Catholics, Pentecostals and the Body of Christ

God’s sheep hear His voice. God knows His own. They sit in the whole spectrum of churches on any given Sunday morning or Saturday night, and some of them do not visit churches very often at all.

A Sheperd by Lauri Heikkinen
A Sheperd by Lauri Heikkinen

The article, A Classic Pentecostal Encounters Charismatic Catholics, takes me back to the early days of my Christian walk. I was raised Catholic, but I found little attraction to church as a child. We went to church religiously, a practice I later came to appreciate about my parents, but there seemed to be nothing in it for me. I even felt uncomfortable in church.

I went through some very rebellious teen years, wandering lost through the haze and fog induced by alcohol and drugs, drifting to the edge of the precipice, before I woke to the emptiness that I had inexplicably been embracing. That was not my conversion, but just the beginning of walking in a new direction.

Fast forward just a short while to college  where I entered like a kid in a candy store with a new found passion for knowledge and truth. I thought I had left religion behind. Actually I did (and have never returned). What I did not realize is that I would discover the life that religion (for me) enshrouded like an empty tomb.

I went off to sell books door to door in far flung Jonesboro, Arkansas, and there I came to know Jesus. Churches were everywhere. Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Adventist, Pentecostal and flavors of each of which I had not the slightest inkling, but I encountered Jesus in the homes and backyards of the people who filled those churches on Sundays.

My spiritual birth was the product of Charismatic Methodists, Southern Baptists and an old Pentecostal preacher with no teeth. Yes, I am a spiritual mutt! Imagine, an innocent Catholic kid encountering such a cast of mystical characters! From praying a sinner’s prayer in a Methodist Charismatic’s home to going forward in a Southern Baptist revival, my world was turned on end and forever changed.

To be clear, I was forever changed by Jesus, the Lord and Savior of my soul. The other-worldly encounters with the spiritual pilgrims and aliens (of this world) of Jonesboro, Arkansas brought me to the gate of the Kingdom of God, and I entered.

That unlikely mix of of the Christian priesthood representing a spectrum of subcultures in the Christian world left an indelible impression on me. God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are the same and never change. In church, out of church, in homes, on the streets, in the backyards, God is everywhere, and He works without boundaries and limits in the lives of the people who hear His voice and respond.

Not without coincidence, when I returned from Arkansas with new life coursing in my soul and visited a local Christian bookstore (a place I would have never thought to visit just months before), I encountered another breed of believer – charismatic Catholics, full of the same new life I just encountered. When I returned to the college campus, I began going back to church, starting with what I was familiar – the Catholic church. To my amazement, I discovered that the local priest was of the charismatic variety. It was all around me!

I did not long remain a Catholic. The practiced piety, rote ritual and other aspects of Catholicism that I found cold, rigid and lifeless, I could not reconcile with the new spiritual life inside me. Before I left, I came to realize that the readings in the Mass are actually right out of the Bible. Who would have thunk it! I did find new meaning in the Catholic Mass, but I was now a spiritual hybrid who had already started wandering, looking for a home.

I am still wandering, looking for a home, but I realize that home is not here on this earth. I will be wandering until the day I die and the Father opens the door of His Kingdom to me once and for all eternity. In the meantime, I take my seat in church most Sundays in a different place than the Catholic church, but I realize that God’s sheep hear His voice. God knows His own. They sit in the whole spectrum of churches on any given Sunday morning or Saturday night, and some of them do not visit churches very often at all.

I must say, though, that believers who do not go to church or spend time with other believers are missing out! Jesus said the world would know us by our love for each other (fellow followers of Christ). (John 13:35) If we do not love “the saints”, we need to wonder if we are really listening and responding to God’s voice. The saints are not perfect be any means, but they all have the same Father, family and Spirit.

God is not found in a building, and He is not defined by any particular doctrine or dogma. God is constant, for sure. He does not change. We are the ones who vacillate. We are finite and do not always “get it right”. Some may be more right than others. But His sheep hear His voice and respond. That is what matters.

8 thoughts on “Catholics, Pentecostals and the Body of Christ

  1. We must be careful about the content of our faith, for what we believe about Jesus directly impacts our standing before Him. Where can we get the source of truth about our Savior? There is only one place that I know of, and that is the Bible, which is the holy, inspired, infallible, inerrant, preserved Word of God. Without the teaching (doctrine) of the Scripture we will be without anchor in a raging sea of deception and wickedness. I hope you will read the post that I have linked to below. May God bless us with thirst for the living water and hunger for the bread of God, which is His Word.


    1. I agree with you. The added things are why I left the Catholic Church. I am not prepared to say that Catholics cannot be believers. I am also not prepared to say that all people who hold to the right doctrines will go to heaven. Jesus will say to done than, “I never knew you.” The Scribes and Pharisees Jesus spoke of in these passages rejected Him and even claimed that he was casting out demons by Satan. I believe Paul spoke to the bottom line when he said that he resolved to nothing but Christ and him crucified. I don’t think he meant that nothing else was important; rather the death and resurrection of Jesus is of primary importance. As John said, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the Son born of him.”


      1. I agree with you, but the reason why we reject Catholic teaching is because they present a false christ. Their christ cannot save to the uttermost and so those who follow him must suffer in purgatory to be cleansed from their sins. The sacrifice of their christ is insufficient to cleanse us from our sins so their christ must be sacrificed over and over again in a bloodless sacrifice called the mass. Their christ is insufficient to save so he must be helped along with church ordinances such as baptism and the eucharist. Their christ doesn’t save the sinner upon repentant faith but is saved when receiving the host they then receive christ. Their teaching is a combination of traditional and “biblical” and they have a low view of the Scriptures but raise up the word of man. Those are just a few of the reasons their teaching should be avoided at all costs.

        Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees because they also added to and took away from the Scriptures. Because they did that they did not recognize their Savior when He came. The Jews have written traditions, much like the Catholics, in the books of the Talmud, which are not the Word of God. This is something that Jesus said to the Pharisees who were seeking to kill Him:

        Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinces me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God hears God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. John 8:42-47

        The telltale mark of all false teachers/brethren is they will not hear the Word of God. They prefer the word of man. We must be very careful to hold fast to the truth of the Scripture because only in the Bible is Jesus Christ revealed to us, Who He is and what He has done. We come to know Christ experientially when He reveals Himself to us. That revelation will always agree with what He has said in His Word the Bible. May God bless us to be faithful and true to His truth which is His Word the Bible.


    1. I think God meets us where we are, but if we stay where we are, we are not following God. That change can mean many different things for different people, but change is the mark of God’s work in us. We either leave the old man behind, or God leaves us behind. I am not necessarily saying that a person cannot follow God and be Catholic. For me, though, it was not possible. Not that I was really “Catholic”. I was without Christ. When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, it changed everything. He changed everything! God bless you. Thank you for sharing.


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