The leader of an enormous Protestant congregation in Sweden and throughout Europe recently stunned his followers when he announced that his “protestant prejudices” had been challenged and that he believed it was Jesus Himself leading him into the Roman Catholic Church.
The Christian Post is reporting that Ulf Ekman of the Word of Life ministry in Sweden announced that he and his wife Birgitta have converted to Roman Catholicism.
According to his website, the couple had been in contact with Catholics and the Catholic faith both in Sweden and internationally, interactions that caused them to “reflect more on the Catholic faith and on the spiritual life they have seen in their Catholic brothers and sisters.”
Ekman and his wife were impressed by the great love for Jesus and the sound theology based on Scripture which they found in the Catholics they met.
“We have experienced the richness of sacramental life. We have seen the logic in having a solid structure for priesthood, that keeps the faith of the church and passes it on from one generation to the next,” he explained. “We have met an ethical and moral strength and consistency that dare to face up to the general opinion, and a kindness towards the poor and the weak. And, last but not least, we have come in contact with representatives for millions of charismatic Catholics we have seen their living faith.”
Ekman writes: “It really challenged our protestant prejudices, and we realized that we, in many cases, did not have any basis for our criticism of them. We needed to know the Catholic faith better. This led us to the realize that it was actually Jesus Christ who led us to unite with the Catholic Church.”
The world-renowned pastor is walking away from a large charismatic organization which he started in Uppsala, Sweden 30 years ago. Not only is it Scandinavia’s biggest church building, his ministry has gone global and reaches all over Europe, in to the former Soviet Union and regions of Asia. His teachings have been recorded in books that can be read in 60 different languages.
Ekman said his decision is personal and he does not expect the Word of Life congregation to also embrace Catholicism.
“We love the church that we have been a part of building and serving for the last thirty years, and we could never be anything but grateful for the time we have had together,” Ekman said, “but we have felt a clear calling from the Lord to take this new step.”
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