Pentecostalism in Latin America:a personal experience seeing it

This is something I been meaning to get out for a while.Almost like decade ago, my maternal grandmother who while baptized Catholic (never cared much for it beyond nominalist recognition) went to like a youth event that was going on in Pentecostal church that one my aunts went to.She said that during that event she saw some relevatory thing and it’s what made made her quit smoking cigarettes and convert to a fervent Pentecostal.

-_- With the unfortunate anti-Catholicism.Saying that saints and Marian veneration is idolatry,the Vatican is the new Babylon etc,etc stuff I’ve now commonly heard of.In the years following that me (for a short while before hitting 14-ish) and my dad in particular would get into very heated arguments.I think that my dad was involved with an evangelical group a long time ago when he was young (sometime in the 70’s-80’s my guess _) and it let him with a bad experience.I find it a bit funny that I delved more into the history of Catholicism and Christian philosophy in order to argue better with my grandmother

I don’t mean to offend anyone who is actually Pentecostal,has any relation to Pentecostalism,similar denominations or something to that effect.I’m sure that the sort of belief expressed and practised by my grandmother is not reflective of the majority of Pentecostals or the entire nature of the Pentecostal denomination.Yet it’s intrigued me…:ehh: as far as I’ve seen the sort of Pentecostalism that’s promoted to Hispanic ppl is ussally a “sensationalist” *evangelical form with an emphasis on exclusivism,the presence of demonic forces,the end of days and…”attention grabbing” stuff I guess you can say all the while easily bringing up stuff like the nominalism/lip service of those who are baptized Catholic,criticizing figures of saints and Marian veneration is,what’s the point of the Pope and a whole bunch of other deriding stuff.

Sometime after my grandma’s conversion when we went to Toronto to visit an uncle, my dad and him talked about this and he showed some proselytizing material including this one little like short movie.It showed fights or like rioting btw Catholics and Pentecostal with at one point a man crying,bleeding while on a crucifix.What creeped me out even more is how this was like an old Hispanic production from what seemed like btw the 60-mid 80’s ‘~’.

It makes me really wonder for how long this has been going on.It also makes me wonder if ppl from the originating country of the missionaries (like maybe the .U.S.) ever go and “check up/inspect” how those like congregations conduct themselves seeing as how I know that there are Pentecostals who don’t worship and think in such a way… :shrug::ehh: although part of me has a suspicion that they “allow it” in order to establish a stronger presence and diminish the presence of other denominations like the historical regional Catholicism.

:blush: Has anyone else seen similar things and/or would like to say something about it ?

*There have been times when my grandmother has gone to like 3 hr long s
services for instances.For the past 2-ish yrs though her like “fervency” has simmered down imo

It’s not all Pentecostals. My grandpa is in his 70s (I think) and is a Pentecostal minister. Just this Sunday I was driving him home from church and he made the remark that when he was in the hospital a Catholic priest came by and prayed with him and that “he prayed really good.” He then went on to say, “some Catholics are saved.” Now, while that might sound to Catholics as an insult, its actually not. It’s an admission that while one does not agree with all Catholic theology they still believe its possible to be a born again Christian within the Catholic Church.

Since you say this is in Latin America, I believe what you are picking up on is the fact that Latin America has always been the “exclusive domain” of the Catholic Church. Now, however, Pentecostals are actually challenging that dominance, and the Catholic Church in Latin America is just not used to competition. At the same time, most Latin American Pentecostals are ex-Catholics, which means they carry any baggage and resentment from the Catholic Church into their new Pentecostal religion. I think another issue may be that many Pentecostal converts are drawn from the working and middle classes who may identify Catholicism with the “establishment.” These factors combine create an unusually tense situation.

I don’t think that has much to do with it. Pentecostalism in Latin America is by now well established. It doesn’t depend on American missionaries, and Americans wouldn’t want them to. Pentecostalism works best when it is allowed to respond to local circumstances, and American denominations have known this for a long time and encourage all missionary churches to become fully indigenous fairly quickly. There are relationships and US churches do give various levels of support, but American Pentecostals are not “pulling the strings” of Latin American churches.

Pentecostalism is clearly making inroads into the Catholic faith. I have seen it from living in Mexico. The years I spent in the US, I saw it with the Latin students I had. Many of them left the Catholic Church to go with Pentecostal groups. That’s the path they seemed to choose.

I asked some of them why they had turned to Pentecostalism, and some answered they thought “fellowship” was important.

I could never leave Jesus in the Eucharist, I literally would rather be dead.

I agree. Pentacostalism has nothing to offer compared to that. I have a friend who belongs to something similar over here. I always know when he has been to a meeting as he comes back with a more anti-catholic stance than he did before. I think some of them are deliberately turning otherwise moderate converts against us. But why?

I don’t know!!! I haven’t been to a mass in my entire life and I go on the week days some times and where the priest focused on Protestants at any point. People are waiting for the Word of God and Jesus in the Eucharist not a witch hunt.

A common thread which runs through both those who are agnostic as well as those who leave the Catholic Church is that they had an almost exclusive focus on the horizontal aspect of the cross while de-emphasizing or ignoring the vertical aspect. Agnostics see the sin and hypocrisy of their peers and decide that the faith must be false. Fellowship is an important part of being Christian, but not at the price of true communion with Christ. As well, fellowship places far fewer demands on an individual than keeping God’s commands. Our brothers and sisters do not save us. The rise of Pentecostalism parallels the JWs, LDS and evangelical baptists that are flooding Central America: Lots of emotion, song, dancing and promises, but little substance and no sacraments. But, since all denominations both Christian and pseudo-Christian, are predators on the Catholic Church, this is all to be expected. Yet, when the tribulation arrives, the smoke and mirrors of the noisy churches will quickly be blown away and they will dissolve just as quickly as they appeared on earth. Only the Holy Eucharist will remain.

I live in Springfield Mo. That is the world headquarter for the Assemblies of God church. I would say a good half of all Christians in my city are AOG. And yes some are very anti- catholic, and some just don’t agree with our doctrines but recognize that we are right on the b ig stuff- the nature of God, Jesus, etc.
As far as you saying “some” Catholics are saved as being insulting we are selves do not believe all Christians, regardless of denomination ( including Catholics), go to heaven. Furthermore I believe most Pentecostals, and other evangelical christians that hold to a once saved always saved doctrine, recognize there are people in their own churches how are not going to be in heaven.

It is truly sad that Latin America is turning to Pentecostalism, which promotes a health, wealth, and happiness doctrine. Coming from a region of the world that has experienced so much missery and a church that says we must suffer, I can see the attraction. I would love for the health, wealth and happiness doctrine to be true. But it’s not and the Catholic church is. When these people realize it is a false doctrine many will lose their faith altogether.

I used to give to missionaries from AOG and other denominations for Latin America because they present it as helping poor people. But the reality is that these missions are focused on evangelizing not providing food and other assistance like the Catholic missionaries are. i was duped.

Please do not be so fast in jumping on Itwin. He was qouteting his grampa as saying “some” Catholics might be saved. Itwin did not say that himself. It’s like you are putting words into Itwin’s mouth.

I am not a Pentecostal, but fair is fair.

1 Like

Jesus Himself said to St. Paul why are you persecuting Me{His Church}, not quite as radical as St.Paul was with the first persecution against the Church, certainly more devious, whether consciously done or in ignorance. Kinda reminds me of the devil in the garden.

God Bless

I am not anti pentescostal or protestant but I live in mexico and the protestant including mormon missionaries here use aggressive catholic bashing techniques to scare people not fair at all in my opinion I would never interrupt someones day by trying to scare him or her into being a catholic we are all christians all of us have accepted christ as our personal savior why all the fussing and fueding?

As a former Pentecostal I saw many Catholics easily swayed to the Pentecostal church…the sad fact is that many cradle Catholics know next to nothing about what the Catholic church actually teaches…they may (or may not) go to mass on Sunday…that is the limit of their understanding of their Catholic faith…along comes a Pentecostal well versed in the Bible …here again many Catholics probably never read the Bible…the Pentecostal is probably on fire for Christ…the Catholic is invited to hear the truth of the Bible message and invited to a Pentecostal service…he/she is warmly welcomed by the Pastor…the congregation is friendly and on fire for Christ… the service is inspiring…he/she is then invited to attend one of the many Bible studies in the home of an elder…he/she doesn’t have to go through a lengthy process to become a church member…they can take communion straight away…the poorly catechized Catholic doesn’t stand a chance… before long they are “born again” by full immersion…they actually feel that now they are part of the Christ centered Bible believing church family…unfortunately I think this will continue to happen until all we Catholics get on fire for Christ (Iknow many already are) and start evangelizing not only lapsed Catholics but other Christian faiths who haven’t heard the truth about the church founded by Jesus Christ…the Catholic church.

1 Like

Pentecostals, with some exceptions, don’t adhere to a once saved always saved theology. You’re confusing us with Southern Baptists. We believe in the security of the believer on the conditions of faith, repentance, and obedience.

Not all Pentecostals believe in the health and wealth gospel. However, that form of Pentecostalism is growing fastest in the global south. However, it would be a mistake to reduce Latin American Pentecostalism just to the most repugnant forms of prosperity theology. There is a tradition of suffering for Christ within Pentecostalism as deep as anything in the Catholic Church.

They have to answer for that, just try to be the be the best disciple you can be and be a good Catholic witness.

Exactly your congregation might not believe that but take it from people living here in mexico and latin america the pentecostals and protestants here where we are present warped facts about catholics to convert people I personally find it offensive when missionaries speaking terrible broken spanish start in wtih the health and wealth and your not saved aspects of thier faith then when I reply in english they change up tune and put away thier scare tactics so you see I know that they are targeting latinos so what the other poster said is not totally true but largely true

Daniel 7:17-28 the Church is headquarterd in Rome for a reason and was divinely planned and given to The Holy People of God, just like the Children of Israel were moved from Egypt and headquarted in the Promised Land that they didn’t build, the identical situation happened when God instituted the New and Enternal covenant with His people, there was suffering for a few hundred years then it became theirs and His people still look to Rome. Pray for your brothers and sisters who do not have the Eucharist yet.

I didn’t deny that Pentecostal missionaries and evangelists proselytized. What I said was that Pentecostalism is much deeper than crass pursuit of material prosperity. :shrug:

Let me be clear- I know many AOG people that I personally consider to be living saints, They dedicate their lives to serving God and helping others. But I have never met one that did not believe some variation of the Health, wealth, and happiness phylosophy.

Don’t get me wrong, God’s promises are his promises. Her acts on faith and rewards a cheerful giver.

He will give back 10 fold what you give. But there are so many Pentecostal evangilsts on T.V. selling the Health wealth and prosperity gospel and they boarder on Simoney. It’s hard for me to separate that doctrine with the Pentecostal movement.

God doesn’t call all of us to be successful He call us to be obedient.

Hmm . . . interesting because the AG itself is officially opposed to it. “The Believer and Positive Confession” (AG position paper) and The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels by Gordon Fee, an ordained AG minister.

Also, take these relatively recent comments by AG General Superintendent George Wood reported in The Christian Post:

[INDENT]Responding to a question on the prosperity gospel, or the teaching that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith, Wood strongly rejected it.

“There are so many gimmicks in the body of Christ,” he said, “so many charlatans that are out there in the Christian media that are basically saying 'send me $100 and watch God bless you.”

“This is just nonsense,” he asserted.

“If the money that has been wasted by Christians on these people who live the lifestyle of kings and queens and do little to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been spent instead on mission and on Christian higher education and upon this generation, we would be a lot further down the road than we are and these people are going to answer to God.”

Wood elaborated on Scripture passages that mention blessings.

“We have to take the truth of Scripture – the Lord loves a cheerful giver; what you sew, you reap some 30 fold, some 60 fold, etc. But that also has to be measured against the motive for giving. The motive for giving is not give in order to get. The motive for giving is to bless God, bless His work and bless other people,” he explained.[/INDENT]

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit