by Ben Agbayani
Many of my friends and acquaintances know that my wife and I were at one time part of a Pentecostal movement. After we left that organization, my wife and I have been continuously comparing the differences between the true Church of God and the Pentecostal movement. I’d like to share here one particular experience.
When I got sick, I continuously sought God’s help, wherever I thought possible. One of the teachings in the Pentecostal church is the so-called “Holy Laughter,” which is allegedly manifested by the Holy Spirit. Some friends and I attended a church service one afternoon, and we moved to the very middle and up front. As I gazed to my left and to my right, I saw two pastors praying for the people, and as soon as they touched the foreheads after the prayer, people fell down and started laughing. I thought to myself that this might be a very interesting experience for me.
When it was my time for the prayer, I was waiting for that moment of the so-called “slain in the spirit” experience, thinking that beginning to laugh would perhaps cure me in the process. I did not fall and there was NO laughter. The pastors took time to do everything to bring it about, but to no avail. I even felt that one pastor pushed my forehead several times, hoping for me to fall. But I didn’t fall. This got me thinking. Was my faith strong enough? Was it that my intentions were not in line with God’s plan for me? I started to doubt myself. In short, I kept the event to myself, hoping to get an answer one day.
For a period of time I studied and looked for references in the Bible about the phenomena, but I could not find any passage that supports “Holy Laughter.” Years later, my wife and I became members of the Church of God. Yes, I have evaluated what had happened. I was not able to recognize that at the time, we were witnessing a direct demonic possession of the people, and we understand now that the spirit that came to them did not come from God. It was very dangerous. God had prevented me from experiencing such demonic influence.
Being a member of God’s Church, we attended our first Feast of Tabernacles in Vail, Colorado, and it was the most memorable experience my wife and I have had. My first night and day was very difficult, because the altitude affected my spine very badly. I asked for anointing with the laying on of hands by the Church elders. I started feeling relief from that agonizing pressure, due to the altitude. God allowed me to enjoy the Feast and extended the care until we were back home. It was the best time of our lives.
I had to reflect on the fact that a person will never know that he has been deceived until God opens his understanding for the truth. Knowing what I know now, I feel very sorry for those who left the faith and joined instead a Pentecostal movement