I had an interesting conversation with God one night recently. It was after attending a Charismatic Catholic cell group. Even though they are charismatic (filled with the Holy Spirit), they still go to places like Lourdes, France to seek healing. They also pray the Rosary—which is to the Virgin Mary (though they say that they don’t worship her as some do), and they still venerate the saints (though I don’t think they pray to them).
Many evangelical Christians, knowing that the Catholic Church is Babylon the Great from Revelations, believe that we should be evangelizing Catholics. I also believe that the Catholic Church is Babylon the Great, but there are born-again, spirit-filled Christian believers in the Catholic Church. Some who were born again in the Catholic Church left immediately, but some have stayed. One friend told me that she feels called to be light and salt in the Catholic Church. Because of these Catholic believers, I think that evangelicals need to have more respect and understanding for Catholics. After all, if they came to a genuine faith in the Catholic Church, then there is clearly some power even in a watered-down Gospel.
God had clearly placed me into this Catholic cell group. And they clearly do have the in-filling of the Holy Spirit. But I was troubled because they do believe in things that I consider superstition. So here was my brief conversation with God:
Why these believers still do these superstitious things? They know that they can go directly to You in prayer, right?
Of course they do. But you’ve noticed that I answer their prayers through these things.
I see that, but I don’t understand.
They are touching the hem of My garment in faith. I honor any true show of faith. Remember when I healed you of stomach ulcers? You touched the radio while the preacher prayed. Is that really any different?
I think it’s a fine line because I believe that the appearances of the Virgin Mary are not genuine. The Bible is very clear about the worship of fellow creatures, whether they be angels or humans: it is forbidden. Yet this apparition accepts worship. I’ve noticed from my personal encounters with spirit beings that whenever it’s an angel sent from God, the encounter is always pleasant, both physically and emotionally. But when it’s a demonic encounter, it is unpleasant (dizziness, faintness, sick feeling in the stomach, shakiness, and usually a feeling of terror or dread). The people I spoken with have all confirmed that “Mary” sightings are always of the unpleasant variety.
The Bible is also very clear about the dead returning to earth—it doesn’t happen. The only instance in which it has ever happened is in I Samuel 28. Notice the witch’s reaction when the real Samuel appears—she wasn’t expecting him at all, but her familiar spirit (a demon), masquerading as Samuel.
And, finally, the Bible is very clear about the Catholic Church’s end: it’s not going to end well. But first God will call His people out of the Catholic Church. In its present state, the Catholic Church is still preaching the Gospel, though it is watered-down. But once the antichrist comes on the scene, he will inspire the Catholic Church to embrace a more “universal” religion. I think that when that happens, the believers in the Church will leave it.
So, I believe that we should share the Gospel with Catholics (because we can’t assume that all of them have really heard and understood the Gospel message); but I also believe that we should leave it to God whether they should stay in the Church or come out of it.