Neo-charismatic movement

The Neo-charismatic (also third-wave charismatic or hypercharismatic) movement is a movement within evangelical protestant Christianity. The Neo-charismatic movement is considered to be the "third wave" of the charismatic Christian tradition which began with Pentecostalism (the "first wave"), and was furthered by the evangelical charismatic movement (the "second wave"). Neo-charismatics are now believed to be more numerous than the first and second wave categories, combined, as a result of the growth of postdenominational and independent charismatic groups.[1] As of 2002, there were estimated to be approximately 295 million adherents or participants in the neo-charismatic movement.[1]


The neo-charismatic movement, dubbed the "third wave", dates from the early 1980s. The majority of the movement's actors are American.[2] Peter Wagner, theoretician of the Church Growth Movement, a missionary in Bolivia, brought the principle of spiritual warfare against demons, notably through his book Spiritual Power and Church Growth.[3][4] John Wimber, the founder of the Association of Vineyard Churches in 1982, put forward the principle of "miraculous healing" as an element of the Christian life. George Otis Junior has contributed to "spiritual mapping", a process of pointing on a map the places from which demons must be dislodged. The current of "power evangelism" developed with Kenneth Hagin and Ewel Kenyon. In 2011, the movement (grouped with the charismatic movement), has 305 million people.[5]

Defining characteristics

The Neo-charismatic movement, like the charismatic movement, believe in and stress the post-Biblical availability of gifts of the Holy Spirit, including glossolalia (speaking in tongues), healing, and prophecy; moreover, they practice laying on of hands and seek the "infilling" of the Holy Spirit, although a specific experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit may not be requisite for experiencing such gifts.[6][7]

In terms of congregational governance, no single form, structure, or style of church service characterizes all neo-charismatic services and churches.

The term non-denominational is often used more by churches, than the neo-charismatic term.[8] Another characteristic is the abundant use of electronic means of communication, such as the Internet, for broadcasting messages and their worship services in streaming or on television channels.[9]

According to Sébastien Fath, we find three major distinguishing elements that can be excluded or combined, by radical or moderate positions:[10]

  • Spiritual warfare. The fight against the demons occupies an important place in the teaching and the prayer. Mass exorcisms are sometimes organized to drive out territorial or historical demons (in an ancestral line).
  • Power Evangelism. The elements of anointing and positive confession must bring "signs and wonders". Healing and financial prosperity are examples.[11]
  • Structural renewal, like Fivefold Ministry and ("New Apostolic Reformation") (distinct from standard evangelical doctrine due to the belief that the offices of apostle and prophet should exist in the church).[12]

Adherents and denominations

By 2002, some 19,000 denominations or groups, with approximately 295 million individual adherents, were identified as neo-charismatic.[1] Neo-charismatic tenets and practices are found in many independent, nondenominational or post-denominational congregations, with strength of numbers centered in the African independent churches, among the Han Chinese house-church movement, and in South American (especially Brazilian) churches.

Notable churches

The following are examples of notable neo-charismatic movement congregations:


  1. Burgess, Stanley M; van der Maas, Eduard M, eds. (2002), "Neocharismatics", The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, pp. 286–87.
  2. Sébastien Fath et Jean-Paul Willaime, La nouvelle France protestante: essor et recomposition au XXIe siècle, Édition Labor et Fides, France, 2011, p. 142
  3. Yannick Fer, La théologie du "combat spirituel": Globalisation, autochtonie et politique en milieu pentecôtiste/charismatique, in J. Garcia-Ruiz et P. Michel (eds.), Néo-pentecôtismes, Labex Tepsis, pp.52-64, 2016.
  4. Spiritual Power and Church Growth, Altamonte Springs, Fl. Strang Communications, USA, 1986
  5. Pew Research Center, Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population, USA, December 19, 2011
  6. Erwin Fahlbusch, Geoffrey William Bromiley, Jan Milic Lochman, John Mbiti, Jaroslav Pelikan, The Encyclodedia of Christianity, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, USA, 2008, p. 445-446
  7. Young-hoon Lee, The Holy Spirit Movement in Korea: Its Historical and Theological Development, Wipf and Stock Publishers, USA, 2009, p. 4
  8. Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2013, p. 66
  9. Gertrud Hüwelmeier, Kristine Krause, Traveling Spirits: Migrants, Markets and Mobilities, Routledge, USA, 2009, p. 85
  10. Sébastien Fath et Jean-Paul Willaime, La nouvelle France protestante: essor et recomposition au XXIe siècle, Édition Labor et Fides, France, 2011, p. 142-143
  11. George Thomas Kurian, Mark A. Lamport, Encyclopedia of Christianity in the United States, Volume 5, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2016, p. 1069
  12. John Weaver, The New Apostolic Reformation: History of a Modern Charismatic Movement, McFarland & Company, USA, 2016, p. 87
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