The word ‘Charismatic’ comes from the Greek word for 'gift' in the New Testament. It is used in at three distinct ways:
1. It is used in reference to the gift of salvation, Romans 6:23: …the gift of God is eternal life...
2. It is used with respect to the talents that are given to those who are called to labour in the service of Christ, 1 Timothy 4:14: Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
3. It is also used in reference to the gifts of the Spirit. It appears for example in 1 Corinthians 12:4: Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
Today, however, in Christian circles this term is synonymous with what is known as the 'Charismatic Movement'. This movement claims that the baptism of the Spirit is evidenced today in the outpouring of certain gifts upon New Testament believers. These gifts are eg. healing, prophecies, words of knowledge, especially speaking in tongues, and a number of others.
This movement is synonymous with the Pentecostal churches. The Charismatic Movement has also appeared within mainline, so called, Protestant churches and even also within the Roman Catholic Church.
These beliefs and practices associated with the Charismatic Movement have not always been the view, or the practice, with the professing Church of Jesus Christ. The modern Charismatic Movement commenced with a woman called Agnes Ozman, who was a student at Bethel Bible College in Kansas, USA. Ozman was considered by many as 'the first to speak in tongues' in the modern era. Her experience is claimed to have sparked off the modern Pentecostal Movement. At exactly 11:00 pm, on 1st January 1901, Agnes Ozman requested that hands be laid upon her so that she would receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, while employing the prayer of benediction found in Hebrews 13:20-21: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
As a result this last century has witnessed a tremendous explosion in this type of teaching and practice. Pentecostal/Charismatic churches have been increasing and multiplying in number over these last 100 years or so and in a number of cases have large attendances.
All the mainstream denominations such as Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, are now infected with Charismatic teaching and practice. In these mainline denominations, which have departed from the faith, the so-called evangelicals within them, in many cases, are involved in the Charismatic Movement to varying degrees.
Three things define the beliefs of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement:
 Continuing Revelation. The belief that God continues to speak to His people, collectively and personally as He did in the early New Testament Church. They believe that the Holy Ghost gives new, authoritative, extra-Biblical revelations today, which are binding upon the people of God and of equal or greater authority than the Scriptures.
 Ecumenism. The Charismatic Movement plays a major part in the false unity movement of today. Charismatics pursue unity on the basis of experience rather than revealed truth. David du Plesis, a renown Charismatic leader [Mr Pentecost as he became known] insisted that to be truly charismatic you must be ecumenical and to be truly ecumenical you must be charismatic.
Du Plesis became an active believer in ecumenism, beginning with his efforts in the 1950s to share the Pentecostal experience with 'Christians' in the other denominations, and chiefly in Roman Catholicism. This door was chiefly opened though his friendship with John McKay, then President of Princeton Seminary in New Jersey, USA. John McKay invited Du Plessis to address the International Missionary Council in what was then West Germany, in 1952. There he earned the nickname 'Mr Pentecost'.
Du Plesis went on to become a member of staff and Pentecostal 'observer' at the World Council of Churches in 1954 and 1961. He was also invited to serve as Pentecostal representative at the Second Vatican Council held 1962-65.
Du Plessis entitled his autobiography The Spirit Bade Me Go, as he claimed that God had commanded him to take the Pentecostal message to these other denominations, and in particular to the World Council of Churches. Recounting a meeting with twenty-four ecumenical leaders in USA Du Plessis wrote:
I could remember days when I had wished I could have set my eyes upon such men to denounce their theology and pray the judgment of God upon them for what I considered their heresies and false doctrines. ... After a few introductory words I suddenly felt a warm glow come over me. I knew this was the Holy Spirit taking over, but what was He doing to me? Instead of the old harsh spirit of criticism and condemnation in my heart, I now felt such love and compassion for these ecclesiastical leaders that I would rather have died for them than pass sentence upon them.
Herein lies the seriousness of this matter. Not only does this error involve wrong teaching and practice with regards New Testament gifts, it poses a serious threat to the purity of the Gospel. It also fuels ecumenism and aids the development of the one world-wide Church warned about in the Scriptures.
There may be individual Christians within Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches who would have no part in such a world-wide movement, but this is what the Charismatic Movement is helping to bring about. This is why we need to be aware of these things and seek to understand what the Scriptures teach regarding the errors of the Charismatic Movement.