Interacting With God in Protestantism(?)

Hi all,

This is my first post and it may get lengthy, so please bear with me.

I was born and raised Catholic: I’ve received all the sacraments save for vocational ones and Annointing of the Sick (I’m only 20, after all). Before college, I was active in my local parish in altar serving and youth ministries, and still participate in events at the church when I’m home.

Now to the fun part. I was very feverently Catholic through 8th grade, and for a decent part of my first half of high school. In 9th grade, I joined an after school group at my high school dedicated to reading and learning from the Bible, Christian doctrine, etc. I joined without (fully) realizing the group was explicitly Protestant, but enjoyed the community and teaching, and thus continued going. Near the end of 10th grade, I thought I got “saved,” but in retrospect, it seems more plausible I received something along the lines of Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

This is where things get weird for me. I’m well aware of the central tenets which split Catholics and Protestants: sola fide, saintly intercession, purgatory, Real Presence (though this seems to come up less often, which I find to be a bit strange), et al. I understand these on a general level, but attempts to Google the matters deeper seem to just bring forth angry forum arguments online (hence my posting here; Catholic Forums has proven to be one of the most tamed, reasonable, and reliable places to pose a question such as this). In spite of these differences, however, I find it hard to see a distinction in my worship and walk with God, be it in a Catholic or Protestant setting. I have little doubt that God has spoken to me since that moment in 10th grade. The Holy Spirit explicitly confirmed things to me in prayer regarding my senior year, including my acceptance to my current college before I even sent in the application. On one occasion a few months ago I heard Him speak something to me in prayer that was reiterated verbatim by someone praying for me at the same moment (in a Pentecostal church, for what it’s worth).

Still, I’ve seen similar things in the Catholic Church. My home parish has a strong charismatic community: I’ve witnessed demons cast out, seen healing prayer (even in my mother to an extent), and heard speaking in tongues at least since I was six years old (didn’t realize it until I was 16, though…:shrug:) (I also speak in tongues in prayer at times); Jesus said “no kingdom divided against itself will stand,” so these would have to be VERY elaboarte deceptions by Satan were they fake. Speaking of which, I’m absolutely sure no demonic influence has taken over my life.

I’ve witnessed the tremendous power of prayer in both circles. I have an extreme gratitude and respect for the liturgical tradition of Catholicsm, as it first taught me to have reverence for the things of God, but it was ventures into Protestantism that first emphasized for me the need for devotion to Christ on a personal/relational level. And it doesn’t help that for years people have pushed for me to enter vocational life/be a pastor (I’d have dedicated myself to the priesthood when I was 12 if priests could marry). I’ve been told “Le Salut est personnel” by my mother (not an express endorsement for conversion, btw; the topic hasn’t really come up at home), and heard from my closer Protestant friends/“mentors” that denomination doesn’t matter so long as my focus is on Christ (again, strange; not your typical internet-brand-“the Pope is Antichrist”-evangelicals), but even if it’s that simple it bugs me, and has for quite a few years now. I figured it was about time to see what the fine Forum folk had to say.

So to get to the heart of this post: if the Catholic Church (alone) is Christ’s church, how is it that I could receive such a great grace as this outside of the Church? I haven’t done enough research to clearly discern this matter, but I want to at least hear what people have to say so I can consider it. Thanks.

While I’ll let Catholics describe their view on this, my first reaction to your question is
Catholic Catechism #819
819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

Jon

Hi LaFwaSove, welcome to the forums. :slight_smile:

I think it’s like what C.S. Lewis said when it comes to other religions, that it’s like arithmetic - there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others. Thus we don’t believe that everything outside the Catholic Church is simply wrong all through.

I hope this has helped

God Bless

Thank you for reading
Josh

:thumbsup:

Hi LafWasove. It is not uncommon to have strong spiritual experience in another church, in your case, Protestantism. If you have good circle of Protestant friends for support and perhaps following their activities and services, you will grow to appreciate the spiritual growth that you find there.

I grew up in the era of Catholic Charismatic Renewal and though a born practicing Catholic, it was in the Renewal where I really found my faith. I was renewed, so to speak, a born again experience, according to the Protestant term. That was interesting as we found ourselves being Spirit-filled and to be on fire for the Lord.

Suddenly we found some Catholic practices wanting, like boring sermon during the mass, not very gifted speakers, the stifling memorized prayers and the legalism which was seen as obstacles rather than liberating. Going for a year of RCIA, instead of accepting the Lord in an alter call, was simply seen as bureaucracy.Those were the times where some similarly renewed Catholics left the Church for Protestantism especially to Evangelical and Charismatic churches.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I was brought up in a very intense Catholic life as a kid, and that alone if anything else, tied my allegiance to Catholicism.

In retrospect, frankly, perhaps at the expense of maybe being offensive, I feel that Catholicism is the Church, and whatever Protestants have, we have them too and more. To be in love of the Sacraments, the Pope, Mary and the Saints, the strong uninterrupted Tradition and the Bible is a grace which I can only concluded, came from God.

I think it is important that you are happy in wherever you decide to be and where you will grow and be a good Christian. There are plenty of good Protestants and surely it is by God’s grace too that they are what they are.

God bless.

Dear Lafav…

I would answer this way. God dispenses His grace in many ways, The way He touches hearts are unique to each person because each person is unique. He is not limited to the Church because God loves all, That said,the Church is unique in that grace is extended in an ordinary way, through the sacraments and the Real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is present where it isn’t in other Churches. This is huge! Think of the Body of Christ without a head, it would not be complete.

Luke 9:58 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

So although grace and truths are available in other faith traditions, the Church is full of wisdom and truth and you will be able to grow in both wisdom and truth in your faith journey with the Church. Regarding Pentecostalism, it’s easy to forget that as the original Church, the Pentecost was celebrated with the early Church members and so the charisms are available to us. The first Pentecost was Catholic! I’ve experienced some of the gifts also in my faith journey but, as St. Paul said…

1 Corinthians 14:16 Otherwise, if you say a blessing with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since the outsider does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may give thanks well enough, but the other person is not built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you; 19 nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

IMO to focus on the Charisms is really just focusing on them rather than what Jesus wants us to focus on and that is following in His ways by doing the work of God which is loving and serving others. The Body of Christ working as a whole to stamp out sin and oppression and helping the poor, is the more excellent way. And if we don’t have love, we have nothing, . When we face our final judgement in front of Jesus Christ, will the gifts matter or what we do with the gifts God gives us. Do we keep them to ourselves or are our gifts used to do the will of God? Peace…

RC church is the True Church

But Charismatic movement is christian -for catholics AND protestants.
Protestants have their miracles and saints too
It works both ways, the catholics often invite protestants to their charismatic events, and the protestants often invite catholics to their charismatic events
Yes, through christian prayer from you can receive great graces!

Read the lives of the saints
Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist, its biblical
Jesus founded the RC church
People founded christian groups

Purgatory is biblical and in private revelation to the saints

Catholics experience these things too!
God chose to bless you with our christian brothers, thats okay

You have received grace from the same God, the God of Protestantism is the same God of the RC church. So don’t mind where the grace came from, it came from God.

Yes, God began the charismatic renewal with the pentecostals and protestants, and then brought it to the RC church.

Where did the Holy Spirit first begin originally though? With the apostles in the RC church 40 days after Jesus ressurrection.

RC church has EVERYTHING.
Great that the charismatic renewal has enriched your life.

Both have the power of prayer and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (as you have experienced)
But only the catholic church has the sacraments, Jesus trully present in the Eucharist and Confession (both are biblical and have had powerful miracles throughout the centuries).

God could have chosen to give you your conversion and graces through a eucharistic miracle, but has instead chosen to grace you through the Holy Spirit

God works differently with all of us!

If you are “once saved, always saved” then why would you need to interact with God before you claim what is rightfully yours in Heaven?

The Catholic Church IMHO is the closest to speaking to God as you can on Earth get by virtue of the sacraments that, for the most part, He instituted (or, at the very least, endorsed).

Once you start removing one block, another will follow, and another, and another, and you find what we now have, which is the Catholic church and 10,000 protestant denominations built on a man’s re-imaging on God (for all their talk of The Church being of man…!!)

Friend!

You have experienced that the Holy Spirit is given to ALL Christians!

You know from experience that the Catholics AND Protestants both have the Holy Spirit.

Does it not mean something that you have witnessed the EXACT SAME power of the Holy Spirit amongst CATHOLIC circles also?

But I’m sure you have also experienced;
The protestants don’t have Our Lady, the Rosary, the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, Confession, Priests, the Sacraments, the Pope (we’ve had a continued succession from Jesus, to Peter, to the present Pope, the apostles oversaw the early church, and trained their friends who became known as the Church Fathers because these people knew the apostles first hand, “I will name you Peter, and on THIS rock I will build MY church.”

Even all those Roman Catholic things are biblical and founded by Jesus in the Bible
-OUR LADY (look at Fatima, how many hundred thousand saw the sun spin and saw Our Lady in the sun holding the child Jesus, the Rosary and the Brown Scapular?)
Our Lady is in the book of revelation,
-There have been over 700 Eucharistic miracles in the Church of the Eucharist turning into Our Lord’s flesh and blood, “I am the Bread of Life, This is My Body, unless you eat and drink the body and blood of the Son of Man you have not life in you”
-Confession; “He who’s sins you forgive are forgiven”
-PRIESTS; Look at Padre Pio, had the stigmata for 50 years, who could read souls, see his guardian angel, was beaten by demons at night, had the gift of healing and bilocation.

You will find the Roman Catholic church HAS these same gifts of the Holy Spirit, AND the SACRAMENTS

It has more

As the bible says; “To him who has been given more, will more be expected”

Worrying point next;
The stumbling block for christian faiths is Jesus TRUE PRESENCE in the Eucharist (which is BIBLICAL and proved in miracles in the lives of the saints)

A priest spoke once about satan’s plan to take people away from the Eucharist
Where Jesus in the Bible tells the crowds they must eat His body and drink His blood (the Eucharist), that His flesh is real food, and His blood is real drink,
The crowds leave,
Guess what chapter, verse and line that is in John?
6:6:6

Jesus then turns to His little church, the Apostles, and says to them as he says to you;
“Will you also go away?”

you can marry, but ask your wife can you become a deacon, and she must train with you and give you permission.
Then you are married and can perform all the duties of a priest except eucharist (mass) and confession.

A priest gets to marry God in a sense!
Awesome!
It changes your soul permanently.

Its okay for the christian denominations to pursue Christ alone.
God accepts that their family trees have been brought up as christians and that they don’t know the FULL complete truth of the True Roman Catholic Church. So they will still be blessed by God with the Holy Spirit, prayer, miracles (same as RC church). RC catholics can have a personal relationship with Jesus too, so many saints have had that

But;
The second commandment states, I am the Lord your God, you shall not have strange gods before me

This Means a lapsed roman catholic is in danger of mortal sin when they have been given the full truth, and are turning their back on what they know is the True Church set down by Jesus Himself in 33AD

Jesus knows the RC catholics have been given more, and he demands more of us rightly
“To he who has been given much will much be expected”

Hi LaFwaSove,

I can’t speak as to the healings you describe, but I’d like to mention that ‘speaking in tongues’ isn’t actually a grace, as we commonly understand it. It’s considered an extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost, but it’s not a grace as we understand it. For instance, a person who receives tongues doesn’t have to be in a state of grace to receive them, and it doesn’t impart grace that leads to holiness. Just wanted to mention this. Welcome to the forums! :slight_smile:

Short answer: so you return to the Church, you know, the one Jesus founded.

For what it’s worth, people can often be misled by their subjective emotions and personal experiences. I would be especially dubious of anyone claiming to “speak in tongues.” What exactly did you witness? I’d like to know.

Thanks all for the responses.

Denise1957 - Lack of attention to proper terminology on my part, duly noted.

CommonWeal - I’m well aware of the emotional bit and avoid it at all costs. The speaking in tongues would occur during sessions of prayer/adoration by my parish’s charismatic group. Primarily it would be done by a nun who visited regularly (Sister Claire Gagne); it was more or less what you would expect from tongues, syllables which can’t be understood as human language. Only not in an uncontrollable way as some like to demonstrate; she would also do it in a singing/melodic fashion.

As a Catholic revert who spent many years in the protestant church and also received some graces in the protestant churches I would say this:

Think of the graces you received while in the protestant church and know that coming home and being in the Catholic church those graces will multiply over and over and over beyond what you can ever imagine now.

I have been where you are and thought the same things. I was led astray and lost a lot. It is hard to even understand how much more grace you can receive in the Catholic faith.

Plus, if you know the truth of the Catholic faith and know the teachings of the Catholic church and know they are true, and I do not know where you are in your understanding of the Catholic faith so I can not judge but you could be putting your soul in danger. You may just be being led astray. You will find some truth there but you will also find a lot of things that are not true.

I would study more of the faith and learn of the great graces found here at home, the Catholic church.

God bless.

Welcome to CAF.

Of course one can receive grace outside of the Catholic Church and come to love the Lord very much. It is not necessarily what ecclesial communities outside of the Catholic Church have that is the issue, but rather what they are missing, namely, the sacraments, an infallible interpreter of Scripture and Tradition, the authority to bind and loose, the authority to forgive sins, the fullness of truth and authentic ordination which is evidenced by apostolic succession. Most importantly, we have Jesus in the Eucharist; body, blood, soul and divinity, the source and summit of our faith.

God bless.

Steve

There are many Catholics who speak in tongues as well, and it is authentic. My parish priest was responsible for the Charismatic Renewal in our diocese, approved by the Bishop. I received the gift of tongues 16 years ago. This is something of which most Catholics are completely ignorant and overly suspicious. Yet we were the first to receive this gift. :shrug:

Thanks a lot everybody. I’ll be taking all of these things into consideration (and prayer, of course).

What is your understanding of the gift of tongues?

Well, I don’t want to derail the thread by getting into a detailed discussion about tongues, but very simply it is a gift which allows the Holy Spirit to pray through us without the limitation of our intellect. When the Hoy Spirit prays through us we know that the prayer is always in line with God’s will.

Many people, especially Catholics, only think of Pentecost, when the Apostles spoke in intelligible tongues which were unknown by them, so that people of every language could understand them. That was a very special gift given at that time to show that the Gospel was for all people of every race and tongue.

But Paul also tells us of speaking in other tongues which no man can understand. It is a prayer to God alone and is not meant to be understood by any of us.

“A man who speaks in a tongue is talking not to men but to God. No one understands him because he utters mysteries in the Spirit” (1 Cor. 14:2).

There are also tongues which are meant to deliver a message to the people, but, unlike the previous type I mentioned, require an interpreter, which is another gift given to some. From my experience this is rare.

Hope this helps a little.

Peace.

Steve

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