The Explosive Growth of Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity in the Global South, and Its Implications for Catholic Evangelization

Pentecostal Church Worshippers in Lagos and Cameroon

Most Catholics are unaware that the heart of global Christianity is moving south—into South America, Africa, and even to Asia.1 We who live in the global North are concerned primarily with the devastating decline of Catholicism due in part to the aggressive forces of secularization. Thus, it is easy to see growth and decline in terms of the rise and fall of Christianity in the north. But the growth of Christianity in the southern hemisphere cannot be understood in terms of why the Catholic Church is declining in the north. What we are witnessing in the south is an unprecedented growth of Pentecostal and charismatic churches that is so powerful that Catholics are leaving the Church to join them. Many Church leaders seem unaware of this problem. But to those who are, the startling growth of Pentecostalism in non-Western contexts “is amazing and/or frightening the rest of the Christian world.”2 Catholics need to take a hard and honest look at what is going on, and why, so that they can faithfully discern how to respond to the challenge it poses to the Church. In other words, the Church must understand what is going on in the global south, and why the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are drawing so many people, in order to discern whether or not it can learn something about evangelization. To this end, this paper will (1) summarize the growth and future trends of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity in the south; (2) explore briefly the spirituality at the root of rapid growth; and, (3) conclude by offering an orientation on how the Church can respond. 

The explosive growth and future trends
In his book, The Next Christendom, sociologist of religion, Philip Jenkins, paints broadly the current global picture of Christianity.

Over the last five centuries, the story of Christianity has been inextricably bound up with what Europe and European-derived civilizations overseas, above all in North America… Over the last century, however, the center of gravity in the Christian world has shifted inexorably away from Europe, southward, to Africa and Latin America, and eastward, toward Asia.3

One might be tempted to see this shift only in terms of strict demographics; after all, the population of the south is, indeed, growing fast, and the population in the global north is experiencing a demographic winter. This is true, and plays a significant role in the growth of the Christian south.4 But what we are witnessing is what John Allen calls a “Pentecostal Explosion” about which he says:

In Christians terms, the late 20th century will probably be known as the era of the “Pentecostal Explosion.” From less than six percent in the mid-1970s, Pentecostals finished the 20th century representing almost 20 percent of world Christianity.5

The sheer speed of growth of Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity is difficult to exaggerate. Over twenty years ago Ralph Martin wrote:

By 1992 the numbers of Pentecostals and charismatic had grown to over 410 million and now comprised 24.2 percent of world Christianity… My research has led me to make a bold statement: In all of human history, no other non-political, non-militaristic, voluntary human movement has grown as rapidly as the Pentecostal-charismatic movement in the last 25 years.6

While estimating these figures with great accuracy remains difficult, one of the latest and largest estimates of the number of global Pentecostal and charismatic Christians comes from a 2006 statement by Cardinal Kasper, of the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity, when he estimates that there are now around six-hundred million Pentecostal and charismatic Christians, which is more than one quarter of all Christians in the world.7 Even if he is off by one hundred million, the size of this group is shocking given the group’s relative non-existence a little over a century ago. The effect of this explosion is so significant that Jenkins can say that the “Pentecostal expansion across the Southern continents has been so astonishing as to justify claims of a new Reformation.”8

The demographics behind the surge of Christianity to the south were brought into further focus by an extensive 2006 study by the Pew Forum on Religion in Public Life called Spirit and Power: A 10 Country Survey of Pentecostals.9 Studying countries in the south in comparison to the Church in the United States, the study distinguishes between Pentecostals and charismatics on the one hand, and explains that while charismatics share many of the same experiences of Pentecostals, charismatics also can refer to Christians within Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic denominations.10 On the other hand, however, the report also speaks of Pentecostals and charismatics together in broad category called renewalists in order to show the combined impact these Christians, who share a similar spirituality, are having on the world. Speaking about explosive growth of renewalists does not help to isolate statistically the Catholic growth, or decline, since there are renewalists in the Catholic Church. But highlighting the growth of renewalists does show forth more clearly the growth of this form of Christianity in contrast to non-charismatic Christianity, including its Catholic counterpart.

The renewalists in the southern regions of our world are experiencing the fastest growth in the Philippines, Guatemala, Kenya, and Brazil, all countries where Catholic populations were, by far, the majority decades ago.11 Citing the Pew Forum study, the staff writers of a 2006 issue of The Economist report:

Renewalists make up around 50% of the population in Brazil and Kenya. And in Latin America, Pentecostalism has shattered the Roman Catholic Church’s monopoly. In Brazil—the world’s largest Catholic country, and one whose national identity is intertwined with the church—about a seventh of the population is now Pentecostal, and a third is “charismatic.” In Guatemala, Pentecostalism is sweeping all before it.12

Luis Lugo, the director of the Pew Forum study, puts the issue in blunt terms, “I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to seriously consider whether Christianity is well on its way to being Pentecostalized.”13

The problem for the Catholic Church, according to the data, is that the Pentecostal-charismatic population in Catholic countries is drawing heavily from the Catholic Church. For example, in the Philippines, sixty-six percent of all Pentecostals are former Catholics, and sixty-two percent of all Pentecostals in Brazil are former Catholics.14 It may be argued that these former Catholics were not active in their faith—and that may be true—but these once self-identified Catholics are now practicing Christians of growing churches outside the Church. The Catholic Church either lost them, or failed to reach them, for whatever reason. To put the matter in more ominous terms, the growth of Pentecostals and non-Catholic charismatics poses a grave pastoral threat to the Catholic Church in South America, Africa, and Asia. John Allen makes a bold but broad conclusion, “In the global North, dissatisfied Catholics usually become secularized; in the south, they usually become Pentecostal.”15

The key to growth: spirituality
While there are many reasons why scholars believe Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity is growing, the most persuasive reason for the dramatic growth—the one in which all of the other reasons make sense—is the spirituality common to this form of Christianity.16 This is the reason most commonly given, and the one that is most taken seriously by those who come to the faith in these traditions. If one were to ask any Pentecostal or Charismatic why they are growing so fast he would simply respond: it is because of the power of the Holy Spirit. In effect, renewalists believe that their churches represent the most awesome work of the Spirit in the modern age, and that accounts for the growth.17 John Allen summarizes the beliefs of the spirituality of the renewalists as reported by the Pew Forum study:

  • Belief in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as speaking in tongues, prophecy, or prayer for miraculous healing;
  • A literal reading of the Bible;
  • Strong belief in divine healing of illness or injury;
  • Belief in the possibility of direct divine revelation;
  • An emphasis on evil spirits;
  • Belief that Jesus will return to earth during their lifetimes;
  • Belief that miracles still occur as they did in biblical times;
  • Commitment to evangelization, meaning sharing the faith with non-believers;
  • Emphasis on Christ as the lone path to salvation;
  • Higher-than-average rates of attendance at church services;18

These beliefs are practically universal among renewalist Christians. It is interesting to note that this profile is not present in totality in the profile of Christians in other denominations. In spite of the vast differences that exist between the various types of renewalist Christians—various renewalist groups differ significantly in their theological understanding of these realities—there is in fact remarkable unity regarding the experiences at the heart of their spirituality: the baptism in the Spirit (or being filled with the Holy Spirit), and the subsequent emphasis on the supernatural manifestations of the gifts of the Spirit. We will briefly touch only on three of these aspects: the baptism in the Spirit, commitment to sharing the faith, and prayer for healing and deliverance.

The intense experience of God’s love that accompanies the “baptism of the Spirit,” which is essential to renewalist spirituality, stands in marked contrast to a rationalist or cold Christianity in which personal experience of the divine is not as common, or is relegated to the holy or spiritual experts. Harvey Cox, a Harvard researcher, suggests that Pentecostal-charismatic spirituality, in its emphasis on life-changing experiences of God, fills an “ecstasy deficit” created by forms of religion in the wake of scientific and post-Enlightenment philosophies.19 In other words, the spiritual vacuum that rationalism left in its wake is now being filled by a personal experience of God through the Holy Spirit. If people are really experiencing God, it is little wonder why so many people are attracted to this form of Christianity, which emphasizes and delivers such experiences. This experiential dimension of the Christian life also gives credibility to Christianity in places where religion has not been too affected by rationalist tendencies, like Africa. A religion that does not take seriously the experience of the supernatural would not last very long in a continent so rich in non-Christian religious traditions. Therefore, the powerful experience of baptism of the Spirit, at the heart of renewalist spirituality, seems uniquely fit to reach people in both Western, and non-Western, contexts.

Another aspect of renewalist spirituality is the consuming zeal to evangelize. Adherents to Pentecostal and charismatic churches will explain this zeal as a Spirit-filled response to being filled with the Spirit. Like what happened to the disciples at Pentecost: a powerful experience of God’s love invariably leads believers to want to share with others the faith in the God whom they experienced. Or in more sociological terms, as Ed Stezer uses in a 2014 article in Christianity Today, one reason why [Pentecostals] are growing so fast is that they value so much their experience with God that this drives them to want to share it with others.20 Renewalists are not just compelled to share their experience of God with others, but they do so in order to bring other people to Jesus, who was revealed to them as the Son of God in whom they have salvation. Put another way, members of these churches are thoroughly committed to evangelization because they are impelled by the Spirit to do so; and they seem to be doing it quite well.

Perhaps the most remarkable, and certainly most attractive, aspect of their spirituality is the belief in, and the practice of, praying for physical healing, and deliverance from evil spirits. Randy Clark, a Protestant charismatic leader of worldwide evangelization, discusses the concept of power evangelism in terms of the power of healing by bringing the gospel to others in his book, Evangelism Unleashed.

Where the greatest signs and wonders are being manifested, the church grows the fastest. Demonstrations of power, especially in healing and deliverances, draw multitudes to Christ.21

He gives personal example after example of how pastors in the south, equipped with gifts of healing and deliverance, grew their churches to thousands of members within a relatively short time. This corroborates why the Pew Study finds a disproportionally higher percentage of renewalists believe in praying for healing and deliverance than their non-Pentecostal/charismatic Christian counterparts.22 Given the personal stories that Clark and other Pentecostal/evangelists have, and given the explosive growth of these churches, it almost goes without saying that these healings and deliverances are actually taking place.23 But that cannot be said of every church. Given the power of divine healing, and freedom from evil spirits in the personal lives of Christians, it is not difficult to wonder why so many people are attracted to this form of Christianity.

Implications for the Catholic Church
Given the demographics of the Pentecostal explosion and the spirituality behind this explosion, what does the explosive growth of Pentecostal-charismatic churches have to the do with the Catholic Church? Everything. Looked at in negative terms, the sheer growth of these churches represents an existential threat to the thousands of parishes in the south, and may result in people leaving the Catholic Church, and living without the fullness of the truth and the sacraments found only in the Church. Therefore, in turning from the truth, and the power available through the Church, such Christians put their eternal salvation at risk. If this is the only way to look at this situation, however, the Church will be tempted to succumb to the tired and unhelpful practice of denouncing the evil “sects” which will do nothing to stop the ecclesiastical hemorrhaging of Catholics. But looked at in a positive way, the Church must admit that renewalist Christians are effectively reaching the multitudes with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and entire nations are being transformed. If leaders in the Catholic Church, both clergy and laity alike, can acknowledge the positive aspects of this dramatic global shift, then they can position themselves, in openness, to learning from them—both how to evangelize, and how we can go about renewing our Church. After all, the Spirit that is renewing these Churches also belongs to the Catholic Church. Put another way, openness to the spirituality which drives the dramatic growth of this form of Christianity is one concrete way for the Church to be renewed herself in her efforts to evangelize. Such a step seems necessary for the Church, which wishes to reach the nations. Thankfully, many leaders in the Catholic south have, indeed, acknowledged the problem, in a spirit of humility, and have taken serious steps in translating the efforts and spirituality of the Pentecostals-charismatics in their own efforts in evangelization. These bold leaders have not been disappointed.24

But what the Church cannot do is fail to act. It cannot, and should not, pretend that this “problem” will go away. In fact, the move of the Pentecostal-charismatic spirituality is so strong that John Allen argues that it will form a dividing line in the future Church:

For more than forty years since the close of the Second Vatican Council, the primary fault line in Catholicism, at least in the North, has run between two camps conventionally known as “liberals” and “conservatives” … The most consequential fault line of the future is more likely to turn instead between Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal Catholicism.25

This fault line, if it indeed forms in the future, would represent on the one hand part of the Church that both adapts to and embraces the positive aspects of this growth in terms of its spirituality but on the other hand a part of the Church that resists it in some significant way or another. But what such a fault line cannot represent is a Catholic Church that has not grappled with this problem.26 Either way, the Church will have to face this problem head-on, with honestly and humility, and respond accordingly.

In conclusion, given the future trends, and the spirituality behind these trends, it seems highly imprudent for the Church to simply wait until this Pentecostal fire burns out. The staff writers of The Economist put it this way:

There have been repeated warnings over the years that the Pentecostal fire will burn itself out. How can the faithful preserve this level of emotional intensity? And how can they continue to believe in faith-healing, and other miracles, in the face of the advance of science? So far, the warnings have proved empty.27

Maybe the Pentecostal fire as seen in the “‘emotional intensity” and the belief in miracles is not burning out because it is from God. If all of this is in fact from God, it will continue to burn throughout the world transforming everything in its path. The relevant question for the Church is whether or not the pastors and lay leaders of the Catholic Church will humbly recognize that they have something to learn from this “Pentecostal explosion” and allow it to burn in the Church. The future of the Church depends on how it answers this question.

  1. Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming Global Christianity, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 4. According to Jenkins, the “global south” is a concept that refers to, not so much about geography, but the areas of the world not associated with Western Christianity in the global north, i.e., Europe and North America. Therefore, the global South, for the purposes of this paper, refers to South America, Africa, and Asia.
  2. David Roebuck and Darrin Rodgers, “Preserving and Sharing Our Heritage: The Biblical and Institutional Mandate,” in Spirit Empowered Christianity in the 21st Century, ed. Vinson Synan, (Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House, 2011), 231.
  3. Jenkins, The Next Christendom, 1.
  4. Jenkins explains the population shifts in the countries in the Christian south in chapter five, “The Rise of the New Christianity” in The Next Christendom. He gives the striking example of the population growth in Uganda, where in 1975, the population was 11 million, and by 2050, it is expected to reach 128 million (see p. 114).
  5. John Allen: “If demography is destiny, Pentecostals are the ecumenical future,” National Catholic Reporter, Jan 28, 2008, ncronline.org/news/if-demography-destiny-pentecostals-are-ecumenical-future (accessed, July 25 2015).
  6. Ralph Martin, The Catholic Church at the End of an Age: What is the Spirit Saying, (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1994), 87.
  7. John Allen, The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church, (New York: Image, 2009), 378.
  8. Jenkins, The Next Christendom, 9. Harvey Cox compares the old reformation of 16th Europe with the “new reformation” of Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity that is currently encompassing the globe. “Today, Christianity is living through a reformation that will prove to be even more basic and more sweeping than the one that shook Europe during the sixteenth century … The present reformation is shaking the foundations more dramatically than its sixteenth century predecessor, and its results will be more far-reaching and radical.” Qtd in Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing, ed. Candy Guthner Brown, (New York: Oxford, 2001), xvii-xviii. See also the important essay of Eugene Botha, “The New Reformation: the Amazing Rise of the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement in the 20th century,” Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae (2007) Vol 33, No 1, pp. 295-325.
  9. Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals, pewforum.org/files/2006/10/pentecostals-08.pdf (accessed July 20, 2015). The ten countries studied were Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, and the United States.
  10. The Pew Forum study distinguishes between Pentecostals, those who belong to historical Pentecostal denominations and “charismatics” who share with pentecostals the experience of the “infilling of the Spirit” and fulfill one of three criteria: “(1) they describe themselves as ‘charismatic Christians”; or (2) they describe themselves as “pentecostal Christians” but do not belong to pentecostal denominations; or (3) they say they speak in tongues at least several times a year, but they do not belong to pentecostal denominations.” Qtd. in Spirit and Power, 3.
  11. Catholicism was the largest denomination in Kenya until Pentecostalism swept through the country. Pentecostal Christianity is now the largest form of protestant Christianity in Kenya. See J. Gordon Melton, “Kenya” in Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (Second Edition), ed. J Gordon Melton and Martin Baumann, (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2010), 1628.
  12. Staff, “Christianity Reborn: Pentecostals” The Economist, December 23, 2006. economist.com/node/8401206, (accessed July 25, 2015).
  13. John Allen, The Future Church, 379.
  14. Pew Forum, Spirit and Power, 34.
  15. Allen, The Future Church, 387.
  16. John Allen discusses other reasons for the rapid growth, such as in The Future Church, 389-397. Much of the research on the topic of the growth of this type of Christianity is done through a socio-political lens that explains the growth in terms of demographics, social structures, and various political interests. Such an approach, in its attempt to be objective, actually lends itself to downplaying the deep spiritual reasons for the growth. As a result, the inner dynamics of Pentecostal spirituality, which are so attractive to people (such as the emphasis on the immediacy of the supernatural and the divine power at work in their prayer for healing and deliverance), are invariably downplayed as having less explanatory power than political-sociological reasons. As a consequence, the phenomenon is not fully explained, and is reduced to the criteria by which it was described.
  17. Ibid., 389.
  18. Ibid., 381.
  19. Ibid.,393.
  20. Edward Stetzer, “Why Do These Pentecostals Keep Growing?”, Christianity Today, Nov 11, 2104, christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/november/why-are-pentecostals-growing.html (accessed August 1).
  21. Randy Clark, Evangelism Unleashed, (Mechanicsburg: Global Awakening, 2011), 55.
  22. Pew Forum, Spirit and Power, 18.
  23. In 2011, Craig Keener published an impressive two-volume study on the credibility of miracles from a biblical, philosophical, and theological perspective. He examines scores of contemporary examples of reports of healing, many of which are happening in these Pentecostal/charismatic churches in the South. See Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts (Two Volumes), Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2011.
  24. In contrast to the often superficial conversions of classic evangelization, Cardinal Peter Turkson observes that when the Catholic Church in Ghana embraced the charismatic renewal, the fruit was a deeper and more permanent evangelization of its people, which kept them in the Catholic Church. Thus, the Church of Ghana, in embracing the spirituality of the renewalists, more fully kept Catholics in the Church, and saw more fruit in its own evangelization. See Peter Turkson,”The New Evangelization in Africa” in John Paul II and the New Evangelization: How You Can Bring the Good News to Others, ed. Ralph Martin and Peter Williamson, (Cincinnati: Servant, 2006), 108-111.
  25. John Allen, The Future Church, 410. Vinson Synan puts the future relationship of the Catholic Church and the renewalists this way: “The future of Christian affairs will be more and more in the hands of the massively growing Pentecostal churches, and a Roman Catholic Church that has been renewed and energized by the Charismatic Renewal,” Qtd in “The Charismatic Renewal After Fifty Years” in Spirit Empowered Christianity, 23.
  26. Where the Catholic Church embraces the spirituality of the renewalists, as it has in part with the advent of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, the Church becomes very effective in evangelization. According to Matteo Calisi, “This {charismatic} movement, so little studied by specialists, is the fastest growing Catholic missionary movement in the world. It has grown in less than fifty years, from zero to over 150 million Roman Catholics. This is the greatest movement of revival and renewal in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. There had never been, in the entire history of the Catholic Church, an event similar to this Charismatic/Pentecostal awakening.” Quoted in Matteo Calisi: “The Future of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal,” in Spirit Empowered Christianity in the 21st Century, 80.
  27. Staff, “Christianity Reborn.” The Economist.
Fr. Mathias D. Thelen, S.T.L. About Fr. Mathias D. Thelen, S.T.L.

Fr. Mathias D. Thelen S.T.L., (Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, Rome) is a priest of the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. He is currently serving as assistant professor of theology, and as a spiritual director at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, MI. He is the author of the forthcoming book, Biblical Foundations for the Role of Healing in the New Evangelization (Wipf and Stock, 2017).

Comments

  1. James Trosky says:

    Been there, done that for 3 years in the middle 70’s. It turned out to be basically a sham from what I could ascertain.

    • 160,000,000 Catholic Charismatics would disagree with you. Many, many, many vocations have come from the Renewal….a fruit of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which is one way to discern the validity of the movement. Charismatics moved into ministry in their parishes, increasing the ministry of the laity because of their encounter with Jesus in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I pray you would explore with Jesus, why you rejected your experience as a sham.

  2. Fr. Francis Karwacki says:

    A good article but it doesn’t mention the positive aspects of the growth of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. The leadership of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is obedient to the Catholic Church on diocesan and international levels. It has brought a newness in the Life in the Spirit. Many dioceses have a Diocesan Liaison for Charismatic Renewal so the Renewal can work closely with the bishop. In our diocese of Harrisburg where I am the Diocesan Liaison, we have an an Associate liaison for Hispanic-speaking, Catholic Charismatics. The Catholic Charismatic Renewal, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, has received blessings from Pope Paul VI, Pope St.John Paul II, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. It has been a “life boat” for the Catholic Church. An estimated 120 million Catholics are involved. I owe my vocation to the priesthood (34 years ordained, now at age 72) to my faith coming alive in the Catholic Charismatic Prayer meetings I was attending and leading as a school teacher. Many have been drawn back to the Church who became involved in Protestant Pentecostal Movements. Quoting Pope St. John Paul II, when he spoke to Catholic Charismatics in Rome, “Long live the Charismatics!”

  3. The increasingly secular North does not understand the appeal of the Charismatics, therefore, it does not understand how to deal with the issue.

    Because the leadership of the Church is disproportionately Northern, the Church will bend over backward to try to appeal to disinterested seculars, while ignoring someone looking for something more spiritual.

  4. Peter S. Williamson says:

    Exposure to the “Catholic Pentecostals” in Ann Arbor in the fall of 1968 brought this Presbyterian pastor’s son to experience God in a way I had never known him. The grace of baptism in the Spirit led me to realize that serving Christ and his kingdom is the most important thing a person can ever choose to do. Hanging around charismatic Catholics led me to ask why they accepted the authority of tradition alongside the authority of Scripture. The answer led me to enter the Catholic Church in 1972. Since then I have served our Lord in an ecumenical charismatic community, with Renewal Ministries, and as a professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary. For the full story, search my name and Journey Home on YouTube. Deo gratias!

  5. Thank you, Fr. Mathias, for this great article of information. Indeed, we will as a Church. Red to embrace humility as our garment, if we are to learn and grow in this area. Millions of Catholic people around the world have found joy and revived life and are more dedicated than ever before, in their Catholic, Spirit-filled faith. As Pope Francis had said to the thousands gathered before him, “the Catholic Charismatic Renewal is a current of Grace for the whole church”.

    • Rob Carpenter says:

      Pope Saint John Paul prophesied about a new springtime for the Church. We are seeing this now, and the Holy Spirit is the attractive and inexhaustible source of the new springtime and rejuvenation of the fullness of the Catholic Church. May the Source (and summit) of all creation bring unmatched awe to us all.

  6. paul wood says:

    I still think that the deepest two problems in the Catholic Church are moral relativism and the infiltration of homosexuality into the Church.. the latter has been devastating, and is in the psyches of millions if not billions. The Church should stay clear of the gay movement for many reasons which should be obvious. The Church would do well not to have Charismatic Liturgy in our churches. As far as I ‘ve seen, much of it, among Protestant “converts,” is “emotionalism” which doesn’t last forever. … We have it all in the Catholic Church, we should expose our Church more, in malls, in processions, in media…

  7. Kathy Patterson says:

    In the Flint area and in Oakland County, I have seen the Holy Spirit movement explode in the past few years! There was no Catholic church around to take my kids to when they were growing up, that was “on fire”. ..I attended Steubenville, and learned about the fullness of the Catholic church; had I not, I probably would’ve left–my Pentecostal friends had more “life” in their churches.
    I am SOOOO grateful for healing Masses/services, dynamic bible studies, on fire youth, and soo grateful that I am growing in the fullness of my Catholic faith! But alas, my children have all left for Pentecostal, non-denomination churches, and even no church.
    Thank you, Fr. Matthias, for your selfless, willingness to give your all to the Catholic church! My daughter came to hear you speak, and told me, if we would’ve had a church like that when she was growing up, she wouldn’t have left.

  8. Rachel Gorlitz says:

    It seems sad that you had to find pentacostalism disguised in the Roman Church in order to embrace ancient teachings. The fullness of the church is not about those things. Phrases like “dynamic”, “on fire”, and “life” in this context simply denotes emotions, which can be summoned by manmade orchestrations. These things are not doctrine, redemption, or salvation. One could use similar concepts to describe a vibrant coffee shop or a Saturday afternoon kickball game. “Feeling” God does not insinuate some sort of holiness or correct application of his teachings. Many have lost sight of the things that Christ did and said in favor of what stirs them or makes them feel good. The devil knows how to sneak those things in to our lives as well. I attended FUS also and witnessed incredible blasphemy regarding prayer and the inappropriate emphasis on feelings and emotions, often to the degradation of the Holy Mass and the rejection of Scripture. I am not a converted confessional Lutheran, the original catholic (universal) church and I am thrilled that God has led me to the truth, not with healing masses or speaking in tongues, but with prayer, scripture and solid preaching. Just remember, just because the Pope advocates it, does not make it right.

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