You may have seen people in Pentecostal type churches, acting like they were drunk during a service. Perhaps even the minister said something like, “We all need to get drunk in the Spirit!” Is this thought biblical? What passage is used to justify such behavior?
This is a good area to examine as there is a teaching that because some onlookers referred to those on the day of Pentecost as being drunk (Acts 2), that it must mean they were exhibiting drunken behavior such as we see allowed in some churches today. I believe this is far, far from the truth.
Since the Bible warns us against drunkenness, why would God cause a behavior which would make us appear to be exactly what he tells us we should not be? Stop and think about it. It makes no sense. The Bible warns us to abstain from the appearance of evil in 1 Thessalonians 5:22. In Galatians 5, we see a list of some of the acts of a sinful nature and drunkenness is listed. Furthermore, we see no biblical instances which show the type of behavior seen today which is termed being drunk in the Spirit.
Let’s look at Acts 2. Verse two shows us that they were sitting when the Holy Spirit came upon them. So what attracted others to go and see what was happening? Verse five says it was because the crowd heard the believers speaking in their own languages. If you were in a different country and heard someone speaking your language instead of that of the country you were visiting, it would likewise get your attention. It doesn’t mention anyone was slurring their speech or stumbling around or acting incoherent, laughing like people often do when they are drunk, or passed out on the floor. What attracted them was the sound they heard as they were hearing their native languages being spoken. This is made very clear in the passage.
This stirred conversation. They knew the believers shouldn’t be speaking in their languages. They questioned why and what it meant. This is when some mocked and proclaimed they had too much to drink. That remark was in reference to the speaking in tongues that they heard and not any drunken type behavior. Nowhere in Acts does it show believers as exhibiting any evidence of possible drunkenness.
Haven’t we ever heard someone give a lame reason for something which they observed but couldn’t understand? How would being drunk cause someone to be able to speak a foreign language they did not know? In no way does this passage give any indication that the believers were acting in a drunken manner as some teach today. This is when Peter and the other apostles stood up while Peter proclaimed Jesus to them and let them know that drunkenness had nothing to do with what was happening.
This teaching is one which really bothers me. The Bible is clear about the issue of drunkenness and being careful when drinking and that those who follow Christ should not drink excessively. It is evidence of our sinful nature, the works of the flesh, and not the fruit of the Spirit. There is absolutely no way that God would teach against this and then cause believers to act like they just finished drinking several Long Islands.
Some may also be interested in reading a related article: The Presence of God.