June 26, 2011

A Review of Mystical Union by John Crowder

There are two things you should know about this book before you spend any money on it. First, there is absolutely nothing in this book that even vaguely resembles classic mysticism in any form. The followers of John Crowder call themselves the "New Mystics." Fair enough. But it would be disingenuous for them to portray anything he teaches as classic mysticism, because it is not mystical at all in that sense. If you are interested in the mystics, my suggestion would be to go to the mystics. Go to John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila and Thomas Merton and A.W. Tozer and other time-tested and authentic Christian mystics. Read Evelyn Underhill. Don't settle for an imitation when the authentic is available. Sure, delving into real mysticism will cost you something, but the fruits are far sweeter than the ready-made and easy-to-use alternative, trendy and cool as it may appear.

Second, although Crowder fancies himself just about the only true exegete of truth to the modern Church, what he's actually teaching in this book is a confusing blend of American cultural fundamentalism, sinless perfectionism and a strange sort of antinomian bondage wherein if a person does sin, they probably need to "get saved!" Crowder's theology is so jumbled he continually stumbles over himself in the confusion. For instance, on page 39, Crowder boldly asserts that, "Saved people don't sin." Then he immediately states that if you do sin you are either "an unbeliever" or just haven't been taught his peculiar method of not sinning. He attempts to twist a veritable cornucopia of scriptures into meaning precisely the opposite of what they say in order to prove his doctrine that believers don't sin, except sometimes, but not really, well maybe, perhaps, no, definitely not... He uses a plethora of off-beat Bible translations in order to attempt to prove the biblically unprovable.

Again, my suggestion is that if you are interested in the mystics and authentic Christian mysticism, then go to the mystics. If you want to know what the Bible teaches, read the Bible. If you'll stick to the simple and true path, you'll find that you will avoid the pitfalls and confusion that await those who seek shortcuts.

No comments: