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Understanding the Charismatic Movement

Over 300 million people in the world are considered charismatic Christians.
Understanding the Charismatic Movementanglican11 / flickr

A 2011 Pew Forum study showed that almost 305,000,000 people worldwide, or 14 percent of the world's self-identified Christian population, is part of the charismatic movement.

That's 305 million people, and their impact on Christianity and ...

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November 02, 2013  9:39am

I appreciate this history of the charismatic movement. However, I must note that simply because a faith community is growing does not demonstrate that all its tenets are correct. Consider simply the spread of the Muslim faith, or Mormons. We have to carefully examine the scriptures and consider Church history in resolving the theological questions that distinctly charismatic practices and beliefs raise. Having attended several charismatic churches and also "healing services," as well as corresponding at length with a charismatic author and reading some of his books, I have to say that I stand unconvinced about a "second blessing" or tongues as a manifestation of being "baptized" by the Holy Spirit. Also, some of the claims of "miracles" are, frankly, outlandish. In my view, the Holy Spirit enters all believers upon their salvation and this is not necessarily manifested by any "sign" gift. Also, I think the types of "notable" miracles of the Bible were authenticating the scriptures.

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October 28, 2013  11:14pm

As a charismatic evangelical for more than three decades, I want to express my strong appreciation for what Ed Stetzer wrote here. Various commentators might have preferred the inclusion of this or that point, but given the concise word count, Ed did an outstanding job with great fairness and balance.

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Ed Stetzer

October 21, 2013  10:27pm

Thanks, Scott, I understand your point. And, you may be right that history is weighted toward U.S. authors, but the consensus is that Bennett's experience is the historical marker. Google "beginning of the charismatic movement" and you will see what I mean. It might be wrong, but I don't think it is provincial (which was your first point) and maybe that view will change over time. But, for now, it is what it is. -Ed

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October 21, 2013  9:47pm

I'm grateful for your article on the global charismatic movement. But I'm not so sure that Bennett had the worldwide impact US authors often claim. David Du Plessis was pentecostal, yes, but by the early 50's he was bridging to mainstream Protestantism on a worldwide level including through the WCC Assemblies. Not only was he lecturing in primary theological schools but was received by Popes John XXIII, Paul VI, and John Paul II. I was a longtime missionary in Brazil where by the late 1960's the RC charismatic movement was flourishing. Bennett's books were published in English only in 1970-71. So I suspect that when speaking of the worldwide charismatic movement (of which I'm not a part), Du Plessis was the primary influence. For what it's worth, as a student I used to visit Bennett's St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Seattle. While Bennett's fame had grown, even in the late 60's (if memory serves me correctly) the church could only hold a couple hundred people.

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Ed Stetzer

October 21, 2013  5:47pm

John, helpful link! Thanks so much.

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