Monday, July 7, 2014

Seeking Unity With Evangelicals - But On What Basis?

Today Charismanews published a piece detailing a meeting that Pope Francis had with some evangelical leaders - among them Kenneth Copeland.  If I understand properly, the Holy Father recorded a greeting, telecast to several of the leaders' congregations, in which he expressed a "desire that Christians would become family and not be divided".  Ladies and gentlemen, let's "cut to the chase", shall we?  There is only one way that can happen, and that is if these congregations, from the pastors on down, convert to the Roman Catholic Faith - the One True Church.  Only in the Roman Catholic Church can they find the fullness of Christ's teachings and the Sacraments that He instituted.  I realize that most of them were born into their respective denominations and have little culpability for schism, but they still must "cross the Tiber" as it were.

According to James Robison (one of the evangelical leaders in attendance), the Holy Father "challenged Catholics never try to control the Holy Spirit but yield to Him".  We Catholics understand what that means, but do the evangelical leaders have that same understanding - particularly Kenneth Copeland and John Arnott?

Copeland is a huge promoter of a vary dangerous spiritual practice known under various names: slain in the spirit, resting in the spirit, drunk in the spirit, Toronto blessing (owing to Arnott's contribution to it), soaking prayer, holy laughter (I'm sure there are others).  I've seen this with my own eyes - several times.  Before the reform of the Mother of God Community in the mid 1990s, the practice was becoming commonplace there before Cardinal Hickey definitively forbade it.  I myself never joined in for I could sense the spiritual danger in submitting to an experience that had basis in neither Holy Scripture nor the Tradition of the Catholic Church.

Below I post a video of one such "holy laughter" session featuring Kenneth Copeland.  In the beginning, the late Kenneth Hagin is leading the meeting (when he can stand up without babbling, that is).  Toward the middle Copeland can be seen next to him as they're both sprawled on the floor - I believe he's wearing a white jacket and red shirt.  Here is the write-up from where I got the video.  The author's observations closely correlate to my own from almost 20 years ago.  The behaviors of the various people are quite identical to what I saw in MOG before Cardinal Hickey's intervention.  I'd like to point out that I later did some research into this phenomenon and discovered some reason for my own instinctive revulsion; the practice is heretical and is steeped in eastern religious and even occultic practices.

Does it sound like I'm digressing from the Pope's meeting to Copeland's heresies?  Not really.  If we don't understand that without a solid, explicitly-stated basis in the Fullness of truth that can be found in the Roman Catholic Church, practices such as the "slain in the spirit" stuff can seduce the unwary - as it did so many of my friends.  Now the video.


  1. As someone who also has a history with the charismatic renewal, I would like to weigh in on this. Without a doubt, there certainly needs to be more monitoring by priests of prayer groups. This is the job of our pastors, and many of them are way too lax about it. These groups are usually run by lay people, and they are given free reign to do what they want. They need to be overseen much more, to ensure orthodoxy. Beyond this, there is also a temptation wherein you think you are seeking God, but you are really only seeking an experience of God. This is sinful, because the goal of all authentic prayer is holiness, which we are all called to, whether we are given an "experience" of the Lord or not. Plus, when one is so caught up in the "experience," the devil can deceive by bringing about false healings. This can lead to deceptions in many other areas, like the moral life, etc., because if you are that confused about the discernment of charisms, how can you be expected to be enlightened and obedient to the ways of God? Many of these groups, too, meet in people's homes. Fine. But the pastor should oversee them periodically. If he cannot, they should not be allowed to meet in homes. Period.

    As for "holy laughter," this is not of God. Sadly, I know of many Catholic charismatics who believe it is, but it is not. Anything that is not peaceful is not of God, and this is not peaceful.

    I even read on another website that some people at the Toronto Blessing were barking like dogs. How anyone Catholic can see something below one's dignity as being a gift of the Holy Spirit is beyond me. Truly, we need to pray for an outpouring of discernment in our Church!

    I disagree with you, however, on resting in the Spirit. Whatever pastor used the term "drunk" in the Spirit is off-base, because being drunk is a sin. The Holy Spirit is holy and should never be associated with sin. That term is ridiculous and insulting. Still, I have gone to many healing services with Fathers Martin and Philip Scott. I believe they are both mystics, and that God has truly given them gifts of healing, etc. At these services, some people rested in the Spirit. I'm not saying that with all the people, it was necessarily from God. The devil can mimic any gift, and probably did with some of the people. Also, the human spirit could possibly come into play. Sue Brinkmann has an article I will post with this. Her theory is that resting in the Spirit is of the human spirit, and should be avoided. I believe that this is true sometimes. However, I also believe that resting in the Spirit can be of the Holy Spirit. I have seen this happen many times at Masses with the Scotts', and I believe it was authentic, because they are very orthodox, and it was all very peaceful. Also, some of my family members have had this happen. When one of them had it happen, she did not even know what was happening. She had not even ever been to a charismatic Mass before, but it just happened. She did not psyche herself up or anything like that. She just said she felt peaceful, and then it happened.

    With the exception of those who psyche themselves up, or already have spiritual problems, if resting in the Spirit was entirely of demonic origin, I doubt it would happen at all at any of the Scotts' Masses, because they are both very holy and prayerful. The one thing, however, that makes me just a bit skeptical is how people fall down, which can end up being dangerous. At the same time, with everything I've seen, and how peaceful it has been, I truly believe this gift can be of the Spirit.

    Father John Hampsch wrote a book on this, called Resting in the Spirit, which may help give you some insight as to why God sometimes gives this gift.

    However, here is another take, like I said:

    I should add that WOG is charismatic-leaning, so the fact that they would have this take is curious. I remain slight disagreement, however.


    1. I am aware that many good-intentioned folks engage in this "resting in the Spirit" practice. There is no Scriptural basis nor any in the Church's Tradition for this practice. I'd suggest these folks do some research (as I have) before they continue. We cannot trust our feelings to be any barometer for whether or not a spiritual practice is beneficial.

  2. You said, BTW, that Cardinal Hickey forbade it. Is it still forbidden in the diocese. If so, I will tell the Scotts, and perhaps they will do research on this.


  3. Actually, Janet, I believe there is a basis in the Word of God for this. If you read Sue's article (and, like I said, she believes this to be psychological), she points to the passage in John, where many of the Roman soldiers fall down when Jesus says, "I am He," when they seek Him in the Garden. I believe that this was a manifestation of that gift. Even Anne Catherine Emmerich (very traditional, and a favorite among traditional Catholics) says that the soldiers who fell were later converted, whereas those who did not remained hardened. This makes total sense with regard to resting in the Spirit, because Father Hampsch talks about it as being a yielding to Jesus as Lord, even if only on a subconscious level.

    Do you know if it is forbidden still in ADW? Or was this only among the MOG group?

    Let me ask you this. Do you have issue with prayer that involves laying on of hands in general? I am wondering, because that was unclear in your post. If so, this is in the Word of God again and again, so I would not worry. Sr. Briege Mckenna does not lay hands, and they do not do so at the monthly healing service at EWTN, but that is not because this practice is unbiblical or untraditional.

    I would love to read what you read about it being of eastern origin. I do not believe this, but I am curious. I think it is probably a different practice they are mixing up.

    With that said, I would like to bring your attention to some Masses that need to be stopped. They are not in ADW, but in Arlington. As you can see, this is way off-base. I don't know if what they are doing is liturgical dance or what, but I find it to be entirely unCatholic. It should cease. These Masses are very popular, but I have no idea way. Also, this priest advocates adoration of the Precious Blood (by itself, in the Chalice), which a priest told me has already been forbidden by the CDF. To be entirely fair, since the dance they are doing is PROBABLY (I don't know) after the close of the Mass, maybe it is allowed by the GIRM. However, I still think that would be an example of following the letter, but not the spirit, of the law. I mean, truly, this is ridiculous. How he was not stopped already, I have no idea.


    1. The soldiers were intent on doing harm to Our Lord; they had no intention of worshiping Him. Might their evil disposition have had something to do with their response to Our Lord making Himself known? As for Anne Catherine Emmerich, the Church never declared that her visions nor her deductions constituted objective history
      As for prayer involving "laying on of hands", we have Sacraments in which laying on of hands is part and parcel: baptism, confirmation, Holy Orders. I notice as I write this that these three Sacraments leave upon the recipients' souls an indelible mark that will last through eternity; I don't know if there's any correlation or not. At any rate, I would not accept "laying on of hands" by anyone not ordained nor will I accept it from one involved in the "resting' phenomenon.
      I will take a look at that video.

  4. Could you tell me if "resting" remains forbade in the ADW? If you don't know, that is okay, but I am just wondering. Also, like I said, I would love to read your info about it being of eastern origin. I am a supporter of "resting," but I am also open-minded.

    Yes, I know that about Anne Emmerich. As with all private revelation, it is not the same at all as public revelation. However, she is a blessed, and I find her revelations credible. Pray for her canonization!

    Also, I forgot to add yesterday that Father Stephan (the priest in the video) has written a book, and it has the endorsement of Raymond Arroyo. I do not understand this, because he does not seem to be the type that is into liturgical wackiness. Maybe something else about the book attracts him? Either way, it is sad!

    If the Spirit leads you, please blog about Father Stephan. This is just so over-the-top, I can't believe it!

    Sorry. It's "Stefan." My bad.


    1. Whether or not it remains forbidden I don't know; I disassociated myself with MOG shortly after the meeting with Cardinal Hickey. As far as sources, I'll cite some Protestant sources, since they do seem to have more experience with this occurrence than do Catholics, and they've dealt with this for a longer period of history.


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