Third Wave

The Third Wave is a term apparently coined by Christian theologian C Peter Wagner around 1980 to describe the recent historical working of the Holy Spirit in the church. It is part of a larger movement called the "Neocharismatic" movement. The Third Wave involves those Christians who have received Pentecostal-like experiences; however, those who identify with this movement claim no association with either the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements. According to Wagner:

  • The First "wave" occurred at the beginning of the twentieth century with the rise of the Pentecostal movement, beginning with the Azusa Street Revival.
  • The Second "wave" occurred during the 1960s as the Charismatic movement spread throughout mainline protestant denominations, as well as the Roman Catholic Church. The Word of Faith movement is also an expression of this wave.
  • The Third "wave" occurred during the mid 1980s and continues today, and is associated with Wagner's own ministry, as well as the Vineyard Movement, and others.


  • Wagner, C. Peter. The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit (Servant Pubns, 1988) ISBN 0892836016
  • Kevin Springer and John Wimber, Riding the Third Wave: What Comes After Renewal? (Harper Collins Publ., 1987) ISBN 0551015489

See also