The Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey. Literally. I literally mean it.

(Had they sung it a cappella, it would have been just fine.)

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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38 Responses to The Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey. Literally. I literally mean it.

  1. Cathy says:

    So what you're saying is the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

  2. K. Rex Butts says:

    I could only stomach the first 3 minutes.

  3. Rob Sheridan says:

    i laughed, i cried………

  4. He did it with such intensity and feeling!

  5. Tim Miller says:

    You could have left the "pokey" part off and been right on target.

  6. Royce Ogle says:

    The first two sentences spoken were enough for me. People remind me of little birds in a nest with mouths gaping wide waiting to be fed. Evidently many people have tiny bird brains.


  7. Bruce Morton says:

    I appreciate your posting the video.

    Your satire pointed at a cappella disappoints; it tells a lot.

    I thought a brother was wading into discussion with me about Ephesians 4:17-5:21 with openness to look at the importance of song. The satire tells me otherwise; one of the coarsest things I have read on this weblog.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton

  8. There are two great lies Satan uses to his advantage today:

    The "name-it-and-claim-it" lie, and

    The lie that the Holy Spirit is only given today to silently and impotently serves only as a down-payment on our salvation.

    Somewhere between those two extremist lies is a powerful truth that God's Holy Spirit still wants to guide us into all truth, still wants to heal our illnesses, still wants to exorcise our demons, still wants to pour out His love into our hearts, still wants to replace our sinful natures with His divine one, still wants to help us in our weakness and intercede in our prayers, still wants to share righteousness and joy and peace, and in many, many other ways bless our lives.

    And the truth is, He just might do it – if we would just ask (Luke 11:13).

  9. Amen Bruce! It does tell alot I think.

    Those of us who support a cappella and raise serious objections to IM on arguments based on Scripture, history and unity deserve a little better!


  10. Mario Lopez says:

    Kinda funny, I think's the IM that gives it a sense of false spirituality and if it was sung in acapella (well in it's plainest form) the people would not be so 'jazzed' about it.

  11. Rich says:

    The IM vs. acappella is just a diversion. The real issue is that all the progressive theology I have learned to date should embrace this video. As long as one's heart is right it must be right. Anyone saying otherwise is labeled a legalist.

  12. Jay Guin says:


    Do you believe that you've fairly characterized what I teach with that comment?

  13. Rich says:


    I do read multiple sources. Here is some of what I understand you have taught:

    1. The Bible does not teach that Bible miracles have stopped. Therefore they must (or can) still exist. Or at least, we shouldn't question others who believe they exist.

    2. If anyone imposes any restriction that might actually be acceptable is guilty of the Galatian heresy and therefore apostate.

    3. Anytime there might be a "gray area" in interpretation we must always choose the most open (or left side) because we should never be cautious or 'safe' when understanding doctrine.

    4. Anyone drawing a line anywhere must be totally consistent with others because human inconsistency proves that drawing a line is wrong.

    5. For the sake of unity, we must accept anyone having a good heart and not violating any clearly explicit teaching in scripture.

    I assume you and I both question the legitimacy of the claimed miracles in the video. However, I understand progressive theology says one must assume a sincere heart unless given explicit evidence otherwise. Progressives accept any and all other styles of worship as long as it comes from the heart.

    I believe the reasonings given thus far to move away from our traditional worship and church organization teachings will eventually lead to other extremes. This may not happen in this generation but will in the future.

    So, although overly simplified, yes, that is the conclusion I have understood from the last year of reading at least 90% of your posts.

    I keep reading for multiple reasons:
    1. You do have a high quality, clear writing style that is interesting and informative.
    2. I fully agree we need to greatly improve our emphasis on serving and respecting others.
    3. I've learned a lot from your site. I just don't always agree.

  14. Jay Guin says:


    As is so often the case, slight misunderstandings can lead to huge errors. Let me offer a few refinements on what you've said. Obviously, I'm not communicating as effectively as I should.

    1. The Bible does not teach that Bible miracles have stopped. Therefore they must (or can) still exist. Or at least, we shouldn’t question others who believe they exist.

    The first sentence is, in my opinion, true. Therefore, we cannot dismiss all evidence of miracles a priori. Rather, we should test the spirits and be open to the continued working of God. God can work as he pleases, and we should stop telling him what he cannot do. But that doesn't justify being gullible.

    2. If anyone imposes any restriction that might actually be acceptable is guilty of the Galatian heresy and therefore apostate.

    The Galatian heresy, of course, does make one an apostate. Gal 5:1 – 4. But it's not from imposing a mistaken restriction. It results from imposing a mistaken restriction as a condition of salvation. If you and I disagree about instrumental music, neither of us is guilty of the Galatian heresy. Rather, we're under Romans 14. But if one of us binds his view as as salvation condition, then he's committed the Galatian heresy. Paul insists that we seek justification by faith in Jesus, not through works.

    3. Anytime there might be a “gray area” in interpretation we must always choose the most open (or left side) because we should never be cautious or ’safe’ when understanding doctrine.

    The scriptures repeatedly warn against binding where God doesn't bind. Therefore, there is no safety in binding in a gray area. On the other hand, Paul teaches us not to sin against our own consciences — and not to bind our consciences on others — in Rom 14.

    (Gal 5:1 ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

    Call me crazy, but I think the conservative approach is to take Paul at his word. We find safety in the perfect, completed work of Jesus, not in imposing rules found in the gray.

    4. Anyone drawing a line anywhere must be totally consistent with others because human inconsistency proves that drawing a line is wrong.

    Actually, I don't agree with that statement at all. Rather, my argument is that those advocates for 20th Century Church of Christ theology are inconsistent because there's an inherent contradiction in their theology that they refuse to admit. The error isn't in their inconsistent application of the rule (we are all inconsistent in the application of our theology), but in having a theology that's so self-contradictory that it cannot even be stated.

    Just ask a representative of 20th Century CoC theology to explain which doctrinal errors damn and which do not — based on book, chapter, and verse — and get ready for a very elaborate non-explanation. Yes, some doctrinal errors do damn and some do not. The question is: where is the line? And I've never heard a conservative give a consistent, understandable explanation for where the line is because they want to place the line in a place that defends their traditions. And it cannot be done.

    5. For the sake of unity, we must accept anyone having a good heart and not violating any clearly explicit teaching in scripture.

    I don't use "good heart" as a standard. There are atheists with good hearts. Rather, the test is whether someone has faith in Jesus as Lord, Savior, and Son of God. Do we submit to Jesus as Lord? And those who submit to Jesus as Lord do not intentionally teach or practice false doctrine, although some do things I believe to be error. Nonetheless, God forgives them so long as they remain submissive to him and continue in their faith in Jesus.

    And, yes, those who have faith in Jesus and submit to him as Lord are our brothers in Christ and should be treated as such.

    Regarding the reasons you keep reading, thanks. I greatly appreciate the kind words.

  15. Anne says:

    So exactly what are you saying with this video?

  16. Hank says:

    Jay, do you have a problem with churches practicing the HGHP as seen in the video? Do you beieve practicing such is displeasing to God and/or sinful? If so, based on what grounds?


    I know you have no issues with motocycle blessing services, pet blessing services, etc. I would just like to know where and why (and if) you believe the HGHP folks have gone too far.

  17. Jay Guin says:

    Some years ago, my two oldest sons were in high school in a class filled with very bright kids. Many of the girls were daughters of college professors — and so they were ardent feminists. My sons had heard this joke:

    Q: How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?
    Feminist: That's not funny!!!

    So the next day, they went to school and told their male friends and had a good laugh. Some of the girls walked up and asked what was going on. They explained they were telling a joke. One of the boys said,

    How many feminists does it take to change a light bulb?

    The girls present, in unison, said,

    That's not funny!!!

    I think my boys are still laughing 10 years afterwards. That day, they came home nearly in tears from laughter, holding aching sides.

    As I explained to them, while I have no one to quote for this, it's my experience that the side that can't laugh at itself ultimately fails to persuade. You see, an unwillingness to laugh at oneself reflects a felt-weakness that must be covered up.

    And I'm the one who, at a time the readers and I were posting some great instrumental worship music, posting some horrific instrumental worship.

    Hank, enjoy a good laugh.

  18. Hank says:

    In that case, I wonder if any of the progressives who saw nothing wrong in holding church services specifically designed to bless motorcycles, pets, etc., (yet do think the Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey is against the will of God), would be willing to explain their reason(s) why?

    I do not see how any of the progressives here could object to the HGHP on any grounds. I mean, how could they?

  19. Hank says:

    C'mon… won't any of the progressive who said the HGHP made the sick (or implied that it is displeasing to God), tell us why?….

    On what grounds could anybody object to such nonsense?

  20. JMF says:


    Though I don't consider myself a progressive, I'll give you an answer tomorrow if nobody more capable responds. I know this post was light, but I think your question is serious and worthy of answering. Sorry bro, won't get to it tonight, but I'll jump in the ring with you tomorrow.

  21. Mike Ward says:

    Personally, I find it highly unlikely that any of these people were actually healed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The people in this video may be sincere, but I believe they are mistaken.

    It's amazing what people will say and even believe in a situation that leaves them susceptible to suggestion and puts extreme social pressure on them to conform.


    Do you think the Holy Spirit really is working to heal the people in this video? Because if you don't, I think you will have no problem understanding why it is unfortunate.

  22. Hank says:

    What happened bro? Where are you?

    No, I think the people in the video are guilty of blasphemy.

    The above video serves as a perfect example of how from the progressive's vantage point (like that of Jay's), one has to condone, embrace, accept, approve, not judge, and even "fellowship" every conceivable type of rdiculousness. In their quest for "unity," they are simply unable to draw an actual line. Proof of such can be seen in the fact that several commented that the video made them sick, they could only stomach a minute, that it's a lie, etc. And yet, not one person is actually able to say WHY they believe such people (in the video) are wrong.

    For, if and when they do, they will immediately find themselves in the same position of the conservatives and traditionalisits they regulary rebuke and challenge.

    See if even one progressive can name even one rule or law of God that the quacks in the video are guilty of breaking? Rather (and to be consistent with their regular comments), the people in the video ought to be commended for their willingness to express themselves in such a unique way and for trying to be "relevant."

    That's how I see it.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Wonder why Jay would pick this video, Jay isn't being funny but ridiculing the people in the video, and people played right into it. Jay uses his blog to hurt people that don't square with him period. Jay hasn't left all his traits from his older COC denomination days.

  24. Bruce Morton says:

    Do you realize what you just did? You did the same thing Jay did.

    You have suggested that hurting others "that don't square" with a given doctrine represents a trait of the COC denomination (ironically, which is exactly what you did when I posted some discussion regarding the importance of spiritual song some days ago). The practice both you and Jay have taken up has name; it is called malice.

    I will comment about myself and others in a church of Christ I am part of (in Katy, Texas). I do not hear malice in any discussion of beliefs — whatever they are. No satire; no attempt to hurt others. Only respect even in disagreement. That is part of what it means to be children of light.

    To confirm, as I posted earlier in this note chain, I have no appreciation for Jay's satire — and I see much of such in and none of it is spiritually healthy. And yes, I have mentioned such to Jay one-on-one in email interchanges. All of this is exactly the type of darkness Paul describes in Ephesians 4:29-31 and urges the Ephesian Christians to leave behind.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton

  25. JMF says:


    Before making a malicious charge against "Anonymous", you need to realize that anyone that doesn't fill out their name gets called "anonymous." So the "anonymous" you spoke to in this chain may or may not be the same "anonymous" from another chain.

    You said: "I will comment about myself and others in a church of Christ I am part of (in Katy, Texas)."

    …And maybe that is what Anonymous is doing?! He is commenting on his coc experience! And you charged him with malice!

    …And let's remember that you are using your inferential powers to decide that Jay, et. al. are in violation of Eph.4 by his "satire."

    So I hereby charge you with judging, as well as bearing false witness again our friend Anonymous.

    Is that fair?

    Brother, can we really not poke some fun at some of our unique characteristics? Especially the ones that are…oh I don't know…OPINIONS?! The next time Jay cracks a joke about IM, why don't you photoshop up a pic of Jay handling a bunch of snakes? That would be funny!! And no harm is done…just some light ribbing. As brothers in Christ, are we also now inferring that we can't joke around with one another?

    No offense Bruce–and I certainly won't crack any jokes in your direction as you seem hyper-sensitive to it–but life is short, God is good, He loves us, and he wants us to enjoy ourselves! Let's not take ourselves (or our doctrinal inferences) too seriously! Like Saint Augustine said, "Love God, then do whatever else you want."

    Now I KNOW you'll respect what Augustine says, because your entire IM defense is based upon his writings and the writings of his Patristic friends!! 🙂 (Okay, I admit that was a little light ribbing :))

  26. JMF says:


    I was really hoping someone else would jump in, as I honestly was not looking forward to giving my answer to this. 🙂

    Being said, you and I have the same background (you: conservative, me: ultra-conservative…like, Wahhabi conservative). The HGHP seems absolutely crazy to me. If people started doing that around me, I'd probably curl up in the fetal and start sucking my thumb. Not to be insensitive, but that is weird stuff. (sidenote: I could tell from the accents that they were from North Carolina [there abouts], and Pentecostalism out there seems to be quite…umm…unique.)

    So let's not get into healing. You'll say it died with the apostles, I'll say that I'm not going to limit what God can do through people. Obviously, I've never seen a healing, but maybe that is because I don't have enough faith. So let's leave that one.

    Next, we've got IM and HS activity. Again, too big.

    So I assume what we are left with is to determine whether or not this is sinful. Like you, my study would lead me to believe that this is not the perfect worship God would prefer. Then again, I also feel that way about what I'm doing today…I find our conservative COC worship to be faaar from perfect as well.

    Will the HGHP condemn those people? Will our cold, callous worship condemn us? Will you and I be condemned for teaching that gambling or mixed swimming are sinful acts?

    Next step: you and I fire a bunch of proof-texts back-and-forth.

    But I'd prefer not to engage in that. Rather, I'll look at this issue through the lens of my "Christ hermeneutic." So does Jesus condemn these people for their imperfect understanding and worship?

    My gut (Christ herm) tells me that he'd look at them and say, "here are a bunch of people that could be doing anything else in the world, yet they are here worshiping me in the best way they know how. It is disastrously imperfect. But they are faithful and penitent. They love one another, and they demonstrate that to those less than them. These are my children–worts and all."

    Like I said, you'll have no trouble proof-texting the heck out of everything I've just said. But at the end of the day, we have to look at Christ and try to be like him. So in your proof-texting, once you've reached your conclusion, you then must take a look at your end result and say, "does this look like Christ?"

    I feel my response here looks like Christ, to the best of my ability to know him as I do at this point in my life.

    There you go—I've tee'd it up for you nice and high….:)

  27. Mike Ward says:

    To say that if the progressives do not codemn every singlething the conservatives do, that they must accept everything is a false dilemma. This is a simple logical falacy, and as such there is nothing further that needs to be said to debunk it.

  28. Hank says:


    To whom are you speaking?

    Personally, I am not saying what the progressives here must or must not do….rather, I am only saying what the progressives actually end up doing. Namely, they refuse to say where, when, and/or why a group of professing Christians are sinning in how they choose to worship God. Whether in holding church services wherein their motorcycles and hamsters are blessed, or in doing the Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey. I mean, there are several here who are made sick by the activity and yet do not know (or refuse to say), why?

    Just read the post above yours wherein JMF says: "The HGHP seems absolutely crazy to me. If people started doing that around me, I’d probably curl up in the fetal and start sucking my thumb. Not to be insensitive, but that is weird stuff."

    And yet, in the end, he realizes that as a commited non-line drawing progressive, he MUST NOT actually say that they are sinning. For, if he does, he will immediately be in the same dilemna he sees with conservatives that are regularly rebuked here and then challenged. So, in the end, he knows he MUST respect their "crazy" and "wierd" stuff (worship). After all, nobody is perfect and therefore God will accept it all and be happy with whatever he can get. As JMF has put it, God will certainly "…look at them and say, “here are a bunch of people that could be doing anything else in the world, yet they are here worshiping me in the best way they know how.""

    Others have in this very thread said that the HGHP makes them sick, that they could only stomach a couple of minutes of it, and that it is a lie…and yet not a one of them will actually say that the whole thing is unacceptable to God (sinful). And how could they? Based on what?

    Finally, I have a hunch that you are no different in the sense that while you give lip service to not having to accept everything, in actuallity, you probably do too.

    Let's test it:

    Do you believe God accepts the HGHP and that it may very well be pleasing to Him? Or do you believe it is unauthorized, irreverant, and sinful?

    If so, based upon what? Why is it sinful and how do you know?

    But, if you determine that Holy Ghost Holy Pokey is an acceptable way of approaching the throne of God, try and give us just one example of an actual group of Christians worshipping God in a way that is in fact against his will and therefore sin? And then tell us all why?

    If you don't really have to accept everything in order to maintain your progressiveness.

  29. Bruce Morton says:

    Didn't Anonymous indicated genuine hurt? Sounds like it. Is he hyper-sensitive? My hurt at his comment about a supposed trait of COC was the same. And yes, he was doing exactly what Jay was doing. That is why I decided to write.

    Inferential powers? JMF, Jay's intention was satire, right? It hurt someone. Right? And yes, Anonymous comment about a COC trait was as a trait of COC denominations? Was that a compliment?

    JMF, when you argue to me that folks ought to be able to "joke around," I am surprised. Is that how you feel about Anonymous feelings as well?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton

  30. Bruce Morton says:

    I do not understand how my discussion of IM was based on Augustine's writings or patristic friends. Where did you read that in my essay or subsequent notes?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton

  31. JMF says:


    Regarding Mike's point: I don't believe his statement was directed towards me. But I'd like to comment on it anyway. I am trying to step out and deal with tough questions without resorting to "trying to win the debate." So rather than declaring a false dichotomy, I'd personally try and figure out what the person is getting at, and try to answer it.

    Take Hank, for instance. He believes the HGHP is insulting to God, as it isn't approved. For debating points, I could say that it may indeed be as pleasing to Him as our PowerPoints. And at that point, I've gone from trying to ascertain God's wishes for our worship to trying to win an argument. In that light, I'm truly trying to deal with what I consider to be a fair question, even though it is an extreme example.


    You make good points, as I knew you would. Even if I go with you to calling the HGHP sinful, what then? Did you and I not fall short in our worship today as well? If our worship did not meet God's standard, would it not also be sinful?

    So we've got Hank/JMF living in a state of perpetual sin on one hand (since we'll never measure up to our commands), and we've got the HGHP folks on the other hand worshiping the best they know how–yet sinning.

    Are we in agreement up to this point, Hank?

  32. JMF says:

    Hello Bruce!

    My comment about Augustine was meant as light-hearted ribbing, as from the other IM threads I've perused, patristic writing seems to be the backbone of the non-IM belief. Indeed, my career path as a comedian never really took off, and I should probably consider that whenever I try to be funny in a blog post!

    As to the other stuff, I don't have much further response. You and I may likely agree on what is acceptable Christian behavior, and what is not. I'm okay with that. I thought the responses (that were mostly poking fun at conservative logic) were funny and kind-spirited. If you or Hank had cracked a joke about progressives, I'd have appreciated it, too. I just don't take myself that seriously…especially among fellow brothers in Christ.

    I apologize if my comments have offended you.

    But let's not spend any more time on this—I imagine if we spoke for 30seconds on the phone, we'd find that we are in violent agreement! Such is our fallen nature–much less, the nature of typed communication. That being said, do you have any input on what Hank and I are discussing?

  33. Bruce Morton says:

    I was just surprised that you waded into my interaction with Anonymous. I thought his conclusions about Jay's comment were valid; but he was doing the same thing. Yes, let's move on; it is for Jay and Anonymous to wrestle with versus us.

    As for IM, the 'ribbing' did not affect as much as what you said. My discussion about song (recent essay) had nothing to do with Augustine or Patristics (which is the usual discusison re IM). But I saw a log of folks raise Patristics — when I had not. I hope you will go back and read the essay (which represents a small slice of a book entitled Deceiving Winds).

    As to what you and Hank have been discussing, I have read it, but it will help me for you to condense to a couple of questions. Are you asking what I think of HGHP or more?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton

  34. Hank says:

    JMF wrote:

    "Even if I go with you to calling the HGHP sinful, what then? Did you and I not fall short in our worship today as well? If our worship did not meet God’s standard, would it not also be sinful?"

    Yes it would. It certainly would!

    But you are going to back yourself into the very corner the other progressives here are trying to avoid. You better be careful.

    You see, in order to fellowship (not judge and/or condemn), Hokey Pekeyism, you turn around and consider everybody's worship sinful. You assume that you and I fell short in our worship yesterday and did not meet God's standard for such (although you likely have no idea where, how, and with whom I worshipped).

    But, JMF, do you even believe that God has any kind of standard (dare I say, pattern), for how and with what he desires to be worshipped.

    If so — what do you understand the standard to be. When and in in what ways can it be violated? Pray tell.

    If not — then you stand corrected in terms of saying you dont have to accept every conceivable type of non-sense a group of professing Christians can pull out of their backside in their new an exciting ways of worshipping God.

    But please don't say that Pokeyism makes you sick (would make you go all fetal should somebody do it next to you)…and then turn around and suggest that we all are in the same boat as the Pokeyists.

    But, I would like to hear you (or anybody else) explain wahtever standard you believe God has for how and with what he desires to be worshipped.

    If you do believe he has one…

  35. So … no one disagrees with me about two of the great big lies Satan has disseminated about the Holy Spirit? (above)

    Does that mean we have come to some sort of consensus on something?

  36. JMF says:

    Keith Brenton,

    I just read your "two lies" post. It is funny how you can read a verse multiple times and it still takes someone else every now and then to actually point the verse out to you!! I'm of course referring to Luke 11:13.

    What do you mean by, "name it and claim it"?

    Thanks for your post. You just never know how something small you might say can create waves of impact for someone else.

  37. "Name it and claim it" is a popular line among folks who are so focused on the Holy Spirit's power that they seem to have forgotten that He is doing God's will, not theirs. It reflects a mindset that God is just some sort of cosmic genie who will just grant them their wishes if they "name it and claim it."

    While that is an extreme (and Satan is really good at using extremes!), I think we have vastly underemphasized the reality expressed in Luke 11:13.

    I have to wonder if what James 4:1ff says applies to us … because we don't ask for the Holy Spirit.

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