Have You Heard of Grave Sucking?

Just when you think you’ve seen everything and just when you think things couldn’t get crazier within Christianity, the Internet comes prancing with tidings of weird news. And they all seem to come from the hyper charismatic camp, with stories like oil coming out of hands, gold dust appearing on people, holy laugher, barking like dogs, teeth getting filling in, getting gold teeth or heavenly jewels appearing out of nowhere. I remember hearing years ago and writing about a group of Christians who were “toking the ghost.” These guys would press against their lips and inhale, as though it were a marijuana joint, a small Gideon’s Bible OR baby Jesus statue from a Nativity scene OR a lamb from a Nativity scene OR a wooden cross OR just what seemed like an invisible cigarette. The reasoning behind it was blamed on the Holy Spirit, saying that the Spirit said if this act was done, they would enter a sort of charismatic/euphoric state. And so they’d press the baby Jesus statue, for instance, against their lips, inhale as though they were taking a drag off of a joint, exhale, and and then stoned. And they actually really looked stoned.

It was weird to say the least. Of course, there was Todd Bentley, who was going around kicking people in the face and stomach because he claimed God told him to heal people that way. I remember also hearing years ago, a group of Christians who said that they had a ministry for raising the dead. They’d go to local mortuaries and practice doing it. I even remember hearing someone tell a story once of how she met and defeated a man with a “werewolf spirit.” Well, as if that wasn’t enough to be like a shotgun blast of bewilderment, here’s something else I just learned about- Grave Sucking. Yah, you read that right. GRAVE. SUCKING.

Here’s the idea behind it- Imagine that someone is a missionary, claiming that that’s God’s call and mission for them in life. But then they die. In their death, God’s mission and plan for their life is thwarted. It stops. And it must continue. Well, now there’s a way. The solution, in the mind of those grave sucking, is to approach the grave of the deceased, lay hands on it, and pray. In doing so, that person’s mission can now be continued through you. Yah. And this isn’t just for the missionaries. According to them, it can be done for anything.

If you aren’t acquainted with Bill Johnson, I’m sorry I have to introduce you to him in this way. Although, I’m not sure there’s any subtle way of introducing this guy’s teaching because it’s so out there. Check out what he has to say:

“There are anointings, mantles, revelations and mysteries that have lain unclaimed, literally where they were left because the generation that walked in them never passed them on. I believe it’s possible for us to recover realms of anointing, realms of insight, realms of God that have been untended for decades simply by choosing to reclaim them and perpetuate them for future generations.”

Let’s just look at the obvious here – Scripture says nothing about any of this. This is totally foreign to the Bible. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t try to use the Bible to defend this practice. The passage they’d more than likely go to is 2 Kings 13:21 –

As they were burying a man, behold, they saw a marauding band; and they cast the man into the grave of Elisha. And when the man touched the bones of Elisha he revived and stood up on his feet. 2 Kings 13:21

Here’s an instance of a corpse being thrown into the grave of Elisha and coming back to life. Without even looking too deeply at the context of the passage, we can make a few observations right away that tell us this isn’t a proof text for grave sucking.

1) This is a historical narrative – a story about the past.

2) This passage isn’t a prescriptive text – preceded or followed by how we can do the same.

3) This has never happened before this point in the Old Testament Scriptures.

4)  It has never happened after this point in the Old Testament Scriptures.

5) There is not one implicit or explicit teaching for the church to practice these things in the New Testament Scriptures.

Aside from that, what kind of way does this depict God? It’s almost like God in this scenario is a genie who waits years until the next passerby releases him from the confines of his lamp so that He can get to work again. Sure, they don’t believe it’s God that is trapped in the corpse, but they do believe His “hands are tied” until you get the mission back on track. It certainly doesn’t sound like the sovereign God of the Bible that Paul speaks about to the Corinthians:

All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 1 Corinthians 12:11

He certainly doesn’t sound like the God that the Old Testament writers wrote about either:

“But He is unique and who can turn Him? And what His soul desires, that He does. Job 23:13

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases. Psalm 115:3

Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. Psalm 135:6

“All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’ Daniel 4:35

Whenever we are faced with a  new teaching like this, just stick to the plain teaching of Scripture. Don’t appeal to obscure historical texts from the Old Testament. Look for clear teachings. There is a desire in us to constantly grasp at new religious trinkets. We love new things. They don’t have to be physical either. We love learning new theologies and running with them too. And that’s fine as long as they are plainly taught in the Scriptures. This grave sucking is beyond bizarre, and is no different  than those Roman Catholics in Luther’s day who collected relics – a twig from Moses’ burning bush, John the Baptist’s skull, hay from Jesus’ manger, vials of the virgin Mary’s breast milk, skin from saints, and dirt from her home town to name a few. They believed firstly that those things they beheld were legitimately what they were claimed to be, and secondly, they believed they had power. They believed that if they could only be in the presence of these relics, power or blessings could be transferred to them.

We need to combat grave sucking the way that Luther combated the relics – with the gospel of Christ. We need to proclaim the utter powerlessness of humanity. There is no lingering power in their graves, just bones and rotting flesh. In Christ we have all we need. God’s hands aren’t bound. And they especially aren’t bound by mere humans. He is all powerful. He is the only power we will ever have, and He gives it as He pleases.


10 thoughts on “Have You Heard of Grave Sucking?”

  1. Could you point to the source Johnson’s statements? You linked to his Website, but I am not sure where to find those specific horrors… for reference, as I have no pleasure in error.


  2. Sorry for the repeated postings — I indeed found Johnson’s heresies, but no direct reference to the ‘grave sucking’ practice. Is it recorded anywhere?


    1. Idutra,

      Very sorry for not getting back to you sooner. I’ve had a computer that was out of commission. From what I’ve found, Johnson hadn’t taught this practice explicitly. Rather, people have taken his teachings to a weird conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, Johnson’s teachings are weird enough though. But this seems to be the natural outcome of horrible false teaching.


  3. This seems like heresy of me. There is no “Spirit” in granite. I am so sorry that with all the wealth in scripture people have resorted to this nonsense. I am very sad to read this.


  4. I initially took this as true, but then a friend challenged me on it so I decided to google “grave sucking” and got nothing. Can you help me with a little more proof of this other than the Bill Johnson quote that just implies this kind of thinking? Thank you much!


    1. Sandy,

      you won’t find any proof of this. It’s an unbiblical practice borne out of the false teaching that we can carry on each other’s callings.


      1. I understand it is not biblical. I’m trying to understand where you got the specific term “grave sucking” and the accompanying photo which implies this is what they are actually doing. The teaching of the passing along of mantles, anointings, gifts, etc. is bad enough, but to add to it without proof would be wrong of me. Thanks for helping me with the source of the particulars.


    2. Sandy,

      I really appreciate your desire to not be presumptuous. When I’d researched “Grave Sucking” the above image was one of the first I’d encountered on another article. As far as I can tell, the term “grave sucking” is not a derogatory term, but one used by charismatics. I’m not exactly sure about from where it had originated.


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