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How To Get Stoned On Jesus: Meet John Crowder

If you want to learn about and experience ecstatic trances, signs and wonders and personal prophecy then you need to check out John Crowder. His organisation the Sons of Thunder Ministries run a number of events in the States and Europe so I’m sure you’ll be able to catch up with him some time.

He’s not just drunk in the Spirit – he’s stoned!

John Crowder is known for his supernatural ministry across the world. Together with his associates John Dunn and Dave Vaughan he holds conferences dubbed ‘rodeos’, ‘house parties’ and ‘slosh-fests’. They even take their meetings out to sea with ‘glory cruises’ around the Mediterranean. These are not just times to hear a preacher and perhaps get prayed for. These are times to clear away the chairs and dance before the Lord. These are times to get inebriated in the Spirit. And looking at some of the YouTube footage of the man himself laughing awkwardly and squinting as if his eyes have become dilated – they are not just times to get ‘drunk in the Spirit’ but also times to get ‘high on Jesus’.

John Crowder makes quite a point about this idea of ‘getting stoned on Jesus’, ‘smoking the “Jehovah-juana” and getting ‘wasted on Jesus’. He sees it as a deliberate way connecting with those influenced by drug culture. His philosophy is that kids will learn about drugs sooner or later so he doesn’t see what he is doing as promoting drugs. In fact he sees marijuana and heroine as the substitutes or counterfeits of the ‘real deal’. His aim is to get you high on the pleasures of God before you are ever tempted to get high on anything else. He wants you to be seeing visions before they ever think about taking hallucinogens.

On occasions you can see him “tokin’ the Holy Ghost” by apparently pretending to smoke a figurine of the baby Jesus. But Crowder explains that he is not pretending to take drugs he really is getting blasted on the Holy Spirit. Also he can be seen getting drunk on ‘Godka’ which apparently is just water but once again as he drinks it he drinks in the Holy Spirit and really does get ‘sloshed’.

Now people who operate in the prophetic are sometimes inspired to do bizarre symbolic gestures to become living parables. For example Ezekiel was called to cook meals over faeces. Isaiah stripped naked to make a point, Jeremiah wore a yoke and God told Hosea marry a prostitute. But if what he claims is true this is more than just an illustration. He is really experiencing God through these things and so are the worshipers at these events.

If we are expectant of God moving in a certain way then perhaps he just might do what we are expecting. Of course this could just be suggestion but often in a move of the Spirit people may be pre-empting the experience but still afterwards God does appear to have made a change in their lives. Could there by something in this? Perhaps so.

Bizarre miracles

I’m all in favour of creativity in worship gatherings but creative activities that illustrate a point are not the same as some of these bizarre ‘creative miracles’ that they report. To me these miracles appear just too bizarre to be true. Revivalist styles of Christianity have had their share of sideshow entertainers and confidence tricksters. So you’ll have to forgive me wondering about the miraculous appearances of gold fillings in people’s mouths, of gold dust covering bibles, gemstones materialising, oil pouring from someone’s hands and walls oozing mysterious liquids.

Drawing on a rich mystical tradition

Despite his tendencies to be so sloshed in the Spirit that he cannot speak sensibly in meetings his teaching and writings betray the fact that he does have a coherent grasp of the scriptures and church history. Some of John Crowder’s teaching videos and articles show and a maturity that at first glance you might miss. He has an understanding of church history and sees the supernatural elements in previous contemplative traditions.

Serving the poor

I must also point out Sons of Thunder are doing some very worthwhile work setting up and running an orphanage in India. They appear to be motivated to get out there and address issues of social justice and serve the poor. Jesus said, ‘by their fruit shall you know them’ and surely this is another point in their favour.

What do you make of it all?

I have to admit John Crowder and his friends sometimes make me squirm. I have wondered at times if they are serious. Are they innocently but playfully exploring serving God ‘in the Spirit’ or are they in fact fraudsters? While some of what they do might look to some like a well rehearsed act I think it’s more impromptu even if the impromptu behaviour has been learned over time. Sometimes they appear like comedians poking fun at revivalist meetings. In some ways I would be relieved if they were. But after careful examination I think they are serious.

So if you want to get stoned on Jesus you can just check out these guys. I’m sure you’d learn a lot. But, before you do, ponder these questions. Are these guys really possessed by God or by something else? Does God really work like this? Why would God work like this? Please let me know. I am really interested to know what you think.

Further reading:


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August 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm
10 comments »
  • December 14, 2011 at 1:48 pmKameal Celestee

    First off I want to thank you for being the first person on the net who, whilst not in full agreement with John Crowder, has not totally written him off.

    I too was very cautious of John.
    I first heard about John ministry from a Facebook comment referring to a you tube video which was aiming at exposing his blasphemy.
    I started to listed to you tube clips that John himself had posted so I could hear what he has to say rather than what others are saying about him.
    I started to see where his theology was coming from and his understanding of Church history.
    I ended up attending the above event, the mystic school in Sheffield 2011.
    I got a good chance to speak to John during the event.
    John is clearly a very educated man with a very powerful ministry, he loves the Lord totally and I have no doubts about his sincerity.
    The school really changed my life, I didn’t really learn anything new as such it was all knowledge that I previously had (I was brought up in a devoted Christian family) but somehow I managed to understand my identity in Christ much better without all the trash that conventional Church seems to heap on us.
    John has his quirks and his use of language is aimed to challenge people.

    I as a life long Christian believer have come all the way from suspicion to supporter of John’s ministry, that has to speak volumes.

    • March 7, 2013 at 10:37 pmjames dauer

      What do you make of the drunken glory stuff and the inward focus on the self versus the call of Christ to go into the world and serve the poor, clothing the naked, and so on. I have been blessed by John’s many Youtube videos and have very mixed feelings of him. James

      • November 6, 2013 at 3:20 pmChris Linzey

        John and his wife DO go out to serve the poor, clothe the naked, and so on. So if they’re doing those things, what’s the real issue you have with him? I agree that it seems odd at first. It’s not my cup of tea – but why do we condemn odd practices as “heresy” rather than aligning behind the Apostles’ Creed and saying, “While we may differ in practice, we agree on the fundamentals”?

  • March 7, 2013 at 10:34 pmjames dauer

    I agree with the article in that John is clearly well educated in theology and the tradition of the church. It is clear to me that he has studied Karl Barth and Thomas Torrance, two latter day apostles in my opinion, and he’s not some uninformed charismatic rip off artist that we are accustomed to seeing. His interpretation of scripture is grounded and challenges my conventional thinking at times. However his drug references make me uncomfortable and anyone with teenagers is not going to want to introduce them to the language and culture of drug use. John has pretended to shoot Jesus into his arm like heroin. I will not subject my kids to that, but I think there is a culture and generation that would respoond to that. His infatuation with the drunken glory and wandering about as if he is tranced is different, and I can’t say it is unbiblical just because I’m uncomfortable with it. I wonder though if these spiritual trance states translate into feeding the poor and clothing the naked; otherwise it seems rather self-indulgent spirituality and therefore more eastern than Christian. I went to seminary and studied Barth, Torrance, church history too, and I can say that Crowder has committed his mind to the gospel but he is swimming in unfamiliar territory for me. Thank you for the balanced article where you do not praise him or rebuke him–testing the spirits ought to be done in love and in Christ just as you’ve done. This is a great article as you embody the spirit of Christi in your essay. Thank you for not slamming a brother like so many seem to do. James Dauer

  • October 23, 2013 at 10:53 pmWilliam Zodda

    I just heard about John Crowder today from someone criticizing his drunken Glory. I always make it a point to investigate those preachers who someone is criticizing. I was also surprised when I heard some of his youtube videos about Gnosticism in the modern church and other religions. I actually felt that I learned something important. I just came back to Christ a few months ago after following a eastern religious path for many years. I would often experience a spirit in my worship that caused me appear as if blissfully intoxicated with red eyes and face included. So since coming back to Christ I have been wary of such a spirit which easily overtakes me if I chant the eastern Krishna mantras or read the stories about their worshipable dietys. During my thirty three years involved in eastern religion I have a few times left coming back to Jesus and what brought me back to worshiping the eastern deities was this ecstasy which makes one feel very blissful yet it is highly addictive type high as when I came down off it I was craving for more ecstasy drunken bliss and the world and my heart appeared empty and vacant. I would be interested if there is a withdrawal from this drunken spirit state that they experience. I am almost sure there must be some kind of withdrawal symptoms that may not be very pleasant. Anybody know of any withdrawal symptoms?

    • April 19, 2014 at 10:38 amSteve Koschella

      I would say that yes, there are likely to be withdraw symptoms because these ecstasies produce endorphins and other chemicals that are powerful drugs produced by the brain. The fact that the brain is designed to produce these chemicals in response to ecstatic experiences is a God-given gift. The activity of the Holy Spirit in supernatural experiences does the same, and more. We are not supposed to avoid these experiences, we are instead urged to come to the one who is the source of the most powerful and beneficial ecstasies available – Jesus Christ. The bible is full of examples of ecstatic experiences from God, both Old and New Testament. It is only our stuffy western conservatism that denies us the fullness of what is available to us in the Holy Spirit. What are “rivers of living water” supposed to be?

  • April 19, 2014 at 10:25 amSteve Koschella

    Believers in Christ should not be amazed at the supernatural. We should not be scared or ‘concerned’ at things that John Crowder demonstrates or talks about. What do we think Christianity is? If we take the supernatural out of the book of Acts, we don’t have Christianity, we have a dead intellectual fraud. We need to be saturated in the Holy Spirit. We need to be swept up in the unpredictable and outrageous manifestations of the Holy Spirit, like the mass outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the upper room that caused onlookers to think that they were drunk. Like the trance that Peter experienced when he saw the vision before he was called to visit the Centurion. Like Philip when he was translated from one place to another without traveling there. Like when Philip preached in Samaria and mass deliverances and healings broke out. True Christianity is outrageous and messy and devil-terrorising!! Only a dumbed-down, tame and uninteresting Christianity baulks at these things and relegates them to an age gone by.

  • May 19, 2014 at 12:27 pmLogan McGeoch

    I think most of the comments here are fair, and thankfully so. Many Pentecostals were persecuted in times past because they were different. Coming from 10 years as an atheist (and since born again for 15 years), I can truthfully say what drove me from the form of Christianity I grew up with was its emptiness, its lack of proof – the supernatural. I couldn’t believe that there was nothing more than words and liturgy. I never joined another religion, I just ignored them all as cultural fairy tales designed to rationalise mortality. How could God exist and not be spectacular and dramatic and supernatural? It didn’t make sense. I wish I’d bumped into someone like Crowder in my 20’s, so much could have been avoided if I had just met someone who could demonstrate there was more than just words. Now I know! Yay!!!!!!!!!!
    🙂


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