“Mystical Union” by John Crowder
In his book Mystical Union, John Crowder writes that there is a new mysticism on the rise, one coupled with a new reformation.
Identifying himself as a “reformed mystic,” Crowder argues that the mystics need the reformers’ faith, while reformers shouldn’t reject the mystics’ experience.
The mystery of Christ
Some folk get antsy over talk about spiritual experiences, especially mystical ones. Indeed, the word mystical has been hijacked by all sorts of airy-fairy, new agey, occultic groups. But the word itself is Christian in origin.
The term mystic was originally used to describe a believer who experienced an interactive life with Christ characterized by intimacy and supernatural power. Paul wrote much about the mysteries of God which, in a word, are simply Christ. His concern was that we would “become progressively more intimately acquainted with and may know more definitely and accurately and thoroughly that mystic secret of God, [which is] Christ (the Anointed One)” (Col 2:2, AMP).
Do you have a problem becoming more intimately acquainted with Christ? Then neither do you have a problem with mystical experience.
The mystical union of which Crowder writes is simply the revelation that we are in Him and He is in us. This union was made possible through the cross. We did nothing to make it happen. We are merely the happy beneficiaries of His divine favor:
The abundant blessings of this union are far too many to account. Physical healing. Financial provision. Reconciliation in relationships. Emotional fulfillment. Unspeakable joy. Righteous authority to be wielded over regions and people groups. Creative miraculous abilities. Mystical powers. Authority in this age and the age to come. The possibilities are endless, as you are wed to God. Loc. 3498
Crowder takes care to point out that we don’t pursue spiritual experiences as a means of drawing closer to the Lord. Rather, we have these experiences because we are already united with Him. They are simply a consequence of effortless union. Peter and Paul never went looking for trances; they both “fell” into them. When you are living and breathing the mystery of God, namely Christ, mystical stuff just happens.
The flavor of faith
I would like to think that I am open to anything and everything God wants to do, but I have, at times, been distracted by the monkish seriousness or the drunken ecstasy of those who are more experiential than me.
Mystical experiences are certainly valid – they’re in the Bible – but I have sometimes felt that they are forced upon people, as in: “If you are not manifesting these experiences, then you’re not mature/pressing in/encountering the fullness blah blah blah.” Peer pressure is alive and well in some circles. And, if I’m brutally honest, I have probably pushed others whose comfort zones were smaller than mine.
But love doesn’t force itself on anyone. The flavor of faith is rest. Crowder understands this:
I’m not pressing in anymore. I’ve been pressed into. I’m not contending anymore. I’ve been contended for. I’m not a God chaser anymore. I’ve been chased down, roped, hogtied, bagged and dragged. I’m not appropriating what I have. It’s mine. I’m not getting closer to God. He’s like a Siamese twin. I’m not even seeking God anymore. He found me. Loc.2130
Mystical Union is an eclectic book full of rabbit trails all infused with grace.
Love the post thank you. Seems as though “Mystical Union” will be the next book I read!
Just love your posts ….. thank you for this book review – most definatly the next book to read!
read it already and its FIRE!!!!! Highly recommended!!! some spots i needed to read twice to get the understanding BUT soo freeing and so simple!!!! our church is blessed by Grace!!!!!
Thanx for the review
Doesn’t John look like he has an invisible doobie in his hand in the cartoon-I’m not trying to be negative but I don’t understand this. What’s a good way to re-evaluate someone’s previous actions like making a video where you lay on the grave of a John Alexander Dowie to seek the anointing and then come to understand your Union with Christ? It makes me really gun-shy to get hooked into someone’s thinking if you get a mix of seeking an anointing from a dead saint and NT believing-I just don’t know how much of that residual thinking is locked up in this book
I am not trying to be sarcastic or anything but trying to understand this-I appreciate Ben Dunn’s previous clarification about stuff
Hey Grant, those are great questions. Hopefully I can clarify some of this for you. The Crowder camp wasn’t seeking an anointing by those actions. Crowder acknowledges that believers have already been fully anointed…there is no further anointing one can receive if they have the fullness of Christ. What they were doing was simply a faith activator for experiencing more of the Glory that is already within believers to begin with. However, after noticing that others were using “doobies” or “tokin on the ghost” or even “sniffing graves” for formulas, they have since stopped doing so (at least in front of certain audiences). John Crowder has actually talked about this quite a bit, and gives legitimate reasons for all his actions. Rest assured, the man is on fire for God and has the backing of many church leaders, including Bill Johnson who considers him a close and personal friend.
“What they were doing was simply a faith activator for experiencing more of the Glory that is already within believers to begin with.”
I don’t see the connection of having to activate the Glory that’s already in us by going to a dead guy’s grave thru osmosis-I don’t remember the Apostle Paul having to go to Jesus’ Tomb to activate stuff-Activating what’s already in us is like saying you have to get a prayer shawl to activate healing or send in $1000 to somewhere to activate your financial blessing or doing some other “thing” to activate being born again-sounds like Law based stuff
GRANT, since I can’t reply to your post, I will write again here. I said FAITH activator…not glory activator. I’m not sure what a glory activator is. I’ve never heard of one, nor have I ever written about one. However, every Christian alive uses FAITH activators everyday. Every time you pray you are using a FAITH activator.
It’s ironic you think Crowder practices any “law-based stuff”. That’s like saying this website promotes law-based thinking
I don’t really know what that grave-thing is all about, but I have followed John’s teachings for several years now & trust that if he leaves the box, it is not merely for attention or the sake of being a loose cannon. He is passionate in his pursuit of the knowledge of Jesus. He doesn’t mind doing odd things or making mistakes to see what he might learn from them to that end. As far as the drug references, it’s just his sense of humor. He likes getting people to notice a religious attitude by poking fun in a provocative way or with a controversial topic. He’s not promoting recreational drug use, nor is he insulting God. Rather he hopes for people to loosen up (or at least realize it if they aren’t) & be awakened to the idea that God is not uptight either.
Both books are terrific! In fact, I have read most of John Crowder’s books and have been deeply blessed by all of them. I also just recently attended his conference in Charlotte and loved every second of it! I believe he and his group are on the forefront of bringing the church back to the gospel message. Of course, this website is doing a great job as well;) Rest in the GLORY!!!
“BRILLIANT…” Love it……!!!!!
I have read this book, and it is my favorite in my grace collection. He has several others worth reading too, but far less theology-centric with even more experiential rabbit trails. however His work is thoroughly researched and inspirational. I recommend this for non newbies to grace.
Jordan, I agree with Grant, I can’t understand why someone would have to pray on a grave as “faith activator”, isn’t faith a gift of the Spirit? I have heard so many different excuses for that video it is laughable.
The key word here is “activator”. Just being a reader of this site of Paul’s is a faith “activator”. When we read what others, that have a handle on what Jesus has already done for us, write we are inspired to continue in faith and to “do the works of faith”. “Faith without works in dead” Not works of the law but of faith. If you are fortunate you go to a church where the gospel of grace is preached and it helps to “activate” your faith. We all need encouragement at times. Example: When my daughter was a teenager she had dreams where she saw herself singing and being a worship leader in a band. She thought they were just dreams and the desire of her heart nothing more. Then last year at age 25 she went to a service at a different church, there was a guest speaker there from several hundred miles away. He had never met her or knew of her didn’t even know she could sing. During the worship service he prophesied over her. He told her that she would sing for the Lord and when there were breaks in the music she would prophesy. She was stunned. She has prayed about this over the last year. Now she is attending Andrew Wommack’s college and in her third year she will attend the School of Worship. That prophet through the Lord’s guidance “activated” her faith. And no he was not from the college or ministery. In fact he might not approve as he is Pentocostal Holiness, mix of law and grace.
Deb I am glad your daugher is attending Andrew Wommack’s college, I hold him in very high regard. I read the websites and get inspiration from what I read from others, I don’t agree that another person can activate your faith let alone praying at a dead grave, that is just weird. We have the Holy Spiriti in us and that is all we need, I put my trust in God alone, not in man, no matter who he is or was.
Maybe we are just thinking of activating differently, it’s not a very good description really. I believe that my spirit is one with Christ’s. I have been given the measure of faith, it’s in my spirit but I haven’t learned how to always walk in that faith or walk in my spirit. When I hear, see, speak the Word I believe that I have that faith because God says so. He doesn’t lie and I trust His Word. So in a sense it does activate my faith. The prophet confirmed somethings for my daughter and in a sense activated her faith in this area. His word from God moved her to take action.
I do not believe that a person could switch on my faith like starting a car and I certainly do not believe that by laying on someones grave I could receive anything such as an anointing, etc. Yes it’s very strange to me as well, creepy. But to each his own. If they get this from Elijah and Elisha and Elijah’s bones it’s a stretch to say the least. But that’s just my opinion.
Ahh…here it is. I think of activating my faith as it being “stirred up.” This is a much better description! A description used by Paul Ellis himself when describing Hebrews (see Hebrews 10:26) written by Mr Ellis.
‘Being stirred to’ sounds better in the case of working out our faith. I get tired of Christians using new labels as if we need something new to “follow”. Some even concoct new “signs and wonders” just to get whooped up about something. We need our faith stirred daily to be a light in this world, but I think it comes close to idolatry when you think you need to be in proximity of a person, place or thing for it to happen.
I’ve just recently started listening to Crowder’s teachings and am totally blessed by them. He’s helped explain few questions I’ve had. But whether I’ve seen old videos or not, I’d be more concerned about the people who still believe what they believed five, ten years ago. We are all invited to move from glory to glory, faith to faith. My prayer is, Lord, don’t let me believe five years from now what I believe today. I am willing to have my mind changed. I want to be continually moving in the immeasurable revelation of You.
whoa. don’t forget that God is unchangeable, and His Gospel is unchangeable. Jesus said not one word or little letter or accent on a letter (literally what jots and tittles are) would pass away from the Word of God, because it is unchangeable. So, whenever you are grounded in erroneous doctrine or theology, yes, be willing to change. But not in what the Bible teaches and you’ve learned from it. May God help us to HOLD FAST to the truth, like Paul says, not sway in “revelation,” but ground ourselves in truth.
Where does the Bible commands us to pray on top of a grave of a dead saint? There is no power there at all! the Power is within us: Christ in us! yes, reading others inpires faith, but not praying on top of their graves, that is just practical nonsense. It makes a dead man central, rather than Christ in us!
I am surprised no one commented on Ralph’s sound Theological comment. Kudos to you Ralph. As for John Crowder, I bear caution to the wind(my emphasis) and test all he says with Scripture. Interesting how the book promotes John Crowder “as an an international speaker and author.”
“I believe he and his group are on the forefront of bringing the church back to the gospel message.” – Quoted Jordan. Wow Jordan those are some bold words. I guess time will tell of the questionable Crowder will do as you say. Well with that said her are some crituques about ” Mystic Union.”
1. From the get-go, Crowder proclaims to the reader that their theology will be flipped upside-down with his revolutionary new teaching–who’s never read that before from preachers?
2. He promotes the notion that Christians are sinless and that they mystically died with Christ on the Cross. Several verses are quoted, I’ll give Him that, but when he tries to address notions of Matt 26:41 or Romans 7:15, he says those arguments are demonic and heretical. What better way to get Christians to stop thinking for themselves than to say their arguments belong in hell?
3. Also, something he did, which I personally can not stand, is that he said some verses are only in specific contexts and that they were written to specific Jews and not the reader. With this nonsensical logic, people could say they don’t have to obey the Ten Commandments because they weren’t there at Mt. Sinai being addressed by Moses.
4. On page 183, he also says “you are not saved by your love for God. you are saved by His love for you.” What about Matt 23:37 and connecting Matt 7:21-23 with 1 Cor 8:3?
5.This book feels like it preaches the “health and wealth” gospel. At one point, Crowder says his wife encountered an angel called Sovereignty. Who is sovereign besides God? Oh Whell
There you have it. My dear brothers and sisters. It is hopeful that those in favor of Crowder’s book have thoroughly tested it by God’s word. Don’t just look for small nuggets that appear theological sound, test the whole book the word of God and than make comments.
Dano, thank you for your comment. Please note E2R’s comment policy and keep any future comments under 250 words. Thanks!
Dano, awesome stuff.
Sorry, I should have written. “Belated thanks to you miguelgonzalez21.”
I’ve read this book, and I need to read it again. John makes some great points about the wonderful scandalous grace for those of us who are save! I do, however, take issue with his stated belief on those who are saved, which indicates that everyone is saved. On his website, newmystics.com, on the About Us page, he states: “Through Christ’s sacrifice made on the cross, all of sinful humanity died with him (2 Cor. 5:14, Rom. 6:6, Heb. 2:9). From God’s perspective, humanity is now forgiven, cleansed and reconciled to God. We the “Church” are those who now actively partake in this forgiveness and remission of sins, living in fellowship with God, thanks to the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.” Those who put their faith in Jesus and believe He is who He said He was are saved, and we died with Him on the cross and are unpunishable. How great is that?!!! However, those who do not put their faith in Christ are not saved, and therefore did not die with him and are under the law. But the free gift of salvation is available to all.
“into the mystic”,as I read this I thought of that song,I thought of this story as i read this, Jim croft under Derek prince at the time, told us a story of a missionary trip he made to south america late 60s early 70s. these natives had never heard of Christ,after witnessing to them, He said an old man came up to him and said “I know this person you speak of”,that was kinda mystical,and spooky.first thing that came to my head was,”can you believe the Lord doing something without me.” I’m not making a call on it.
Just looked at John Crowder,s work I can not believe how people cannot see the truth. It is true man creates his own god,s and God gives them power and acknowledges them. In the end there will only be one God standing.
Paul thanks for introducing me to Jhon,s work.
Chris – I see your comments from time to time. I’m starting to ready John Crowder’s Mystical Union and I can see you read it. That thing about dying with Christ and extinguishing the flesh instantly at conversion, although I see those verses in the Bible, this concept isn’t as real or experiential to me as some other aspects of God’s Grace that are very real to me. How about you? Your response will come to my email. I’m seeking more and more Truth all the time.
Hi i sorry to only respond to you now but I have only just now read your post, I have only watched a few u tube videos of John but never gone into what he says with any depth, he is refreshing and from the little I have seen agrees with what I see.Anyway it has been a long time since your post and I am sure God has and is continuing to reveal more and more of himself to you.
crowder thinks that everybody is saved
After reading several of his books, watching tons of his videos on YouTube, and even attending one of his mystical schools, I can tell you with a high degree of certainty that yours is not an accurate statement. He HOPES everyone will be saved. Which I think is about the most Godly point of view to have on the subject. Even God hopes for that. Don’t you?
He does believe that everyone is forgiven. But being forgiven and being saved are not the same thing.
I have many books from many authors, and I will borrow out my books without much todo. BUT the LORD has turned my theology upside down by John Crowder! And if you want to borrow Mystical Union I will want to know how long? And when you will return it? If I pick it up to reference something I will read it again!!! I have met him a few times and his humbleness and love for people and the LORD astonishes me!!
I have read this book at least 15 times. It is a book you can go back to time and time again and always see things more clearly. Many of the “concerns” and “criticisms” of John Crowder have to do with his zany YouTube antics or a misunderstanding of his writing. Take your time, think it through and search the Scriptures. Crowder is right on, solid, and well researched. Get the book, read it, then read it again. You will be challenged, educated, enlightened and blessed.
I am experiencing faith and excitement just by reading this post, and it’s happening spontaneously because of who I am. Spontaneously delighting in the truths of God is a state of freedom because it comes from relaxing and being yourself, which is one spirit with Christ. It happens when we place being over doing. It’s trusting and following our new heart. Crowder, I believe, is trying to help us realize this spontaneity. Our oneness with God is why, “God’s commandments are not burdensome,” and why Paul called himself a debtor to preach the gospel and a slave of righteousness. Norman Grubb wrote a book on this neglected subject called The Spontaneous You. Crowder like Grubb doesn’t believe we have a self separate from God, once saved. Crowder credits this to his continually experiencing, “The drunken glory of God’s presence.” .I love grace books like this that reveal our completeness and freedom in Christ, liberating us from the legalistic, spiritual anxiety of having to get in shape for God.
“Hypergrace” people are very well known for talking about being “drunk in the spirit” (ie John Crowder & Matt Spinks). Just curious what your thoughts on this state are? Have you had it before? Is it a kundalini demon like many evangelical charismatic types kneejerkingly say it is? Any other thoughs appreciated & I love your work!
There are two ways to go wrong with this: (1) attribute to the devil that which is of the Holy Spirit, and (2) attribute to the Holy Spirit that which is of the devil. Both errors are serious, but one is a more serious than the other. I have zero interest in getting caught up in debates, but for the record I would be hesitant to go around saying “that’s a demon.” I have encountered many people who seem to be quite drunk in the Spirit and the fruit seems to be joy and peace. Draw your own conclusions.
Paul. Please be caring and sensible. The last quote of thie post is upsetting to survivors. It’s an inappropriate way to describe the Bridegroom who doesn’t force himself on anyone.