“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24:24
Tertullian is not a canonized saint. Tertullian wrote some of the best composed defenses of Christianity in the early Church. Tertullian defended the Church from Gnosticism and Paganism with great energy. Tertullian has sometimes been seen as the Theological Father of the early Latin Church even as much as Sts. Augustine and Ambrose.
Yet, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus has never been a canonized saint.
This is not a case like that of Origen, who died a martyr’s death only to have his less fortunate speculations dug up long after (leading to a condemnation centuries after he was unable to deliver apologies or clarification). No, while Tertullian lived he fully endorsed a heresy that has barred him from any hope of canonization regardless of whatever actually happened at his judgement day.
And the heresy he endorsed, like the “First Order” in the new “Star Wars” films, has seen a recent re-emergence from copycats. The Montanist heresy has returned… After nearly 1800 years, it has returned bigger, badder, and far more effective than its predecessor.
“a recent convert, Montanus by name, through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave the adversary opportunity against him. And he became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning. Some of those who heard his spurious utterances at that time were indignant, and they rebuked him as one that was possessed, and that was under the control of a demon, and was led by a deceitful spirit, and was distracting the multitude; and they forbade him to talk, remembering the distinction drawn by the Lord and his warning to guard watchfully against the coming of false prophets. But others imagining themselves possessed of the Holy Spirit and of a prophetic gift, were elated and not a little puffed up; and forgetting the distinction of the Lord, they challenged the mad and insidious and seducing spirit, and were cheated and deceived by him. In consequence of this, he could no longer be held in check, so as to keep silence. Thus by artifice, or rather by such a system of wicked craft, the devil, devising destruction for the disobedient, and being unworthily honored by them, secretly excited and inflamed their understandings which had already become estranged from the true faith. And he stirred up besides two women, and filled them with the false spirit, so that they talked wildly and unreasonably and strangely, like the person already mentioned. And the spirit pronounced them blessed as they rejoiced and gloried in him, and puffed them up by the magnitude of his promises. But sometimes he rebuked them openly in a wise and faithful manner, that he might seem to be a reprover. But those of the Phrygians that were deceived were few in number. “And the arrogant spirit taught them to revile the entire universal Church under heaven, because the spirit of false prophecy received neither honor from it nor entrance into it. For the faithful in Asia met often in many places throughout Asia to consider this matter, and examined the novel utterances and pronounced them profane, and rejected the heresy, and thus these persons were expelled from the Church and debarred from communion.”
– Eusebeus of Caesarea
Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: “Behold this is new!” for it has already gone before in the ages that were before us. There is no remembrance of former things: nor indeed of those things which hereafter are to come, shall there be any remembrance with them that shall be in the latter end. Vanity of Vanities, all is vanity.
I have met the charismatics. I have had “hands laid on me” by one of their lay followers (to zero effect). I have studied and had explained to me how they intend to learn the Charisms of the Holy Spirit.
What they do is not from Christ. It is not of the Holy Spirit. It is man-made concoction.
They purport that by praying a prayer faster and faster the sound that results is a “spoken tongue”. Aside from the blasphemous act of saying the words of a prayer fast instead of… you know, praying it, I would like to point out what anyone with uncommon common sense would; saying “I am the very model of a modern major-general” extraordinarily fast and “in the spirit” will not give me the ability to speak Sanskrit. If, at point in my life, I do begin to speak Sanskrit I would hope that someone with me has the ability to procure a genuine exorcist quickly.
They claim that the final act to be a member of their group involves one of their number laying hands on an initiate to give them the charisms. Aside from the fact that I know from experience that this act gives no spiritual power, it dogmatically sets an opposition to the Holy Orders of the Church: a neo-Protestant “ordaining” so some laity with weak foundations in the Faith can go out to LARP and pretend they are the apostles.
Nothing they do has any power in the spiritual realm. When one has a genuine spiritual experience, they know. Anyone who has had any real contact with a spirit, whether good or malevolent, can affirm that the charismatic movement is just pretending by grown adults.
Why would it be anything else? Why would the Holy Spirit grace with his charisms a bunch of thrill-seekers gathered in a room looking for an emotional experience? Why would He give His gifts to those who demand them and use psychological quasi-sorcery to “obtain” them?
He never has given them to such as these. All those who have been blessed with the charisms were those holy enough to not want them. Every saint (and there are quite a few) who ever spoke in tongues did so when God chose to give them it as an unasked-for gift and to suit a specific need: addressing to Christians of many languages (St. Anthony of Padua), giving spiritual strength to Christians who sought them out (St. Paul of the Cross), or to preach to non-believers (the Apostles on Pentecost and many others). Never did any saint seek for fame or worldly renown for this gift. St. Dominic even charged one of his monastic brothers to keep secret an instance where they spoke in tongues until the saint died “lest the people should take us for Saints who are but sinners.”
Where is this spirit in the Neo-Montanists of today? Nowhere. Their acts are never done in secret, are never done for the intents of converting those who they cannot communicate with, and often result in the weaker of them having ecstatic flights of imagination with no spirituality whatsoever.
And, what of the excuse, “But it is approved by the Church! You have to accept it!”
Are we bound to accept that the act of digging up a corpse to put it on trial is a good one? Were Christians ever bound to kiss the Q’ran, murder our enemies, set up “vigilance councils” in our parishes to denounce “modernists”, or endorse Arianism just because that was the bad example set by some clerical authorities? If your mother and father rob a bank, are you bound to follow their lead?
No, it is the duty of a Christian to try to stay true to the objective orthodox truth of the Church. It is our duty to first tend to the well-being of our own soul and then to resist heresy when we see it.
Stay true to Faith and never let the evils of the world uproot the Charity in your hearts.
Until next time, this has been your sinful vigilante.