Mysticism is Uniting Charismatics with Catholics
From its inception in the 1960s, the charismatic movement’s mysticism has brought it into close association with Roman Catholicism.
I have documented this extensively in The Pentecostal-Charismatic Movements: The History and the Doctrine, which is available from Way of Life Literature.
This was illustrated at the New Orleans ’87 conference that I attended with press credentials. The 35,000 attendees represented some 40 denominations, and one-half were Roman Catholic. Of the two main leaders of the conference, one was Pentecostal and the other Roman Catholic. Many of the speakers were Roman Catholic, and a Roman Catholic priest headquartered in Rome delivered the closing message the final evening of the conference. The bookstore area featured titles about Mary visitations, papal authority, and salvation through the sacraments. There were books exalting Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa. There were crucifixes and Madonnas and pictures of the saints for sell. Each morning there was a Roman Catholic mass, and the Pentecostal leader even urged everyone to attend mass the following Sunday.
What created this amazing unity? Mysticism. The crowd was not united in doctrine and not even in the gospel. The things that united them were spirit “baptism,” tongues, prophecies, spirit slaying, and above all, the powerful contemporary praise music that dominated the conference.
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(first published July 15, 2008) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article) -
Sue Monk Kidd is a very popular writer. Her first two novels, The Secret Life of Bees (2002) and The Mermaid Chair (2005), have sold more than 6 million copies and the first one is being produced as a movie. She has also written two popular books on contemplative spirituality: God’s Joyful Surprise (1988) and When the Heart Waits (1990).
Kidd is quoted favorably by evangelicals such as David Jeremiah (Life Wide Open), Beth Moore (When Godly People Do Ungodly Things), Richard Foster (Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home), and Philip Yancy (Prayer: Does It Make Any Difference?). Kidd’s endorsement is printed on the back of Dallas Willard’s book The Spirit of the Disciplines. She wrote the foreword to the 2006 edition of Henri Nouwen’s With Open Hands and the introduction to Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation.
It is “contemplative spirituality” that changed Kidd’s life, and her experience is a loud warning about flirting with Catholic mysticism.
She was raised in a Southern Baptist congregation in southwest Georgia. Her grandfather and father were Baptist deacons. Her grandmother gave devotionals at the Women’s Missionary Union, and her mother was a Sunday School teacher. Her husband was a minister who taught religion and a chaplain at a Baptist college. She was very involved in church, teaching Sunday School and attending services Sunday morning and evening and Wednesday. She describes herself as the person who would have won a contest for “Least Likely to Become a Feminist.” She was even inducted into a group of women called the Gracious Ladies, the criterion for which was that “one needed to portray certain ideals of womanhood, which included being gracious and giving of oneself unselfishly.”
But for years she had felt a spiritual emptiness and lack of contentment. Prayer was “a fairly boring mental activity” (Kidd’s foreword to Henri Nouwen’s With Open Hands, 2006, p. 10). She says,
“I had been struggling to come to terms with my life as a woman--in my culture, my marriage, my faith, my church, and deep inside myself” (The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, p. 8).
She was thirty years old, had been married about 12 years, and had two children.