On CNN’s Belief Blog Stacey Samuel highlights the experiences of a mother and daughter who attended a “charismatic healing service” at the Everlasting Life Christian Center in Laurel, Maryland:
They are among a fast-growing number within the diverse Christian landscape to join the charismatic movement.
According to a recent Pew Research Center report on Global Christianity, 305 million Christians worldwide follow the charismatic movement.
“One of the reasons the charismatic movement is expanding apart from salvation, we experience healing, miracles. The blind see, the lame get up and walk, and the deaf can hear. That attracts a lot of people,” said Samuel Fatoki, who leads the roughly 200-member church with his wife, Marcia, who serves as his co-pastor.
Sandra Ashford talks about what she refers to as her mother’s miraculous recovery from cervical spinal stenosis.
Ashford recounted how on the third application of Fatoki’s hands on her mother, McDougall fell to the ground and began speaking in tongues. Ashford said her mother writhed on the floor, contorting in ways she couldn’t stretch before.
Both said she’s been walking upright since.
Carismatics are members of non-pentecostal denominations — including Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant denominations — who hold at least some pentecostal beliefs and engage in at least some spiritual practices associated with pentecostalism, including divine healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues. The charismatic movement, sometimes known as the charismatic renewal, began among mainline Protestants in the U.S. in 1960 and had spread to parts of the U.S. Catholic Church by 1967. The charismatic movement also finds expression in independent congregations that have formed their own networks of affiliated churches, similar to denominations. These church networks, such as the Vineyard Christian Fellowship based in California, are distinct from historically pentecostal denominations.
Dale Stoffer, professor of historical theology and academic dean at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio, said the charismatic movement has been present in the United States since the 1960s. The religious experience in the movement is more experiential, rather than based in intellectual expression.
“There’s a high degree of emphasis on the Holy Spirit working in supernatural ways,” Stoffer added.
While the movement is growing here in the United States, there’s been an “explosion in Christianity,” Stoffer said, in Africa, Latin America and Asia: regions of the world that have seen increased numbers of charismatic Christians.