When mentioned to the general public, the word “Pentecostalism” generates three diverse responses: confusion, mockery, and tolerance; some people never heard of the word, some people view it as being infamous, and the rest accept it. According to the Oxford dictionary, Pentecostalism “relates to any number of Christian sects emphasizing baptism in the Holy Spirit.” Misconceptions originated from the misunderstanding of the history of Pentecostalism, along with the notion that Pentecostalism is one sect when, in fact, there are many divisions. The largest of these is the teachings of Charismatic’s, which make up the most prevalent part of the denomination and have been the driving force for the assumptions and reputation that Pentecostalism has garnered. To truly understand Pentecostalism, one needs to learn the religions history, the standard beliefs of the various sects, and the contemporary changes that some followers have made in the recent years that have fueled the current fallacy about the belief system.
The history of Pentecostalism is widely disputed amongst historians; some believe that Pentecostalism began with Jesus’ disciple’s baptism in the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost, while other historians argue that the religion itself dates as recent as the early ninety’s. In the historiographical essay, “Assessing the Roots of Pentecostalism,” Randall J. Stephens claims that the Pentecostal movement started in 1901 and the famous 1906 Los Angeles revival on Azusa Street helped the religion grow to currently contain approximately 420 million followers. The followers, being mostly lower and middle-class groups who were “multi-ethnic and often challenged racial norms” (Wilma Wells Davies 2), of the revival were unhappy...
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...Pentecostal’s hold, that “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Holy Bible: the New King James Version, Containing the Old and New Testaments.Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Bibles, 1982. Print.
MacArthur, John. Charismatic Chaos. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1992. Print.
Marshall, Howard I. “The Significance of Pentecost.” Scottish Journal of Theology30.04 (1977): 347. Print.
Richardson, William E., and Dave Kidd. “Articles.” Pentecostal Evangel. General Council of the Assemblies of God. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.
Stephens, Randall J. “Assessing the Roots.” American Religious Experience at WVU. The American Religious Experience. Web. 13 Nov. 2011.
Wesley, John. A Plain Account of Christian Perfectionism. Boston: McDonald, Gill &, 1968. Print.
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