TheCharismatic (Pentecostal) Movement
Thecharismatic movement linked to the Pentecostal churches is aninternational sway on how churches are adopting a more Pentecostalapproach to Christianity (Yong,Amos & Estrelda 4).These churches are is the mainstream history of Christian practiceand beliefs. The churches are not only adopting beliefs and practicessimilar to Pentecostals they are also practicing some of the mainpractices like the Pentecostals e.g. baptism by submersion in water.The aspect that set apart the Pentecostal churches from all otherchurches was the use of spiritual gifts. This is a fundamental symbolof Christianity for Pentecostals. Among the Protestants, the usebegan around the 1960’s. The movement has now influenced around 300million people (Hocken35).This figure is around 14 percent of the world’s self-knownpopulation of Christians. The charismatic Christianity story began atAzusa Street Mission a place where Pentecostalism was birthed.
OneDennis Bennett, a pillar of the charismatic movement, had always beenconsidering spiritual growth biblically with a small group thatbelongs to an Episcopal church known as Saint Mark in Van Nuys,California. Bennett became controversial to his church as a ministerduring a certain Easter Sunday where he declared that he had beenbaptized by the Holy Spirit. Only the Pentecostal churches were atthe time considered to be embracing to the terms baptism by the HolySpirit (Jones38).And his church became adamant to his acceptance and the debate took awild turn. Newspapers ran numerous passages about Bennett and theEpiscopal Church, the mainstream media became interested in theissue. Pentecostalism entered into the mainstream, and this marked avivid picture of the charismatic movement due to the media airplay itreceived. Practices like speaking in tongues, healing and miraclepractice, was usually associated with Pentecostal churches, an issueof Protestantism (Synan98). TheEpiscopal Church though wasn’t fed up of Bennett. When he resignedfrom his church in Van Nuys, California the Episcopal Bishop based inSeattle, assigned Bennett to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church there. Thechurch was a charismatic influence of sorts due to its nationalinfluence and local growth. Bennett soon helped begin the EpiscopalRenewal Ministries later to be known as Acts 29 (Hocken46).The church was to be a pillar of the charismatic renewal movement.Acts Chapter 29 is a missing Chapter in the mainstream Bibles. Andthe charismatic movement adopted this to showcase that the storywritten by Luke in this chapter hence the belief that the currentgeneration is the conclusion of the book Acts. The story of thechurch is not yet finished the Holy Spirit marks the conclusion andhe is still working in people lives as Christians.Thequestion is how did the spread of Christianity in The CharismaticRenewal wake happen? An emphasis on being baptized by theHoly Spirit/ Baptism by fire and the receiving of the charismaticgifts began in the 60’s and 70’s (Synan95).Mainstream denominations throughout began accepting the practiceamidst some discontentment and rejection. The practice ofPentecostalism began in the early twentieth century and its doctrinalencounter was Christians having an encounter with God known asbaptism by the Holy Spirit. As a belief of the charismaticPentecostals, this was an empowerment to Christian life and service,and this doctrinal practice hadn’t been adopted by the religiousmainstream before 1955(Synan78).Thus, despite the fact that an embracement of the charismaticmovement by the mainline Pentecostal churches was evident theyavoided the label ‘Pentecostal’ due to cultural and theologicalreasons. Instead, they adopted the term “charismatic” as is toldby a Lutheran minister, Harald Bredesen, who was involved in themovement (Yong,Amos & Estrelda 83).Charisma was used to describe the biblical term, “gift of grace”,by a person. Beliefs in the new era CharismaticChristians is that the filling of the Holy Spirit is as described inthe New Testament. It is available to Christians through theinfilling/ baptism of the Holy Spirit whether one is laid hands uponor not. These gifts which are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit inthe form of signs, miracles, and the gifts of prophesy, healing, andmany more other manifestations are a sign of full Christianity (Synan57).Despite the fact that Charismatic and Pentecostals share thesebeliefs, differences are also existent. Pentecostals believe that aperson who is filled with the Holy Spirit should share with theworld. This describes the reason Pentecostals have ranked moreimportance on evangelization and missionary work as their basis beingDisciples of Christ, with Paul of the New Testament, being a rolemodel. Charismatics, on the other hand, tend to see their movement asa force for in-house revitalization within their church traditions(Yong,Amos & Estrelda 76). Someof the denominations affected by this movement include AnglicanCommunion which includes the Episcopalians, the Lutheran churches andmembers, the Eastern Orthodox, the Reformed Churches which includesPresbyterian churches and others like the Every Nation Churches inthe USA, Roman Catholicism and many others (Jones83).These phenomenon of the Charismatic movement is still ongoing andchurches like the Seventh-day Adventist are yet to embrace it fully.
Hocken,Peter. TheChallenges of the Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Messianic Jewish Movements: The Tensions of the Spirit.Farnham, England: Ashgate Pub. Ltd, 2009. Print.
Jones,Charles E. TheCharismatic Movement: A Guide to the Study of Neo-Pentecostalism with Emphasis on Anglo-American Sources.Chicago: American Theological Library Association, 1995. Print.
Synan,Vinson, and Vinson Synan. TheHoliness-Pentecostal Tradition: Charismatic Movements in theTwentieth Century.Grand Rapids, Mich: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co, 1997. Print.
Yong,Amos, and Estrelda Alexander. Afro-Pentecostalism:Black Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity in History andCulture.New York: New York University Press, 2011. Internet resource.