Yes, I went to a John Crowder Mystical School. After all, he came to Wisconsin just for me. Well, not really, but I’d like to think so.
I first heard about John Crowder from a friend of mine on the same day the Lord answered one of my craziest prayers in a unique way. I had prayed to time travel. He answered my prayer that same day and ten years before. Read all about it here.
My friend said, “It sounds to me like you’ve been on a Jesus Trip.” He then told me about John Crowder. When I got home I checked out John’s Jesus Trip videos on Youtube and was hooked. Here was a man with an incredible gift. He had such a firm grasp on the Gospel of Grace and the gift of intelligence and a sharp wit. His talk reminded me of the times I had watched Gilmore Girls with my wife. If you have ever heard the dialogue in that show, you get the picture. Succinct, witty, and VERY humorous. (And I’d warrant that this is likely the first time John Crowder has ever been compared to the Gilmore Girls.) Most people have to painstakingly edit their videos to get it to be as snappy and succinct as John Crowder was just naturally without any editing.
The best part about watching John’s “Jesus Trips” is that they are infused and just simply swimming in the joy of the Good News of Jesus. His talks are centered on Jesus Christ and the cross. He actually seems to think Jesus pulled something off, as if Jesus really actually accomplished something on the cross! What a novel idea. What a breath of fresh air when contrasted with the stagnant lifeless nature of some “do-it-yourself-religion” clubs I have witnessed over the years.
Over the past couple years, if I got depressed, I’d listen to John and be laughing once again. Giddy with the Joy of Jesus – the Joy that IS Jesus. John became a friend on the journey. I learned SO much about the finished work of the cross.
But along the way, a friend of mine, who I had poured out my heart and shared my story with, called John a false teacher. I told him that if he judged John, he was judging me. I defended John. Even though John has done a great deal to make himself an easy target for persecution (by having a bit of fun!), I defended him. Even though I may disagree with him on some points (because I still insist on being wrong about a few things – LOL), I defended him. Because I believe Jesus would have and does.
My friend had no evidence for his evil suspicion and rash judgement. He had absolutely nothing based on actual Scripture which tells us exactly what to look for in false teachers.
So John Crowder gets excited about the supernatural. Don’t you? And if not, why not? I picked up his earliest book all about the supernatural events in church history that often get overlooked or ignored or (and most often) swept under the rug. I have witnessed this myself how a Moody publication (Moody is where I went to Bible college) cut out the bit about holy laughter from a testimony of a famous saint in church history.
I’m not going to lie to you, I love my brother John Crowder. He has helped me immensely. This doesn’t mean I think he is without his flaws or weaknesses (Though Christ views him as perfect – because that’s what the cross was for – to render sinners perfect, and really isn’t his the only perspective that should matter?) and I don’t think you can build a solid life of following Jesus by limiting yourself to his teaching and guidance alone. We all need each other in the body of Christ. As the apostle Paul wrote about here:
“The body (of Christ) is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free, and we were all given one Spirit to drink.
14For the body does not consist of one part, but of many. 15If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
18But in fact, God has arranged the members of the body, every one of them, according to His design. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you.” Nor can the head say to the feet, “I do not need you.” 22On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts we consider less honorable, we treat with greater honor. And our unpresentable parts are treated with special modesty, 24whereas our presentable parts have no such need.
But God has composed the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have mutual concern for one another. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.”
So there you have it. We all serve a part and function and need one another. John Crowder is vital to the body. Joel Osteen is vital to the body. And the real stretch, even John McArther is vital to the body. I know, right?
And yet, Joel Osteen, another brother in Christ, was labeled as a false teacher as well! Can you believe it?!? And why? Was it because Joel doesn’t say “Jesus” enough in his sermons or doesn’t minister the way the “watchdogs for the faith” think he should? Yet here is what Joel Osteen declares on his website about the Lord Jesus:
“Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins. We believe that salvation is found by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again.”
(More on this plague of heresy hunting in another post maybe).
My Mystical School Experience
First of all how can I sum up three days in one blog post? I can’t and won’t.
I’m not going to lie, I was really nervous about going. I loved John’s Jesus trip videos on Youtube which are all very lucid and amazing but then, I had also seen film of his meetings which looked very strange to me. In them, John was behaving like he was drunk and often said strange things like, “grab your neighbor by the earlobe and tell them…” or “slap your sweaty palm on someones head and…” The audience too seemed inebriated in these videos and laughed a great deal. “What kind of a circus is this?”
But then I’d ask myself, “When did I become a stodgy judgmental religious prick to judge them for an experience that I can’t yet relate to? ” I also remembered this quote:
“Those Who Hear Not the Music Think The Dancer is Mad”
So what is this music they are hearing? It certainly seems to make them happy. I could use some happy. Was I willing to join with these and risk being judged myself? Was I willing to hear the music or to metaphorically drink whatever they were drinking, myself?
I woke up Thursday morning the day before the conference and I heard God say clearly to me, “I don’t want you to go.” I argued with him all day Thursday and Friday and figured since he didn’t say, “I command you not to go”, I went anyway… with my guard WAY up.
(About hearing the voice of God. Isn’t it funny that we trust our own ability to hear God clearly? I mean what if this wasn’t God? It might not have been. I was pretty sure it was, but who knows? We have to be humble in recognizing that we don’t always hear clearly.)
I sat in the back and that whole first day had a knot in my stomach. The reason for that was because he was covering the material that I had read about in his book I already owned. Among other things, he talked about teleportation miracles throughout church history and even up to the present. Ok so John got a few details wrong about the Joshua Mills teleportation story, so what? This was the very topic that, when I brought it up in a blog post, caused the most trouble and garnered the most rejection I’ve ever had due to a blog post. It’s now my most popular blog post. Go figure.
I met a man who also attended the meeting who shared his testimony with us. He is an older saint who came to Jesus during the Jesus Movement of the 70’s in the most remarkable way. He was with a friend in a car driving somewhere to get drugs and suddenly he was teleported out of his car and into the heavenlies where he was directly confronted by God himself about how he was choosing to live his life. He experienced such a wonderous love in God’s presence that he gave his heart to Jesus. He came back into the vehicle to hear his friend, scared out of his mind, shouting, “Where did you go?” He says he has been a Jesus freak ever since. (I truly wish you could hear him tell his story for himself).
Well, that Friday night I prayed and asked God why he didn’t want me to go. That night God gave me a very vivid dream:
John had moved to town and was a do-it-all-himself carpenter and was building a house for my friends mom. She was anxious to move in but the place wasn’t ready. John needed help and asked me to consult and even be subcontracted. I walked though the house. The house was mostly built, and built well, but the part he could not get right were the stairs. It was a multilevel house and none of the levels were connected.
A spiral staircase lay sideways in the hall that you had to duck to get under. Parts of it were unstable and dangerous. Especially for children. As I walked through the house examining it, I couldn’t quite make sense of how to fit in the stairs either. I knew he needed to deconstruct some parts of it but I couldn’t help him. When my friends mom walked in and confronted him, he shrugged it off with a grin.
As I woke my thought was that the house represented a functional spiritual life as disciple of Jesus Christ. John alone was not the end-all-be-all and could never provide the whole package that people desperately need to live a functioning Christian life. We all need each other, remember? We need the five fold ministry at work in the body of Christ. We need Pastors (which John clearly says he isn’t), Teachers, Apostles, Evangelists, and Prophets.
We need all the spiritual gifts operating in the body. Here is a bit on Spiritual Gifts from Wikepedia (the most accurate and trusted source for solid information on the web – because experts like you and me get to write it ourselves!):
“Kingly” gifts are those involving church administration or government. Others categorize them into “gifts of knowledge” (word of wisdom, word of knowledge, distinguishing between spirits), “gifts of speech” (tongues, interpretation, prophecy), and “gifts of power” (faith, healing, miracles).
Could it be true that most “Christian” ministers don’t actually even believe the Gospel? If the enemy was clever, wouldn’t he try to infiltrate the church and perhaps even set up a base of operations within the institution of the so-called ‘church’? Doesn’t the Bible tell us that Satan masquerades as an angel of light and his servants masquerade as ministers of righteousness? All of these things I don’t doubt. So then, is John then to be honored and celebrated as he roasts the sacred cows of a dead and putrid religion? A herald who announces to us and the world that the emperor has no clothes?
However, it would pain me, as someone who loves his brother John and largely respects his ministry, to then have John undermine his own ministry through a lack of humility or foolishness or greed. I want him to succeed. I want his ministry to flourish. I want the Gospel to continue to go forward through my brother John.
John has so many persecutors already that I could never stomach the thought of being another. So I won’t. Ok, so he continues to misquote a certain Scripture from Isaiah, no one gets everything right all the time. Everyone blunders in some small and even big ways. But on the whole, I have decided that for myself and for the people I care about (including you) that John is worth listening to. You will derive FAR more benefit than harm from his ministry. Of course this sort of honor and endorsement normally only occurs after someone dies… because we normally only choose to recognize someone’s value after their gone.
Enjoy this playlist of John Crowder’s Jesus Trip and be sure to subscribe to his channel: