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The modern Pentecostal movement is characterized by the belief in the possibility of receiving the same experience and gifts as did the first Christians ‘on the day of Pentecost’ (Acts 1:1-4).

Its adherents emphasize the corporate element in worship (often marked by great spontaneity) and lay special stress on the practice of the gifts listen in 1 Cor. and recorded in Acts (e.g. speaking in tongues or ‘glossolalia’, prophecy, healing, and exorcism).

Most of them claim that the ‘power’ to exercise these gifts is given initially in an experience known as ‘baptism of the Holy Spirit,’ normally regarded as distinct from conversion and from sacramental (or water) baptism, and the movement came to be distinguished by the claim (first made in 1900) that ‘Spirit baptism’ is normally signified by the recipient’s breaking into tongues.

Since c. 1960 the Pentecostal movement has come to be widely represented not only by the ‘classical Pentecostal Churches, but also within the main Christian denominations, incl. since c. 1967 the [Roman Catholic] Church.

– Source: Pentecostalism, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, New York, 1989. page. 1062.



Pentecostal: Persons, churches, movements, etc., affirming the belief that speaking in tongues is the primary or exclusive initial evidence of the spiritual blessing known as the baptism in the Holy Spirit; or, those in historical continuity with and general agreement with the twentieth-century movement characterized by this initial-evidence doctrine. These persons, churches, and movements are generally part of institutions and denominations that originated out of the original Pentecostal movement in the early 1900s.
– Source: Definition from: “A Biblical Guide To Orthodoxy And Heresy Part One: The Case For Doctrinal Discernment” (an article from the Christian Research Journal, Summer 1990, page 28) by Robert M. Bowman.



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This post was last updated: Dec. 24, 2013