The Many Christian Denominations: What is the Truth?

I was going to do this article on “What are Charismatic Catholics?”, and as I started doing research, I discovered that it’s a charismatic movement that stemmed from Pentecostalism. When did Pentecostalism start? It stemmed from Christian Fundamentalism which was started because of the rise of Liberalism and Progressive Christianity. This is deep! There wasn’t a simple answer!

I’m going to try to explain all this in terms that a lay person — someone who is not an ordained minister or has gone to seminary — can understand. As a lay person myself, I had to sit through a few videos (which I’ve embedded below), from some of my favorite Christian resources, to get a grasp on how all of this developed.

I remember when I was on my spiritual journey getting to know Jesus, I was stumped at the time by all the “Christianese”, or “churchy words”. Because of that, I’m going to create a Glossary of Christian Terms, as a page here on my site, where I will define all these churchy words to hopefully clear up many misconceptions.

What are Progressive Christians and Liberalism?

Basically, this starts with the 17th-19th Centuries and the “Enlightenment” or the “Age of Reason”. Some say it may go all the way back to Aristotle and Greek philosophy. As people became more educated, scholars tried to refashion and reground the church’s worldview from biblical to secular. And that is still a challenge today, but in reverse. Christians are trying to get people from the secular worldview to a biblical one — as that’s what’s wrong with today’s world.

Utopian ideals started flourishing as the western world progressed. This eventually led to Karl Marx and his socialists theories. (By the way, Jesus was not a socialist!)

The 5 Fundamentals of Christianity

Christian Fundamentalism rose up against the Darwinian scientific claims that targeted church doctrines as part of the Enlightenment. Here are the 5 Fundamentals of Christianity…

  1. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God
  2. Miracles are true
  3. Jesus atoned for our sins by dying on the cross
  4. The virgin birth
  5. The Resurrection

What’s missing here is sanctification or salvation by grace alone. However, the well-known Salvation Army stemmed from the “Holiness Movement”. They were early evangelicals.

What is an Evangelical Christian?

Jesus's Great Commission
The Great Commission

The term Evangelical comes from the Greek word for “Good News” or “Gospel“, evangelion. Evangelicals are called to spread the Good News of the salvation of Jesus Christ to the world. It’s our mission based on the Great Commission.

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 NLT (bold emphasis mine)

I am an Evangelical and a Fundamentalist.

What is a Christian Fundamentalist?

First, it is not based on anger or terrorism! Christian Fundamentalism started in the late 1800s and early 1900s in America as part of the 2nd Great Awakening. It’s primarily doubling down on true Christian doctrine. Not watered-down, not twisted, but the Gospel Truth — rejecting liberal forces.

What is Pentecostalism and Charismatic Christianity?

The first Pentecost

It’s based on the Book of Acts chapter 2, which describes the historical birth of the Christian church after Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s when God sends the Holy Spirit to indwell in the first disciples.

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, [or tongues] as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

Acts 2:1-4 NLT

The Charismatics and Pentecostals kind of took the “And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages” literally, but ignored the last part that says, “as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.” There are many benefits to being a born-again Christian and there are both gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit. I go over them here. Below there is a video from Pastor Mike Winger who explains that you don’t have to speak in tongues to be saved.

According the videos from Ryan Reeves, which I have embedded below, also, there were 3 waves of Pentecostalism.

  1. Early 1900s in the U.S. — the Azusa Street Revival, stemming also from the 2nd Great Awakening revival. However, it may have started as early as the 1700s in Europe.
  2. 1950s – 1960s — The Charismatic Renewal Movement
  3. 1980s – today — The Neo-Charismatic Movement, including all the televangelists.

Some Pentecostal Denominations:

  • Holiness Pentecostal Church – 1911
  • Assemblies of God – 1914
  • Foursquare Gospel – 1923

What is Charismatic Catholicism?

Ah, now we get to the originating question. The Charismatic movement infiltrated all denominations including the Roman Catholic Church. Which is fantastic! They believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Which means they are saved — and that’s what counts.

  • 1968 – Catholic Pentecostal Conference
  • 1977 – Kansas City Charismatic Conference
  • Part of the 3rd Wave

Important: Don’t define a movement by its failures or excesses!

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is member of the “People of Praise” community who are just that — a community of charismatic Christian believers from different Christian denominations who have come together to help each other and serve the Lord. It is…

…is associated with the Catholic charismatic renewal movement but not formally affiliated with the Catholic Church.


Don’t Overthink It!

When I start reading and trying to understand all these concepts and their differences, I get a headache. As Christians, we are called to believe — to have faith! Remember the definition of faith that we covered in Hebrews chapter 11?

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see….

3By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Hebrews 11:1, 3 NLT

How long ago was the earth created? Was it the big bang? How could God have created the earth in 6 days?

Who cares?! It doesn’t matter! We must take it and believe it because it is in the Bible and the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Period. That is FAITH!

What does matter is YOUR SALVATION and the salvation of the world. That’s it! It’s belief in the “5 Solas“…

The 5 Solas

  1. Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”): The Bible alone is our highest authority.
  2. Sola Fide (“Faith alone”): We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
  3. Sola Gratia (“Grace alone”): We are saved by the grace of God alone.
  4. Solus Christus (“Christ alone”): Jesus Christ alone is our Savior, Redeemer, Lord and King
  5. Soli Deo Gloria (“to God alone be the Glory.”): It’s all about God not us.

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!


The Enlightenment Part 1 by Ryan Reeves:

The Enlightenment Part 2 by Ryan Reeves:

Liberalism and the Church by Ryan Reeves:

Christian Fundamentalism by Ryan Reeves:

Pentecostalism and Charismatics by Ryan Reeves:

Must You Speak in Tongues to be Saved? by Pastor Mike Winger


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