People often think Pentecostals and Charismatics are the same thing. There are some very important differences to understand. Here is the three biggest of them.
Charismatics do not have a theological framework
Most Pentecostal churches hold to the 1916 St. Louis statement in some form. It might be a little different. The Assemblies of God has taken it word for word and made it their statement of faith. Other Pentecostal movements have statement that are very close to it with a difference here and there. Church of God (Cleveland) for example disagrees on the issue of sanctification. Foursquare reads just a little different to but basically the same statement.
Charismatic churches on the other hand have no uniformed theology. Every ministry might have something totally different to say about any view. This is especially true about eschatology. However, the baptism of the Holy Spirit and another issue that many churches have different ideas about. For example, Vineyard churches teaches on one baptism while word of Faith churches would hold a more Pentecostal position.
What makes a Pentecostal and Charismatics different? There are many to name but here are the top three of them. Are you truly Pentecostal?
Charismatics do not believe tongues is the evidence
Pentecostals will hold to the death that the initial physical evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a private prayer language. We have drew a line in the sand and said this is what we believe. Many Charismatics disagree. Randy Clark would be an example that would say that any spiritual gift in operation is the evidence.
This is one of the things that what people believe can be all over the place. Anything from tongues to prophecy to no evidence at all. You will also find that some believe as John Wimber did that there is no baptism of the Holy Spirit to what Kenneth Hagin Sr taught that was close to the Pentecostal view save the initial physical evidence.
What do they have in common
They actually have more in common than they have different. Both groups are going to hold to some pretty important emphasis:
- The Word of God is alive and active
- Spiritual gifts are for everyone
- We need renewal in the churches
- We must reach the lost with the gospel
- Prayer is critical to all we do.
Many times when revival does break out in Pentecostal churches, Charismatics quickly come to receive what God is doing with the brethren. If anything, it is easier for one of them to come to a Pentecostal revival than it for the other way around. Most of us would struggle with the loose interpretation of scripture and in some cases, biblical text completely out of context.