A major evangelical megachurch has just consecrated their church to the Sacred Heart of Jesus according to a report:
During a recent Friday night service, a pastor at New Life Church, an evangelical Protestant megachurch in Colorado Springs, CO, reportedly led the congregation in something you wouldn’t normally expect: the Sign of the Cross and a prayer of a consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Redditer /u/MarvelDCgoodwithme, who is Catholic, explained on the /r/Catholicism subreddit that his Protestant mother attends the church and thought the prayer sounded Catholic. So she took pictures of a few of the slides with the prayer, which you can see at the bottom of this article.
And sure enough, it’s a prayer for consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1899! The slides also have a picture of the statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.
“She said it happened after the sermon,” the redditer explained in a private message, “the pastor presented the slides and asked the congregation to read the pray and if they agreed with it to pray it with him. The pastor also closed his prayers with the sign of the cross.”
We’ve reached out to New Life Church to learn more about their thinking in using the prayer but haven’t yet received a response.
New Life Church was founded in 1984 and has about 10,000 members. It was in the news in the early 2000s when its founding pastor Ted Haggard admitted to using drugs and regularly visiting a male escort. He was also later accused of making unwanted sexual advances on a young man in his 20s at the church. After Haggard was dismissed from his position, the church appointed a new pastor Brady Boyd who has since greatly expand the church’s reach. (source)
Protestantism began as a protest against certain legitimate abuses in the Catholic Church. However, the movement was almost immediately subverted and used by power-hungry men to divide Christendom and sever the power of the Church through the creation of nationalized Churches by sponsoring local heretics and revolutionaries. Martin Luther’s protests were backed by noblemen and the Ottoman Empire, who while superficially allowed for the spread of heresy, fundamentally gave birth to a national church in which obedience to the state was made synonymous with being a good Christian that gave way to innumerable horrors. A similar situation happened in the UK, except that the King created a national Church by proclaiming himself to be his own pope in the form of illegally mandating that the King is also the head of the Church. Other revolutionaries such as Calvin and later sects sought to designate their own leaders as the “head” of their “churches,” and so divorced religion completely from state life in terms of belief and attempted to create theocratic communities, only to fall into more division owing to a lack of ability to identify who has the authority to interpret divinely revealed truth.
The result was the same no matter where it went, which was the fracturing and weakening of Christendom so that Christianity could be more easily attacked by ideologies such as secularism, atheism, or even other heretical sects. In a political sense, the result was that the Church as barrier between the rulers and the ruled as it traditionally served grew thinner until it disappeared, with the Church being an extension of the government until eventually even they were cast off, as the men in government realized that if they could define morality on their own terms, then the church was little more than a redundant, archaic mouthpiece for their views.
Many good Christian people were deceived by the Protestant revolutionaries, for much of the “protests” that the Protestants spoke of were either legitimate abuses of power that took place in the Church and were not being addressed, or in terms of teaching were the result of poor or bad teaching. While certainly there were evil men, especially among much of the leadership of the Protestant movement, it was not as distinctly so among the common people. As the movement gained strength, many good Protestant people, even Protestant missionaries, spread their beliefs with the full intention that what they were doing, especially with their attacks against the Catholic Church, was obedience to God.
There are many good Protestant people who love God and want to serve Him in truth. These are not charlatan preachers or those who seek fame, but truly good people whose intentions may be misguided but are genuine in that they want to do what is right because it is right.
I am reminded of a story of a man I know who was similar to this. I’ll call him David.
David was born in to a good Baptist and Pentecostal family in the Midwest. He wanted to be a preacher because he loved God and promised to search for truth regardless of where it took him. In short, over the next 40 years he worked as a preacher and a missionary, and he was particularly aggressive in “confronting” Catholics and by his own estimates, lead several hundred people out of the Church. However, David never stopped reading, he went to church regularly, and he would spend hours praying, for his sincere desire was to seek and do the will of God.
In 2009, after spending many years reading the early Church Fathers and much time in prayer, he entered into the Catholic Church and even reached out to people he lead away from the Catholic Church to tell them he was wrong and bring them back. He has brought his son and his six grandchildren into the Church, and more are following. David, a sincerely good Protestant who desired to do the will of God, never thought he would find himself EVER at the very church he so ardently preached against, but sure enough out of His love for God and desire to seek and know Him, it was the very place he was lead to.
David says that he prayed with many people and saw many people have experiences that changed their lives, or as many Protestants call it, “get saved.” Now that he has become Catholic, he says he sees “being saved” as something that involves three parts:
-‘I am saved by grace through Faith, and then desiring and seeking Baptism’
-‘I am being saved by living a life that is in accordance with the will of God, seeking to live as He desires’
-‘I pray that I will be saved by God because salvation is a gift of God and not something that man can demand of him’
God became man so that by His grace, man might become like Him, that those who would call on His name would be saved. The Catholic Church is indeed the Ark of the Covenant, and that just as those who were within the ark during the days of Noah were saved from the flood, so is the Church God’s chosen vessel to bring salvation to those who seek refuge within her. That said, there are many people of good will who are outside of the ark and who God wishes to bring back into His fold as much as there are many people who are within the ark who as one can see are being asked if they wish to remain in the ark.
The One, True, Holy God is not the God of the Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, or other Pagans. He is Holy, He is Just, He is Mercy, He is Love, and as history has shown through countless examples, He does not fail men who seek after Him with a genuine heart and seeks to guide them to Him, even if the way must be long, twisting, and difficult.
What these Protestants did at this Church is more Catholic than many Catholic Churches, and they are to be commended for it.
Continue to pray for this particular church, that through their desire to be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus they so love that they would be guided to the Church that He founded and over which He promised the gates of hell would not prevail.
Let all of Us Christians, regardless of our differences, never cease to pray for one and other that finally we would all again be one so, that with one, unified voice, we may praise God and give Him His just thanks for His coming to us that we might be able to be ever happy with Him.