Here are 10 things to know about the Pentecostal church.

Here are 10 things to know about the Pentecostal church.

It’s one of the oft-talked about religions and sometimes draws the most controversy, but Pentecostalism has a long history in Christianity.

 

While the church has spawned a variety of other belief groups, Pentecostalism is considered a renewal movement in the Christian church.

 

1. Pentecostalism started in the early 1900s.

 

It’s largely believed that the Azusa Street revival in 1906 marked the birth of modern Pentecostalism. At the revival, evangelist William J. Seymour preached about baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of speaking in tongues. However, others have said that speaking in tongues may have started as early as 1896 and 1901, when the Apostolic Faith movement began.

 

2. The Pentecostal name comes from an event in the Book of Acts.

 

The church name comes from the Book of Acts and the event of Pentecost, where early Christians received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as prophesy and healing. Act 2 says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”

 

3. Pentecostal can be a broad term for many churches.

 

There are a number of churches and groups that call themselves “Pentecostal.” The Apostolic Pentecostal movement differs on the belief of the Trinity than other Pentecostals, saying that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three titles for Jesus. Other denominations include Assemblies of God and Open Bible Churches.

 

4. Most groups of the religion believe in salvation, baptism through the Holy Spirit, healing through Jesus and the belief that Jesus is returning.

 

Again, because there are so many different sects of Pentecostals, beliefs tend to differ in some ways. However, most of the churches share the same core beliefs that salvation is through Jesus, healing is possible through him and he is returning again.

 

5. Pentecostals believe in speaking in tongues and divine gifts.

 

One of the most publicized features of the Pentecostalism movement is the church’s belief in speaking in tongues and in divine gifts, such as healing. Speaking in tongues is thought to be an outcome of baptism through the Holy Spirit. The church believes in the gift of speaking in tongues, both glossolalia (speech in an unknown language) and xenoglossy (speech in a language known but not to speaker).

 

6. The Pentecostal Church was one of the first religious groups to ordain women into leadership roles.

 

In many Pentecostal churches, women are given the opportunity to serve as preachers, missionaries and some cases as the pastors. Most cite Joel 2 as their reasoning, which says, “Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.”

 

7. The majority believe the bible is meant to be interpreted literally.

 

As divine gifts are welcomed in the church, the belief stems from a literal of the bible. One of those cited verses is Mark 16:17-18, which says that those who believe will be able to cast out demons, heal and speak in tongues.

 

8. Some sects of the religion are strict.

 

Some groups of Pentecostals strictly adhere to set rules, such as modest dress among women and hair guidelines for men and women. Some even forbid movies and sports.

 

9. Worship can be spontaneous.

 

Worship is not just limited to music. Along with speaking in tongues, Pentecostals allow dancing, shouting and praying out loud during worship. Worship services are sometimes elaborate, even including props. Singing is also not limited to the end of the song--if the congregation or worship leaders feel led by the spirit, they may extend the time of praise.

 

10. Pentecostals are one of the fastest growing religious groups in the world.

 

While it’s hard to estimate just how many Pentecostals are in the world or even the United States, a Pew Research Center study found that of the roughly 2 billion Christians in the world, about a quarter of that identifies as Pentecostal.