An Outside Look at the History, Beliefs of the Pentecostal Church

It’s one of the oft-talked about religions and sometimes draws the most controversy, but Pentecostalism has a long history in Christianity. While the church has spawned a variety of other belief groups, Pentecostalism is considered a renewal movement in the Christian church.

Amanda Casanova, contributing writer for Religion Today, compiled a list of 10 things to know about the Pentecostal church.

1. Pentecostalism started in the early 1900s. It’s largely believed that the Azusa Street revival in 1906 marked the birth of modern Pentecostalism. At the revival, evangelist William J. Seymour preached about baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gift of speaking in tongues. However, others have said that speaking in tongues may have started as early as 1896 and 1901, when the Apostolic faith movement began.

2. The Pentecostal name comes from an event in the Book of Acts. The church name comes from the book of Acts and the event of Pentecost, where early Christians received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as prophesy and healing. Acts 2 says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.”

3. Pentecostal can be a broad term for many churches. There are a number of churches and groups that call themselves “Pentecostal.” The Apostolic Pentecostal movement differs on the belief of the Trinity than other Pentecostals, saying that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three titles for Jesus. Other denominations include Assemblies of God and Open Bible churches.

4. Most groups of the religion believe in salvation, baptism through the Holy Spirit, healing through Jesus and the belief that Jesus is returning. Again, because there are so many different sects of Pentecostals, beliefs tend to differ in some ways. However, most of the churches share the same core beliefs that salvation is through Jesus, healing is possible through Him, and He is returning again.

5. Pentecostals believe in speaking in tongues and divine gifts. One of the most publicized features of the Pentecostalism movement is the church’s belief in speaking in tongues and in divine gifts, such as healing. Speaking in tongues is thought to be an outcome of baptism through the Holy Spirit. The church believes in the gift of speaking in tongues, both glossolalia (speech in an unknown language) and xenoglossy (speech in a language known but not to speaker).

6. The Pentecostal Church was one of the first religious groups to ordain women into leadership roles. In many Pentecostal churches, women are given the opportunity to serve as preachers, missionaries and some cases as the pastors. Most cite Joel 2 as their reasoning, which says, “Your sons and your daughters will prophesy.”

7. The majority believe the bible is meant to be interpreted literally. As divine gifts are welcomed in the church, the belief stems from a literal view of the Bible. One of those cited verses is Mark 16:17-18, which says that those who believe will be able to cast out demons, heal and speak in tongues.

8. Some sects of the religion are strict. Some groups of Pentecostals strictly adhere to set rules, such as modest dress among women and hair guidelines for men and women. Some even forbid movies and sports.

9. Worship can be spontaneous. Worship is not just limited to music. Along with speaking in tongues, Pentecostals allow dancing, shouting and praying out loud during worship. Worship services are sometimes elaborate, even including props. Singing is also not limited to the end of the song–if the congregation or worship leaders feel led by the spirit, they may extend the time of praise.

10. Pentecostals are one of the fastest growing religious groups in the world. While it’s hard to estimate just how many Pentecostals are in the world or even the U.S., a Pew Research Center study found that of the roughly 2 billion Christians in the world, about a quarter of those identify as Pentecostal.

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Writer Calls Chick-fil-A’s Presence in NY “Creepy”

Chick-fil-A opened its fourth restaurant in Manhattan in March. The location on Fulton Street, the largest in the world, frequently serves lines that stretch down the block. Not everyone is happy about Chick-fil-A’s apparent success in the Big Apple, as evidenced by Dan Piepenbring’s article in The New Yorker.

Piepenbring called Chick-fil-A’s presence in the city an “infiltration” because of the chain’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism.” He cited the presence of Bible verses and a painting of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet in their Atlanta-based headquarters as well as their closing on Sundays as an example of this. Then he turned to the company’s stance on LGBT issues. He quotes their promise to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect,” but says they have, “quietly continued to donate to anti-LGBT groups.”

Piepenbring alleges that Chick-fil-A operates with “an ulterior motive,” citing their mission statement which says they exist “to glorify God.” He says, “that proselytism thrums underneath the surface of the Fulton Street location.” The article closes with a stinging indictment of the chain, which is now the third most popular fast-food restaurant. He says “there’s something particularly distasteful about Chick-fil-A” and remarked that it is “infected with suburban piety,” before closing by encouraging New Yorkers to tell the restaurant, “NO MOR.”

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Parents Demand School Halt Pornographic “Educational” Videos

Liberty Counsel has demanded that the Albemarle County Public Schools (ACPS) in Charlottesville, Virginia immediately no longer allow the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) to present pornographic videos and curriculum to students under the guise of “education.”

Liberty Counsel represents outraged parents of 14-year-old girls who are students at Western Albemarle High School and were exposed to this damaging material during Family Life Education classes in April. The Sex Positivity curriculum was presented, without the consent or knowledge of parents, to two classes of ninth-grade girls by Lexie Huston, an employee of SARA. Huston publicly opposes abstinence education, claiming it is “ineffectual and unethical.”

The SARA curriculum does not align to the Virginia and ACPS Family Life Curriculum and the promotion of abstinence. Nowhere in the SARA curriculum are the words abstinence, legal, moral, faith or parents. However, the word sex or derivatives appears more than 49 times in the document, including the sentence “I’d like to have sex tonight, would you?” as well as the statement that “There is no ‘right way’ to have sex—as long as it’s consensual and safe.”

As part of the presentation, the students were shown two different YouTube videos describing sexual acts in graphic detail. The producer of the videos served on the ACLU’s Board of Directors for three years and works with Planned Parenthood.

In addition to the egregious videos, the SARA curriculum contains role-play activities that are coercive, expose children to the sexual beliefs of others that may be far removed from their own, require them to publicly debate and defend their personal and family’s beliefs about “boundaries” and require them to take part in activities that violate their religious beliefs upon penalty of social ostracism.

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GQ Magazine Includes Bible on List of Books “You Don’t Have to Read”

GQ Magazine is under fire for publishing an article titled “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read,” a list which included the Bible. Some other classic books that the GQ editors suggest are overrated and not worth reading include The Catcher in the Rye, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Lord of the Rings.

The editors claim that the Bible is “repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish, and even at times ill-intentioned.”

Several pastors and Christian leaders responded to the GQ article, including Hillsong pastor Brian Houston who tweeted, “Wow. What a way for GQ to show this irrelevance. The Bible is way more hip than GQ.”

Relevant Magazine writer Jesse Carey also noted that, regardless if someone is a Christian or not, suggesting we stop reading the Bible shows a lack of understanding of how “the Bible has helped shape western philosophy and provided the basis for many of modern history’s most pivotal moments.”

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Why Two Teen Apps Should Be Deleted Immediately 

If your child has a smart phone or mobile device, drop what you’re doing and check it for affinity-based apps, specifically “Amino” apps and “Musical.ly.” If you find them, delete them, and then schedule a time to talk with your child about what they’ve seen.

Affinity-based apps are like digital octopi with a hundred thousand legs each. The legs are common, interest-specific front doors that bring people together. With them, kids and teens are able to find a world of friends that like the same things they do. This sounds harmless enough, until you realize the digital unmoderated world to which these apps lead.

Then there’s Musical.ly, another affinity-based app. Musical.ly is designed to be a lip-syncing app. Users listen to their favorite songs and upload videos of themselves pretending to sing them. But what experts found instead was a world of cyber-bullying, kids chatting about self-harm, and streaming homemade pornography. There were children calling themselves ugly, uploading videos about suicide methods, and promoting eating disorders.

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NEWS IN BRIEF

  • The state of Indiana has adopted a new law that essentially grants personhood to unborn children. Relevant Magazine reports that Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has signed a bill into law that allows suspects to be charged with murder if they harm a pregnant woman who then loses her unborn child. Pro-life supporters are championing this bill, as it acknowledges the personhood of unborn children. The law, which will go into effect in July 2018, does not apply to legally obtained abortions.
  • A new archaeological discovery is helping to confirm the biblical record that presents King David as an historical figure in ancient Israel. “Until 25 years ago no one doubted that King David was a historical figure,” said Professor Avraham Faust of Bar-llan University, director of the archaeological dig. “In the last 25 years or so, however, David’s historicity, and especially the size of his kingdom, are hotly debated.” That is no longer true, however, after the recent discovery at Tel ‘Eton, located in the Judean Shephelah to the east of the Hebron hills, which seems to suggest that the highland kingdom controlled larger areas than some scholars believe, thus confirming the biblical record of King David.

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