Celebrating 35 years of Charisma 1975-2010
A look back at some of the most significant stories in Charisma’s 35 years of covering the charismatic movement
The charismatic movement started long before the first pages of Charisma were ever printed in 1975. Though this magazine has since become the touchstone publication for Spirit-filled believers, the renewed emphasis within the American church on the Holy Spirit’s power began decades earlier. The wave started in 1906 with the Azusa Street Revival, continued throughout the first half of the 20th century and expanded beyond non-Pentecostal groups with Episcopal priest Dennis Bennett’s announcement on Passion Sunday in 1960 that he’d received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Fifteen years later, at the height of this newfound movement that was now impacting every denomination and part of the body of Christ, an Orlando Sentinel reporter named Steve Strang formed Charisma as a newsletter for his local church, Calvary Assembly of God.
That was 35 years ago this month. Since then, Spirit-filled believers have joined us for a wild ride through countless highs and lows, triumphs and tragedies, highlights and scandals. For our loyal readers who have been with us through many of those years, here’s a walk down Memory Lane. And for those newer to the charismatic experience, consider this a crash course on some of the most influential, memorable and significant stories we’ve covered in the past 35 years. What a ride it’s been!
Charisma’s premiere issue debuts in August
Healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman dies
Pat Robertson founds CBN University in Virginia Beach, Va., which later becomes Regent University
Paul Yonggi Cho’s Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul reaches an unprecedented 100,000 members and draws international attention to growth of Christianity in South Korea
The Washington for Jesus prayer rally, organized by charismatic pastor John Gimenez, draws an estimated 700,000 Christians to the nation’s capital in April and places evangelicals on the political map as a substantial voting bloc
Despite ongoing financial struggles, Oral Roberts opens the City of Faith medical complex in Tulsa, Okla.
Rising Southern Baptist televangelist James Robison experiences a radical deliverance from demonic oppression and includes public healing and deliverance ministry in his services
John Wimber joins the Vineyard movement and, as its leader, forms of the Association of Vineyard Churches
1983 Though hosted by Billy Graham, the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists (aka Amsterdam 83) takes on a decidedly charismatic flair as more than a third of the 4,000 ministers present are Pentecostal
Amid heightened persecution of Christians behind the Iron Curtain, seven Soviet Pentecostals, known as the “Siberian Seven,” are released after five years of living in the sanctuary of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow
Integrity’s Hosanna! Music releases its first recording of praise and worship music, starting a multimillion-dollar industry that transforms worship worldwide
The “Happy Hunters,” Charles and Frances Hunter, heal and train thousands as part of their “Healing Explosion” conferences
Pat Robertson says he’ll run for president if within the year 3 million people sign a petition asking him to seek the office. The next year, he announces his candidacy after receiving more than 3.3 million signatures.
After costs for Oral Roberts’ City of Faith hospital spiral out of control, the televangelist tells supporters that unless $8 million is raised, God might “take me home”
The multilayered PTL scandal breaks: Jim Bakker resigns as president after confessing a 1980 sexual encounter with church secretary Jessica Hahn (and an attempt to pay her hush money), and the Charlotte Observer uncovers the ministry’s mismanagement of millions of dollars from donors. Within months, PTL declares bankruptcy and is sued by the IRS for $56 million in back taxes. (In 1989, Bakker goes to prison.)
Televangelist Jimmy Swaggart confesses to his worldwide TV audience unspecified sins and later resigns his Assemblies of God credentials after refusing to accept rehabilitative discipline
Nigeria sees massive church growth, highlighted by mega-congregations such the 345,000-member Deeper Life Bible Church movement
The fall of the Iron Curtain opens the door for evangelism throughout the Soviet Union
ABC’s PrimeTime Live accuses health-and-wealth televangelist Robert Tilton of stealing donor funds. Within two years his dwindling ministry cancels its flagship show, Success-N-Life.
Pentecostal revival sweeps through Latin America, reshaping Roman Catholic countries such as Brazil, Guatemala and El Salvador into evangelical hot spots
Revival in Argentina, which began in the 1980s under evangelists such as Carlos Annacondia, Héctor Giménez, Omar Cabrera and Claudio Freidzon, expands into reported 13,000 all-night prayer meetings held regularly throughout the country
Rodney Howard-Browne’s “laughing revival” in Lakeland, Fla., sparks both controversy and a renewed interest in the Holy Spirit
Revival fires spread throughout China’s underground church, which some estimate to have grown to 100 million almost overnight
The Toronto Blessing movement begins, drawing hundreds of thousands (particularly burned-out pastors) from around the world to the Toronto Airport Vineyard Christian Fellowship for spiritual refreshing
A flood of revival fervor engulfs churches throughout the U.K., beginning with London’s Holy Trinity Brompton
Revival erupts in tiny Smithton, Mo., drawing people worldwide to what later is called the Smithton Outpouring
T.D. Jakes moves his ministry from Charleston, W. Va., to Dallas and launches The Potter’s House
March for Jesus, which started in 1987 as a simple praise march in London, grows into a phenomenon that involves 75 nations and millions of believers each year
Promise Keepers’ Stand in the Gap rally in Washington, D.C., draws more than 1 million men to repent for their sins and the sins of America
Joyce Meyer rapidly expands her outreach beyond conferences and local TV into a worldwide ministry
Crenshaw Christian Center pastor Fred Price uses a series of his TV shows to trigger public debate over racism in the church
Joel Osteen takes the pastorate of his late father, John, at Lakewood Church in Houston. Already a megachurch, Lakewood quickly becomes the nation’s largest congregation with more than 43,000 members.
More than 30,000 college students from around the country gather in Memphis, Tenn., for worship and prayer event OneDay
TheCall, organized by pastors Lou Engle and Ché Ahn, begins a prayer movement that specifically impacts a younger generation of Spirit-filled believers
An unprecedented 6 million Nigerians attend a six-day Reinhard Bonnke crusade in Lagos, where the
evangelist had been barred from preaching since 1990
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 spark massive prayer gatherings nationwide and turn much of the church’s attention toward Islam
As waves of revival sweep through Nigeria, many of the country’s charismatic pastors begin to impact Africa and beyond through their church-planting networks
With Hispanics now the largest minority group (and fastest-growing ethnic group) in the U.S., Hispanic churches—particularly Pentecostal congregations—explode in a surge that continues throughout the decade
Within months of one another, pioneering charismatic leaders Bill Bright, Kenneth Hagin Sr. and Derek Prince die
Paul Cain confesses to “immoral behavior” after the longtime prophet is disfellowshipped by charismatic leaders Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle and Jack Deere, who say he won’t submit to a restoration process
Oral Roberts, arguably the most influential leader on modern-day Pentecostalism, dies
The Mike Bickle-led International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Mo., celebrates 10 years of nonstop prayer and worship
Freda Lindsay, co-founder of influential charismatic Bible school Christ for the Nations in Dallas, dies
The charismatic renewal movement marks the 50th anniversary since Episcopal priest Dennis Bennett’s announcement that he’d experienced a “personal Pentecost” sparked a renewed interest nationwide in the baptism of the Holy Spirit