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SPIRITUAL LIFE

HOLY LAUGHTER: Bringing Revival To The Church?


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THE FACTS

It's a phenomenon making headlines both inside and outside the Church. Some call it a laughing renewal. Others call it strange. But all agree that it has already extended to at least three continents and shows no signs of waning. "We've reported about an extraordinary phenomenon rippling across various parts of the world," says Larry Pierce of the National  International Religion Report. "It involves people during church services laughing, breaking out in laughter, shaking and then also weeping and repenting, and they sometimes fall to the floor."

The physical manifestation noted more than others is laughing. For that reason, this renewal has often been referred to as the "laughing revival." It happened in Alaska three years ago. In 1993, this experience was repeated in Argentina and at Carpenter's Home Church in Lakeland, Florida, where a one-week series of meetings extended to 10 weeks and thousands were saved.

This phenomenon of laughter and other manifestations has been associated with some ministers like Cindy Jacobs and Mahesh Chavda. But most well known is the ministry of Rodney Howard Browne. His meetings were the catalyst for the experiences in Florida and Alaska.

Some have criticized Browne's ministry, saying these manifestations are a result of emotionalism and peer pressure. But Browne says his ministry should be judged by the fruit of changed lives. "It's having God change us and really asking God to forgive us," he says. "And just saying, Lord, I'm so hungry, change me, touch me, do whatever You want to do with me."

Canada is also experiencing this renewal. Since January 20, 1994, Airport Christian Fellowship, a small Vineyard church in Toronto, has had services six nights a week for the last 10 months that have sometimes lasted until 2:00 a.m. Over 100,000 people have attended, and nearly 40,000 of those have been visitors from all over the world who come for what is being called the "Toronto Blessing."

This Spring, the "Toronto Blessing"hit the Holy Trinity Church in London, one of the largest Anglican churches in England, and England's Stoneleigh Bible Camp, an annual event sponsored by "New Frontiers" ministry which oversees 100 churches in England and around the world. "It's not confined to any one denomination or any one person,"says Sandy Miller, Vicar of Holy Trinity. "Quite the reverse. It's happening across the board-free churches, house churches, Church of England, established churches, all over the place."

How should the church respond? "Test the spirits and submit to godly counsel in order to keep this new revival balanced," says Charisma editor, Steven Strang. "On the other hand, we need to be aware that significant changes seem to be taking place when the joy of the Lord touches <."

No matter the opinions, the laughing renewal seems to be spreading. Of the 27 nations represented at Stoneleigh, there are already reports of this phenomenon happening in Russia, Africa and India.

Pat Robertson Responds

"The power of the supernatural is so much greater than human flesh, that human flesh has a tendency to just fall. What this says to me is that revival is taking place in the world in a mass wave,and we look to the coming of the Lord. I think this is a very encouraging sign. In the middle of all this trouble, God is saying He's on the throne and He's going to touch multiplied millions of people."

Standards To Live By

"In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever." Psalm 16:11
"And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, 'What does this mean?' But others were mocking and saying, 'They are full of sweet wine.' Acts 2:12-13
"When therefore He said to them, 'I am He,' they drew back, and fell to the ground." John 18:6

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For A Free Sample Of "National  International Religion Report" Call 800/842-6842O or Write: P.O. Box 21433 Roanoke, VA 24080.

Order These Books For More Info: "Holiness Pentecost Movement" by Vinson Synan, Eerdmans ($16.95). "Catch The Fire" by Guy Chevre. Fax the Author at 905/458-8505.


If you enjoyed this Fact Sheet and would like to receive more news on today's leading topics, you can receive each and every new Fact Sheet produced by CBN simply by joining the 700 Club.

Copyright 1995. The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc., 977 Centerville Turnpike, Virginia Beach, VA 23463. The opinions presented here or on The 700 Club do not necessarily represent the views of The Christian Broadcasting Network. Air Date: October 27, 1994 (G300)


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