Methodist vs Pentecostal


#1

Hello Everyone,

Can someone enlighten me on the fundamental differences between these two religions and why it would be difficult for these two to have a functional relationship, or possibly a successful one?
Thanks,
Protestant Me :)


#2

Interesting question. If you think about, Pentecostals are the radical, wacky cousins to the Methodists. Both have been profoundly influenced by the teachings of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The difference I guess is that Methodism today has retained more of the traditional forms of Christianity, like a more sacramental view of baptism and the Eucharist and stuff. At the same time, Wesley was evangelical in that he thought that having a conscious conversion experience was important and he stressed holiness of life or Christian perfection or perfect love.

Methodism gave birth to the Holiness Movement in the 19th century (from which we get churches like the Wesleyan Church and the Church of the Nazarene). Pentecostalism grew out of the Holiness Movement at the beginning of the 20th century.

Pentecostalism can be expressed in the four square gospel: Jesus is Savior, Spirit baptizer, Healer, and Soon Coming King. Pentecostals believe in the need for a conscious conversion experience, so they are what people often call “born again Christians.” Pentecostals also believe that separate from and subsequent to conversion is an experience we call the baptism in the Holy Spirit. This is not a “requirement” for salvation, since Pentecostals believe we are justified in conversion to Christ. Spirit baptism is instead an enduement of power upon the sanctified life. Just as after Pentecost the disciples were emboldened to share the gospel, Pentecostals believe that after the Christian has experienced his own personal Pentecost he will be “clothed with power” and “filled with the Spirit.”

Pentecostals also believe that Jesus is the Healer, which is not much different from traditional Christians, except that Pentecostals believe that healing is a part of the atonement. Therefore, we pray for healing believing that it is God’s usual will to heal, though not everyone is always healed and in those instances we continue to praise God, etc. Finally, Pentecostals believe that Jesus is coming back again, and while we don’t know when, we expect that it will be pretty soon.

Pentecostals believe in the miraculous and expect the miraculous to happen a lot more than most other Christians seem to. Some Pentecostals speak in tongues. Depending on which Pentecostal church you go to, the worship may be very enthusiastic, including dancing, shouting, and very loud music.

I’m not an expert on Methodism, so I’ll let others who know more chime in. However, I do know that there is certainly no doctrinal or ecclesiastical impediments to a Pentecostal and a Methodist from having a relationship. The different traditions, both being more or less expressions of Wesleyanism, could compliment each other.


#3

Thank you so very much for your insight. I really appreciate the background and the openness of your views toward Methodism.
Can you explain the speaking in tongues?

God bless!!
PM


#4

The simplest definition is that it is a form of prayer or communication with God that bypasses our cognitive faculties. Many Christians look to the Book of Acts for their information about speaking in tongues. While Pentecostals do refer to Acts a lot, we tend to view speaking in tongues in light of Paul’s directions to the Corinthian church found in 1 Corinthians 12-14 (especially chapter 14). There Paul distinguishes between praying with our minds or understanding and praying “in the spirit” or with tongues. When we pray in tongues, Pentecostals believe we are praying with our spirits.

Some, but not all, Pentecostals believe that speaking in tongues is the “initial physical evidence” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This comes from the Book of Acts, where on the Day of Pentecost the disciples in the upper room were filled with the Spirit and spoke with tongues at the same time. Remember, baptism in the Spirit is believed to happen after conversion, so it is important to note that speaking in tongues is not a requirement to be saved.

Contrary to the common stereotype, there are a ton of people in Pentecostal churches who have not received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and who do not speak in tongues. It is not a requirement for membership in Pentecostal churches.

I’m assuming that you are interested in knowing about Trinitarian Pentecostalism. There are some Pentecostals who deny the Trinity and believe in a sort of “evangelical unitarianism.” These often do see baptism in the Holy Spirit as evidence of salvation, so they do see speaking in tongues as a requirement to be saved. However, these are a minority of Pentecostals. They often refer to themselves as “Apostolics”, Oneness Pentecostals, or "Jesus Name Pentecostals.


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