I've really avoided speaking about much of my personal history, as it is too easy to look like one is focusing on personalities and not issues. Personalities have never been the issue, and I apologize if it looks like I am making it so. That is not my intention here; the issues are important and I speak from my distasteful first-hand experiences. These experiences were real and so are the people involved in it. They are your neighbors and your friends.
About six years ago, where I formerly attended church, a brother and I had many conversations with the leadership over the practices of the (for lack of a better term) spiritually "elite." The elite's emphasis was contained in the catchphrase "the party is now." Below is a video of the kind of events that were taking place with the approval of the church leadership.
A fire tunnel, for the uninitiated, is a conveyor-belt hands-laying-suddenly prayer line which features mass impartation (or defilement). It was only one issue of many. The leadership refused to draw a line in the sand, confusing enthusiasm and passion with Godly virtues. Indeed, they can be, but they can also be driven by the flesh or demonic spirits. As an aside, the adversarial pastor, who signed all his letters "In His Grip," was ironically discovered to be in the grip of fleshly passion instead and eventually was dismissed. That should have been a "teachable moment," but the elites continued on, perhaps as time went by in a less public manner, now with certain "glory" meetings moving off the church property (but still promoted in the church bulletin).
Fast-forward six years, and now some of these same folks are now associating with the "tokin the ghost" crowd. That this was happening should have been obvious given the elite's close public association (it's called the "world wide web" for a reason) with the New Mystics: John Crowder, David Vaughn and Ben Dunn. I've known about it for almost two years since the publication of a letter from one of them on an Emerge Wales website speaking positively of experiences at a so-called "Mystical School" in Atlanta. Broken link.
The practices of those involved with the new mystics are beyond bizarre. Frankly, I thought most people were aware of this- its old news in apologetics circles- but for the unenlightened, here is a little information about "tokin the holy ghost" and the play-acting experiences of the "new mystics."
Prophetic play-acting has always been a part of this movement and its predecessors. Years ago, a group from our church (the beforementioned elites) came back from Toronto waving (imaginary and invisible) prophetic swords. And apparently, you had to go to Toronto to "get" this impartation, and if you did not have it you were part of the unwashed, or what they referred to in Toronto as HTR ("hard to receive"). Later, they moved to a real sword, which they used in secret upper-room ceremonies to "knight" each other in a "prophetic" manner. In once such ceremony, participants would kneel before an leader who would tap them on the shoulders with a jewel-encrusted Arthurian sword.
All of this in spite of a warning directed to this church about the swordplay from Gary Bergel, then director of Intercessors of America. According to Joyner, a national prayer leader (presumably Bergel) had already exchanged words with Rick Joyner at Morningstar about the same issues. As with Joyner, Bergel was marginalized and ignored. It was a true prophetic word and it was ignored. (See sidebar on "Rick Joyner Swordplay" for more).
Let's go back a little further. The Nehushtan was a sacred object in the form of a copper snake upon a pole. You can read about it in Numbers 21. As an aside, please note WHO sent the poisonous snakes in the first place, and why. Anyhow, Numbers 21:9 tells us "So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived." The notes in the NET Bible tell us:
"The image of the snake was to be a symbol of the curse that the Israelites were experiencing; by lifting the snake up on a pole Moses was indicating that the curse would be drawn away from the people – if they looked to it, which was a sign of faith. This symbol was later stored in the temple, until it became an object of worship and had to be removed ( 2 Kings 18:4 ). Jesus, of course, alluded to it and used it as an illustration of his own mission. He would become the curse, and be lifted up, so that people who looked by faith to him would live." (John 3:14).See, here's the problem. This object, given by God, had been made a god by the children of Israel. So what did Hezekiah do? "He also demolished the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for up to that time the Israelites had been offering incense to it; it was called Nehushtan." (2 Kings 18:4 )
Here's the bottom line: the Children of God have trouble with objects. It was no mistake when God said, in Exodus 20:4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is on the earth beneath or that is in the water below. " I would also note, that as with the Golden Calf, graven images and debauchery go hand in hand (c.f. Exodus 32).
So, how do you think God feels about people who "prophetically" (play-acting) suck on small baby-dolls and say they are tokin' on the baby jesus and then begin to act as if they are (in their words) "drunk in the Holy Ghost?"
The theological concept is not obscure or hard to grasp. Here it is:
THE HOLY GHOST IS NOT A PLAY TOY.
Yes, I've seen apostle Tony Fitzgerald chase a leader of my former church around the room at a men's retreat, trying to lay hands on him and "slay him in the spirit" as they both giggled. And more recently, the image of James Goll, sucking on a baby jesus to get high, sticks in my mind. And for years, people have been explaining off weird manifestations.
"You know lots of those people manifesting, its actually angels fooling around, messing with them and stuff. Angels are really playful."Let me repeat, in case you don't quite understand:
THE HOLY GHOST IS NOT A PLAY TOY.
When you combine "objects" with mocking the Holy Ghost, you are setting yourself up for massive and painful correction from God Almighty, if you have not already crossed the line drawn in 2 Thessalonians 2:11.
"Consequently God sends on them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false."Yes, I understand that eschatologically we are not quite there yet, but remember who sent the poisonous snakes in Numbers 21, and please, as if your life depends on it (it does) understand that God himself implores you to 1) not be deceived and that 2) He cannot be mocked. And this is the real application of "reaping and sowing." See Galatians 6:7.
The Actual Practice
There is so much doctrinally wrong with the "new mystics" that I hesitate to even focus on their practices. I have written before about spiritual drunkenness, a practice that dates back to the early days of the Toronto "blessing." However, "tokin' the ghost" or whatever you want to call it, seems to go beyond the pale, and as with Todd Bentley's adulterous affair during a revival, should serve as a wake-up call to the church.
Crowder and his friends like to pretend they are smoking weed ("jehovahauna") and get (or pretend to get) totally tanked. They do this in the context of a church meeting and think it a good thing. Sometimes it is an imaginary reefer, sometimes they use little plastic baby dolls (the "baby jesus") as imaginary pipes, sometimes they "huff" on olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane, or snort dust from the tomb of Jesus. Many of the most offensive source videos have been removed from the Internet but some compilations remain (also this), but I've seen all of this in the original context - and more, including two girls puffing on a six-foot cross, drawing lines (as in cocaine) across a bible and snorting it, play acting injections (as in heroin) and play- acting the suckling of the breasts of God.
Are they just mentally ill, or is something demonic going on here? Were you paying attention to the snake thing earlier? Perhaps Romans 1:28 is true- God has given them over to a reprobate (depraved) mind. What is your explanation?
I implore you- if this stuff has touched you - and the point of this article is that it is close-to-home - repent of it (turn) and ask God to cleanse you before it is too late. Furthermore, I would ask you to consider getting into a word-honoring church, one where doctrine is not seen as divisive, but as a safety net to protect us from these very things. Scripture is important, in fact it is "is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." In my own experience, a lot of trouble could have been avoided if this message had been received six years ago.
Have you personally seen these things? Can you defend the indefensible without lobbing the "religious spirit" bombs? Let's talk - post your thoughts below.
Where the Whack Comes from - John Crowder
John Crowder Mystical School Atlanta 09 I know people in this video.