Can You Be Evangelical and Charismatic?

Can You Be Evangelical and Charismatic?

My wife and I recently visited a church near our home. Their website said they were a charismatic church. This would make them a refreshing anomaly in an area filled with mainline churches and a sprinkling of evangelical ones. I anticipated what we would find.

However, when we arrived, I was dismayed to read their bulletin, which proclaimed them as an evangelical church. Which was right, their online presence or their printed material? Were they charismatic or evangelical? Soon I would find out.

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As the service unfolded, they were clearly evangelical. Though their worship was a bit more exuberant than typical for fundamental churches, there were no indications of the Holy Spirit’s presence or of the supernatural.

Despite what their website claimed, their bulletin was correct. By their actions and their worship, they were, without a doubt, an evangelical congregation.

Having anticipated a charismatic experience, I was disappointed. Still I enjoyed my time there and lobbied for a return trip, but my wife felt that once was enough.

Can a church be evangelical and charismatic? Can a person be both? Click To Tweet

My wife was unaware of the inconsistency between their website and bulletin. When I shared my frustration over the mixed message, she shook her head in confusion. “Can’t they be both evangelical and charismatic?”

“Of course they can,” I answered, “but few churches are. They tend to be one or the other but not both.” She disagreed with me, but I’m having trouble thinking of an example. (A third option is mainline/liberal.)

However, assuming they embrace the good parts of both perspectives, I’d love to find such a place. I’d feel right at home.

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Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

4 Comments

  • Gerhard Zierl Posted October 4, 2021 5:42 am

    Yes. A church can be (and in my view, should be) both evangelical – which refers to its doctrine, and charismatic – which refers to our experience with the Holy Spirit.
    There may be a tendency to lean one way or the other, but we must constantly seek to correct any imbalance.
    One way is to follow up a sermon that is mainly solidly doctrinal with one that is mainly about experiencing God in reality.

    • Peter DeHaan Posted October 4, 2021 6:36 am

      Well said, Gerhard!

      Now to find such a church,

  • Gerhard Zierl Posted October 4, 2021 6:38 am

    Well we would welcome you here (where we try our best to get it right), but we are on the other side of The Pond from you!

    • Peter DeHaan Posted October 4, 2021 7:56 am

      May God bless you as you pursue him. 🙂

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