There is a charismatic church called People of Praise that is under a good deal of scrutiny at the moment because a member of this church may well be appointed to the US Supreme Court. Wikipedia has little information about the doctrines of People of Praise, calling it

an independent Christian charismatic "covenant community" with no other ecclesial affiliation
People of Praise - WikiPedia

yet strongly indicates a relationship with the Catholic church, especially involving its ecumenism.

I normally wouldn't put Charismatic and Catholic in the same sentence, so I'm confused what their core doctrines may be.

Their own official site says

A majority of People of Praise members are Catholic, and yet the People of Praise is not a Catholic group. We aim to be a witness to the unity Jesus desires for all his followers. Our membership includes not only Catholics but Lutherans, Anglicans, Methodists, Pentecostals and nondenominational Christians. What we share is a common baptism, a commitment to love one another and our teachings, which we hold in common.
Who We Are - People of Praise

This leaves me with the impression that People of Praise is not a unique church of its own, but a pact of Christians from diverse churches that may have conflicting doctrines, but they seek to do good Christian work together all the same. If this is true, then their list of official doctrines is probably smaller, perhaps only limited to "Jesus is Lord" or something similar.

Even perhaps their official dogma may be non-existent, in light of the following:

Freedom of conscience is a key to our diversity. People of Praise members are always free to follow their consciences, as formed by the light of reason, experience and the teachings of their churches.

What do People of Praise generally believe; what is their central dogma? If they have none, under what central plan do they congregate (i.e. why do they exist)?

  • 1
    Well, the tagline of the "Who We Are" article is "Hard to Understand and That's OK". There's considerable more information on Wikipedia and the group's website. However, both point out that POP is not a church. From what I've seen, it's sort of an Opus Dei-Lite.
    – user42098
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 14:51
  • From the Who We Are - People of Priase article: "The People of Praise has some of its roots in the Pentecostal revival that grew from a group of poor African Americans in Los Angeles, beginning in 1906." That may indicate charismatic beliefs to do with gifts of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues and healing.
    – Lesley
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 15:12
  • 1
    Fred, I have met any number of charismatic Catholics in the last decade. The two terms are not mutually exclusive. A friend of mine at church was in the charismatic movement, and Catholic, in the 70's. Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


The group seems to take pride that they are hard to understand, but they do proclaim a couple of identity marks and from those, if one follows the trail into their roots, you begin to understand their beliefs.

We are an ecumenical, charismatic, covenant community. Our model and inspiration is the first Christian community, a small band of disciples who “were of one heart and soul” and “held all things in common.” (Acts 4:33, 2:44). We can be difficult for the public and the press to understand. In truth, we are a community that defies categories. -source-

The first Christians were very clear about external categories like worship and baptism between believers and non-believers. Since then, with 2,000 years of wear and tear, the Body of Christ internally splintered over doctrine, not love, into various denominations like Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant, and others. But, the one thing in common among all, the one basic identifier, if we ignore the original baptism argument between Cyprian, Firmillian and Pope Stephen, was water baptism. People of Praise believe in a common baptism of a Triune manner in the name of the Father, Son, Spirit.

What we share is a common baptism, a commitment to love one another and our teachings, which we hold in common. -ibid-

And what about the commitment to love and to their teachings? What are their teachings? Because once you teach something, you draw a line in the sand. A triune baptism is a line, are there others?


Ecumenical is the effort to bring different Christian denominations into a better understanding and relationship with each other.

It is the idea of a visible unity in baptized believers.

Historically, it was ecumenical councils that ruled on doctrine for those baptized. See the first one recorded in Acts 15. Later it was Nicea in 325. Typically the first seven are recognized as ecumenical. But this approach did not last.

Today the unifying belief may be found at most basic levels like a Triune baptism or a focus on Christ Jesus alone, rather than esoteric doctrine. Beyond the basics, unity may fracture into power and control and money. The ecumenical idea itself, however, may be a bit cloudy as it could be captured in the practice of feed and then preach or love and then convert. In Catholicism, the two-step process is known as dialogue of love and dialogue of truth.


The definition of charismatic is distinct from Pentecostalism. Charismatic Christianity in any denomination means the common belief that the Spirit still works as it did 2,000 years ago. There are still today spiritual gifts, miracles, and guidance.

These roots trace back to Azusa Street revivals in 1906. It was quite ecumenical with different denominations partaking.

This movement made its way into the Catholic Church via Cursillo and is known as Catholic Charismatic. Cursillo is recognized by the Vatican as a lay organization.

Cursillo itself has led to much cooperation between churches. For example, the Methodist Church renamed it Walk to Emmaus.

My comment, whether they voice this or not, is that this is a belief that the Spirit still works, still has gifts (charisms), and still does not care about your group's (RC, EO, P) defining dogmas.


A covenant is an agreement. It is also a contract or agreement. Or an obligation between parties. For this case, here is how People of Praise define "covenant", as a lifelong commitment from which one may be released.

After a long period of prayer and discernment, many People of Praise members choose to make a lifelong commitment called a covenant. The covenant of the People of Praise is a promise of love and service to fellow community members and to God. This covenant is not an oath or a vow. We have understood that God can always call a person to another way of life, in which case he or she would be released from the covenant. -People of Praise

With this in mind, it appears as a commitment between Christians at their most basic level. Jesus is Lord. Known by our love one for another. Believe on the Lord and you will be saved. Be baptized. With that in mind, a covenant is the agreement to work to spread that gospel around the world.


So what exactly does People of Praise believe? They believe in basic Christianity of unity in the Spirit built on the observable gifts of the Spirit. Love is the glue binding baptized believers together. They covenant to bring out this message to the world.

  • Nice post, but I'd take a closer look at your definition of covenant. The implied meanings as it comes to us from Greek and Hebrew forms make it mean more "promise/commitment" than agreement. We have some answers on that, but in any case I'd suggest that you put covenant into a contextual Christian/Biblical meaning in this case, and revise that bit to your answer. I am not going to mess with your prose, since it flows together so nicely. Testament and covenant, in their original forms, are equivalent in meaning before they came to us in English. Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 18:02
  • Thanks. This is helpful. I would take Korvin's advice, though. I remember reading somewhere that they have starting members who check it out, then "covenanted" members who have committed to the group.
    – user3961
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 18:55
  • Nice work on an in-context addition covenant by the group in question. Sorry I forgot the +1 earlier. Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 20:41

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