December 27th, 2011
02:09 PM ET

Charismatic movement growing quickly worldwide

By Stacey Samuel, CNN

Laurel, Maryland (CNN) - At the end of a row of neatly arranged banquet chairs, Sandra Ashford sat reverently, still in awe of what she says is her mother’s miraculous recovery from cervical spinal stenosis.

“If it wasn’t my mother,” Ashford said, “I wouldn’t believe it." She explained how after a “laying of hands,” her 74-year-old mother, Delsie McDougall, no longer experiences the symptoms from what was becoming a debilitating condition.

When she arrived in early December from her native Jamaica in search of treatment options, McDougall said, she couldn’t “walk straight.” When her neurologist prescribed surgery, she sought an alternative, one more in keeping with her faith.

On the recommendation of a friend, mother and daughter experienced their first charismatic healing service in the rented ballroom of a Holiday Inn in Laurel, Maryland.

On a Sunday evening a few weeks before Christmas, the two spent several hours in the temporary location of the Everlasting Life Christian Center.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

“To tell you the truth, I was very skeptical,” McDougall said as she stood and swayed to the live music from the gospel singers. She showed no signs of physical discomfort.

Sandra Ashford, right, and her mother, left, attend a healing service in Maryland.

They are among a fast-growing number within the diverse Christian landscape to join the charismatic movement.

According to a recent Pew Research Center report on Global Christianity, 305 million Christians worldwide follow the charismatic movement.

“One of the reasons the charismatic movement is expanding … apart from salvation, we experience healing, miracles. The blind see, the lame get up and walk, and the deaf can hear. That attracts a lot of people,” said Samuel Fatoki, who leads the roughly 200-member church with his wife, Marcia, who serves as his co-pastor.

Ashford recounted how on the third application of Fatoki’s hands on her mother, McDougall fell to the ground and began speaking in tongues. Ashford said her mother writhed on the floor, contorting in ways she couldn’t stretch before.

Both said she’s been walking upright since.

The Pew report categorizes charismatic Christians as a subset among non-Pentecostal denominations and includes Christians from each of the major branches: Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.  The movement shares similar beliefs to Pentecostal denominations and similar practices like “divine healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues,” according to the report.

Dale Stoffer, professor of historical theology and academic dean at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ohio, said the charismatic movement has been present in the United States since the 1960s. The religious experience in the movement is more experiential, rather than based in intellectual expression.

“There’s a high degree of emphasis on the Holy Spirit working in supernatural ways,” Stoffer added.

While the movement is growing here in the United States, there’s been an “explosion in Christianity,” Stoffer said, in Africa, Latin America and Asia: regions of the world that have seen increased numbers of charismatic Christians.

A Pew Forum survey from 2006 found that 34% of Brazil's population identified themselves as charismatics.

“These are cultures that have not been impacted by the Western Enlightenment,” explained Stoffer.

A basic tenet in this healing ministry is complete belief, invoking one’s blind faith.

“And the signs shall follow them that believe, they will heal the sick, lay hands, cast out demons in my name,” Marcia Fatoki recited from the Gospel of Mark. She said she also shares her husband’s ability to prophesy.

Pastor Samuel Fatoki listens to his wife speak at a recent service.

Both asserted that they are not the purveyors of the miracles. “We’re not the ones healing,” Samuel Fatoki said.  They are just the vehicles through which the Holy Spirit is working.

But it’s not a gift that can be called upon on command, like magic, as a skeptic may expect to see in order to be convinced.

“People’s faith level increases with more examples from others,” Marcia Fatoki said.

At a time when individual tribulations seem to have grown with increasingly difficult economic times, it’s no wonder that the ballroom was filled with at least 200 people from as far as New York, New Jersey and Virginia, many with testimonies of being cured of ailments from chronic sinus issues and financial woes, to smoking cessation and the disappearance of tumors.

So, what happens when neither of the Fatokis is able to heal someone? Samuel Fatoki said that that too is out of his hands, and it is the will of God.

But for Sandra Ashford and her mother, what they have seen is enough to inspire a deepening of their faith.

“To witness a family member go through this speaks volumes,” Ashford said, still giddy that more than three weeks later, her mother is still pain-free and walking with ease.

“It is the will of God that everyone be healed,” Samuel Fatoki said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Catholic Church • Christianity • Pentecostal • United States

soundoff (685 Responses)
  1. Wade

    The Pentecostal lifestyle is one not appreciated by many people. Having grown up in this religion & denomination, I have also seen things that have happened in churches across the country that would make a believer out of anyone! Many people believe Pentecostals to be fanatics and odd, but we are people who are just very emotional and love our beliefs! It's always the people who come out of the woodwork and give Pentecostals a bad name, but to be honest, we are a very fun, happy, & grounded people.

    May 4, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  2. Rio

    Ragazzi ma state parlando senza zninicgooe di causa, ormai il gioco completo e verr rilasciato in europa il 19 di questo mese e se volete dei video andate su youtube. Un gioco per essere rilasciato in Europa dev'essere pur per forza multi5.

    April 1, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  3. satan

    My plan is working perfectly!

    January 1, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Anne

      Blessed be God forever. Blessed be his Holy Name.

      January 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  4. Bob

    It's strange that so many people don't take the Bible more seriously– if it's true, real life is much more exciting and supernatural than any movie you've ever watched or book that you've ever read. Just think– God creates the world. Then, He produces a book to tell everyone about what has happened and what is going to happen. Everything in the book so far has come true– just look at Israel. Yet, people still don't want to believe? No worries, that was all foretold as well... Yep, make more sense to ignore it, I guess. I'm sure it makes much more sense that we all descended by random chance from monkeys.

    January 1, 2012 at 1:44 am |
  5. .....

    Just hit Report abuse on all AvdBerg blogspamming. Go to his website if you must, but don't buy any of the junk he's trying to hawk. That way he gets loaded with bandwidth overage charges if enough people do it but he gets no revenue from his annoying spamming efforts.

    December 29, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  6. George

    Ask yourself, how many nails have you nailed in Jesus today?

    December 28, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • JohnR

      That's all sorts of creepy, George.

      December 28, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Shouldn't that have been "hammered"

      December 28, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • Righteo

      Okay, did Jesus get hammered or nailed? Maybe he got hammered first at the bar, met a handsome Gallilean gentleman, and then went back to his place and got nailed.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • George

      Make fun all you want, but ask yourself the question. And ask it each day and consider that Jesus weeps for you.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      George, I am not a member of your cult. If your jesus exists, he does not weep for me.

      December 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Brad

      Hi George

      Please consider this: "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1.

      We have been set free from sin and death. I don't think Christ would have us embrace it in this way. Enjoy your freedom.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      As long as a single person believes in the jesus myth, more nails are needed.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Sue

      Maybe Jesus is crying over all the people who were killed in his name, or because they made him, a pious Jew, into a blasphemy of his faith?

      December 28, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Holy STUPID

      Please prove god exists, or shut up.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Björn Moøseöncebætmysister

      Christians with neither provide any evidence nor shut up.

      December 29, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • TR6

      “Ask yourself, how many nails have you nailed in Jesus today?”

      Another one (of the many) problems with most charismatics is that beyond the regular ridiculous stuff in the bible they like to make up even more ridiculous stuff like this “nails…” thing.
      Where in the bible does is say people are nailing nails into jesus every day? Chapter and verse please

      December 29, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • rick

      Rigtheo: Perhaps he was a Galilean Matthew Sheppard

      December 29, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Sue

      More to the point, if nobody had supposedly 'hammered any nails' into Jesus way back then then there wouldn't be any Christians today complaining about it. Jesus' death then was according to some weird plan devised by God to get the messiah to die hanging on a 'tree', contrary to prophesy, so as to confound Jews into not accepting him as such and dooming his chosen people to suffer at the hands of those who hated them for not accepting him as the messiah.

      December 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • jameser

      I bet you'd like to "nail" Jesus wouldn't you.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:59 am |
  7. Curious

    AvdBerg it is clear what you reject. From your site:

    "When a person comes to the full knowledge and wisdom of God, he/she learns what spirit people are of (Luke 9:55 – removed from some translations) and what they do in man-made churches/insti.tutions, including ‘so-called' speaking in tongues, is foolishness and the high-minded thinking of a few individuals that has nothing to do with any communication with God (Romans 11:20; 2 Timothy 3:4). It is just another way how Satan, the spirit and god of this world, has transformed himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13,14)."

    This is all very well, but what do you believe and practice?

    December 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • AvdBerg


      The very Word of God according to God's righteousness and Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive (John 14:17) and which the natural man cannot understand (1 Cor. 2:14).

      In order for you to be able to understand the Word of God you must repent and turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit you are of) unto God (Acts 26;18). Without the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4) you will remain spiritually blind and separated from God. Religion is a deception and serves after an image of a false god and false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 12:9).

      December 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • JT

      Psalm 137:9 – Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

      December 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • JohnR

      I have no idea what AvdBerg practices, but he BELIEVES that his interpretations of scripture are so obviously the true ones that they aren't even interpretations, which makes it all the odder that so many hundreds of millions if not billions of christians over the centuries apparently missed these supposedly transparent truths. In other words, he is just another arch-sectarian bobble-head intoxicated by his own delusions of wisdom.

      December 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • Sue

      And they like to accuse atheists of having inflated egos. 🙂

      December 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • .....

      Another – CULT ALERT – AvdBerg is a TROLL and a LIAR, they are here to sell their book and website TRASH. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      January 3, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  8. Reality

    Dear Charismatics et al,

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity including Mormonism, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, prophets, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired. Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    December 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • .........

      short or long hit report abuse on all reality bull sh it

      December 29, 2011 at 7:45 am |
  9. Hypatia

    ignorant people get caught up in quasi-religious frenzy....and spend millions to keep their 'pastors' in yachts and mansions. Stop calling it a religious movement. It's a scam movement.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  10. Phil in Oregon

    You don't 'join' a 'movement'. You believe. "These signs shall accompany those who believe..." Don't believe? Do without.

    December 28, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • Sue

      But will you let us 'do without' without constantly reminding us of your belief that we are headed towards a cruel fate after death for not believing? Most of the criticism against Christianity comes in reaction to the constant condemnation some believers love to lay upon all those who do not accept what they say wholesale. In short, if these Christians stopped acting so antisocial they would have little difficulty getting along with everyone else, but they aren't interested in getting along, are they?

      December 29, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Funny

    Let's bash some Gays now. LOL

    December 28, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  12. Judy75201

    I wonder what Betty White would say?

    December 28, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Sue

      I wonder why you ended your statement with a question mark.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Judy75201

      What are you implying...

      December 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • OkeyDokey

      Judy% Really torquw him out and write with bizarre punctuation@

      >uoıʇɐnʇɔund ǝbuɐɹʇs ɥʇıʍ uʍop ǝpısdn ʇı ǝʇıɹʍ ɹo

      Или напишите на различном языке

      December 29, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  13. AvdBerg

    For a better understanding of the Charismatic movement and the spirit it serves (Luke 9:55) and the history of the Catholic Church, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’ and ‘Popes and the Princes of This World’ listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9.

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    December 28, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • claybigsby

      too bad the "word of god" you refer to is nothing more than the words of men.

      December 28, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • AvdBerg


      The Gospel which is preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Chris (Gal. 1:11,12).

      Too bad you cannot understand the Word of God as the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishnes unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14).

      Unless you repent and turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit you are of ) unto God (Acts 26:18) you will remain spiritually blind.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Fladabosco

      If you have to explain it I find it difficult to believe god wants us to know about it. Why would god make it a puzzle to get salvation? Do I believe Ialam? Shall I be a zoroastrian? Is earth really god's kidney, filtering out the good and the bad? If it's a good and generous god why doesn't god just come and tell us all what god wants, not to give us dozens of conflicting 'holy' books. Reality is God's True Religion™. If you want a dose of reality check out http://theagnosticchurchofgod.blogspot.com/.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • .....

      Just hit Report abuse on all AvdBerg blogspamming. Go to his website if you must, but don't click on the ads there. That way he gets loaded with bandwidth overage charges if enough peopled do it but gets no ad click revenue.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • .....

      Just hit Report abuse on all AvdBerg blogspamming. Go to his website if you must, but don't click on the ads there. That way he gets loaded with bandwidth overage charges if enough people do it but he gets no ad click revenue.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • AvdBerg


      You will not find one ad on our website.

      Matthew 9:12. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are s-ck (sinners).

      December 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • Ogre

      AvdBerg, "turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (whose spirit you are of )"

      Lucifer means 'light'. You could just as well be inspired by "Satan" as anyone else is...

      December 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • AvdBerg


      God sent servants and prophets (Luke 16:29-31) but mankind prefers darkness over light because their deeds are evil (john 3:19).

      Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7). --– http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      December 28, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • AvdBerg


      We invite you to read the article 'Who is God and who is Satan?' listed on our website http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      December 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Sue

      "Matthew 9:12. They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are s-ck (sinners)."
      Plenty of self-professing 'sinners' attend church regularly throughout their lives, so does that imply that those of us who no longer see a need to believe or worship are 'healed'?

      December 28, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Sue

      9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Revelation 12:9(NIV)

      Now, can you demonstrate how you know that it is the Catholic Church and not the charismatic Christians who were led astray? Both Satan and the antichrist are supposed to be charismatic leaders too, after all.

      December 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
    • AvdBerg


      For a bettter understanding of the issues you wrote about we invite you to read the articles 'What is Sin' and 'The Mystery Babylon' listed on our website http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      We have provided a Contact Page on our website in case you have any furhter questions. Have to run for now. Will post another message this evening to explain our personal experiences with the Charismatic Movement before our conversion.

      December 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • claybigsby

      AVDBerg: This was my point...you cannot quote scripture and act like it is divine. Those words were written by mere mortals no smarter than you or I. Anything Jesus said in the bible is strictly hearsay as the authors who wrote about Jesus never knew him, saw him or talked to him. They only wrote about him 40+ years after his death. If you want to put your faith in Mankind, be my guest. But I reserve the right to call you an id...iot.

      December 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • claybigsby

      "For a bettter understanding of the issues you wrote about we invite you to read the articles 'What is Sin' and 'The Mystery Babylon' listed on our website http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA"

      Poor attempt at a shameless plug....move along.

      December 28, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
    • Sue


      "On the back cover of the book, there are a number of questions the book will answer. Another commonly asked question is "What church do the believers in God belong to?" The answer to that question is that the true church is not of this world (John 7:7; Rom 12:2; Gal 4:4; Eph 2:2; 1 John 2:15,4:5)."

      So, that would rule out the Catholics as well as every Protestant denomination, including the charismatics. No Christians have it right then, according to the Bible. Are you sure that you want to argue for this?

      December 28, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • AvdBerg


      That is correct! Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

      December 29, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • .....

      Hit Report abuse on all AvdBerg blogspamming. Go to his website if you must, but don't buy any of the junk he's trying to hawk. That way he gets loaded with bandwidth overage charges if enough people do it but he gets no revenue from his annoying spamming efforts.

      December 29, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Sue

      So Matthew 7:7 applies to everyone who has sought out and found answers, such as Muslims, Buddhists, Scientologists, Atheists, not to mention cult members ... Let me guess, that would be a 'no'. You expect people to arrive at the exact same conclusions that you have because, of course, you have the 'correct' answers, right? Tell me, when you fly do you need to buy an extra seat for that ego of yours?

      December 29, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • .....

      CULT ALERT – AvdBerg is a TROLL and a LIAR, they are here to sell their book and website TRASH. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this TROLL!

      January 3, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  14. JesusLives

    By his stripes we are healed!

    December 28, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Fladabosco

      As Nietsche said, "Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule."

      December 28, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Sue

      How come your "omnipotent" creature can't do the healing without the stripes? Pretty pathetic god you've made for yourself there.

      December 28, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Holy STUPID

      jesus is a tiger? or a zebra?

      December 29, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  15. doctore0

    They ways of the monkey-sheep

    December 28, 2011 at 7:47 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Wha-a- a-t?

      December 28, 2011 at 8:12 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.