Christianity is undergoing transformation these days, especially the Catholic Church which will soon have a new Pontiff. I would like to propose that we may see a spiritual revival in the Catholic Church with possibly a new guard coming in, as Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down.
The current Pope was the main doctrinarian and theologian of the Catholic Church, and I am inclined to say he was part of an old guard accepting liberal doctrines such as the denying of the physical resurrection, and salvation via the beatitudes. He was elderly to begin with when he was elected, so he was bound to be a transitional figure.
As we are living in the last days, could we be seeing perhaps the last opportunity for a leader in the Catholic Church through whom God will bring in a long overdue revival?
Everyone is talking about revival in the Evangelical Church, but what about revival in the fertile ground of the 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide today? Image a spiritual revival in this block of people, and imagine the impact a new leader may have toward this purpose.
Imagine a pontiff who may be bold enough to embrace the Charismatic and Pentecostal type movements going on among Catholics in South America, or one willing to move toward reformed positions… a pontiff who is willing to chastise the liberal wings of catholic priests who deny Jesus as the only way to eternal life.
Even here in the US, I have seen sporadic evidence that Catholicism is changing. I was playing a worship song in the operating room not too long ago, a song known in our Evangelical churches, and to my surprise one of my nurses who is Catholic recognized the song and the band, and said “we sing this song all the time at mass.”
After my initial shock I got more information, and it turns out that for some time now their church is holding evangelical style services, with worship songs that typically have a Reformed or Pentecostal message… followed by sermons! She even said “we love to sing music from our evangelical brethren!” Amazing!
Imagine the Catholic Church moving away from empty rituals and toward a real salvation relationship with Jesus.
We must think in these positive revival terms because the opposite is an apocalyptic scenario. At the opposite end of the spectrum we could be seeing a new pope who will usher in the era of the AntiChrist. And let me tell you, the lukewarm (or dead) post-modern Evangelical Church is not ready for such turn of events.
However, the real Body of Christ will be ready for whatever will happen. A revival will be welcomed as the kingdom of God will be extended throughout the earth even more. But also the opposite will be welcomed, the ushering in of the AntiChristic era which will mean that our time is at hand and Jesus is about to return.
Right now though, the world needs revival, and I am hoping for the salvation of many souls.
Except we don’t have “empty rituals” in the Catholic Church! 🙂
Many catholic friends claim that participation in mass is salvific and wearing a crucifix provides protection….
Do you agree with the thrust of the rest of the article, especially the evangelical type of worship introduced at mass?
Thank you for the visit, and welcome to Delight in Truth!
Regarding that participating in the Mass is salvific: The entire Mass is actually a prayer.
Before the priest arrives to the prayer of the Consecration, he says “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God,” then the congregation says, “It is right and just,” (this response goes way back in time) the priest continues with “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, your word through whom you made
all things, whom you sent as our Savior and Redeemer…”
The Mass unites us spiritually with the Last Supper and the events of Good Friday, so it is not a “re-sacrificing” of Jesus, as that happened only once. It transcends time in a way similar to when the Jewish community recalls/reenacts the Passover meal. God hears all prayers past, present and future “simultaneously” as He is not bound by time. So, while we are not physically at the time of the original Holy Week and as the Jews are not physically at the time of he original Passover, neveretheless, God unites our prayers with those events.
Wearing a crucifix or any other sacramental does not provide a magic force field of protection. Instead of my inadequate words, I’ll quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church, (paragraph 1670) “Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. ‘For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from the paschal mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power…'”
Wearing sacramentals is not superstitious because the objects have no power in of themselves. Those who wear blessed objects are also reminded of the grace we receive from God. It guides their lives into being holier each day which, in turn, makes them more aware of the blessings from God in this life and more likely to give Him thanks and spread the Good News so that others become more open to His grace.
About time to get ready for work. I’ll re-read the rest of your article later!
Thank you for taking the time to respond. Evangelicals (and other reformed) have a significant theological difference with Catholics on the point of sacramental objects. We do not see much value in them, whereas Catholics see them as a guide in sanctification.
Some (maybe not all) treat them as nearly divine, they worship them, and believe that God may work through these objects (weeping statues, etc). We believe in the Holy Spirit (God) being the only driving force and motivation in persevering in faith.
But I would love to read your opinion on the style of mass in some Catholic churches which resembles Evangelical ones.
There have been changes in what has been used for liturgical music since Vatican II. The good part of it is that we seem to be more open to those hymns, not written by Catholics, which are inspirational and do not express anything contradictory to our core beliefs. This is important. It’s nice to focus on those doctrines we have in common instead of concentrating only on differences. 🙂
Still, as with any significant changes in practices (as oppoesed to doctrines, for these remain for the ages), some have gotten a little carried away. The few songs which are actually contrary to core Church teachings are being addressed.
Nevertheless, I remain the eternal optimist that we can continue on the path toward reunification, maybe not in our lifetimes, but eventually!
So..when it’s delight in truth going to write about the hope of revival in the Mormon church? Or JW church?
At this time we will focus on those practicing the Christian faith. We will not address other religions in this context.
Oh…so Catholics practice the Christian faith…than I wonder why the reformation and all them people that were burned at the stake and the Pope being God’s representative on the earth and so on
Gabe took the words out of my mouth.
“Imagine the Catholic Church moving away from empty rituals and toward a real salvation relationship with Jesus.”
Are you actually suggesting you believe the next pope might state that he is not infallible, that he is not God’s representative on Earth. Do you think there is any chance he will say forgiveness comes through a relationship with Jesus, and not through going to confession with a priest. Do you think he will tell people what is Biblically true about Mary, or to stop praying to/through the saints? And if he won’t, then what kind of spiritual revival do you think is possible. Being a populist won’t mean there is revival.
Yes Gabe, they are Christians… Just not born again Christians… Must we write a post to explain the difference? 🙂
Manuela, I am not saying, and did not say I “believe the next pope…” I am hoping that the Catholic Church will move away from the heresies you listed and have a reformation toward correct Biblical doctrine.
Will a new pope usher in this kind of era? I can only hope… Will it happen? This may be the last opportunity for such revival and reformation.
So according to delight in truth 100 prevent heresy can still be called Christianity …but not born again Christianity… interesting…
Huh? I thought the general understanding we have is that there are true Christians (which MEANS born again Christians), and then there are those who call themselves Christians, but they aren’t really born again, which we know means they are not Christians. In fact, they are in a worse state in a sense…i.e. better hot or cold than luke-warm.
The types of changes I think you would suggest as necessary to achieve what we would call a ‘real salvation relationship with Jesus’ (some outlined by Gabe and Manuela) would require a pope to embrace what would be considered very serious heresies by the Catholic church. Just as what evangelicals believe is considered to be very serious heresy. This seems unlikely from a man who will have devoted his life to the Catholic church.
I’m curious why you consider a church which you characterize as without ‘real salvation’ to be more Christian than Mormons or JW. I would also argue that if the new pope were to embrace the various movements you suggest it would likely be more akin to ecumenism than revival.
As an aside, I think the Bible tells us that the ‘church’ at large will not be prepared for the time of the Anti-Christ.
Matt, paragraph ” imagine a pontiff…” is your specialty: satire.
On the issue of Christians vs born again Christians I agree with you 100%. Catholics are mere professors, if that, not born again Christians. Everyone in Romania for instance is a “Christian” (98%), just not an authentic born again Christian.
But I do make a distinction between Catholics and JW/Mormons. Not with respect to salvation, but with respect to doctrine. Catholicism is a little closer to the truth… Not there, but closer. We share some key doctrines with them like the teaching on the Trinity.
Also the Body of Christ is definitely not the same as the church at large.
Ah, yes, sarcasm. Can be a wonderful thing 🙂
I think we are in complete agreement on the distinction between born-again Christian vs. professing Christians. I just wanted to clarify you weren’t making a different doctrinal distinction/argument.
Of course, we are also in agreement on the Body of Christ vs. the church at large.
Regardless of the rest, we are definitely in agreement that ” the world needs revival, and I am (we are) hoping for the salvation of many souls.”
Thanks for keeping an eye on me 🙂
As for Gabi, he seems to be hunting more than keeping an eye out 🙂
You say tomayto…Gabi says tomahto 🙂 🙂
Matt is making fun of the immigrants…
Oh, thanks! An accusation like that probably just ruined my chance of running for president….my chance of giving the prayer at the next inauguration…..Do you work for MSNBC or something? 🙂
Oh yea..good one…at least Matt didn’t come with the usual ” some of my best friends are immigrants” defense…
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I’m a born-and-raised Catholic who altar served with my brother since the third grade at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Eugene, Oregon, I assume that anyone who claims that the Catholic Church has “empty rituals” has never been to a Catholic mass. Also I’m just a little offended. People never actually look into the Catholic Church, just repeat what they hear about it. God bless.
I’m sorry you were offended. I appologize. Our differences are theological as I believe the Catholic Church has departed from the teaching and practices of Jesus, the apostles, and the 1st century church.
Also it matters not if we’re born Christian. It matters only if we have the new birth demanded by Jesus in John 3.
But now we’re getting into some theological differences… sorry 🙂