This is the post that started it all – 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. And now, without further ado…
And this is why I value talking to people and not just about their ideas, beliefs, and actions. Dialogue opens up so many doors of mutual understanding, respect, and maybe even partnership in common endeavor, despite (or because of!) the real differences that exist at the end of the day. When I posted Charismatic Chaos or (Holy) Spirited Deconstruction? I emailed John Crowder and Ben Dunn privately to a.) Let them know about the post and b.) Let them know that in addition to my cautious and idiosyncratic support for what they were doing, I had some questions and concerns. John quite graciously took time from his busy schedule to write me a novel in response – something I’ve not often seen any challenged people in ministry do, from any stream of the family of faith. I’m quite taken with the breadth, depth, and tone of John’s response, even while some differences of spirituality and praxis remain. So without further ado, I’m going to hand today’s blog entry over [with only the barest occasional interspersions-and hyperlinks-from me]. Ladies and gentlemen, Brother John Crowder!
Hi Mike – Thanks for writing and thanks for what you do. Enjoyed your blog and we would love to contribute something for you. Feel free to use any of these rambling thoughts for the site. [Thank you, John! I shall use them all. And if this is how you ramble, I’d hate to see you focused!]
I am normally quite busy for something like this (doing my circus road show in church basements all over the world! : ) ) but I appreciate your honest questions and know that you reach a lot of people who have a clear hunger for the things of the Spirit. We are quite familiar with the emergent church, and while not actively involved in Emergent as an “entity” we are having a lot of fun watching the fur fly, as we seem to have inadvertently broken a few sacred paradigms over the past few weeks. It’s an entertaining ride. It was exciting to garner a full expose in the Wittenburg Door – a magazine I have secretly loved for years! I feel like I need to buy a white suit now and preach from a golden throne to live up to all this notoriety. We also got an indirect slap on the wrist from Charisma this month in the editorial (for smoking Jehovah-wanna and Baby Jesus). When it rains it pours!
You hit the nail on the head in discussing the deconstruction of Pentecostalism – and kudos for addressing the topic of “emergent snobbery,” something the emergent camp has long winked at, if not openly coddled (especially toward “Spirit-filled” ministries – how dare those charismatics have a brain!)
[Mike sez: I think this is actually a little more complex than that – of course, wouldn’t I, being emergent and all? ; ) But really. A whole term has been coined, ‘post-charismatic,’ (not ‘anti’) to describe many ’emergers’ who love the Holy Spirit but who feel down-and-out about many aspects of Pentecostal and charismatic culture. In our own efforts at deconstruction, we’ve tried very hard not to throw the – ahem – baby out with the bathwater, but I know we’ve fallen short in many areas.]
I would love to talk about this just a little, as well as to give a brief anti-apologetic on the ongoing blogger fray, before getting to your questions.
[Yes! Please do.]
Obviously, there are many bloggers better educated than I, who have an edge on what God Almighty is doing, who will never be able to acknowledge His movements outside their own personal experience (Bless their hearts). I would not waste time trying to convince someone who already has all the answers. For this reason, we do not engage in defensive diatribes (not trying to be negative, just honest). But I do love constructive (& deconstructive) controversy in the name of our Lord. Rather than offer up an apology to anyone who has a beef with us, we have just chosen never to defend ourselves. A form of radical pacifism I suppose, or else its just too much work to keep track of it all, considering the trail of carnage we leave behind us. Our nonresponsiveness on the blog circuit should not be mistaken as elitism – we do not assume ourselves too posh to combat these rampant strikes at our good names (My favorite are those blogs which end with the classic pomo courtesy tag at the end: After viciously lashing out at us, they say … “Or maybe I’m missing something and Crowder is right after all.” True Christian humility, I am sure).
[Aww, Steve’s not so bad. Next time you’re in C-Town hanging out with Ricky J and Company, look him up. He’ll have a drink with you – though spirits or Holy Spirit on tap, that y’all will have to work out!]
Anyway Mike, you are the first person to approach us directly, so we appreciate the chance to talk.
[And I appreciate that you’re talking!]
Of course, nasty emails are common for us, but I know where the delete button is. We’ve found the freedom in not caring about reputation or having to spend ourselves on the already satiated. I’m too addicted to the Wine Room to care about that stuff. And there are so many thousands of hungry people who want to experience God in fresh new ways, why get sidetracked by a few resilient critics? Other than this forum, folks should know we won’t be scrambling to correct every inaccuracy that floats around about us on the web. In fact, we like to intentionally chuck rocks at the hornet’s nest, just to stir things up all the more, then run away snickering at the mess we’ve made.
Just wanted to clear that up, so that readers know our motives in writing this. We want to be available to the thirsty, but this is not a knee-jerk reaction to some cyber-persecution. Whenever we get defensive, we cease to be on the offense. Life is too short to continually be explaining yourself.
I honestly believe that the age of apologetics is over, and the age of activation has come. Experience is more important than explanation. Not that explanation is irrelevant, but it is subsidiary. When we look at the ministry of Jesus, He rarely gave an explanation, prior to the experience. Mystery must be embraced before it is explicated. Jesus only explained Himself to the inner circle who were truly hungry. To those on the outside, he always spoke in parables and enigmas. It is almost as if he put up an intentional roadblock to the minds of men, offending their thoughtwork in order to reveal their hearts. Consider when He told the multitudes to essentially “Eat Me.” He knew that half of them would walk away, but He said it anyway.
What we see today is a lot of people looking for a Pneumatology without the Pneuma. They want the package without the Toy. What if God is intentionally making the package raw and offensive to these, in order to reveal their true colors? Maybe the package is irrelevant, as long as we’ve got the Toy.
It’s Hubris but it Makes Me Feel Cool!
Let me say something quickly about the emergent movement, while I’ve got your ear:
[Please do. You’ve got it! The emergoblogosphere is listening.]
While I have long acknowledged the existence of postmodernity as a reality of the age, this very intellectual elitism on which you have commented is one of the chief reasons I have been hesitant to dive headlong into the trendy “fad” aspect of the emergent discussion. I should add at the onset that I would not consider myself “emergent” anymore than I would consider myself “charismatic.” But both camps try to pin me down into the other. In the same way, you could say I am neither catholic nor protestant (I am not protesting anything; I am pursuing Someone). Like most emergents, I reject labels. Without the restraints of such labels, we are more apt to truthfully address the sacred cows in every respective camp. My orthodoxy may not be as generous as McLaren’s, but I am not ignorant of the discussion and appreciate the influx of new ideas. This openness is a God-given dispensation, but it must be guarded in the context of true humility. Whether they like to admit it or not, many emergents are entrenched in a religious package of trying to look cool and trying to impress a select audience with their perceived edginess of theological progression. The melee of anti-charisma these past few weeks is an indicator of a deeper problem. It surfaces clearly, for example, when they do not have a grid for someone who comes along with an outlandish orthopraxy.
[I’m not gonna say much here…but…most of those who came out strongest in response to some YouTubes they saw of you, actually are charismatic folks who would consider themselves ‘moderate’ and also in some way ’emerging.’ I hope to be hearing from some of youse in the comments below…]
To many emergents, some of my colleagues and myself will always be a challenge to the “new” intellect-based models of Christianity. I believe the intellectual pursuit of mystery is intrinsically modern in nature, by the way. It is an old hag carried over from the Age of Reason/Enlightenment, or shall we say further back – it is gnostic in origin (the idea that we are saved by knowledge is perhaps the very antithesis of the gospels, which say we are saved by the finished work of Jesus Christ). Gnosis is not the gateway that reveals mystery – faith is. And so for all the talk of pressing into terra nova, I believe there is inherent danger of building an intellectual religion of non-religion that is rooted in “ideas” and “discussion-only” without true, tangible interaction with the divine. I love the emergent notion of pulling outside the ecclesiastical boundaries of dead formality. But without radical possession by the Holy Spirit, we are simply “moving out” of something, and never “entering into” Someone. I do not see a majority of emergents discussing personal, supernatural experiences with this God we so glibly talk about, though many are quick to lay charges of charlatanry on anyone who does (by supernatural experiences I mean far more than the simple, goose-bumped quiet time, as beautiful as they may be. What is so far-fetched about healings, dead-raisings and even more extreme miracles, if we claim to know Big Pappa Himself?). I do not say this of ALL emergents, only those who are quick to shoot with their religiously non-religious anti-bullets. This criticism of what we do not understand (or have maybe never experienced firsthand) can be the most detrimental element to our spiritual walk. It is the very essence of hubris.
A Lack of Discernment
According to the recent blogstorm surrounding us, we are accused of being anti-intellectual, if not throwing our “discernment” right out the window (love the graphic, Robby Mac. God still loves you). I’ve previously made the point that I am rubber and the critics are glue, but nevertheless, allow me to respond to this topic. Let me say for one that “discernment” is not an intellectual tool made up of theological principles and opinions. I would die for good theology, and we all need sound doctrine. But discernment comes not from the head, but from the belly. If I may be so fundamental as to use a scriptural example, consider Luke 1 when Zechariah (a priest highly educated in theology) encounters an angel. Zack’s discernment of this encounter was so poor that he essentially asked the angel to “prove himself.” Zechariah, a well-studied priest, should have comprehended that this experience was from God. Because of his spiritual dullness, doubt, fears or all of the above, he was struck mute. He should have been on the cutting edge, but he missed it.
But hold the phone! In this very same chapter, a young, simple, likely uneducated girl named Mary had a similar angelic encounter. She lacked the theological armory and Princeton training of Zechariah, but she could taste something of Heaven on this experience. Mary was given a much more far-fetched word: you will give birth not merely to a prophet, but to the Son of God Himself! How crazy! Yet somehow, because of her intimate relationship with the Lord, her hunger or her faith – she instinctively discerned that this encounter was legitimate. She did not say “prove it to me.” She said “tell me more.” She said “let it be according to your word.” Her discernment was greater, because she intimately knew God enough to recognize how He felt, tasted and smelled. She had been with Him, not merely read about him. She could smell the cassia and aloes of Heaven on this encounter, and she jumped right in without having to process it. She discerned correctly. Not from her head or her theology. From her belly.
Intellectual discernment is a holdover from modernism. Moreover, it is paranoia-based (always focused on keeping the devil out, but never recognizing God when He is trying to come in). This spirit of fear is the bread and butter of the heresy hunter pages. The greatest discernment you will ever have is to be able to recognize God, not the devil. Anyone, the most depraved sinner, can point out the devil. But will we recognize God when He is trying to come in? We should embrace Him, even at the cost of our present level of understanding. I want to intimately experience Him. And I trust Him enough to explain later, if an explanation is even necessary. I would rather my spirit and heart to fully engage in experiential interaction, and allow my mental paradigms to catch up later. Is this anti-intellectual? Far from it. It is simply putting the mind and its Greco-rationalistic structures in their place, secondary to heart. What many consider “intellectual” is actually mental insanity (1 Cor. 2:14-15). True sanity only comes through conscious-altering epiphanies with God.
God wants the intellect to bloom and flourish. He does want a renaissance of fresh ideas and creativity to revolutionize not just the face of Christianity, but to transform all of society in a holistic fashion. But how arrogant to think our minds can be supernaturally renewed at such a colossal fashion apart from the very Spirit of God Himself! Who are we to limit God to the academic diagnoses of the seminary, or to the reading of books? I know Who I have experienced. I have seen His power. I have tasted His freedom. I’m done trying to make sense of it all. I am in for the ride.
If I am a nutbar for shaking on the floor – and yet I am experiencing the love of Jesus – then count me with the crazies. I am tired of running endless mental circles and playing religious games. The time for playing games is over. The time has now come to play games.
And there you have it, friends! Not quite the staggering HolyGhostDrunk response many anticipated, eh? So whaddaya think? Keep it respectful, please, but be free. And yes – there’s more! Over the next week, John and I will be discussing, one at a time, all the “Yeah, but…” ‘s that occurred to me as I dipped into my past and their present concerning the Holy Spirit’s wild side.
Originally posted May 30, 2008.
I like many have seen the YouTube videos. The style is different, but the basic flow is much like what we were seeking as young charismatics in the early eighties. We had this new power tool. We knew it would do something, but were not sure how it worked. The instruction manual only had a few lines and a few photos. We plugged the tool in and went to work. We developed a praxis that was fun and gave something of a high, but I look back now and say we had very little biblical foundation for what we were expressing.
I do NOT discount that John and Ben and even Todd love Jesus. I would even say that according to the videos John would be a blast around a dinner table in conversation, building the relationship of spiritual family.
I find myself in the position of Gamaliel in Acts 5. I am not about to say this is NOT God. I will say that with TIME a theology/doctrine should temper the hype. If this is not a sincere move of the HS, it will fade away into the history of the charismatic movement. If it IS God then He will direct the wave to focus on a Risen Jesus.
I may have grown old and cynical. I WILL own cynical;), but this “seems” like MD 20/20 versus a finally aged Cab or Merlot or Pinot Noir.
john – very well answered. look forward to hear the rest of the message through Mike. You probably have more in common than you think to those in the charismatic-influenced emerging church, esp. overseas where there is a whole lotta shakin goin on.
Very interesting reading. Thanks for contacting Mr. Crowder. I hope to do so as well.
Hmmm…Crowder represents himself well. He’s obviously practiced turning a phrase. I might have to check out his book–don’t really want to buy it though. Even so, he uses many of the standard mystical catchphrases (mystics of every flavor–Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, etc. are remarkably similar). “Intellectual discernment is a holdover from modernism.” Maybe so, however, modernism is a holdover from Scholasticism which grew out of the monastic ‘mystical’ environment which Crowder purportedly supports.
John Crowder describes a methodology for discernment that, “is simply putting the mind and its Greco-rationalistic structures in their place, secondary to heart. What many consider “intellectual” is actually mental insanity (1 Cor. 2:14-15). True sanity only comes through conscious-altering epiphanies with God.”
On that note, it’s becoming more and more vogue to embrace the Hebraisms of the Bible and to reject the Greek tendency for specificity. There is probably some fancy handle for this trend in criticism but…I am at a loss for it at the moment. Whatever the case, 1 Cor. 2.14 speaks of the unregenerate person, not the brainiac, the scholar, or the type of nit-picking, pursed-mouthed, doctrinaire, know-it-alls which people such as myself are often cast as. 1 Cor. 2.16 also tells us that we have the (νουν–if you’ll permit the use of my Greco-rationalistic training) mind, understanding, discernment, intellect of Christ. Yeah, discernment and intellect are synonyms here. Go figure.
Consciousness-altering epiphanies with God are not true sanity, they are more like vacations–not merely a state of mind but also of being. They’re a blast when they happen and are always worth reflecting on (I still look at my honeymoon photo album about twice a month) but its kind of nice to be on your own couch, you know, the one you’ve been breaking in for 3 years that has that perfect ass-groove. Well, I guess that some people want to live on vacation (I know that I do sometimes), that’s o.k. I guess…but don’t insist that living at Sandals Jamaica is ordinary.
A good friend, Keith Gibson went to the trouble of compliling the following list of mystical charismatic cliches. See if you can spot your favorite one, better yet see if you can locate Mr. Crowder’s basic argument. I believe that entire books have been written based out of one or more of the following theses.
“God can’t be put in a box.” (one of my personal favorites).
“God is tearing down the religious spirit.”
“You are stuck in your tradition.”
Dare to challenge a particular leader or call into question their doctrine and one runs into more loaded language.
“We are not to judge.”
“Why are you coming against him?”
“Love covers but judgment uncovers.”
“If it is not of God it will fail but if it is of God you can’t stop it.”
“Look at the fruit.”
“Touch not my anointed.”
“Truth is a person, not a doctrine.”
“Jesus is more important than doctrine.”
Ask them to evaluate their seeming out of control behavior and you get….
“God offends the mind to reveal the heart.”
“God doesn’t want us living from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
Push too hard and the ad hominem attacks begin.
“You have a jezebel spirit.”
“You have a religious spirit.”
“Satan is the accuser of the brethren.”
I am amazed and so incredibly thankful for this discussion. It’s the exact thing I’ve been struggling with. (if I misspell forgive me, I can hardly see the flea sized font)
~While I have long acknowledged the existence of postmodernity as a reality of the age, this very intellectual elitism on which you have commented is one of the chief reasons I have been hesitant to dive headlong into the trendy “fad” aspect of the emergent discussion.~
John’s been hesitant-I’ve been downright scared.
I left the IC seven years ago, and have slowly processed my new growth, trying to balance on what seems to be a tightrope between two skyscrapers. Having been brought up in the Pentecostal Church and having seen some wild things, I have come to a wall– unwanting to reject my truth to follow fully into the EC, but unable (unwanting) to return. I had lurked on some popular EC message boards and was disillusioned at what seemed to be a sorched earth policy towards the work of some prophetic ministries. (And the saddest part, when viewed from the center, there were some powerful prophecies spoken for the EC/Homechurch. On the other side of the coin, the IC ministries may not have seen who they were speaking to).
I guess my point is that there is room at Jesus’s table for all, and everyone of us are expressions of a God that is unfathomable in his vast creativity.
I’m excited to see that others are having the same dilemna and are able to discuss it.
Great, I try to leave formula-based Christianity and when I find the Emergent dialog I find out that it is elitism… Now what do I do?
I don’t think the emerging conversation is really elitism, but we all have our moments – know what I mean? Stick around – you might like it!
* * * * *
John is too spiritual to be bothered with the irrational…er…rational fears of those nasty heresy hunters. After all their fears only confirm that they are of weaker faith than the mystics. Experience trumps intellect, and they don’t have the experience.
No snobbery there.
So how does Paul admonish us to deal with those of weaker faith?
* * * * *
From my perspective there is no one quite so intolerant as those demanding tolerance.
Consciousness-altering epiphanies with God are not true sanity, they are more like vacations–not merely a state of mind but also of being.
I beg to differ!
If one is actually having consciousness altering epiphanies with God truly, then it is not like vacation. There are permanent alterations being made in our conscious world.
wow well that was just too cool for me. i wonder what crowder does with folks who have experience and intellect. i guess that would trump any further discussion ?
8Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty,9according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.10And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.11And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.12And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,15for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,17and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
18And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.20And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.”21And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple.22And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute.23And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying,25“Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,27to a virgin betrothed [fn2] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” [fn3] 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” [fn4]
35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born [fn5] will be called holy—the Son of God.36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.37For nothing will be impossible with God.”38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant [fn6] of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. ESV
Interesting how both Zechariah and Mary asked the same question. Both were in fear of the visitation. I am not sure that one can take these verses and come up with the interpretation and poetry (but she could taste something of Heaven on this experience. Mary was given a much more far-fetched word: you will give birth not merely to a prophet, but to the Son of God Himself! How crazy! Yet somehow, because of her intimate relationship with the Lord, her hunger or her faith – she instinctively discerned that this encounter was legitimate. She did not say “prove it to me.” She said “tell me more.” She said “let it be according to your word.” Her discernment was greater, because she intimately knew God enough to recognize how He felt, tasted and smelled. She had been with Him, not merely read about him. She could smell the cassia and aloes of Heaven on this encounter, and she jumped right in without having to process it. She discerned correctly. Not from her head or her theology. From her belly.) that Mr. Crowder has used since nowhere in the scriptures are we alluded to her relationship with the Lord….
Where does one get all of this creative, discriptive analogy of Mary’s position in the Lord? All we are told is that SHE was favored by the LORD…
Good observation, Layla!
One other observation: “Her discernment was greater, because she intimately knew God enough to recognize how He felt, tasted and smelled.”
Except that Mary was talking to Gabriel, not God. 🙂
Thanks, Mike. I really enjoyed that………………a blog with dialog. Is that common?
After what happened to us last weekend, I can really identify with how he feels about rejection. For the first time though I wasn’t bothered a bit by it. In fact I thought of the embarrassment it was to the poor guy. I think we all have a circle of friends among whom we would truly suffer if rejected. For example, this message board. It would hurt to be unsubbed. We might all arrive at a place where we can’t participate, for whatever reason, but it would hurt to be cut off. Does that make sense? If we walk in the Spirit we WILL suffer rejection. The son of the bond woman persecutes the son of the free. Remember that they are our brothers, and trust the only truly trustworthy, LJC!
This is a really beautiful description of being born. It is the very thought I had when first hearing the term, *emergent church.* New born. Emerging from the womb. And nothing wrong with being New………….neo or kairos………….. Sarah weaned Isaac and Abraham celebrated the weaning! Isaac’s primary interaction is transferred from mother to father. Life is about progression.
The only way into the kingdom is through the church. I just had this thought: At each birth two very significant organisms *emerge.* One is the PLACENTA, which is dead at the very moment of separation, and DOA! The other organism is a living PERSON.
Nobody is born into the kingdom of God without being radically possessed by the Holy Spirit and that doesn’t change. I am radically possessed even when I don’t see it or feel it.
And I really liked the following words he expressed. I don’t know about all the jargon of *Greco-rationalistic structures.* I too want to be *fully engaged in the experiential interaction,* the reality of God in Christ Jesus.
I can see better that he understands they are *playing.*
You were absolutely right about labels having their place. Thanks for the thoughtful comment on my blog, and I’m looking very forward to reading your conversations with John.
One thing I know, is that to deny what I have experienced concerning the workings of the Holy Spirit would be like me denying that one of my children were my own. In the past 7 years my faith has been torn down brick by brick and the one thing that kept me believing in God at all were my experiences with the Holy Spirit. If that can be compressed down to a cliche, then so be it.
Hi Mike and All,
I’ve been following the post and comments, and just had a quick thought to relate. As a Professional Futurist, and student of change dynamics and strategic thinking, it’s important to me to not only tie together both the “macro” and “micro” of every situation, but also to inhabit the “meta” territory across disciplines/thought/practice as much as is possible – all the while continually learning (which includes both understanding and experience). With this in mind, we can find the “treasure” in other viewpoints and rest assured that we – as individuals – are where we need to be right now. As we reach an apex of growth in one cycle (of life, or thought, or practice), we tend to experience a shift to another growth curve or cycle (or we stagnate, which can have its purpose as well). This can be seen in the biblical promise of a movement from “glory to glory” or “strength to strength,” and resonates with the talk of deconstruction of a previous level in order to access another growth cycle (Similar to the theory of “Creative Destruction.”) In essence, much more than we presently imagine is most likely in the process of deconstruction and reconstruction, and there are whole other epistemes outside of our realm of “realities,” – both for Emergent and Charismatic – that can lead to even more liberating and creative spaces in God. Could it be said that most here agree that “unlearning” is even more powerful than “learning,” and that God is after ongoing transformational development moreso than attaining to a particular level of truth? (In response to a previous comment – with all respect intended – I believe this is what Jay Gary was referring to when he differentiated between “present-past” and “present-future.” Both are useful as the poles of “push” and “pull” in moving toward productivity or relationship, but cannot be defined exclusively by “pomo” ideologies; this concept is meant to motivate toward a mindset of transformational initiatives and lifestyles.)
This is fun, Mike. I already wrote my piece in response to Steve K.’s treatment, never having heard of Mr. Crowder prior to his now-epic post. I’m thankful to you and John for setting a table for conversation – our relationship with the Spirit is vital to partnering with Jesus in the world. What seems to evade this entire conversation, however, is where any of this intersects with missio dei. Acts 2, the pentecostal lynchpin, is bookended by an utterly unexpected, non-marketed divine infusion of earth wind and fire on one side, and the Jesus community learning to master the art of living in the way of God on the other. I do not question the veracity of what’s being experienced in the various youtube videos mentioned; however, I think an important counterweight to the “wild side,” is a living into the way of Jesus (i.e., empowerment). I’m afraid that the chasm separating pentecostal Christians from others has less to do with a disdain for the Holy Spirit, than a valid concern for the way we’ve narrowly framed the benefits in self-centered, experiential narratives. Is there room for rolling up our sleeves and partnering with God in the vineyard amidst all the heavy wine drinking going on? I should state that this is not a charge leveled at Mr. Crowder – apparently he’s heavily involved in the work I’m alluding to. Yet this is likely the reason a straw man has been made out of the messenger.
“I’m afraid that the chasm separating pentecostal Christians from others has less to do with a disdain for the Holy Spirit, than a valid concern for the way we’ve narrowly framed the benefits in self-centered, experiential narratives. Is there room for rolling up our sleeves and partnering with God in the vineyard amidst all the heavy wine drinking going on?”
Yes – thus, transformational development.
How devistating to find out on my wedding night that my husband just wanted to love me and be loyal to me but wanted NO experience with me – no hug, no kiss, and no lovin.
LAME!!!!! That is no consolation prize.
If you could be eating with Jesus at his table, what could ever be more important that would make you leave? I can’t think of anything.
Quite true, Carrie. But if – after the meal – Jesus wanted to get up and go do something (as he was wont to do), I wouldn’t want to be stuck at an empty table trying to recreate a feast out of some breadcrumbs, whilst Jesus is in action.
Now to the best of my understanding, the Crowders’ ministry involves soaking in God’s presence and getting off our @##es–but you’re getting ahead of me, missional commentators! That’ll be discussed in a couple of days. 🙂
The Bible suffers from the same fate as email, text messages, and blog comments; there is no tone. We have to add speech inflection and all audio-verbal stuff in our heads. So Mary and Zachariah “words” look the same but they might have used a different “tone” with Gabriel and that was the difference.
I’m enjoying the conversation from the edge of my seat!
I’m particularly thrilled with how John stands in the middle, neither completely identifying with or dismissing either the charismatic or emergent camps. This is where I also dwell.
I have enjoyed the “intellectual” emergent conversation for what it has captured of the Lord’s mind and heart, and I’ve enthusiastically attended a few choice emergent venues. At the same time, I have long practiced everything from “speaking in tongues” to prophecy and even had a slight taste of the shaking, laughing stuff.
I admit though that I am somewhat uncomfortable with the extreme practices of the latter of this list of experiences – and while I might be prone to write off phrases such as “tokin’ the Ghost” as creative language that expresses revelry in God’s exceeding greatness as the giver of Joy in comparison to anything a drug could give, I’ve been somewhat startled by my emergent-aligned friends’ offense to such phrases, and taken the time to reflect whether or not I have become too cavalier about such “creative language” in view of God’s greatness…
So as a hybrid emergent, I embrace the “conversation.” As a charismatic, my eyes (yes, my eyes, not my powers of reason) are peering carefully around the room to discern the flow of the anointing. And here is where I think both camps have something to offer one another – reflective conversation, such as those in Malachi who “feared the Lord and spoke to one another of these things” along with those who are truly willing to get their feet wet and their hands dirty in the realm of spiritual experience, need to offer and receive their gifts from one another.
So as a hybrid charismatic, I have one question of my brother Crowder and the rest of our company… which would be, what if the discernment in your belly realms is saying, “Nope, this ain’t Me.” Where in the practice of our modern day charismatic schtik do those with the true, spirit-inspired, spirit-led gift of belly discernment get to use that gift for the body so that we let in even MORE of the True Anointing and keep people from being distracted and sidelined into other junk? I’m not talking about anyone’s colorful use of phraseology (such as Crowder’s) and this isn’t an indictment on Lakeland or anything specifically going on – but since the topic of belly discernment has been thrown onto the table – as a “discerner” it has often seemed to me that somehow demonic activity and the Holy Spirit are moving among the same crowd, at the same time, and I yearn to see our corporate experiences cleansed of such mixture and so that we can be even more immersed in the True Fire.
So if we are going to dismiss “intellectual” discernment in favor of belly discernment, that’s great – but where does the latter get to weigh in on the situation without being relegated to the realm of “that’s just your fears” or some other emotion and not used to keep the bride spotless for Jesus?
Great conversation, keep it coming 🙂
I love your passion for partnering with God and changing the world! But first, we probably should consider partnering with each other ~ the emergents have the drive (while their Power-base is somewhat undeveloped), and the charismatics have the Power (while they are often inexperienced in christian community and organizational drive) – I can’t wait to see the marriage of the two!
This dialogue is indeed interesting. In really listening to each other’s understanding of their experiences with God, we can learn much.
At their best, emergents draw from the diversity of the Christian experience over two millenia, rather than adopting strains of Christianity hook, line, and sinker, or dismissing them altogether. God speaks to us in many ways – Praise God! – and there may be ways that particularly speak to us as individuals or faith communities (which can change over time), but this does not mean that other ways may be valid or that we should avoid any practice of them.
Emergents do tend to draw in a lot of cerebral, highly educated folks, and that can lead to a lack of balance, and sometimes some snobbery. We all need to be humble before the Lord.
I believe the charismatic is an important way in which God speaks to us, and emergents should try not to be afraid of it. But this does not mean more cerebral approaches lack any value.
I have one question of my brother Crowder and the rest of our company… which would be, what if the discernment in your belly realms is saying, “Nope, this ain’t Me.” Where in the practice of our modern day charismatic schtik do those with the true, spirit-inspired, spirit-led gift of belly discernment get to use that gift for the body so that we let in even MORE of the True Anointing and keep people from being distracted and sidelined into other junk? I’m not talking about anyone’s colorful use of phraseology (such as Crowder’s) and this isn’t an indictment on Lakeland or anything specifically going on – but since the topic of belly discernment has been thrown onto the table – as a “discerner” it has often seemed to me that somehow demonic activity and the Holy Spirit are moving among the same crowd, at the same time, and I yearn to see our corporate experiences cleansed of such mixture and so that we can be even more immersed in the True Fire.
So if we are going to dismiss “intellectual” discernment in favor of belly discernment, that’s great – but where does the latter get to weigh in on the situation without being relegated to the realm of “that’s just your fears” or some other emotion and not used to keep the bride spotless for Jesus?
Great question, Heather. We identify with both the message and the messenger and I am continually brought back around to the fact that *discernment* is a result of maturity. It is not just a gift, like I hear some folks say. It is something that we grow into through experience:
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for them who are mature, even those who by reason of use have their facilities exercised to discern both good and evil.
It takes a mature person to use a sharp knife and I’ve seen too many children using sharp instruments to bloody other children.
quality dialog going on here i will be tuning in for the ride
IMHO John is pretty accurate with the charisphobia/Pentecostalism that exists within the emergent lands, I think that we often don’t here derisive tones unless we are the object of the derision. Not that I’m saying that being emergent = being anti-charismatic many emergents are v-generous towards the charismatic movement some there are those that highly value their part in the global body of Christ (hat tip the magnanimous Tallskinnykiwi). Many emergents are or have been card carry charismatics with whom there are varying levels of appreciation for their past lives.
Of course, there are two different types of “discernment” mentioned in the NT – “discernment of spirits,” and the type you are talking about, a general discernment of the senses of the mature towards good and evil. The first is a gift, the second is a sign of maturity.
At any rate, I think my post related more to the first – the gift one. Maybe John’s post was more about the second?
All very encouraging, very positive, conversation.
Let us keep the flow going.
In essentials, Unity.
In non-essentials, Liberty.
In all things, Charity.
WE are the church. In all our messy-ness, let us have Grace for one another because none of us have it all together. We know in part and we prophesy in part. I need everyone’s piece of the puzzle.
(But in all that we do, let us do it with Love.)
Let the challenge be that we catch one another getting things right.
Let the challenge be that we pray for each other’s breakthrough.
For your breakthrough is my breakthrough.
It has been said
“God offends the mind to reveal the heart” . . .
“God offends the mind to Free the heart” . . .???
(so perhaps He can transform our minds???)
I kind of think maybe God is kinda Holistic . . . He wants all of us with Freed Hearts and Transformed minds.
I agree, and believe that the only way to accomplish any permanent, or better yet “evolving,” transformational change is through collaboration and community. I’m a big fan of networking theory, collaborative idealogy and methodology (as well as theology – is that enough “ology” in one person’s life?), and even conflict theory, which is another form of social change. Personally, I have a different view of how to accomplish (or arrive at) community and collaboration, but I’m hearing ya! (Side note: I do think both can – and should – be accomplished and practiced at the same time.)
Wow… found myself laughing and weeping- and SHAKING in the Spirit to the point that i almost wore my coffee! John gotta say huge kudos and phat Amen’s. It really is all about the intimacy of the Bridal Chambers of God’s heart. Mike- thanks for doing the foot work and opening this thread of thought.
John- gotta say.. you might want to contact Steve K… he’s a dear one.. i know he would love to go deeper… he really does have an open heart. I’ve had my angst as well with some of the “head vs. Spirit” issues in the emergent and have posted before on the place where the elite-ismssssss that have plagued both camps…. the “post” whatever which semi-implies a “getting beyond, past or above, where as the charismatic parts have some of it too with the attitude “we have the Holy Spirit more than you guys” thang… that ticks me off to the hilt! So i feel like a “tweener” (not from the age aspect!)- but more like ….. i’m fine with “the conversations” as long as it leads to the passion of God’s heart for His kids and Loving in the Verb sense… as in action. I love how God demonstrates His love for us in signs and wonders…. and in all reality… we ARE a sign and a wonder. If we have been raised from the dead spiritually in Jesus………….. why can’t we see the physical dead be raised… or limbs refashioned and restored. I think God likes Rocks….. Scandalon thang… that likes to trip us to the point were on our faces and at His feet. We might just stumble deeper into His heart!
Love ya all,
and keep the thread going- it’s awesome!
“Where does one get all of this creative, discriptive analogy of Mary’s position in the Lord? All we are told is that SHE was favored by the LORD…”
ummmm Layla- i think John pointed out that she didn’t question that it was God… so to me that means she had quite a deep relationship on a heart level…… plus i don’t take her to be one to “sleep around”- so to have an inception encounter with Holy Spirit, to me indicates she is one of God’s intimates. His favor as well as how He reveals His Love and Power is cool like that.
just a thought.
oh yes, ps…. it was an Angel with a message…. but it was a message from God… – i don’t see the Authority discrepancy there… in the Name of the King thing.
Wow ! I was really desparate for this conversation about eight or nine years ago! just couldn’t find it….I can identify with Briana and others who identify as ‘in-between’. Six years out of charismatic expression, I have found the unresolved dilemmas somewhat paralysing and traumatising but just love this conversation nevertheless.
Frank, I really liked your post, especially this:
“God is after ongoing transformational development moreso than attaining to a particular level of truth.”
Also liked John’s quote: “True sanity only comes through conscious[ness]?? altering epiphenies with God”. Also resonate with Michael Creel’s emphasising of God’s holistic interaction with us.
“Offend the mind to reveal the heart” Rodney H.B. really prepared the ground with that one. The new catch phrase to get away with just about anything and proclaim that one is just more spiritual than the one offended .Part name calling has bin the haul mark of this latest “get drunk in the spirit” fad protesting anything held sacred fad. Oh thats right we can be biblical also because only we know the fussy details about acts2. Oh well.
Borrowing from everything but being connected to nothing. The Catholic and the Orthodox saints that these self proclaimed new mystics write about were just that, Orthodox with a big O. Saint John of the Cross was a doctor of the church and his spirituality came through his orthodoxy along with Pare Pio and the rest. Sorry about that for all those in “connected to nothing” land. That is pretty appealing when one is going through puberty but at some point things need to gel. Try being a pastor for a while instead of “leaving all the messes behind” and it might cause one to sober up a bit. Somehow I dont think that will be happening any time soon though. 😉
Sorry, just a little tired of all hipe.
“Intellectual discernment is a holdover from modernism. Moreover, it is paranoia-based (always focused on keeping the devil out, but never recognizing God when He is trying to come in). This spirit of fear is the bread and butter of the heresy hunter pages. The greatest discernment you will ever have is to be able to recognize God, not the devil. Anyone, the most depraved sinner, can point out the devil. But will we recognize God when He is trying to come in?” John Crowder
John 10:1-16 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” Jesus Christ
Looks like Mr. Corwder has things backward to me.
Crowder you are a nut and a blasphemer.
But there’s no denying you have a following..which is a bigger tragedy.
You might want to consider REPENTING.
Where there’s smoke there’s fire.
Scripture and Witchcraft
The word witchcraft brings about images of women in dark pointy hats standing over cauldrons stirring smoldering contents while chanting rhymes calling upon the forces of darkness. What does Scripture actually say witchcraft is and how does that line up with our beliefs that have been handed down from generation to generation?
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft (5331), hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of Elohim.
Pharmakeia (far-mak-i’-ah); Word Origin: Greek, Noun Feminine, Strong #: 5331
The use or the administering of drugs, poisoning. sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it Metaphorically: the deceptions and seductions of idolatry
This is from the root word:
Pharmakeus (far-mak-yoos’); Noun Masculine, Strong #: 5332
One who prepares or uses magical remedies sorcerer
The drug industry is recognized as the Pharmaceutical Industry!
Webster’s Dictionary defines pharmaceutical as:
From the Greek word Pharmakeia, to practice witchcraft, use medicine, a poison, medicine 1. Of pharmacy or pharmacists. 2. Of or by drugs: as, pharmaceutical cure.
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in you: for your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by their sorceries (5331)were all nations deceived.
Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries,(5331) nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.
Plenty of Crowderology, Crowderisms, and Crowderesy alongwith expose of the new mystic paradigm (its not really that new) at:
Wow “toke,” you have a lot of time on your hands – an entire dedicated blog! Of course, you only have two entries so far…we’ll see if it lasts. 🙂
Oh it will last. Despite Crowder’s articulate attempts (or inarticulate, depending on the venue) to deconstruct orthodoxy, he will not succeed. God won’t allow it. I know its not ‘up to me’. But, while I may not be as slickly marketed as the Sons of Thunder website hopefully at least a few will think twice about listening to Crowder and co.’s heretical gibbering.
Well i’m off to buy my Baby Jesus. Lucky it’s Christmas and there’s all those lovely nativity sets around.
Good on you John – keep going!
If Jesus was from Jersey (c flyertunes 11/07)
I’d like to join in this conversation with a baby boomer’s take. I am one who has been through ‘the jesus movement’, the ‘renewal’ and into the ’emergence’
as a lay-person, a professional pastor and a house church pastor.
If Jesus was from Jersey
(c Roger Flyer 07)
If Jesus was from Jersey
He would be the Boss
Of a traveling revival show
Fire water for the lost.
And every night there’s testimony
That a song might save the day
The E Street band of angels
Leading us all astray
I know that Jesus loves me
For the Bible tells me so
But the Boss will live forever
‘til every sinner sees the show…
If the Man was from the south Bronx
He’d beat a hip-hop heart
He’d walk among the fatherless
He’d surely do his part
To relieve the suffering of His people
While hangin’ with his crew.
He’d sell his bling, let justice ring
He’d do all that he could do…
He’d rap about God’s mercy
Bless all the children in his crib.
He’d love and cherish women
And sacrifice his rib.
If Yeshua was from Minnesota
He be way up on the Range
He’d make himself a Gentile poet
Nobody’d think it strange…
He’d turn the tables and go electric
And wail his protest loud
And his friends would
All desert him–
But he’d bear the scornful crowd.
Nobody said it was easy
To be a prophet in our town
Nobody said it would be easy To wear a thorny crown.
And if God the Father was from Liverpool
He’d take the names of saints
He’d beget himself into a band
And send the girls to faint.
He’d shock and awe the Germans with
A case of Anglo soul
And when the fullness of time had come
He’d save the world with rock and roll
And forty years ago we raised him up
We all sang that song of love
And then a crazy man came and cut him down
Yeah yeah yeah because of love…
If the Holy Spirit was from the Delta
You know he’d play the blues
He’d play the coronet in a big brass band
Trumpeting good news.
He’d lead the lost at Pentecost
To the very gates of Heaven
‘Laissez les bon temps rouller’
As all the sinners go marching in
We shall walk into the waters
Put our fingers in that dam
And the sea will part before us
As we march onto dry land…
And he will kill the fatted calf
And bring all the homeless home
Then we’ll all sit down together
Everyone, at last, at home…
First I want to make perfectly clear, that the devil is the author of division in the body of christ. And it grieves me deeply what is happening. I take no pleasure in speaking of these matters. It is heartbreaking to see the lives that have been deluded and led astray. I have been around these types of ministries and without guile I must say that this ministry of John Crowder exemplifies the combination of how dangerous the “religioulsly free chrisitanity” can become. (long sigh….) I can also say that I have had experiences and believed things that yes, I thought was God. But I can equally say that once I started to question them ..Hands down…ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. Ultimately God has taken me out of these things and delivered me. Very painful, no hype in this people.
From honest experience of the demonic realm and the value of our salvation I have found that those who are so obessed with not being religious can hold the most dangerous error. Deep down I believe Christians want to be cool and edgy in a goddless society. They want people to be jealous of the love and freedom that they have found. Sincere intentions. But people we are not called to be “cool” and “relevant”. People are dying, they are on they’re way to hell and all we can do is have a constant hippie jesus rave party? And obesess over spiritual knowledge and experiences that in reality are forbidden territory and if you don’t turn from I guarentee you, you may be in shock on judgement day.
It’s a good intent, but what they think is so relevant produces only cynisism in unbelievers and once again the world looks upon the church and laughs. Same with lakeland. And we still don’t get it.
See we want to have a party all the time. Because nobody really wants to take an honest hard look at themselves and actually deal with their issues. When pain does arise I have experienced that peoples serious pain get shoved under the rug of “the new wine”. It’s no different then chuggin’ a Jack Daniels. THis is disgusting.
THere is nothing wrong with having joy and celebrating what Jesus had done for us and the freedom of love and we should be happy. But when we centralize and obsesss on areas of the “spirit” it becomes nothing more than a shallow spiritual personality cult. ANd please spare me the “you’re being religous tags” , please…been there done that.
Don’t let your spiritual pride and puffed up knowledge ever disqualify you from the true riches in Christ Jesus. If you think you are a christian and you can’t become deceived in areas of God because “you just know” this is god cause he told you, you’re already decieved. The church is immature. Spiritually sick to death and immature. Turning to occultic forms ..disguising itself as a glorious light of the spirit of God. God help us. I am a part of the body of Christ and I’m embarrassed. I am embarrassed. We have lost the TRUE GOSPEL. This is so heavy. At the same token, we need to be watchful of our tounges and careful what and how we say things. We have NO RIGHT to walk in an arrogance of how much we despise other ministries or people in the movements or out of the movements. WE ALL BEAR A MEASURE OF GUILT!!!!! EVERYBODY!!!!!!, IF YOU CLAIM TO BE A PART OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST EXAMINE YOURSELF IN HUMILITY AND SUBJECTION TO THE LORD. I DON”T CARE WHO YOU ARE. WE SHOULD BE WEEPING AND FASTING IN THE LIGHT OF THE CONDITION OF OUR FELLOW BELOVED. AND OF OURSELVES! WE MUST CONTINUE TO LOVE, TO LOVE, NOT CONDONE WHAT”S GOING ON BUT TO LOVE IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT SOMETIMES EVEN GOOD MEN DIVIDE.
Father, open our eyes and our hearts to the truth and no matter who we are whether we are exposing these things or vehemently defending them, we all need help to help each other get home safely. Have mercy on us all.
Is a new mystic really a different sort or is he simply Meister Eckhart with a Myspace? Maybe a new mystic is like nu metal…a sorry, watered down version of the real thing. Or perhaps a new mystic is like 40 which is the new 30—a redefining of terms which takes the focus off of the facts. Maybe a new mystic himself/herself could straighten me out on this, otherwise I gues I’m just on my own.
I’ve been to Toronto. God did some weird and amazing things there. He definitely has a personality that we don’t know about.
However, John Crowder and his colleagues fake most of their drunkenness. And the Lord told me that we are to live soberly. That doesn’t mean the Holy Ghost won’t fall on you and bless you; what it means is that there are seasons of that.
John Crowder is a phoney in my opinion, and he makes money off of being phoney.
But Cindy, how do you know he’s faking it? How would someone like me know that you weren’t faking it?
And why do you think he’s making lots of money? It’s a common misconception that authors and/or speakers are just raking it in. But Crowder seems to do a lot of things in living rooms and small churches – I kind’ve doubt he’s making dough hand over fist.
This isn’t to say I don’t have my questions about his flavor of spirituality – I certainly do, or did – hence the interview. But those are some pretty broad-brush assertions.
The reason people take drugs and alcohol is to deceive their brain to alter their perception of reality.
They do this to either entertain themselves, or to try and block out unpleasant experience or thoughts in the real world.
Following false teaching also deceives your brain and alters your perception of truth.
The motive to condone false teaching may be the same – for entertainment or blocking out unpleasant thoughts or experience in real life.
It is blasphemous to associate drunk or drugged with God, because it associates him with deception.
John Crowder is indirectly worshipping the devil through his fervent adoration of a false Christ named DrunkJesus or MentalnutcaseJesus.
Drunkenness and drugtaking has a close relationship with vomit.
John Crowder is the living manifestation of spiritual vomit.
Anyone who participates with John Crowder is loving and practicing falsehood and loving blasphemy.
They should repent urgently or face damnation:
Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
To be really honest, I am just so discouraged that so many people on whichever side of the aisle, are supposedly having the experiences with God. I have longed for it for many years.
Paul speaks specifically in 1 Corinthians 14 about the chaos happening in that church. That the Holy Spirit is a God of order.
14 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. 2 For anyone who speaks in a tongue[a] does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. 3 But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 4 Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I would like every one of you to speak in tongues,[b] but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues,[c] unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.
6 Now, brothers and sisters, if I come to you and speak in tongues, what good will I be to you, unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or word of instruction? 7 Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the pipe or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? 8 Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? 9 So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. 10 Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. 11 If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and the speaker is a foreigner to me. 12 So it is with you. Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church.
13 For this reason the one who speaks in a tongue should pray that they may interpret what they say. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. 15 So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. 16 Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit, how can someone else, who is now put in the position of an inquirer,[d] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since they do not know what you are saying? 17 You are giving thanks well enough, but no one else is edified.
18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue.
20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 21 In the Law it is written:
“With other tongues
and through the lips of foreigners
I will speak to this people,
but even then they will not listen to me,
says the Lord.”[e]
22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and inquirers or unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
Good Order in Worship
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
34 Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[g]
36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.[h]
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.
Jesus revealed His lovely self to me at age 21. I am now 60 and I have been waiting for many years for this freedom that Paul spoke of. He said, ” They slipped around to find out this freedom that we have in Christ Jesus”. Seems mostly what I have heard in my charismatic faith life is all of the things I have to do to get the fee gift that my awesome Lord lavished upon us. Thank you John!!!!