Neo-Charismatic Movement

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The neo - charismatic movement is a partially Christian-fundamentalist current in Christianity , which is related to the evangelical , Pentecostal and charismatic tendencies . Other names are: Third Wave of the Holy Spirit, Church-building Movement, Church Planting Movement. The term neo-pentecostal ( neo- Pentecostal), which is common in the Anglo-Saxon-speaking area, is actually more relevant, but less common in German.


The Neo-Charismatic Movement began with the church building movement in the 1980s. Research into church growth had led people like C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber to understand that Pentecostal and charismatic communities grew much faster than non-charismatic ones. The church building movement therefore called for the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit to be incorporated into church life without at the same time adopting the entire theology of the Pentecostal movement.


Like the Pentecostal movement and the charismatic movement , the neo- charismatic movement clearly belongs to evangelical Christianity and is deliberately oriented towards the Bible. Scientific methods of interpretation are rejected. In practice, prophecies and promptings of the Holy Spirit are very important and are biblically proven afterwards.

The teaching of the neo-charismatic movement occupies a middle position between pietistic evangelicalism and the Pentecostal movement: on the one hand, its followers are convinced that spiritual gifts still have an important function in congregational life, on the other hand, some do not practice the Pentecostal doctrine of the baptism of the Spirit . They deliberately remain open on doctrinal questions, especially issues between evangelicalism and charismatics.

In the case of the spiritual gifts, not only the conspicuous gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing of the sick are emphasized, but also the more sober ones such as teaching, leadership or pastoral service. In contrast to the synodal structures of the classical Pentecostal movement, hierarchical forms of organization predominate in the neo-charismatic movement: at the top there is a “spiritual leader”, including the “elders” appointed by him.

The distinctive feature of the Neo-Charismatic Movement is its emphasis on planting new churches. Church planting is considered to be the most effective method of evangelism : Everyone should find a congregation in their vicinity that also addresses them socially.

The neo-charismatic movement has been open to new trends that promise missionary success from the start. Around 1990, parts of the movement took up the idea of spiritual warfare , a doctrine rejected by most non-charismatic Christians, which assumes that the earth is ruled by locally active demons , who through prayers, marches and proclamations of the rule of Christ would have to be evicted. In the mid-1990s, the Toronto blessing was practiced in many neo-charismatic communities . Current trends are the concept of the cell church and serving evangelism.


Congregations that emerge from the neo-charismatic movement are often clearly geared towards certain age groups, strata or ethnicities, and the structuring of their worship services and other congregational practices are geared towards their needs.


The neo-charismatic movement is not organized uniformly. There are a large number of independent congregations organized as registered associations, as well as pastoral works, prayer houses, healing rooms, mission organizations, etc., which have been funded from donations .

D network

In Germany, many charismatic congregations that do not belong to any organization are connected to one another in the so-called D-Netz , a service community for leading congregation employees. The D-Net is led by a group of pastors. The aim of the network is to establish and maintain relationships between individual communities. You can do this at conferences held twice a year in Berlin and Stuttgart.

There is no written membership of congregations, according to their own information, around 600 individuals, leaders of charismatic congregations and works, are connected to one another in the D-Netz. This “apostolic network” is led by a team that (as of 2015) includes Peter Wenz and Wolfgang Margies, leaders of neo-charismatic city churches.

Municipalities and groups in Germany (selection)

Denominations in India

In Vietnam there is the Montagnard Evangelical Church .


The neo-charismatic movement takes no official stance or demarcation towards ecumenism. Their followers often work with Christians of other denominations, especially within the Evangelical Alliance . The Ecumenical Forum for Churches and Charismatic Movements has been held in Bad Urach since 1994 and serves as an exchange between members of the Working Group of Christian Churches (ACK) and members of neo-charismatic congregations in order to promote mutual understanding. An ecumenical movement that corresponds more closely to the neo-charismatic understanding of the church is the network “Together in Europe”, whose relationship to the ACK and the WCC has not yet been clarified.


In terms of content, critics of religion and liberal theologians criticize the generally conservative teaching. Traditional pietists, on the other hand, criticize the superficial and non-binding implementation. Seraphim Rose has written a detailed critique of the neo-charismatic movement from a specifically orthodox perspective .

Alleged miracle healings

A parish hall of the neo-charismatic Pentecostal Church Deus é Amor in a former cinema in Montevideo , Uruguay. The empty wheelchairs are supposed to suggest that the paralyzed have learned to walk again through faith alone.

The often vaunted “ miracle cures ” performed by clergymen are criticized as charlatanism .

In so-called healing services of the Word and Spirit organization , visitors are taught that incurable diseases such as cancer can also be cured through God's power. When asked about the alleged cancer cures, the doctor Karin Freund from the Nuremberg Health Department responded with the words: “What nonsense! You can lay your hands on for as long as you want - the cancer won't go away ”, and asked the“ healers ”to provide scientific evidence of their methods. The sect and ideology commissioner in the diocese of Regensburg, Thomas Rigl, said: “People are promised things that will not be redeemed. Health, success and a carefree life - all empty promises. ”One can interpret the healing promise of word and spirit as a connection of the Pentecostal-charismatic impulse with positive thinking : Reality is created through imagination and expression / confession. So whoever says he suffers is creating his own disease. The sick person is to blame if healing does not take place, or (another possibility) blockages by demons prevent the success of the healer, they are the real causes of illness.

There were several reports in evangelical media about alleged miracle healings at events of the Gospel Forum . At the end of his talk at Holy Spirit Night in October 2012, guest speaker Daniel Kolenda, an American missionary , told the 6,000 visitors that someone was in the hall about to have a heart transplant. This is no longer needed because God created a new heart for him. Pastor Wenz himself is quoted from a church service with the words: "God just spoke to my heart, someone is now being healed of his pancreas."

Spiritual warfare

The practice of “ Spiritual Warfare ” is unanimously rejected by the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the German Evangelical Alliance : The idea of ​​territorial spirits and powers is “unbiblical”. "The aggressive attitude and the presumption of being able to take up the fight with evil with or even instead of Christ are contrary to the spirit of the gospel."

Religious intolerance

A report by the Brazilian Committee against Religious Intolerance (CCIR) for the UN, consisting of representatives from 18 religious communities and human rights groups, documented 15 cases of religious intolerance in four Brazilian states in 2009. Verbal and physical attacks on people of different faiths were reported by representatives of the charismatic churches such as the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus. On the part of evangelical teachers, Afro-Brazilian students were impressed that Umbanda and " Candomblé are a matter of the devil". Furthermore, Jews were portrayed as "Jesus murderers", Catholics as "devil worshipers", other Protestants as "false Christians" and Muslims as "demonic". The committee concluded that "Fascism and Nazism started this way, by demonizing other groups".


  • Reinhard Hempelmann : Light and Shadow of Awakening Christianity: Forms and Challenges of Pentecostal-Charismatic Piety. Quell, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-7918-3441-X .
  • Georg Schmid : Pentecostal movement, charismatics and neo-charismatics. In the S. (Ed.): Churches, sects, religions: religious communities, ideological groups and psycho-organizations in the German-speaking area, a manual. 7., revised. and supplementary edition, TVZ Theologischer Verlag, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-290-17215-5 , pp. 117–124
  • Handbook of world views, religious communities, free churches . Published by Matthias Pöhlmann and Christine Jahn, Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2015. pp. 219–248 on behalf of the VELKD church leadership .
  • Peter Zimmerling : The charismatic movements: theology, spirituality, stimulating conversation . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2nd edition Göttingen 2002.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Georg Schmid , Georg Otto Schmid (ed.): Churches, sects, religions: Religious communities, ideological groups and psycho-organizations in the German-speaking area: A manual . Founded by Oswald Eggenberger . 7., revised. and additional edition. TVZ Theologischer Verlag, Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-290-17215-5 , p. 122 ( limited preview in the Google book search [accessed on October 9, 2016]).
  2. ^ A b Jörg Haustein, Giovanni Maltese: Pentecostal and charismatic theology: An introduction . In the S. (Ed.): Handbook of Pentecostal and Charismatic Theology . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht , Göttingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-525-52201-1 , p. 15–65 , p. 26 ( limited preview in Google Book Search [accessed October 9, 2016]).
  3. ^ Dean Sherman: Spiritual Warfare - How Christians Live Victorious . Wuppertal 1991.
  4. William MacDonald: Notice the Difference . Dillenburg 1975, p. 54 ff.
  5. Georg Schmid: Pentecostal Movement, Charismatics and Neocharismatics , Zurich 2003, p. 122 f.
  6. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 230.
  7. a b Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 227.
  8. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 229.
  9. Peter Zimmerling: The Charismatic Movements: Theology, Spirituality, Initiatives for Discussion , Göttingen 2002, p. 392.
  10. ^ Georg Schmid: Pentecostal Movement, Charismatics and Neocharismatics , Zurich 2003, p. 123 f.
  11. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 231 f.
  12. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 222.
  13. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 237.
  14. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 221.
  15. CfaN: The History of CfaN. Retrieved March 16, 2020 .
  16. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 238.
  17. Cf. Seraphim Rose : Orthodoxie und die Religion der Zukunft , Straelen 2010, ISBN 978-3-937129-60-0 , pp. 157-237, 256-262.
  18. a b Nürnberger Nachrichten (online portal): Word and Spirit: "It's all about power and money" - people who drop out of the psycho group tell - "Leader of the nation"
  19. Alexander Brock: Psycho community is expanding - health department warns of “miracle healers” - ecstasy service in the cinema (Nürnberger Nachrichten of March 18, 2009, local section, page 9); a copy can still be read online on the page of the Feuchter newspaper Der Bote
  20. Oda Lambrecht, Christian Baars: Mission of God's Kingdom: Fundamentalist Christians in Germany . 2nd edition, Berlin 2009, p. 32 f.
  21. Holy Spirit Night: Divine service with a controversial message In: Stuttgarter Nachrichten , October 8, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012
  22. Wolf Schmidt: For God's sake! Ed .: The daily newspaper . January 10, 2009 ( online [accessed February 4, 2013]).
  23. German Evangelical Alliance is critical of the prayer initiative against the "Queen of Heaven". Against territorial warfare in prayer. In: The Evangelical Alliance in Germany. September 4, 2001, Retrieved July 18, 2019 .
  24. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 244.
  25. Handbook Weltanschauungen, Religious Communities, Free Churches . Gütersloh 2015, p. 243.
  26. ^ Fabiana Frayssinet: Religion-Brazil: Intolerance Denounced At UN . Interpress Service. July 3, 2009.