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Article Info:
published: 3/31/13
updated: 2/27/14


What is Pentecostalism?

george fox
In Christianity, a dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit
Pentecostalism is an expression of orthodox Christianity, which emphasizes the Holy Spirit in belief and practice. While the movement, and it's various denominations, is relatively new, Pentecostalism has become one of the largest and fastest-growing branches of the Christian religion.

It's estimated that the movement has 500 million adherents worldwide. While the modern-expression of Pentecostal Christianity began in America in the early 20th century, by the beginning of the 21st century, the movement gained significant strength in Africa, Asia, and South America as well.

To understand the movement one must become familiar with its history and the individuals that comprise it. Like other expressions of Christianity, the movement has successes and failures, unification and division, protagonists and antagonists. Yet what has united all Pentecostals is the testimony of having experienced a unique gifting of the Holy Spirit similar to the one the church experienced on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the New Testament.

Pentecostal Christianity Index

Teachings and Groups


Origins of Pentecostalism

Read about Charles Parham, Bethel Bible College, and William Seymour


Summary of Pentecostal Theology

Read about what distinguishes Pentecostals from other expressions of Christianity


Speaking in Tongues

Read about the gifts of tongues

The Azusa St. Revival

Azusa St. was the location of a three-year revival


Assemblies of God

Read about the history and beliefs of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world



The Association of Vineyard Churches

John Wimber helped put this church network on the map in the 1980's



The Charismatic Movement

Read about when Pentecostal experience entered non-Pentecostal churches


Church of God
(Cleveland, Tennessee)

This is the oldest, and second largest, Pentecostal denomination



Church of God in Christ

This is the largest African-American Pentecostal denomination in the world



Third Wave

Coined by C. Peter Wagner, this term describes an important phase in Pentecostal history


International Church of the Foursquare Gospel

Information information information information

Oneness Pentecostalism

Read about this group outside of evangelical Christianity because of unorthodox views of the Trinity



Read about Pentecostal experience in traditionally non-Pentecostal churches.



Pentecostal Christianity Comparison Chart

Compare church distinctions, numbers of adherents, and more

Snake Handling

Read about this rare practice


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