Charismatic Christianity

Charismatic Christianity (also known as Spirit-filled Christianity) is a form of Christianity that emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and modern-day miracles as an everyday part of a believer's life. Practitioners are often called Charismatic Christians or Renewalists. Although there is considerable overlap, Charismatic Christianity is often categorized into three separate groups: Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement and Neo-charismatic movement. According to the Pew Research Center, Pentecostals and Charismatic Christians numbered over 584 million or a quarter of the world's 2 billion Christians in 2011.[1]


The term charismatic derives from the Greek word χάρισμα charisma ("gift", itself derived from χάρις, "grace" or "favor").[2]


Charismatic Christianity is diverse, and it is not defined by acceptance of any particular doctrines, practices, or denominational structures. Rather, renewalists share a spirituality characterized by a worldview where miracles, signs and wonders, and other supernatural occurrences are expected to be present in the lives of believers.[3] This includes the presence of spiritual gifts, such as prophecy and healing. While similar in many respects, renewalists do differ in important ways. These differences have led to Charismatic Christianity being categorized into three main groups: Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement, and Neo-charismatic Movement.[4]


Pentecostals are those Christians who identify with the beliefs and practices of classical Pentecostal denominations, such as the Assemblies of God or the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee). Classical Pentecostalism grew out of the holiness movement and developed a distinct identity at the start of the 20th century. At a time when most denominations affirmed cessationism (the belief that spiritual gifts had ceased), Pentecostals held that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were being restored to the Christian church.[5] The distinctive doctrine of Pentecostalism is that there is a second work of grace after conversion, which Pentecostals call the baptism in the Holy Spirit, that is evidenced by speaking in tongues.[6] There are also non-trinitarian Oneness Pentecostals, who share such beliefs on the validity of the spiritual gifts in the modern church, but who differ on varying views on the Godhead, teachings on outward holiness, and other matters of personal conduct.

Charismatic Movement

While early Pentecostals were often marginalized within the larger Christian community, Pentecostal beliefs began penetrating the mainline Protestant denominations from 1960 onward and the Catholic Church from 1967.[7] This adoption of Pentecostal beliefs by those in the historic churches became known as the charismatic movement. Charismatics are defined as Christians who share with Pentecostals an emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit but who remain a part of a mainline church. Also, charismatics are more likely than Pentecostals to believe that glossolalia is not a necessary evidence of Spirit baptism.[6]This transition occurred following an increased popularity of use of the gifts of spirit during the healing revival period of 1946–1958. Massive interdenominational meetings held by the healing revival evangelists, including William M. Branham, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen and others, led to increased awareness and acceptance.[8] The movement led to the creation of independent evangelical charismatic churches more in tune with this revival of the Holy Spirit. Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, California is one of the first evangelical charismatic churches in 1965.[9] In United Kingdom, Jesus Army, founded in 1969, is an example of the impact outside the US.[10] Many other congregations were established in the rest of the world.[11]

Neo-charismatic movement

New churches and denominations emerged alongside the Charismatic Movement since 1980 onwards that are termed neo-charismatic. Being neither Pentecostal nor part of the charismatic movement, they share with these groups a common emphasis on the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, miracles, and Pentecostal experiences.[12]


In 2011, there were an estimated 584 million Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians worldwide. They made up 9 percent of the world's population and 27 percent of all Christians. There were 279 million Pentecostals and over 300 million Charismatics (the figures for Charismatics include both the Charismatic Movement in the historic churches as well as the neocharismatic movement).[1] Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity is second in size only to the Roman Catholic Church.

See also


  1. ^ a b Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (December 19, 2011), Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population Archived 2013-07-23 at the Wayback Machine, p. 67. See also The New International Dictionary, "Part II Global Statistics: A Massive Worldwide Phenomenon".
  2. ^  . "Charism". Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  3. ^ Margaret M. Poloma and John C. Green, The Assemblies of God: Godly Love and the Revitalization of American Pentecostalism (New York: New York University Press, 2010), 64–65.
  4. ^ Stanley M. Burgess and Eduard M. van der Mass, eds., The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), Kindle edition, "Introduction".
  5. ^ The New International Dictionary, "Introduction: Classical Pentecostals".
  6. ^ a b The New International Dictionary, "Introduction: Pentecostal-Charismatic Differences".
  7. ^ The New International Dictionary, "Introduction: The Charismatic Movement".
  8. ^ Moriarty, Michael (1992). The New Charismatics. Zondervan. p. 118-139. ISBN 978-0-310-53431-0.
  9. ^ Douglas A. Sweeney, The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement, Baker Academic, US, 2005, pp. 150–51
  10. ^ Simon Cooper,Mike Farrant, Fire in Our Hearts: The Story of the Jesus Fellowship/Jesus Army, Multiply Publications, England, 1997, p. 169
  11. ^ Ed Stetzer,Understanding the Charismatic Movement, Christianity Today, US, October 18, 2013
  12. ^ The New International Dictionary, "Introduction: Neocharismatics".

Further reading



  • Deere, Jack. Surprised by the Power of the Spirit
  • Grudem, Wayne. The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today
  • Maria Stethatos. The Voice of a Priest Crying in the Wilderness



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


External links

Academic study

Apostolic-Prophetic Movement

The Apostolic-Prophetic Movement in Charismatic Christianity is seen by its participants as a restoration of the neglected elements of the Five-Fold Ministry described in the New Testament book of Ephesians 4:11-13, "some apostles, and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ." This movement is rooted in the Third Wave Charismatic or Pentecostal experience.

This movement defers more to their own interpretations of the Bible and doctrines than to the later authority and elaborations transmitted by the Catholic and Orthodox churches; however, they hold to the dogmas and traditions of the Greek Orthodox and Latin Church Fathers including the Nicene Creed as authoritative and part of what they call "historical Christianity." Prophecy has been a part of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christian practice, especially during times of revival in the Body of Christ. For example, the Kimbanguist Church in Belgian Congo began with vigor in the 1920s and flourished through 40 years of rigorous and sometimes violent suppression.

British New Church Movement

The British New Church Movement (BNCM) is a neocharismatic evangelical Christian movement. Its origin is associated with the Charismatic Movement of the 1960s, although it both predates it and has an agenda that goes beyond it. It was originally known as the "house church movement", although this name is no longer relevant as few congregations meet in houses. Gerald Coates, one of the early leaders, coined the name New Churches as an alternative. It is also restorationist in character, seeking to restore the church to its 1st century equivalent. While the Charismatic Movement focused on the transformation of individuals, the BNCM (like Brethrenism, Baptists, Anabaptists and the Restoration Movement in the US) focused also on the nature of the church. For the BNCM since 1970, this has focused on the renewal of the fivefold ministries, particularly apostles, which for others might resemble a charismatically ordained and functioning episcopate.

The British New Church Movement numbered roughly 400,000 people in the year 2000. It has two major aspects: those who believe in the role of apostles, where churches relate together in "streams", and independent charismatic churches, where they generally do not. Those in streams represent about 40% of the BNCM. Since its origins, it has grown to include many networks of churches, with individual congregations found throughout the world.

Catch the Fire World

Catch the Fire World is a non-denominational Charismatic Christian denomination. It is the flagship church of the Catch The Fire movement, and is also affiliated with the Partners in Harvest group of churches. The church the birthplace and center of the Toronto Blessing, a prominent religious revival and phenomenon in charismatic Christianity during the 1990s. TACF Airport, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, is the primary and largest campus.

Charisma (magazine)

Charisma (also known as Charisma + Christian Life) is a monthly Christian magazine based in Lake Mary, Florida, a suburb of Orlando. It is aimed at Pentecostals and charismatics. Its perspective is influenced by the charismatic revivalism and other contemporary streams of charismatic Christianity such as the Toronto Blessing, International House of Prayer, and the Apostolic-Prophetic movement.

Continuous revelation

Continuous revelation or continuing revelation is a theological belief or position that God continues to reveal divine principles or commandments to humanity.

In Christian traditions, it is most commonly associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and with Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, though it is found in some other denominations as well.

Continuous revelation also forms part of the rituals of gatherings in various chapters of Taoism. In the Baha'i Faith, Progressive revelation is an important concept that is similar to continuous revelation.

A notable factor of continuous or continuing revelation as a source of divine commandments and statements is the written recording of such statements in a more open scriptural canon, as is the case with the Latter-Day Saints; while more frequent with the Latter-Day Saints, it is less frequent with the Baha'i Faith, with progressive revelation only being periodically expanded over an extremely long period.

Direct revelation

Direct revelation is a term used by some Christian churches to express their belief in a communication from God to a person, by words, impression, visions, dreams or actual appearance. Direct revelation is believed to be an open communication between God and man, or the Holy Spirit and man, without any other exterior (secondary) means. Direct revelation from evil spirits can also occur.

Examples of this is seen in God communicating the Ten Commandments to Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 34:4); or the devil communicating knowledge to Jesus Christ during his temptation in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-12) or the appearance of an angel to the wife of Manoah telling her that she shall bear Samson (Judges 13:2). Direct revelation is classified as special revelation, but the word "direct" has come to make this type of revelation distinct.

Evangelical Free Church in Sweden

The Evangelical Free Church in Sweden (Swedish: Evangeliska frikyrkan is a Baptist Christian denomination in Sweden. The headquarters is in Örebro.

Full Gospel

The term Full Gospel is a term often used to describe the doctrinal teachings of Pentecostalism and Charismatic Christianity, evangelical movements that originated in the 19th century. The movement and its teachings grew out the Wesleyan Arminianism of the post-American Civil War era's holiness movement, especially through the "fourfold" teachings of A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.Early Pentecostalism saw their teachings on baptism with the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and divine healing as a return to the doctrines and power of the Apostolic Age. Because of this many early Pentecostals and Charismatics call their movement the Apostolic Faith or the Full Gospel.

Holy laughter

Holy laughter is a term used within charismatic Christianity that describes a religious behaviour in which individuals spontaneously laugh during church meetings. It has occurred in many revivals throughout church history, but it became normative in the early 1990s in Neo-charismatic churches and the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit. Many people claimed to experience this phenomenon at a large revival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada known as the Toronto Blessing,

Jesus Army

The Jesus Army was an identity that the Jesus Fellowship Church used until January 2018 in its outreach and street-based work. The Jesus Fellowship is a neocharismatic evangelical Christian movement based in the United Kingdom, that is part of the British New Church Movement.

The Jesus Fellowship was founded in 1969, when Noel Stanton (1926–2009), at that time the lay pastor of the Bugbrooke village Baptist chapel near Northampton, East Midlands, was inspired by a charismatic experience which led him to successfully expand the congregation, largely by appealing to a younger generation of worshippers. As the new church grew and became more charismatic in nature, many of the original congregation left to continue worshipping in more traditional churches. The Jesus Fellowship has grown considerably and there are now approximately 3,500 members in around 24 congregations in various cities and towns of the UK.The Jesus Fellowship frequently engages in evangelism in public places, seeking through outreach to demonstrate the love of Jesus and the moving of the Holy Spirit. The Fellowship has used various slogans, in its early days adopting "Love, Power & Sacrifice" and later "Jesus People, Loving People", and the name "Jesus Army".

Karla Poewe

Karla Poewe (born 1941) is an anthropologist and historian. She is the author of ten academic books and fifty peer reviewed articles in international journals. Currently Poewe is Professor Emeritus in Anthropology at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada and Adjunct Research Professor at Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, England. She is married to Irving Hexham.

Life Is for Learning

"Life Is for Learning" is a song recorded by singer Marvin Gaye for his "In Our Lifetime" album in 1981, released by Tamla. It has been sampled by 2nd II None on "Underground Terror" in 1991; by Esham on "No Singing/misery" in 1993; by 8Ball on "The Artist Pays the Price" in 1998; and by Mista Rodd feat. Jazze Pha on "Cheeze" in 1999.Recorded in 1980, the singer expressed the differences between songs that preached or talked about love, forgiveness and other positive subjects and songs that talked about pain and lust and were mostly negative in nature. Recorded during the singer's exile in London, the song could relate to Marvin's state of mind when recording songs both of a spiritual and sexual nature; explaining his "divided soul" as author David Ritz commented in his biography of the singer. The song was originally titled "Life is Now in Session" and was originally supposed to be included in Marvin's '"Love Man'" album from 1979 but the album was shelved.In the volume "Afro-Pentecostalism: Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History and Culture" Professor Amos Yong considers " Life Is for Learning". He draws attention to the lines "The Devil has his special plan to make hot songs for sinners, Thank God we'll turn it around and make good songs for winners" and notes Gaye's struggles with the temptation of "flesh, stupid flesh". Yong found that "No one male black singer, outside of the contemporary singer R. Kelly, has so openly and honestly dealt with both his sexuality and his spirituality in such raw terms."That conflict was examined by the author Michael Eric Dyson who commented that "Marvin Gaye struggled his entire career to reconcile sweet flesh and sustaining faith.The tension between sexuality and spirituality led him down troubled paths in his personal life and to artistic glory." Analysing '"Life Is for Learning", Dyson felt the artist was expressing his love for God while torn by his love of women, his broken relationships had "left marks all over his art". In "Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye", Dyson noted the song's "seductive, grinding, funk groove, carved from sax and vibes"

which contrasted with the theological theme.A more controversial interpretation of the song was given by David Ritz: "In Life Is for Learning" Marvin saw himself as Jesus suffering for the world's sins though he didn't evoke the actual name of Christ." Ritz again felt the tension in the song between the artist's thirst for God with his desire for women, claiming that when composing this song and the rest of the album Gaye "was haunted by the same sexual image, the dancing woman moving towards him. Her presence excited his poetry, blessing it with a spiritual sensuality that turned his dark mood bright."

Nondenominational Christianity

Nondenominational Christianity (or non-denominational Christianity) consists of churches which typically distance themselves from the confessionalism or creedalism of other Christian communities by calling themselves nondenominational.

Protestantism in Saudi Arabia

Protestantism is a small minority faith in overwhelmingly Muslim Saudi Arabia.

The number of adherents of Protestantism is estimated at above 100,000, even though many of them are unaffiliated.

Public practice of Christian religion is prohibited. However, there are cases in which a Muslim will adopt the Protestant Christian faith, secretly declaring his/her faith. In effect, they are practising Protestants, but legally Muslims. A 2015 study estimates some 60,000 believers in Christ from a Muslim background. Most of these subscribe to some form of evangelical or charismatic Christianity.

Religion in Estonia

Estonia, which historically was a Lutheran Protestant nation, is today one of the "least religious" countries in the world in terms of declared attitudes, with only 14 per cent of the population declaring religion to be an important part of their daily life.The religious population is predominantly Christian and includes followers of 90 affiliations, most prominently Eastern Orthodoxy and Lutheranism. According to Ringo Ringvee, "religion has never played an important role on the political or ideological battlefield" and that the "tendencies that prevailed in the late 1930s for closer relations between the state and Lutheran church were ended with the Soviet occupation in 1940". He further states that "the chain of religious traditions was broken in most families" under the Soviet policy of state atheism. Before the Second World War, Estonia was approximately 80 per cent Protestant; overwhelmingly Lutheran.

Between 2001 and 2011 census, Eastern Orthodoxy overtook Lutheranism to become the largest Christian denomination in the country due to increasing unaffiliation and very small conversions among Estonians and more migration from Russian neighbors. Lutheranism still remains the most popular religious group among ethnic Estonians (11 per cent of them are Lutherans while also 2 per cent of them are Orthodox), while Eastern Orthodoxy is practised mainly by the mostly non-indigenous immigrant Slavic minorities (approximately 45 per cent of them are Orthodox). According to the University of Tartu, irreligious Estonians are not necessarily atheists; instead, the years 2010s have witnessed a growth of Neopagan, Buddhist and Hindu beliefs among those who declare themselves to be "not religious".

Simon Coleman (anthropologist)

Simon Coleman is a British anthropologist who serves as a Chancellor Jackman Chaired Professor in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. He has taught at Durham University and Sussex University, as well. He has also served as the editor of The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. He has published studies of Charismatic Christianity and Prosperity theology, particularly focusing on the Word of Faith movement in Europe.Coleman attended Cambridge University, where he received a PhD.

Singing in the Spirit

Singing in the Spirit or singing in tongues, in Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity, is the act of worshiping through glossolalic song. The term is derived from the words of Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 14:15, "I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also".The purposes for glossolalic singing are the same as those of non-glossolalic singing, including praise, thanksgiving (1 Corinthians 14:15-17), and petition (Romans 8:26-27) to God. Singing in the Spirit may be done solo or together as a congregation during a worship service. Some Pentecostals and charismatics believe if it is done by an individual, as opposed to the congregation as a whole, then the song should be interpreted by one with the gift of interpretation (the interpretation also being in song form).On congregational singing in the Spirit, Donald Hustad describes a pattern observed in Pentecostal and charismatic churches in which, during worship, someone begins to utter musical sounds, which may or may not have recognizable words. Other members of the congregation join in and, although there is no particular effort to match the pitch or the words, the overall effect is harmonious. "It is as if the strings of a huge Aeolian harp have been set in motion by the wind of the Holy Spirit. The strangely-beautiful sound rises in volume, lasts for a longer or shorter period, and then gradually dies away."

The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements is a comprehensive reference work on charismatic Christianity (which includes the three streams of Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement, and the Neocharismatic movement). It is edited primarily by Stanley M. Burgess. Published in 2002, it is the "revised and expanded edition" of the 1988 Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. Both editions have received positive reviews from scholars. The book has won several awards. Both editions are published by Zondervan.

The original edition states the contributors to the volume come from both within and without the movement(s), and a "balanced overview" is attempted. It concentrates on North America and Europe, where the movement originated; rather than Latin America, Africa, and Asia, where the majority of members are found. The revised and expanded edition again asserts a "balanced overview" and breadth of contributors. While very comprehensive, it does admit some imbalances in coverage mainly due to the absence of complete scholarly data for some countries.

Urapmin people

The Urapmin people are an ethnic group numbering about 375 people in the Telefomin District of the West Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. One of the Min peoples who inhabit this area, the Urapmin share the common Min practices of hunter-gatherer subsistence, taro cultivation, and formerly, an elaborate secret cult available only to initiated men.

The Urapmin used to ally with the Telefolmin in war against other Min peoples, practicing cannibalism against the enemy dead, but warfare ceased by the 1960s with the arrival of colonialism. A Christian revival in the 1970s led to the near-complete abandonment of traditional beliefs and the adoption of a form of Charismatic Christianity originally derived from Baptist Christianity. The Urapmin vigorously use their native Urap language, and their small community maintains the practice of endogamy.

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