“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” [1st Timothy 4:1]
The Belfast Telegraph Churches page of 30th May 1998 carried a photograph of Irish President Mary McAleese together with former Roman Catholic Primate Cahal Daly and Church of Ireland Bishop Harold Miller examining a copy of the newly published book “ADVENTURES IN RECONCILIATION – 29 CATHOLIC TESTIMONIES” and mentioned that the book was on sale in Faith Mission bookshops. The joint editors of the book are Paddy Monagahan and Eugene Boyle who are leading figures in the ‘Evangelical Catholic Initiative’ based in Co.Dublin. It carries a preface by Cahal Daly, a foreword by Rev Ken Newell (Fitzroy Presbyterian Church) and commendations by Sean Brady (Current Roman Catholic Primate of Ireland), Rev Trevor Morrow (Lucan Presbyterian), Bishop Harold Miller, Dr.Ken Wilson (DunLaoghaire Methodist) and Paul Reid (Christian Fellowship Church). All those listed above with ‘Protestant’ connections are of course well known for their fervent ecumenical endeavours.
The contents of the book are probably best summarised by this extract from the Commendation by Sean Brady – Mr Brady writes “Adventures In Reconciliation is a rich store of the faith and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ contained in the testimonies of various people within the Catholic Church.” A somewhat basic but nevertheless very important point for Christians to note here is that the 29 contributors to the book are fully practising Roman Catholics comprised of lay-persons, nuns and priests. Although the book itself does not carry an official Roman Catholic ‘Imprimatur’ or ‘Nihil Obstat’ it is worth noting the closing comments of Sean Brady in his recommendation “This book is an inispiration to all who wish to follow Christ and grow in love of him.
The scripture text on the front of this leaflet warns of double deception which will overtake people as the return of the Lord draws very near. We read of “seducing spirits” and “doctrines of devils’ and these lead to twin problems of ‘experiential error’ and ‘doctrinal deviation.’ Much of the heresy to be found in professing Christendom today can be attributed to one or both of these sources. It is therefore essential for God’s true people to check carefully before entering into acts of fellowship with many who claim to be Christians for God’s Word sets out clear instructions on the matter of “fellowship.” Paul pulls no punches in Ephesians 5:11 where we read “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness bat rather reprove them.” Keeping this clear biblical injunction in mind I want to highlight statements in the book which I believe render impossible any fellowship with all the contributors to this boo
The following quotations illustrate vividly the ‘errors’ and ‘deviations’ which I mentioned under THE CAUTION and represent only a small sample of numerous recognised (by traditional evangelicals) deceptions which appear throughout the book.
Sister Anna Mary Hannon “a Jesuit priest…shared about the wave of the Spirit that was moving across the United States and elsewhere…We talked about it after the Eucharist…a woman from Zambia came to visit the American school…at the end of the meeting we asked her to pray over us for the release of the Spirit whom we knew to be present in our lives…as I read a passage of Scripture to the Sisters after the meal that evening the words suddenly came alive for me…everything in my own religious tradition took on a new meaning for me.” (p4~)
Rob Clarke (Youth With A Mission) “I moved to Ireland where I took on the leadership of YWAM working from their base in High Park Convent…Dublin 9… I am grateful for the rich heritage I have in the Catholic Church.” (p53-p54).
Rev Donal Godfrey S.J. “As part of my Jesuit training I did the’Spiritual Exercises’ of St,Ignatius…Ignatius took the content of the Exercises from the life of Christ in the Scriptures…I was privileged last year to be the first Catholic priest to be part of the organising committee for March for lesus here in Northern Ireland.” (p57:59)
Ed Conlin (Youth Initiatives) “the leaders of a charismatic community in Belfast called Community of the King…invited me and two others to come and work with young people in Belfast…From this youth work grew Youth Initiatives, a charitable trust…We’ve found that the huge estates of Poleglass and Twinbrook with their thousands of children provide us with a brilliant opportunity. We run a summer seheme…We do quite a bit of service in the parish, helping out with a youth group, a music group and a monthly Mass:’ (p67-69).
Marie Scully (Tallaght YMCA) “five years ago I attended a weekend…in Roscrea Abbey…The Lord revealed His living Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. A great healing took place in my life and I was gifted with an understanding of the Eucharist which remains real for me today :'(p101).
Martin Kelly (Youth worker) “Shortly after that I went along to a special Mass for healing in Glenmaroon Convent. What a liberating transforming experience that was for me:” (p146)
George McAuliffe (Deputy headmaster) “At a meeting in Dublin with many around me praying and praising the Lord in unfamiliar words I raised my hands up and said something like ‘Here goes Lord – tongues or bust’. At that instant I felt a great release of power and peace and out of my mouth came this torrent of new words that I had never learned.” (p157). .
Rev Pat Collins C.M. “from a Catholic point of view Baptism in the Spirit is integral to the sacraments of initiation and normative for all Christians…whereas one received the Holy Spirit in a sacramental way in baptism-confirmation, one received it in an experiential way as a result of Baptism in the Spirit:’ (pl87-188)
Joe Dalton (Catholic lay missionary) “As a Catholic I find my relationship with the Lord nourished and deepened day by day. I believe that when we eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood we have eternal life…Christ is as truly present in the Word as He is in the Eucharist:’ (p196).
Rev Paul Symonds (Catholic Curate) “From my experience I have always believed that in my baptism in the Methodist Church I received the gift of new life and the Holy Spirit.” (p226)
This small selection of quotations will serve to show how things like Jesuitry, Catholic tradition, Catholic heritage, the occultic and unholy Loyola ‘Spiritual Exercises’ The Mass, Transubstantiation and Baptismal Regeneration – the types of beliefs and practices which have historically caused Christians to have no fellowship with Roman Catholics – are listed as normative and acceptable for those whose testimony has been referred to in the selected quotations.
I wish to make it clear that in this leaflet I am not passing a judgment on the motives of those who have recorded their testimony in this book – I would believe that they were acting only with the best of intentions, with conviction and sincerity. Nonetheless Christians must be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11 when it comes to analysing what people say and it is biblically legitimate to challenge and reject the beliefs and practices of those who profess to be Christians (see Galatians 2:11-14; Revelation 2:2). On this basis it is clear that Christians should have no fellowship with the contributors to this book and should pray for their liberation from Roman darkness.