The charismatic movement, sometimes called neo-Pentecostalism, is now a worldwide phenomenon. It has gained many adherents in the old-line Protestant denominations. It has also made broad inroads into Roman Catholicism; last June nearly 12,000 Roman Catholics, including some interested in the movement but not yet part of it, gathered for a charismatic conference at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Outside the mainline Protestant groups and the Roman Catholic Church the movement has found devotees among the Jesus people and the youth groups in Europe as well as in America. It has penetrated places and institutions that have been hesitant to endorse it. Tongues-speaking appeared on evangelical college and seminary campuses and in evangelistic groups that work on campuses and in high schools. Reliable reports say that Francis Schaeffer’s L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland has lately experienced its touch. CHRISTIANITY TODAY’s news editor Edward Plowman has reported on its widespread existence in Europe in out of the way places as well as in cities (see the October 13 issue).

Is the charismatic movement genuine? How is it to be understood in the light of biblical revelation? How does it relate to traditional Pentecostalism? What is the significance of its rise in the Roman Catholic Church and how are Protestants to regard it in that church in the light of the Reformation and even Vatican I and II?

In the phrase “baptism in the Holy Spirit” lies the heart of the matter. Traditional Pentecostalism, represented by solid evangelical groups like the Assemblies of God (which is a long-time member of the National Association of Evangelicals), says that subsequent to the experience of salvation, of being born ...

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