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Chapter 3, Section 4

The Public Record

Dr. Albert Outler, one of the leading Methodist theologians joined in with many of his colleagues when he said: "This [charismatic movement] isn't my bag, … but I think I know some of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit when I see them and I am convinced that much of what I have seen is for real and just may be a portent of something very much more…. It just might be that these odd-ball Catholics with their evangelical concerns for conversion, with their charismatic baptisms and tongues and with their courageous commitments to reform in both church and society, may turn to have been the vanguards in the third great awakening this country has seen."—Quoted in New Covenant, Sept. 1971, p. 17. That his opinion was practically a spiritual echo of the feelings that captivated other scholars is evident when placed side by side with their comments.

Erwin Prange, a Lutheran minister and tongues enthusiast, wrote in Voice: "I have been having dialogues with Catholics and with Pentecostals, and it has been a wonderful blessing. In Brooklyn we have two dialogue groups now, composed of Lutheran ministers of all flavors and young Roman Catholic priests. We meet and study the Scriptures together, pray together, talk about community problems, and discuss mutual involvement of our parishes.

"Recently I attended a Roman Catholic, Episcopalian, and Lutheran retreat. The Holy Spirit is moving in the Roman Catholic Church. I am convinced that the basic meaning of the Charismatic Renewal is the reunion of the churches. Not a reunion of compromise, of the creation of the super-church, but a renovation as to what the unity of the Spirit means."—"A New Ministry," Voice, April, 1965.

As recently as December, 1972, I had a chance to sit down and talk with Dr. Charles Conn, president of Lee College of the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee. An old time Pentecostal minister, Dr. Conn had reached the same conclusion as the more recent converts of Pentecostalism.

"The outpouring of the Holy Spirit," he said, "is similar to what was happening at Pentecost. It was genuine. Today it has grown and has gained a place of influence in this generation.

"It is growing and spreading and is bringing about a spiritual union. I have met and discussed these matters with certain dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church. I have had them in my services. … I have been to the Vatican and have discussed them there. … I have discussed them with the Episcopalians, the Lutherans, and there is a unity that is growing! It is a spiritual unity of churches, not an organizational unity. I don't think a total unification of the churches is in the making at this time. But there is a feeling of a spiritual unity that will begin to spread to all the main-line churches.

"One church leader talked to me some time ago and said, 'In the early days we regarded the Pentecostal people as crackpots, and we shut our eyes and hoped they would go away. But when we opened our eyes again, you not only had not gone away, but you had grown so large that we could no longer ignore you. Will you come and take us by the hand and show us the way?'

"The charismatic movement will not cease. This is only the beginning. It will grow until at the time of the Lord's coming it will be very widespread."

I might just as well quote the comments made to me while I talked about this to Father O'Connor of Notre Dame University. He is one of the seven scholars who, as a committee, regulate the Catholic involvement in the charismatic movement.

"Where is all this leading to, you wonder?" he asked, repeating my question. "There is a very good chance that this will lead to a spiritual unification of all churches. I think the renewal of the churches is the main thing, not the tongues. That is just one of the signs. I think the real thing is that the Holy Spirit is renewing the church, and I believe that this will bring them all together in complete unity. The gift of tongues, as we know it, may well be one of the signs of the end and of the coming of Jesus." This conviction is shared by Bishop Joseph McKinney of Grand Rapids, the Catholic chairman of the Committee of Seven.

It is highly significant that many of the leading theologians of all the Sunday keeping churches support the gift of tongues. But—and somehow this seems almost more weighty—every leading psychic, medium, and astrologer interviewed endorses it!

God was not secretive when it came to voicing His disapproval and outright condemnation of these practitioners of the occult:

"There shalt not be found among you any one … that useth divination [fortune-telling], or an observer of times [astrologer], or an enchanter [magician], or a witch … or a consulter with familiar spirits [a medium possessed with a spirit or a guide], or a wizard [clairvoyant or psychic], or a necromancer [medium who consults the dead]. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord." Deuteronomy 18:10-12.

God condemns them because of the Satanic nature of their work, yet it is this same group of agents who wholeheartedly approve of the gift of tongues.

Testimony of Astrologers

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