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The Merging of Neo-Pentecostalism and Roman Catholicism

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Francis and Kenneth

Francis and Kenneth

Many were surprised a couple of weeks ago when pope Francis sent a message to a Word of Faith conference led by Kenneth Copeland, speaking about unity and asking them to bless and pray for him, as he blesses and prays for them. And Copeland got excited and blessed him back. It’s surprising because Francis and Copeland are very distant theologically – besides the usual differences between Catholicism and Pentecostal Protestantism, Francis is a guy who is well-known for economic simplicity and an emphasis on redistribution to the poor, while Copeland is well-known for his capitalist prosperity preaching. He not only owns a mansion worth 6 million dollars and several private jet planes, but also his own freakin’ airport, Kenneth Copeland Airport, where he stores his private jet planes close to his 6 million dollar-mansion!

However, this surprise doesn’t come close to what Christians in Sweden experienced two days ago when it was revealed that Ulf Ekman, the leader of the Word of Faith movement in Scandinavia, converts to Roman Catholicism. Ulf Ekman is probably the most well-known Swedish Christian living today, his international ministry reaches millions and he is well-known among both Christians and non-Christians, mostly because he manages to be constantly controversial.

He brought the “name it claim it”-teaching from Kenneth Hagin and Oral Roberts to northern Europe, emphasizing health, wealth and success, and gathered prayer warriors wanted charismatic revival in Sweden and political domination for Israel in the middle east. And they despised Catholics, arguing that they represented a dead religion that quenched the Spirit and stood for countless heresies.

Nowadays, Ekman is a Catholic, he leaves the Word of Faith movement to become a layman in the local Catholic church in Uppsala. This has been a process for over a decade where he slowly has regretted his past, built up relationships with other Christians, sought stability and discovered the Catholic charismatic renewal, of which around 100 million Catholics are a part of. He says:

It really challenged our protestant prejudices, and we realized that we in many cases did not have any basis for our criticism of them. We needed to know the Catholic faith better. This led us to the realize that it was actually Jesus Christ who led us to unite with the Catholic Church.

It should be noted that charismatics often have been a bit more open to the historical churches than cessationist protestants, simply because Catholics and Orthodoxs strongly believe in miracles and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit. What differs is that Catholics and Orthodoxs often have restricted those experiences to special saints, while the charismatic movement emphasizes that this is for all. But with the growth of the charismatic movement within catholicism, that pope Francis welcomes, more and more Catholics acknowledge the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This has made it much easier for protestant charismatics to acknowledge their Catholic brothers and sisters – if the Spirit is doing miracles there, why should we reject them?

I’m not one of those who claim that Catholics aren’t saved, or that their miracles are satanic or that the coalition between Copeland and Francis is a demonic alliance. But I am convinced that the Catholic teaching of today is not what the New Testament church believed, and that creates several problems. The early Pentecostals called themselves apostolic because they preached the apostolic Gospel in the apostolic power of the Holy Spirit, not because they had a position from a used-to-be-apostolic institution. And at the same time, the American prosperity Gospel of Kenneth Copeland isn’t Biblical either. The true Gospel looks like Heidi Baker – simple, radical, Biblical and life-changing.

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8 Comments

  1. Tony says:

    Ecumenicalism?

  2. Daniel Hörnberg says:

    Well here we go! Let them found their unbiblical “endtime-superchurch”. I’m stayin on the streets in Sweden, praying for revival and watching Jesus come marching in.

    • Tiffany Boone says:

      MARK 9:39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,

    • Tiffany Boone says:

      Put On Christ
      …12The night is nearly over; the day has drawn near. So let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.…

  3. […] de la ola de evangelización evangélica a los católicos (se estima que 100 millones de católicos se han convertido a la creencia evangélica), al Papa Francisco […]

  4. Michel Pellerin says:

    Talking about strange unions..What do you think about Catch the Fire Toronto inviting Benny Hinn at their september 2014 conference ? I was there with my wife and some friends and I was shocked that he obviously was completly at ease to preach full prosperity gospel right in front of John and Carol Arnott. I still don’t know what to make of this, considering that Kenneth Copeland is also invited at their 2015 fall conference. These informations are on Catch The Fire website if you care to verify. You can also check out the Benny Hinn session on Catch The Fire Youtube channel. Pay attention to what he’s saying to the crowd before passing the basket around for donation…Troubling. here’s the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb2ShNpqG9g

    • Hi Michel!

      I’m sad to hear that. I knew already that the Toronto movement have been closer to Word of Faith than the Vineyard has ever been – I’ve heard Randy Clark explain why he supports Word of Faith when he was at a conference in Sweden 2011. With this, Catch the Fire has clearly distanced themselves from John Wimber’s teaching, as well as Jesus’ teaching when it comes to money and wealth. I will pray that they seek not just the miraculous part of Pentecost but also the economic equality part.

      Blessings!

  5. Michel Pellerin says:

    Well…we think alike my young friend. Blessings to you! Your writings are always extremely insightful!!

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The author

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Check out my YouTube channel!

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