Evangelisation

Evangelisation

Michael Dunlea

Dr Mobbs' article "Why many Catholics join fundamentalist sects" (July AD2000) misses the mark.

The reason so many Catholics (and members of other mainstream denominations) join the Pentecostals is that they have become evangelised.

By that I mean they are challenged - usually as a result of effective preaching and hearing testimonies of God's action in individual lives - as to the reality of inviting Jesus Christ into their lives and of committing their lives to Him.

When a man does that sincerely, a spiritual effect usually occurs (the work of the Holy Spirit?) which can be literally life-changing. Some denominations call this "born-again" or "a new creation in Christ" (St Paul). We Catholics don't use those expressions; perhaps "renewal" or some other expression like "a conversion of the heart". The late Archbishop Rush of Brisbane encouraged a "metanoia" experience to describe the same effect, but at the time it was all Greek to me!

I experienced a spiritual awakening at a Cursillo weekend years ago, and others have had their lives changed similarly. When one comes to "know" the Lord in a personal way, He becomes the most important aspect of life.

Many, I am quite sure, are strongly inspired to evangelise others similarly, and to induce them to join evangelical communities. Some become leaders and pastors. I met one recently - a Marist old-boy like myself - who is now a world-travelling Pentecostal evangelist and author.

I think it tragic that we Catholics do not understand this dynamic. John Paul II did, for he learned it from Campus Crusade evangelists as a young priest, and adapted those techniques to a movement he called "Oasis" to evangelise Polish youth.

He called for a "decade of evangelisation" leading up to 2000 but apparently few knew what that meant or what to do. Nothing happened. At least not in my neck of the woods.

When the Redemptorist Fr T. Forrest (the Pope's man for Lumen 2000) arrived in Brisbane, his meeting was held in a Uniting Church and the MC was the Pastor of the largest Pentecostal church in Brisbane. Catholics were notably absent.

Our pastors seem to look on this subject as an American form of emotionalism. Instead, we should be learning from Billy Graham's techniques that have changed millions of lives.

MICHAEL DUNLEA
Mt Gravatt, Qld

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