Charismatic Theology

The charismatic movement is the international trend of historically mainstream Christian congregations adopting beliefs and practices of Charismatic Christianity similar to Pentecostalism. Fundamental to the movement is the experience of baptism with the Holy Spirit and the use of spiritual gifts known as charismata. Among Anglicans, the charismatic movement emerged in 1958; it reached Lutherans and Presbyterians in 1962. Among Roman Catholics, it spread around 1967. Methodists became involved in the charismatic movement in the 1970s.

Thought the charismatic has been a powerful force in missions around the world, its main weakness is its lack of a consistently defined theological belief system. As a result, Christians involved in the charismatic movement often have various theological views that often contradict each other, as well as past theological creeds of the church. A common belief among charismatic leaders is that they do not need a defined theology or creeds since these too often restrict the move and work of the Holy Spirit. Many reject past theological creeds and proudly state that their only creed is Jesus. Needless to say major errors will arise and church leaders will often get themselves into trouble with novel teachings that often contradict the direct revelation in the Bible.

When it comes to a charismatic worldview, there is no consistency there. Since the charismatic movement came out of Pentecostal roots the early leaders rejected intellectualism in pursuit of the movement of the Holy Spirit. As a result, they did not develop theological positions or institutions that defined what they believed. When they did establish Bible colleges to carry on their traditions they turned to the Fundamentalist literature to train the people that attended their Bible schools. Since dispensational theology was predominant among the Fundamentalists they Pentecostal leaders adopted it as their own. This makes for an awkward belief system since dispensational theology rejects their belief that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are active in this dispensation of church history. Yet, most seen no problem with this and adopted the dispensational theology as their own but included a version that made room for the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit for this era of church history.