Pentecostal or charismatic Christianity is viewed by some Americans as an emotional, theologically suspect form of the Christian faith. It is widely thought to be a very vocal and visible, but numerically small slice of the grand religious pie in the United States. Two new surveys from The Barna Group, however, indicate that things are changing dramatically in the religious landscape. Those surveys – one among a national sample of adults and the other among a national sample of Protestant pastors – show that the number of churches and adherents to Pentecostal perspectives and practices has grown significantly in the past two decades. A decade ago, three out of ten adults claimed to be charismatic or Pentecostal Christians. Today, 36% of Americans accept that designation. That corresponds to approximately 80 million adults.
Charismatics are found throughout the fabric of American Christianity. Although just 8% of the population is evangelical, half of evangelical adults (49%) fit the charismatic definition. A slight majority of all born again Christians (51%) is charismatic. Nearly half of all adults who attend a Protestant church (46%) are charismatic.