Gifts, Tongues, and Anything Goes

I’m writing this in part to vent a little, but mainly in the hope that there will be some helpful commentary.

I’ve been dating a young woman who is very much a believer in Christ. I am Catholic-by birth, though I wandered and found there is only one Church.

Although she is Christian, it is difficult to say of what denomination (she was born/baptized Catholic but left the Church following her mom at an early age).


I have attended several “events” with her and have been trying to be patient and polite, but I must say that my patience is wearing thin.

I’ve been to a Benny Hinn event. I was utterly flabbergasted. In my opinion he’s a false prophet and a charlatan. I can go into detail but will that be considered attacking someone on this forum?

I have been to two Carlos Anacondia events, and several small independent “sermons”. Honestly, I find it mind boggling to hear some of the things these “pastors” claim-and am shocked to see people accept their statements without question.

The theme seems to revolve around prosperity, healing, blaming the devil for everything, claiming that “organized religion” is against the bible (funny as it was the organized Catholic Church that put the bible together), the Holy Spirit, and speaking in “tongues”.

I’ve heard that “the key to heaven is speaking in tongues”, that the Holy Spirit is a type of “tool” or method the angels use to speak to God, and that receiving the Holy Spirit allows us to speak directly with God.

I’ve seen people blame the devil for their computer not working.
I’ve heard people say that they prayed over a broken computer or car to make it work.
Losing a job, getting a flat tire, getting hurt… it was the devil.

[BIBLEDRB]By the way, we DESPERATELY need apologetics materials in Spanish form! Spanish speaking Catholics are being assailed at a TREMENDOUS rate and with INCREDIBLE aggressiveness by Spanish speaking “evangelicals”!

In a certain person’s “event” they supposedly heal people. It starts off mellow, soft music kicks in, the man begins to plead with God “Jesus I have no more strength-forgive me-heal me-I surrender…” This intensifies into yelling in a tone of utter despair.
He then commences to call out demands to the devil to release these people. Some of the comments are “spirit/devil of (pain/hate/depression etc.) I command you in the name of Jesus to release this person”!

The “tone” steadily intensifies to the point of it hurting your ears-this man SCREAMS into the microphone. It seems to me that it is basically a type of hypnotism or suggestion. In my opinion it follows a very distinct system, or sequence, of psychological manipulation.
People go in despair and they get easily worked up.

There’s sometimes a second “pastor” pacing around the stage yelling out exclamations “OH!” “YES!” “AH!” etc.

Soon people start yelling out as well, dancing, waving their hands… Some even blow horns while others engage in calm conversation as if nothing is happening.

The “pastor” throws in phrases in “tongues” as he speaks.
Example: “Jesus deliver these people/UrrraBabashiba-Rrrabakaya-Kiama”…

“UrrraBabashiba-Rrrabakaya-Kiama” is the ONLY phrase this person repeats.
I’ve heard the people who go to this person’s “sermons” pray, and they repeat that same phrase.
I have audio of this.

And I have been to several places where people claim to speak in tongues-including a Catholic one, and honestly what I heard in each one was babbling-literally random sounds being made. I think we can often tell when a language is being spoken because it has a certain system to it, a pattern, repetition…
I don’t want to knock people’s beliefs but it just seems like speaking in tongues is very abused!

After the “healing” people are invited on stage and asked what happened.
It always goes as follows:
“I had _________ for ________ years. As you spoke I felt a warm/tingling sensation and now I am cured!”
The “pastor” praises Jesus and asks the person to do something using that “healed” part of their body: dance/jump/run/pick that up… The person complies and people clap and praise the Lord but nobody seems to wonder if the supposed illness had been previously diagnosed, or if there’s proof of the disease or the healing.

As we walked to the car I overheard an old person talking about how their foot was not healed-but it was their fault for not being fully committed that night or something of that nature.

My girlfriend’s friend-a very caring and giving older man-goes to these things too. I’ve seen him sobbing at the Benny Hinn event, then sobbing-**sobbing **as he praises Hinn.
He has been testing the waters with me because he knows I’m Catholic. He started with certain comments about his beliefs, which I respected and left alone, and now got to the point a few days ago of commenting that the Catholic Church went wrong and that whenever men make religion organized Jesus is no longer there.
I made my beliefs clear and defended the Church.
He tried several typical anti-Catholic myths, but I countered with facts, in a patient way.
He wants to have a “discussion” about it (He was very civil and expressed kindness mind you).
I agreed to discuss-still waiting.
He claims to be a Calvinist but attends these things and puts down organized religion.
He say that a person knows when he or she receives the Holy Spirit because he/she will fall down and cry, and praise God for hours.
He’s made statements about men change the meaning of the bible to their personal views.
My head almost explodes from confusion.
It’s like someone telling you that math is a precise system as they give you three apples and say its five grapes.

I know he means well and many of these are good people, but I am just near my wit’s end with the utter chaos and absurdity of some of this.

I hope to read some comments.

God bless.

Do you have a question? Denominations such as the one you describe are everywhere. You should understand also that speaking in tongues and healing people through the power of God are not foreign to the Catholic faith. You should make your friend aware that the Catholic Church was the first to do this. I have witnessed tongues and healings in my own parish and actually speak in tongues myself (along with my parish priest).

You will get a lot further if you first acknowledge what is good in their faith tradition and what we have in common, before you begin addressing the differences. If you only address the error in their beliefs you might as well talk to the wall instead.

Also, a little tip on getting responses to your post. You might consider giving the readers digest version rather than making numerous comments all run together. It makes it very difficult to determine how to address your concerns.

God bless.

Wow. This seems to have gotten you stressed out quite a bit.

Benny Hinn isn’t my cup of tea either. I can’t say whether he’s a charlatan. I suppose he could be sincere.

We should never believe any teacher’s word “without question.” All things should be tested by God’s revealed word.

Whoever said “the key to heaven is speaking in tongues” is way off. The key to heaven is the grace of God which we receive by faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit isn’t a tool; he is a person. He gives us tools by which we build up the body of Christ (the charismata, of which speaking in tongues is one).

Sounds like your typical 1950s style healing revival.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Well, shouting unto God with a voice of triumph, dancing before the Lord, lifting hands, and yes, blowing shofar horns are all activities with biblical precedent.

Biblically, the “one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit” (1 Cor. 14:2). If the Apostle Paul was correct, we shouldn’t be able to make any sense out of speaking in tongues.

Yeah, that’s the typical way healing evangelists tend to do those things. It’s been that way since the major healing revivals of the 40s and 50s.

With all due respect, your Calvinist friend hasn’t a clue as to what he is talking about. The only thing falling down and crying is evidence of is that a person is falling down and crying.

When those gathered in the upper room in Acts 2 were filled with the Spirit, several things happened----crying and falling down were not included. What did occur was that the Christians spoke in tongues, prophesied, glorified God, and proclaimed “the mighty works of God” to the people in Jerusalem.

Receiving the Holy Spirit is not about being emotional. The fullness of the Spirit is about being empowered for service.

If you want my honest opinion, here it goes. There is a difference between being Charismatic and a charismaniac. Your girlfriend needs to hang around Pentecostal/charismatic Christians that actually care about theological precision instead of saying silly things like crying and falling down are evidence of having received the Spirit.

We should thank the Lord for physical healings, but remember that the greatest healings are spiritual.

At these events physical healings are highlighted. In the Catholic Church the Mass is the source and center for everything. In denominations that highlight physical healings there is no Mass or Sacraments.

Drat - I thought this was going to be about receiving gifts - I was going to ask for money. :wink:

Seriously, Benny Hinn and others like him are frauds that you should stay away from. There is a lot about him on-line by both supporters and detractors.

If you cannot get your girlfriend away from that type of thing, it’s best to break things off with the girl before either of you gets serious.

Great vent! Sometimes a good rant is healthy.

My advice, stay away from those places. You’ve seen through the veil and are blessed to have come away with frustration and not corrupted.

If attending those events are some condition of the relationship (unspoken or otherwise) you’re better of starting anew with someone who shares your Catholic faith. There’s only so much poison one can injest before it’s too late.

You should talk to your priest asap about all this if you haven’t already.

You and she are on divergent roads. Perhaps God put her in your path to remove her from error and such but I would not, if I were you, consider any serious future between this woman and I. She has been raised into this culture. We are not in any position to judge how God perceives these sorts of beliefs. I’ve heard ten years of evangelical and Baptist preaching, some of it very good, some of it in direct contradiction to the Roman Catholic Church.

When a person is raised in a certain culture and belief system, their entire environment is permeated by it. Your sensibilities, as a Roman Catholic, are screaming at you that there is grave error here in many ways. Perhaps you are strong enough to bring this young woman to the true Church, or perhaps you find yourself in a situation you are not yet able to handle. I suggest you speak to your confessor; make an appointment with him.

My head hurts from reading this. May God bless you for venting.

Itwin, post 3, has some very good comments. This time, I realized the importance of the second half of 1 Corinthians 14: 2. :slight_smile:

This comment, by Itwin, spells out the truth. “Receiving the Holy Spirit is not about being emotional. The fullness of the Spirit is about being empowered for service.”

When it comes to Tongues, there are similarities between various Christian religions because we use St. Paul as our source. However, when Tongues is properly used in Catholicism, it is part of the whole picture which begins with the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and continues with the Sacraments, special prayers and devotions, etc. Therefore, when the rest of your post is answered – yet, you have questions about the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, I will do my best to answer them.

Ecstatic tongues is a bit of a controversial topic as the Catholic church has no definitive position on it.The charismatic gifts are many but they must be discerned.

Until about 1830 the general consensus was that the tongues referred to in the bible were actual human languages. Around the early 1900s a huge wave of ecstatic tongues occured in various denominations,none of them Catholic. It was not until about 1967 that ecstatic tongues manifested in the Catholic church and they started in a Catholic university ai the promptings of a few professors and some students at a retreat.

:thumbsup: Great rant! I felt similar about a year ago when I visited a church a few times like this. For me it was a slap into reality. It brought me back to the Catholic Church and to learn more about Catholicism. I now avoid some of those people, because they tend to want to convert me and put down the Catholic Church. I am no way learned enough yet to defend our Church. Hugs :slight_smile:

And yet here you are defending :thumbsup:
One defender at the gate is better than an unguarded gate :knight1:

God bless you.

I don’t trust some preachers namely Todd Bentley, E. Bernard Jordan, and John Crowder. John Crowder is the most extreme preacher I have ever seen. He teaches “toking the Ghost” and some of his followers even snorted on the Bible. Crazy! Benny Hinn is mild compared to John Crowder.

Well, we do share something with friends or someone we love. I understand it is hard to be indifferent when our own faith is being challenged, directly or indirectly.

I would say try to reduce attending her events and that would lessen your problem. Try to make excuse for not coming. Eventually she will get the message that religion is personal belief that has no bearing on whether you like her or not. You may want to talk to her about it especially for the fact you are Catholic and see what her response is.

God bless.

Hello everybody. Thanks for your comments! They really helped!

I don’t feel a danger of being converted. I went through the doubting the Church long ago and thinking “all I need to do is believe in Jesus”. But the more non-Catholic events I went to the more I realized there is MUCH more, and that the Catholic Church has it right.

One thing I’ve noticed about the “non-denominationals” is that most are willing to listen to any “preacher” or “pastor” (I have grown to detest that word from their circle) at just about any “church”-unless it’s Catholic.

I’ve concluded that the bottom line is a personal, individual ideology: it’s basically what makes **them **feel good. That’s why they say “I get nothing from mass”. Sadly ironic. And it’s why they keep saying that organized religion is wrong etc.

I am no longer going to the events, though I am still seeing her. I was willing to be patient and go with her, since I could then take her with me to mass. Since she does not want to go to mass it means an unwillingness to look deeper.

Anyway, the girl and I have spoken of marriage as I said but she is so far resistant to a Catholic wedding. I would rather not be married than to give into a Protestant wedding. It would just be too big a compromise.

As far as the preacher guy-I’m still waiting for our “discussion” on the Church and the Bible. He was somewhat surprised when I defended the Church-with facts. These people are just not used to Catholics responding to their claims.

Funny note:
Yesterday the preacher invited me to a service. It was Jewish. I asked why he was going. He said because they are Christian Jews and he wants to go hear the word. I said “Thanks but no thanks, I have mass to hear the word and more”. It’s just bizarre how these people are all over the place.

As far as Hinn, I personally consider him a fraud and worse. I have seen the “show” personally and it is a classic con. I mean, I sat there and noted how he set everything up step by step to get people’s money-even to the point of asking people to hold up their “love gift” sheets and ask the Holy Spirit to guide them in giving as much as possible-but at least $200.

Combine that with Hinn’s endorsement of Mike Murdock (“What you can walk away from you have mastered, so send me a $1,000 seed/There is nothing more beautiful in this world than a $100 dollar bill.”)

Maybe some of you will disagree but I am no longer as tactful as I used to be with those people. I’m not rude or insulting, but I just say it like it is. When they ask why I’m Catholic I reply “Because Jesus founded one Church and one church only, and that is the Catholic Church”.

I always find it ironic how they so openly and happily declare that the Catholic Church went wrong, and then call me arrogant when I say Jesus founded it as THE Church.


tongues, gifts, blah, blah, etc, etc…

all part of the reason I was in therapy, along with other issues as well. I was first exposed to this “worship” at the tender age of 3 and absolutely cannot stand to be around it.

I got nervous when I first heard that there was such a thing as Catholic “charismatics”. No thanks, I’ll stay a frozen chosen. Just watch yourself and be careful young man.

I cannot delete the previous poster because I feel certain the MODS will because it’s “not nice”. All I can say is I don’t care for it and at 38, I suffer from various symptoms of BPD. Sometimes I wish I could just forget all I know and go live in a friggin cave somewhere.

All this religious bickering makes me sick. Have a good one. Hopefully, I will be whole some day.

You are loved for who you are today. Stay close to Jesus, Psalm 23. Let others choose their own way of praying. There will always be some kind of religious bickering. Tune it out and pray the prayers you love to say.

I’ll be in the cave next mountain over - we can wave to each other! :smiley:

So I sat with a pastor who tried to show me, using the bible, that:
~Peter is not the rock.
~The church is actually invisible.
I politely refuted his points, using the bible. He was very shocked and surprised. Then he changed the subject to indulgences-how the Catholic Church offers them to save you from hell etc. I refuted that too and am going to email him some information, including the part of the Catechism that addresses indulgences.

Thank you for your update. I am glad you are alive because I could not do what you just did.

I re-read your opening post. It still takes my breath away. I loved your line in post 14. "When they ask why I’m Catholic I reply “Because Jesus founded one Church and one church only, and that is the Catholic Church”.

My post 8 concluded with
When it comes to Tongues, there are similarities between various Christian religions because we use St. Paul as our source. However, when Tongues is properly used in Catholicism, it is part of the whole picture which begins with the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and continues with the Sacraments, special prayers and devotions, etc. Therefore, when the rest of your post is answered – yet, you have questions about the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, I will do my best to answer them.

I am still here if you need me.

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