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]

See also


  1. 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.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  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. 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?


Academic study

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