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 Ever wonder what Pentecostals believe? Now you can find out!

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PostSubject: Ever wonder what Pentecostals believe? Now you can find out!   Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:41 pm

I decided to repost an old thread on CTF here at TLG. It is a LONG post, but if you have questions, take it slowly! If I missed something, or if you have any questions, please feel free to post and tell me!

Some information about Pentecostalism--specific beliefs will be Trinitarian in view. This is not an exhaustive list--merely a representation of Pentecostalism. For Ease of Use, I will take most of my information from the largest Pentecostal Denomination, the Assemblies of God. http://www.ag.org They have set down their doctrine (virtually the same as many other Pentecostal denominations) in the Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Statement_of_Fun...hs/sft_full.cfm This link is to the full, unabridged document. I will post the abridged version here:

"These are nonnegotiable tenets of faith that all Assemblies of God churches adhere to. This list is derived from the official Statement of Fundamental Truths.

1.

WE BELIEVE...The Scriptures are Inspired by God and declare His design and plan for mankind.

2.

WE BELIEVE...There is only One True God–revealed in three persons...Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (commonly known as the Trinity).

3.

WE BELIEVE...In the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. As God's son Jesus was both human and divine.

4.

WE BELIEVE...though originally good, Man Willingly Fell to Sin–ushering evil and death, both physical and spiritual, into the world.

5.

WE BELIEVE...Every Person Can Have Restored Fellowship with God Through 'Salvation' (trusting Christ, through faith and repentance, to be our personal Savior). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the AG]

6.

WE BELIEVE...and practice two ordinances—(1) Water Baptism by Immersion after repenting of one's sins and receiving Christ's gift of salvation, and (2) Holy Communion (the Lord's Supper) as a symbolic remembrance of Christ's suffering and death for our salvation.

7.

WE BELIEVE...the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a Special Experience Following Salvation that empowers believers for witnessing and effective service, just as it did in New Testament times. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the AG]

8.

WE BELIEVE... The Initial Physical Evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is ‘Speaking in Tongues,’ as experienced on the Day of Pentecost and referenced throughout Acts and the Epistles.

9.

WE BELIEVE...Sanctification Initially Occurs at Salvation and is not only a declaration that a believer is holy, but also a progressive lifelong process of separating from evil as believers continually draw closer to God and become more Christlike.

10.

WE BELIEVE...The Church has a Mission to seek and save all who are lost in sin. We believe 'the Church' is the Body of Christ and consists of the people who, throughout time, have accepted God's offer of redemption (regardless of religious denomination) through the sacrificial death of His son Jesus Christ.

11.

WE BELIEVE...A Divinely Called and Scripturally Ordained Leadership Ministry Serves the Church. The Bible teaches that each of us under leadership must commit ourselves to reach others for Christ, to worship Him with other believers, and to build up or edify the body of believers–the Church.

12.

WE BELIEVE...Divine Healing of the Sick is a Privilege for Christians Today and is provided for in Christ's atonement (His sacrificial death on the cross for our sins). [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the AG]

13.

WE BELIEVE...in The Blessed Hope—When Jesus Raptures His Church Prior to His Return to Earth (the second coming). At this future moment in time all believers who have died will rise from their graves and will meet the Lord in the air, and Christians who are alive will be caught up with them, to be with the Lord forever. [1 of 4 cardinal doctrines of the AG]

14.

WE BELIEVE...in The Millennial Reign of Christ when Jesus returns with His saints at His second coming and begins His benevolent rule over earth for 1,000 years. This millennial reign will bring the salvation of national Israel and the establishment of universal peace.

15.

WE BELIEVE...A Final Judgment Will Take Place for those who have rejected Christ. They will be judged for their sin and consigned to eternal punishment in a punishing lake of fire.

16.

WE BELIEVE...and look forward to the perfect New Heavens and a New Earth that Christ is preparing for all people, of all time, who have accepted Him. We will live and dwell with Him there forever following His millennial reign on Earth. 'And so shall we forever be with the Lord!'"

Here is the Assemblies of God position in Christian Circles:

"Protestant

The Assemblies of God is a Protestant fellowship. We believe each person may commune directly with God based on Jesus' death on the cross. This provides a personal and meaningful relationship with Him. While we are less formal in our worship to God than many protestant denominations, the Assemblies of God is very similar in faith, with the exception of its Pentecostal doctrine (Hebrews 4:14-16; 6:20; Ephesians 2:18).

Trinitarian

Like most Christian groups the Assemblies of God believes God exists in three persons -- the Father, Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit. We believe all three are alive and at work today. We also believe this God of three persons is the one and only true God (Matthew 28:9; Luke 3:22; 2 Corinthians 13:14).

Evangelical

The Assemblies of God is notably classified as Evangelical. The church is distinguished as such because it places high priority on the inspiration of Scripture and its mission to bring the lost to a saving knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ.

Pentecostal

The most definitive identification of the Assemblies of God is Pentecostal. Just as it was founded in 1914, the Fellowship remains a full gospel church—one where the fullness of the Holy Spirit is welcomed, nurtured, and taught. This includes speaking in tongues as the initial physical evidence of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Other manifestations of the Holy Spirit embraced by the church include: messages in tongues with interpretations, prophecies, word of knowledge, and the complete offering of the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit as indicated in the Bible. Among Pentecostal churches—the Assemblies of God is largest worldwide with over 52 million constituents."

Here is a link to a page containing the A/G's position on current issues, both secular and Christian, including Official Position Papers: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topic_index.cfm#T Theologically, the answers to these questions are usually the same as other Pentecostal Denominations. Politically and Socially, these answers may vary widely, though the A/G is considered a Conservative Denomination.

There are several Pentecostal denominations, known as Oneness Pentecostals, who do not believe in the Trinity. Those will not be discussed in this post--however, the largest Oneness Pentecostal denomination is the UPC: United Pentecostal Church of God. Both Trinitarian and Oneness Pentecostals generally regard one another as heretical and ban each other from holding membership in their church organizations. I will post about the UPC and related Oneness Pentecostals in a later post.

"The early numbers of Pentecostal adherents in Indianapolis are difficult to ascertain. Attendance at meetings fluctuated wildly, and there were no membership rolls. Sites of meetings changed frequently. Newspaper accounts of 1907 suggest that crowds of 300 were not unusual. The congregations during the first decade were small, with the exception of the church of Garfield T. Haywood. By its second decade Pentecostalism was beginning the split into various factions, each with its own history in the city.

In 1913 the liturgical observation that Acts 2:38 called for “baptism in the name of Jesus” rather than in the later Trinitarian formula, split the Pentecostal movement into what are traditionally described as Trinitarian and Oneness churches. Indianapolis quickly became a major center for the Oneness persuasion. Again it was Glenn A. Cook who brought the concept from California to Indianapolis where two prominent pastors, L. V. Roberts and Garfield T. Haywood, accepted the idea. Haywood rebaptized 465 members of his congregation in 1915 according to the new formula. The leading opponent of Oneness doctrine was Indianapolis native J. Roswell Flower, who more than any other was responsible for the retention of traditional Trinitarian theology within the AG.

With Oneness Pentecostals excluded both from the Assemblies of God and the Church of God in Christ, in 1918 they joined the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, a California-based church, and moved the international headquarters to Indianapolis where Haywood became the presiding bishop (1925-1931). Today, the headquarters of this predominantly African-American denomination, which claims 1,500,000 members worldwide, are at 3939 Meadows Drive. Other prominent Pentecostal groups in Indianapolis include the Church of God in Christ, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), the United Pentecostal Church, and the Church of the Living God (Christian Workers for Fellowship).

Several influential national AG leaders came from Indianapolis, including J. Roswell Flower, Alice Reynolds Flower and Thomas F. Zimmerman, Jr. The city also produced missionaries, such as Zella Reynolds Mussen, who went to China under AG aegis. However, after the realignment which followed the racial and theological schisms among the early Pentecostals in Indianapolis, the AG might have faded from the city except for the efforts of legendary evangelist Maria Beulah Woodworth-Etter.

Woodworth-Etter had been part of the Winebrennerian Church of God, General Conference, until she was forced out because of her holiness and healing tent campaigns. She became a Pentecostal and, although she never joined the AG, she was instrumental in spreading Pentecostal revival across the nation before she “retired” to Indianapolis in 1912. In 1918 she built the 500-seat Woodworth-Etter Tabernacle at the corner of Miller Street and Belmont Avenue and pastored there until her death in 1924.

Following her death, Woodworth-Etter’s congregation dwindled in size. Thomas Paino, Sr. became pastor in 1933 and re-energized the flock. The congregation quickly became the leading AG church in the region. Now called Lakeview Church, with pastor Ron Bontrager, it is located at 47 Beachway Drive on the city’s west side. With a constituency of about 3,500 in 2007, Lakeview Church became the parent church for numerous Indianapolis congregations. There are now 23 Assemblies of God congregations in Marion County (consisting of Indianapolis), serving approximately 12,000 adherents."

http://www.ag.org/top/events/General_Counc..._18_hundred.cfm

"Who Are The Pentecostals?

Some of the best known Pentecostal Denominations are:

Church of God in Christ
International Church of the Foursquare Gospel Church of God (Tenn.)
Church of God of Prophecy
Pentecostal Holiness Church
Fire-Baptized Holiness Church
Pentecostal Free-Will Baptist Church
The Assemblies of God
The United Pentecostal Church"

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psycho.../more/pente.htm

I would post more from this site, but it's figures are rather outdated.

This site: http://conservapedia.com/Pentecostalism is better--with one exception: The figures for the A/G are not 25 million, as stated there, but rather 52 million, as stated in the A/G article on itself.

In Total: Pentecostalism is the fastest-growing Christian Denomination, and the largest one after the Roman Catholic Church. It is estimated to have at least 500 million adherents, or possibly 1 in 10 Christians worldwide. It's theology is Arminian in tradition.

Charismatics are persons who hold to a Pentecostal experience, but choose to stay in their own denominations. There are Charismatics in virtually every Christians denomination. Here is a list of major Pentecostal/Charismatic Websites: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~kbanner/pentec.html

As for me, lest any should accuse me of slanting objectivity, I do not belong to the Assemblies of God. I belong to a smaller denomination called the Pentecostal Church of God. It is based in Joplin, Missouri, and holds the same beliefs as the Assemblies of God. Their website is http://www.pcg.org

I shall post other more specific messages about specific aspects of the faith if I am asked--particularly about the Pentecostal Experience--Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Note: Very few Pentecostal denominations believe that Baptism in the Spirit is necessary for Salvation--as if this writing I have only found one: The Church of God In Christ (COGIC).

Here is an article by Nightline on Speaking in Tongues (which necessitates the Baptism first). It has some interesting results: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/Story?id=2935819&page=3

As far as I know, the majority (if not all) of Pentecostals believe in Full Immersion.

We also believe in a solely symbolic Communion--also called Memorialism.

There is only one denomination I know of that believes that you have to Speak in Tongues to be Christian (the Church of God In Christ). Most Pentecostal denominations regard it as unnecessary for Salvation--though it is empowering after Salvation. Here are the Steps to Salvation: http://tpe.ag.org/Salvation.cfm Baptism in the Spirit and Speaking in Tongues is not among them. No, no one HAS to speak in tongues, and many Christians outside of Pentecostalism don't. I believe the Baptism in the Spirit (which is evidenced by Speaking in Tongues) is the gateway experience for the rest of the spiritual gifts. Here is something that may help: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topic_index.cfm#H Under "H" you'll find articles about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the accompanying evidence.

At the Rapture, the A/G denomination believes unbelievers stay here on earth to face the Tribulation, although they may be saved after the Rapture. Another link to the End Times (The Blessed Hope, in the link, is the Rapture): http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/topic_index.cfm#E

Yes, the Final Judgment applies to everyone who has rejected Christ. See the previous link for more information. There is another Judgment for Believers: The Great White Throne Judgment. This judgment does not decide Salvation, but rather rewards in Heaven for works done for Christ after Salvation.

The prayer of Salvation is just that: a prayer for Christ to live in you and save you from Judgment (also called the Indwelling of the Spirit). The Baptism in the Spirit is a second event after Salvation, given freely to all who ask, that is a Baptism into the power and ministry of the Spirit. It opens the door for Spiritual gifts, miracles, etc. See the link above on the Holy Spirit for more info.

As far as I know, the Assemblies of God fully believe in the Five Solas of the Reformation:

Sola Scriptura (by Scripture Alone): meaning that Scripture is the ultimate authority of the Church. Tradition has authority only when it is justified in Scripture. Or: The Bible is the sole infallible rule of faith and practice.

Sola Fide (by Faith Alone): meaning that Salvation is only by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ as Savior, not through any mixture of good works or human authority. Faith yields Justification and Good Works.

Sola Gratia (by Grace Alone): Salvation comes by God's unmerited favor--not by any merit in the sinner.

Sola Christus: Christ is the only Mediator between God and Man, and there is Salvation in no other.

Sola Deo Gloria: All Glory is due to God alone because Salvation is accomplished only through His Will and Action.

When I said that Pentecostals are Arminian in Theology, I should have clarified. As far as I know, Pentecostals believe in the following:

* Humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation (see also prevenient grace).
* Salvation is possible only by God's grace, which cannot be merited.
* No works of human effort can cause or contribute to salvation.
* God's election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
* Christ's atonement was made on behalf of all people.
* God allows his grace to be resisted by those who freely reject Christ.
* Salvation can be lost, as continued salvation is conditional upon continued faith.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Solas

When Pentecostals, at least the ones I know of, say Jesus was human and divine, they mean fully 100% human and fully 100% divine--the classic Christian paradox--impossible by our logic, yet necessary for total Salvation and Atonement.

And, the A/G position on Tongues as the initial evidence of the Baptism in the Spirit is based on the accounts in the Book of Acts--it is regarded as the gateway to the rest of the spiritual gifts.

Oh, on being Slain in the Spirit: it is not a gift or manifestation of the Spirit in itself. It is simply a strong reaction to the presence of God working in you.

"Doctrinal Issues. Over the years, several major doctrinal issues have recurred, in one form or another. Some have been resolved; others continue to resurface with new questions.

Jesus Only (Oneness). When the Assemblies of God was just 1 year old, an enthusiasm, beginning in California, swept the Fellowship. Soon the new teaching—that to be truly biblical, one had to be baptized in water in the name of Jesus only—spread through the Fellowship. Many leaders in the Assemblies of God were swept along with this teaching. J. Roswell Flower, one of the young leaders, recognized from his study of church history that this was not a new revelation, but was the reincarnation of an old heresy.

The Jesus Only teaching was unmasked as Sabellianism, or Modal Monarchianism—a heresy about the Godhead that had been condemned by the Church in the fourth century. Pastors and leaders reviewed the admonition of Brother Flower in the light of Scripture and swiftly rejected the Jesus Only fascination.

Delegates at the first General Council in 1914 had heralded their belief in the authority of the Bible, but chose not to spell out what this meant for them in concrete ways to avoid the appearance of advocating a creed. But 2 years later, the delegates recognized they had to respond to a doctrinal crisis with a statement of shared beliefs. The Jesus Only controversy led the Fellowship to adopt a Statement of Fundamental Truths in 1916. This solved the problem decisively."


http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/199904/084_lessons.cfm

To define Sabellianism/Modalistic Monarchianism, I found this, from GotQuestions.org:

"Modalistic Monarchianism, also known as Modalism, is the view that God variously manifested Himself as the Father (primarily in the Old Testament), other times as the Son (primarily from Jesus’ conception to His ascension), and other times as the Holy Spirit (primarily after Jesus’ ascension into Heaven). Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism teaches the God has simply revealed Himself in three different modes, and that He is not three Persons, as the Bible asserts. Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism is also known as Sabellianism, named after Sabellius, an influential early proponent of the view. Yet another aspect of Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism / Sabellianism is Patripassianism, which is the view that it was God the Father who became incarnate, suffered, died, and was resurrected. Patripassianism essentially teaches that God the Father became His own Son."

"With all that said, Sabellianism, Modalism, Monarchianism (dynamic and modalistic), and Patripassianism are all unbiblical understandings of the relationship between the Persons of the Trinity. It is impossible for us as finite human beings to fully understand an infinite God. The Bible presents God as one God, but then speaks of three Persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How these two truths harmonize is inconceivable to the human mind. When we attempt to define the indefinable (God), we will always fail to varying degrees. Dynamic Monarchianism fails in that it does not recognize the true deity of Jesus Christ. Modalistic Monarchianism / Modalism / Sabellianism / Patripassianism fails because it does not recognize God as three distinct Persons."

From the same website, covering Oneness Theology:

"The "Jesus Only" movement, also known as Oneness Pentecostalism or oneness theology, teaches that there is only one God, but denies the tri-unity of God. In other words, oneness theology does not recognize the separate persons of the Godhead: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It has various forms—some see Jesus Christ as the one God, who sometimes manifests Himself as the Father or the Holy Spirit. The core doctrine of Oneness Pentecostal / Jesus Only is that Jesus is the Father, and Jesus is the Spirit. There is one God who reveals Himself in different "modes."

"The core teaching of the Jesus Only / Oneness Pentecostals has been around for centuries, in one form or another, as modalism. What this name means is that God operated in different forms or modes at different times—sometimes as the Father, sometimes as the Son, and sometimes as the Holy Spirit. But passages like Matthew 3:16-17, where two or all three persons of the Godhead are present, contradict the modalism view. Modalism was condemned as heretical as early as the second century A.D. The early church strongly contended against the views that God is strictly a singular person who acted in different forms at different times. They argued from Scripture that the tri-unity of God is evident, instead of modalism, because more than one person of the Godhead is often seen simultaneously, and they often interact with One another (examples: Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Psalm 2:7; 104:30; 110:1; Matthew 28:19; John 14:16). Oneness Pentecostalism / Jesus Only doctrine is not biblical."

http://www.gotquestions.org/oneness-Jesus-only.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/Sabellianism-M...archianism.html

Another post--this time about Speaking in Tongues as the Initial Evidence as the Baptism in the Spirit. Again, it merely provides the reasoning behind this point of Doctrine.

This page from Enrichment Journal provides a detailed reasoning behind the arguments and reasoning for the Initial Evidence of Holy Spirit Baptism as Speaking in Tongues. It is a long paper, but it clarifies many misunderstandings:

http://enrichmentjournal.ag.org/200501/200...1_BaptismHS.cfm

Another, shorter article, from the UPCI (United Pentecostal Church of God International) also demonstrates a basic reasoning behind the Initial Evidence Position:

http://www.upci.org/doctrine/tongues.asp

A short excerpt from the first link:

"Is speaking in tongues the only evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and a Spirit-filled life?

Tongues are not the only evidence of a Spirit-filled life, but they are always the initial, or first, evidence that one has been baptized in the Holy Spirit as the entrance into a Spirit-filled life. One purpose of baptism in the Spirit is to empower the believer for witness; therefore, enthusiasm and boldness in witnessing, divine guidance and enabling in the presentation of the gospel, and miraculous manifestations of God’s power before unbelievers all may serve as additional evidences of baptism in the Holy Spirit, though not as substitutions for speaking in tongues.

The Spirit-filled life should also demonstrate progressive development toward a complete Christlike character. The fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) should be developing in the life of every believer. It has been observed that some who have received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and claim to be living Spirit-filled lives demonstrate less evidence of the fruit of the Spirit than some who have not received the Baptism experience. Such a fact does not destroy the truth that the Spirit takes raw material and, if given the opportunity, helps develop Christlike character traits in every believer. Yet development of the fruit of the Spirit can, and should, be enhanced in those who have been filled with the Spirit.

Other supernatural gifts of the Spirit (besides speaking in tongues), though sometimes seemingly evident in the lives of believers who have not been baptized in the Spirit, do not in themselves give evidence of having been baptized in the Spirit. The manifestation of supernatural gifts in the life of a believer who has not been baptized in the Holy Spirit is possible, but being baptized opens the door to a more dynamic, more effective manifestation. "

One excerpt I must add specifically for Non-Pentecostals, and the relation to the Pentecostal experience:

"Finally, this approach provides non-Pentecostals an explanation why they would be empowered and helped by the Pentecostal experience of the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Pentecostals do not need to assert that these people would be moving out of the flesh and into the Spirit as the overstaters have claimed, but rather that they are adding another element of spiritual vitality to their lives and ministries, one that would enable them to function consistently in supernatural ministry.

In this connection I am reminded of the response given by a non-Pentecostal after hearing me lecture the essence of this paper to a seminary audience. He said if Pentecostals would be willing to admit that non-Pentecostals have vital and powerful spiritual ministries without speaking in tongues, non-Pentecostals would be more inclined to admit that Pentecostals have something unique that the rest of the Christian world does not have. This would make the claims and benefits of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, as Pentecostals understand them, more credible. I think he is right. Pentecostals have much to share, but it must be done within a framework that appreciates the other elements in a healthy spiritual life and the contributions made by the non-Pentecostal world.

This approach helps Pentecostals respond to other Pentecostals who skip over spiritual activities No. 1 through No. 8 in their haste to get to No. 9 (baptism in the Holy Spirit). Pentecostals need No. 1 through No. 8. It also provides an answer to what I call the Chuck Swindoll argument. Swindoll has a great ministry, but disagrees with the Pentecostal position on the baptism in the Holy Spirit. He obviously has experienced the richness of God in No. 1 through No. 8. However, Pentecostals can respond that there is much more (not all, just more) and that this already rich ministry would be significantly enhanced by another spiritual element.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a powerful provision that significantly adds to the life and ministry of any believer. Today, ministries trying to evangelize a lost and dying world face enormous challenges. It behooves every believer to properly understand what God has made available and to take advantage of it, remembering the words of Jesus when He commissioned His disciples: “I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you: but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49, NASB)."

On Speaking in Tongues:

Speaking in Tongues is not something the mind understands without interpretation--therefore the mind could be expected to be afraid or amazed. Satan also uses fear to try and keep the Baptism in the Spirit from you.

Before I spoke in tongues, I was afraid--afraid of giving up control, afraid of letting God so completely into my heart and life--even though I was a Christian. Satan used this against me to keep me from the Baptism of the Spirit for a time--however, God worked in spite of that, and gave me His Baptism in His Time. When I finally decided to just DO IT, I was still afraid--terrified--but I decided to trust God above my fears and feelings. You know what? God accepted that. He gave me the Baptism in the Spirit with the Evidence of Speaking in Tongues. It was the most glorious thing I'd ever felt--and my mind couldn't wrap itself around it. My mind said: "This can't be happening! I don't understand it, so it can't be true! I don't understand it!" My spirit, however, knew it was true--and my spirit was edified by speaking with God on a spiritual level. After I simply trusted God--regardless of my feelings--my trust was rewarded, and the fear disappeared as I spoke in Tongues.

If you fear certain aspects, you need to know that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman--He will not force anyone to partake of something they are afraid of. For instance: I speak in tongues and have been Baptized in the Spirit, but I have not been slain in the Spirit. Why? Being slain in the Spirit is merely a reaction to the power of God working in you--not a sign of Baptism in itself. However, it may be because I feared the falling aspect--though I know that the Holy Spirit protects those He works in. I've seen people fall without "catchers" to lower them to the ground--and they get up when they are done and are perfectly fine! I've heard of elderly women being Baptized in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, and being slain in the Spirit--and falling off the stage when they are slain. They are in GREAT CONDITION when they get up--no injuries whatsoever. I suspect that my personal fear of being Slain in the Spirit is the one reason I have not experienced it--even though it isn't necessary.

Also, as humans, we fear giving over control--almost everyone has this bulldoggish tendency to hang on to at least a shred of control--some small piece of our lives we still . God only wants what is best for you--He will NEVER harm you in any way whatsoever--especially when you are under His direct influence like you are when you are Baptized in the Spirit. For Holy Spirit Baptism to occur, we must trust God enough to give up all control.

It means putting yourself into a completely vulnerable position--trusting God like a little child--and it isn't a place people are used to being in--though people can get used to it.

Make sure you have confessed all your sins to God, repented, asked for forgiveness, and rectified any situations with anyone the Holy Spirit prompts you about--unconfessed sin hinders Baptism in the Spirit.

It comes down to a leap of faith, based on prior experience and knowledge with God--you know that God will not harm you, has not harmed you, and only wants good in your life--so are you willing to deliberately ignore your feelings of fear and accept what God has in store for you?

As for Prosperity Teaching: It is unscriptural so far as it says: name ANYTHING, claim ANYTHING. You can name and claim only the things God allows you to have. He may grant your desires when they line up with His Will--but nowhere does the Bible teach that you can claim . . . a solid gold bathtub, and it will, by Faith, show up in your house. It simply doesn't happen that way as taught in Scripture. Therefore, I can say that of the Denominations I know, not a single one endorses Prosperity Theology. Individuals and Individual Ministries may endorse it, but not any denomination I know of. Therefore, it as well, is not orthodox theology.



Each Pentecostal church may hold different non-essential beliefs; however, many denominations (not just individual churches) hold to the same essential doctrine. For example, as far as I know, the Assemblies of God's Statement of Fundamental Truths is representative of a wide range of denominations--even outside the Pentecostal tradition.

There are General Assemblies, meetings of the regional church leaders, where issues of the denomination or points of Doctrine are decided. The A/G, and similar denominations, are organized in a "hierarchy" of sorts: in the A/G, the CEO is named the General Superintendent. One level down is the Assistant General Superintendent, etc. Here is a list of the current leadership and their positions: http://ag.org/top/About/Leadership/index.cfm

As far as I know, Ecumenism is not the most important focus, but it is there. For those readers who do not know what ecumenism is, here is the definition, from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

1: worldwide or general in extent, influence, or application 2 a: of, relating to, or representing the whole of a body of churches b: promoting or tending toward worldwide Christian unity or cooperation

As far as the definition goes, Pentecostalism can certainly said to be ecumenical--as many as 1 in 10 Christians worldwide, or 500 million all believe the same essential doctrine. It is not worldwide in the sense of the Roman Catholic church, but most Pentecostal denominations I know of do promote working with other denominations, in harmony, to promote the Gospel and do Christ's work on earth.

Yes, many Pentecostals (and denominations) are politically Conservative, and yes, many hold to a Grammatical-Historical Interpretation of Scripture (also called the "plain-sense" meaning)--however, there are exceptions to every rule, and there are non-literalists and liberals in the Pentecostal tradition. See here for more on Biblical Hermeneutics (the science of interpreting the Bible): http://www.christianteenforums.com/Hermene...ist-t55359.html

It is a fault of some churches to promote an individualistic interpretation of Scripture, however, this problem is not limited to only the Pentecostal denominations. We believe that God wants to speak directly to the Believer using different methods, but never contradicting established Scripture. From what I know, the larger denominations hold to Sola Scriptura: the belief that Scripture is to be the sole authority for determining faith and practice. If traditions and church leadership do not line up with Scripture, as interpreted above, then they are to be jettisoned.

Do we emphasize the Holy Spirit Baptism? Yes--otherwise we would cease being Pentecostal--however, I do not believe most denominations overemphasize it to the point of overriding Scripture--that is a very dangerous thing to do.

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PostSubject: Re: Ever wonder what Pentecostals believe? Now you can find out!   Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:17 pm

This is a very long post (and I only read half of it, then skimmed the rest) but, I just wanted to show my support for the pentecostal post. Razz WOOT WOOT Pentys!!!
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