THIRD WAVE:The Signs and Wonders
Neo-Charismatic Movement
Charismatic Chaos

The Third Wave Movement is a Pentecostal or Charismatic movement that began in the 1980s. It is sometimes called the “Third Wave of the Holy Spirit” or the “Signs and Wonders Movement.” The name “Third Wave” was coined by C. Peter Wagner, a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary. He referred to the movement as the “Third Wave” because this was the third of three distinct Pentecostal/Charismatic movements in modern Christianity.  In 1981 John Wimber delivered a lecture at Fuller Theological Seminary entitled, “Signs, Wonders and Church Growth.” From 1982 to 1985 Wimber taught the course, “The Miraculous and Church Growth.”  

Prior to John Wimber, most healing ministries were tied to their leaders. A distinctive feature of Wimber’s teaching was what some have called the “democratization” of healing. From 1981 onward, a new “Signs and Wonders” movement was underway with an emphasis on equipping and empowering the laity to minister in the power of the Spirit. Wimber’s works include               

The first wave was the original Pentecostal Movement that began in the early 1900s with the teachings of Charles Parham followed by the Azusa Street Revival.

The second wave then came in the 1960s with the Charismatic movement. In the Charismatic movement, Pentecostal doctrines, teachings, and practices began to spread to non-Pentecostal churches and denominations. This wave brought increased popularity to the “Word of Faith” or “Name It and Claim It” teachings that are still popular today.



Then, in the 1980s, another “movement of the Holy Spirit,” supposedly characterized by “signs and wonders,” began in the Vineyard Church with the teachings of Charles Wimber, Mike Bickle, C. Peter Wagner, Jack Deere, and others. Professor Wagner characterized this Third Wave as being “a new moving of the Holy Spirit among evangelicals who, for one reason or another, have chosen not to identify with either the Pentecostals or Charismatics.” Also known as the Neo-Charismatic Movement, this Third Wave of Pentecostal doctrines became very popular and led to  teachings such as the Toronto Blessing and laughing in the Spirit  and being slain in the spirit. 

Peter Wagner and his colleague, ]ohn Wimber, have set up a new denomination with the participation of the Vineyard churches“; here baptism in the Holy Spirit manifested not only through the Charismatic classical forms (speaking in tongues and prophecies), but also through new forms, given by the “liberation of the Spirit”. The new manifestations included tremor, spiritual ecstasies, “killing in the Spirit”, animalic sounds etc.“ Wagner and Wimber have originally named this as “Signs and Wonders Movement”.

 A typical example of the new Charismatism is that of the Evangelist Rodney Howard Brown, who, in March 1993, arrived in the state of Florida for a week of Evangelism but after several days of work marked by thousands of conversions and strange events, extended his stay for 14 weeks. After such a meeting, Randy Clark of Toronto, Canada, returned to his church wanting to extend these free events.

Thus, in 1994, a new phenomenon called
“Toronto blessing” started
at the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church,
under the leadership of ]ohn Arnott;
the holy laughter, rolling on the floor,
the animalic sounds, the prophecies and the scheduled healings
became specific for the church near the Toronto airport.

William Durham, one of the early Pentecostal leaders, remembers his own experience
“I was overcome by the mighty fullness of power and Went down under it. For three hours He wrought wonderfully in me. My body was worked in sections, a section at a time. And even the skin on my face was jerked and shaken, and finally l felt my lower jaw begin to quiver in a strange way. This continued for some little time, when finally my throat began to enlarge and I felt my vocal organs being, as it were, drawn into a different shape. O how strange and wonderful it was! And how blessed it was to be thus in the hands of God. And last of all I felt my tongue begin to move and my lips to produce strange sounds which did not originate in my mind.“‘“’

“ Being considered a spiritual awakening phenomenon, the “Toronto blessing” was repeated in other countries, with hundreds of thousands of conversions.
A year later, in 1995, another revival movement headed by ]ohn Kilpatrick was recorded in Brownsville, Pensacola, Florida.

After a while, the initiators of the third wave, Wagner and Wimber, backed out when they saw where the movement was heading. Their questions were related to the incongruity between the biblical signs of a spiritual revival and the exotic uncontrollable signs of the new kind of Charismatic movement. But it was too late. The movement had spread too fast and too uncontrollably. This was the signal of a new beginning.  

The new type of Charismatism seemed to go too far. Even those who were leading the services were often taken aback and questioned themselves. To justify its direction, Neo-Charismatism was forcing the biblical text or was separating preferential texts to transform them into standard promises. Experience was beating exegesis!  

Mark 16: - 20 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.  And they went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked through them, confirming His word by the signs that accompanied it.

Thus signs and miracles will accompany the declaration of faith in Jesus and it confirms what is preached by the Apostles and Evangelists.

Gospel message must be received by the hearer which requires personal affirmations of the Power of Jesus even today in the daily life.  God himself will provide that confirmation through something the particular person asks for and requires. The function of those signs and miracles are in themselves that it is personal and not necessarily logical.

Issaiah 7: 10-11 Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying, "Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven."  

It is this personal assertion and confirmation of the reality of Jesus in daily life today, that is asserted by the Third Wave proponents.  As with all Pentecostal/Charismatic movements, personal experience plays a greater role for determining “truth” than does sound doctrine as propounded by the Church.   Tradition and the transmitted messages of the Fathers form the starting point. The final choice is always personal. The proof of the pudding is after all in eating it.

The Third Wave is yet another movement that is based on people’s experience rather than on doctrines of the church. Proponents of the Third Wave Movement believed that it would bring forth end-time apostles and prophets to do greater miracles than were performed by Old Testament prophets or New Testament apostles. These “new apostles and prophets” were said to be greater than any prophet or apostle that had preceded them. This teaching has resulted in many false prophets coming out of Third Wave churches.

John 14: 11-13 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me—or at least believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.…

It this work that is promised by the father that is being extracted by the new third wave proponents.  The reaction to these exercise by the chuch is the same as they had it with Montanus and his movement.

Since its beginning in the 1980s, the Third Wave Movement has sparked a large number of  revivals with new forms of expressions and experiences. It has also sparked heavy criticism as in the case of Montanism.  

Here is the take of those who consider the Third wave as coming from Satan:

“Today, God does not give ‘new revelation’ to men.  
God is not doing ‘a new thing’.  
All knowledge and experiences, all ‘things’ can be found in the written Scriptures.  
Any knowledge, experience or ‘thing’ that cannot be found in Scripture is not of God and is not for God’s people.  
Any revelation that goes beyond or contradicts or adds or takes away from what is revealed in the written Word of God is a counterfeit.  
Experiences such as being ‘slain in the spirit’ or ‘holy laughter’ or being ‘drunk in the spirit’ are not found in Scripture.  This is well known to those who teach these things.  As a result, those who teach them do not try to defend their teachings with Scripture.  Instead, they look for a ‘new thing’, an experience or revelation that is outside God’s Word.  Because these experiences lie outside Scripture, they also lie outside the area where God’s Spirit moves.  These experiences thus come from areas where other spirits move, in the occult.”

There are others who declare that it follows the same techniques of other religions.

“Among Pentecostals, Charismatics and Third Wavers, there are many sincere believers in the Lord Jesus.  They love the Lord and seek to obey Him.  Many preach Christ and people are won for Christ. In this we rejoice.  Nevertheless, the Scriptures also tells us to “Test all things; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Scriptures tell us that there will be a time when people will not be interested in sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:2-4).  We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). That is the purpose of this critique.  We rejoice that Christ is preached; but we teach the Word of God and warn others of the dangers of deception which is prevalent in these last days (2 Timothy 3:13; Titus 3:3” 

Four Features of the Third Wave

Individuals within the Third Wave affirm the validity of charismatic gifts such as healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy, and deliverance from demons. In general, however, they do not accept the traditional Pentecostal emphasis on the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a distinct experience separate from conversion, nor do they emphasize speaking in tongues as the “initial evidence” that someone has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit (as do traditional Pentecostals).

So what exactly is the Third Wave movement? The study committee’s report identifies four distinctive features:

Prophecy and hearing the voice of God. The Third Wave movement affirms the ongoing communication of God. Not only does God still speak to people today, we are able to hear God’s voice (sometimes referred to as receiving a “word of knowledge” or “word of wisdom” from God).

Powerful prayer. The Third Wave movement emphasizes the mysterious but undeniable ways in which God’s will is affected by the prayers of believers. The power of prayer lies in its ability to create new realities, ones which would otherwise not have been called into existence. The faithful prayers of God’s people are the power to move the hands of God.

Healing ministries. The Third Wave affirms the ongoing power of God to provide physical and mental healing. The experience of healing often occurs in the context of prayer, which provides an avenue for the power of God to restore broken lives.

Spiritual warfare and deliverance ministries. The Third Wave movement emphasizes the ongoing battle between good and evil, recognizing that both holy and demonic forces struggle to gain influence in our lives at every level of our experience.

Since 1975, the Vineyard movement has spawned 1,500 affiliated churches worldwide. Churches in the Vineyard movement are neocharismatic in nature. They are also rooted in historical evangelical Christian theology. John Wimber, who took control of the denomination's leadership in 1982 and served in that capacity until his death in 1997, set an orthodox doctrinal tone rooted in an emphasis on connecting with God through worship.

John Wimber (1934-1997)

The Jesus People movement of the 1960s was a spiritual awakening within hippie culture in the United States, as thousands of young people found themselves on a desperate search to experience God. Not finding Him through drugs, sex, or rock’n’roll, the hippies were one of the subcultures powerfully impacted by ministries such as Calvary Chapel (Costa Mesa, CA) that arose during this move of God across America.

The First Vineyard

Kenn Gulliksen, a soft-spoken, unassuming leader with a passion to know and walk with God, started a church in West LA in 1974, sent out by Calvary Chapel.

This would be known as the first Vineyard church. Average people, as well as actors and musicians whose names would be familiar to us today (Bob Dylan, T-Bone Burnett, Keith Green), were connected with Gulliksen and the Vineyard.

From Gulliksen’s church, the first Vineyards were planted in 1975. Believing that God had instructed him to do so, Kenn officially gave the name “Vineyard” (from Isaiah 27:2-3; John 15:5) to this association of churches, and led them for about five years. By 1982, there were at least seven “Vineyards” in a loose-knit fellowship of churches.

John and Carol Wimber, who had become a part of Calvary Chapel, had a journey with God that was leading them to a convergence orchestrated by the Holy Spirit.

John Wimber & The Association Of Vineyard Churches


John and Kenn became friends, and in 1982 it was clear that John was emerging as the leader of the growing network of Vineyard churches. The official recognition of this transition took place in 1982: the emergence of what was to be called the “Association of Vineyard Churches.”

Today, there are 2400+ Vineyards around the world in 95 countries  

These five beliefs set Vineyard movement Christians apart from other Christians.

1. Church Planting

One aspect that defines the Vineyard movement more than anything else is the act of church planting.

The Vineyard movement website states, "We believe that the best way to expand the Kingdom of God is through the planting of local churches."

2. Contemporary Worship

Vineyard Churches embrace a contemporary style of worship in their Sunday services.

This style of worship makes contemporary Christian music a central element of the worship service while focusing less on traditional sermons, hymns and prayers — giving it concert-like feel.

A worship leader and band are responsible for selecting songs that will be played during a worship service.

3. Gifts of the Spirit

Unlike many traditional Protestant denominations, the Vineyard movement does not believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased after the time of the Apostles.

One of their stated core values and beliefs is to "be a people of the Kingdom of God who partner with the Holy Spirit."

Fruits of this partnership include gifts of the spirit like speaking in tongues, healing, and casting out demons.



4. Clergy Selected From Membership

Pastors and ministers among Vineyard movement Christians are not trained in seminaries like in many other Protestant denominations. They are chosen from among members who have served the church as lay leaders for several years.

Clergy preach with a relaxed style and often wear casual clothing when conducting Sunday worship.

5. Experience God

Beyond simply reading the Bible or listening to a Sunday sermon, the Vineyard movement seeks to encourage its members to experience God in each day of their lives.

Such experiences can be found through participating in various church ministries or participating in weekday home worship groups.

The third wave phenomena grew out of the normal speaking in tongues and ectasy which include  the Holy Laughter, animal noises, falling in trance, being slain in the spirit etc.:   


Many churches are reporting spontaneous, uncontrollable laughter erupting from their congregations, even during times of solemn ceremony or messages from the pulpit. Some report uncontrollable weeping, falling to the floor in ecstatic trances, and animal noises such as barking like dogs and roaring like lions. Some stagger and reel like drunken people, unable to walk a straight line. For simplicity's sake, all these have come to be called "holy laughter," since laughter is the preeminent phenomenon displayed. In simple terms, it is physical manifestations in the form of virtually any expression attributed to absolute control by the Holy Spirit.

Proponents of these phenomena say they are evidence of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit in response to the people's desire to see a new sign from God -- the latest in manifestations of Holy Ghost power, such as took place at Azusa Street in Los Angeles at the turn of the century. They point to the Welsh Revival, the Cane Ridge Revival in Bourbon County, Kentucky in 1801, and to [Arminian] preachers like Charles Finney, to validate today's holy laughter experience.

Opponents say it is either a manifestation of the flesh, at best, or of demonic spirits at worst. Those who believe it is of God point to changed lives, deeper commitment to faith in Jesus, huge responses to the salvation message, a renewed strength and purpose for ministry, and all sorts of positive results. On the other hand, there are also reports of demonic oppression, suicidal feelings, and loss of faith after the holy laughter experience.



Whatever one thinks of holy laughter, it has certainly impressed a number of well-known personalities within the Christian media circuit. There seems to be a strong manifestation especially in word-faith churches, and within the Vineyard movement, as well as charismatic mainline churches such as Episcopalian and Anglican. Individuals who have flocked to holy laughter meetings span every denomination from Baptist to Roman Catholic. But with the Toronto revival and much of the ensuing “holy laughter” gatherings, the peer pressure toward self-induced and human-induced laughter seems great. The introducer often starts saying that the people should start laughing and soon they will be taken over by the spirit.

This is actually true and is well known that laughter is actually epidemic.  If someone in a group start mimicing laughter soon the rest of the gathering will join in it.  Whether it is from the Holy Spirit or fron Human Spirit is to be decided only on the fruit.

The signs and wonders Movement - being slain in the spirit, barking, trances

 This has long been a problem, going back to the revivals of John Wesley where a form of what some thought of as “holy laughter” took over some meetings. Wesley’s response was that this was of the devil. However, while preaching, Wesley beheld many cases of people overcome with groaning and falling to the ground, etc., which he believed to be, some of it anyway, the work of God’s Spirit.  If laughter comes out as an expression of praise and worship, it is to be welcome.

Manifestations are never listed as a sign for discernment. The Bible says that we should discern the spirits through looking at if they elevate Christ or not. “No one who is speaking by the Spirit can say ‘Jesus be cursed’, and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’, except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Cor 12:3).

Whether people laugh or shake is irrelevant, what matters is their teaching and their fruit. And the people at Catch the Fire, IHOP, Bethel Church and Morningstar preach the full gospel about Jesus Christ, and their fruit is thousands of people saved and renewed in their faith.  






Observers with no religious belief might call this falling down or passing out. lt is a common phenomenon in many evangelistic crusades, and charismatics and Pentecostals use a variety of phrases to describe it, such as “being overcome by the Spirit” or “falling under the power.” lt is not new. During the field preaching of John Wesley, people sometimes fell to the ground as if they had been knocked down, and other evangelists saw similar occurrences. In some cases the people did not move or speak for several hours.

Being slain in the Spirit was very common in the evangelistic meetings of Maria Woodworth-Etter in the 1880s, and it has also been associated with Kathryn Kuhlman, Kenneth Hagin, the Happy Hunters, and others. Those who are “slain” seem to experience a loss of feeling, and they collapse.

We cannot determine or predict how a person react to the Holy Spirit.  So the actions themselves are not a proof or disproof of the discernment of the spirit that cause it. It can be faked, it can be induced by sympathetic resonance reaction or psychological suggestion.  It is all spiritual in its cause.  

These types of reaction was known in the ancient religions of the world.  Hinduism has known these through Yoga and uprising of Kundalini.  Thus it is certainly a spirit reaction.  If it comes from the Holy Spirit it will build the believer and bring him closer to Christ.

















In a well researched summarised article
http://www.bible.ca/tongues-neo-montanism.htm and
gives a good summary of the modern Pentecostal movement and gives a time chart as follows:

E.W. Kenyon 1886-1948
Father of the Word of Faith Movement

Franklin Hall, William Branham, George Warnock
Fathers of the Latter Rain/Manifest Sons of God/Kingdom Now Movements

1946 Frankin Hall wrote "Atomic Power with God Through Prayer & Fasting"Gordon Lindsay's "Voice of Healing" newsletter and Thomas & Evelyn's Wyatt's worldwide radio broadcasts spread his fasting message.

1946 Frankin Hall wrote "Atomic Power with God Through Prayer & Fasting"Gordon Lindsay's "Voice of Healing" newsletter and Thomas & Evelyn's Wyatt's worldwide radio broadcasts spread his fasting message.

Major Ministers Impacted by Franklin's Hall teachings Gordon Lindsey
Oral Roberts
William Branham
A.A. Allen
W.V. Grant (senior)
Tommy Hicks
Dr. Waltrip (Katherine Khulman's husband)

Word of Faith Movement 1967-1985
Kenneth Hagin starts Rhema Bible Training Center in Tulsa and is responsible for launching 1,000's of Word of Faith Churches and Ministries globally. Main center for propagation of Word of Faith Doctrines

Post World War II Healing Revival Sweeps America & the World 1946-1967
William Branham
A.A. Allen
Oral Roberts
Little David Walker
Katherine Khulman
T.L. Osborn

Buddy Harrison(Kenneth Hagin's son-in-law)
Founder Harrison House Publisher, main publisher of Word of Faith doctrines
Pastor of Faith Christian Fellowship Church (FCF).
FCF Tulsa serves as the "covering" for 100's of FCF congregations worldwide, all of which teach Word of Faith doctrines

1947 William Branham's ministry was beginning to be widely accepted until his death in 1965.
Coined phrase "Latter Rain"

Kenneth & Gloria Copeland
De-facto leader of current Word of Faith Movemen

North Battleford Saskatchewan

1947 George Hawtin & Percy Hunt run the Sharon Orphanage: Read F. Hall's book & see Branham's ministry. Fast & Pray according to Hall's principals for one year and begin to teach Hall's principles at their Bible School. Elim Bible Institute also is teaching Restoration at this time with no apparent connection with N. Battleford.

Other Word of Faith Proponents
Jerry Savelle (Copeland's disciple)
Jesse Duplantis
Norval Hayes (Lester Sumrall disciple)
Charles Capps (ordained by Copeland)
Marilyn Hickey
Robert Tilton
Benny Hinn (Assembly of God )



Discipleship/Shepherding Movement 1967-1980's
Derek Prince (Florida)
Don Basham
Juan Ortega (Argentina)
Ralph Martin (Word of God Community)
Covering" concept, Authoritative rule

June 1948 George Hawtin teaches on the Restoration of Apostles & Prophets to the Body of Christ to the Sharon Assembly. That same year Israel becomes a nation again.

February 11, 1948, young woman prophesies at great revival is about to take place at the school

Television Ministries Rise

Trinity Broadcast Network
Paul & Jan Crouch
World's largest Christian television network disseminating Word of Faith Teachings & Kingdom Now Teachings globally - showcases Benny Hinn's crusades

Praise the Lord Television Network
Jim & Tammy Bakker

Christian Broadcasting Network
Pat Robertson (Kingdom Now Proponent)

July 7-18 1948 Sharon camp meeting, 1000's attend and the teachings of the Latter Rain begin to be widely taught among Pentecostals. Including doctrine of laying on of hands for Holy Ghost Baptism, Apostles & Prophets, Present Day Truth concept, Ascension Gifts,

1949 George Warnock begins to teach on the "Restoration of all things" involved with Sharon Brethren

1951 George Warnock publishes "Feast of Tabernacles" a manual for Latter Rain Doctrines & Practices


1956 Assembly of God begins to denounce Latter Rain Doctrines as Heretical and movement dies down

Latter Rain Doctrines Become Prominent Again in Word of Faith & Kingdom Now Ministries

Some of the Modern Day Prophets & Apostles (Restoration of the Ascension Gifts)

Kenneth Hagin - Apostle/Prophet
Kenneth Copeland - Prophet
Paul Cain - Prophet (past associate of William Branham)
Frank Hammond - Prophet (largely responsible for Prophetic Movement & started "School of the Prophets")
Bernard Jordan - Prophet
Rick Joyner - Prophet
Bob Jones - Prophet (Vineyard Church)
Alan Vincent - Apostle
Turnel Nelson - Apostle
efferson Edwards - Apostle/Prophet

Prophetic Movement (1985-1991- ongoing)

Frank Hammond
Bernard Jordan
Rick Joyner
Kansas City Five Prophets

Apostolic Movement (1991-ongoing)

Archbishop Earl Paulk
Archbishop Benson Idahosa
Alan Vincent
Turnel Nelson

Signs & Wonders

Benny Hinn Ministries
Mehesh Chavda
Morris Cerello
Rodney Howard Browne
Toronto Airport Church (formerly Toronto Vineyard)

Vineyard Church Movement
John Wimber

Laughing Movement
Rodney Howard Brown
Randy Clark John Arnott (Toronto Vineyard)
From Toronto Airport Church to various churches world-wide

This chart is the property of Rev. R. Liichow ©




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