Neo-charismatic churches

Neo-charismatic churches are a category of churches found within the Christian Renewal movement. The Christian renewal movement incorporates Pentecostal, Charismatic and Neo-charismatic churches.


Neo-charismatic churches were first identified in the 1970s as those which embraced many of the doctrines and practices found within Pentecostal and Charismatic churches however were not specifically aligned with either movement. In the 1980s C. Peter Wagner coined the term Third Wave to describe Neo-charismatic churches. Many Neo-charismatic groups were also influenced by the Toronto blessing in the mid 1990s.

Defining characteristics

Neo-charismatics, like Pentecostals and Charismatics embrace the gifts of the Holy Spirit including glossolalia (speaking in tongues), healing, and prophecy and also practices including laying on hands and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Neo-charismatics, unlike Pentecostals, do not emphasise or insist on the practice of glossolalia and unlike Charismatics they are not aligned with traditional Protestant or Catholic denominations. Neo-charismatics typically worship with a blend of contemporary worship music and contemplation (soaking). There is no single form or governmental structure or style of church services that can be identified as specifically Neo-charismatic.

Adherents and denominations

There are approximately 19,000 denominations or groups identified as Neo-charismatic with approximately 295 million individual adherents. Neo-charismatic churches are comprised of many independent, non-denominational or post-denominational congregations as well as a number of recently established denominations e.g. Vineyard Movement, Eternal Grace, Newfrontiers, Sovereign Grace Ministries, Global Legacy. Neo-charismatic churches have been popular in Africa, Latin America and Asia and have been prominent amongst the House Church Movement in China.


Burgess and van der Maas, "Neocharismatics," The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, 928ff.

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