A dynamic Christian movement known for its emphasis on the Holy Spirit’s gifts, including speaking in tongues and divine healing.

Pentecostalism, or classical Pentecostalism, is a Protestant Charismatic Christian movement that emphasizes direct personal experience of God through baptism with the Holy Spirit. Originating from the event of Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ, this movement holds the belief that all Christians should seek a post-conversion religious experience called “baptism with the Holy Spirit”​​. This baptism is believed to be accompanied by signs, notably the gift of tongues, either as glossolalia (speech in an unknown language) or xenoglossy (speech in a language known to others but not the speaker), among other supernatural gifts such as prophecy, healing, and miracles​​.


The roots of modern Pentecostalism can be traced back to the late 19th century amidst a period of religious formalism and indifference. It gained momentum in the early 20th century with the Azusa Street Revival led by William J. Seymour, an event that marked the widespread adoption of Pentecostal beliefs and practices. Charles Fox Parham is also a significant figure in the movement’s history, teaching that speaking in tongues was the evidence of Spirit baptism. Pentecostalism grew rapidly, spreading its influence through evangelism and missionary work, fundamentally emphasizing a return to a “heart religion” that engaged the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of its adherents​​​​.

Core Beliefs and Practices

Pentecostals adhere to the inerrancy of the Bible and emphasize the need for personal conversion, accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Distinctive beliefs include the empowerment through the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues and the operation of spiritual gifts like divine healing. Despite its diverse denominations, Pentecostalism is united in its belief in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a crucial experience for living a Spirit-filled life​​​​.

Worship and Spiritual Gifts

Worship in Pentecostal churches is known for being spontaneous and vibrant, with practices including speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, and other charismatic expressions. This movement is also notable for its openness to women in ministry roles, with many denominations ordaining women as preachers, missionaries, and even pastors, reflecting a belief in the active role of all believers in the church’s mission​​.

Growth and Influence

Pentecostalism is one of the fastest-growing religious movements globally, with an estimated quarter of the world’s two billion Christians identifying with various Pentecostal denominations. Its appeal crosses cultural and socioeconomic boundaries, attracting followers with its message of spiritual renewal and empowerment. The movement has also influenced other Christian traditions through the Charismatic Movement, which shares similar beliefs regarding the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts​​​​.

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