The theology of the Charismatic Movement in Britain from 1964 to the present day
The Charismatic Movement developed in Britain in the early nineteen-sixties, characterised by an emphasis upon tangible experience of the action of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian -believer. It centred around a 'baptism in the Spirit', by means of which the Holy Spirit was understood to enter into the individual in a new and powerful way, often accompanied by physical manifestations, and the exercise of one or several of the charismatic gifts listed in 1 Corinthians chapter twelve verses 8- 10, especially speaking in tongues. This emphasis had already ocurred early in this century, and had rapidly developed into the separate denomination of Classical Pentecostalism. However, the Charismatic Movement was distinctive in that its exponents remained firmly within their denominations, and the movement became very influential within both' Protestant and Catholic traditions. Not until the development of the House Church Movement in the nineteen-seventies was there any-large-scale exodus of 'charismatics' from the established denominations, but so strong had been its impact in the denominations by this time that the influence of the movement was firmly established. It was in nineteen-sixty-four that the Fountain Trust was started, an organization which provided the first mouthpiece of the movement and played an important role in the formulation of early theology. That year is therefore taken as the starting point for this thesis, which examines the theology produced within the . Charismatic Movement and its off-shoot, the House Church Movement. As the Charismatic Movement spread, so different groupings and organizations came into being and the theology developed and diversified. The majority of participants in the Charismatic Movement believe that their particular theology constitutes the most correct understanding of biblical teaching, and in areas where controversy has arisen, this biblical basis is examined and. the different theologies compared with each other.