Some things to consider about Pentecostals

When Jaya meets Joshua and his family in my novel Nearly Canaan, she’s introduced to their Pentecostal faith. It’s not like most Christianity.

Here are some points to consider.

  1. It’s more emotional than most churches, for one thing. Shouting, dancing, praying out loud during the service are common, along with applause, praise songs, and a rock band.
  2. The term comes from the Day of Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts and its events 50 days after the Resurrection of Christ.
  3. Pentecostalism’s principal defining trait is speaking in tongues as “Bible evidence” for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The vocal utterances are rarely in a foreign language the speaker doesn’t know, unlike the Day of Pentecost, but in a stylized babbling known as glossolalia. The proclamations are usually translated by another into the language of the congregants – typically English, though the movement is rapidly spreading worldwide.
  4. In Brazil, an estimated 12 percent of the populace is Pentecostal and rising.
  5. The movement started at the 1906 Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles, led by African-American preacher William J. Seymour, or maybe as early as 1896 with the Apostolic Faith movement or maybe 1901 in Kansas when Agnes Ozman, a Holiness Methodist, was publicly recognized for speaking in tongues. It’s had more recent incarnations, such as the Charismatic strand among Roman Catholics and Episcopalians.
  6. Among Pentecostal churches, theological beliefs can vary widely. But the majority interpret the Bible literally.
  7. Women were ordained to leadership roles from the beginning of the movement.
  8. Some denominations place strict limits on personal conduct and attire, even forbidding sports and movies.
  9. Many Pentecostals are found as active members in non-Pentecostal congregations.
  10. Pentecostal denominations include Assemblies of God, Foursquare Gospel, United Pentecostal, Church of God in Christ, and Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, but there’s a raft of smaller ones, too. Congregations range from small storefronts to mega-churches.

 

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