Brazil’s Presbyterian Ministers Condemn Prejudice and Arrogance by Cessationist Theologian Augustus Nicodemus Against Pentecostals
By Julio Severo
Rev. Augustus Nicodemus was interviewed by the Brazilian leftist newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, which is notoriously against evangelicals. The interview followed the newspaper’s own profile, with many attacks on evangelicals, mainly Pentecostals.
Despite the attacks on Pentecostals, Nicodemus is a prominent speaker on VINACC (known today simply as National Vision of Calvinist Awareness). He is also the only Brazilian Calvinist to speak at the Ligonier National Conference, a Calvinist event of R. C. Sproul bringing together cessationist Calvinists from all over the world.
Cessionism is heresy that says that prophecies, revelations and other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased 2,000 years ago.
Probably, the cessationist heresy has made Nicodemus to have views hostile to Pentecostals and charismatics.
Although traditionally the Presbyterian Church of Brazil has never condemned the hostility of Nicodemus against Pentecostals, important changes are coming from prominent Presbyterian ministers.
As soon as Nicodemus interview was published by Folha de S. Paulo on April 6, 2021, Rev. André Mendonça, a Presbyterian pastor who had been previously chosen as Minister of Justice by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, said:
“Unfortunate the prejudiced and arrogant form with which Augustus Nicodemus refers to Pentecostals. Millions of lives have been saved through Pentecostal churches. They give bread to the hungry, they cry with those who cry and are the spiritual first-aid clinic of those who have nothing.”
“Brazil owes much to Pentecostals! They take the Gospel to prisons, slums, villages and riverside villages. They are where religious elitists have no willingness to be.”
Other important Presbyterian ministers also condemned the arrogance and prejudice of Nicodemus against Pentecostals. Rev. Milton Ribeiro, who is pastor in the Presbyterian Church of Brazil and Minister of Education in the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, said:
“As Presbyterian Pastor and Minister of State, although respecting the right of each one to express his opinion, I cannot agree and I was saddened by the way a Presbyterian pastor referred to my Pentecostal brothers. He spoke exclusively in his name and not on behalf of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, which officially makes its pronouncements through his councils and through his highest leadership.”
Minister Ribeiro added:
“Our Pentecostal brothers are often, and in many ways, example for me in terms of dedication, consecration and altruism for the cause of the Gospel. In a time in which part of the media tries to destroy the values and principles of the Gospel, we should emphasize what unites us: God, family and homeland. We are all heirs of Pentecost. I’m also Pentecostal.”
The attitude of Presbyterian ministers condemning the arrogance and prejudice of Nicodemus against Pentecostals is commendable.
The hostility of Nicodemus against Pentecostals and charismatics contrasts strongly with his lack of hostility toward Brazil’s biggest Marxist theologians. For example, when in 2012 I denounced that Bishop Robinson Cavalcanti, who had been murdered by his own son who was a drug user, was the most important Marxist evangelical personality in Brazil, without any need Nicodemus, Renato Vargens, Euder Faber, Franklin Ferreira and other Calvinists started a war against me to protect the image from the murdered communist.
Unintentionally, Nicodemus exalted Pentecostalism. In 2018, Socialist candidate Fernando Haddad, who lost to Jair Bolsonaro, confessed that the great cause of his defeat was Pentecostalism and the prosperity gospel. But if Nicodemus is right in his argument that Pentecostalism and the prosperity gospel must be eliminated, the obvious consequence is that Bolsonaro will also be eliminated and socialists as Haddad will have much more chances of conquering power.
While Nicodemus and his cessationist fans are not known for engaging in the cultural war, mainly against abortion and gay agenda, their charismatic victims are well known for denouncing Marxism, abortion and gay agenda.
It was very commendable for Minister Milton Ribeiro to condemn the arrogance of Nicodemus. Since he took the stance of defending and helping Pentecostals, I would like also to help him. He has several times praised and recommended Carlos Nadalim, an esoteric extremist in the Ministry of Education who published a video with antievangelical writers. Praising the malice and extremism of Nadalim is as unfit as praising the arrogance and prejudice of Nicodemus against Pentecostals.
Portuguese version of this article: Pastores presbiterianos condenam preconceito e soberba do teólogo cessacionista Augustus Nicodemus contra pentecostais
Source: Last Days Watchman
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