Many people are familiar with Pentecostal churches, but they don’t know much about their beliefs and values. Are Pentecostals the same Christians as others in their beliefs about God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit? Are they the same in personal and social values?
A Pentecostal church is a group of like-minded Christians who gather to worship God and learn from the Bible. They also have edifying relationships. The term “Pentecostal” refers to a Protestant theology that emphasizes baptism by the Holy Spirit, speaking with tongues, and using miraculous spiritual gifts.
What is a “Pentecostal” denomination? What is the largest Pentecostal church? What are the beliefs of Pentecostal churches that is the same as other Christians? What is it that they believe is different? What are the differences and similarities between “Evangelical” and “Pentecostal” Christians? Continue reading to find out the answers to these and other questions.
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What is “Pentecostal?” a denomination?
While some churches may use the term “Pentecostal” as their names, there aren’t any historic Pentecostal denominations that can encompass all Pentecostal believers. These include Lutheranism or Presbyterianism. Certain denominations, however, are Pentecostal in terms of their theological convictions.
Which is the largest Pentecostal congregation? The Assemblies of God, which is also the largest denomination of Protestantism in the world, is These are the three largest Pentecostal congregations:
- Assemblies of God
- Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)
- Church of God in Christ
Are Pentecostals members of other denominations? Pentecostal Christians are often members of other traditions. However, they are more likely to attend Assemblies or similar-minded Pentecostal churches.
Some traditions have a history that rejects Pentecostal theology like many Reformed denominations. Some Baptist churches have a history of welcoming Pentecostal Christians, such as the Methodist tradition and some Protestant churches. What does Pentecostalism teach about speaking in tongues? See below
What beliefs do the Pentecostal churches hold?
Pentecostal churches hold the same core beliefs as all Protestants. Pentecostalism is not an alternative to the Protestant tradition. It exists within it. Pentecostal traditions such as the Assemblies for God identify themselves as evangelical Christians. The wider evangelical community has accepted them over many decades.
Pentecostals hold to all core principles of orthodox Biblical Christianity.
- God is a Trinity: There’s only one God. The Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit are all God.
- The Bible has been inspired by God. This makes Scripture authoritative in articulating doctrines and establishes norms and values for Christian conduct.
- People are born sinners: Pentecostals believe everyone is born in sin and separated from God.
- Christ died for sinners: Christ atoned for sins by dying on the cross. In his death, he took the place of sinners and paid their price.
- Christ will return on Earth: Pentecostals, like all Christians, believe Christ will come back to judge the sinners and reward the faithful.
Pentecostals are committed to certain secondary teachings, even though they are essential to the tradition that separates them from other Christians.
Holy Spirit baptism: All Christians believe that baptism is by the Holy Spirit. Most non-Pentecostal traditions believe baptism in the Holy Spirit is part of conversion. Pentecostal theology says that Holy Spirit baptism occurs after conversion, and believers should expect to receive it.
“All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian Church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.”Assemblies of God doctrinal statement
Speaking with tongues: Pentecostal Theology holds that speaking in tongues is the first evidence that the Holy Spirit has baptized someone.
Many historical Christian denominations believe that tongues are no longer an operational gift for today’s church but were intended for use in the first century. Pentecostals believe that speaking as described in the Bible is normal for Christians of any age.
The baptism of believers in the Holy Spirit is witnessed by the initial physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit of God gives them utterance.Assemblies of God doctrinal statement
Miraculous gifts Many non-Pentecostal Christians believe certain “miraculous” gifts, such as speaking in tongues, words of knowledge, and healing, were not intended to be used for ongoing ministry but only to establish the church.
This thinking suggests that the miraculous gifts validated the ministry of the Apostles. Pentecostalism holds that miracle gifts can be used in all eras of church life.
Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.Assemblies of God doctrinal statement
Comparison chart between evangelical Christianity and Pentecostal Christianity
While most Pentecostals are evangelicals, not all evangelicals can be called Pentecostals. The chart below shows similarities in beliefs. However, it is easier to see the differences in this format.
|Origin||Historians date the origin of modern Pentecostal movements to the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906. Many Pentecostals trace their origins to Acts 2 in the New Testament.||It was first used in 20th-century English. It is distinct from liberalism or fundamentalist movements. Because both movements hold a high view on Scripture, fundamentalism and evangelicalism have similar theologies.|
|Meaning of||The word “Pentecostal” derives its name from the word “Pentecost,” which describes the powerful and unique outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the early church as described in Acts 2.||The Greek word euangelion meaning “gospel” or the “good news,” is what gives rise to the term “evangelical.” It refers to a worldview that is gospel-centered or cross-centered.|
|Branch of Christianity||Pentecostalism is a Protestant faith. Many of its ideas are rooted in Martin Luther of Germany, Ulrich Zwingli from Switzerland, and John Calvin, the Protestant Reformation.||Evangelicals are also Protestant. It traces its roots back to the New Testament via Protestant Reformation.|
|Early influences||William J. Seymour (1870-1922), Agnes Ozman (1870-1937), Charles Parham (1973-1939).||Charles Spurgeon, an English preacher (1834-1892), Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899), and many other people|
|Significative writing other than the Bible||Pentecostalism does not have any literature that is distinctive to its tradition, which is important to the establishment or definition of the movement. It values the classic works of Protestantism.||Evangelicalism values all writing that is important to Protestantism. This includes the many works of various denominations that emphasize the gospel-centered approach in evangelism and missions.|
|Organization||Pentecostalism doesn’t refer to a particular denomination. It is a belief system that some denominations hold.||Evangelicalism doesn’t refer to a particular denomination but a movement that includes many denominations and non-denominational churches. The church government of evangelical churches can be presbyterian, congregational, or episcopalian.|
|What is the largest denomination in tradition today?||The Assemblies of God is the largest Pentecostal church. Pentecostal churches are usually congregational in the way they govern their church.||Any church can be considered “evangelical” in any denomination if it centralizes the gospel and emphasizes other characteristics of the movement, such as the value of conversions and the application of their faith through social causes, such as caring for the poor and widows. The largest conservative Protestant denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention.|
|Divisions||Many similarities exist between the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal denominations like the Church of God (Cleveland), Tennessee. Pentecostals can disagree on many points, including the doctrine of perfectionism.||Evangelical Christianity is full of diversity. Different theologies, organizational models, and convictions regarding social issues can be found in evangelical churches.|
|Theological, social, and worldview||Theologically, churches and denominations of the Pentecostal faith tend to be conservative in their approach to social issues and theology.||Theologically, evangelical churches have been conservative socially and theologically. However, in recent years some self-identifying churches of evangelicals have strayed from conservative theology to adopt modern social values on a range of issues.|
Assemblies for God doctrinal statement
The Assemblies Of God denomination’s doctrinal declaration is a reliable representation of the beliefs taught by Pentecostal churches. The 16 Fundamental Truths are the denomination’s statement. These truths are:
- The Scriptures are Inspired
- The One True God
- The Deity of Jesus Christ
- The Fall of Man
- Salvation of Man
- The Church’s Ordinances
- The Holy Spirit Baptism
- The First Physical Evidence of the Holy Spirit Baptism
- The Church and its Mission
- The Ministry
- Divine Healing
- The Blessed Hope
- The Millennial Reign of Christ
- The Final Judgment
- The New Heavens, the New Earth
In conclusion, a pentecostal church is a church that follows the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles. They believe in Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles. Pentecostal churches are known for their lively worship services and belief in the Holy Spirit’s gifts. If you are looking for a church full of life and energy, a pentecostal church may be the right fit.
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