The History and Theology of the World’s Majority of Churches: An Introduction to Pentecostalism

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  • Topic: Pentecostalism, Glossolalia, Holy Spirit
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An Introduction to Pentecostalism
Allan Anderson
Foundations for Renewal
October 20, 2011
Nevada Blake

This is the history and theology of the world’s majority of churches. The early Pentecostals were Methodist as Pentecostalism has consisted of a variety of local movements with particular contextual response.This is the largest fastest growing group of churches within Christianity today. The author shares his visit to Seoul, Korea where their liturgy is influenced by the Presbyterian Church. An orchestra, a massive choir with 25,000 worshipers per service, with 700,000 members overall, is the largest mega church in Seoul. Yonggi Cho and Jashi Choi started this congregation in 1958 in a slum are in Seoul. The church is involved in relief work providing food, clothing and shelter and medical supplies to the masses in need. The church service is lively, people speaking in tongues as Dr. Cho leads with the word of God and continues to guide the service. In Lagos, Nigeria campgrounds are prominent where hundreds of thousands attend all night Friday meetings. Pentecostalism dominates the media in Nigeria as well as all forms of Christianity. On one occasion Allan Anderson, author of An Introduction Pentecostalism visited five different churches to include Charismatic Angelican church, Aladura church (2), and (2) independent Charismatic churches. The older populated churches in Nigeria struggle to stay ahead of the up and moving churches. The Christ Apostolic Church manages to stay one step ahead as it is the biggest of Nigeria’s older Pentecostal churches. In Buenos Aires, Argentina the worship service has a fiesta movement during the entire service. Music is very much a part of the worship service, as the people praise God in song, in tongues and through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. People fall out under the Spirit and receive immediate prayer through touch healing. In Birmingham, England Allan Anderson visited the South Birmingham Vineyard. The service is held in a school hall with about 250 capacity. The people are friendly as they welcome Mr. Anderson to their church service where casual attire is the order of the day. The worship team plays music on the keyboard and leads the congregation in song. The praise and worship service lasts about 45 minutes and followed by the word of God from the pastor Andrew McNeil. Pastor speaks for about a half an hour, people come up for prayer around the alter and the service ends with the announcements. In Chicago, Illinois a visit to the largest African American Pentecostal church started by Charles H. Mason in 1897. Mothers lead with prayer as lively praise songs are sung others begin to do the Holy dance, speak in tongues and praise God loudly. The preaching is a spontaneous poem, as the preacher speaks the congregation agrees out loud and encourages with Amen’s and Hallelujah’s!! People dance with uplifted hands and praise God with all they’ve got. The invitation to come to the alter for prayer by the pastor is followed by the benediction.

There are several common features and differences in global Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. According to Anderson, “All demonstrate what Suurmound has called, ‘the Word and the Spirit at play’ where everyone has a contribution to make to the service, much like the creative combination of spontaneity and order in a jazz performance.” The gifts of the spirit are recognized, congregational participation, prayer worship, a preacher leading and preaching and an appeal for response. There is quite a bit of diversity in Pentecostalism but the primary defining characteristic is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals have over the years have fought over the doctrines associated with the movement and have disengaged themselves from any that opposed a strong ideal. When they pitted themselves against themselves they felt they were fighting against a corrupt way of living. Their opposition was in the...
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