For the past four years many members, former members and bible school students of the Word of Life church in Sweden, pastored by Ulf Ekman, has expressed a growing concern about Ulf Ekmans fascination with Roman Catholicism. Although Ekman himself claims his calling remains the same as before – to teach the Word of faith message in Sweden and around the world, many have noted a gradual change at the church, once so radically teaching an evangelical message. During the peak of what many Swedes perceived as a spiritual revival or renewal, Word of Life was freed of icons, crucifixes and religious symbols, reminding us of the heavy yoke of Catholicism. The congregation was clearly wanting to be an extension of the reformation and all the revivalist teachers thats followed in it’s path.
Little by little teaching against the Maria cult, papism and traditions of men has been removed from Word of Life bookshelves and replaced by newer more catholic-friendly material. Ulf Ekmans earlier book on the subject ”Doctrines” with a clear stance against the Roman Catholic influence in Christianity has been replaced with a newer revised Catholic-friendly edition. Trips to Rome are being arranged by key ministers in the congregation and Ulf Ekman himself is flirting openly with both traditional Catholic leaders and Catholic Charismatic movement representatives around the world.
As our only two Swedish Christian newspapers are silent in this matter (one of them Ekman controlled), conversations about what is happening at Word of Life has moved to chats among members, supporters and former supporters, blogs and other internet forums. Perhaps the conversations partially got started after information leaked a few years back that a large donation was given by Mr and Mrs Ekman to Enhetens Kyrka (”Church of Unity”) an organisation that has pledged to gather all Christians under the Popes authority. When the senior Pastor (Mr Ekman) sold his house last year the Real Estate pictures on the internet (now removed) showed religious icons in nearly every room of the Ekman villa, to the surprise of many evangelicals in Sweden.
Ulf Ekman: Pope Leo XIII’s prayer behind the charismatic revival
During an ecumenical meeting 2008 Pastor Ulf Ekman told the leader of the ”Church of Unity” (Ceaserius Cavallin) that the holy spirit called upon by Pope Leo XIII’s prayer at the turn of the last century, is now getting a hold of Christianity. Messages like this along with sermons proclaiming Mary eternally virgin and many, many other strange signals coming from a minister many thought once professing to be evangelical, has left many wondering what is really going on at Word of Life fellowship.
Roman Catholic garden patron at Ulf Ekmans residence caused an uproar on aletheia.se
After an anonomous photographer sent pictures of a small statue of virgin Mary in the senior pastors personal garden the commentsection of Aletheia.se went wild. Many are upset over the possibility that the photographer may have jumped the fence to get a clear picture, most readers are more upset over what in the world is going on in Ekmans spititual life.
Mrs Ekmans confirmation
Mrs Ekman confirms the patron in her garden in a comment, but denies their intention is to get any kind of protection by the Madonna who traditionally is used for just this purpose by millions of Catholics around the world.
”Yes, yes, I have set this rusty little garden decoration of Mary in my flowerbed. They are a ”fad” now and can be found in many homes and garden stores … …. The idéa that we would have placed the little statue (in our garden) as ”protection” of our home is really a comic and bizarre conjecture. ”
Let us hope that there is naivety and ignorance behind Birgittas statement as it doesn’t take much research to se who stood model for this ”innocent” garden ornament: http://www.stmaryolg.org/patron.html
Catholic TV-preacher, Patti Mansfield, confirms that Ulf Ekmans fascination with the virgin Mary is more than a garden ornament
In the middle of the heated blog-discussion, in which many defends the former evangelical minister, aletheia.se received a new e-mail tip where a well know Catholic minister talks about her meeting with Ulf Ekman in Rome, and in a very strong way confirms the worry that many in Swedish Christianity has about the new path Word of Life leadership has taken lately. Pastor Ekman himself confirms meeting with her in one of many Church publications a while back. For one reason or another he failed to mention the subject of their conversation now revealed by Patti Mansfield.
(Here is the unedited original sermon: http://www.catholictv.com/videos/videos.aspx?videoID=1244 The part about Pastor Ekman about 32 min into the teaching)
Former Word of Life teacher Mary Alice Isleib writes this on facebook in response to the Aletheia.se clip:
”Interesting thoughts here from a friend on what we have been hearing is coming out of Pastor Ulf Ekman’s ministry in Sweden…a strong bend toward Rome? If the video is really talking about Pst. Ulf, it is concerning”
Another US blogger (George Bakalov) writes this:
…I receive this video clip of a Catholic lady revealing details of her exchange with him in Rome. The central theme here is the veneration of Mary and Patti Mansfield’s fascination with how deep this Scandinavian pastor is into Mary. This has yet to be confirmed, but from her description it appears she is talking about him. She is either a total liar and making this whole thing up (unlikely; why would she be?), or she is indeed talking about Ulf. There simply isn’t any other non-denominational pastor of a Scandinavian mega-church who has a university and is known to have been making many trips to Rome in the last few years. Also, Charisma Magazine ran an article on Ulf Ekman’s turn to Rome back in 2008 (link: http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/news/19439). [Ulf’s office was furious and called Charisma’s editors, upset about why they published the article without first checking with Ulf. Uh, freedom of speech probably?]
Anyway, this whole thing won’t go away as we witness yet one more preacher slip into Rome’s embrace, looking for significance in the religious world… …The big issue here is Ulf Ekman’s covert alignment with Rome. The honorable thing would be for him to make his position regarding Mary worship known so everyone is in the clear what his objectives are. However, I doubt he will do that because he wants on one hand to maintain his influence with non-denominational, Charismatic Christians…
…Phew, it feels good not to be part of this charade!
Read all of George Bakalov’s blog here: http://georgebakalov.net/is-this-lady-talking-about-ulf-ekman-it-appea
Although many, many Word of Life affiliates and friends of the ministry wants to believe there has been no change in the ministry’s vision there are now way to many questionmarks to ignore the appearent change of direction. For those of you that have been touched by Word of Life, Sweden in any way – please pray for Ulf and Birgitta Ekman, Associate pastor Robert Ek and the rest of the church leadership
In His service
Word of Life bible school student 1988-1989
[Quick summary of Aletheia Blog & Thinktank: Aletheia.se was founded in the fall of 2007 in response to the strong current towards Rome in the new Ecumenical movement in Sweden and the christian newspapers failure to seriously deal with the many questions arising as a result. Aletheia.se is a non-denomenational, no-profit site with no links to any one ministry, minister or organisation. Three years in a row (since being launched) Aletheia is the most read non-professional christian site in Sweden and according to inflytande.se the second most influencial christian blog in Sweden.]
Other english blogs on this subject: