Galloping apostasy has raised a cloud of religious confusion and believers in Christ are called to serve faithfully in the midst of this demoralizing atmosphere. Never has the need for information and discernment been greater and more essential for the saints of God "to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand".
While the above applies to all true believers in Christ there is a special message for those of us who have a burden to see Roman Catholics won to Christ and delivered from the bondage of the Church of Rome. The "special message" has become necessary because of developing trends that concern the Church of Rome and those who may claim to be listed among its members.
The first relates to the identification of a Catholic. His Church of the 1950's has now splintered, not officially but ideologically and the various factions must be clearly defined and understood by the would-be evangelist. Most of those still choosing to be identified as Roman Catholic do not fit the mold of the prototype then living in the late 1940's. At that time Pope Pius XII termed Quebec to be "the most Catholic country in the world". By 1986 Anne Muggeridge wrote "The Church in Quebec was prostrate" and "the Catholic Church is in ruins" (The Desolate City: Revolution in the Catholic Church, pp. 95, 183 etc.). Unfortunately, the facts and significance of this trend are being generally ignored and much evangelism is being carried out in the context of the earlier Catholicism.
The second trend relates to Pentecostalism. Some prefer to label it as "Charismatism" and would infer that each is somewhat separate from the other. In reality, attempts to differentiate the evil spirit controlling and empowering each are merely exercises of futility. The "Prince of Expositors" and author of 60 books, G. Campbell Morgan bluntly though accurately described Pentecostalism as "the last vomit of Satan" and doubtless would apply the same to the alternate term "Charismatism".
The Price Of A Victor's Crown
Those of us who take this position may lose friends and find ourselves to be increasingly isolated from many who claim to know Christ. Nevertheless, in loyalty to Christ and His Word, we must put on "the whole armour of God, that ye
(we) may be able to withstand in the evil day".
The evil day has come where Pentecostalism and Roman Catholicism have become willing partners for religious conquest. If we wish to continue evangelizing Roman Catholics, we must courageously face this issue. It means that our code of behavior must include a holy and open warfare against Pentecostalism (charismatism) even as we war against the false teachings, dogmas, traditions, etc. of the Church of Rome.
A third trend affecting the evangelizing of Roman Catholics is the advancing pace of ecumenism in the formation of a world church. Dr. Vinson Synan wrote, "At 372 million, this (Pentecostal/charismatic) movement has surpassed the straight-line Evangelicals which claim 295 million... (and) are now the second largest category of Christians in the world behind the Catholic Church" (World Pentecost
, p. 12, June 1990 issue). The article continues, "But the startling fact is that the denominational Pentecostals grew from 51 million in 1980 to 193 million in 1990. In other words the number almost quadrupled in one decade". Current 1996 reports show the pace of growth continues.
The Feb/96 Promise Keepers conference of pastors in Atlanta, Georgia was a demonstration of ecumenical unity and power. Initiated and controlled by Pentecostals, the inclusivist movement speaks of Roman Catholic partnership. Speaking of Catholic Brazil, the Northern Beacon
published this report in its March 18, 1996 issue: "Pentecostals account for more than 60 percent of existing evangelical churches in Rio de Janeiro. Ninety percent of growing churches in Brazil are Pentecostal... Other Pentecostal churches claim similar growth rates on the continent".
A victor's crown for faithfulness in the evangelism of Roman Catholics will depend upon one's reaction to each of these current trends.
(Wilson Ewin is a Baptist missionary to the Catholics of Quebec, Canada. His mailing address is P.O. Box 180, Norton, Vermont 05907.)
Source : Tabernacle Baptist Church