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Summary: This is actually a clear, instructive position paper which clears away some misconceptions and offers precise definitions. It is useful for personal study or study groups, in addition to Sunday messages.

WHAT DOES “CHARISMATIC” MEAN?

Pastor Eric J. Hanson

A Teaching Position Paper

Initial disclaimer: The secular use of the word “charismatic” meaning “possessing great personal magnetism, able to attract and hold an audience or constituency”, etc, is a secular meaning which is derived second handedly from the primary sense of this word, which is the spiritual sense of it. Here is the primary set of definitions:

“Spiritual” (I Cor. 12:1) Greek: “pneumaticos”/ “non-carnal, ethereal, supernatural, regenerate, spiritual.” This comes from the Greek word “pneuma” Which means “breath (n), breath (v), the soul, essence of an angel, demon, or God, Spirit of Christ, Holy Spirit.

“Gifts” (I Cor. 12:4)(see also the whole chapter) Greek: “charisma” a gratuity, a deliverance, an endowment, a qualification, a faculty. (root word is “charizomai”, which means favor.)

Strongly related also to “charis” which means graciousness and several other related terms. (translated as “grace”.)

The same word for “gifts” is used throughout the above scripture passage. Now, here is a one sentence accurate definition of “charismatic” as a noun used in the spiritual sense.

A Charismatic is “one who believes in and practices the charismas (gifts) found throughout I Corinthians chapter 12.

In practice, this means that in order for a church to be legitimately Charismatic, it needs to be a place where people are encouraged to move in the nine gifts listed in verses 8-10 of this passage. A fully charismatic church will also see verse 28 as the Holy Spirit given chronological pattern for the planting and developing of new churches.

Two common misbeliefs about what it is to be a charismatic

Misbelief #1. A charismatic is one who does visible stuff in worship practice.

“Charismatic” is not a word which has anything to do with worship styles. It is fully possible for a person to not believe in these gifts, but be a very demonstrative worshiper in raising or clapping hands, prostrating oneself before God, using many instruments in the music, having banners, etc. Such a person is not a “charismatic”. They are a “demonstrative worshiper”. Many demonstrative worshipers are also charismatics. Some are not, but the two terms are not the same.

Misbelief #2. A charismatic is a very emotional person.

The word “charismatic” also has nothing to do with being emotional. One can be very emotional in their approach to God and not have charismatic beliefs, and not practice these nine gifts. On the other hand, there are many people who are very reserved in their emotions and not demonstrative in their relationships with people, but who are charismatic in that they manifest various ones of these nine gifts. Certainly one may be a charismatic and also be an emotional person, but the two are not connected.

Hosanna church can be described in many ways, such as “Bible believing”, “Evangelical” etc. One of the accurate descriptors of us, dealing with one dimension of our beliefs and practices, is the word “Charismatic”. This is because we do believe in the practice of the “charisms”. We believe that individual Christian believers can and should be used in any of these above referenced gifts during private devotional worship, public worship, or ministry situations, as needs arise which God can meet by means as such equipping as these gifts are.


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