The Pentecostal movement within Protestant Christianity places special emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostalism is similar to the Charismatic movement, 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.
Theologically, most Pentecostal denominations are aligned with Evangelicalism in that they emphasize the reliability of the Bible and the need for conversion to faith in Jesus. While there is cross pollination with other movements, Pentecostals differ from Fundamentalists by placing more emphasis on personal spiritual experience and, in most cases, by allowing women in ministry. Such a notion regarding women, contradicts the teachings of the Apostles Paul and Peter.
Pentecostals embrace a transrational worldview. Although Pentecostals are concerned with orthodoxy ("correct belief"), they are also concerned with orthopathy ("right affections") and orthopraxy ("right reflection or action"). Reason is esteemed as a valid conduit of truth, but Pentecostals do not limit truth to the realm of reason.
Dr. Jackie David Johns, in his work on Pentecostal formational leadership, states that the Scriptures hold a special place in the Pentecostal worldview in that the Bible is held as a book in which the Holy Spirit is always active; 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.
One of the most prominent distinguishing characteristics of Pentecostalism that separates it from Evangelicalism is its emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit. Speaking in tongues, also known as glossolalia, is the normative proof of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Most major Pentecostal churches also accept the corollary that those who don't speak in tongues have not received the blessing that they call "The Baptism of the Holy Spirit" (this claim is uniquely Pentecostal and is one of the few consistent differences from Charismatic theology).
Some ministers and members admit that a believer might be able to speak in tongues, but for various personal reasons (such as a lack of understanding) might not. This would be the only case where a believer would be filled with the Holy Spirit, but not exhibit the so-called "initial physical evidence" of speaking in tongues. This, however, would be a minority perspective.
Critics charge that this doctrine does not mesh well with what they believe to be Paul's criticism of the early Corinthian church for their obsession with speaking in tongues (see 1 Corinthians, chapters 12-14 in the New Testament). Advocates say that the Pentecostal position aligns closely with Luke's emphasis in the book of Acts and reflects a more sophisticated use of hermeneutics.
The idea that one is not saved unless one speaks in tongues is rejected by most major Pentecostal denominations.
Some Pentecostal churches hold to "Oneness theology", which decries the traditional doctrine of the Trinity as unbiblical. The largest Pentecostal Oneness denomination in the United States is the United Pentecostal Church. Oneness Pentecostals, are sometimes known as Jesus-Name, "Apostolics", or by their detractors as "Jesus only" Pentecostals. This is for their belief that the original Apostles baptized converts in the name of Jesus. They also believe that God has revealed Himself in different roles rather than three distinct persons. The major trinitarian Pentecostal organizations, however, including the Pentecostal World Conference and the Fellowship of Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America , have condemned Oneness Theology as a heresy and refuse membership to churches holding this belief. This same holds true for the Oneness Pentecostal towards trinitarian churches.
Modern Pentecostalism began around 1901. Although the 1896 Shearer Schoolhouse Revival in Cherokee County, North Carolina might be regarded as a precursor to the modern Pentecostal movement, the commonly accepted origin dates from when Agnes Ozman received the gift of tongues (glossolalia) at Charles Fox Parham's Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas in 1901. Parham, a minister of Methodist background, formulated the doctrine that tongues was the "Bible evidence" of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Parham left Topeka and began a revival ministry which led to a link to the Azusa street revival through William J. Seymour whom he taught in his school in Houston, although because Seymour was African American, he was only allowed to sit outside the room to listen.
The expansion of the movement started with the Azusa Street Revival, beginning April 9, 1906 at the Los Angeles home Edward Lee , who experienced what he felt to be an infilling of the Holy Spirit during a prayer session. The attending pastor, William J. Seymour, also claimed that he was overcome with the Holy Spirit on April 12, 1906. On April 18, 1906, the Los Angeles Times ran a front page story on the movement. By the third week in April, 1906, the small but growing congregation had rented an abandoned African Methodist Episcopal Church at 312 Azusa Street and organized as the Apostolic Faith Mission.
The first decade of Pentecostalism was marked by interracial assemblies, "...Whites and blacks mix in a religious frenzy,..." according to a local newspaper account. This lasted until 1924, when the church split along racial lines (see Apostolic Faith Mission). When the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America was formed in 1948, it was made up entirely of Anglo-American Pentecostal denominations. In 1994, Pentecostals returned to their roots of racial reconciliation and proposed formal unification of the major white and black branches of the Pentecostal Church, in a meeting subsequently known as the Memphis Miracle. This unification occurred in 1998, again in Memphis, Tennessee. The unification of white and black movements led to the restructing of the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America to become the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America.
During the beginning of the twentieth century, Albert Benjamin Simpson 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 Assemblies of God and the FourSquare Church . 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.'
From the late 1950s onwards, the Charismatic Movement, which was to a large extent inspired and influenced by Pentecostalism, began to flourish in the mainline Protestant denominations, as well as the Roman Catholic church. Unlike "Classical Pentecostals," who formed strictly Pentecostal congregations or denominations, Charismatics adopted as their motto, "Bloom where God planted you."
In the United Kingdom, the first Pentecostal church to be formed was the Apostolic Church. This was later followed by the Elim Church .
In Sweden, the first Pentecostal church was Filadelfiaförsamlingen in Stockholm. Pastored by Lewi Pethrus , this congregation, originally Baptist, was expelled from the Baptist Union of Sweden in 1913 for doctrinal differences. Today this congregation has about 7000 members and is the biggest Pentecostal congregation in northern Europe. As of 2005, the Swedish pentecostal movement has approximately 90,000 members in nearly 500 congregations. These congregations are all independent but cooperate on a large scale. Swedish Pentecostals have been very missionary-minded and have established churches in many countries. In Brazil, for example, churches founded by the Swedish Pentecostal mission claim several million members.
The largest Pentecostal denominations in the United States today are the Church of God in Christ, Church of God (Cleveland) and the Assemblies of God. According to a Spring 1998 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 and also including approx 918,000 (4%) of the Hispanic-American population, counting all unaffiliated congregations, although exact numbers are hard to come by, in part because some tenets of Pentecostalism are held by members of non-Pentecostal denominations in what has been called the charismatic movement.
Pentecostalism was conservatively estimated to number around 115 million followers worldwide in 2000; other estimates place the figure closer to 400 million. The great majority of Pentecostals are to be found in Third World countries (see the Statistics subsection below), although much of their international leadership is still North American. Pentecostalism is sometimes referred to as the "third force of Christianity." The largest Christian church in the world is the Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea, a Pentecostal church. Founded and led by David Yonggi Cho since 1958, it had 780,000 members in 2003.
Source: Operation World by Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandryk , 2000, unless otherwise indicated.
Additional Pentecostal theologians are listed in the article entitled, "Renewal Theologians".
Radio preachers and televangelists
Pastors and evangelists
David Yonggi Cho (1936-) - Senior Pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea.
- Jack Hayford - Founding Pastor of Church on the Way in Van Nuys, California.
Luis Cabral (1965-) - Portuguese evangelist, now based in New Zealand.
Reinhard Bonnke (1941-) - German evangelist known for his huge crusades, mostly in Africa but also elsewhere. In 2002, he conducted the largest known evangelistic crusade in history, in Lagos, Nigeria, attended by six million people.
Wayne Hughes - Senior Pastor of the Takapuna Assembly of God, New Zealand.
Brian Houston - Senior Pastor of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.
Ouriel de Jesus - Senior Pastor of World Revival Church, the center of the revival in Boston, MA, and the president of the 70 some odd congregations planted by his ministry around the world
- Larry Schoonover - Senior Pastor of New Life Pentecostal Church in Puyallup, Washington. Larry Schoonover is also Senior editor of the Apostolic Herald.
- Sophia Tan Luang Keng - Founding and Senior Pastor of Living Spring Fellowship, based in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
- Vincent Leoh [1957- ]- General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God of Malaysia; Senior Pastor of Glad Tidings Assembly of God, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.