Catholic Infiltration of the Charismatic Movement

By Richard Bennett

The Catholic Charismatic Movement began in 1967 in the USA and since then it has spread to all nations where the Catholic Church exists.  Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and the present pope, Pope Benedict XVI, have all acknowledged it.  Pope John Paul II even delcared that the movement was integral to the renewal of the entire Catholic Church.  At the present time, it is recognized in the official teachings of the Roman Church.  Thus they state,

“There are sacramental graces, gifts proper to the different sacraments. There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning ‘favor,’ ‘gratuitous gift,’ ‘benefit.’  Whatever their character – sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues – charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church”[1]

When Evangelicals first examined the impact of the Catholic Charismatic Movement, they largely deemed it to be a good enthusiastic movement with a few curious practices, such as speaking in tongues.  Only rarely was it scripturally scrutinized.  The Papacy, ever adept at changing its policies, around the same time formulated a new method by which to snare Evangelicals.  This major tactical change that took place in Vatican Council II (1962 to 1965) was to officially declare that Papal Rome was now ready to ecumenize with Hindus, Muslims, and other religions.  In particular, Evangelicals, formerly called heretics, were now to be seen as “separated brethren” and thus to be wooed, “little by little,” back into the Roman Catholic fold.[2]  Many Evangelicals supported the Catholic Ecumenical outreach believing it would draw the Catholic Church and Evangelical communities closer together in a truly spiritual ecumenism.  However, the false ecumenism of Papal Rome and her associates has proven to be a perilous menace to believers. The world in our day is, as the Apostle John wrote, “in the power of the evil one.”[3]  The greatest danger is the one that is not recognized as a threat.  Many Evangelicals are lulled into an ecumenical world constructed by the Catholic Church.  Since a multitude of Evangelical and Emergent churches across the world are involved and ensnared by Charismatic and Ecumenical Movements, it is of utmost importance that we examine what is the basis to the Catholic Charismatic Movement.

The Foundation of the Catholic Charismatic Movement

The Catholic Charismatic Movement, like the Pentecostal Movement from which it derived its doctrine, is based on what is called “the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”  There is a genuine being baptized in the Holy Spirit which is synonymous with being convicted by the Holy Spirit, as one believes on Christ Jesus and becomes a true believer.  Real confusion is caused in the present-day world by the teaching of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches that a believer needs a second blessing; i.e., that each believer needs to be “baptized in the Holy Spirit.”  This is emphatically not what the Scripture says.  The Holy Spirit is the only efficient cause of being “born again.”  The same principle of life is later repeated by the Lord, “it is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing….”[4] The Lord God gloriously saves sinners “according to his mercy, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”[5]  True believers are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,”[6]for “of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.”[7]  This is utterly splendid, clear, and profound.  The direct work of the Holy Spirit on the soul of man is necessary because man is spiritually dead.  In the words of the Apostle, “for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”[8]  The new birth by the Holy Spirit is essential because natural man is totally deficient in and of himself.  It is not that he is weak and needs stimulation.  Spiritually, he is dead.  In the words of Paul the Apostle we read, “and you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.”[9] Because there is a direct connection between the redemption of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, it is a soul-damning error to substitute ritual of prayer to receive “the second blessing” in place of the direct work of the Holy Spirit.  In the words of Scripture, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”[10]  “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.[11]  The work of the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary to bring the sinner to Christ, to overcome his innate opposition, and induce him to believe.  In all of this, the Holy Spirit is sovereign.

Charismatic Catholics draw from many sources.  They have a traditional reliance on the teachings of the Pope and the Catholic Sacraments.  Then they draw from the Pentecostal ‘Word of Faith’ movement and such as Catholic and Zen Mystics.  What is most evident, however, is what their official teaching calls, “special gracescharisms [and that which] is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or of tongues…”[12]  Thus, Charismatic Catholics have accepted many of the teachings of the Pentecostal Word of Faith movement regarding the gifts of the Holy Spirit and healings.  However, this Pentecostal Word of Faith movement is simply a dramatized form of mysticism.  For example, Kenneth Copeland states in a sermon tape, “You don’t have a god in you, you are one.”[13]  In a 1987 crusade, Copeland is documented as saying, “I say this and repeat it so it don’t upset you too bad. [sic]  When I read in the Bible where He (Jesus) says, I AM, I say, Yes, I am too!”[14]  Kenneth Hagin of Word of Faith states, “You are as much the incarnation of God as Jesus Christ was.  Every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle.  The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”[15]  Casey Treat, known for the infamous quote, “When God looks into the mirror, He sees me!  When I look into the mirror I see God!”[16]  Treat proclaims on his website, “God dwells in you.  God walks in you.  When you walk, God walks.  When you show up, God shows up.  When you show up, a winner shows up.  You won’t lose.”[17]  Paul Crouch, Benny Hinn, Charles Capps, Robert Tilton, Paul Yonggi Cho, Marilyn Hickey, Morris Cerullo, T.L. Osborn, and Jerry Savelle are just a few of the well-known names that promote stage-managed mysticism.  As one might suspect, many of the gurus of dramatized mysticism promote ecumenism with Catholicism.  The Trinity Broadcasting Network—one of the largest radio and TV networks in the world today, through its founders, Paul and Jan Crouch—fosters fellowship with Roman Catholics amid mysticism presented in the whirling garments of emotionalism.  For example, one website exposed Benny Hinn as a “Catholic Mystic.”

He fits perfectly into the category of a Charismatic Catholic priest, dispensing theological bondage and mystical superstition…a recent Benny Hinn three hour video which presented him ‘as a ‘twentieth century’ ‘Holy of Holies’, a ‘point of contact’ for the power and anointing of God much as Roman Catholic priests were presented during medieval times.  They also suggested that he is becoming a kind of ‘Charismatic Pope.’”[18]

In biblical terms, the Catholic Charismatic is spiritually dead and deceiving many others.  The Catholic Charismatics like the Copelands, the Crouches, Hinn, Hagin, and others like them would have you rejoice in the light within, by claiming that you are a god within.  The Lord God Almighty proclaims, “I am the Lord; that is my name:  and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.[19]  The Word of the Lord still stands, “To the law and to the testimony:  if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.[20]

The so-called signs and wonders are deceiving lies.  We remember the Lord’s own words that many at the last day will say to Him, “Lord, Lord”but He will reply “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”[21]What is totally missing is the Gospel by which one comes to salvation.  In the words of Scripture we read, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”[22] The Catholic Charismatic, similar to those in “Word of Faith movement,” practices “faith in faith.”  What must be explained to them is that one is saved by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ Jesus alone.  In trusting on the finished work of Christ Jesus alone, one has credited to himself 100% right standing with God.  This is the whole impact of what Scriptures states, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested.”[23]  One’s right standing with God is declared to be in Jesus Christ solely because of what Christ Jesus has done, “even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”[24]  The problem is stated as, “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”[25]  However, the glory and the magnificence of the Gospel is proclaimed as, “being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.[26]  This is the only way one’s spiritual life can be perfect.  The Lord Jesus Christ forewarnrd believers that “strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth to life,” but “broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat.”[27]  This summarizes the Catholic Charismatic and Ecumenical Movements.  They are “broad ways” with nothing to hedge in those that walk in them.  Rather, they wander endlessly because there are many pathways; there are choices of sinful ways, some contrary to each other, but all paths are on the same destructive broad ways.  Those leaders in these movements teach and behave as if they were true to Scripture.  In actual fact, they interweave with Scripture the experience of claimed signs and wonders, and thus utterly pervert the Gospel.  True faith is found in the scriptural knowledge of Jesus Christ.  This scriptural knowledge is distinct from experiences and other ways of knowledge.  The true believer sees the spiritual excellence and glory that is in Jesus Christ.  He sees the all-sufficiency of righteousness is found in Christ.  Thus, he is persuaded of the Lord’s readiness to save sinners by His grace, although a sinner.  We praise God that in Scripture grace is totally His free gift, “wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”[28]  In salvation, one is not accepted in any sacrament or experience, but in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.

[1] Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), Para 2003

[2] The wording of Papal Rome’s  tactical change are given in her official documents “Reflections and Suggestions Concerning Ecumenical Dialogue” in Vatican Council II:  The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Austin Flannery, O.P., editor, 1981 edition (Northport, NY:  Costello Publishing Co.)

[3] I John 5:19

[4] John 6:63

[5] Titus 3:5

[6] John 1:13

[7] James 1:18

[8] Romans 8:2

[9] Ephesians 2:1

[10] John 3:6

[11] I John 5:11

[12] Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), Para 2003

[13] Kenneth Copeland, “The Force of Love” (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries,  audiotape # 02-0028

[14]  11/11/02

[15]  11/11/02

[16] Michael Horton, The Agony of Deceit (Chicago:  Moody Press, 1990) p. 91

[17] Being_In_Christ


[19] Isaiah 42:8

[20] Isaiah 8:20

[21] Matthew 7:22, 23

[22] Galatians 1:9

[23] Romans 3:21

[24] Romans 3:22

[25] Romans 3:23

[26] Romans 3:24

[27] Matthew 7:13

[28] Ephesians 1:6