Signs and Wonders 2

This comment on my post ‘signs and wonders’ is one of the most interesting things I’ve ever read about the renewal movement. Don’t get me wrong. I’m been helped by the renewal movement in my own life, and do not wish to condemn it lock stock and barrel, but the comment certainly makes you think twice.

Here’s what Sealion wrote:

As a lifelong Catholic I can see how the charismatic movement meets a need in the Church (although it does not appeal to me in the slightest). At the same time though, one wonders about the potential issues that can come up from unsupervised charismatic gifts and miracles. As Father Longenecker points out, movements like the Toronto Blessing, clearly indicate the devil’s hand. Whenever I come across a charismatic group I am reminded of a story that a friend of mine, who is now a priest in my diocese, told me about his experience with the charismatic movement in Setubenville. During a charismatic service, a girl began speaking in tongues and was clearly moved by the spirit. After the service, and with my friend watching, an older professor went up to the “tongue speaker” and asked her what languages she was fluent in. She responded that she only spoke English, but that she had been speaking in tongues throughout the service. The professor sternly informed her that she had been speaking Italian, and that she had been profaning the name of God and the Saints. Screwtape surely had a laugh at her expense.

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  • Sounds like one to file under “Test the spirits”—and, in addition, under Paul’s admonition that if someone speaks in a tongue and there is no interpreter, the speaker should be quiet. I pity the girl, though.Peace,–Peter

  • Benfan

    The professor could have lied or have been mistaken. Having said that I went to an Alpha course in London and this sort of stuff was going on. There were people grunting like animals and quacking like chickens. The leader decided that there was not enough grunting so he had to call down the spirit again -The great master of the divine that he was!. One woman I was with, a perfectly sensible person fled in distress saying it was group histeria. I agree with her. I’m not saying that there are not gifts to be had from the Holy Spirit, I just think there is a lot of unholy spirit at work when things take place in the wrong context with the wrong faith and led by misguided fools.

  • Anonymous

    Some friends of mine went to a service at the Evangelical Anglican church in London, Holy Trinity Brompton, during the Toronto blessing time. Apparently, some of the children were really scared at what was going on, and what was happening to their parents. Didn’t sound like the Holy Spirit to me!

  • Years ago I went to a Pentecostal service. The pastor was “speaking in tongues”, but the language was obviously made up and ad-libbed, with a bunch of repeated syllables: “Iiiiii saru saru saruba…”That’s not to say I think every charismatic service is bogus; I’ve also heard of amazing stuff that sounds genuine.People can get too greedy for miracles and emotional highs when they should work on improving their minds and strengthening their wills so they can be faithful with or without spiritual fireworks. “Seek not the consolations of God but the God of consolations.”The people I know personally who have lots of supernatural experiences are all weak in the area of logic. I think God speaks to some through the heart and to others through the mind, as each requires. C.S. Lewis reasoned his way into Christianity and I followed the logical arguments into the Catholic church, but I know a guy who converted to Catholicism mainly because his Episcopalian church “smelled like death”. Either way, there are plenty of chances to exercise faith.

  • Anonymous

    Add to that my experience in a charismatic meeting years ago. We all stood in a circle holding hands praying. The young woman next to me began clutching my hand so tightly, it hurt. Her hand grew cold and clammy and her body went stiff. She began babbling the same phrase over and over again in a strange voice. Moments after she finished, a man across the room took out a Bible and read a chapter out of Isaiah. He said it was the interpretation of what she had been babbling. I couldn’t understand a word of the short phrase she kept repeating, but I knew that it was not an entire chapter of any book in the Bible. The experience so frightened me, I left, never to intentionally participate in a charismatic meeting again. Your anonymous old friend

  • Derek Williams

    Hey folks, you are criticising a movement of the church with all of these negative comments about CCR, but worse still, you are walking on very dangerous ground. CCR is a movement of the HOly Spirit – period. It has no human founder, it began when the Holy Spirit was poured out on a group of students. So I recommend you reconsider all of these negative comments and have a rethink about what you are criticising.Emotionalism is not a bad thing – we all have to start somewhere, and with some church services being totally devoid of emotion of any sort a bit of emotionalism would do some of you a bit of good.Derek

  • Hi Derek, Thanks for your comment. I don’t think anyone in the combox has condemned the renewal movement, we’re just expressing some reservations and making some criticisms, which I think is legit.I, for one, would not condemn CCR. The Popes haven’t, and I have personally gained much from my contacts with the renewal movement.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I thought CCR was founded by by John Fogerty, Doug Clifford and Stu Cook 😉

  • Although the stories about blasphemy in modern languages taking place in Charismatic events are rather common, so far I have seldom heard one that was first-hand, almost always hearsay.If I can get any conclusion about this, at least statistically, it’s that it’s infrequent.In this sense, I understand Derek’s concern about smearing the CCR. We should be careful handling the evidence that gets to us, for its confidence level is not very good.