Pentecostal Christians believe that salvation is by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone but they definitely lean towards the Arminian side of the Arminius-Calvin debate and believe those who accept Christ can lose their salvation. At the other end of the spectrum are Calvinists who believe those who are drawn to Christ can never forsake Him and will persevere until the end.
But let’s get to our main point. Pentecostals and their Charismatic cousins place very strong emphasis on the “gifts of the Spirit.” There is an expectation (actually a requirement in some Pentecostal churches) that those who genuinely accept Christ will “speak in tongues” and that many others will manifest additional gifts including “healing” and “prophecy.” I’m a “cessationist” and believe the apostolic gifts so evident in the early church ceased after the time of the Apostles. Certainly I accept that the Lord is as capable of performing miracles today as he was in 40 A.D. but the reason for tongues has ended and no one is physically raising anyone from the dead these days (Acts 9:36-41 and Acts 20:9-10). But the Pentecostals’ belief in and prioritization of the continuance of the apostolic gifts has led to an unfortunate Catch-22.
In 1967, a couple of Duquesne (Catholic) University professors received the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and “spoke in tongues.” The movement spread throughout Catholicism like wildfire and grew to become Catholic Charismatic Renewal with over 160 million participants worldwide. In addition to the “gifts of the Spirit” the movement encouraged the kind of Bible study usually found only among Evangelicals. When Charismatic Catholics were exposed to God’s Word (many for the first time) more than a few discovered salvation was NOT by sacramental grace and merit as the Catholic church teaches but by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Scores of Charismatic Catholics left the church for Pentecostal or Charismatic fellowships. That’s the good part.
Now here’s the bad part. Pentecostals and Charismatics observed that many Catholics were now “speaking in tongues,” “practicing healings,” “prophesying,” and being “slain in the spirit.” Catholic Charismatics loyal to the church still believed in justification via sacramental grace and merit (works) but because they demonstrated the requisite “gifts” Pentecostals had no choice but to disregard the unbridgeable differences in justification doctrine and accept works-righteous Catholics as “brothers in Christ.” Works-righteousness Catholicism had established a bridgehead into Evangelicalism and the results have been tragic and far-reaching. In the interest of “Christian unity” doctrine has been ignored and replaced with shared emotional experientialism. Several times the current pope has publicly spoken of his appreciation for Catholic Charismatic Renewal as the vanguard in the crusade for dialogue and unification with Evangelicals. Even some Baptists and Reformed are beginning to embrace Rome.
“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough” (Galatians 5:9).
AG Pastor: Pentecostals and Catholics Have ‘Many Points of Agreement’ About Gifts of the Spirit