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Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit which is evidenced by speaking in tongues. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, a Greek term describing the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this event commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ, as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter , and Pentecostals tend to see their movement as reflecting the same kind of spiritual power, worship styles and teachings that were found in the early church. For this reason, some Pentecostals also use the term Apostolic and/or full gospel to describe their movement.

Pentecostalism is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of different theological and organizational perspectives. As a result, there is no single central organization or church that directs the movement. Most Pentecostals consider themselves to be part of broader Christian groups; for example, most Pentecostals identify as Protestants. Many embrace the term evangelical, while others prefer restorationist. Pentecostalism is theologically and historically close to the charismatic movement as it significantly influenced that movement and some Pentecostals use the two terms interchangeably. Furthermore, Pentecostals are theologically diverse with some groups being Trinitarian and others Nontrinitarian.

Within North American classical Pentecostalism there are three major orientations: Wesleyan holiness, Higher Life, and Oneness. Examples of Wesleyan holiness denominations include the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC). The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel is an example of the Higher Life branch, while the Assemblies of God (AG) was influenced by both groups. Some Oneness churches include the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI), Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW), and Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ (ALJC). Many Pentecostal groups are affiliated with the Pentecostal World Conference. Pentecostalism claims more than 250 million adherents worldwide. When charismatics are included with Pentecostals the number increases to nearly a quarter of the world's two billion Christians.

Beliefs overview

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 through faith in Jesus. Pentecostals generally adhere to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy, believing that the Bible has definitive authority in matters of faith, and adopt a literalist approach to its interpretation. This belief is expressed in the doctrinal statements of various Pentecostal organizations, such as the Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths, the Affirmation of Faith of the Church of God in Christ, and the Declaration of Faith of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel.

There are common beliefs and traits that Pentecostals share. There are also many different sub-groups within the movement where teaching and practice differ from group to group and from congregation to congregation.

Common beliefs


Reflecting its Methodist influences, Pentecostal soteriology is generally Arminian rather than Calvinist. Pentecostals believe that in order to receive salvation and enter Heaven, one must accept the teachings of Jesus Christ as described in the Bible. This includes being born again or being regenerated, and is the fundamental requirement of Pentecostalism. Most Pentecostals also believe that salvation is a gift received by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and cannot be earned through good deeds alone such as penance. Also, most do not believe that Spirit baptism or speaking in tongues is required for salvation; though believers are encouraged to seek these experiences. However, there are notable differences among them as to exactly how one is born again, especially between Oneness believers and other Pentecostals. For the Oneness Pentecostal perspective on salvation, see the Oneness Pentecostal section of this article below.

Spirit baptism and spiritual gifts

Pentecostal belief and practice center on their understanding of the infilling or baptism of the Holy Spirit. Most Pentecostals understand this infilling to be subsequent to salvation which allows those who have been filled to experience spiritual gifts which are described in the Bible. Traditionally, Pentecostals have taught that the "initial evidence" of Spirit baptism is speaking in tongues, unlike charismatics who generally assign no special importance to tongues considering the receipt of any of the gifts as evidence of infilling. Pentecostalism distinguishes between the Spirit's indwelling, which happens when one is saved, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is subsequent to salvation.

While speaking in tongues frequently receives strong emphasis among Pentecostals, most also believe in the existence of other supernatural gifts that may be received from the Holy Spirit. Most Pentecostals believe that not all Christians necessarily receive all of these gifts. One frequently cited list is which includes the following gifts: words of wisdom (the ability to provide supernatural guidance in decisions), words of knowledge (impartation of factual information from the Spirit), faith, healing, miracle-working, prophecy (the pronouncement of a message from God, not necessarily involving knowledge of the future), discerning of spirits (the ability to tell if evil spirits are at work), tongues, and interpretation of tongues.

Speaking in tongues

Pentecostals are characterized by their practice of speaking in other tongues; this is what they are perhaps best known for in the world at large . A Pentecostal believer in a religious experience may vocalize fluent, unintelligible utterances (glossolalia), or articulate an alleged natural language previously unknown to them (xenoglossy).

Within Pentecostalism, there is usually a distinction made between two types of tongues. First, many see it as the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit when a believer speaks in tongues for the first time. Most Pentecostal denominations consider this to be the sign of that believer being filled with the Holy Spirit. Secondly, Pentecostals often refer to a gift of tongues. This is when a person is moved by God to speak in tongues "as the Spirit gives him utterance" ( ). This gift of tongues may be exercised anywhere, but many denominations insist that it must only be exercised when a person who has the gift of interpretation of tongues is present—whether that be another person, or the same one who gives the tongue. The interpreter must translate the tongue into the language of the gathered Christians, so that all can understand the message. These regulations for church order are taken from and .

Many Pentecostals, particularly after the growth and influence of the charismatic movement, believe that the gift of tongues is different than tongues as a prayer language or speaking in tongues (the unknown tongue). According to this view, speaking in tongues is an utterance granted by God for prayer, and the gift of tongues is a rare miracle in which God enables a Christian to speak in a foreign language he has not previously studied in order to proclaim the gospel. Other Pentecostals believe they are one and the same, in which the gift of tongues is speaking unknown languages (including that of angels) not for the purpose of communicating with others but for "communication between the soul and God". When used this way, speaking in tongues is often referred to as a "prayer language". Certain groups of Pentecostals emphasize the idea of speaking in tongues only when the Holy Spirit comes upon an individual, and do not believe that anyone can legitimately speak in tongues at will.

Early in the 20th century, the majority of Pentecostal missionaries, along with prominent Pentecostal leaders, maintained that speaking in tongues was a form of xenoglossia in which the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in other languages. As continued investigations repeatedly concluded that speaking in tongues was a form of utterance that lacked all syntactical structure, and almost always consisted of syllables taken from the speaker's native language, Pentecostal theologians redefined their beliefs. Most now preach that speaking in tongues is a personal prayer language, or glossolalia; and is, with the above exceptions, not xenoglossia.

Ordinances and practices

Like other Christian churches, Pentecostals believe that certain rituals or ceremonies were instituted as a pattern and command by Jesus in the New Testament. Some Pentecostals commonly call these ceremonies ordinances. Many Christians call these sacraments, however, this term is not used by some Pentecostals as they do not see ordinances as imparting grace. Instead the term sacerdotal ordinance is used to denote the distinctive belief that grace is received directly from God by the congregant with the officiant serving only to facilitate rather than acting as a conduit or vicar.

The ordinance of baptism is the outward symbol of an inner conversion that has already taken place. Pentecostal views on baptism are divided into two major camps: mainstream and Jesus' Name or Jesus Only. Mainstream teaching on baptism is that the exact phrasing of the baptismal formula is largely irrelevant, as it is the authority of God and the obedience of the recipient that form the critical factors. The Jesus' Name doctrine, largely held today by the Oneness Pentecostals, states that the baptizer must use a formula which says, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ", rather than the traditional Triune formula common to practically all other Christian churches.

Another point of divergence between Pentecostals is the question of whether Baptism is necessary for salvation; while all Pentecostals hold that the ordinance is commanded by Jesus Christ and incumbent upon all believers, they disagree sharply as to whether it is an indispensable requirement. Oneness Pentecostals tend to say that it is, while the Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal groups tend to disagree, putting the emphasis upon one's personal faith and inward conversion, rather than the external ordinance.

The ordinance of Communion is seen as a direct command given by Jesus at the Last Supper, to be done in remembrance of him. Some Pentecostal denominations reject the use of wine on the communion, using grape juice instead.

Foot washing is also held as an ordinance by some Pentecostals, particularly the UPCI and the COGIC. It is considered an "ordinance of humility", because Jesus showed humility when washing his disciples' feet in . Other denominations, such as the Assemblies of God and the Foursquare Church, do not hold this to be an ordinance but leave it to individual conscience.

Though not an ordinance, some Pentecostals may believe in the use of prayer cloths which are believed to transfer healing.


Classical Pentecostalism

Classical Pentecostalism is the earliest form of Pentecostalism. It includes groups in the holiness and higher life traditions as well as Oneness Pentecostals.

Holiness and Higher Life Pentecostalism

Pentecostal theology was shaped by the movements it grew out of: Wesleyan holiness and Higher Life. Participants in these movements believed that after one's conversion experience (the "first blessing") there was a “crisis experience of sanctification” or the "second blessing". Wesleyan holiness preachers taught that this experience would immediately eliminate sin in a Christian's life, resulting in “sinless perfection.” Higher Life Christians shared this belief in a second blessing, but understood it differently. They saw it not as the total elimination of sin, but as "'full consecration’ that empowered them for evangelism." Early Pentecostals, therefore, understood baptism in the Holy Spirit as this "second blessing" and speaking in tongues as its physical evidence. The Wesleyan-holiness orientation was a common position in the early days of Pentecostalism in the United States espousing a three-fold process of conversion, progressive sanctification, and baptism in the Holy Spirit.

With the exception of the distinctive doctrine of baptism in the Holy Spirit and more demonstrative styles of worship, the holiness and higher life Pentecostal churches generally share basic beliefs with the rest of evangelical Christianity.

Oneness Pentecostalism

The Oneness movement, which eventually arose from the Wesleyan-holiness and Higher Life movements, differs from the rest of Pentecostalism in several significant ways.

Oneness Pentecostalism retains the earlier Wesleyan holiness and Higher Life understanding of salvation, though—unlike some other Pentecostals—they insist that baptism is necessary for salvation. Oneness Pentecostals insist that salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ, coupled with obedience to his command to be "born of water and of the Spirit"; hence, no good works or obedience to laws or rules can save anyone. However, due to biblical interpretation baptism is required for salvation in Oneness theology. For them, baptism is not seen as a "work," but rather the indispensable means that Jesus himself provided to come into his kingdom, as opposed to a "sinner's prayer" or mere belief alone—which is the belief held by most Evangelicals and even most other Pentecostals. This has resulted in Oneness believers being accused by some (including other Pentecostals) of a "works-salvation" soteriology, a charge they vehemently deny. Oneness Pentecostals hold that repentance is necessary before baptism to make the ordinance valid, and receipt of the Holy Spirit manifested by speaking in other tongues is necessary afterwards, to complete the work of baptism. Without any of these elements, say Oneness believers, one cannot be saved.

Oneness Pentecostals also differ from other Pentecostals by rejecting the traditional Christian Trinity. Oneness adherents do not describe God as three persons but rather as three manifestations: they believe that Father, Son and Holy Spirit are manifestations or titles of the one, indivisible God. Oneness Pentecostals practice Jesus' Name Baptism, insisting that baptisms must be performed in the name of Jesus Christ, rather than that of the Trinity. They tend to emphasize strict "holiness standards" in dress, grooming and other areas of personal conduct that are not necessarily shared by other Pentecostal groups, at least not to the degree that is generally found in Oneness churches.

Word of Faith teachings

Some Pentecostals and charismatics are adherents of word of faith teachings. Often referred to as "Name-It-Claim-It" and "Blab-It-Grab-It" religion by critics, the word of faith movement is rejected by classical Pentecostal denominations such as the Assemblies of God, whose leaders often seek to distance themselves from association with the movement.

Denominations and adherents

Estimated to number around 115 million followers worldwide in 2000, Pentecostalism is sometimes referred to as the "third force of Christianity." Pentecostal and Charismatic church growth is rapid in many parts of the world. The great majority of Pentecostals are to be found in developing countries although much of their international leadership is still in North America. The movement is enjoying its greatest surge today in the global South, which includes Africa, Latin America, and most of Asia. One reason for this growth is Pentecostalism's appeal to the poor. According to a United Nations report, the movement has "been the most successful at recruiting its members from the poorest of the poor."

In 1998, there were about 11,000 different Pentecostal or charismatic denominations worldwide. The largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, the Assemblies of God, claims approximately 57 million adherents worldwide. It has a significant presence in many countries including Cubamarker, Egyptmarker, Indiamarker, Indonesiamarker and Nigeriamarker. The Church of God has a membership of over 6 million, the Church of God in Christ has a membership of 5.5 million, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel has 5 million members, the United Pentecostal Church International has a membership of over 4 million, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church has over 3 million members.

The largest single Pentecostal church in the world is the Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Koreamarker. Founded and led by David Yonggi Cho since 1958, it had 780,000 members in 2003. Australia's largest church, Hillsong, has a membership exceeding 19,000 and its songs are sung in churches around the world. Indian Pentecostal Church of God and United Pentecostal Church International are among the major Pentecostal churches in Indiamarker.

Historical predecessors

Pentecostals believe that their movement is faithful to the teachings and experience of the early Church, specifically the narrative of Acts. Though the most widely accepted origin of the movement is the revival around 1906, Pentecostal practice has predecessors in earlier charismatic experiences within Christianity. Instances of prophecy, visions, healing, and exorcisms as well as both glossolalia and xenoglossia were recorded in the early Church. Sometimes, but not always, advocates of charismatic experience were labeled heretics, such as the Montanists of the 2nd century. Their leader, Montanus, claimed to receive direct revelation from the Holy Spirit. Other early Church leaders who advocated charismatic experience included Irenaeus (c. 115-202), Origen (c. 185-254), Augustine (354-430), Symeon (949-1022), and Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274).

Origen was reported to have healed people, exorcised demons, and engaged in other assorted "signs and wonders." Symeon and others discussed experiencing phenomena such as "baptism of the Holy Spirit," uncontrollable bouts of crying, and visions of the Transfiguration. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), Vincent Ferrer (1350-1419), Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), and Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) describe what seems to be glossolalia. Ignatius' described one such experience: "During the interior and exterior loquela (speech) everything moves me to divine love and to the gifts of loquela divinely bestowed."


A Pentecostal-like revival began with a Prussian Guards officer, Gustav von Below, in 1817. He and his brothers started holding charismatic meetings on his estate in Pomerania. A Lutheran commission sent to investigate was at first suspicious, but ultimately determined the phenomenon to be "of God." This led to a growth in charismatic meetings across Germanymarker, which quickly crossed the Atlantic during the great German migrations of the 19th century.

In the 1830s, a Presbyterian congregation in Scotland under the leadership of Edward Irving began to experience manifestations of tongues and prophecy. Certain men were appointed as apostles, until their number reached twelve. After Irving's death, the movement developed into what would be called the Catholic Apostolic Church, a name adopted from the Nicene Creed. Henry Drummond was perhaps the most influential man in this movement at its beginning. He was sympathetic to the writings of the early Church Fathers, and the movement took on a highly liturgical flair, including influences from Eastern Orthodox liturgy. The movement grew to several hundred thousand in England, Germany, and some other parts of Europe. This sect ultimately disappeared, though a splinter group in Germany did appoint new apostles and continue on. The last apostle from Drummond's Group, Francis Woodhouse of the Catholic Apostolic Church, died in 1901—just a few months after Agnes Ozman spoke in tongues in the United States.

North America

During the 1870s, there were Christians known as "gift people" or "gift adventists" numbering in the thousands, who were known for spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues. One preacher from the Gift People influenced A.J. Tomlinson, who would later lead the Church of God . Though some have considered the 1896 Shearer Schoolhouse Revival in Cherokee County, North Carolinamarker as the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement, the remoteness of the region very likely kept it as a localized event.

Some Christian leaders who were not a part of the early Pentecostal movement remained highly respected by Pentecostal leaders. Albert Benjamin Simpson became closely involved with the growing Pentecostal revival. 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 Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), which Simpson also founded, had a great influence on Pentecostalism—in particular the Assemblies of God and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. 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, an African-American Holiness leader and founder of the Church of Christ, is another example. His hymns are widely sung at National Conventions of the Church of God in Christ and many other Pentecostal churches.

History from 1900

Early history

Today's Pentecostal movement traces its community's growth to a prayer meeting at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansasmarker on January 1, 1901. Here, many came to the conclusion that speaking in tongues was the biblical sign of the Holy Spirit's baptism. Charles Parham, the founder of this school, would later move to Houston, Texasmarker. In spite of segregation in Houston, William J. Seymour, a one-eyed African-American preacher, was allowed to attend Parham's Bible classes there. Seymour traveled to Los Angeles, where his preaching sparked the Azusa Street Revival in 1906. Despite the work of various Wesleyan groups such as Parham's and D. L. Moody's revivals, the beginning of the widespread Pentecostal movement in the United States is generally considered to have begun with Seymour's Azusa Street Revival.

The Azusa revival was the first Pentecostal revival to receive significant attention, and many people from around the world became drawn to it. The Los Angeles Press gave close attention to Seymour's revival, which helped fuel its growth. A number of new, smaller, groups started up, inspired by the events of this revival. International visitors and Pentecostal missionaries would eventually bring these teachings to other nations, so that practically all classic Pentecostal denominations today trace their historical roots to the Azusa Street Revival.
William Seymour, leader of the Azusa Street Revival

Early Pentecostals were fueled by their understanding that all of God’s people would prophesy in the last days before Christ’s second coming. They looked to the biblical passages concerning Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts, in which Peter cited the prophecy contained in Joel 2, "In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." ( ) Thus, as the experience of speaking in tongues spread among the men and women of Azusa Street, a sense of immediacy took hold, as they began to look toward the Second Coming of Christ. Early Pentecostals saw themselves as outsiders from mainstream society, dedicated solely to preparing the way for Christ’s return.

Pentecostalism, like any major movement, has given birth to a large number of organizations with political, social and theological differences. The early movement was countercultural regarding race, gender, and war: African-Americans and women were important leaders in the Azusa Revival, and helped spread the Pentecostal message far beyond Los Angeles. The majority of early Pentecostal denominations taught nonviolence and adopted military service articles that advocated conscientious objection. As the Azusa Revival began to wane, however, doctrinal differences began to surface as pressure from social, cultural and political developments from the time began to affect the church. As a result, major divisions, isolationism, sectarianism and even the increase of extremism were apparent.


African-Americans played an important role in the early Pentecostal movement. The first decade of Pentecostalism was marked by interracial assemblies, "...Whites and blacks mix in a religious frenzy," noted a local newspaper account, at a time when government facilities were racially separate and Jim Crow laws were about to be codified. While the interracial assemblies that characterized Azusa Street would continue for a number of years even in the segregated South, the enthusiasm and support for such assemblies eventually waned. After a while, interracial assemblies were nearly non-existent in most Pentecostal churches. However, this trend is starting to be reversed in many Pentecostal churches today.


Women were the catalyst of the early Pentecostal movement. Since Pentecostals believed in the presence and interaction of the Holy Spirit in their assemblies, and since these gifts came to both men and women, the use of spiritual gifts were encouraged in everyone. The unconventionally intense and emotional environment generated in Pentecostal meetings dually promoted, and was itself created by, other forms of participation such as personal testimony and spontaneous prayer and singing. Women did not shy away from engaging in this forum, and in the early movement the majority of converts and church-goers were female. Since the movement relied on the efforts and participation of lay members, both within the church and outside, women gained great cultural influence in Pentecostalism and helped to shape it. Women wrote religious songs, edited Pentecostal papers, and taught and ran Bible schools. The preponderance of its female adherents may stem from the availability of such opportunities to women from the start of the movement. In addition, evidence from three of the oldest Pentecostal groups—Assemblies of God, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) and the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel—shows a number of women serving as clergy and missionaries.

Other aspects of Pentecostalism also promoted the participation of women. Pointing to the biblical prophecy of , Pentecostals focused their attention upon the end times, during which Christ would return. Given that the baptism of the Holy Spirit led to speaking in tongues, whoever was blessed with this gift would have the responsibility to use it towards the preparation for Christ’s second coming. Due to this responsibility, any restrictions that culture or other denominations placed on women were often disregarded during the early part of the movement. Joel 2:28 also specifically included females, saying that both sons and daughters and male and female servants would receive the Holy Spirit, and prophecy in the end times. Thus, the focus on spiritual gifts, the nature of the worship environment, and dispensationalist thinking all encouraged women to participate in all areas of worship.

Even before Azusa Street, women led their own revivals as a result of Agnes Ozman speaking in tongues at Parham’s Bible college. Florence Crawford was a prominent convert of Azusa Street. While at the Azusa Mission, she was active in The Apostolic Faith newspaper and became one the first from Azusa to evangelize, primarily through the Midwestern United States. Later, she moved to Portland where she established the Apostolic Faith Mission and ministered.

While the immediacy and the fervor of the initial revival atmosphere were subsiding, questions of authority and the organization of churches arose. Institutionalism took root. While it was clear that both men and women spoke in tongues, many started to see this gift as a non-intellectual one, holding that more intellectual acts, such as preaching, should be undertaken by women only in conditions controlled by male leaders. The subsiding of the early Pentecostal movement allowed a more socially-conservative approach to women to settle in, and as a result female participation was channeled into more supportive and traditionally-accepted roles. Institutionalism brought gender segregation, and the Assemblies of God along with other Pentecostal groups created auxiliary women’s organizations. At this time, women became much more likely to be evangelists and missionaries than pastors; when they were pastors, they often co-pastored with their husbands. It also became the norm for men to hold all official positions: board members, college presidents, and national administrators. While the early movement eschewed denominationalism because of the dead spirituality they saw in other Protestant sects, later Pentecostal churches began to mirror the more-traditional evangelical community. However, while the number of female pastors declined, most Pentecostal denominations continued to ordain women.

Early controversies

In the first decade of the 20th century, controversy arose over a new doctrine, Finished Work, that differs from Wesleyan-holiness and Higher Life Pentecostalism. The Finished Work doctrine professes a two-fold experience of conversion and Spirit baptism, as sanctification is viewed as progressive rather than instantaneous.

The Pentecostal movement split over the "New Issue" or "New Revelation" which Frank Ewart, an Australian Baptist preacher, claimed to have received as a divine prophecy in 1913. The Oneness Pentecostals separated from the wider Pentecostal movement during this time.

Latter Rain Movement

The Latter Rain Movement began out of an independent Bible school in Saskatchewanmarker, Canadamarker, and spread among many Pentecostal groups in the 1940s. Latter Rain leaders taught "an extreme congregationalism" where local authority was exercised by a restored fivefold ministry, led by apostles who through the laying on of hands could impart spiritual gifts. Many traditional Pentecostal bodies, such as the Assemblies of God and the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America, were critical of the movement and condemned many of its practices as unscriptural. One reason for the conflict between the traditional denominations and the "New Order", as the movement was also called, was the tendency of Latter Rain leaders to label existing groups as "apostasized" and "the old apostate Church of England". The Latter Rain Movement was the most important controversy to affect Pentecostalism since World War II.

Charismatic movement

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Christians from mainline churches in the United Statesmarker, Europe, and other parts of the world began to accept the Pentecostal idea that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is available for Christians today, even if they did not accept other tenets of formal Pentecostalism. Charismatic movements began to grow in mainline denominations. Charismatic Episcopalians, Lutherans, Catholics, and Methodists emerged, and during that time period, Charismatic was used to refer to similar movements that existed within mainline denominations. Pentecostal, on the other hand, was used to refer to those who were a part of the churches and denominations that grew out of the earlier Azusa Street revival. Unlike classic Pentecostals, who formed strictly Pentecostal congregations or denominations, charismatics adopted as their motto, "Bloom where God planted you."

In recent decades many independent charismatic churches and ministries have formed, or have developed their own denominations and church associations, such as the Vineyard Movement. In the 1960s and still today, many Pentecostal churches were still strict with dress codes and forbidding certain forms of entertainment, creating a cultural distinction between Charismatics and Pentecostals. There is a great deal of overlap now between the charismatic and Pentecostal movements, though some Pentecostals still retain a strict understanding of "holiness living" principles.

Neo-charismatic movement

The "neocharismatic" movement is a broad collection of post-denominational and independent charismatic groups. It is the most recent movement of charismatic Christianity, and also the most numerous.

This movement incorporates what has been called the "third wave", a term coined by C. Peter Wagner. Wagner described Pentecostalism as the "first wave", and the charismatic movement as the "second wave". The editors of the 2002 work The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements "broadened and relabeled" the term "third wave" to "neocharismatic". "Third wave" has more of a Western focus.




  • A. A. Allen (1911–70) Healing Tent Evangelist of the 1950s and 1960s
  • Joseph Ayo Babalola (1904–59) Oke - Ooye, Ilesa revivalist in 1930. Also, spiritual founder of Christ Apostolic Church
  • William M. Branham (1909–65) Healing Evangelists of the mid 20th century
  • Jack Coe (1918–56) Healing Tent Evangelist of the 1950s
  • Rex Humbard (1919–2007) The first successful TV evangelist of the mid 1950s, 1960s, and the 1970s and at one time had the largest television audience of any televangelist in the United States
  • George Jeffreys (1889–1972) Founder of the Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance and the Bible-Pattern Church Fellowship in the UK
  • Bishop R.A.R. Johnson (1876–1940) Founder of the House of God, Holy Church of the Living God, The Pillar and the Ground of the Truth, The House of Prayer for All People. A Commandment (Sabbath) keeping Pentecostal organization.
  • Kathryn Kuhlman (1907–76) American female evangelist who brought Pentecostalism into the mainstream denominations
  • Charles Harrison Mason (1866–1961) The Founder of the Church of God In Christ
  • Aimee Semple McPherson (1890–1944) American Female Evangelist, pastor, and organizer of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
  • Charles Fox Parham (1873–1929) Father of Modern Pentecostalism
  • David du Plessis (1905–87) South-African Pentecostal church leader, one of the founders of the Charismatic movement
  • Oral Roberts (b.1918) Healing Tent Evangelist who made the transition to televangelism
  • William J. Seymour (1870–1922) Azusa Street Mission Founder (Azusa Street Revival)
  • Mary Magdalena Lewis Tate (1871–1930) - Mother of Holiness. Founder of the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Inc. and its dominion churches.
  • Smith Wigglesworth (1859–1947)
  • Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844–1924)

See also

Further reading

  • Paul Alexander, (2009), Peace to War: Shifting Allegiances in the Assemblies of God. Telford, PA: Cascadia Publishing/Herald Press.
  • Paul Alexander, (2009), Signs and Wonders: Why Pentecostalism is the World's Fastest Growing Faith. Foreword by Martin E. Marty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • S. J. Clifton, (2005), An Analysis of the Developing Ecclesiology of the Assemblies of God in Australia, PhD thesis Australian Catholic University
  • Samuel Cruz, (2005), Masked Africanisms: Puerto Rican Pentecostalism, Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, IA, ISBN 0-7575-2181-9
  • Walter Hollenweger, (1972), The Pentecostals: the charismatic movement in the churches, Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, ISBN 0-8066-1210-X
  • Walter Hollenweger, , (1997), Pentecostalism : origins and developments worldwide, Peabody, Mass. : Hendrickson Publishers, ISBN 0-943575-36-2
  • Meharry H. Lewis, (2005), Mary Lena Lewis Tate: Vision!, A Biography of the Founder and History of the Church of the Living God, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Inc., Nashville, Tenn.: The New and Living Way Publishing Company, ISBN 0-910003-08-4.
  • Keith Malcomson (2008), "Pentecostal Pioneers Remembered". 'British & Irish Pioneers of Pentecost.'
  • Kelly Willis Mendiola, (2002) The hand of a woman: four holiness-Pentecostal evangelists and American culture, 1840-1930, Thesis (Ph. D.)—University of Texas at Austin, 2002, OCLC 56818195.
  • Abi Olowe, (2007) Great Revivals, Great Revivalist - Joseph Ayo Babalola, Omega Publishers.
  • Matthew Steel, (2005), Pentecostalism in Zambia: Power, Authority and the Overcomers, MSc Dissertation - an examination of the growth and effects of Pentecostalism on development, University of Wales
  • Grant Wacker, (2001), Heaven Below: Early Pentecostals and American Culture, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA - An academic history of early Pentecostalism.
  • Robert Woodberry (2008) "Pentecostalism and Economic Development." pp. 157–177 in Markets, Morals and Religion. Jonathan B. Imber (ed.) New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers
  • Donald E. Miller and Tetsunao Yamamori (2007) Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA - Miller and Yamamori traveled to 20 countries around the world to explore the rapid growth of Pentecostalism.


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