Fifty days after Christ´s Resurrection, the disciples who had gathered together to wait on God experienced an outpouring of grace through the Holy Spirit on the Jewish holy day called Pentecost. The Scriptures tell us that miraculously men began to speak in languages (tongues) not their own, that they had never uttered before and people present from throughout the Roman Empire understood God´s Word for the first time. This was seen as God´s grace symbolically being poured out on the nations to say that all mankind should be given the opportunity to hear the gospel.
While there have been occasional similar phenomenon throughout the centuries there has never been the displaying of God´s miraculous power since Pentecost as was seen at the close of the 19th century and opening of the 20th in America and continues today.
The Pentecostal movement began with Charles Fox Parham (1873-1929) in Kansas and William Seymour (1870-1922) from Louisiana. It seems obvious to Parham that the original "gift" of the Holy Spirit to the early Church should still be available to the Church today but Christians were receptive or knowledgeable.
Usually, premillennial in their concepts of the "end times"; meaning that Christ will return to earth before His thousand year reign on earth.
In 1901 the first evidence of "speaking in tongues" occurred at Bethel Bible College. A few years later in Los Angeles on Azusa Street Seymour also experienced the "baptism in the Holy Spirit." Healings, tongues and other manifestations of the work of the Holy Spirit drew thousands from around the country to Azusa Street.
Pentecostal churches tend to worship with less structure than many other Churches. Their concern is receptivity to the working of the Spirit more than formal worship styles. They tend to be socially and theologically conservative. Core beliefs generally include the falleness of mankind because of sin, dependence on the Bible as the inspired, authoritative guide for life, the "ordinances" of baptism, usually by immersion and the Lord´s Supper. Usually, premillennial in their concepts of the "end times"; meaning that Christ will return to earth before His thousand year reign on earth.
Regarding the "baptism of the Holy Spirit", many churches have divergent views. Some see it as simply a sign of God´s activity in one´s life. Others require such evidence before an individual is viewed as truly regenerated by God.
Some denominations within Pentecostalism are Arminian, believing among other things that the individual is responsible for personally providing the faith required to believe the gospel. As a result, a person can "fall from grace", such that they lose their salvation. Others, are more Calvinistic, meaning that we are so dependent upon God for grace that He provides the faith we need to believe and that once the person has received salvation through grace it cannot be lost.
There are perhaps, more diverse groups that adhere to Pentecostal convictions than any other type of Christian in the United States. They include General Council of the Assemblies of God, Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, World Wide, Inc., the Christian Catholic (Universal) Church, Christian Church of North America, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), the Church of God in Christ, the Church of God of Prophecy, the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Inc., the Church of The Living God, Christian Workers for Fellowship, Church of The Living God, The Pillar and Ground of The Truth, Inc., The Congregational Holiness Church, Elim Fellowship, Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers, Int´l, Independent Assemblies of God, Int´l., International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Pentecostal Church of God, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Pentecostal Assemblies of The World, Inc., the Pentecostal Church of God, Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, Inc., United Pentecostal Church, Int´l., Vineyard Churches, International, and others
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