WHAT IS AN EVANGELICAL CATHOLIC?
Between 1972 and 1978 there was a
major move of the Holy Spirit in Ireland when some 10,000 Catholics
came into a deeper, or first-time, personal relationship with Jesus as
Lord and Saviour and were baptised in the Holy Spirit.
1972 and 1978 (Mr Monaghan's dates) it is true to say that many Roman
Catholic people began to ask questions about the things of God. There
was an interest in reading the Bible and finding out what God had to
say. Doubtless there were many saved at this time…these were
those who tended to separate sooner or later from the Roman Catholic
Church. When Mr Monaghan, as a devout Roman Catholic, speaks about
people coming into a deeper or first time relationship with Christ as
Lord and Saviour, he is basically speaking about them beginning to act
on the saving grace which they received at baptism. This is standard
Roman Catholic teaching, which Mr Monaghan, is very loathe to
repudiate. "Baptism in the Holy Spirit" to Mr Monaghan simply means
that they started speaking in unknown tongues, as the next sentence
Within a short period there were vital charismatic prayer meetings in
nearly every town and village in Ireland. A feature of this revival was
its trans-denominational nature - very often God used Catholic
Christians to bless Protestant and vice-versa. In 1978 this revival
seemed to dry up as major efforts were made to promote "single
identity" renewal within individual Christian denominations,
particularly within the Roman Catholic Church.
no one denies that there are some true Christians within the RC Church
(who should separate from this organisation in accordance with 2
Corinthians 6:14-17/Ephesians 5:11 etc.,) this is not what Paddy
Monaghan has in mind. It is the last thing on Paddy Monaghan's mind
that such Christians are in a very small majority. If this is revival
(as claimed) then it was totally unlike any other revival in Ireland
when its converts were given grace to forsake the doctrines of
Rome…not propagate them.
From 1978 to 1988, while many
Catholic Christians held on to an inter-denominational vision, most of
the 400+ Charismatic Prayer Groups gradually became exclusively
Catholic, while some left to form House Churches. This caused a measure
of hurt, and gave rise to allegations of proselytism. New Age practices
made some inroads and there was a return to more traditional forms of
In other words,
it failed…at least if judged by the Bible. However, Rome will
have been reasonably happy. She still has her hand very much upon this
movement, notwithstanding the exuberance of its earlier years and
losing a few to house meetings. She got herself accepted a bit more
with the so called Protestants. Well done, Charismatic Movement, Rome's
good and faithful servant.
In 1988, a group of Catholic
Christians in Ireland produced a 6 page document What is an Evangelical
Catholic?, published with the official permission of the Roman Catholic
Church. It was updated in June 1992 with comments of welcome from
Bishop Joseph Duffy, Dr. George Carey and others. It has now been
translated into different languages and has helped build bridges
between Christians in many different countries. This led to the birth
of the Evangelical Catholic Initiative (ECI).
any one really think that if this booklet contained even that most
basic doctrine of the Reformation (Justification by faith alone) which
(real) evangelical Christians were prepared to die for at the hand of
the RC Church rather than renounce…that Bishop Duffy would
welcome them? The reality is that Bishop Duffy can't. Because if he
does, then e incurs the anathema's of his church. The gap here is too
wide to be bridged without one side capitulating completely to the
other. No amount of conniving and semantics can change it.
One aim in setting up ECI was
to build bridges between Evangelicals in the Protestant and Pentecostal
Churches and evangelical Catholics. We believe that what unites us is
far greater than what divides.
I disagree. We
might share some very basic doctrines e.g. belief in the Virgin Birth,
the Trinity etc. but that's about it. We still disagree radically on
other very basic doctrines like the way of salvation, the sole
authority of the word of God, the one sacrifice for sins for ever.
Again, the battle lines have been drawn and there can be no compromise.
From what we read and know about the Evangelical Catholics, we see that
they want to hold unto their "damnable heresies" (2 Peter 2:1) and that
renders Christian fellowship null and void. To wish them godspeed is to
be a partaker of their evil deeds. (2 John 10-11)
Indeed, what divides Christians in Ireland is often not doctrine, so much as history, culture, language and politics.
things doubtless play a part in division among people of
Ireland, what separates Evangelicals from Roman Catholics are
those doctrines mentioned above. Paddy Monaghan's doctrines are not of
God and no amount of whitewashing them will make them to be so. Perhaps
this is a good place we reaffirm that Evangelical people love Roman
Catholics, even if we do loathe their heresies. But it is not love
to call people "Christians" who deny the basic way of salvation.
Another aim was to foster genuine evangelism, while avoiding proselytism.
evangelism is always based on truth. The ecumenism of the Evangelical
Catholic movement and ECONI is based on a lie and therefore it is
neither genuine nor evangelism. It has no connection at all with Him
who said: "I am the … truth" (John 14:6)
We are convinced that it is
only as Evangelical Christians within the Protestant and Pentecostal
Churches find their brothers and sisters in Christ in the Catholic
Church and vice-versa, that a real spiritual revival will sweep
Ireland. The II Chronicles 7:14 principle surely applies that "If my
people will humble themselves, turn from their wicked ways and pray God
will hear.. heal…and forgive".
Chronicles 7:14 is applicable only to the real people of God. If we
allow that committed RC people are among that people, then we must
query  the Bibe, where salvation is distinctly said to be by
faith alone without works (Ephesians 2:8-9/Titus 3:5) and  the
genuineness of the 16th Century revival which saw the Reformers
separate from Rome. If Rome is true, then that separation was not
of God but was a sinful schism that ought to be healed immediately.
With all the talk of not proselytising etc., Rome still wants unity in
her communion under the Pope i.e. we all become Roman Catholics. You
don't have to be rocket scientist to see that. Get the big picture. Who
is Paddy Monaghan? He is just a pawn in the big game of church
politics. His masters i.e. the hierarchy see that he has his uses, but
in the final roundup, all his thoughts and aspirations etc., are
subject to the official teaching of Rome which teach that Christian
unity is only on Rome's terms.
The Evangelical Catholic Initiative
has three objectives: (1) To see a Holy Spirit inspired renewal in the
Roman Catholic Church, which is Father orientated, Christ-centred and
grounded in the Holy Scriptures. In this we need the support of our
brothers and sisters in the other Christian Churches.
If we argue
that such a renewal took place at the Reformation i.e. many Roman
Catholics (including the leading Reformers)…then we notice that
they forsook the RC Church. They did so because the Father, the Son and
the Holy Spirit (through the Scriptures) demanded that they do so. This
is not what Paddy Monaghan has in mind. Paddy Monaghan (as a devout
Roman Catholic) effectively believes that he were to forsake Rome, then
he is forsaking the sacraments through which he gets his saving grace
to get to Heaven. To forsake the RC Church is to bite the hand that
feeds you and that means to starve. This is why it really does take
faith to get out of Rome and trust God as He is revealed in the pages
of the Bible.
(2) To foster reconciliation
among Christians. For there to be effective evangelism in Ireland there
needs to be a growth in relationships between believers within all of
the Christian churches.
We have already dealt with this point above.
(3) To build up
Jewish-Christian relationships. As Catholic, Protestant and Pentecostal
Christians rediscover their Jewish roots they are enriched and find a
greater unity together.
No one objects
to building up relationships with the Jews (or Roman Catholics) for the
purposes of evangelism. However, no matter what road we go, we cannot
have unity with Rome as long as she holds to her fundamental errors of
the mass etc., A novel approach to the issue will not solve the basic
point of fracture which can only be healed by one side or the other
surrendering up their basic doctrines.
What do evangelical Catholics believe?
We believe that every person
needs to come to know Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour, to read His
Word and to grow in the knowledge of God.
We agree on
this point but only as far as it goes. It is a very basic statement and
certainly no basis in itself for fellowship. A Jehovah Witness or
a Mormon could make the exact same statement.
Salvation accomplished once and for all on Calvary is a free gift.
good! But the Evangelical Protestant sees here an empty Cross and an
empty tomb while Roman Catholics, like Paddy Monaghan, see a mass
wafer and a sacrificing priest.
We cannot earn or merit or inherit it.
sounds wonderful, but Rome ties it in with receiving the
sacraments and to receive the sacrament you need to be in a state of
grace and this is attained by works. Dig deeper and you always come
across works. Paul refuted this type of thinking in his epistle to the
We need to receive it by faith.
Paddy! Say it: "Receive it by faith alone" You wont, will you?
Because if you do, you are in trouble with your Church which hasn't
budged an inch since the Reformation and indeed glories in its "Ever
the same" stance. You are saying nothing that is fundamentally
new for a Roman Catholic. The crowd up north in ECONI might swallow
this kind of thing, but no true evangelical will.
As we accept Jesus as Lord and
Saviour of our lives, we are changed. We enter eternal life today by
entering into a living relationship with the living God.
only if these words have a Biblical interpretation and despite the
evangelical language, they don't as far as Rome is concerned.
We now want to bring the good
news to others. In Ireland many Catholics and Protestants have been
over sacramentalised and under evangelised.
If you attach
any salvation importance to the sacraments (whether they number two or
seven) then you are over sacramentalising people. In the doctrine of
salvation, this means that they are lost until they are
justified by faith alone in Jesus Christ. The problem is fundamental.
Toning down the colour scheme is not the radical change that is
The term 'evangelical Catholic' helps
to define identity. My primary identity is that I am a Christian. I am
in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Secondly, I am evangelical (the Greek
word for gospel in the Bible is euaggelion, from which evangelical
derives). I have been evangelised and discovered the Gospel for myself,
and so want to lead others into a personal faith in Jesus as Lord and
Saviour. My third identity is as a Roman Catholic.
himself as a Roman Catholic, Paddy Monaghan automatically endorses
every last heresy of his church. Evangelical Catholics endorse the
concept of the Pope being "another Christ on earth." They endorse the
Calvary denying error of the mass. They endorse salvation by a
sacrament and not by grace alone. Sorry, but we can't run with this
and be faithful to the word of God.
It is God's will that
Christians live united in one Church under the headship of Jesus
Christ. That unity has been shattered into many denominations.
There is a vast
difference between the outward unity i.e. organisational and the inward
communion of the people of God. I like to think that the true people of
God, although in many different tents, are still in the same camp. I
enjoy Christian unity with Christians from several denominations,
although we do differ on some relatively minor points of doctrine. Even
if this unity is not entirely 100% yet it certainly isn't
"shattered" either. The Reformation was not a shattering of Christian
unity. It was a re-establishing of ground wherein true Christian unity
can take place. Rome fought back at the Reformation and made it clear,
as she continues to do today, that she did not want those teachings of
the Reformers which alone (being Biblical) are the basis of true
By God's providence, I am a
Christian in the Roman Catholic denomination. This is the Christian
tradition I am working in for a Christ-centred, Biblically based
Even if Paddy
Monaghan was a "Christian in the Roman Catholic denomination" (and we
would be very foolish to deny that there are absolutely 100% no
Christians in that fold) yet we would have to attribute that fact to
his own unwillingness to obey 2 Corinthians 6;14-18 and separate from
it. We cannot invoke God's providence in the matter if we are using it
to cover over our disobedience. By referring to this particular Church
as Christian (in the NT sense of the word) and by planning to remain
it ("working for a renewal" etc.,) we can only conclude that
Paddy Monaghan has no intention of obeying God in this matter. He is
not an uncomfortable Christian - a square peg in a round hole -
but a thorough going, card carrying, follower of the Pope. Let him
publicly distance himself from the teaching of the mass, the error of
giving tradition equal status to the Bible etc., and we will review our
It stands in need of reformation, but has also within it many Scriptural treasures.
has been a Reformation - BIG TIME! - and this has been spurned. Indeed
the whole idea was to crush it completely. Run with the Reformation
that already took place, instead of looking for another. Any scriptural
treasures which Rome has are already being enjoyed by those of us
outside their fold. You don't have to be a Roman Catholic to enjoy the
Barriers to Relationships
Most barriers to relationships tend to be cultural, political, historical and linguistic.
We have dealt
with this above. I can cope with a different culture, different
politics etc., but I can't cope with a different gospel (Galatians 1:8)
This is the real issue here. The rest are just papering over ever
Many Catholics would react
negatively when asked if they were born-again or saved. What many hear
in this question are issues of proselytism that go back to famine days.
They interpret the question as meaning: 'Have you become a Protestant
The issue is
deeper though. Why have the Protestants got the "evangelical" words
like "saved" and "born again" etc., and Rome hasn't? Answer: This is because
Rome doesn't have the gospel. It is a world wide matter. Roman
Catholics outside of Ireland don't like this word "saved" either
because it is not a merit monger's word. People who are basically
trying to be accepted by God on the basis of their religious exercises
can never have assurance of salvation and therefore the word "saved" to
such smacks of religious smugness rather than Bible based assurance.
However, the Gospel truth is that we are justified through faith in our Lord Jesus.
Did you really think Paddy Monaghan was going to use the phrase "justified through faith alone in our Lord Jesus?"
We are justified by faith, not by the language of faith. Many Catholics
are born again but may not use this terminology to express it.
word "confessions of faith" may be heard from the lips of new converts,
those who are truly saved soon learn the language of faith and they use
it. The issue with the language here is symptomatic - the real problem
is that Rome preaches another gospel.
Many evangelical Catholics would prefer not to be called "evangelical",
because the word has come to have negative connotations for them,
invoking images of bigotry, sectarianism, narrowness, and
self-righteousness - reinforced recently by the example of self
professed Evangelicals involved in the 'Spirit of Drumcree' Group and
in the Harryville picket.
issue is greater again than the local scene here in Ireland. The word
"evangelical" always had negative connotations for Roman Catholics
because it described people who rejected the authority and teaching of
the Pope. An attempt is being made here to bridge the gap without
dealing with the reason why the gap is there in the first place. This
leads ultimately to confusion and God is not the author of such
The word "evangelical"
needs to be redeemed, and reinvested with purely biblical connotations,
describing anyone, Catholic or Protestant, who has received and is
living by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
enough...to a point. But if you want to bring in things like the mass,
the offices of Mary as co-Redeemer etc., then you are getting beyond
"purely biblical connotations" and so the designation of "evangelical"
will not fit. As things stand, the term "Evangelical Catholic" is a
misnomer. You are either one or the other and Mr Monaghan has not shown
yourself to be evangelical.
Is it not time for the cold war among evangelical Christians to end?
A euphemism meaning: "Is it not time for Protestants to return to Rome?"
Most evangelical Catholics
would prefer to be called Catholic Christians, Committed Christians,
Charismatic Catholics, born again Catholics or simply Catholics who
love the Lord. However, whatever the label, they love Jesus as personal
Lord and Saviour and are thus brothers and sisters of all true
Evangelicals within the Protestant and Pentecostal Churches, under one
By remaining in
communion with the Roman Catholic Church, these
call-them-whatever-you-want Catholics do not accept Jesus Christ alone
as Saviour. The official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church elevates
Mary to the offices which are uniquely held by Christ. This is easily
proved, as the quote below from the 1995 Catechism of the Catholic
Church shows. On p221 we read of Mary: "Taken up to heaven she did not
lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues
to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation...Therefore the Blessed
Virgin is invoked under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress
and Mediatrix." This is sheer idolatry from which every evangelical
must flee. (1 Corinthians 10:14)
Our differences should not divide, when Christ is at the centre.
problem is: Christ is not at the centre. He does not stand alone in His
offices, but shares them with "other Christ's" in the Roman Catholic
God draws us to Jesus in various ways, but there is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus - John 14:6.
God uses His
word to bring people to Christ (Romans 10:17) He does not use the lie,
otherwise the blind could lead the blind and the ditch remain empty
There are real doctrinal differences, but these are often exaggerated and misunderstood.
I doubt such
exaggeration and misunderstanding are sufficiently such to make these
charges stick. The great danger at the moment is the playing down of
these "real doctrinal differences" as to make them of no bar to
fellowship. This is why this critique of the "Evangelical Catholic"
movement has been undertaken.
In any case, doctrinal
differences are a call for dialogue around the Holy Scriptures, and
mainline Evangelical Protestants are now moving down this path in most
parts of the world.
No one objects
to a true Christian sitting down with any lost soul to discuss the
things of God. We call it evangelism. But Paddy Monaghan has already
discountenanced such a thing above, giving it the somewhat odious name
of proselytising. For nearly 500 years, our Protestant forefathers
could not regard the Church of Rome as a Christian Church. Her
fundamental doctrines were seen as "damnable heresies" None of those
damnable heresies have been abandoned and indeed, since the
Reformation, new ones brought into being. We therefore regard those
"mainline Evangelical Protestants" who are now dialoguing with Rome on
the basis that she is a Christian church as traitors to their
Reformation heritage. Protestantism is willing to debate Rome at any
level, but the dialogue envisaged by Paddy Monaghan is a non starter.
Let us look briefly at two areas of difference - the Eucharist and Mary.
opportunity to see just how devout ecumenical Roman Catholics think.
Fair play to Paddy Monaghan here for raising these issues (although I
raised them above) The issue here is: Does he deny or defend Rome's
record in these two important areas? Has Rome ever gone over the
top, or are we getting the "whys and wherefores" of those belief's
which our Protestant forefathers sternly rejected? Read on.
Evangelical Catholics strongly affirm the Roman Catholic Church
teaching that there is only one all-sufficient sacrifice for sins,
accomplished once for all on Calvary.
pretty good as it stands. The devil (as they say) is in the details
i.e. how all this filters through to the sinner.
We fully endorse the agreement set forth in The World Alliance of Reformed Churches/RC International Dialogue in 1977, "We
believe we have reached a common understanding of the meaning, purpose
and basic doctrine of the Eucharist, which is in agreement with the
Word of God and the universal tradition of the Church. We gratefully
acknowledge that both traditions, Reformed and Roman Catholic, hold to
the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist; and both
hold at least that the Eucharist is: (1) a memorial of the death and
resurrection of the Lord (2) a source of loving communion with Him in
the power of the Spirit, and (3) a source of the eschatological hope
for His coming again."
What! Is the
body, blood, soul and divinity, flesh and sinews and all bodily parts
(to quote the Catechism of the Council of Trent) really,
physically, present there? If this is what those "Reformed"
churches signed up for, then they betray their cause and "deny the
Lord that bought them" (2 Peter 2:1) The faithful man of God will not
be influenced by the actions of others, but will judge all things by
the word of God. The whole teaching of Rome on the mass must colour the
rest. Some agreement cannot override the whole.
We also affirm a statement from the Anglican/RC International Commission on the Eucharist, in 1981, "Christ's
redeeming death and resurrection took place once and for all in
history. Christ's death on the Cross, the culmination of His whole life
of obedience, was the one perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins
of the world. There can be no repetition of, or addition to, what was
then accomplished once for all by Christ." Some
Evangelical Protestants seem not to want to hear what our Church
affirms on the once for all nature of the sacrifice of Christ. They
seem unwilling to accept that this is the official teaching of the
am aware what Rome says about there being but one sacrifice and that
the mass is not a repetition etc., of the sacrifice. But the main
heresy is still there...that the mass is a sacrifice and that Jesus
Christ is still being sacrificed as a Victim on the Roman altars by a
sacrificing priest. Any Bible believer will deny the mass
outright as a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit. By holding unto
the mass and seeking here to defend it, Paddy Monaghan and friends
plainly show they are attempting to highjack the term of evangelical.
Mary is God's guarantee that His Son
truly took on human flesh. He who was God drew His humanity from Mary,
his mother, through the Holy Spirit. Mary is a model for us of walking
in obedience, in humility and in the fear of the Lord. Luke 1:48 tells
us that all generations will call her blessed. Jesus himself points out
that Mary's blessedness is in hearing the word of God and observing it.
Mary, as a disciple, is saved by faith in Jesus.
Agreed again but we disagree here fundamentally over how
Mary was so saved. In line with the Bible, Evangelicals believe that
Mary sinned (Romans 3:23/Mark 10:18) and was saved from paying the
penalty of her actual sin through Christ taking that penalty upon
Himself. Rome believes that Mary never sinned at all and was saved from
sin the way people who heed temperance messages may be said to be saved
from drink i.e. from ever touching it. Of course, it does not suit
Paddy Monaghan's purpose to tell us the whole truth and so we are
getting truth here on the drip. This is the equivalent of theological
art. The trick of the artist's trade is to put as little on the page as
is necessary and rely on the power of suggestion, even illusion to do
the rest. By making the above minimalist statement, Paddy Monaghan
wants the unwary to assume that we are in complete agreement when the
facts are otherwise.
Mary's natural relationship to
Jesus as His mother was put in proper perspective by Jesus, in Matt.
12:48-50 ("Who is my mother? ... For whoever shall do the will of my
Father...is my brother and sister and mother.").
In gratefully acknowledging the unique
role of Mary as Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, we see no scriptural
warranty for ascribing to her any other role in excess of that.
True, but when
has the Evangelical Catholic movement embraced the concept of the Bible
alone as the sole rule of faith and practice? Paddy gets his extra bits
about Mary from tradition which his church keeps assuring us is equal
to the Bible. A true Evangelical rejects such tradition as dangerous
(Mark 7:13) It is the things left unsaid in this charm offensive by
Paddy Monaghan which cause us concern. We are both "old hands" at this
game. Paddy Monaghan knows what not to say and we know exactly what we
have to say it for him. And when the missing bits are filled in...we
are just looking at the old Reformation battle again. Nothing
fundamentally has changed.
Jesus Christ alone is the one Mediator between God and human kind.
But as we have
seen, Mary is described in one of her many salvic roles as being a
"Mediatrix." (1995 catechism) If she is not a mediatrix between men and
God, then she is such between us and Christ i.e. we come to Mary in
order to come to Jesus in order to come to God. Ligouri's Glories of
Mary regales us with all the advantages of seeking Mary in order to get
something from Jesus. This is an insult to the ever gracious Son of
However, we do believe that
Evangelical Protestants, rather than reacting against Mary, should
begin to state positively what part they believe she played as a
"handmaid of the Lord" in God's purposes. This would bring us closer in
our understanding of this magnificent woman of faith.
not react against Mary, but we do react against Rome's heresies
concerning her. Just as there is "another Jesus" (2 Corinthians 11:4)
and "another gospel" (Galatians 1:8) so too it would appear that there
is effectively "another Mary" for the Virgin Mary of the NT is never
viewed or proclaimed to be "Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and
Mediatrix" or saw herself as holding the office of Saviour. Where she
did assume she had some sort of sway with her Son, He very kindly,
though firmly, put her into her place (John 2:4) To be positive, as
Paddy Monaghan rightly suggests we should be, Evangelicals see
Mary as the instrument God used to bring His Son into the world in a
human body. We see her primarily as a "woman of faith" (as stated by
above) - not perfect or without sin but primarily as one who should be
imitated just as we would imitate Peter and John and other servants of
God when they did that which is right in the sight of the Lord. We do
not however thrust her into those spiritual roles which are reserved
uniquely and without equivocation to her Son and we must repudiate
those who do.
How many evangelical Catholics are there in Ireland?
The 1993 edition of Operation World by
Patrick Johnstone of WEC International estimated the number of
evangelical Catholics in Ireland at 2.6% or 100,000. Our estimate would
be considerably higher than this. They are to be found in all of the
1,400 parishes in Ireland. They might be participants in an Alpha
Course or a Parish Prayer Group or Bible Study, in a Cursilio or
Focalare Group, or they may just be ordinary parishioners or clergy.
to the Alpha Course will not go unnoticed. Despite the hype, it is
just old fashioned ecumenism under an evangelical guise. Again the
minimalist statements which mean different things to different people
cobbled together to present a "common" front before an unsuspecting
Plea for Acceptance
Is it not time for the cold war among evangelical Christians to end?
Our battle here
with Paddy Monaghan and the Evangelical Catholics is neither a "cold
war" nor is it among "Evangelicals" Without exaggerating any, it is a
life or death struggle between the truth of the gospel of Christ and
the false gospel of the Roman Catholic Church. Was Paul's fight with
the false teachers in Galatia just a storm in a tea cup? No! Paul went
in hard to save the gospel in those parts from extinction. If we
embrace the doctrines of the Evangelical Catholics, then we can kiss
our gospel liberties goodbye. Perhaps not so slowly but surely we will
come into the sacerdotal bondage our Reformation forefathers died to
free us from. This is no shadow boxing!
Surely we need to allow
the Holy Spirit to remove the suspicion and prejudice from our hearts
so that we can find one another across the divide, listen to each
other's testimonies and build friendships.
Again, I am all
for friendships between human beings. I wish Paddy Monaghan no ill will
whatsoever as a person. I am willing to reach out the hand of
friendship to any sinner because I believe the gospel is for every last
creature on earth. It is because of this that I must resist error in
all its various forms. If I embrace the ecumenism of Paddy Monaghan and
his friends in ECONI then ultimately (as already indicated) I will have
no gospel to bring. What we need to "allow the Holy Spirit" to do is to
remove the cause of suspicion i.e. the false gospel of a church long
departed from the truth and simplicity of the gospel.
Many Evangelicals feel
threatened when they hear that a Catholic, who knows Jesus as personal
Lord and Saviour, still worships God in the Roman Catholic Church.
It is not so
much that we feel threatened to hear about some one professing faith
worshipping in the RC Church...we fear the idea that this will be
accepted as the norm...as a sign of Christian maturity instead of (at
best) an untaught believer who has still to learn the truth of
separation from idols and false teaching etc., The fact that these
words are being written responding to an article appearing
sympathetically on a website of a professed Evangelical site shows just
how real our concern is. We are not fighting imaginary battles here or
having a 16th Century re-enactment. The fight is as contemporary as it
Perhaps we need a revelation from God to see that the Body of His Son extends through all the Christian Churches.
don't...the word of God is sufficient to teach us the spirit of truth
and error. Judging the doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic
Church by this same standard, I find her so seriously wanting as to
forfeit the title of "Christian."
Then, like Peter, in Cornelius' house,
we might also affirm: "I now realise ... that God does not show
favouritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what
is right." Acts 10:34
The issue is
not what country men come from, but what creed they hold. You cannot
be said to fear God and do what is right when you not only deny basic
Bible doctrines...but seek to seduce others into holding them. This
effectively is what Paddy Monaghan is doing, even if unconscious of the
ECI organises conferences, produces a
newsletter and various pamphlets e.g. "Will I go to Heaven when I die?
- no doubt about it" (a 16 page evangelistic tract). A second tract for
Catholics entitled Why you need to read the Bible is published with
ecclesiastical permission and has proved very popular (140,000 in
print. 50 were sent to each of the 1,400 parish priests in Ireland,
(sponsored by a N.I. evangelical Protestant businessman!). For three
years ECI sponsored a Christian Leaders Conference, now an annual
Charismatic Renewal Leaders Conference attended by mainline and
Pentecostal/New Church Leaders. ECI also strongly promotes the Alpha
Bible Study Course in various parishes and ran an Alpha Leaders Seminar
last March. We are also involved in networking across the denominations
and in supporting a major 2 year prayer initiative beginning shortly.
ECI's reconciliation work recently attracted a grant from the Programme
for Peace and Reconciliation.
Again, we are
dealing here with an aggressive movement which is seeking by various
means to remove those God erected barriers between truth and darkness.
Moment of Grace for Ireland
We now have a second cease-fire and political talks will start in mid-September.
It will be
obvious from these words that this document is somewhat dated,
although the same old arguments and tactics are still in vogue today.
Let us believers truly humble
ourselves, seek God's face, turn from our wicked ways and pray, then
surely God will hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.
This is a moment of grace for Ireland; as believers let us not be found
wanting. Following the example of churches in South Africa, could not
all evangelical Christians in Ireland commit themselves for a period of
two years to praying for one hour per week towards these three goals:
The removal of sectarian attitudes from all our hearts; Christ-centred,
biblically based revival, North and South; A just political solution in
Northern Ireland. May Ireland again be a light to the nations, giving
glory to God. Amen.
words, but wrongly applied in this situation. Paddy Monaghan believing
that he is an evangelical does not make him one... nor does the efforts
of ECONI to present him as one simply do the trick. When such a Christ
centred Bible based revival comes to Ireland, as it did in 1859 and
again in the 1920's under W.P. Nicholson, then Rome will pay a heavy
price in the loss of her disciples. However Rome's loss will be
Christ's gain. May that be so, for Christ's sake. Amen.
Paddy Monaghan is secretary of
the Evangelical Catholic Initiative in the Republic of Ireland. Since
1980 he has worked part time as an evangelical Catholic lay missionary
and part time in a small financial consultancy practice. He lives near
Dun Laoghaire in County Dublin.
Maxwell was the Free Presbyterian missionary in Cork from 1987-2009.
Hestill works as a personal evangelist in the Irish Republic.
THE END OF PADDY MONAGHAN'S ARTICLE AND MY REPLY THERETO
LETTER SENT TO THE CHURCH OF IRELAND GAZETTE (SEPTEMBER 2003)
From: Colin Maxwell, 10 Briarscourt, Shanakiel, Cork, Republic of Ireland
To: Church of Ireland Gazette, 3 Wallace Avenue, Lisburn, Co Antrim
court of law still requires that the truth, the whole truth and nothing
but the truth be told before any viable judgement can be made. Paddy
Monaghan's report (Evangelical Catholic Initiative) that the Pope
recently declared, "Jesus the one and only Mediator: ‘Christian
communities...must constantly testify that Jesus Christ is the one and
only mediator of salvation... The Church’s preaching... must be
increasingly centred on the person of Jesus.’ (Gazette 5th September
2003) ought to be subject to the same rigorous examination. When Paddy
tells us that the Pope believes there is one mediator between God and
men, he speaks the truth. What Paddy does not tell us, is that the Pope
and his followers believe that we need a mediator or Mediatrix to bring
us to Jesus who alone can bring us to God. It is a bit like the
government telling us that they have shortened the waiting lists for
hospitals. What they don't tell us is that there is a waiting list to
get on to the waiting list. Of course we can bogged down in the
niceties of the English language and the mind boggling definitions of
Roman Catholic theology, but when push comes to shove, the Pope still
informs us that the "Blessed Virgin is to be invoked in the Church
under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress and Mediatrix"
(Catechism of the Catholic Church 1995)