This post continues a four-part interview with arguably the most controversial contemporary charismatic minister, John Crowder. It’s worth noting that Crowder’s ministry has evolved since 2008, and that he’s recently released two new books reflecting this: Mystical Union & Seven Spirits Burning. The conversation picks up…
Over the next several days, John and I will have a 3-4 part dialogue about some questions and concerns that occurred to me about their lives and ministry. Some are specific for them in their unique ministry, and others are general questions I’d have if I was talking to any itinerant prophetic minister or revivalist in this Spirit-saturated stream of faith. I learned a ton; read on…
Mike: So John, what do you’re your and Ben’s wives think about all this recent ministry? Particularly yours, John! I mean, with four kids and all, being out all the time at Holy Ghost House Parties with beautiful sisters in Christ all around…itinerant ministry of any kind can be tough, but poured out in this fun ‘party’ manifestation, I’ll bet it’s extra challenging. Too often we only hear from the ‘alpha-male’ front-line ministers (when the ministers happen to be male)…what do the wimmin think??
John: Not sure why you ask this, but I have a hunch … Of course, my wife can speak for herself [Ooh! Can we have her do a guest blog?], but she loves the wildness of God. She often gets more plastered in the love of God than I do. She has seen me dry, bored and performance oriented. And she very much prefers the joyful, whacked, spiritually inebriated John much better. It does wonders for a marriage when the two of you are actually happy all the time (not just pretending to be so). Understand for starters that we are NOT Pentecostal, just because we interact with Holy Spirit. So you have to do away with all those old AG/holy roller mindsets of dominating women and forcing them to play the part of pastor’s wife (Pentecostal churches on the whole don’t like us very much, by the way). By this, I mean we are not chauvinistic abusers who keep our wives’ heads covered, barefoot and pregnant. We do not take the Mars Hill approach at all in this regard. The first person I ever ordained was a woman. We think the entire family needs to be integrated into the things of the Spirit.
Mike: Very cool. The family that drinks together…It’s nice to know she’s ‘with you’ in this adventure.
John: I would like to say that in terms of healthy families, marriages, sexual purity and other similar issues (if this is what you are hinting at), then there is a tremendous misconception (lie) among non-charismatics that all Spirit-filled persons somehow lack character and integrity in these areas. I would like to see a statistic on this, because it is simply not fact. I would contend that the opposite is true. It is not a common thread that spiritually gifted/charismatic people are shallow in the area of personal integrity, character and taking care of their families. This has been a common, baseless judgment coined off the back of a few televangelist scandals in the ‘80s. This “character argument” is really just an excuse for many non-charismatics NOT to pursue the Holy Spirit. I’ve even heard people say “I don’t need the anointing, I just want to have good character.” How silly is that? The anointing is the very unction of God the Holy Spirit Himself! How arrogant to think we can muster up good character on our own, without the help of God. Only the Spirit of God can sustain a healthy marriage.
Mike: Ah, geez. Now I feel like a tool. I’m sorry for how my questions about your wives seemed. (And by ‘your wives’ I mean ‘yours and Ben’s’ – I’m not adding a fresh accusation of polygamy!) I was not insinuating unfaithfulness on your part – far more mundane than that, I just wondered if it’d be tough for your wife if you were on the road and she was home with the kids – especially since you’re so handsome and are bringing the Rave Anointing!
No problem. I didn’t take it personally, just thought you may be addressing the whole assumption that charismatics all have a fornication hobby. Not that many don’t, it’s just that the problem probably cuts across denominational lines.
Incidentally, Christianity Today agrees with your assessment of the Charismatic Playboy myth. Attempting to remove foot firmly from mouth, tell me more about the kiddies…
John: As for the kids, we think it is a grievous sin for them ever to be bored in church. The last thing we want is to give them the wrong impression that God is not an eternal source of excitement and holy pleasure. Children are a great indicator of whether the Spirit of God is really moving in your midst. If the kids are engaged – if they want to be in the services and they are demonstrating a real hunger for God on their own initiative – I think that something is happening right. If they are bored, then so is God. You can brainwash a kid to believe a theology, but you cannot brainwash them enough to enjoy God. We try to learn from our children. We listen to them, because they are continually saying prophetic things. There is really no age difference in the Kingdom. All of us will live for millions of years, so why is it difficult to learn from someone who is just 25 years younger than us? Everyone plays an integral part. We do not view the children as tag-a-longs. Every itinerate minister you see throughout history burned their family out because they could not find ways to engage the entire family in the ministry.
Mike: Yeah, I was that a lot with visiting ministers growing up in Assemblies of God churches. I even sometimes wonder how my emerging public-speaker friends do it. Any practical tips on keeping your family and your ministry?
John: I turn down many conferences and ministry opportunities in order to pace my schedule for the family. For us, family is a priority over ministry. In fact, I really don’t give much of a rip about “building ministry” in general anyway. I just stay whacked up, and somehow I get invitations to speak. If I cared about building a ministry empire, I would sure do things a lot differently and tone things down a lot more. I don’t care about making things palatable, I just want to experience the Lord and help others to do so.
Mike: Alrighty John. Tomorrow we get to talk about all that whacked-out druggie anointing that’s ticking so many people off!