IS IT THE SAME SPIRIT?
IS IT THE SAME SPIRIT? The Roman Catholic Charismatic Renewal continues to grow at a rapid pace. All around the world, Roman Catholics are experiencing the Charismatic’s second baptism known as the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’. Statistics show that at least half the Charismatics in the world are also Roman Catholic. Many Roman Catholics are being ‘slain in the spirit’ and are ‘speaking in tongues’. Much of the Roman Catholic priesthood has embraced the ‘charismatic experience’ which, incidentally, has received the Pope’s official blessing. But what does all this mean? How can Roman Catholics be experiencing what has generally been thought to be experiences found exclusively within what is considered to be a Protestant movement? The question we will be addressing is: ‘Is the spirit that is granting Charismatics their experiences – ‘tongues’, the ‘slaying’ etc – the same spirit that Roman Catholics joyfully receive?’
Before we examine the question ‘Is it the same spirit?’, it is important that we look at what most people have presumed to be Protestant, namely the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. This despite the fact that both abide in the doctrines of Arminianism which stem from Pelagianism, a fifth-century heresy that continues today, in which the Roman Catholic concept of salvation is rooted.
1971 was the year that saw the emergence of what became a very influential book. Entitled ‘The Pentecostal Movement in the (Roman) Catholic Church’, it was authored by a Roman Catholic priest named Edward D. O’Connor. The book became recognized as a classic and is still considered so by the Vatican and Roman Catholic activists. On page 23 of the book, O’Connor makes the following statement: "Although they derive from Protestant backgrounds, the Pentecostal churches are not typically Protestant in their belief, attitudes or practices. Many historians, as well as many of their own members, regard them as a ‘third force’ in the Christian world, between Protestantism and (Roman) Catholicism." We also see in further quotes from this book the compatibility of Roman Catholicism and Charismaticism. "(Roman) Catholics who have accepted Pentecostal spirituality have found it to be fully in harmony with their traditional faith and life. They experience it not as a borrowing from an alien religion, but as a connatural—meaning to have a similar nature or origin—development of their own" (p.28).
"The spiritual experience of those who have been touched by the grace of the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal movement is in profound harmony with the classical spirit of theology of the (Roman Catholic) Church" (p.183). And, "...the doctrine that is developing in the Pentecostal churches today, seems to be going through stages very similar to those which occurred in the early Middle Ages when the classical doctrine was taking shape" (p.193,194).
We learn from this the fact that the Roman Catholic Church sees no threat from the Charismatic movement, but has officially approved and embraced it, and is receptive to its ‘blessings’. However, Roman Catholic doctrine is NOT changing! Roman Catholics more than ever are remaining faithful to the use of the Rosary, prayers to Mary and other false Roman doctrines and practices.
For years many have believed that true revival has been occurring, firstly through the Pentecostal movement and later the Charismatic movement and that these two movements have seen the great move of God in these last days. And yet we see these ‘great movements’ now walking hand in hand with Romanism and other proponents of erroneous doctrine! They have become great friends. Some would even call it a family reunion. Roman Catholicism and the Charismatic Movement, specifically the Assemblies Of God churches, have played a major part in formulating the one-world church via the Ecumenical Movement.
Wilson Ewin, author of the book ‘The Pied Piper of the Pentecostal Movement’, says, "Untold millions of Catholic Pentecostals are now among the faithful of the Vatican. They are distinguished not only by the Pentecostal experience but also by their unswerving loyalty to the dogmas and teachings of the Roman Church. Medieval Catholicism as defined by the Council of Trent, remains intact in their hearts" (p.25). Ewin adds, "The very powers of classical Pentecostalism are now being shared with Roman Catholic Pentecostalists. And this of course, without conversion to Christ. The exploits of Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman, Rex Humbard, Aimee Semple McPherson, David Du Plessis and other mainline Pentecostal stars are even being outpaced by some Roman Catholic Pentecostalists" (p.26).
Throughout his book, Ewin tells of large meetings being held by Roman Catholics and Pentecostals. "Meetings have been carried on for many years between Vatican authorities and Pentecostal leaders. Cardinal Leon Suenens, usually involved in this, spoke at the 1977 Congress in Kansas City. He and ‘Thomas Zimmerman (Assemblies of God), J.O. Patterson (Church of God in Christ), and Archbishop Bill Burnett (Anglican) stood together before the vast multitude in an unprecedented demonstration of unity’" (p.34).
There still exists somewhat of a doctrinal gulf between Roman Catholics and Charismatics but these have been put to one side as they enjoy an experience-based unity. The Assemblies of God churches and the Vatican both agree that it is God’s Holy Spirit who is at work in both the Charismatic Movement and Roman Catholicism. And yet, when we examine the testimonies of Roman Catholics who have experienced charismatic phenomena such as ‘tongues’, the ‘slaying’ and the ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit’—a term not found in the Scriptures— we see that they are not, in turn, being led out of the errors of Romanism but deeper into them! One such testimony specifically records that the person began to pray the Rosary, "a practice" they said, "I have taken up since the baptism in the spirit" (Catholic Pentecostals, p.68). Another wrote of his renewed allegiance to Mary. A priest declared after his ‘baptism in the spirit’, "Never before had I such a sense of Mary’s role in leading me into the fullness of Christ and the Spirit" (The Charismatic Renewal and the Irish Experience, p.92). In fact, some nominal Roman Catholics who were not amongst those who prayed to Mary or prayed the Rosary or even attended Mass, now eagerly do so as a direct result of their charismatic experience!
E.N. Gross in his book ‘Miracles, Demons and Spiritual Warfare’ says, "The Charismatic Movement now embraces Roman Catholics with a total openness. Basic differences of doctrine no longer seem to matter. Huge Charismatic meetings feature Protestant and Roman Catholic speakers as if there were no difference between them. ‘Tongues’, ‘prophecies’, ‘healings’ abound in such meetings—all with loud united shouts of ‘amen’ and ‘praise Jesus’" (p.160).
If it is the Holy Spirit giving these experiences to Roman Catholics, how then are we to explain the fact that these people are not being led out of Romanism and renouncing her blasphemous teachings but are becoming more firmly entrenched in her heretical doctrines? The Bible says that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and the Lord Jesus Christ further stated that "...when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth..." (Jn. 16:13). He would not confirm and establish Roman Catholics or any other followers of false doctrine in their error but would lead them out of it. And the Holy Spirit would certainly not lead God’s people to join hands with those who are steeped in deadly error, having embraced a false gospel. But wait, we need to ask these questions at this point: ‘How can the spirit that is active in both the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements be the Holy Spirit of God when this spirit has not led the followers of either of these movements to the Gospel of Christ but to a counterfeit and has fused these movements with the giant of doctrinal monsters, the Roman Catholic Church? How can it be the Holy Spirit leading these people when their unity is not over the doctrine of Christ but rather involves a disregard of doctrine?’ These movements have entered into an experience-based love affair with Roman Catholicism and even Mormonism through the Promise Keepers movement.
Jesus Christ said that the Holy Spirit, Whom He called "the Spirit of truth" three times in the Gospel of John, would guide all God’s chosen into all truth (Jn. 16:13). The spirit which is at work in the Charismatic Movement and Roman Catholicism IS the same spirit but is NOT the Holy Spirit, for this counterfeit spirit is not leading people into all truth. He is not leading them to the only Gospel of God which reveals the Righteousness of Christ and which declares that Christ’s death was for all those God gave Him, but is encouraging fellowship with error and leading people into a false unity—love and experiences—rather than Biblical unity (which God Almighty is the Author of) which is, and can only ever be, love and truth. Disciples of both groups need to be aware of the Scriptural truth that doctrine must never be laid aside, even because of an overwhelming desire to unite at any cost. Only those who believe the True Gospel can be of the same mind as the Scriptures when it comes to Who Christ is, what Christ has done and for whom He has done it.
The sight of the Charismatic Movement and the Roman Catholic Church merging ever closer by the minute and, although in disagreement over some doctrine, warmly welcoming the spirit which is leading them deeper into ecumenical bondage and doctrine which is at odds with the Scriptures, demonstrates conclusively that it IS one and the same spirit—but it is NOT the Holy Spirit of God, it is a foul counterfeit. A counterfeit which is titillating the senses and feeding an insatiable urge to see and feel and experience something out of the ordinary — to have a man-made unity now, based on experience and not Truth, rather than the true unity which only Jesus Christ brings to all those who abide in HIS doctrine (see 2 Jn. 9). God’s Holy Word states that the Christian’s walk is one of faith, not of sight (2 Cor. 5:7). God has chosen to speak to His people through the written Word and it is in the Holy Scriptures that you will find true experience with God, not in some flesh-pleasing titillation dripping with false doctrine.
In John’s First Letter, chapter 4 and verse 1, we see his instruction to "...believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Many today do not question, but merely accept at face value that if an experience is real and seemingly ‘beneficial’, it must be of God thus giving credibility to, in the minds of such thinkers, whatever movement one has had the experience in. It is clear that the spirit working within the Charismatic movement is leading it further into fellowship with darkness. This same spirit is not guiding Roman Catholics into all truth but deeper into the heresies of Romanism. Therefore this spirit cannot be the Holy Spirit of God but is the unholy spirit of Satan. God’s people—those among His elect currently a part of the Roman Catholic Church or the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements who do not yet believe the Gospel must do so—need to come out of the Roman Catholic Church and the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements according to Revelation 18:4, "...that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." The line has been most distinctly marked out: will you follow the spirit of the Charismatic movement and the Roman Catholic Church or will you follow the Holy Spirit of God who guides people into all Truth?
The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Truth and He alone it is Who will guide people into His truth: the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We exhort Roman Catholics and Charismatics alike to study the Word of God and experience the TRUTH!
If you are a Roman Catholic but are concerned about what you are involved with and what you are believing, please see our set of 8 booklets which deal with Roman Catholic teachings and practices such as the Rosary, Purgatory, Confession, Baptism, Mary, Salvation, the Mass and the connection between paganism and Roman Catholicism, on this website.
If you are involved in the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements but have become disturbed by what you have read in the above article, please see my booklet ‘The Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit’, at www.godsonlygospel.com Those involved in either one of these groups are encouraged to read my booklet ‘God’s Only Gospel’, at www.godsonlygospel.com