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Friday

Worldwide Church of God

The Gift of Tongues
Historically, the most controversial gift has been tongues. It was controversial on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem; it was controversial a few years later in Caesarea; it was controversial later on in Corinth. Throughout the centuries, small groups of Christians have occasionally spoken in tongues, almost always generating controversy.

Today, millions of Christians speak in tongues. Some are found in Roman Catholic churches, some in liberal mainstream groups, some in conservative evangelical churches, and many in Pentecostal denominations. Even though tongues-speaking has such diverse participants, it is still controversial. So now, I hope to give some perspective on this practice, both to help people who are afraid of it, and those who think too highly of this gift.

The modern resurgence of tongue-speaking is generally traced to the turn of the century. In 1900, Charles Parham and a small group in Kansas began to speak in tongues after studying about this gift in the Bible. In 1906, Parham went to Los Angeles and spoke at the Azusa Street Mission Revival (no connection with Azusa Pacific University), and the movement quickly spread from there.

In the early years, most denominations rejected tongues-speaking as lunacy or demonic, and as one might expect, tongues-speakers left such hostile churches and formed churches in which they were allowed and encouraged to speak in tongues. Thus Pentecostal denominations such as the Assemblies of God were formed.

There is no question that many of these Pentecostal churches had numerous theological errors. They made many mistakes in their zeal to follow God. As time went on, they learned more and corrected many of their errors. This is a dynamic that we should well understand.
In the 1960s, another wave of tongues-speaking occurred in more traditional churches. This time, many churches did not ridicule or drive these people away; they were accepted as charismatic sub-groups within the churches. Nevertheless, tongues-speaking is still controversial. Some Christians teach that God simply does not give miraculous gifts to anyone in the church today; yet others still claim that all Christians ought to seek and practice the gift of tongues.

As recounted in his Autobiography, Herbert Armstrong encountered some Pentecostal people in his early ministry, and he found them to be divisive. And after such experiences, he was strongly opposed to tongues-speaking, even though he was strongly in favor of other miraculous gifts, such as healing. The WCG remained opposed to tongues for decades, and if anybody ever spoke in tongues, they kept pretty quiet about it.

But more recently, we have recognized that some Christians do indeed speak in tongues. We have been slower to criticize and more willing to consider the possibility that tongues-speaking may be an authentic gift of the Holy Spirit. Meanwhile, WCG members have visited tongues-speaking churches, and some of our members and ministers have begun to speak in tongues, usually in private.

Knowing how controversial tongues have been in other churches, and knowing our previous dogmatic rejection of tongues, it is no surprise that questions arise when some of our members and ministers begin to speak in tongues, even privately. Due to our lack of experience in this area, it is also no surprise that some excesses have occurred. New-found zeal sometimes carries people further than it should.

Information about Tongues

Since Scripture is our ultimate authority for doctrine and Christian living, it is essential that we understand what the Bible says about tongues. Here I will refer you to our booklet on tongues. Although this booklet is now out of stock, it is still a good analysis of the subject.
For those who want further study on this subject, the booklet has a bibliography of helpful resources, written from several perspectives. I also refer you to the book Are Miraculous Gifts For Today? Four Views, edited by Wayne Grudem (Zondervan, 1996). I will not enter the detailed arguments addressed in the book, but I will simply affirm that I believe that God still performs miracles today. I see no biblical reason to think that he no longer gives anyone the ability to speak in tongues.

However, simply because someone "speaks in tongues" does not mean that he or she has this spiritual gift. As our booklet pointed out, various non-Christians, from ancient pagans to modern Buddhists, have spoken in tongues. Tongues-speaking, in itself, is no proof of anything. (Similarly, non-Christians may also have leadership, service, compassion, teaching and other abilities that are similar to spiritual gifts.)

Some tongues-speaking is also called ecstatic speech, which is a psychomotor function of the brain. In normal speech, two parts of the brain work together. In ecstatic speech, one part of the brain tells the mouth and tongue to speak, but the conscious portion of the brain does not supply any particular guidance for what words to speak, so unintelligible syllables come out. This can happen if a person is startled, for example, or if consciousness is altered in some way.
Also, some tongues-speaking may be done in imitation (perhaps subconsciously) of a respected leader. People who are seeking a particular experience are (like hypnotized people) psychologically very susceptible to suggestions like that.

However, I do not think that all tongues-speaking can be explained in these ways, and I believe that some tongues-speaking is genuinely a gift of God. I also recognize that God sometimes works through observable phenomena, and just because some tongues-speaking has a psychomotor explanation does not mean it isn't a gift.

As I have written before, the psychological state in which tongues-speaking occurs is usually pleasant. It is liberating to get rid of some of their inhibitions. It is encouraging to put oneself in a very responsive state, ready to respond to God working in their lives. Tongues-speaking is not the only way to do this, but it is one way, and it encourages people in their walk with the Lord.
One pastor observed the irony that most Christians can talk about almost any spiritual gift with nothing but praise, but as soon as tongues is mentioned, it has to be accompanied by all sorts of cautionary statements. I agree that this is an irony. All sorts of spiritual gifts can be misused, and cautions can be given for them all. But historically, and in our present experience, tongues causes the most problems and needs the most caution. But still, I affirm that it is one of God's spiritual gifts, and it is therefore good.

I respect and honor Christians who speak in tongues; I respect and honor those who do not. I do not want to quench the Spirit; I do not want to "forbid speaking in tongues" (1 Cor. 14:39).
But I also want to follow what Paul said in the very next verse: "Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (v. 40). So let me address how tongues, if used, should be done in an orderly way. Again, since Scripture is our ultimate guide for doctrine and Christian living, let us examine what Scripture says about how tongues should be used.

Biblical Data

First, Paul reminds the Corinthians that God divides his gifts among his people (1 Cor. 12:8-11; 29-30). It is not realistic to expect everyone to speak in tongues — and yet that is what some Pentecostals unfortunately do. This is divisive today, just as it was in ancient Corinth.
When a Christian says, my gift is better than your gift, it is an insult to other Christians, and an insult to God. No one should feel superior about a spiritual gift, since no one deserves any of the gifts. The gifts are given to serve others, not to feel superior to others.

We do not need to seek the gift of tongues. We need to seek God, and let him decide which gift is best for us. Paul says we should seek the "more excellent way"— love (1 Cor. 12:31 and chapter 13)— or the gift of prophecy, which is speaking words of encouragement, comfort and edification (1 Cor. 14:1-4).

Without love, we are spiritually worthless, no matter what tongues we speak. It reminds me of the story of one person who attended a Pentecostal church for several years and became a lay leader in one of the ministries. Eventually it was learned that this leader had never spoken in tongues, and people were shocked that the leader was "deficient" in the Christian experience! Yet the person drew a different conclusion from the situation: speaking in tongues made no discernible difference in the way a person lives. Even after years of being around a person, others simply could not know whether the person had ever spoken in tongues.
My friend Jack Hayford says he speaks in tongues in his prayers every day. That does not impress me, nor does he expect it to. That is not its purpose. Tongues is not a show of spirituality. It is to edify the self, not to impress others (v. 4). If it edifies the self, that's wonderful. If it is done to impress others, it's being used in a wrong way, a carnal way. Paul said he spoke in tongues a lot (v. 18). He knew what it meant to pray in words he did not understand (v. 14). But he also knew that this was not proof of spiritual greatness.
I don't care how often Jack speaks in tongues. What I care about is the way he lives the rest of his time. Does he live and function in love? Does he use his other gifts to edify the body of Christ? Does he walk humbly and give all glory to God? I think he sets a good example in all these areas. His tongues-speaking neither adds to nor takes away from his character as a Christian.

To use another example, I don't care whether you eat cereal or eggs for breakfast. Neither one makes you a better person. But I do care if you exalt your particular preference into a badge of betterness. "Everybody ought to be like me because I like the way I am." Such approaches are divisive and un-Christian. They also miss Paul's point, that God has distributed his gifts among his people and he wants them to work together in their diversity.

The Corinthian Christians had a lot of problems, and apparently the way they spoke in tongues was a problem in the church. Paul told them to stop being proud and arrogant. He told them to stop being self-centered. He told them to grow up and be more sensible (v. 20). But he did not tell them to stop speaking in tongues.

However, he did lay down some regulations, and they were quite limiting. For example: Only one person should speak at a time (v. 27). Church services should not be a competition to see who can talk the most. The Holy Spirit does not inspire more than one person to speak at a time.
Second, people should speak in tongues only if an interpreter is present (v. 28). Incidentally, it is interesting that many people want to speak in tongues, but not many "seek" the gift of interpretation, even though interpretation is of greater value to the church. I think this shows that tongues have been overvalued. Unfortunately, in some churches, tongues are often spoken without an interpreter present. The person simply speaks whether or not an interpreter is there, contrary to the instructions Paul gave.

And what if the speaker doesn't know whether an interpreter is present? Then the speaker ought to remain silent. After all, if the gift is genuine, the speaker should be able to control it (v. 32). God does not bypass a person's willpower. Indeed, part of the fruit of God's Spirit is self-control (Gal. 5:23; 2 Tim. 1:7).

Balanced Approach

One Pasadena church that I know of has an interesting approach to tongues-speaking. People who want to practice this gift may do so — not during the regular church service, but in their own small group meetings. And then there must be two or more interpreters present. The interpreters write down the interpretation, and then they see whether the interpretations match. Sometimes they do, but often they do not, which means that either one or both of the interpreters are mistaken. This cautions us not to be too quick to believe any uncorroborated interpretation — and certainly not if it contradicts Scripture!

It would just be a lot easier if people sought the gift of prophecy — speaking edifying and intelligible words — rather than tongues, which might not help anybody else (v. 5). Tongues and interpretations are often misunderstood. Even prophesy can be misunderstood, which is why Paul advises us, "the others should weigh carefully what is said" (v. 29).

However, even if an interpreter is present, it is simply best not to speak in tongues in the church service. The gift of tongues is for self-edification, not for edifying anyone else (v. 4). It just doesn't make sense for one member to interrupt everyone else and say, "Hold everything. Just wait a few minutes please while I edify myself. Watch me and listen to me, even though it won't do you any good." Tongues, since they help only the speaker, are appropriate for private prayers, but not for public assemblies.

Tongues are also a distraction. Public tongues-speaking almost always focuses attention on the speaker, not on God. Non-Christians are usually put off by tongues-speaking. Some find it quite fascinating, of course, and some even consider it to be proof of divine blessing, but most do not. It is confusing, and if the person realizes that various non-Christians also speak in tongues, it is also inconclusive. People need to be impressed by the gospel, not by unusual phenomena. If the person is convinced by emotional impressions rather than truth, the person has an unstable foundation for belief. Emotions are important, of course, but they should be a response to the gospel, not a substitute for it.

Our Practice

Paul warned the Corinthians not to allow tongues to get out of control in their worship services, since it could confuse unbelievers: "If the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind?" (v. 23). It is not surprising, then, that some Christians also consider it inappropriate.

However, Paul had nothing against tongues-speaking. After all, he spoke in tongues himself (v. 18). But he did have a lot to say against tongues-speaking in church assemblies. "In the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue" (v. 19).

That is what we in the Worldwide Church of God prefer. We want intelligible words; we do not want unintelligible words in our meetings. That is why I say that we are not a tongues-speaking fellowship. Some people in our fellowship speak in tongues, and I defend their privilege to do so in private or in small groups where everyone agrees to accept it. Even then, it needs to be controlled according to the scriptural guidelines.

As a fellowship, when we are gathered as a congregation, we do not want tongues-speaking. This is based not on some irrational fear of things we don't understand — it is based on the guidance Paul has given us, guidance we accept as authoritative, as inspired by the Holy Spirit.

If somebody wants to speak in tongues in a worship service, there are other denominations that allow that sort of thing. If they find it to be self-edifying, that's good, but I encourage them to seek and to use some other spiritual gift that will be helpful to others.

I might also add that even some Pentecostal churches do not allow tongues-speaking in church services. Many of them also recognize that it is unscriptural to allow everybody to speak at once, to speak without an interpreter present, etc. If the pastor were giving a sermon, for example, and a person in the audience began to speak in tongues, then the pastor would tell the person, "Lady (or Sir), control your gift. The spirits of the prophets are subject to the control of prophets. If you cannot control your gift, the ushers will escort you out." Interrupting the sermon would be just as inappropriate as a person trying to sing a hymn in the middle of the sermon. It is good to sing hymns, but only at the right time and place. Similarly, we do not allow tongues-speaking in our regular worship services.

Expressing Joy in Christ

Now, I love our Pentecostal brothers and sisters a great deal. Many of you interact with them in ministerial associations, and you have also come to love them. Many of them have warmly embraced us as fellow-members in the family of God. The Four Square denomination in particular has been helpful to us. I praise their love for the Lord and their love for neighbor. Many of them set an excellent example.

Pentecostal churches are now the fastest-growing segment of Christianity, especially in Latin America, but also in North America, Europe and Asia. I suspect that one reason it is growing is that Pentecostal churches encourage people to express their emotions rather than suppress them. This can be bad, of course, if people's faith is built on emotions, but it is good if those emotions are a genuine response to the good news of Jesus Christ.

If people really understand the depths of their sinful state, of how utterly disgusting it is, and of the greatness of Jesus' sacrifice for us, of how astonishing his grace toward us is, then it is natural to respond with joy and exuberance — and this emotion does not need to be suppressed, though how it is expressed may vary widely from person to person. We have something worth singing about, something to be happy about. Although we may still be in poverty, we have experienced something wonderful in the love of Jesus Christ, and we share it.

Pentecostal churches are generally freer in how they express this joy. Visitors who attend a Pentecostal church are likely to see people expressing joy and happiness because of their faith in Jesus Christ. This example is an effective aid in evangelism and church growth.

Of course, Pentecostal churches are not the only ones who effectively express their joy in worshiping their Savior, and they are not the only churches that are growing, but as a group, they seem to do it more actively than most. Although I do not agree with all their theology, and certainly not the emphasis on the public practice of tongues-speaking, I do applaud them for the things they are doing well.

Scripture is the ultimate authority for what we do. If growth alone were evidence of truth, then we might all become Muslims or Mormons. Experience may be helpful, but it is not authoritative. Experience may even be very impressive, but that alone does not make it authoritative. Even so, it is still very impressive.

Seeking Experience

Consider a not-so-unusual example, a person who attends a Protestant church every week, but rarely (if ever) experiences the presence of God in his or her own church services. He has doubts as to his own walk with the Lord. He wants to have greater assurance that he is making progress. He wants to have tangible, observable evidence that the Lord is with him. Then he attends a church in which the preacher confidently, boldly, dogmatically says that "yes, you can have confidence if you have a certain experience. That will give you the assurance of the presence of God in your life."

The person wants this experience. It doesn't matter whether it is really proof — it is desirable. And once it comes, it is extremely self-authenticating and reinforcing. The person wanted reassurance, was told in a persuasive way that the particular experience would give him that assurance, and then he had the experience, and true enough, he gained assurance! The person becomes sold on the experience and sometimes even becomes an "evangelist" for the experience.

This has happened within the WCG, just as it has happened in other denominations. People who were spiritually yearning, and not completely grounded doctrinally, were overwhelmed by a particular experience. I do not doubt that the experience was powerful and spiritual. It may have been an enormous spiritual boost, or the highlight of one's life. But that does not mean that it is true, or that everyone should have the same experience, or that Christians should be looked down on if they do not have the same experience. The shock treatment that helped one patient is not the right medicine for the next patient.

More Unusual Manifestations

For many years, speaking in tongues was the primary experience promoted in some Pentecostal circles. But in more recent years, more exotic experiences have been promoted — such things as being slain in the Spirit (fainting and remaining motionless for several hours), laughing in the Spirit (uncontrollable waves of laughter), weeping in the Spirit, barking like a dog, or other para-normal activities. These may be called the Toronto Blessing or the Pensacola Blessing or some other blessing. Several prominent speakers, including Benny Hinn, have promoted some of these exciting phenomena.

These phenomena have been controversial, even in Pentecostal churches. The Toronto Blessing, for example, began in the Vineyard church. Some Vineyard churches promoted the blessing; others resisted it, and now they have split into two denominations. But the blessing makes ripples in many other denominations, too, and has affected some WCG members. The Pensacola Blessing has circulated primarily in the Assemblies of God, but it has also affected other denominations, including our own.

I do not doubt that these experiences are extremely powerful. They feel authentic. But they have unfortunately led some astray, away from biblical authority and into an authority that is based on personal experience. As an extreme example, a pastor who has become enamored with a particular blessing may exhort everyone in the congregation to seek this particular blessing (the blessing, it sometimes seems, gets more focus than Jesus does). He may publicly berate those who do not accept the experience. He may call out names or tell people to leave if they don't like it.

This is, to put it bluntly, legalism. (Sometimes it is easy to call things we don't like an insulting term, like "legalism," but I am confident that in this case I am using the term legalism correctly. It is teaching as a requirement something that is not in Scripture.) We've had experience with old covenant legalism. These people are experiencing a completely nonbiblical legalism. Legalism is unfortunately found in many segments of Christianity, and some of these "blessing" people have fallen into a form of legalism, in which they insist that everybody ought to be like them.
Now suppose the whole congregation got touched and remained unconscious for three hours. Would that make them better Christians, better followers of Jesus Christ? Jesus never did anything of the sort. People who are slain in the spirit do not come out any better than they went in. The experience may encourage them, reassure them, but it does not edify the body of Christ and it should not be promoted as normal or preferable. Would these people eventually yearn for something yet more exotic? At least for some, that has been the pattern. Since the experience is not grounded in any objective truth, it does not give people the solid assurance that they seek. Some eventually seek even more unusual "signs."

One of our pastors observed the results of the Pensacola revival at a nearby Pentecostal church. After an initial flurry of excitement, attendance gradually dropped in half. The same manifestations week after week simply did not build the people up. The focus was on what happened to people during church, and not on what they did the rest of the time. The "revival" has driven away half the church!

Many of the "blessing" people are Christians who love Jesus. But as we know from our own experience, it is quite possible to be Christian while also seriously wrong on major doctrinal questions. I do not want to bash and condemn. I do not attack the people, or call them agents of Satan, but I do have the responsibility, as an under-shepherd of Jesus Christ, to warn our members about false, destructive and divisive doctrines. I want to help people avoid the pain and suffering that comes from following religious errors. The truth sets people free, but errors lead people into bondage.

We do not speak in tongues in our worship services, and we do not promote the more exotic "Pentecostal" manifestations.

To use an analogy, what you eat for breakfast is your own business — but no matter how good it tastes to you, do not act like your choice is spiritually better than other people's. Do not try to get everyone to act like you do. If you have a particular gift, be thankful and rejoice, but do not be divisive. Whatever gift you have, use it to serve others, keeping Scripture as your ultimate authority for faith and practice.

1 comment:

Bill Scudder said...

CATHOLIC CHARISMATICS


My Testimony of Working with Charismatic Catholics
and other thoughts on the subject of tongues/

Bill Scudder Dayton, Ohio, USA
Azusa755@sbcglobal.net

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 alone on account of Christ alone. What I am about to tell you is not 'politically correct' and I will be labeled as 'intolerant' or maybe even a 'basher' by some people. I love Catholics, as I do anyone else, but it is the doctrine's of Rome that are deceiving the Catholics. Much of what I have to say not only applies to Catholic Charismatics but to all Catholics in general.

**************

President of the FGBMF-Peoria, Illinois

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. I also held a Bible study and prayer meeting in my home.
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. Later that night I sat down with him and the scriptures and tried to explain to him the plan of salvation. My words and scriptures seemed to address deaf ears. His "religion" seemed to have a shield around him so the "Gospel" could not be heard.

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, St. Monica In East Peoria, Illinois. Priests, nuns and others were present. I taught on the gift of Salvation. At the time I was not prepared for what I was confronting and because all present at the meetings deemed themselves already saved because of the Roman Catholic religion. I don't believe I addressed the subject in the right way. There was a spirit of bondage given to them by Rome and they had a dependence on their infant baptism and other doctrines of Rome which nullify the Gospel.

I was invited to attend Catholic Charismatic prayer meetings at Bradley 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 that was not from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit only glorifies Christ.

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. In the statement nothing was said about Christ.

That does not mean that we do not honor Mary at all for her physical part in the birth of
Christ but we cannot venerate her more than the scriptures allow or make her in any way Spiritually responsible for our salvation.

*******

contrary to popular expectations, the sign of tongues that Catholics received brought back to Catholicism those who had fallen away, reviving their idolatrous practices. Some typical comments from Catholic charismatics illustrate this:

--"Our devotion to Mary was filled with sanctification."

--"The sacramental life of the church has become richer in meaning."

--"I came to a better understanding of the Eucharist as a sacrifice, and I came back to frequent confession."

--"At that time I discovered a profound devotion to Mary."

Is the spirit that is active in the Roman Church, the Holy Spirit? In speaking of Him, Jesus said, "He will guide you into all truth". This is the particular characteristic of the Holy Spirit. It is characteristic of an evil spirit to lead one into only part of the truth.

Now, one of the most marked effects of the Catholic charismatic movement is to lead its followers into part-truth, part-error as, for example: spontaneous prayer AND the rosary; the adoration of Christ AND the Holy Sacrament; reading the Bible AND the veneration of Mary.

There are several testimonies from people who had been baptized by the "Holy Spirit", one while reciting his rosary, another while singing a hymn at mass, and yet another while on her knees praying to the Holy Virgin. These testimonies are quite sufficient to prove that the spirit who baptized these people is in contradiction with the Scriptures and cannot, in any way, be the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists, not of doubting His work, but of attributing such error and such dreadful idolatry to His divine person. To quote Charles Foster, "When the experience of the Holy Spirit is put before doctrine and salvation, seduction is certain..."

******
Universalism

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 this was proof of being born again, having nothing to do with being born from above by the Spirit of God or believing in Christ alone for salvation.

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. There are several kinds of Roman Catholics. The Catholic church is not as united as they would like everyone to believe. There is the liberal that believes God is the Father of all and no-one is lost and the one that believes that if you do good works and are baptized you will be saved and the traditional pre-Vatican 2 Catholic that believes that only through the Roman Catholic church can you be saved. Then there are all those in between.

((The Roman Catholic religion in its quest for ecumenism is now playing both sides as is seen in Vatican II. ""....

An article published by the Dallas Morning News on Saturday March 20Th, 1999 of an ecumenical meeting held in Dallas, Thanksgiving World Assembly, shows the other side.

What is important about this meeting is that it was attended by a Nigerian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic religion named Francis Arinze.

Many people think that Arinze, the Pope’s Deputy for Outreach, is heir apparent to John Paul II. But even if he is not, his comments are chilling and revealing.

An illustration of Roman Catholic ecumenism, which ices out the Gospel and makes mockery of the ministry of Jesus Christ, is found in Arinze’s answer to the question, "Can you still get to heaven without accepting Jesus?"His answer, not surprising, but chilling and ominous, is: "Expressly, yes!"

He says"".....Gods grant of salvation includes not only Christians but Jews,Muslims, Hindus and people of good will." ))

WHAT DOES THE POPE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS?

Note the following quote (Dallas Morning News, 12-09-00):

By Peggy Polk
and Robert Nowell

VATICAN CITY, Dec. 6 (RNS)--Tempering a controversial Vatican declaration on salvation, Pope John Paul II said Wednesday that all who live a just life will be saved even if they do not believe in Jesus Christ and the Roman Catholic Church.

The Pope blatantly contradicts the Bible

© 2000 Discerning the Times Digest and NewsBytes
On March 26, 2000.
The popular Catholic Pope John Paul II blatantly contradicted the Bible on December 7 when he proclaimed "Heaven is open to all as long as they are good," even for "those who ignore Christ and his Church."
The Bible clearly teaches only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation will be saved.
The December 8, Electronic Telegraph reported the Pope as saying that "Heaven is open to all as long as they are good."

POPE'S WORDS BEFORE THE "ANGELUS", VATICAN CITY, OCT. 1, 2000 (ZENIT.org)
3. The Holy Spirit is not only present in other religions through authentic expressions of prayer. “The Spirit’s presence and activity”, as I wrote in the Encyclical Letter Redemptoris missio, “affect not only individuals but also society and history, peoples, cultures and religions” (n. 28).Normally, “it will be in the sincere practice of what is good in their own religious traditions and by following the dictates of their own conscience that the members of other religions respond positively to God’s invitation and receive salvation in Jesus Christ, even while they do not recognize or acknowledge him as their Saviour (cf. Ad gentes, nn. 3, 9, 11)” (Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

***************

In spite of the mistakes of being too ecumenical with those that do not believe the Gospel, 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.

Catholics no longer a mission field?

Some Evangelicals are now saying that Roman Catholics are no longer considered to be a mission field since they are 'Christians', as evidenced in the document ECT,(Evangelicals and Catholics together).

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 alone through faith alone on account of Christ alone. I took it for granted that they believed the Gospel of the Bible. I had not prepared and made serious mistakes. After study I found that 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. (Council of Trent)

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 or because of their extreme arminism. Do we once again need a reformation in the 'Protestant'Evangelical 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 and I find this to be true also in many protestant/Pentecostal Church's. I believe this was a very dangerous attitude in that I found those who stayed eventually were lost to the Roman Church once again for various reasons or 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"

"Solo Christo" was one of the cries of the Protestant Reformation. Translated from the Latin, it means "Christ Alone."

In these times, the growing tendency to emphasize 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 some 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 "some" 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.

Although speaking in tongues can be valid experience from God it is not always of the Holy Spirit. It can be counterfeited. Satan has counterfeits of every Gift 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. It has been documented that most spiritulists are former Catholics.

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.

Some may have a legitimate question about laying hands on unbelievers. some bitterly regret having prayed for and laid hands on these Catholics who have, according to some Pentecostal testimony, received an alien spirit as a result. Does this mean that "we" transmit ed an evil spirit from us to them? In our ignorance God would not allow us to transmit the Holy Spirit or an unclean spirit to a unregenerated person but we have been guilty of helping that person open up to an unclean spirit.

There are many theological reasons that a Catholic can not be a true Christians. Catholic doctrines that make salvation for them null and void.

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"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.


"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

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Bill Scudder
Dayton, Ohio, USA Azusa755@sbcglobal.net

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