Christian forum 

Getting "drunk in the Holy Spirit" has been a popular concept in some churches. But is it biblical?

A few years ago a traveling charismatic minister from the West coast passed through Florida to conduct a series of renewal meetings. I'd never heard of the guy, but the rumor was that he carried a "special" anointing. It was unique, that's for sure - especially when he took the microphone, slurred his words as if intoxicated and leaned to the left of the pulpit as if he were about to fall over. Then, in between some bizarre spasms, he would shout what sounded like "Walla walla bing bang!"

His message didn't make sense. But if he had just said "Ding Dong Bell" or "Yabba Dabba Doo" over and over, some people in his meetings would have run to the front of the room and swooned, even though he never opened his Bible during his message. They wanted what this man claimed to possess—an anointing to become "drunk in the Spirit."

"Let's put the childish things behind us. It's time for us to grow up and sober up."

Spiritual intoxication has been a trend in charismatic circles for a while. Some respected preachers, citing Acts 2:13, defend the concept that Christians might feel drunk when they are filled with the Holy Spirit (because the early disciples were accused of being drunk when they spoke in tongues). This teaching led to lots of disorderly conduct in revival meetings—including nosebleeds, bruises and more serious injuries.

Some people began to manifest what looked like seizures during renewal services, and the bizarre behavior was defended as "manifestations of the Spirit." Some pastors even encouraged wobbly saints to find "designated drivers" if they felt too drunk to operate a vehicle when it was time to go home. Meanwhile, some worship leaders introduced "Holy Ghost drinking songs" that encouraged people to slosh around in the joy of the Lord while uncorking more of His new wine.

The spiritual drunkenness craze led to other charismatic fads, including an infatuation with angels, an obsession with golden dust and the strange teachings of John Crowder—a confessed "new mystic" who compares the infilling of the Holy Spirit to smoking marijuana.

Crowder, who is planting a church in Santa Cruz, Calif., this fall, sometimes calls his meetings "sloshfests" and refers to himself as a bartender for God. He teaches that God wants all Christians to be continually drunk in the Holy Spirit—and he provides resources to help you do just that, including an electronica recording that will help you, in Crowder's words, "trance out," and a teaching that encourages stigmata and levitation.

I'll let the theologians sort out all the obvious reasons why Crowder and other "new mystics" are treading on dangerous ground. Meanwhile I have a less complicated concern. With all of this emphasis on Holy Ghost intoxication, did anybody notice that the Bible clearly commands us to be spiritually sober?

If soberness wasn't mentioned in the New Testament, then I wouldn't be beating this drum so loudly. But I find numerous references, from both Peter and Paul. "But you, be sober in all things," is Paul's admonition to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5, NASB). He tells the Thessalonians, "But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation," (1 Thess. 5:8).

Peter hammers the same point. He wrote, "Prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:13) and "The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer" (1 Pet. 4:7).

The soberness here is not primarily a reference to abstaining from alcohol (although it's worth mentioning that believers who drink will find it more difficult to obey these commands). To be sober can be defined "to show self-control," "to be sane or rational," or "to be free from excess or extravagance." A sober Christian knows the heights of God's inexpressible joy, but he is never ruled by emotions, passions, lust or any other category of temptation that has the power to dull the spiritual senses.

When I look at the state of our nation today, and consider our spiritual challenges, it's obvious the last thing we need are Christians who are so sloshed in emotional euphoria that they can't pray intelligently and work diligently.

This is not a time for God's people to be incapacitated. We need to be thinking, planning, strategizing, researching and building—all using the Holy Spirit's wisdom. Yes, we need to be filled with the Holy Spirit like never before—but He is not going to fill us so we can act like giddy freshmen at a frat house keg party. Let's put the childish things behind us. It's time for us to grow up and sober up.

-J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.


The following are the comments/discussions on the above message.

Gretchen Offord:

What Is the reason for our being Christians? To get something, or to be something in order that others can know God through belief on Jesus Christ? What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit? John 14-15, as spoken by Jesus Who only spoke as He heard God speak, therefore His Words are reliable and true, eg worth heeding (obeying). Wayne Sutton Have you ever been "drunk in the spirit" Job? have you ever seen"gold dust" or a "glory cloud"? True experiences like this do not take you away from God... also, if you have a problem with gold dust you are gonna have a big problem with streets of gold? Not trying to debate you - but speak not against a move of God, only to keep God in a "box" you understand. In love, Wayne

Peggy Weber:  

Thank you for posting this, Brother Job...Excellent. Job Anbalagan Wayne, thanks. I have not seen gold dust or glory cloud in India. I do not want to see such things. I aspire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ so that the people in this nation may see the living Christ in me. Can you make use of this gold dust to make the poor rich? Can you sell this gold dust and send money to missions in Africa and Asia? Let us win souls for Christ. I do not have a problem with streets of gold because this gold can be used for paying off the debts of our nations in the global economy which is sinking.

Wayne Sutton:

Thanks for your reply brother - will be praying for the economy - God Bless You and all you do.

Shelly Carrier

Very well said, Job

Roland Besaw:  

God is is sober vigilant for your adversary ...goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour......

Kristine Langridge:  

Amen Job! There is alot of lying signs and wonders and it is a temporary distraction of entertainment when our eyes are to be fixed on Jesus and led by Him and if we do that we will rightly discern, see the fruit and continue to pray as we know the Lord says these things shall happen....

Wayne Sutton:

How can you determine if is a "LYING SIGN"??? Roland Besaw We don't need to worry about " lying Wonders " if we really know well the one who is Wonderful. Good is god...bad is come this is so hard ? because we can easily misunderstand. Here' a good question..." How do you know the things you believe are really true ?"I tell you what...I don't know anything ! I'm just a novice ...I been saved quite a while ...but I'm staying a novice......but i can tell ya this...I really do know God......that's enough for me.

Roland Besaw:

Blessings to all...kep on dialogueing thats how we all learn...Yippe ! Linda Marrie Glauner amen...that's what we're here love God and each me Lord to love like You do. Jc Alzamora Friend I don't have to choose, thank God. I am a missionary from Latinamerica where we see this stuff as common occurrence and r not freaked out by it whatsoever. God does amazing things all the time and don't have the urge to judge them with my finite understanding for the sake of "TRUTH". There's probably some flesh attached to these signs, but I can still be conformed to His image and enjoy the Wine of the Kingdom. Take it easy, guys, Joy is the Spirit's Oil

Jc Alzamora:  

Besides, the church needs a healthy dose of gladness, we're not to be drunk with earthly wine, but be filled with the Spirit. Throughout church history many experienced this so, unless someone makes it their only thing, let God be God, He will take care of His bride

Weare Inchrist

Sins are gone time to rejoice!!!

Job Anbalagan

Wayne, if Jesus manifests Himself in a miracle, there is always the truth manifested therein. When Jesus changed water into wine, it benefited the people. Jesus fed the multitudes by a miracle. If there is a fall of gold dust, it has to be used. Magicians produce such things but we cannot use them because these things are a lying sign.

Jc Alzamora

The cursing of the fig tree by Jesus was used as a teaching tool, gold dust might be used the same, to show the glory of God and strengthen the brethren. No one knows what man needs but God. He sits in the heavens and laughs at his enemies, maybe releasing laughter is also a sign of healing and victory to a hungry believer. I'm not willing to judge those things and say they're not of the Lord lest I blaspheme the Holy Ghost. Just because I don't understand it, it doesn't mean it's not God

Kristine Langridge:  

No, but we are given discernment and are to judge accordingly. We don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, but we do not succumb to every thing spoken from the pulpit either. There is alot of misuse of authority. I have seen some strange things in all the laces I've been to, some I knew were not of the Lord, some I did not understand so I prayed. The way to know the false is to take time to "know" the One who is truth. How far have we strayed from the message of the cross, true repentance, weeping between the porch and the altar, we have traded it for some strange doctrines and false hope, temporary prosperity of mammon, distractions of all kinds to take our eyes off of Jesus. all other things are secondary, period, and if we have spent time in the intimate place with Him getting His heart, we will know what to steer clear from and what is real.

Jc Alzamora:

Kristine , I agree with you 100%. But its never this OR that, but this AND that. There's a time to cry and a time to laugh. Both are holy at their time. We cannot be afraid of the supernatural; Jesus would be thrown out of the majority of churches today if He ever dared to spit, make mud and heal somebody with it. We must discern with the spirit, not with our presuppositions. God is bigger than His Word, he s not nervous and He is in complete control. The cross is always important, but salvation lets u only SEE the kingdom, not walk in it. The Resurrestion and the Ascension r just as powerful realities and we seldom realize what those truths truly imply. No, i want it all, I'm hungry for God and I trust more in His power to keep and in the devil's to deceive me

Job Anbalagan:  

I agree with my sister Kristine. We have relegated the message of the cross to the background and in its place we have embraced emotionalism and lying signs and wonders. 

Fall of the glory dust, which is not a reality but a mirage is definitely not of the Holy Ghost. Let us search the Scriptures, especially, the book of the Acts, to learn how the Holy Spirit worked during the New Testament period. Jesus spitting and making mud has nothing to do with the lying wonder of the fall of the gold dust. The cursing of the tree by Jesus has to convey another message. God's glory has already been revealed to the Church. God need not prove it by a miracle or by a sign at all. The Holy Spirit has already come into the world. We, the church, bear the glory of God. By preaching the gospel, we manifest the glory of God to the lost world. Of course, in mission fields, God performs some supernatural miracles to win the lost souls. But such supernatural signs are not being performed in a stereotype manner. The Holy Spirit works in diverse ways. As a spiritual man, I have to judge all things (I Cor.2:15).

Jc Alzamora

What I hear you say, my brother, is that unless the miracle happened in scripture, nothing else is a true miracle. And, unless it is a miracle used in a practical way, a definition that absolutely violates the meaning of the word "wonder", which is a sign that may not have a practical application yet glorifies God, then it's not a true miracle. Sorry, not only is that unbiblical, but dangerous. You cannot possibly box in God the way you are trying. But go ahead, many more much more able and anointed than us have tried and failed. I'm comfortable flowing with the things I don't understand without been naive. I am open to the spiritual dimension of the kingdom without chasing ambulances. I just keep planting, praying, proclaiming and producing what God allows and watch Him do miraculous things. Blessings to all.

Job Anbalagan

Thanks, Alzamora. Yes, miracle happens to glorify God. God can perform any kind of miracle. He did reveal Himself to Moses through the burning bush and as fire to the people of Israel. Every miracle performed by God glorified Him under the Old Covenant. But we cannot expect Him to perform similar miracles under the New Covenant to reveal Himself to us. He had revealed Himself to us in Christ Jesus. Under the New Covenant, God does perform miracles to glorify Himself. How? Through His Son or in the name of His Son, miracles do happen to glorify His Name. Every miracle performed by Him under the New Covenant is not a myth but a reality. I do not say that the miracles that had not happened during the New Testament period cannot be performed in Jesus' Name now. If God has to save this world through wonders under the New Covenant, then there was no need for Him to send His only Begotten Son into the world. Signs and wonders follow them who are the disciples of Jesus Christ. Such signs and wonders do take place to gravitate the sinners to the Cross. The devil does the "lying wonders". How many people are saved or came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ through the miracle of the fall of the gold dust? Was there weepings and groaning, coupled with repentance when such a manifestation took place? Did the people fall prostrate before God confessing their sins and iniquities?

Nobody can put the Almighty God in a box. You and I cannot put Him in a box of "miracles". Jesus could have turned the stones into the bread to reveal the glory of God to Satan or to the unbelieving Jews. He could have fallen down from the top of the temple to prove Himself to the unbelieving Jews. But He overcome the devil saying, "It is written". Let us go by the litmus test of "It is written". Has the accumulation of the gold dust benefited the poor?

When Jesus had no money to pay the taxes, He asked Peter to go to the sea and catch a particular ship which had the golden coin. Peter paid the taxes through that miracle. Under the New Covenant, a miracle does happen that benefits the people and glorifies the Name of Jesus Christ. In India, Satya Sai baba performs miracles. He does bring the gold chains, etc, out of the sky. But these gold chains disappear and cannot be used. These are lying wonders.

Jerry M Hansen:  

It saddens me when people attack what God is doing in the earth. They use their natural minds to try to discern their own ideas. I am more interested in the Truth, than man's interpretation of the truth. God uses the supernatural to confound our own ways. You might not like what you don't understand, but that doesn't mean God endorses your own judgements either. As Christians, we are suppose to walk in Love. We are suppose to encourage each other. There is way too much finger pointing in the Body of Christ!!

Job Anbalagan:  

Jerry, when we disagree with one another in the Body of Christ and learn the things of God, this does not mean that there is too much finger pointing in the Body of Christ. We do not attack what God is doing in the earth, when we discern what God is doing in our midst. God has given us His wisdom and sobriety to understand the spiritual things. As a spiritual man, I have to judge all things (I Cor.2:15). God need not endorse my judgment if it is not based on His word. We should be interested in the truth and not in the lie. God does use the supernatural to win the lost souls. If some miracle happens, I should judge it and should not ascribe it to God without judging it. Yes, we should walk in love and should encourage one another in the Body of Christ. This does not mean that we should be easily deceived. Jesus Himself warned us against deceptions. He warned us against false christs in our midst. Miracles are only a means and not an end. We need miracles in the truth and not the "lying wonders".

Jc Alzamora:  

You have a very narrow view of scripture , my friend, and this view is normally not a good sign. But, pursue God at your level of understanding, He will show you, to the degree of your openness, the things you lack. Believers that don't believe is a false and lying sign to me, but God loves them. Let it be done to you according to your faith. I have great friends in India doing extraordinary stuff, God will have His way, I'm confident in that. Much love and peace out.

Job Anbalagan:  

Alzamora, thank you very much for your comments and for the time taken by you to interact with me in this forum. I love you in the Lord through we disagree on certain matters. If I have a very narrow view of Scriptures, you are most welcome to teach me on the broader view of Scriptures. Let us confine ourselves to the Scriptures alone. I am expecting God to perform supernatural miracles in my ministry so that people in our nation may accept Jesus as their Savior. We believe in His miracles. At the same time, we are distinguishing the work of God from the work of the Antichrist and of the devil. We are not supposed to believe every spirit but to discern it. We want the multiplication of the bread and of the fish as God's miracle. It is not the fall of some gold dust which does not benefit any human being. We want the fall of the Heavenly Manna on us. We do witness the supernatural miracles through our ministry of the Miracle Prayer Cell we run in Delhi. In my own life also, I am expecting a miracle from my God whom I believe with all my heart. I do expect miracles for all my partners in the FB ministry including you. I will share with you what my God is going to perform in my personal life and ministry. If God wants to send the gold dust in our ministry, it will be literal. It will not be fake. Our God does not lie through a miracle.

Jc Alzamora

Amen, bro. Much love.