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Neo-charismatic churches

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"Neo-Pentecostalism" redirects here. The term "Neo-Pentecostalism" refers to both the Charismatic Movement and neo-charismatic churches.

Neo-charismatic churches are a category of churches found within the Christian Renewal movement. The Christian renewal movement incorporates Pentecostal, Charismatic and neo-charismatic churches. Neo-charismatics include the "Third Wave," but are broader – now more numerous than Pentecostals (first wave) and charismatics (second wave) combined, due to the incredible growth of post-denominational and independent charismatic groups.[1]


Neo-charismatic churches were first identified in the 1970s as those which embraced many of the doctrines and practices found within Pentecostal churches and the Charismatic Movement, however were not specifically aligned with either. In the 1980s C. Peter Wagner coined the term Third Wave to clearly distinguish the sort of charismatic spirituality he was advocating from Pentecostalism. This represented a particular cultural need within the North American scene. Many neo-charismatic groups were also influenced by the Toronto Blessing in the mid 1990s, which was itself a neo-charismatic phenomenon, arising out of the Vineyard Movement.

Defining characteristics

Neo-charismatics, like Pentecostals and Charismatics embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit including glossolalia (speaking in tongues), healing, and prophecy. They also practice laying on of hands and the infilling of the Holy Spirit, however, unlike Pentecostals, they may not expect a specific experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit as a requirement for those gifts. There is no single form, governmental structure, or style of church services that can be identified as specifically Neo-charismatic. The clearest defining element is negative in that they are "Christian bodies with pentecostal-like experiences that have no traditional pentecostal or charismatic denominational connections, (and sometimes only very slender - if any - historical connections)."[1]

Adherents and denominations

There are approximately 19,000 denominations or groups identified as neo-charismatic with approximately 295 million individual adherents.[2] Neo-charismatic churches comprise many independent, non-denominational or post-denominational congregations, with the greater strength of their numbers being found among the African independent churches, the Han Chinese house-church movement and in Latin American, particularly Brazilian, churches. Neo-charismatic churches also include a number of recently established denominations e.g. Vineyard Movement, International House of Prayer, Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, Catch the Fire Ministries, Every Nation, Eternal Grace, Newfrontiers, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Global Legacy.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Stanley M Burgess, Eduard M van der Maas (eds) New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) s.v. "neocharismatics"
  2. Stanley M Burgess, Eduard M van der Maas (eds) New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 286-287

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