We are often asked here at PITFH to explain some of the stranger manifestations that occur in revival meetings. We have approached this subject in other places, but recently while reading this book by the late John Wimber, we found the following explanation from his experiences in the early 1980’s when the Vineyard Movement experienced revival in their churches around the world. Here is some of what John wrote on the subject:
Explaining the Unexplainable from The Way In is the Way On by John Wimber, page 246
“I’m comfortable with the fact that people, under the excitement of a visitation from the Holy Spirit, do some far out things. Some things occur because of over zealousness, emotional disorder, or even the devil. But some also occur because of God. Most of us come to God with all that in place anyway. That’s why we need sanctification. That’s why the Word of God has to be worked out in us and out of us in a daily way.
We spend a lifetime sorting out the fleshly and devilish influences in our lives from the things of the Spirit, so that those things that are brought of God, and of the Spirit will be built into our lives. As the Westminster Shorter Catechism describes, through “God’s free grace…we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die to sin and live unto righteousness.”
So I discourage trying to pry an explanation out of the Bible for the more exotic and extra Biblical experiences of some. You won’t find any scripture that says, “Pogo your way to Jesus.” But strange things like that happen from time to time. We’ve seen various vocal expressions of roaring, moaning, crying out or screaming. We’ve also seen an increase in what we might call the emotional responses: laughing and crying. Whereas many Biblical characters responded emotionally to God from time to time, I don’t see any place where the scripture endorses or recommends this activity other than it might relate to repentance. These are just some of the varied ways human beings respond to an encounter with God, so therefore they can be allowed.”