Our Beliefs

Pentecostalism

Pentecostalism is a religious movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on the direct personal experience of God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, as shown in the Biblical account of the Day of Pentecost.
Pentecostalism is similar to the Charismatic movement, but developed earlier and separated from other denominations. Charismatic Christians, at least in the early days of the movement, tended to remain in their respective denominations.
 
Beliefs
 
The Pentecostal movement finds its historic roots in the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California, USA from 1904 to 1906. Several years earlier, in 1901, Bible college students at a school founded by Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas prayed to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues (other languages). Parham moved to Houston, Texas, where in spite of segregation, William Seymore, a one-eyed African-American preacher was allowed to listen in to the Bible classes. Seymore went to Los Angeles, where his preaching helped spark the fires of the Azusa Street revival. Most Pentecostal denominations can trace their roots to the Azusa Street revival or were strongly influenced by it.
 

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Christians from mainline churches in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world began to accept the teaching that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is available for Christians today. Charismatic movements began to grow in mainline denominations. There were Charismatics Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics, and Methodists. During that time period, 'Charismatic' was used to refer to these movements that existed within mainline denominations. Pentecostal was used to refer to those who were a part of the churches and denominations that grew out of the earlier Azusa Street revival. However, in recent decades, many independent Charismatic churches and ministries have formed or have developed their own denominations and church associations. In the 1960s, many Pentecostal churches were still strict with dress codes and forbidding certain forms of entertainment, creating a cultural distinction between Charismatics and Pentecostals. Nowadays, many Pentecostal churches put little emphases on dress and entertainment issues. There is a great deal of overlap now between the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements.
 
 
 
Theology
 
Theologically, most Pentecostal denominations are aligned with
 
Evangelicalism in that they emphasize the reliability of the Bible and the need for the transformation of an individual's life with faith in Jesus. Pentecostals also adhere to the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy. Pentecostals differ from fundamentalists by placing less emphasis on personal spiritual experience and more emphasis on the Holy Spirit's work within a person than other Protestants.
One of the most prominent distinguishing characteristics of Pentecostalism from the rest of Evangelicalism is its emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit. Most Pentecostals believe that everyone who is genuinely saved has the Holy Spirit. But unlike most other Christians they believe that there is a second work of the Holy Spirit called the baptism of the Holy Spirit, in which the Holy Spirit 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 Spirit's ministry. His first ministry is to save and sanctify the believer by working in them; His second ministry is to empower the believer for service by working through them. Most Pentecostals cite speaking in tongues, also known as glossolalia, as the normative proof, and evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism.
 
Pentecostals believe it is essential to repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior in order to obtain salvation, and in the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Many believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is an additional gift that is bestowed on believers, generally subsequent to an intermediate step termed sanctification, Santification 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 Spirit. Other Pentecostals believe that Holy Spirit 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.[1]
 
Most Pentecostal churches hold the belief that preaching the Gospel to unbelievers is extremely important. The [[Great Commission to spread the "Good News of the Kingdom of God", spoken by Jesus directly before his Ascension, is perceived as one of the most important commands that Jesus gave.
 

 
 
 
 
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
 
According to the New Testament, the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is an experience sent by Jesus Christ. As recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus describes it as "the Promise of the Father", through which believers in Jesus Christ receive "power from on high" (Luke 24:49). According to the book of Acts, Jesus further referred to the baptism with the Holy Spirit as an experience through which his disciples would "receive power, after that the Holy Ghost[1] [was] come upon [them]" (Acts 1:8). Among various Charismatic groups, interpretations differ as to what the baptism with the Holy Spirit means to practical Christian experience.
 
Pentecostal/Charismatic view
 
In Christian Pentecostal theology, baptism with the Holy Spirit is a distinctive Christian experience, the Biblical basis for which is found in the description of Pentecost in Jerusalem in Acts 2:1-4. Pentecostals emphasize that to be 'baptized with the Holy Spirit' is to be immersed in the Holy Spirit, and the experience presupposes conversion. That is to say, it is both distinct from and subsequent to salvation, which is itself a definite work of the Holy Spirit. Support for this can be found in the book of Acts, most notably the disciples of John the Baptist who were possibly converts to Christianity but had not yet heard of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:1-7). Another compelling argument is the encounter with Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8:12-24).
Charismatics are not as dogmatic, generally, as Pentecostals in the claim that the Holy Spirit baptism is distinctly separate from the experience of salvation. Some Charismatics believe that the Gift of the Holy Spirit is 'given to all Christians', occurring with the experience of salvation. Such Charismatics claim that the gifts of the Holy Spirit – that is, exercising spiritual power such as speaking in tongues or prophesying, are evidences of a release of the Holy Spirit's Power rather than the baptism itself with the Holy Spirit. At large, Charismatics and Pentecostals have very similar beliefs. Charismatics, however, focus more on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Charismatics and Pentecostals both point to Ephesians 5:18, where the Apostle Paul urges his audience to "be filled with the Spirit" using an imperative mood verb. Pentecostals see this gift (baptism in the Holy Spirit) as an experience following salvation. Whereas other churches have seen being filled with the Holy Spirit to require piety and grace, some Pentecostals and Charismatics have seen it as a requirement that all who are saved must have a Pentecostal experience. This belief has its roots in Luke 24:49, in which Jesus commands His followers to wait in Jerusalem until they "are clothed with power from on high" (NIV). After His followers have received this experience, they are to be His witnesses "in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
In contemporary theology, there is a divergence between the two main strains of Pentecostal believers, with some organized as Pentecostal and others as Charismatic or Second Wave churches. Both believe that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is spoken of by Jesus in Luke 11:13 and also Acts 1:5 and that it was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit prophesied in the Old Testament books of Ezekiel 36:27 and Joel 2:28-29.
 
Development of the term
 
The term "baptize with the Holy Spirit" is encountered in each of the four gospels in descriptions of
 
John the Baptist's prophecies of the coming Messiah who would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, {{bibleref2|Luke|3:16, John 1:33). Jesus is quoted using the phrase "baptized with the Holy Spirit" in Acts 1:5, where he commands his followers to wait in Jerusalem for this experience, which he also referred to as the "Promise of the Father" in Acts 1:4. In Acts 11:16, the Apostle Peter terms the experience of the household of Cornelius (described in Acts 10:44-46) as being "baptized with the Holy Spirit", declaring that the experience was "the same gift that [God] gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ" at Pentecost (see Acts 11:17 and compare Acts 2:1-4). Other terminology in the New Testament may refer as well to the baptism with the Holy Spirit: the language of filling (Acts 1:4 and Acts 9:17); other language of the Holy Spirit being poured out (Acts 2:17-18 (referring to Joel 2:28-29), Acts 2:33 and Acts 10:45); the language of receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:15 and 17), the falling of the Holy Spirit on individuals (Acts 8:16 and Acts 10:44), and also descriptions of the Holy Spirit coming upon individuals (Acts 1:8 and Acts 19:6). Members of the Holiness churches have also referred to the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a "second blessing" or "second work of grace." This language and practice eventually evolved into the modern Pentecostal movement, and Pentecostals adapted the Holiness usage of the term as they understood it.
 
Baptism with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues
 
Biblical scholars note the close association of Biblical references to "baptism in the Holy Spirit" with descriptions of "
Acts of the Apostles, there are three specific references to individuals speaking in tongues: Acts 2:4, ;&version=KJV; Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6. Each of these instances of tongues-speaking is immediately subsequent to or contemporary with an experience of being "baptized in the Holy Spirit." The experience in Acts 2:1-4, which included tongues-speaking (see Acts 2:4), may be connected with the prediction by Jesus in Acts 1:5 that the disciples would be "baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." This experience was referred to later in retrospect by Peter as well, as being "baptized with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 11:16).
The description of Cornelius' household receiving the Gospel from Peter and his companions in Acts 10:46, which included a reference to their "speaking in tongues," is later associated by Peter with the Pentecost experience of the disciples, relating that Cornelius and his friends and family were "baptized with the Holy Spirit" as the disciples had been at Pentecost (Acts 11:16) and Acts 19:6, which includes reference to individuals in Ephesus "speaking in tongues," although not specifically using the term "baptized with the Holy Spirit," states that the "Holy Spirit came upon them" when the Apostle Paul laid his hands upon them. Pentecostal tradition points to these passages to affirm what it believes to be adequate scriptural basis for their view that "speaking in tongues" is an initial evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
 
 
SPEAKING IN TONGUES
 
In the New Testament, the book of Acts recounts how "tongues of fire" descended upon the heads of the Apostles, accompanied by the miraculous occurrence of speaking in languages previously unknown to them, but recognizable to others present as their own native language.
The phenomenon described in the Book of Acts (2:1-11) is variously interpreted either as religious xenoglossia, the speaking of an actual foreign language, or as the gift of interpretation being given to those present: the ability to understand the tongues (each person in his own language).
 
The Apostle Paul commands church brethren, "Do not forbid speaking in tongues" (1 Cor 14:39), and that he wishes those to whom he wrote "all spoke with tongues" (1 Cor 14:5). He further claims himself to speak with tongues more than all of the church at Corinth combined, though indicates more value is found in short, understandable teaching (1 Cor 14:18-19). Paul discourages simultaneous speaking in tongues in the presence of unbelievers or the unlearned; believers are to prophecy and be understood rather than speak unintelligibly. As 1 Corinthians 14:22-25 says, "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth." In 1 Cor 12:7-11 and 1 Cor 12:28-30 some find that Paul indicates that not all believers speak in tongues, although some state that Paul was talking about a gift of "diverse tongues", not all tongues, as the gift of "faith" is also here mentioned, and all believers must have faith by definition. There are many that believe that all believers have the ability to speak in tongues (Mark 16:16-17) as a form of prayer, based on 1 Cor 14:14, Eph 6:18 and Jude 20. Paul also refers to the prophecy of speaking in tongues written by Isaiah (Isa 28:11-12).
Some connect this prophecy in Isaiah with Christ's promise of "rest" (Matthew 11:28-30), thereby stating that speaking in tongues was the sign of conversion, or spirit baptism. Following Christ's description of "the new birth" (John 3), that "you hear the sound" of the spirit, some state that this was the evidence to which the apostle John was referring in 1 John 4, to tell believer and unbeliever apart.
Biblical descriptions of persons actually 'speaking in tongues' occur three times in the book of Acts, the first two coupled with the phenomenon of the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, and the third with the laying on of hands by Paul the Apostle (at which time they 'received the Holy Spirit'), which imbued them with the power of the Holy Spirit.
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