Pentecostalism arose as a renewal movement under Protestant Christianity which emphasized on a personal and direct experience of God made possible by the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The word Pentecostal has its origin in the Greek term Pentecost which refers to the Jewish Feast of Weeks. For Christians, this occasion is held in honor of the descent of the Holy Spirit on the followers of the biblical Jesus Christ as outlined in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts. Pentecostalism observes the Bible's inerrancy, and it stresses on the significance of accepting Jesus as one's personal lord and savior, beliefs which are also present in other kinds of evangelical Protestantism. Pentecostalism is differentiated by the acknowledgment of the baptism in the Holy Spirit which empowers a Christian to live a Spirit-filled existence. Pentecostalism developed in the early 20th century, and it was advanced by radical observers of the Holiness movement who were enthusiastic about revivalism as well as the expectation for the impending Second Coming of Christ. The movement was pioneered by Charles Parham and subsequently advanced by the Azusa Street Revival which lasted for three years and was organized by William J, Seymour. The movement now has more than 700 denominations and many independent churches. The beliefs of Pentecostalism are discussed below.
The primary belief of classical Pentecostalism is that sins can be forgiven through the death, burial, as well as the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that humanity, is therefore ultimately reconciled with God. This belief is termed as the Gospel or ‘good news.' The major requirement of the movement is that a person is born again. This new birth is acquired by God's grace via faith in Jesus as both Lord and Savior. Once an individual is born again, they are regenerated, justified, and accepted into God's family and the Holy Spirit's job of sanctification commences. Pentecostals hold the doctrine of the security of the believer although this security depends on continual faith and repentance. Adherents of Pentecostalism further accept the idea of a literal heaven and hell. Most Pentecostals observe no other requirement to achieve salvation and speaking in tongues and baptism via the Holy Spirit are not required. Pentecostal converts are normally encouraged to seek such experiences, however.
Baptism With The Holy Spirit
Observers of Pentecostalism refer to three different uses of the term "baptism" as noted in the New Testament. The Baptism into the body of Christ denotes salvation. Each believer in Christ is rendered a part of his body which is the Church via baptism. The Holy Spirit is therefore recognized as the medium of the body of Christ. Water baptism signifies the work that has already been done by the Holy Spirit that is baptism into the body of Christ. Water baptism represents dying to the world to live in Christ. In the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes the agent while the Holy Spirit serves as the medium. Most of the Pentecostals subscribe to the belief that once an individual is born again, the Holy Spirit by default resides in him or her. While the Holy Spirit is believed to dwell in each Christian, a believer should seek to be filled with the holy spirit. The Spirit being "poured out upon" Christians is what is referred to as the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals describe it as a definite experience which takes place after Salvation and where the Holy Spirit fills the believer to empower him/her for particular service. The main importance of this event is to relinquish power for Christian service. Pentecostals expect some temporary and permanent results after this experience including speaking in tongues, greater enthusiasm to witness to nonbelievers, manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and more insight of the Bible.
Pentecostalism is recognized as a holistic faith where adherents believe that Christ is the Healer. This belief accounts for 1/4 of the full gospel. Pentecostalism adherents identify four main reasons for the belief in divine healing. One of the reasons is that the concept is included in the Bible and also the healing ministry of Jesus is part of his atonement. Thirdly, "the whole gospel is for the whole person" that is the spirit, soul, and body. Fourthly, sickness is as a result of the Fall of Man and salvation remains the only means by which the fallen world will be restored. Physical and spiritual healing for Pentecostals is a testament to the future return of Jesus when his followers will be delivered from all the repercussions of the fall. Not everyone is restored physically however when they pray, and Pentecostals believe that God in his wisdom decides who to grant or not to grant healing. Reasons, why an individual may not be granted healing, include inadequate faith of the sick individual, God instructs through healing personal sin, and healing is not always immediate. Pentecostals further believe that prayer is central in acquiring healing. The scriptures instruct that a person can pray for their own healing, for the healing of other people, or through congregational healing prayer. Early Pentecostals viewed the act of taking medicine or receiving medical care from doctors as sinful. Although the believers have moderated this view, a minority of Pentecostal congregations continue to depend on divine healing.
According to the Pentecostal beliefs, the second coming of Crist is soon and imminent, and therefore each moment for Pentecostals is eschatological as Jesus might return at any time. This belief motivates Pentecostals to live a Christian life in such manner as faithful Christian service, congregating for worship, personal holiness, and personal and international evangelism.
Pentecostals believe that the spiritual gifts are still operational in the Church in the modern day. While spiritual gifts are acquired after the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the fruits of the spirit are possessed after the new birth and continued allegiance to Christ. Spiritual gifts are granted freely by the Spirit, and they are not an appropriate basis upon which a person's spiritual life or maturity can be ascertained. Pentecostalism observers the believe that each Spirit-filled Christian is afforded some capacity for the expression of the Spirit. Pentecostals further believe that a single gift is often manifested in partnership with another gift. These gifts include vocal gifts, prophecy, and power gifts.
Oneness And Trinitarianism
Most of the Pentecostal congregations attest to the doctrine of the Trinity. Oneness Pentecostals, on the other hand, proclaim a "Oneness" theology concerning God. The Oneness doctrine can be regarded as a kind of Modalism: a medieval teaching considered heresy by the majority of Christians. The Oneness belief stipulates that God reveals himself in three distinct ways. Oneness Pentecostals sometimes accuse those who believe in Trinitarianism of practicing Polytheism.
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