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Pneuma Review Interviews Charisma editor Lee Grady

PR: While one magazine could never completely represent a movement so vast as the Pentecostal/charismatic movement, how well do you feel Charisma represents its diversity?

Grady: We have made a concerted effort to build bridges and cross barriers. I think we have succeeded on some fronts, particularly in reaching out to various racial groups. For more than five years we have focused a great deal of attention on the African American segment of the Pentecostal movement—which is rapidly growing. Black churches today recognize Charisma as a leading voice that speaks to both black and white Christians. We have made the same kind of strides with the Hispanic segment, and we have our own Spanish-language magazine, Vida Cristiana, which is now recognized as a leader in that field.

Of course we have a long way to go. When I first became editor I had high hopes of bridging the Catholic-Protestant divide. I wanted Charisma to be a leader in reporting on the Catholic charismatic renewal. However there is so much that still needs to be healed and addressed before we can do that. Our Protestant readers (the majority of our readers) are not yet that open to embracing Catholics because they are skeptical of their doctrines—particularly the Roman Catholic focus on the Virgin Mary. And Catholic readers do not view Charisma as their own because we do not tow the Vatican line.

I also have had aspirations to heal the divide between Oneness and Trinitarian Pentecostals. But the debate over the “Jesus only” doctrine—a feud which began in 1916—is still very much a serious hindrance to unity in the church. We have attempted to bring the issue to the table for discussion, and I suppose we have been successful to some degree in getting people to talk about it. But we are really not that much closer to healing the rift.

In the long-run, I am satisfied that we have made great strides in creating a magazine that reflects the diversity of our movement.

PR: Are there any changes in store for readers of Charisma?

Grady: Absolutely. For the past year or more we have made evangelism a more prominent focus of our magazine. I am not pleased with the fact that our movement—at least in the United States—can often seem self-absorbed and focused on “what God can do for me.” The Holy Spirit was not poured out on the day of Pentecost so that we could splash around in the river of God’s anointing and just have a party. We were given the anointing so we could be empowered to be witnesses.

I want to see our movement move beyond the “bless me club” stage so we can transition into serious evangelism that transforms society. I want to see charismatic churches winning the lost, feeding the hungry, and transforming nations through prayer and aggressive missionary strategy. That is God’s ultimate call for us.

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Category: Fall 2001, Living the Faith, Pneuma Review

About the Author: J. Lee Grady is an author, award-winning journalist and ordained minister. For 17 years he worked for Charisma magazine, one of America ’s most widely distributed evangelical Christian publications, and he served as editor for 11 of those years. He is the author of several books including Set My Heart on Fire: Ignite Your Confidence, Boldness, and Passion for God (2016), Ten Lies The Church Tells Women: How the Bible Has Been Misused to Keep Women in Spiritual Bondage (2006), 10 Lies Men Believe: The Truth About Women, Power, Sex and God—and Why it Matters (2011), Fearless Daughters of the Bible: What You Can Learn from 22 Women Who Challenged Tradition, Fought Injustice and Dared to Lead (2012), 25 Tough Question About Women and the Church: Answers from God's Word That Will Set Women Free (2013), and The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale: Rekindling the Power of God in an Age of Compromise (2010). He founded The Mordecai Project, confronting the abuse of women globally and helping release women into ministry. Twitter: @LeeGrady

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