- Pentecostalism, which emphasizes the gifts of the Holy Spirit such as speaking in tongues, emerged at the start of the 20th century as a revi-talization of the Holiness movement in the United States. The Holiness churches had followed the doctrine of sanctification, an act of God that they believed made each believer perfect in love. Sanctification would come as a second blessing after the believer had already been justified, or graced by faith into a saving relationship with Christ. The believer's first subjective experience of sanctification was often called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. With time, some adherents felt that the movement was focusing too much on strict behavioral codes as evidence of the sanctified life.The Pentecostal movement was presaged by episodes where the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues, had appeared, as for example among early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or at the Albury conferences in England. The more immediate precursors were the Keswick movement, with its search for empowerment and Christian victory, and the Fire-Baptized movement, almost all of whose followers became Pentecostals.Modern Pentecostalism is traced to a Bible school in Topeka, Kansas, founded by former Methodist minister Charles F Parham (1873-1929). During a prayer session seeking the baptism of the Holy Spirit, one of the students, Agnes oznam (1870-1937), began to speak in tongues.Within a short time, Parham and the other students also received the baptism, and they began to spread the news through the Holiness community in Kansas and nearby states. Parham opened another Bible school in Houston, where an African-American Holiness preacher, William J. Seymour, picked up the teachings. Seymour took the movement to Los Angeles, where he led the historic three-year Azusa Street revival. News of the revival spread like wildfire around the world, and within a decade Pentecostalism was a global movement.The original Pentecostal teachings offered a third experience of God's grace to Holiness believers, who had already experienced faith in Christ and sanctification (holiness). Among Holiness Pentecostals, sanctification was considered a prerequisite for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This understanding is held by such groups as the Church of God (Cleveland,Tennessee), the Church of God in Christ, and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.Soon after the Pentecostal teachings emerged, William H. Durham (1873-1912), a Baptist minister from Chicago, rejected the Holiness teachings and claimed that the baptism of the Holy Spirit was available to every believer quite apart from any experience of sanctification. This perspective was called the "finished work," meaning that Christ had completed his salvific work on Calvary and all of the benefits were available to all at any moment. Durham's perspective appealed to those attracted to Pentecostalism from other than Methodist or Holiness backgrounds. It would undergird the teachings of groups such as the Assemblies of God.Several years later, still another stream emerged in the movement, the Jesus Only Pentecostals. Jesus Only ministers rejected the orthodox Christian doctrine of the Trinity. From their reading of the Bible, which does not mention the Trinity, they concluded that Trinitarianism was close to tri-theism (belief in three gods). They stressed instead the Oneness of God. They rejected the baptismal formula derived from Matthew 28:19, in the name of the "Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"; instead they baptized in the name of Jesus alone, as used throughout the Book of Acts. They concluded that Jesus was the name of the singular God. The Oneness or Jesus Only Pentecostals founded such groups as the United Pentecostal Church, International and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.Within a very few years, the Pentecostal movement took root in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Africa, and Latin America. In Scandinavia, Pentecostals became the largest Christian denomination outside the state churches. The South African Apostolic and Zionist churches helped spread Pentecostalism throughout sub-Saharan Africa (see Africa, sub-Saharan). Spanish-speaking attendees at the Azusa Street revival took the movement to Mexico and Central America. In the last half of the 20th century, it would become the major religion contesting the hegemony of Roman Catholicism throughout Latin America. The largest Christian congregation in the world is the Pentecostal Yoido Full Gospel Central Church, a Pentecostal church in Seoul, Korea.In the 1960s, a wave of Pentecostal experience spread through the older Protestant churches and among Roman Catholics, bringing about a revital-ization even more extensive than that of the first decade of the century. This wave of spiritual empowerment is referred to collectively as the Charismatic movement.Pentecostals have found some international fellowship through the Pentecostal World Fellowship.Further reading:■ Stanley M. Burgess and Eduard M. Van der Maas, eds. International Dictionary of Pentecostal Charismatic Movements (rev. ed., Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2002)■ Walter J. Hollen-weger, Pentecostals: The Charismatic Movement in the Church (Minneapolis, Minn.: Augsburg, 1972)■ Harold D. Hunter, Spirit Baptism: A Pentecostal Alternative (Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1983)■ Vinson Synan, The Century of the Holy Spirit: 100 Years of Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal, 1901-2001 (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, 2001).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.