Initially, it is important to distinguish between two descriptions of believers. The historical account of believers who were saved under the Old Testament covenant and later received the Holy Spirit in the early days of the New Testament era needs to be distinguished from those who receive the Holy Spirit jointly with their salvation, as has been the norm for all the years of Christianity. Thus, a description is given in Acts Chapter 2 of the Apostles and one hundred twenty other believers who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit after salvation. Additionally, there are historical accounts of receiving the Holy Spirit following salvation in Acts Chapters 8, 10, and 19. All of these believers were under the Old Testament covenant. When they heard the gospel of grace, they believed and became a part of the New Testament church. It is essential to understand that historical accounts are not teaching doctrine. Rather, they give a description of unique individuals spanning the Old and New Testaments. It is crucial to refrain from confusing these historical accounts with what is taught as doctrine in the New Testament. Factually and doctrinally in the New Testament, all those who were saved under the New Covenant received the Holy Spirit at the time of their salvation. The failure to make this distinction has confused believers regarding the Pentecostal and Catholic Charismatic movements.
A primary purpose of Vatican Council II was to foster ecumenical relationships with Christian groups throughout the world. Evangelical Christians were now to be called “separated brethren,” rather than “heretics.” The goal was to draw them into the Roman Catholic fold. From Rome’s perspective, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have been one of its most successful endeavors using the Vatican’s ecumenical tactics. It is fitting here that we examine these movements from their earliest days until the present time.
Both Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement promote an experiential form of Christian life. Particular, theological emphasis is centered on the perceived role of the Holy Spirit, said to provide special spiritual gifts and blessings. The doctrine of “the baptism of the Holy Spirit” is very important to both Pentecostals and Charismatics. They teach that Christians should strive for this special, post-salvation blessing. It is given when prayed for and takes place after conversion to the Christian faith. Generally, they believe that speaking in tongues is a sign that one has indeed received the baptism in the Spirit. Ordinary Pentecostals and Charismatics take the fact that they can speak in tongues as testifying to their salvation. Thus, the issue of repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is overlooked in favor of the experience of receiving the “baptism in the Spirit” as evidenced by speaking in tongues.
From its inception, an essential part of the Pentecostal movement has been the doctrine that speaking in tongues is a gift for every believer. Pentecostals and Charismatics generally hold that through speaking in tongues the Lord communicates to the church by prophecy. Consequently, messages that are given “in tongues” need to be interpreted. It is also claimed to be a “prayer language” that a believer uses to edify himself. Thus Pentecostal Donald Gee states, “The distinctive doctrine of the Pentecostal churches is that speaking with tongues” is the ‘initial evidence’ of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This article of belief is now incorporated in the official doctrinal schedules of practically all Pentecostal denominations.” Catholic Charismatic Dennis Bennett’s widely used book in the charismatic groups states, “Speaking in tongues is not the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but it is what happens when and as you are baptized in the Spirit and it becomes an important resource to help you continue.” The well known Pentecostal Kenneth Hagin stated, “Speaking in tongues is always manifested when people are baptized in the Holy Ghost.” David DuPlessis, a leading Pentecostal in ecumenism with Catholics, stated in his autobiography that God showed him that tongues was a means for determining the divine will. He wrote, “…the light clicked on. I was speaking to God in tongues, and He was speaking back to me in my mind. I began to find beautiful revelation that way…Praying in tongues proved to be a wonderful step in working my way out of such an impasse. I would merely pray in tongues, and if the idea held firm, then I knew it was real.”
In total contrast, a basic fact about tongues in the New Testament is that they were real and known languages and not some sort of incomprehensible mutterings. The first exercise of tongues in the New Testament was in Acts 2. Miraculously, the apostles were able to speak languages they had never learned. “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” Again, these were known languages and not unintelligible babblings.
The Claim that by Prophecy the Lord Speaks to His Church
Pentecostals and Charismatics claim that the Lord speaks to His church through the gift of prophecy. This is not biblically possible. The Scripture states, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” In this Scripture verse it is evident that “personal revelations” are totally out of place. The Apostle Peter was an eyewitness of the Lord’s glorification on the Mount of Transfiguration. He heard the actual voice of God from heaven, yet he emphatically stated, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” Moreover, New Testament truth was “once given” to believers. Definitely it is not continuing revelation by means of unauthentic prophecies. The Word of the Lord teaches, “every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.” It then immediately commands in the next verse, “add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” This teaching and command shows emphatically that it is God’s Word alone that is pure and uncontaminated. Thus, God’s written Word leaves no place for claimed revelations by a so-called gift of prophecy.
Although Pentecostalism has a much longer history than just the twentieth century, the current ecumenical outreach of the Catholic Church to the Pentecostals must be seen in its proper historical context in order to grasp the seriousness of the issue. What had looked like a mortal wound to Papal power took place in 1798. General Louis Alexandre Berthier of Napoleon’s army entered the Vatican and removed Pope Pius VI from his throne. With that, the destruction of the Holy Roman Empire per se was complete and the Papacy lost the last vestige of its basis as a civil power. Nevertheless, the Papacy, which arose in the demise of the Imperial Roman Empire, has continued beyond the demise of the Holy Roman Empire. The Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 allowed for the return of the Jesuits to England. As a result, the Oxford Movement was launched in England in 1833. Its best-known leader was John Henry Newman. According to Newman’s own testimony, his primary objective was to make Anglicanism indistinguishable from Roman Catholicism and to do so from within the Church of England—as the Catholic Church had laid out to him. Through Newman’s influence, a group was established within the Church of England known as the Anglo-Catholics. The Anglo-Catholic movement has had a devastating influence on the Church of England. Incrementally, many people have effectively been brought into slavery to Papal Rome. In particular, the idea of bringing Bible believers back under the Catholic yoke by increments had always been a tool of which Jesuit minds were particularly fond. Getting back into England was one such incremental step in the attack to return that sovereign nation to the Catholic fold. Then, in the twentieth century, the Papacy at Vatican Council II formally announced its ecumenical agenda. Consequently, the Papal agenda and tactic used so successfully on the Church of England was perfected to ensnare the Pentecostals. Through outreach to Pentecostals, and through dialogue with them, the whole process of infiltration by the Catholic Church was begun openly in 1967.
The Vatican’s Infiltration Policy
In 1965, the Papacy, ever adept at changing its policies, formulated a new method by which to snare Evangelicals. At Vatican Council II, a major tactical change was introduced. The main objective of change was to manipulate Bible-believing churches by means of “dialogue.” The heretics of old were now called “separated brethren.” The purpose of such “dialogue” was clearly stated by the Catholic Church. Among other statements, the Church declared its “little by little” policy was to gather Evangelicals by small incremental steps into the unity it claims exists in the Catholic Church. Thus, as a result, many Evangelicals were and are enticed into an ecumenical world constructed by the Catholic Church. Some of the prominent Pentecostals who have taken part in this ecumenical dialogue are Paul Crouch, David Mainse, John Arnott, C. Peter Wagner, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and Benny Hinn.
The Ecumenical Participation Documented
The Word of Faith movement is a part of the Pentecostal movement. The Word of Faith teachers claim that the Bible promises perfect health and boundless prosperity to all believers. Thus, when believers are sick, or in poverty, the reason given to them by the Word of Faith leaders is that they do not have enough faith to claim these promises for themselves. The Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) is the most powerful and persistent of the TV ministries in the USA. It almost exclusively promotes the Word of Faith teachers. Paul Crouch, the director of TBN, has for many years been closely associated with the Catholic Church. On his Website, one finds such announcements as, “Pope Honors Fr. Michael Manning of ‘The Word in the World’ on TBN” and “Celebrate Easter with TBN’s Premiere of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.” His Website explicitly states that its programs have an appeal to those in the Catholic Church. TBN, in fact, promotes Catholic doctrine and offers a wide range of Catholic books and other literature for sale.
Furthermore, in Canada, the radical Pentecostal David Mainse welcomes Catholics on his “100 Huntley Street” television show. Also, John Arnott of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship shared with his followers the news that videos of the Toronto Blessing meetings have been taken to the Vatican. Moveover, C. Peter Wagner, a self-proclaimed founder of the New Apostolic Church and the New Apostolic Reformation, is a key figure in Word of Faith circles. He was at one time a close associate of Vineyard founder, John Wimber. Wimber and Wagner created a course called “Signs and Wonders and Church Growth,” which impacted churches all over the world. Wagner endorsed the Catholic charismatic movement when he wrote, “Traditionally, the message of the Gospel in Latin America has appealed to the working class. But changes have begun to take place, and many middle and upper-class people are now opening their hearts to Jesus Christ. Some of this is happening through the Catholic charismatic movement.” Wagner does not differentiate between the false gospel of Catholic Charismatic movement and the true biblical Gospel. He also identifies “Catholic” with “Christian” when he wrote, “Probably the first Asian nation to become predominantly Christian will be Korea with the exception of the Philippines which is already about 85 percent nominal Catholic.” Another Pentecostal, Benny Hinn, is one of the well known Word of Faith leaders. In Christianity Today magazine, he emphasized his Catholic state of mind saying, “My upbringing, of course, was Catholic in that I attended the Catholic school in Jaffa, Israel. And so my mentality basically is a Catholic mentality. When I was born again, I was Catholic in my ways. I was very Catholic in my ideas, in my behavior.”
The Foundational Doctrine of Pentecostal and Catholic Charismatic Movements
The Catholic Charismatic Movement, like the Pentecostal Movement, is defined by what they understand is signified by the words “baptized in the Spirit.” Both movements call the event “Baptism in the Spirit,” and claim that it is available to Christians to empower them with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus this experience, subsequent to conversion, is claimed to be normative for every Christian. According to Pentecostals and Charismatics, all Christians should be “baptized in the Spirit.” Thus, the stated position of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God denomination is the following, “All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.” None of the so-called manifestations under the Pentecostal-Catholic Charismatic definition of the “Baptism in the Spirit” demonstrate that a person is spiritually alive in Christ.
According to the Bible, the baptism of the Holy Spirit happens at the time of salvation. God the Holy Spirit comes into the believer and gives him a new nature. Thus the Lord stated, “verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Thus the Holy Spirit is the necessary cause of being “born again.” The same principle of life was declared by the Lord Jesus Christ when He stated, “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” Accordingly, the Lord God gloriously saves sinners, “according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” True believers are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” This is clear and profound. Regarding sinners, the direct regeneration by the Holy Spirit is necessary because man is spiritually dead. It is not that he is weak and needs stimulation; rather, spiritually he is dead. Consequently, the new birth by the Holy Spirit is utterly essential because natural man is totally deficient in and of himself. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “and you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Because the Holy Spirit initiates salvation, it is a serious error to call the work of the Holy Spirit a “second blessing,” when in fact it is the original blessing of salvation. In the words of Scripture, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Rebirth is the beginning of life for those who previously were spiritually dead. The work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration is absolutely necessary to bring life, where beforehand there was only death. Consequently, the foundational dogma of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements is emphatically a serious error. The Lord Jesus Christ imperatively gave a warning to all to take heed of counterfeits which instead of healing souls with wholesome doctrine, as they pretend, would poison them, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”
The whole strategy of the Vatican’s ecumenical tactics is uniquely sinister. Yet, it is only part of a vastly broader scheme, centuries old in its formulation and goal against the Gospel “once delivered unto the saints.” The Roman system has defrauded many Pentecostals and Charismatics, especially in the years following Vatican Council II, in 1965. What we have documented is indeed revealing. It shows the imperative to draw lessons from what is been sinisterly perpetrated.
One can know a lot about a movement by examining its origins. A case in point is the revival of the Reformation that began in the 16th century with rediscovery of the sole authority of Scripture and salvation by grace through faith alone. The Holy Spirit used God’s absolute truth to awaken Europe, the USA, and beyond. The origin of the Catholic Charismatic movement is totally different. Its roots went back, as we said, to the compromise of the Oxford Movement in 1833. Then, incrementally, the Jesuits brought Bible believers back to Papal Rome throughout the 19th century. Its origins culminated in 1965 with Vatican Council II’s objective of manipulating Bible-believing churches by means of ecumenism. This false ecumenism was launched in the 1967 highlighting of the doctrine of Spirit Baptism as a second work of grace derived from Pentecostalism. This “second blessing” ecumenical lie is utterly exposed by the New Testament truth that everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ by grace through faith is saved and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. This was the promise of the Lord when He had said, “for John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” This indeed is the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Thus, the origins of Catholic Charismatic movement are not biblical as was the Reformation; rather, it arose out of a deceitful two-stage holiness fabrication. The Holy Spirit is, in the words of the Lord, “the Spirit of truth.” By exalting Christ, and not man, the Holy Spirit immediately “reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” This is in contrast to the man-centered Catholic Charismatic churches where holiness purportedly is obtained by one’s faith in “the second blessing.” Simply put, this is synergism—a cooperative effort between God and man in which one’s faith has the decisive role. This two-stage Charismatic falsehood is utterly exposed by the biblical doctrine of justification in which God the Father declares the believing sinner perfectly righteous on account of Jesus Christ’s righteousness, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
A troubling aspect of the Catholic Charismatic movement is that it builds bridges of acceptance and extends ecumenical cooperation with any Christian group on the basis of their acceptance of Charismatic experiences. In other words, Charismatic experiences enable the Vatican to influence large number of churches that it otherwise would have no power to persuade. Finally, the movement is highly perilous because it accepts tongues, visions, and prophecies as being messages from the Lord God to His people. This is a crucial hazard, seeing that once a person accepts extra-biblical messages, it is not long before he accepts heretical messages as being genuine. The Catholic Charismatic movement has done, and is doing, exactly that. The Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed this absolute standard when He declared, “the scripture cannot be broken.” The Lord also stated the truth of God’s Word by saying, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” From this statement, we understand that God’s Word not only contains the truth, it is truth itself. The Holy Scripture is the sole source of the believer’s standard of truth. Since Scripture alone is inspired, it alone is the ultimate authority, and it alone is the final judge of all human tradition and reasoning. Thus, the Lord rebuked the Pharisees for placing their human tradition on the same level as the written Word of God. At the present time, with equal authority, His written Word now censures the Catholic Charismatic movement, “as hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer [permit]ye them that are entering to go in.”
The written Word of God is the final and complete revelation given to believers by the Holy Spirit. Thus, Apostle Peter proclaimed, “we have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” To give heed to this light must be the duty of all believers. Charismatics, who nonetheless continue to believe their “tongues and prophesies” as being from God, show that they are “blind leaders of the blind.” Thus, the Vatican tactic of using the theatrics of Pentecostal and Catholic Charismatic movements show itself to be a false religious system. Therefore, its so-called evangelism, worship, and services must be classified as, “full of hypocrisy and iniquity,” just as the Lord called the Pharisees “hypocrites” because they were simply stage-players in religion. We must likewise categorize the Vatican. As hypocrites, those in the Vatican, and their cohorts across the world, are in a woeful state and condition. Their religion is vain and when they die, their ruin will be great.
We give a grave warning to Catholics who are bound to their church system. Anyone who believes in Christ Jesus on the authority of his church rather than directly on the Lord by the authority of His written Word is set for ruin. The Lord God is the same just and righteous God under New Testament Gospel as He was under Old Testament law. He is the God of strict justice, who will avenge Himself on all who have not received the love of the truth, but rather look to a church rather than the Lord Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. The Lord Jesus Christ lived the perfect life and made the faultless propitiatory sacrifice for sin; to refuse to believe in Him alone is a critical offense. When the Lord dealt with the sincere and devout Pharisees, He gave them a very strong warning, “I said therefore unto you, that you shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” You may say that you are a good Catholic and that you want to please God in this present life and hope to live with Him forever. That is a noble goal, and you may be as sincere and devout as the Pharisees were, but like them, if you personally neglect to believe on Him alone, you likewise will die in your sins. Distinct faith and trust on the Lord Jesus Christ is essential and is frequently highlighted in Scripture. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” Because man is a spiritually fallen being, the Gospel presents a personal, direct faith in Christ Jesus the Lord alone. To substitute faith in one’s church as the way to believe on Him is a dangerously subtle deceit. It has all the appearance of piety and devotion, but in the final analysis, the choice is an institution instead of the Lord Jesus Christ. True faith must be personal. A faith through the mediation of a church has all the trappings of religion and produces large numbers of church people, as were the Pharisees, but these people are devoid of true eternal life that comes only from God. Let’s be clear, eternal life does not come from or through any church. If you do not have true faith, that is, you are not trusting in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, you also shall die in your sins, “for our God is a consuming fire.” ♦