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What's the difference between Charismatic and Pentecostal?

Submitted: 9/28/2007
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Question: What is the difference between Charismatic and Pentecostal? Do you have some article that taught about these terms? Thank you. Hope to hear you soon. In His Love, Sonny

Answer: Both terms refer to people who have experienced the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This experience first took place on the Day of Pentecost, hence the term Pentecostal (see Acts 2:1-4). The term Charismatic comes from the Greek word 'charisma,' which refers to the gifts of the Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12.

The so-called Charismatic Movement began in the early 1960s and originally consisted of Spirit-filled people who attended denominational churches. This means that there were Charismatic Catholics, Chrismatic Methodists, and so on. As of today there are many who have left their denominations and formed Charismatic churches. There are few if any doctrinal distinctives among Charismatics. The term only refers to the so-called Charismatic experience.

The modern Pentecostal Movement began in the early 20th Century. As with the Charismatics, it began among people in denominational churches, particulary conservative Methodist and Holiness churches. The early Pentecostals were often put out of their churches because of the speaking in tongues and were forced to establish their own Pentecostal churches. In the beginning there was no set doctrine associated with Pentecostals. Again, the term Pentecostal, like Charismatic, pertains primarily to a spiritual experience, not a doctrine or denomination. Around 1915 there was a break among the early Pentecostals, some holding to the doctrine of the trinity and baptism in the titles (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) while others embraced the doctrine of the Oneness of God and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. This division continues to exist today among those who consider themselves to be Pentecostal.

The owners of this web site hold to the belief that God is one and that all who accept Jesus Christ must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Mark 12:29; Acts 2:38). We also believe in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance (Acts 2:4). This means that in a broad sense we would be considered Pentecostal, but more specifically we are Apostolic, because we hold to the doctrine of the original apostles of Jesus.