The Charismatic Movement

Charasmatic is an umbrella term for a movement or culture spanning most of the major Christian denominations and churches. The Charasmatic movement has resulted in many charismatic denominations being created as a result of organic growth, division and new denominational creation.

The charismatic spectrum, while wide and diverse in practice and style, always includes the key belief that the manifestations of the Holy Spirit seen in the first century Christian Church are available to Christians today. These manifestations include:

  • Healing
  • Miracles
  • Prophecy
  • Word of knowledge and word of wisdom
  • Discernment of spirits
  • Speaking in other tongues or languages (aka glossolalia)

Charismatics tend to be evangelical and can sometimes be seen as similar to fundamentalists in their beliefs regarding the divine inspiration of the Bible, the literal truth of the miracles of the Old Testament and Jesus and strict moral codes, however, there are charismatic movements within the historical Protestant and Catholic churches which more-or-less happily co-exist beside more liberal beliefs within the overall church structure.

The word "charismatic" comes from Greek χαρις (grace or gift). This is the word used by Paul and others in the New Testament epistles, especially for example when writing to the Corinthian church, where the most well-known passage is in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.

It is true to say that while charismatics share many similarities with traditional Pentecostalism they are in reality very separate. As has been stated above, charismatics may stay in their historical denominations while Pentecostalism is a separate denomination within its own right. Pentecostals, particularly in the past, have laid greater emphasis on speaking in tongues - sometimes as a proof or evidence of the in-dwelling by or baptism in the Holy Spirit - while charismatics may take different positions on this sign being critical, important or relative. In addition, charismtaic church structure may be widely different to historical churches (in which, for this purpose, we may include Pentecostalism) as well as widely different from movement to movement.

Some of the well-known international charismatic churches/movements are:

  • Association of Vineyard Churches (aka the Vineyard Movement)
  • Calvary Chapel
  • Eternal Grace
  • Catholic Charismatic Church of Canada
  • Every Nation
  • The Fellowships
  • Ministries of His Glory
  • New Frontiers
  • Sovereign Grace Ministries



Return to Christianity -> Denominations -> Pentecostalism

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