Charismatic movement

Charismatic movement

The term charismatic movement describes the adoption, from the early twentieth century onwards, of certain beliefs typical of those held by Pentecostal Christians — specifically what are known as the biblical charisms or spiritual gifts: e.g. glossolalia (speaking in tongues), prophesying, supernatural healing — by those within mainstream Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

Charismatic is an umbrella term used to describe those Christians who believe that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit seen in the first century Christian Church, such as miracles, prophecy, and glossolalia (speaking in other tongues or languages), are available to contemporary Christians and may be experienced and practiced today. The word "charismatic" is derived from the Greek word _gr. χάρισμα ("gift," itself derived from _gr. χάρις, "grace" or "favor") which is the term used in the Bible, bibleverse|1|Corinthians|12-14|NRSV.

Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement

Broadly speaking, the term "Pentecostal" refers to that set of denominations that arose out of the 1906 Azusa Street Revival, and so are mainly situated historically, whereas "charismatic" refers to a particular set of beliefs surrounding the use of spiritual gifts, so the charismatic movement is situated theologically.fact|date=October 2008 So while many charismatic Christians went on to form separate churches and denominations, the over-riding characteristic of the charismatic movement was the willingness of charismatics to remain within their original denominations.

They share major narratives, such as the way God works in revival, and the power and presence of God evidenced in the daily life of the believer. Many churches influenced by the charismatic movement deliberately distanced themselves from Pentecostalism for cultural and theological reasons, the foremost theological reason being the tendency of many Pentecostals to insist that speaking in tongues is necessary for both baptism in the Spirit and conversion.Fact|date=September 2008

Charismatic theology finds its roots in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition.fact|date=October 2008 Additionally, many in the charismatic movement employ contemporary styles of worship, and innovative, modern methods of outreach.



In the USA the writings of John Fletcher were influential in beginning this movement, which was sparked by the Azusa Street Revival in California, which took place in 1906.

Shortly afterwards, in 1907, Pentecostalism spread to the UK in the Anglican church of All Saints, Monkwearmouth, Sunderland through its vicar Alexander Boddy. [cite book
title=An Introduction to Pentecostalism
publisher=Cambridge University Press


While it is difficult to locate the place and time charismatic Christianity began to influence the mainstream churches, Dennis Bennett, an American Episcopalian, is often cited as the movement's seminal influence. Bennett was the Rector at St Mark's Episcopal Church in Van Nuys, California when he announced to the congregation in 1960 that he had received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Soon after this he was ministering in Vancouver where he ran many workshops and seminars about the work of the Holy Spirit. [cite web|url=|title=Anglican Pioneer in Renewal|accessdate=2008-01-31] This influenced tens of thousands of Anglicans worldwide and also began a renewal movement within the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.

In the 1960s and 1970s there was a renewed interest in the supernatural "gifts of the Spirit" in mainstream churches such as the Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, Anglican, and Catholic churches. In the United Kingdom, Colin Urquhart, Michael Harper, David Watson and others were in the vanguard of similar developments. Meanwhile in the USA the Catholic Charismatic Renewal was focused in individuals like Kevin Ranaghan and others at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Dennis Bennett was Ranaghan's counterpart in the Episcopal Church. The Roman Catholic Duquesne University in Pittsburgh began hosting charismatic revivals in 1977, which coincided with Jimmy Carter's election and the "born from above" or "born again" explosion.

Additionally, the Charismatic movement was a significant part of the Jesus movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s in the USA and other western countries, in which thousands of young people disillusioned with the drugs and free sex culture of the time found faith in Christ. Forward thinking pastors like Chuck Smith brought the 'bare-foot hippie kids' into his church, seeing dramatic deliverances from drugs, and birthing the contemporary worship and contemporary Christian music genres.

In both the UK and New Zealand there was significant overlap between charismatic ex-Brethren and those of mainstream churches. Brethren men such as Campbell McAlpine and Arthur Wallis visited New Zealand for the renowned Massey conference in 1964. This was attended by several Anglicans including, the Rev. Ray Muller who went on to invite Dennis Bennett to New Zealand in 1966, and played a leading role in developing and promoting the "Life in the Spirit" seminars. Other leaders in the New Zealand movement included Baptist Wyn Fountain and Auckland Anglican Ken Prebble. [Lineham, Peter (1982), Tongues Must Cease.] [Knowles, Brett (1999), New Life: The New Life Churches of New Zealand: 1942-1979]

The charismatic renewal movement in the Eastern Orthodox Church never exerted the influence that it did in other mainstream churches. Individual priests, such as Fr. Eusebius Stephanou of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America, founder of the Brotherhood of St. Symeon the New Theologian, Fr. Athanasius Emmert of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese and Fr. Boris Zabrodsky of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, founder of the Service Committee for Orthodox Spiritual Renewal (SCOSR) which published "Theosis" Newsletter, were some of the more prominent leaders of the charismatic renewal in Orthodoxy.

On an international level, David du Plessis along with a host of others (including Lutheran and even Southern Baptist ministers) promoted the movement. The latter did not last long with their denominations, either volunteering to leave or being asked to do so. But in the Episcopal and Catholic churches priests were permitted to continue on in their parishes, provided they did not allow these concerns to create major divisions within their congregations.


While there are many charismatic Christians within established denominations, others have left to join more progressive Pentecostal churches or formed their own churches or denominations. The house church movement in the UK and the Vineyard movement in the U.S. are examples of a formal charismatic structure. The Hillsong Church in Australia is an example of a Pentecostal church that has embraced charismatic belief and practices, which has, in turn, influenced the Australian Assemblies of God denomination. In New Zealand, a major Pentecostal movement is the New Life Churches, although other local and international Pentecostal denominations are also well established.

Since the mid 1980s, the charismatic movement has made some notable changes in its theology and emphases. This process has been termed "The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit" and has been typified by the ministry of C. Peter Wagner, John Wimber, and the Toronto blessing phenomenon. In the 80's, two distinct groups of charismatic Christians emerged: Those with a more evangelical emphasis, such as the Vineyard and many independent groups and those following Word-faith Theology (mostly centered around Kenneth W. Hagin and RHEMA Churches). Key charismatic figures such as John Wimber and others are critical of Word-faith and the "prosperity gospel."

In the 1990s, many leaders (such as John Paul Jackson) and Churches started re-considering their traditional charismatic emphasis on Spiritual Warfare (moving from 'binding spirits' to praying that the Holy Spirit would move).


The charismatic movement has grown in the last decade. As of 2008, according to Barna surveys, one out of every four Protestant churches in the United States (23%) is a charismatic congregation. A slight majority of all born again Christians (51%) are charismatic. Nearly half of all adults who attend a Protestant church (46%) are charismatic. ["Barna Group," [ "Is American Christianity Turning Charismatic?"] Accessed 29 January, 2008.]

Since 2000, charismatic Christians have begun to focus more on prayer, fasting and continual prayer and worshipFact|date=May 2008.

The practice of praying for the sick has generally been an integral element of charismatic doctrine.Fact|date=May 2008 Many churches offer special times to receive healing prayer during or after after a service; this may be conducted by individuals or the congregation as a whole.fact|date=October 2008

The goal of the full restoration of the fivefold ministry (Evangelists, Pastors, Apostles, Prophets and Teachers) has become another large focus these groups.which? Many believe that the church will not function properly and see the fullness of what God has for it, unless all five positions are functioningFact|date=May 2008.

The 2006 documentary film "Jesus Camp" provided a window into one facet of the charismatic movement, though this heightened focus on 'training' children for spiritual warfare, while not uncommon, is probably not representative of the larger Charismatic movement.

Reformed Charismatics

A more recent trend is the inclusion of Charismatic elements in more traditionally Calvinist or Reformed Theology.fact|date=October 2008 Reformed Charismatics, on the whole, reject the 'prosperity gospel' and distance themselves from movements that display over-emotional tendencies such as Word of Faith, Toronto Blessing, Brownsville Revival and Todd Bentley revivals.fact|date=October 2008

Reformed Charismatics, though convinced believers in the modern practice of all of the gifts of the Spirit, attempt to keep the primary focus on the cross of Christ, and the gospel.fact|date=October 2008

Roman Catholicism

Since the 1960s there has been a burgeoning charismatic movement within the Roman Catholic Church.fact|date=October 2008 Pope John Paul II was reputed to have had a charismatic priest as his personal pastorFact|date=October 2008 although there is little evidence that the Pope himself was "charismatic" or spoke in tonguesFact|date=May 2008. On many occasions he was reported as saying "long life to the Charismatics".when?

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) has added his voice to Pope John Paul II in acknowledging the good occurring in the Charismatic Renewal and providing some cautions.when?fact|date=October 2008

In a forward to a 1983 book by Léon Joseph Cardinal Suenens, at that time the Pope's delegate to the Charismatic Renewalwhat?, the Prefectwhat? comments on the Post-Conciliarwhat? period stating, cquote|At the heart of a world imbued with a rationalistic skepticism, a new experience of the Holy Spirit suddenly burst forth. And, since then, that experience has assumed a breadth of a worldwide Renewal movement. What the New Testament tells us about the Charisms - which were seen as visible signs of the coming of the Spirit - is not just ancient history, over and done with, for it is once again becoming extremely topical. andcquote|to those responsible for the ecclesiastical ministry - from parish priests to bishops - not to let the Renewal pass them by but to welcome it fully; and on the other (hand) ... to the members of the Renewal to cherish and maintain their link with the whole Church and with the Charisms of their pastors. [cite book
title=Renewal and the Powers of Darkness (Malines document)
first=Léon Joseph
authorlink=Leo Joseph Suenens
publisher=Darton, Longman and Todd

In the Roman Catholic church, the movement became particularly popular in the Filipino and Hispanic communities of the United States, in the Philippines itself, and in Latin America, mainly Brazil. Travelling priests and lay people associated with the movement often visit parishes and sing what are known as charismatic masses. It is thought to be the second largest distinct sub-movement within Roman Catholicism, along with Traditional Catholicism. It presents a difficult situation for many Church authorities, who, as always, must be careful to admit innovation only where it is clear the innovation is consistent with the Bible and the teachings of the Church.

A further difficulty is the tendency for many charismatic Catholics to take on what others in the Roman Church might consider sacramental language and assertions of the necessity of "Baptism in the Holy Spirit," as a universal act. This causes difficulty as there is little to distinguish the "Baptism" from the sacrament of confirmation. [McDonnell, Killian & Montague, George T. "Christian Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit: Evidence from the First Eight Centuries." Michael Glazier Books: 1994, Collegeville, MN]

The "Compendium to the Catechism of the Catholic Church" states:

160. What are Charisms? 799-801. Charisms are special gifts of the Holy Spirit which are bestowed on individuals for the good of others, the needs of the world, and in particular for the building up of the Church. The discernment of charisms is the responsibility of the Magisterium.

Seventh-day Adventist

A minority of Seventh-day Adventists today are charismatic. They are strongly associated with those holding more "progressive" Adventist beliefs. In the early decades of the church charismatic or ecstatic phenomena were commonplace. [cite web
last = Patrick
first = Arthur
authorlink = Arthur Patrick
title = Early Adventist worship, Ellen White and the Holy Spirit: Preliminary Historical Perspectives
work = Spiritual Discernment Conference
publisher = SDAnet AtIssue
date = c. 1999
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-15
] [cite web
last = Patrick
first = Arthur
authorlink = Arthur Patrick
title = Later Adventist Worship, Ellen White and the Holy Spirit: Further Historical Perspectives
work = Spiritual Discernment Conference
publisher = SDAnet AtIssue
date = c. 1999
url =
format =
doi =
accessdate = 2008-02-15

Theologians and scholars

*Jay N. Forrest
*Wayne Grudem (Reformed)
*Bill Johnson
*C. J. Mahaney (Reformed)
*Kevin Ranaghan
*C. Peter Wagner
*J. Rodman Williams
*John Wimber
*James Goll

ee also



Further reading

*Deere, Jack. "Surprised by the Power of the Spirit"
*Grudem, Wayne. "The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today"
*Wimber, John. "Power Evangelism"
*Johnson, Bill. "When Heaven Invades Earth"

*MacArthur, John. "Charismatic Chaos"
*Hanegraaff, Hank. "Counterfeit Revival"
*Gardiner, George E. "Corinthian Catastrophe"
*Warfield, B. B. "Counterfeit Miracles"
*Gaffin, Richard B. "Perspectives on Pentecost"
*O. Palmer Robertson "Final Word" A response to Wayne Grudem
*Michael De Semlyen "All Roads Lead To Rome" Dorchester House Publications (March 1993)

*Grudem, Wayne (editor). "Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?"

*Coelho, Paulo. "By the River Piedra, I Sat Down & Wept"

External links

* [ Charismatic Pentecostal Theology]

Academic study

*The [ European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism (GloPent)] is an initiative by three leading European Universities in Pentecostal studies networking academic research on Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.
** [ PentecoStudies: Online Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements] published under the auspices of GloPent

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  • charismatic movement — Synonyms and related words: bibliolatry, charismatic gift, charismatic renewal, fanaticism, gift of tongues, glossolalia, overdevoutness, overpiousness, overreligiousness, overrighteousness, overzealousness, pentecostalism, revival, revivalism,… …   Moby Thesaurus

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  • Charismatic Movement — /kærəzˈmætɪk muvmənt/ (say karuhz matik moohvmuhnt) noun a Christian religious movement, originating in the US in the early 20th century and gaining increased following from the 1960s, which places emphasis on belief in manifestations of the Holy …   Australian-English dictionary

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