Good evening everyone! I’ve been bothered a bit for a few days now due to some proselytizing at my work place by Pentecostals. A Catholic co-worker has started attending a local Pentecostal church and she is now trying to get other people from my office to go with her. She was raised Catholic but to the best of my knowledge did not seem to have strong faith which made her easy pray to Pentecostals. Now she suddenly knows the Bible and is sure that this is where God called her to. This has been happening for like two months now. I have been trying to get the lukewarm Catholics in my office to attend mass and have been catechizing a bit as well. I’ve had some success but the sheer emotionalism of that religion is really hard to counter, especially to people with little catechesis or historical knowledge. What do you guys recommend in cases like this? How do you counter peoples emotion or their idea that God led them to these places? I know God has no box and the Holy Spirit works wherever he pleases but I have a hard time believing that he would lead someone out of the Church Christ founded.
I probably would start out by telling them I go to the Catholic Church because it was the one started by Jesus Christ Himself and said he would protect it until the end of time. I would say then that other “churches” are not the same and don’t profess the same beliefs since it was not Christ that started them. Some of them are OK in the sense they have prayer and devotion to God but those kinds of services are not the ones that Christ established for His Church.
As for the feelings, I have been to rock concerts that have been emotional with all the lights and sounds. The crowd really got into it and you could feel the energy. But I would not construe this as being a spiritual event on the same level as the death and resurection of Christ. The Mass is not entertainment as a concert or lecture is.
I agree that the Holy Spirit will not lead someone out of the Catholic Church, but He may allow a person to use their free will to make a choice to go down a different road than the Road to Rome. The Holy Spirit doesn’t force any human being to do anything. He merely guides us into all truth.
However, take heart and remember Jesus’ promise in Matthew 5:6–“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
Your friend obviously loves the Lord Jesus and “hungers and thirsts for righteousness.” Where can this hunger and thirst be “satisfied?” When we receive Eucharist, of course!
The Holy Spirit will continue to work in the life of your friend and eventually she will realize that the only place to satisfy her hunger and thirst for the Lord is at the altar of Communion in the Catholic Church, His Church.
But it may take a while, perhaps many years. Don’t give up on her.
As for the emotion, it will eventually fade. Whenever we humans are exposed to something new and appealing, we react emotionally. This is true especially when the music is good.
But the emotion fades. Think about love and marriage. During those early days of a romance, we are floating through the air as we day-dream constantly about our beloved! But after a few years (or in some cases, a few weeks or months!) of marriage, most of us come back down to earth again as we discover that we must live in reality, doing dishes, taking out trash, mowing the lawn, and sometimes even staying up all night to care for a young child!
This doesn’t mean that our love for our spouse is diminished in any way. It just changes from being a flame that quickly burns and gives tremendous burning heat to a low, glowing ember that emits a constant warmth and comfort.
I think this will happen to your friend, too. At first the music, miraculous events (e.g., speaking in tongues during the worship services, and the interpretation of those tongues), and sweet fellowship of the Pentecostal church will be heavenly for her. But eventually she will get used to it, and it will become routine and possibly even boring for her. I am not wishing any negativity on her, but it is very likely that she will run into someone or something that is unpleasant in her new church, and this will also sour her emotions. She will learn that our faith is NOT dependent on our emotions, which can change in an instant.
Again, don’t give up. The Holy Spirit won’t give up on her. Just keep praying and loving her.
I would suggest not debating with her at this time. Just live a holy life and demonstrate Christian charity. This is your best way to witness to her and “woo” her back to the Catholic Church.
Have you heard of the recruitment technique called “love bombing”? You “bomb” a potential cult member with excessive love and attention, which causes them to gravitate toward the religion. I think that is what is happening. Education about this technique of love bombing could help some people recognize it and beware, but I think the only other way to deal with it is prayer.
Another thing about love bombing is that the people practicing it often do not realize what they are doing. They are sincere - and it was probably done to them first. Keep this in mind when dealing with the situation.
I was raised Pentecostal and actively seeking to learn more about the Catholic faith as I feel “led” to Rome.
I don’t know about this idea of “love bombing” but I do know that your friend is mostly likely drawn to the Pentecostal church because they are meeting a need in her life. Pentecostals are very passionate about Christ and are committed to living out loud for Him. Not exactly a bad thing. But I, too, would not want your friend to be drawn away from the Catholic Church. The best approach in reaching her I can think of is not getting into a theological debate with her but praying for the Holy Spirit to use you to find a way to minister to the need(s) in her life. Showing her genuine Christ-like love, listening, and looking for what God is trying to do in her life and participating in that, will do more to win her back.
The theological and biblical discussions will come later as she is more willing to listen.
May the Lord bless your efforts to minister to your friend.
My advice is to have as little to do with this person as possible.
The best thing you can do is be a faithful, devout, obedient, patient, calm, happy, pure, holy Catholic.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
When the world is crashing down, be the guy who amazes everyone with his calmness, trusting in God, walking confidently forward toward your eternal reward in Heaven. When someone wrongs you, bake them cookies. When there is hard word to be done, buckle down, pitch in and do more than your share. When everyone is talking trash, using foul language and telling bad jokes, raise the conversation to virtuous things, holy things, things of God, or excuse yourself. Control yourself. Never EVER fight and never say a bad word about anyone. Be humble about all of this and pray constantly.
And then keep a Catholic bible and a picture of Mary on your desk and God will send people to you.
I am in the same situation with my wife. We both come from a Pentacostal background. She became interested in the Catholic Church about 9 years ago and she dragged me into a Catholic RCIA class that ended up with me becoming interested in Catholicism too. Only thing is in 2007 her interest in Catholicism got up and left and so did she! She went back to Pentacostalism and I followed along although by this time I was convinced that Catholicism was THE way to fellowship with God. Eventually I went back to the Catholic Church all by myself after being bored to death by the emotionalism and the “entertainment” that passes for the Holy Spirit. She however wants nothing to do with the Catholic Church so at present on Sundays we go our separate ways, me to Holy Family Catholic Church and her to Rockford First Assembly. I don’t know what to do to woo her back to Catholicism and she is trying to woo me to her way of thinking. Currently we have what is known as a “Mexican Standoff”
My guess it this would backfire badly. The last thing you want is for someone to be able to point at you and say that Catholics run away from the truth, or that they aren’t allowed to be around joy because their Jesus is still dead, or some other nonsense.
I like Tim’s approach–and not just because it mentions cookies, though that is an important factor. If you and the people around you are being love-bombed, then show–don’t tell–that Catholics can also be quite loving.
I had sort of the same situation at the workplace a few years ago. A co-worker of mine had been a life long Catholic and a few years before I had transfered to the same office, she had become an evangelical Christian. At the time, I had been Catholic for only a couple of years, but I was very excited about my new faith in Christ! We had theological discussions at work when we had a chance. And we both loved Jesus and had a lot in common, but once in awhile one of her ‘learned’ anti-catholic teachings would come out, such as belief in the Intersession of the Saints.’ And when she started on her new formed belief in how the Saints can’t hear us or pray for us, and how we only have to pray to Jesus. It was like listening to one of those Christian radio shows that put down the Catholic Church and other ‘religiosity’, she had obviously learned this from someone who was not fond of the Catholic Church. So I would counter (nicely) and explain the Church’s point of view. That night I went home and wrote on paper the Church’s belief, that the Saints are alive and they are interceding for us. I used biblical passages, the CCC and the writing of Church Fathers. She was surprised the next day when I gave her the paper, that I had taken the time to write it out for her. I eventually got her to come to a Bible Study that I was leading. But I don’t know if she will ever come back to the Church or not. I am no longer working at the same office, and have not seen her for awhile, but I hope I planted a seed!
So my advise is, if she comes to you listen to her, engage in conversation and tell her what your belief is, and always correct them if they spew any untruths about the Catholic faith. All you can do is show her that you are Catholic and you too love our Lord as much as she does, plant a seed!
Obviously there is something attracting her to the Pentecostal Church, so much so she’s “evangelizing” her office. I’m a convert but was raised/baptized a Pentacostal & am totally Charismatic. Its probably the same Spirit there that’s present in the Eucharist & I’m sorry that many of my fellow Catholics are afraid to even acknowledge it CAN be the same Spirit. They somehow think this acknowledgement would diminish the validity of Jesus’ true church, the Catholic Church.
Pray for her & ask God to fulfill His plan for her life. Trying to argue her out of it is probably futile. Who knows? Maybe she’ll come back & bring some "fire’ with her. The Catholic Church (or any church) could always use it.
Anyway, It got you evangelizing your office!
Ok what I am about to say…I am certain that alot of people will jump all over me on this…but I am speaking from my experience…not only my experience from being a Catholic…but from also being a Theology major who has a best friend who is a Charismatic Pentecostal. Now it is from my experience that Pentecostals do have a fire for Christ and love Him truly…yes…this is best seen by their emotions…hence being charismatic. But, one thing I have come to notice is that many of them do not study theology whatsoever. Now this does not mean that if we all truly seek Christ…that we will than study theology…I am not saying this. What I am trying to say is that Pentecostals seem not to care about theology as they would rather have the emotions of just worshipping Him without the worries if they have everything right or not. They seem not to focus on the study of theology…hence this is why you find alot of Pentecostals who no nothing of their history as to why and what of previous traditions. This can be a good thing…for their fire they have is most definitely a good, but the bad is that their lack of theology can cause many splinter groups, and now which is why we have so many different Pentecostals now.
Most of the Pentecostals I’ve met want to study the Bible and theology. Maybe if you took (invited) her to a Charismatic Catholic meeting she could find an outlet for her spirituality there.:extrahappy:
After all the Magisterium has condoned these Spiritual gifts.
Even in “non-litergical” churches a psuedo-liturgy forms quite quickly. 4 fast songs 3 slow repetative ones, a (Zwinglian) communion, offering sermon, a "cape-cernaveral"sermon (it blasts off from a single text and rockets away) finishing with an altar call, people falling over and then packing the chairs up so the school can have their assembly hall back for monday…
Its a pity people have to reject their old church to move to a new one. In a perfect world we could all work together to proclaim Christ’s kingdom.
You could be right but I suggested this because I come from a pentecostal background and I know how pushy they can be they tried everything in the book to get me back with no success thank God.but you do have pount
I would ask myself, ‘What would Jesus say about this situation?’ What would Jesus say about someone so enthralled by the Gospels that she encourages people in her workplace to attend church? Would he say, ‘Hang on. That’s the wrong church to be attending.’ Or would he welcome her efforts to entice others to celebrate and witness His presence in whatever form that may be?
I suggest the latter. I suggest that in an era when young people in particular are leaving organised religion in their droves, He would welcome someone who encourages people to publicly celebrate their faith in Him.
Do you really think the Jesus of the Gospels cares about denominations? Different liturgies? Different empahases? I think not.
PS Can someone refer me to the part of the Gospels where Jesus speaks to the intercessionary role of saints? I can’t seem to find it.
can you imagine the apostles hopping around like mad or falling into trance and coma? Sorry, but in my opinion this has nothing to do with devotion and love but rather with possession and delusion. The fire of the Holy Spirit is a quiet flame and not an emotional outburst, which has its source in the vital and lower regions of our being. But even mass of the traditional churches is developping more and more into a copy of ordinary entertainment and showbusiness, living out stored-up energies of the flesh. Where are peace, solemn devotion and the humble and quiet joy of the soul as it will manifest during orthodox liturgy and mass?
Anything that comes in a forceful or exaggerated way, like love-bombing, should rouse our suspicion. Ask your collegue, next time she goes to a Pentcostal meeting to try and remain calm and alert with the Ave Maria reciting continuously in her heart and then watch what is happening: she may be shocked and run away in horror!
Praise the Lord!
I am from a penticostal and charismatic back ground and have been trying to join the catholic church. I am dissapointed in the way many of you look at penticostals and charismatics as a religeous cult. Most of you have no understanding as to what you are condemning. I think that your office coworker has found a good thing and I would support her and help her to continue to grow in the Lord wherever God wants her, and anyone else that goes with her… I praise God for her zeal and for the work of God in her life. You should rejoice with her and not try to fight against her or even try to win her back.There are many good things in the catholic church that penticostals need, just as there are many good things that the catholics need from the penticostal and charismatic churches. It is time to stop looking at the other as the enemy and wake up to the fact of our own poverty and love each other.We are supposed to be on the same side.
Amen, at least she is starting out on a postive path. Even in the church there are those who are lukewarm. It is a matter of teaching Christians to be full of the Spirit. Eph 5:18.
And, if you read Acts 2, yes I can imagine the Apsotles doing strange things.
Don’t be discourage, God is working in her life. Rejoice that she is seeking a deeper relationship with the Lord and that the true Church is not a particular denomination. If you are a true Christian celebrate with her her faith in the Lord.
Regarding the Pentecostals, I was a Catholic seminarian for 4 years, I know very well the Catholic theology and today I am a Pentecostal. Regarding the trances and commas that some other mentioned here, I won’t get into details but don’t forget that within the Catholic church there is Charismatic movement, authorized by the Pope and this movement has Bishops and priests that are also Charismatic. So research about your in-house Charismatic movement and see how big it is in the Catholic world.
I’m an Apostolic Pentecostal, baptized in the Name of Jesus’ and filled with the Holy Ghost Speaking and praying in tongues…
I don’t fall down on the floor though - My back aint what it used to be.