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!
I have so appreciated reading these posts. John seems to be approaching this with intregity, humility and thought. I would love to ask him some questions pertaining to what he said about his family.
Does his family travel with him? I have had children his ages. I was involved in these meetings. My kids couldn’t stay up till 1:00 for a service. At 7 they could participate some but not for much longer than about 30 minutes at 3. Mostly they spent time in nurseries while Mommy and Daddy got plastered. Or one of us had to stay home or they were with a babysitter. I just can’t see how his schedule (I looked at all the dates on his schedule from now till December – it is packed) would really include his family.
If I had the chance I would ask REALLY….how is this really working out for you and your wife and family. If his kids were teens – that would be one thing but babies just can’t do this.
This question is for all women, when the honey is gone for more than one day. Grace baby. Men in the military can be gone for months to yrs. The family survives.And if any women tells you its perfect all the time run away because she lives in the land of rainbows and unicorns.
If you had half an eyeball you would see that Lily is a TEN! John is not a retard. He is not going to blow his marriage on some purple flag waving creature(that god made, bless him.) You can tell there marriage is a united front. They are committed for the long haul.
My challenge is for people to stop figuring out who has the bigger brain. Get off your rump go outside talk to someone, pray with them and use the power and authority that dwells in you. Come back then and share and encourage oneanother. Why can’t I find that.
Instead most are caught on the vocabulary of John.
GET OVER YOUR SELF.
Go outside and pray with a stranger.NOW
Hey I totally agree about children having a shared stake in our gatherings as church and have been amazed at the spiritual experiences and openness of the young
But I also think that this is a misleading statements “You can brainwash a kid to believe a theology, but you cannot brainwash them enough to enjoy God.” just ‘cos a child acts a certain way doesn’t show what’s going on, on the inside real enjoyment/intimacy with God can’t be measured from the outside (this is a problem that the holy spirit experientialist Christians have always struggled with from the you aint pogo’in up and down enough therefore you don’t love Jesus worship leaders to if you can’t speak tongues you ain’t saved (that one goes all the way back to Wesley) IT JUST AIN’T TRUE
Plus a child can learn that behaving in certain ways and certain hows in certain environments to certain stimuli get attention (at least its better than the kids that act out to get it) get approval and over all fit in
Lets be honest you can brainwash a child to act however you want (and seeing none of us are God that the only way we seem to be able to measure the Holy spirits action in us maybe we stick with the old biblical confessing Jesus measure) and its been done in cults and religious groups time and time again let alone in the African Jungles where children are turned into soldiers (brainwashed to enjoy killing, you ain’t gonna get much more twisted than that)
I don’t need ‘the anointing’ that Mr. Crowder speaks of. Godly character would be…pretty much what I need–even if Mr. Crowder thinks that is silly. Paul says, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4). Character begins with suffering and ends in hope.
Character does not begin with a ‘drunken glowray’ or the ‘Jehovajuana annointing’ and end in hope. No. The end of that road is spritual addiction. Radical Charismatic junkies stumbling from one watering hole to the next. Spiritual bar-hopping. But I guess that is what Mr. Crowder is advocating as normal, healthy Christianity. He’s honest about it. Speaking of silliness, why not freebase some Christle meth? Or do a bump off my stash of the bread of life? I mean we’re talking about mainlining the Messiah here! Whewwww…come get some.
I guess that attitude could lead to suffering (withdrawal), perseverance (gotta get that fix), followed by DTs causing outlandish behavior(character), ending in some sort of self-imposed psychological gratification which is perceived as spirituality. The hope of this would drive a spiritual junky I suppose. Personally, I prefer the dignity and asceticism of pure Eastern mysticism as opposed to Mr. Crowder’s individualistic, irreverent, syncretism between Christian values and substance abuse.
I’ll bet Lily is indeed a ‘ten’ and John’s certainly no retard. I hope you got my clarification; I never thought J&B would be unfaithful; I was just wondering if their itinerant-ness plus the unique nature of their ministry was a strain to their wives. I hope you didn’t find the question offensive, as it’s one we mortals wonder about.
And I had to laugh at your depiction of “some purple flag waving creature.” 🙂
I wasn’t offended. I just thougt it was a waist of time. As in duh I’m sure it is at times, question. Most people are not as open about there marriage unlike myself(sometimes to a fault). I’ve never been more hurt or alone feeling as since I’ve been married. Are those feelings all the time, no thank you God. Have there been times were I just wanted to light his hair on fire, yes. But we both want our marriage to be epic not a comfortable nothingness. We both want to get down and dirty to get to the root of the problem.
You can not hide your secret sin from God! He see’s you at night and day. He’ll call you out gently at first or he’ll have some stranger read your mail. There is nothing like having a 5 yrs old kid read your mail telling what is what.
Mr. Crowder rolls with people who read mail for the lord. If he was’t taking care of his wife and kids his ministry could only sustain a momentum(sp) for so long and then it would flatten out and get stail. And he would be publicly called out by the lord. But just the opposite is happening. As also with Mr Todd Bently. You might not like the package but you can not in good faith say people are not getting saved and being healed. The church I go to with my Man. The pastors daughter has been fighting crohns disease(SP) for seven yrs. She is at the point where doctors can do no more but help with the pain. She went last week with 3 other people as well. Not only did her pain pills burst on the plane but after the first full day she was able to eat raw fruit and vegs with out it shoting out of her. She shared in church today and it was good. She said the first night she was a spectator. It was crazy unlike anything she had seen before and being a pk kid thats alot(John Wimber was her pastor growing up). She was honest it was not her style. But the next morning the ignited church pastor shared you got to eat the meat and spit out the bones. She was convicted and worshiped the lord as if he had healed her completly. She says she still has some side affects but she is greatly improved.
Porn is such a problem in the church. Help your buddies men, don’t keep turning a blind eye.
Women tell your husbands thank you for working so hard for our family. Keep feeding there hearts and souls with words of power and love.
My marriage made a 180 when I started respecting my Man. When God showed me that I was responsible for my own actions and that my husband was responsible for his and mine. That changed my heart towards my husband. If I did not show him respect he was going to seek it else where, buddies,work,hobbies, or other women. And have to kneel before Jesus and be asked about me. No man is above cheating on his wife. That is why we pray and ask for grace and mercy.
Mr Zman you are a leader of your peers. You are probably not married to a dillweed of a wife.(Picture kid 1+1=3 if you stay in the sheets long enough) If she was this site would not be open for business. She feeds you and builds you up so you can go out and kick brainy christian butt where you see fit.
I have to admit that I was a bit put-off by John’s statement that “we think it is a grievous sin for them ever to be bored in church.” Kids aren’t bored because the Holy Spirit is absent from the house, they’re bored (generally) because they’re addicted to multi-sensory input and can’t handle simply being around people. It’s a dangerous thing to teach kids that God is the enemy of boredom. He’s the enemy of those things that do us harm, including the frenetic addictions that keep us to busy to experience God at more intimate levels.
Not that we should strive to make church boring, but to aim for its’ opposite is to miss the goal completely. Our spiritual development is not founded in the pursuit of a buzz; it’s in the pursuit of Jesus and His Way in the world. Of course, speaking from a pentecostal world view, I would also add that encountering Jesus through the Holy Spirit is an intimate, powerful experience. I guess at the risk of sounding redundant, my caution here would be the same as my caution to a young person aiming to get married: it’s not about the sex. The sex is a vital component of a marriage, but a healthy marriage can’t be built on the orgasmic experience alone. What’s interesting is that it seems like John is a well-balanced guy; the persona he’s chosen is skewed to the extreme and feeds (IMHO) an unhealthy attachment to the manifestation TO THE NEGLECT of a broader-based intimacy with God, that includes forming love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.
“I don’t need ‘the anointing’ that Mr. Crowder speaks of. Godly character would be…pretty much what I need–even if Mr. Crowder thinks that is silly. Paul says, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Rom. 5:3-4). Character begins with suffering and ends in hope.
Character does not begin with a ‘drunken glowray’ or the ‘Jehovajuana annointing’ and end in hope. No. The end of that road is spritual addiction. Radical Charismatic junkies stumbling from one watering hole to the next. Spiritual bar-hopping. But I guess that is what Mr. Crowder is advocating as normal, healthy Christianity. He’s honest about it. Speaking of silliness, why not freebase some Christle meth? Or do a bump off my stash of the bread of life? I mean we’re talking about mainlining the Messiah here! Whewwww…come get some.”
Natrimony- OUCH! eesh dude- talk about a rant! While your on Romans 5 —- what about the first part of the chapter….
1THEREFORE, SINCE we are justified ([a]acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to [b]enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
2Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand.
And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.
THEN it says “we also…. ” thang… But ya jumped over the other part….. does it always have to have one or the other…
Why not have those times of refreshing and joy… cuz if i only know the suffering part – it makes me wonder about the Loving God thing! If the “Joy of the Lord is our strength -then we need that joy to get thru the suffering part to produce the other.
I for one…………… am Happily ADDICTED to GOD, and i don’t want a cure!