Question: A dear friend of mine, on fire for Jesus, is following John Crowder. I’m concerned about the wording of his ministry. His teachings are called “mystical school.” I just wonder if you know about him and what you think.
Response: John Crowder is part of the movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation, which we’ve addressed in past issues and this current newsletter. Much of what he teaches is unbiblical.
He follows the example of Benny Hinn, who revealed that he periodically visits Aimee Semple McPherson’s and Kathryn Kuhlman’s graves to partake of their “anointing”: “Friday I am gonna go and visit Kathryn Kuhlman’s tomb. It’s close by Aimee’s in Forest Lawn Cemetery. I’ve been there once already and every so often I like to go and pay my respects ’cause this great woman of God has touched my life. And that grave, uh, where she’s buried is closed, they built walls around it. You can’t get in without a key and I’m one of the very few people who can get in. But I’ll never forget when I saw Aimee’s tomb....I actually, I—I, hear this, I trembled when I visited Aimee’s tomb. I was shaking all over. God’s power came all over me.... I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee’s body....It’s amazing. I’ve heard of people healed when they visited that tomb” (Benny Hinn sermon, “Double Portion Anointing,” Part #3, Orlando Christian Center, Orlando, Fla., April 7, 1991. From the series, Holy Ghost Invasion. TV#309).
John Crowder says much the same thing, and it is not difficult to find video footage of him and his students at the graves of charismatic superstars such as Alexander Dowie (Scottish evangelist and faith healer) and Maria B. Woodworth-Etter (pentecostal evangelist and healer, known for trances occuring during her services). “We’ve just come to the grave today to release to you an impartation of healing revival, of city building, restoration city-taking anointing, master-building apostolic anointing, and so we just rip it right out of the ground, we just suck it right off his dead bones, in Jesus name, and loose it to you, a healing-revival-glory-master-building-apostolic anointing glory [emphasis added].” Crowder is advocating necromancy, or contact with the dead—something expressly forbidden by Scripture (Lv 19:31; Dt 18:9-12, 15; 1 Sm 28; 1 Chr:10:13-14; Is 8:19, etc.).
If a person desires spiritual communication with someone wiser than he, should he not consider the biblical promise of our Lord, who has promised never to leave us nor forsake us? James tells us that “if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not...” (Ja 1:5). The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews urges us to “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb:4:16).
Crowder’s teaching is riddled with drug references, such as “Toking the Ghost” (the title of a CD he produced), which compares the fullness of the Spirit to being stoned on drugs. The first track on the CD “Holy Ghost Hits” has the sounds of a “bong,” or water pipe, bubbling as a background to a recitation of a portion of the 23rd Psalm.
Crowder attempts to explain the drug references by saying, “even atheistic people on the street understand that when we get ‘high on Jesus,’ we are not endorsing drugs. In fact, the opposite is true! The exact reason we use ‘addiction’ terminology in relation to God is to get people free from drugs through the power of the cross” (http://www.thenewmystics.com/Articles/1000040967/Home_Page_of/Articles/Teachings/Toking_the_Ghost.aspx). At best, Crowder’s references are confusing: “‘Get whacked, stay whacked, never go back!’ ‘We’re huffin’ olive wood from the garden of Gethsemane,’ he tells an interviewer in Israel. ‘And we been snortin’ some dust from the tomb of our Lord and Savior. We been smokin’ Baby Jesus’” (http://www.wittenburgdoor.com/blogs/bloom/2008-05-16.html).
Drug references aside, Crowder’s embrace of mysticism raises further concerns. “Toking the Ghost’s” liner notes inform us that excerpts have been taken from Brother Lawrence, the Vulgate, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and various Bible translations, including The Cotton Patch Version of Paul’s Epistles. As Crowder notes concerning his Mystical Schools, “Our Mystical School is an intensive, three-day course with in-depth instruction, activation and hands-on impartation with John Crowder. These deeper courses in contemplative, supernatural Christianity are geared for a smaller group environment, with limited registration, to foster an atmosphere of intimacy, personal prophecy and vigorous impartation. There will be ample time for questions and answers, with sessions running 6-8 hours each day and mornings free for prayer, soaking and reflection. In these courses you will: Operate in Trances, Raptures & Ecstatic Prayer, Experience Physical Phenomena of Mysticism, Get Activated in Creative Miracles, Signs & Wonders, Understand Your Access to New Creation Realities, Be Activated in the Seer Realm, Prophecy, Spirit Travel...” and similar claims.
Unfortunately, his “New Creation Realities” are not biblical realities. They are satanic deceptions. These are just a few of the issues that should be a concern to us who love His word.