My Testimony of Working with Charismatic Catholics
by Bill Scudder Dayton, Ohio, USA.
I would like to say first of all that I am not a Cecessionist. I do not believe the Gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased with the New Testament Apostles. They are available to the Church of God today.
For those who do not believe the above, you are still my brother or sister in the Lord if you believe that we are saved by grace alone through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone. What I am about to tell you is not 'politically correct' and I will be labelled as 'intolerant' or maybe even a 'basher' by some people. I love Catholics, as I do anyone else, but it is the doctrine from Rome which is the problem.
President of the FGBMF-Peoria, Ilinois
It started when I was voted in as President of a local chapter of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International. We had a dinner meeting once a month and a breakfast meeting once a month. At the dinner meeting we would usually invite a Christian businessman to give his testimony. We began to hold a Bible study and prayer meeting in my home.
The word got out, and some Catholics began to come to my home prayer and Bible study meeting, including a priest. The first thing this priest did was kneel in front of me, as if I could impart something to him. Later I knew that he wanted me to pray that he would receive tongues. I became a friend with this Priest and we began to attend other meetings together. More Catholics started coming to all of our meetings and I invited a Catholic professor from Ball State University to come and speak to our fellowship.
It wasn't long until many of these Catholics were seeking and receiving tongues. At the time I just took it for granted that they were already saved and were receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Priests, nuns and others were beginning to receive tongues. I was guilty of believing that tongues was an indication that we shared the same Holy Spirit experience, and the same Jesus. This was due to my ignorance of the 'Gospel according to Rome', for which I have no excuse.
I was invited to teach a course one night a week for six weeks in a Roman Catholic Parish. Priests, nuns and others were present. It became evident that they had difficulty understanding the gift of salvation. I believe it was because of a spirit of bondage given to them by Rome, and their dependence on their infant baptism and other doctrines of Rome which nullify the Gospel.
I was invited to attend Catholic Charismatic prayer meetings at the University as the only non-Catholic present.
One of the Catholic prayer groups were speaking in tongues and receiving unbiblical interpretations of a sinful nature, supposedly coming direct from Mary, 'the mother of Jesus'. Which was further proof that the unsaved were receiving 'tongues' from a spirit other than God. Charismatic Catholics often become more devoted to Mary after receiving a tongue.
Mary becomes the focus
Many Catholic Charismatics have migrated to Mary, whom they see as the Holy Spirit's 'more interesting spouse'. The Catholic Charismatic fellowship at Dayton University reported to the news media that since their 'experience' they have been giving more devotion to Mary.
A Catholic Priest who was a sought after speaker in the Catholic Charismatic movement and spoke at many FGBMFI chapters, was speaking one night to a large group during one of our FGBMFI conventions. After his talk he gave an altar call to come and be 'born again'. I had an uneasy feeling, and after the service was over, I approached to ask him some questions. I asked him if Jesus was the only way to be saved, and he said very plainly, 'NO'. I asked, 'Do you have to be born again and believe in Jesus Christ to be saved and he said 'NO'. What did he mean by 'born again'?
It was obvious he meant that if you received tongues or any kind of subjective feeling, that was a proof of being born again, having nothing to do with being born from above by the Spirit of God.
At that point I rebuked him for what he said and he got very angry and began to shake. I reported him to FGBMFI but nothing came of it. The strange thing is that there seems to be two kinds of Roman Catholics, Those who believe God is the Father of all and no-one is lost, and there are those who are faithful to Rome, which is the majority. Both types are in need of the true Gospel.
I believe the FGBMFI has been and is being used of God, and many have been saved through it's efforts, but I and others, have been guilty of an ecumenical spirit, and unity at any cost. We have given a false hope of security to those who needed the truth of salvation.
When one becomes a true Christian and believes in Christ only, then that person will be led in the right direction, and that direction is away from Rome. Some Evangelicals are now saying that Roman Catholics are no longer considered to be a mission field since they are 'Christians'. What a sad commentary to our brothers and sisters in Latin countries, and others who have laid down their lives for the Gospel, and have seen millions of Roman Catholics believe the Gospel. The future of evangelism hangs in the balance.
In my eight years of working with Charismatic Catholics, I have come to the following conclusions..:
I had been naive and had neglected to really look into the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church to see what they really believed about the doctrine of Salvation by Grace through faith in Christ alone. I took it for granted that they believed the Gospel of the Bible. Historically, and conversely, the Roman Catholic Church teaches as dogma, that justification is conferred through her sacraments, and that it consists of inner righteousness whereby a man, it is stated, becomes 'just within himself'. The Church of Rome condemns the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Any non-Catholic Church that held the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church would be considered a 'Cult' by many of the same people who are seeking unity with the Catholics.
I have discovered that most Protestants do not know what the Gospel is 'according to Rome'! And are easy prey for Roman Catholic apologists because they do not know how to defend sola scriptura. Do we once again need a reformation in the 'Protestant' Churches?
It was the standard practice of the FGBMFI to tell Roman Catholics to stay in the Catholic Church so that they could witness to others. I believe this was a very dangerous attitude in that I found those who stayed eventually were lost to the Roman Church once again because they had not been truly born again. I believe most of the ones who had trusted in Christ alone for salvation came out of the Roman Catholic Church.
You cannot stay in a Church, without consequences, that denies we are saved by what Christ did outside of us, and not what we can do to become worthy inside.
"Solo Christo" was one of the cries of the Protestant Reformation. Translated from the latin, it means "Christ Alone".
In these hedonistic times, the growing tendency to emphasise feelings and experiences at the expense of sound doctrine is presenting the world with a 'feel-good' religious community, the boundaries of which grow more ephemeral with every new ecumenical pronouncement. This is especially true among Roman Catholics and some Evangelical and Charismatic Christians. I want to emphasize that not all Evangelicals and Pentecostals are being deceived but some are.
And the lines become more blurred, so that now in some ecumenical meetings, New Agers, Universalists, Roman Catholic as well as true born again Christians such as Evangelicals and Pentecostals are coming together to celebrate their oneness in a quote, 'Common Experience'. This is the great deception.
The Roman Catholic Church is more deceptive than other cults because it is so close to the truth. Therein lies the deception.
Although speaking in tongues is a valid experience from God it is not always of the Holy Spirit. It can be counterfeited. Satan has counterfeits of the Gifts of God. You can receive an experience without being saved, and when this happens it leads to many problems. The major problem is a false sense of security that you are saved, and leads you further away from the true Gospel and many times into the occult.
I believe most of the Catholics were seeking a sign of tongues, and they received a false tongue. If we accept everybody as brothers and sisters because they speak in tongues, then we are heading down a slippery slope, Catholic or other wise (spiritual experience ALONE can never be the basis for unity. Unity must be based on sound DOCTRINE).
If anyone comes with another doctrine, do not receive him....for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds (Holy Bible 2 John 10-11 KJV).
Even though the above scripture taken in context applies to other heresies, such as the denial that Christ came in the Flesh, I believe it can just as well be applied to the Gospel of salvation, since they are related and can not be separated.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Galatians 5:1. KJV).
Used with permission. If you would like to email Bill Scudder, you may contact him at email@example.com
Return to the Protestant Apologetics and Theology page