The Charismatic Family Tree

In reading different articles regarding the Lakeland fallout, alarmingly I found myself sometimes in agreement with various heresy hunters. Coming across terms like third wave, dominionism, and joel’s army, I didn’t know what distinguished my charismatic theology from the heresies being decried. The words became a jumble of phrases that lacked meaning and perspective to me.

Our former church was strongly influenced by latter rain teaching and by the shepherding movement. However, unlike the heresy hunters, I don’t believe that every aspect of that influence was wrong. In order to sort through it all, I needed to understand how it all fit together.

Like most charismatics, my understanding of pre-1980’s charismatic history was pretty vague. So last night, I read 100 pages of Robby’s Post-Charismatic, followed by 100 pages of The Eternal Church (pro-latter rain), and most of the pages in wikipedia on related topics.

While this was not a thorough and indepth study, it provided me with an overall framework within which to orient my understanding of the big picture (from my US perspective). Since I went to the effort, I thought that I would share the results here for anyone else who might be interested.

Mostly, I haven’t commented on the validity of various movements and doctrines. I may do that in another post. It is interesting to know the root of various branches and the connections and influences of various movements.

A Brief Pentecostal/Charismatic History

1906Pentecostalism – The Azusa Street Revival is generally cited as the beginning of modern-day pentecostalism.  Some pentecostal denominations are Assemblies of God, Foursquare, Church of God, and United Pentecostal.

1940’sHealing and Deliverance Movement – came from the pentecostal movement.  It included people like Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin and resulted in what is known today as Word of Faith and the Prosperity Message.

1948Latter Rain Movement – began as The Latter Rain Revival in Saskatchewan, Canada. On one extreme fundamentalists categorize everything charismatic as latter-rain heresy.  On the other hand, most charismatics don’t realize how many of their underlying doctrines came from this movement.

The following are doctrines that trace their roots to the Latter Rain Movement:

  • Typological interpretation of OT scripture
  • Laying on of hands (impartation)
  • Personal prophecy – with an emphasis on gifts and ministry
  • Latter Rain – a breaking away from dispensationalism (rapture theology).  It is believed that the latter rain move of the spirit will cause the church to be victorious resulting in the Second Coming of Christ.
  • Restorationism – belief that the doctrines of Christ (Heb.6:1-2) and the five-fold ministry (Eph.4:11) were lost during the Dark Ages and are now being restored to the church.  (not the same as anabaptist restorationism.)
  • Five-fold ministry – the “true church” would develop under the leadership of newly-restored apostles and prophets
  • Manifest Sons of God – those who come into the full stature of Christ (perfected)

1960Charismatic Movement – traces its roots to Dennis Bennett’s experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This led to a widespread renewal movement within mainline denominations including the catholic church.

1970 – Shepherding/Discipleship Movement – a response by “The Ft. Lauderdale Five” to bring order to the Charismatic Movement.  Its emphasis on covering, accountability, and covenant led to control and abuse.  While the movement itself dissolved quickly, much of the doctrine continues today.

1983Third Wave – A term coined by Peter Wagner. While several groups are included under this umbrella term, they represent quite distinct branches within the charismatic tree.  There are areas of crossover in their histories and doctrines, but also some major differences in their focus and theology.

  • 1980’sVineyard Movement – the Vineyard became a major movement among charismatics under the leadership of John Wimber.
  • 1980’sThe Prophetic Movement – The 1980’s also saw the development of the prophetic movement which resulted in the Kansas City Prophets, CI, Rick Joyner in the US, and others worldwide.
  • 2000New Apostolic Reformation – Peter Wagner’s apostolic movement which includes the ICA and New Apostolic Roundtable.
  • Kingdom Now or dominionism (Dominionism is actually a broader term that doesn’t necessarily describe this doctrine except in attitude.) – An end times belief that the church will be an overcoming force that will usher in the return of Christ.  From this doctrine come terms like Joel’s Army (which frequently refers to young people) and other militant terms used to refer to the overcoming mentality of this remnant of people who will be used to bring the earth under God’s authority.  This is not a separate movement but rather a mixture of prophetic language and ideas that has infiltrated charismatic theology today.

For now, I will refrain from commenting about which branches produced fruit and which produced nuts. ;)

This would be a good place to once again plug the book Post-Charismatic.  It provides an indepth and balanced look at all of the aspects of charismatic history and doctrine.  It is available here.  I cannot believe that US publishers missed the post-Lakeland opportunity for distribution of this book.


9 thoughts on “The Charismatic Family Tree

  1. Thanks, Grace, for doing that research and breaking it down for us. I would like to read Robbymac’s book sometime soon. Good thing I live near the Canadian border! :)

  2. Yes I found Robbie Mac’s book incredibly insightful in understanding where a lot of the influences in our churches come from. I am a slow reader but devoured it in around 24 hrs.

    It was helpful for me in a number of areas:

    – seeing where that historically-unheard-of doctrine of ‘speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of baptism of the Holy Spirit’ came from with its roots in Wesleyan/holiness movement.

    – confirming that apostles are in fact, not a breed of new ‘super-leaders’ somewhere near the pinnacle of a christian leadership hierarchy today

    – understanding where the talk we hear a lot of these days about how we need to ‘submit to our leaders’ even if they are wrong is coming from.

    – comprehending where those kinds of messages that talk about ‘this generation seizing what the previous generation failed to achieve’ is coming from

    Suddenly, it all becomes clear….

    And incidentally, Todd Bentley has ‘Joel’s Army’ apparently tattooed across himself. Hmmm.

  3. True bob. In looking over the list, the charismatic movement was probably the most grassroots of all of them.

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Did you ever meet Robby when he was at the YWAM base near you?

    Great list. Those were a few of the many great points brought up in the book. So much of relevance to almost every aspect of charismatic tradition.

    I plan to post more about the latter rain influence on today’s version of joel’s army and other revival/end times philosophies.

  4. Look forward to your future posts with interest.

    One thing I would like to have seen more of in the book was where post-charismatics are now heading. He refers in places about post-charismatics today being part of more subdued, traditional church groups but doesn’t really develop this more.

    Andrew Jones talked about “worshippers who are freed from the addiction to novelty, newness and freshness, open to older, non-spontaneous, pre-used liturgical prayers, and who no longer believe that every service must be commenced by 45 minutes of singing” in his post on post-charismatics. It would be interesting to see more research into what post-charismatics are actually up to today from a positive angle. Apparently, it’s “a lot more than just trading purple banners for purple candles”….

  5. carlo,
    I have a feeling that the answer to your question about what post-charismatics are doing today is quite varied.

    Robby’s latest post dealt a little bit with what comes after detox.

    You are welcome. It was helpful for me to see how it all fit together. I think and process sequentially, so the timeline helped me put things in perspective and understand how the various streams were related.

  6. Thank you for your helpful analysis of the Charismatic family tree. That’s really useful.
    Sadly using as the host for this Christian site means that viewers have to see unwanted pornographic links. I suggest moving the site to a site and to use a paid host for the site.

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