The Pentecostal movement within places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the , as shown in the Biblical account of the Day of . Pentecostalism is similar to the , but developed earlier and separated from the mainstream church. Charismatic Christians, at least in the early days of the movement, tended to remain in their respective denominations.
There are three basic streams of Pentecostal churches. The majority believe that one must be saved by believing in as Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of sins and to be made acceptable to God. Pentecostals also typically believe, like most other , that the Bible has definitive authority in matters of faith. To this first group, is the sign of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, but not necessary for salvation. The other two groups fall under an "Acts " based salvation message which says that a person needs to repent and be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and then receive the Holy Spirit. Receiving the Holy Spirit is necessary for salvation and includes . Of the Acts 2:38 2:38 based churches, they fall into two categories of "Jesus Name" or "" Pentecostals which baptize in Jesus name only, and those that baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
This is in fact one of the distinctions that separates Pentecostal traditions from those of the Second Wave and Evangelical churches, which tend toward a . One of the main points of division is the definition of eternal security, which is thoroughly Calvinist in the later Evangelical denominations and follows the tract in Pentecostal churches and denominations. This is most clearly illustrated by the belief held in Pentecostal groups that crediting the charismatic gifts and expressions to demonic or carnal motives and spirits qualifies as an (Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 12:32). 12:32
Pentecostals believe in water baptism as an outward sign of conversion and that the baptism in the Holy Ghost is a distinct spiritual experience that all who have belief in Jesus should receive. Most classical Pentecostals believe that the baptism in the Holy Ghost is always accompanied initially by the outward evidence of . It is considered a liberalizing tendency to teach contrary to this historic position. This is another major difference between Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians, who believe that a Christian baptized in the Holy Ghost may exhibit certain supernatural signs, including speaking in tongues, "being slain in the spirit" (where people fall to the ground as if asleep or in convulsions), prophecy (i.e., a vision or a word of God, spoken or felt in the spirit), miraculous healings, miraculous signs, etc.
One of the defining marks in some Pentecostal groups is emotionalism in worship and prayer. They are known for raising their hands while singing and praying. They tend to be very vocal and expressive in their prayers, with cries of "Yes, Lord!," "Thank you, Jesus!", "Hallelujah!" and other spontaneous expressions of praise. There are other more conservative branches of Pentecostal groups, where the worship is enthusiastic, but not as emotional.
Some large Pentecostal denominations reject any connection between personal salvation or conversion and the baptism in the Holy Ghost and teach that it is not necessary for salvation, but a gift from God available to all Christians regardless of denominational affiliation. This doctrine was a development of the teachings of regarding what he called the Third Moment of Grace and as such is linked to soteriology. However, some Pentecostal denominations regard such scriptures as Rom. 8:9, John 3:5, and Acts 2:37-39 as pointing to the necessity of Holy Ghost baptism to salvation. Many early Pentecostals believed that the revival of the were a sign from God of the , a period of restoration before the end of the age and the coming of Christ. Traditional believe that one is baptized with or in the Holy Ghost upon regeneration, the work of the Holy Ghost that enables faith and belief in the unbelieving heart. Pentecostals would not deny that regeneration is an activity of the Holy Ghost or that it results in the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in the believer. Instead they distinguish this indwelling from a subsequent, more intense relationship with the Holy Spirit.
Protestants most often reject such concepts as a "second grace", while not rejecting the idea of periodic or even weekly renewal through repentance and the . Classical Pentecostals, unlike their Charismatic or evangelical counterparts, hold a peculiar form of . For this reason many will not use the term Sacrament, preferring the term sacerdotal function or ordinance. This belief invests the efficacy of the in the obedience and participation of the believer and the witness of the celebrant and the congregation. This view stems from a highly developed concept of the priesthood of the individual believer. The activity of the ordinance takes on a sacerdotal rather than role in that it is a sacrificial act offered by the believer on his or her own behalf, rather than a ritual which has an inherent power of its own.
Theologically, most Pentecostal denominations are aligned with in that they emphasize the reliability of the and the need for the transformation of an individual's life with faith in . Pentecostals also adhere to the doctrine of . Pentecostals differ from by placing less emphasis on personal spiritual experience and more emphasis on the Holy Ghost's work within a person than other Protestants.
, in his work on Pentecostal formational leadership, states that the Scriptures hold a special place in the Pentecostal world view because the Holy Ghost is always active in the Bible. For him, to encounter the Scriptures is to encounter God. For the Pentecostal, the Scriptures are a primary reference point for communion with God and a template for reading the world. This template is often referred to as "Types and Shadows", which is a reference to the view of prophecy.
One of the most prominent distinguishing characteristics of Pentecostalism from is its emphasis on the work of the . Most Pentecostals believe that everyone who is genuinely saved has the Holy Ghost with them. But unlike most other Christians they believe that there is a second work of the Holy Ghost called the , in which the Holy Ghost dwells more fully in them, and which opens a believer up to a closer fellowship with God and empowers them for Christian service. Some Pentecostals have modified the view teaching that Spirit baptism is not considered a second chronological work of grace, but a second aspect of the Holy Ghost's ministry. His first ministry is to save and sanctify us by working in us; His second ministry is to empower us for service by working through us. Other Pentecostals believe that Holy Ghost baptism is the actual event of the Holy Ghost taking up residence in the believer's heart rather than a "fuller dwelling" or "second filling". Most Pentecostals cite speaking in tongues, also known as , as the normative proof, and evidence of the Holy Ghost baptism. Some Pentecostals have adopted a more liberal view claiming that there are other evidences of Holy Ghost baptism. The doctrine of tongues as the initial evidence of receiving the Holy Ghost is uniquely Pentecostal and is one of the few differences from Charismatic theology which generally claims diverse evidences.
Some liberal Pentecostal ministers and members say that a believer might be able to speak in tongues, but for various personal reasons (such as a lack of understanding, lack of knowledge on the subject, fear of speaking in tongues, ...) might not. In these cases however, a demonstrated tendency toward a supernatural power, love and the gifts of the Spirit, as well as other signs (increase in the evangelistic capacity, overcoming of personal issues that was impossible before, ...), would indicate that the believer has been baptized in the Spirit. This would be the only case where a believer would be filled with the Holy Ghost, but not exhibit the so-called "initial physical evidence" of speaking in tongues. This, however, would be a minority perspective.
Pentecostals believe it is essential to repent for the remission of sins and believe on Jesus Christ as Savior in order to obtain salvation. Many believe that the baptism of the Holy Ghost is an additional gift that is bestowed on believers, generally subsequent to an intermediary step termed sanctification. refers to a work of grace wherein the effects of past sins are ameliorated and the natural tendency toward a sinful nature is likewise set aside through the working of the Holy Ghost. Other Pentecostals believe that Holy Ghost Baptism is a necessary step in God's plan of salvation citing Peter's answer to the crowd on the Day of Pentecost. The crowd asked Peter what they must do to be saved, and Peter told them to repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:37-8 2:37). 2:1-47 - Study Chapter Chapter 2 - Read This Chapter
Pentecostals vary in their beliefs of the types of (1 Cor. ). Following are some possible distinctions. First, there is the evidence at the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. This is when a believer speaks in tongues when they are baptized by the Holy Ghost. This may or may not be the only time an individual ever speaks in tongues. Secondly, there is the gift of tongues. This is when a person is moved by God to speak in tongues during a church service or other Christian gathering for everyone to hear. The gift of tongues must be exercised with a person who has the gift of "interpretation of tongues" present, whether that be another person or the one who gives the tongue. The interpreter will interpret the tongue into the language of the gathered Christians so that they can understand the message (1 Cor. , 27-28).
Critics charge that Pentecostal doctrine does not mesh well with what they believe to be 's criticism of the early Corinthian church for their obsession with speaking in tongues. They argue that Paul stated that speaking the language is only one of the gifts of the Spirit and is not gifted to all (1 Cor. -31). However, the recognition of different types of tongues more accurately represents the entirety of the biblical account. For example, the tongues of Spirit baptism are mentioned in Acts 2:38-9 and Acts 10:44-46, the gift of tongues is discussed in 1 Cor. 12:10 and 1 Cor. 14:5, and tongues as a prayer language in 1 Cor. 14:14-15.
writes in regard to charismatic beliefs that church history argues against the idea that charismatic gifts went away shortly after the apostolic age. Dr. Robbins quotes the early church father (ca. 130-202) as writing, "...we hear many of the brethren in the church who have prophetic gifts, and who speak in tongues through the Spirit, and who also bring to light the secret things of men for their benefit [word of knowledge]...". Dr. Robbins also cites Irenaeus writing, "When God saw it necessary, and the church prayed and fasted much, they did miraculous things, even of bringing back the spirit to a dead man." According to Dr. Robbins, (ca. 155–230) reported similar incidents, as did (ca. 182 - 251), (ca. 275 – 339), (ca. 232-269), and (ca. 347 - 407).
Some of Pentecostal denominations hold to a Unitarian theology. The world's largest Pentecostal denomination, the , holds to the belief in theology in accordance with mainstream Protestantism as does the , , the , The Apostolic Church, and the . Some Pentecostal churches, however, hold to , which decries the traditional doctrine of the as biblically inaccurate and likely stemming from pagan influences. Oneness doctrine holds that God is absolutely and indivisibly one and that Jesus was the one God manifested in the flesh,(Timothy , John 1:1-11, John ). The division of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as some of God's manifestations rather than persons; furthermore they are seen as titles to Jesus. Therefore, Oneness Pentecostals baptize believers "in Jesus' name" rather than what they refer to as the titles: "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The largest Oneness Pentecostal denominations are the International, , , and the Apostolic Church of the Faith in Christ Jesus but there are many smaller Oneness Pentecostal organizations and independent churches such as the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, the True Jesus Church, the Pentecostal Followers of Jesus Christ International Ministries, the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Bible Way, and independent or nondenominational churches such as the pastored by . The majority, if not all, of Oneness Pentecostals also refer to themselves as Apostolics. The major Trinitarian Pentecostal organizations including the and the , have condemned Oneness theology as a and refuse membership to churches holding this belief. This same holds true for the Oneness Pentecostals towards Trinitarian churches. For Oneness Pentecostals the serves as the major organization.
Pentecostal churches hold that preaching the to unbelievers as extremely important. "The
Great Commission" to spread the "Good News of the
The Pentecostal movement was also prominent in the , which was the first to begin making numerous references to the term "Pentecostal", such as in 1867 when the movement established The National Camp Meeting Association for the Promotion of Christian Holiness with a notice that said: [We are summoning,] irrespective of denominational tie...those who feel themselves comparatively isolated in their profession of holiness…that all would realize together a Pentecostal baptism of the ....
Although the in may rightfully be regarded as the literal beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement, the remoteness of this region very likely played a role in this event remaining localized for so long. Around 1901, however, Pentecostalism was to stand on a larger stage, as that was when received the gift of tongues () during a at 's in in 1901. Parham, a of background, formulated the doctrine that tongues was the "Bible evidence" of the . Further, Pentecostals point to the "upper room" experience of the gathered disciples of as described in 2:1 and 's instructions in Acts 2:38 as justification for their practices.
racial separation was deeply influenced by the social, national and political
structures of the time. The Supreme Court, in the landmark
decision, Plessy vs
many instances of glossolalia occurred prior to 1906,
The Azusa Street Revival led by William J. Seymour is the watershed of the
Pentecostal movement in the
like any other major movement, has given birth to a large number of
organizations, denominations, churches,sects,
para-churches, separatists and even cults with
political, social or theological differences. The movement's inception was
counter-cultural to the social and politcal norms of
society. Record numbers of African-American men and women, both Black and white
were initial leaders. As the Azusa Revival began to wane, doctrinal differences
began to surface as well as the pressure from social, cultural and political
events of the time. As a result, major divisions, separation, isolationism,
sectarianism and even the increase of extremism were apparent. Not wishing to
affiliate with the ,
formed in 1914, a group of ministers from predominantly white churches formed
the last part of the 20th Century the movement, the and
movement are some of the better know splinter groups who have appropriated the
mantle of Pentecostalism to lend creedence to extreme
practices and dogma which are rejected by the mainstream movement. These
include the practice of divine laughter, , ecstatic
, and making Seed Money donations
in order to cooerce divine reward. Dominionism, Creative Visualization, Fetishism, and Seed
Money doctrines were never a part of the
role of African-Americans and women cannot be underestimated in the early
Pentecostal movement. The first decade of Pentecostalism was marked by assemblies, "...Whites and blacks
mix in a religious frenzy,..." according to a local newspaper account at a
time when the Supreme Court of the United States declared in its landmark case,
Plessy vs Ferguson of 1896
that government facilities were to remain racially separate, but equal. The
decision ushered the practices of apartheid in the
racial isolation, as well as doctrinal splinters, issues of church authority
and autonomy, separated denominations such as the A/G and other churches from
each other for many years. When the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America
was formed in , it was made up entirely of Anglo-American
Pentecostal denominations. The Oneness organization,
Holiness leaders who chose not to participate in the early 20th Century
Pentecostal Movement remained highly respected by Pentecostal leaders of the
became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal movement. It was common
for Pentecostal pastors and missionaries to receive their training at the
Missionary Training Institute that Simpson founded. Because of this, Simpson
and the (C&MA) (an evangelistic movement that
Simpson founded) had a great influence on Pentecostalism, in particular the
and the . This influence included evangelistic emphasis, C&MA
doctrine, Simpson's hymns and books, and the use of the term 'Gospel
Tabernacle,' which evolved into Pentecostal churches being known as 'Full
Gospel Tabernacles.' Charles Price Jones, the African-American Holiness leader
and founder of the
From the late onwards, the movement, which was to a large extent inspired and influenced by Pentecostalism, began to flourish in the mainline denominations, as well as the and churches, fostered in Britain by organizations such as the , founded by in . Unlike "Classical Pentecostals," who formed strictly Pentecostal congregations or denominations, Charismatics adopted as their motto, "Bloom where God planted you."
, the first Pentecostal church was in . Pastored by , this congregation, originally , was expelled from
the Baptist Union of Sweden in for doctrinal differences. Today this
congregation has about 7000 members and is the biggest Pentecostal congregation
Estimated numbers of Pentecostals vary widely. reported in an article titled that according to historian Vinson Synan, dean of the School of Divinity in , about 25 percent of the world's Christians are Pentecostal or charismatic.
The largest Pentecostal denominations in the are the , the , , , , Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the . According to a Spring article in Christian History, there are about 11,000 different Pentecostal or charismatic denominations worldwide.
The size of Pentecostalism in the U.S. is estimated to be more than 20 million including approximately 918,000 (4%) of the population, counting all unaffiliated congregations, although the numbers are uncertain, in part because some tenets of Pentecostalism are held by members of non-Pentecostal denominations in what has been called the charismatic movement. , has a large Pentecostal population. The influence of immigrants from , , , and basically everywhere, have created diverse churches throughout the city.
Pentecostalism was estimated to number around 115 million followers worldwide in ; lower estimates place the figure near to 22 million (eg. Cambridge Encyclopedia), while the highest estimates apparently place the figure between 400 and 600 million. The great majority of Pentecostals are to be found in (see the Statistics subsection below), although much of their international leadership is still . Pentecostalism is sometimes referred to as the "third force of Christianity." The largest Christian church in the world is the in , a Pentecostal church. Founded and led by since , it had 780,000 members in .
According to Christianity Today, Pentecostalism is "a vibrant faith among the poor; it reaches into the daily lives of believers, offering not only hope but a new way of living." In addition, according to a 1999 U.N. report, "Pentecostal churches have been the most successful at recruiting its members from the poorest of the poor." Brazilian Pentecostals talk of Jesus as someone real and close to them and doing things for them including providing food and shelter.
Outside the English speaking world
Pentecostal and charismatic church growth is rapid in many parts of the world. Missions expert David Barrett estimated in a Christianity Today article that the Pentecostal and charismatic church is growing by 19 million per year.
K. Hadden at the Department of Sociology at the
collected statistics from the various large pentecostal
organizations and from the work by David Stoll (David Stoll, "Is Latin
American Turning Protestant?" published Berkeley: University of California
Press. 1990) demonstrating that the Pentecostals are experiencing very rapid
growth as can be seen on In , the is one of the largest Christian denominations. The
pentecostal churches , , and the are among the largest
denominations of . In
Independent, loosely affiliated and free Pentecostal churches - 50 million
While not as large as some of the above organizations the following have made quite an impact on Pentecostalism:
are 100,000 - 200,000 Pentecostals in
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