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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: June 2014

Chapter 8 - Charismatic renewal

Summary

Beginnings

It is now generally accepted that the term ‘Charismatic movement’ in its original usage referred to the practice of spiritual gifts and the baptism in the Spirit in the older, ‘historic’ or ‘mainline’ churches since the 1960s. With the creation of ‘nondenominational’ Charismatic churches and organizations a decade or two later and the emergence of Charismatic megachurches, the term was broadened to refer to all those movements outside denominational or ‘classical’ Pentecostalism where spiritual gifts were exercised. Because of the considerable variety within Pentecostalism and the constant schisms and mutations, it is often impossible now to distinguish between ‘Pentecostals’ and ‘Charismatics’. There are often as many theological and liturgical differences between classical Pentecostals themselves as there are between them and Charismatic churches, whether ‘mainline’ or ‘nondenominational’. Terms like ‘neopentecostals’ and ‘neocharismatics’ have been used to refer to these later churches, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between the different forms of Pentecostalism today. I have suggested elsewhere that as a very rough guide for ‘family resemblance’, Pentecostalism can be divided into: (1) classical (denominational) Pentecostals, discussed in the previous chapters; (2) the Charismatic renewal in the older ‘mainline’ denominations, the main subject of this chapter; (3) older independent churches, particularly those in Africa and Asia discussed in Chapters 6 and 7; and (4) Neopentecostal or Neocharismatic churches, those discussed in previous chapters.