The denomination: Pentecostal

Hello my friends,

Iam hoping that there is somebody out there with enough knowledge on Pentecostalism.

You see my friend is of that denomination of Christianity and whenever i ask him to explain his full beliefs he always goes off onto something else, which obviously isnt very helpful!

What ive got out of him so far is that Pentecotals believe in the whole, literal truth of the Bible, and that the religion is exactly the same as Catholocism, except they doent give alligiance to the Pope?

Acouple of questions…
1.Is Pentecostalism and Catholocism alike? If so how much?
2.What is the history/beliefs of the Pentecostal Church?

Thank you, your answers will be truly helpful

God Bless

Your friend is sadly mistaken if he tells you that Pentecostals have much in common with Catholics.

The main tenet of Pentecostal churches is that if you accept Jesus as your personal savior, you will speak in tongues**. If you do not speak in tongues, that is evidence that you are not saved.

Pentecostals do not believe in the sacraments. Moral codes vary from one pastor to another.

Pentecostalism is an experiential religion. That is, the focus of religious practice is on having emotional experiences (like speaking in “angelic” tongues which actually sounds like gibberish) that provide, to the mind of the believer, evidence of the “spirit” at work.

I attended several Pentecostal services while I was searching. It was weird. At one meeting a woman was crawling on the floor grunting like a pig. The preacher said she was “in the spirit” but it looked to me like she was just nuts. At another meeting people were laughing hysterically and shouting at one another in gibberish. If that is the Holy Spirit at work, I am St. Patrick.


**Note: When the bible mentions “tongues” it just means languages, not gibberish.

My husband and his family are pentacostals and Paul pretty much summed it up.

I think that they also believe in the sinner’s prayer, that in saying this prayer in front of anyone, is confessing your sins to God.

They also believe in laying of the hands, that some people have the ability to heal, just as christ did, by laying there hands and prayer that they are healed.

Another thing is that they also believe that anyone can baptise someone. My father in law once wanted to baptise me. I respectfully declined of course.

Also, it was explained to me that when someone begins to speak in tongues, there must be someone there who can translate or else it is technically gibberish. This seems very hokey to me.

My husbands family also believe that the pope is the antichrist and that they do not have to go to church because God is everywhere and just discussing God is church.

Those are a few other things that I have learned, howver, I don’t really know. They discuss their faith only when trying to convert me, which doesn’t happen very often now because they know i just can’t get into it.

First of all, Pentecostals are not a denomination. They are a tradition that includes many denominations. Charismatics, who have similar beliefs to Pentecostals but are less dogmatic, are found in many non-Pentecostal churches, including Catholicism.

That may be what your friend meant by Pentecostals being “close to Catholicism,” in the sense that Catholic charismatics have a Pentecostal-type experience. Because Catholicism believes in the possibility of miracles and private revelations and so on, there are ways in which Pentecostals are much closer to Catholicism than many other forms of Protestantism are (though Pentecostals have had an impact on the broader Protestant world in this respect). Also, Pentecostals generally do not believe in “once saved always saved” and some Pentecostals have a doctrine of sanctification that is closer to Catholicism than that of many Protestants.

I don’t know where PaulDupre gets the idea that Pentecostals as a whole believe that all true Christians speak with tongues. The non-Trinitarian “Oneness Pentecostals” may believe something like that, but most Pentecostals do not. Rather, they believe that after accepting Christ as savior, one should seek for the “baptism with the Holy Spirit” which results in speaking with tongues. Most Pentecostals have no problem accepting people who believe in Christ but don’t speak in tongues as their fellow-Christians.

Historically, Pentecostals originated at the beginning of the 20th century. The first Pentecostals belonged to something called the “holiness movement” (which is also my heritage, though my people rejected Pentecostalism). This was a movement within Methodism which taught that people could be “entirely sanctified” in a second experience after conversion. The early Pentecostals added the “Baptism with the Holy Spirit” as a third experience after sanctification, and some Pentecostal churches (Church of God, Cleveland; Pentecostal Holiness) still teach this. The majority of Pentecostals, however, came into the movement from other forms of evangelicalism (Baptist, Reformed, etc.) and did not adopt the “holiness” teaching. These “Finished Work” Pentecostals are the mainstream of Pentecostalism today (the Assemblies of God, for instance). The third major group of Pentecostals are the “Oneness” Pentecostals, who teach that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are different manifestations of the one Person, Jesus. (Yes, this is a revival of an ancient heresy.)

Pentecostals are one of the most varied and divided groups in Christendom (I’ll bet that a good number of the “33,000 denominations” or whatever the figure is now are Pentecostal). They range from TV evangelists like Oral Roberts and Jimmy Swaggart to tiny rural churches; from charismatics who are very open and ecumenical to virulent bigots who denounce other Protestants, let alone Catholics, as false Christians. They have a strong appeal to African-Americans, Hispanics, and people in the developing world. A large proportion of Latin America is now Pentecostal. They tend not to put a lot of emphasis on doctrine or organization–the one thing they have in common is a strong emphasis on personal experience above everything else. So you really can’t generalize too much about them.

I hope that was at least somewhat helpful.

In Christ,


Contarini is correct. There is no single “Pentecostal Denomination”. There are Oneness Pentecostals, Holiness Pentecostals, Orthodox Pentecostals (one of the few that affirm the Holy Trinity), Neo-Arian Pentecostals (like the GAC that I grew up in), etc…

Pentecostals in general, as a rule of thumb, aren’t very similiar to the RCC. They are not liturgical, emphasize charasmatic gifts, and for the most part, deny the Trinity.


I know a type of pentecostal, but they don’t require you to speak in tongues to be saved. However, you are definitely a superior, more grown up type of Christian to them if you do. You know, not a “baby” Christian. They lay hands on a few people at the end of every session. The pastor touches their heads and they fall over backwards and there is someone there to catch them and lay them on the floor to lie there for awhile. I’m not sure what that signifies. Perhaps healing.

I would call the tenor of their services and messages different in substance from Catholic. Not very similar.

My mother in law is pentecostal. It does vary from church to church because been at 3 different churches since I’ve know her and their all different. Generally during the service people begin talking in tongues. It freaks my husband out, sometimes it looks like their having a seizure. Fall down on the floor ect. My mother in law actually got so excited one time (while she was “slain in the spirit”) she peed herself. My husband said once to me “If the Holy Spirit is talking to them he must be saying the same thing all the time because it sounds like they’re all babbling the same thing”

I went to a pentecostal summer camp with my best friend when I was 13. Very interesting for 13 year old Catholic girl. Vey anti-Catholic (until I happened to mention I was Catholic), lots of speaking in tongues, dancing (in the spirit) and crying.

I do believe one can have the gift of tongues but I find it interesting that those all those people would end up going to the same church. I think much of the time people just kind of follow the lead of others.

As a side note I’m pretty sure the don’t believe Mary was ever virgin, they believe Jesus had brothers.

:They are not liturgical,:

Not formally, no, but their form of worship has more in common with liturgical worship in many respects than with the “sit in a pew and listen to a sermon” model common in much of Protestantism.

: emphasize charasmatic gifts, and for the most part, deny the Trinity:

That last part is false. Only a minority of Pentecostals are anti-Trinitarian, and they are in separate denominations from the Trinitarians (the United Pentecostal Church, for instance). Such major Pentecostal denominations as the Assemblies of God, the Church of God, Cleveland, the Church of God in Christ, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Foursquare Gospel Church–just to name a few–are solidly Trinitarian.

In Christ,


[quote=Contarini]: emphasize charasmatic gifts, and for the most part, deny the Trinity:

That last part is false. Only a minority of Pentecostals are anti-Trinitarian, and they are in separate denominations from the Trinitarians (the United Pentecostal Church, for instance). Such major Pentecostal denominations as the Assemblies of God, the Church of God, Cleveland, the Church of God in Christ, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Foursquare Gospel Church–just to name a few–are solidly Trinitarian.

In Christ,


First of all, Foursquare is it’s own denomination, and not Pentecostal, techincally. Secondly…I would wager that most Pentecostals are associated with the United Pentecostal Church or an offshoot of something like it. Also, there are a large number of Arian Pentecostal groups as well…so I don’t believe I’m exactly “off” when I say that most are not Trinitarian.


From the way my husband has explained it to me regarding mary and the saints, they believe that catholics are worshipping false idols ( a statement I have tried to correct). They believe that their is only 2 ways to pray to God and they are either directly to him or through Jesus, but primarliy through Jesus. Anything else is false worship.

Mango, I know that Foursquare are a separate denomination, as are all the groups I mentioned. I’m not sure what your point is there, nor am I sure what “technical” point makes them not Pentecostals. I’ve always heard them referred to as such, and Melton classifies them as “White Trinitarian Pentecostals” in his encyclopedia of American religious bodies (admittedly, Melton makes some strange classifications at times, so I don’t claim that as definitive). Why do you say they aren’t Pentecostal?

As for your insistence that most Pentecostals are non-Trinitarians, look at this website (run by Oneness Pentecostals) which proudly claims that there are far more “Apostolics” worldwide than previously thought–as many as 18 million. gives the figure of 10 million “Apostolics.” Whichever figure is correct, also gives the number of Pentecostals (presumably not including “Apostolics”) as 105 million. That however is a conservative estimate; one recent study claims the figure of 524 million, including Charismatics (also 388 million “independent” indigenous churches in places like Africa and Latin America–many of these have Pentecostal elements, and I’ll grant that many of them are also heretical, so how that affects the big picture I’m not sure). That means that Apostolics are a small (though not insignificant) minority of Pentecostals–about 10% if we take the more conservative estimates of both, and about 4% if we take the more generous estimates of both. Even if we take the generous estimate of Oneness and the conservative estimate of Pentecostals generally, that still puts them at less than 20%.

I don’t deny that there are Arian Pentecostals, but I’ve never met any and their numbers are definitely much smaller than either Trinitarians or Oneness. So again, I conclude that your claims are flatly wrong, and I have to wonder where you are getting these rather bizarre and unfounded allegations.

In Christ,


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