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Article Info:
published: 3/31/13
updated: 2/27/14

The Charismatic Movement

What is the Charismatic Movement?

In the Christian religion, the charismatic movement is characterized by the manifestations of experiences, which have been traditionally categorized as Pentecostal, occurring in non-Pentecostal churches, like mainline Protestant denominations as well as in the Roman Catholic church.

Early in the Pentecostal movement of the 20th century, when a Christian would have an experience, such speaking in tongues, the individual would often change churches to one that supported and encouraged such expressions of the faith.

The charismatic movement, sometimes referred to as Neo-Pentecostalism, marked an important shift. Instead of changing churches, people who had Pentecostal experiences would stay in their own church and denomination.

Certain Protestant and Roman Catholic churches first reported on the phenomena in the 1960’s.

A brief history

"Charismatic" and "Pentecostal"

The terms “Pentecostal” and “Charismatic” are similar, but not synonymous. Christians in both categories share the belief that baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues is an experience available to all Christians. They also agree on the present-day use of spiritual gifts such as interpretation of tongues, prophecy, and healing.

Yet one way the groups differ as a whole is that Pentecostalism teaches that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of Spirit baptism, while many Charismatics don’t. Rather, being baptized with the Holy Spirit can be demonstrated by a variety of evidences, such as prophecy, miracles, and healing.

John Paul II

In 1983, a delegate commissioned to the Charismatic movement by Pope John Paul II, told priests and bishops to welcome the movement. Some priests even performed “charismatic masses.” The Pentecostal message was received particularly well by Roman Catholic churches that were predominantly Latin in makeup.

Denominations that officially reported on charismatic phenomena


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