empowered by the spirit for mission

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.

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August 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm Comments (10)