A grassroots Christian movement is renewing charismatic faith for the twenty-first century.
There is a groundswell taking place, a grassroots Christian movement if you will, that centers on renewing charismatic and Pentecostal faith for the twenty-first century. And I think this movement just might be the most exciting area of emergence in the American church today.
While this groundswell is diverse, there are some common threads that I want to identify and celebrate. Some of us who are a part of this growing trend have taken to calling ourselves “New Charismatics” — by no means a formal label or category, just one way to describe what we find ourselves caught up in.
So, here are 10 things I want you to know about us:
1. We are spiritual . . . AND religious.
While the infamous “nones” are known for avoiding organized religion in favor of an independent spiritual path, New Charismatics are seeking a both-and way. On the one hand, we understand our faith primarily as spiritual experience, or rather,Spiritual experience. On the other, we are passionate about rooting our faith in the Great Tradition of the church, so it is both historically connected and futuristically sustainable.
You can find some of us New Charismatics inhabiting liturgical or traditional churches and denominations, and you can find others of us bringing liturgical rhythms to our evangelical churches, seeker churches, or charismatic churches.
2. We are Eucharistic holy rollers.
While we resonate with the passionate worship styles that charismatics have largely innovated, we are seeking a deeper, contemplative center in the regular practice of the Eucharist. We meet and receive from Jesus uniquely in this quiet but intense moment — a moment that grounds the charismatic tendency to seek a shallow or contrived spiritual high.
3. We’re not impressed by big and powerful, and we’re kind of obsessed with small and ordinary.
Older charismatics saw God’s favor and blessing in the big things — big worship services, big churches, big conferences, big spiritual manifestations, big leadership lifestyles. The result was a highly consumeristic brand of religion and, sometimes, a grotesque and oppressive “prosperity gospel.”
But New Charismatics love to see God powerfully at work in the small things. The ordinary things. The quiet manifestations of the Spirit, the routine traditional prayers and liturgies, the enjoyment of nature and recreation, the pleasure of relationships, the everyday opportunities to serve and love neighbors.
We envision a simple lifestyle as the ideal, and we see the Kingdom as a whole new economy that prizes equality. All that to say, it’s the little things — and all of it is spiritual.
4. We believe in theology, intellect, and the Spirit-led mind.
Some of us grew up in an environment that pitted the mind against the Spirit, based on an unfortunate reading of some passages written by Paul. But we believe that the only way to be truly Spirit-filled and Spirit-led is to engage with God in the fullness of our humanity: spirit, mind, and body.
We don’t check our minds at the door, but commit our intellects to take part in discerning the “deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2). Learning theology is as important as practicing pneumatology.
5. We’ve got a new revelation of what it means to be prophetic.
As charismatics we believe in the continuing gifts and manifestations of the Spirit, including prophecy. But as one who grew up in the “prophetic movement,” I have come to view the prophetic gift and office completely differently than I once did. And many of us have taken this step.
Instead of foretelling future events or reading someone’s mail or maybe just getting revved up and a little weird in the pulpit, the prophetic gift is about preaching powerfully into the church’s inconsistencies and hypocrisies. And true prophets are those who call the church to a greater integrity of worship and social justicethrough their Spirit-filled preaching gift.
Click here to read more.