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Catholics Speaking in Tongues! The Spirit-Filled Movement of the 1960s

         In light of the fact that the Pope was recently in the news again and let everyone know what it means to be a real Christian, there is a powerful anniversary for Roman Catholics that he should have paid attention to that gives one a much better indication.

         The Catholic Charismatic movement is now 49 years old. It was in early 1967 when the Spirit-filled movement reached Catholics in a major way.

         The movement had started among denominational Christianity around 1960. All of the sudden, Christians of many Protestant denominations began getting baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, exactly as it happened in the Book of Acts.

THEY SPEAK WITH OTHER TONGUES

         Many were skeptical of the movement but the movement continued unabated. If you want to read a good introductory book of that early time, I suggest They Speak with Other Tongues by John Sherrill. John Sherrill also wrote The Cross and the Switchblade with David Wilkerson.

         Sherrill was indeed one of the skeptics. Early on, he thought the entire phenomenon of speaking with other tongues to be a farce. But as he yielded to the Lord Jesus and continued seeking, he found actual proof that he was wrong.

         Just as the Pope is wrong. He made a false judgment and got called out on it. By the way, there has never been a tongue-talking Roman Catholic Pope that we know of, including the current one. Yet there are perhaps millions of tongue-talking Spirit-filled Catholic Charismatics the world over. I don’t have the space here to go very deep on the subject, but if you are interested, and you should be, there are many books and publications on the topic.

         Here is one from 1969: Catholic Pentecostals

         The simple fact is that the Lord began pouring out His Spirit on traditional Protestants of almost every denomination in the early 1960s and then began doing the same with Catholics. Priests and nuns were getting Spirit-filled. They were all speaking in tongues. Imagine that.

PENTECOSTAL PIONEERS

         It’s hard for me to imagine in one sense because I was raised Catholic. I never saw anything in my circle. It must have been very well hidden. In the defense of those early Pentecostal Catholics, I am sure they had a very fine line to walk.

         I left Catholicism while still in high school. Then, about five years later, by the Lord’s great grace, I was blessed with the same experience! Though I found the Lord in a Pentecostal church, I began meeting with Spirit-filled Christians of many traditions. There was a lot of cross-fellowship back then. We visited many Spirit-filled black churches. THAT was fun. Many black people in America had been Spirit-filled for decades and had a rich experience by that time, though many denominational white Christians were just then coming into the experience.

         Of course, Pentecostalism also had a rich tradition among predominantly white churches in America long prior to 1960. It didn’t take long with all the cultural shifts in America in the 1960s for whites and blacks to begin worshipping the Lord together, although the Azusa Street Revival in 1906 got that ball rolling.

         William Seymour, a black preacher from Texas went to Los Angeles and was promptly kicked out of an early meeting. He then began leading a small group of all colors and cultures that soon exploded into one of the greatest Awakenings in America history. This white and black Christian togetherness is another largely untold story at present, in that real Christianity has been most responsible for bridging racial and cultural divides.

         Roman Catholics would seem to never have any acceptance for speaking in tongues, but I also attended many Catholic Charismatic meetings in the 1970s. Some Spirit-filled Catholics left Catholicism but many others stayed. There were so many being Spirit-filled and speaking in tongues that Catholic leadership had quite a dilemma on their hands. They couldn’t do anything whatsoever to stop it so the hierarchy reverted to channeling it in what they thought was a relatively safe direction.

         Denominational Protestants did the same. Many Protestant denominational leaders and church pastors did everything in their power to stop the movement. This is all history and again, the record is very clear and available for anyone of you who may wish to inquire further.

         No, when the Pope said building protective walls is not Christian, even though the Vatican itself is surrounded by tall protective walls and has been for over a thousand years, he was wrong. He is also wrong to choose against Spirit-filled reality like the majority of Catholics have done, a spiritual dividing wall that the Lord Jesus never sanctioned. Regardless, and knowing the true pioneers will always be a minority, we should pay some honor to those original Spirit-filled, tongue-talking Catholics of 1967 who loved the Lord Jesus so much and wanted everything He had for them that they boldly defied staunch convention and joined the movement.

         We should also honor all those Protestants who took it on the chin in the early 60s and did the unthinkable. I know VERY WELL what it is like to be castigated for making the right choice. For those who know, there is no wrath quite like the wrath of stubborn Christians who insist on their dead orthodoxy and man-made beliefs. The Lord often called his own people hard-headed and stiff-necked. It’s all over the Old Testament Scriptures. And it has also been the case among the majority of Protestants and Catholics in this world.

         Therefore, it is great to have a historical record, and a very recent one at that, to prove the truth of the Book of Acts experience. It only doesn’t happen for those who don’t want it. Conversely, for all those who do want it, the experience is readily available. The Lord Jesus is ever faithful.

         The 1960s Spirit-filled outpouring has been forgotten somewhat, and many Christians have never even heard of it. This shows how bad things have become for many in that they are oblivious to recent spiritual history. Hopefully, the current Great Awakening will continue to shed more light on those times.

         I highly recommend to all Christians out there who have never had a real Book of Acts Spirit-filled experience to at least begin reading up on what took place in America in the 1960s. The research will enlighten you.

         Again, congratulations to all those Catholics who were Spirit-filled in 1967. Happy Anniversary! And may the Pope join you soon and gain greater understanding of what it means to be a real Christian.

         And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. [Acts 2:4] [1]

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire,” Reviewed by Dennis Balcombe

         For those who want further education and insight into the powerful Worldwide Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement, especially in the Far East and China, the following review of John MacArthurs book Strange Fire is a must read for all believers.

         The review, or rather the strong critique, is written by Dennis Balcombe, a minister of 45 years in China, who recounts ample evidence of the miraculous work of the Spirit of the Lord used to counteract MacArthur’s perspective.

         I am certainly not defending Pentecostal/Charismatic excess, fake revivals, nor the shenanigans of some ministers in that field, but I stand with Balcombe in standing up for the obvious truth of the work of God in the world in these last days.

         And remember, though spiritual growth in North America has lagged behind, The Lord has used believers here to sponsor and kick off many of the movements elsewhere, and a national Great Awakening is now beginning to come forth on these shores as well.

        The review is comprehensive, well-written, and informative. Settle in and enjoy, and consider the price others have paid that we must also pay in order to receive the same powerful outpouring in America. © 2014 by RJ Dawson.

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Link: John MacArthur’s Strange Fire, reviewed by Dennis Balcombe            

© Copyright The Pneuma Review 2014. All rights reserved.