It is often said that Pentecostals, if women, wear their hair long and their skirts longer. Pentecostal men do not wear ties. Pentecostals are all abusive churches from which people have to flee for their lives or seek ‘recovery’. Pentecostals handle snakes and Pentecostals refuse medical help…..the list goes on to reveal a great amount of confusion about just what is a “Pentecostal”. The truth of the matter is that there simply is no single group of Pentecostals sharing all beliefs and practices in common.
Two major strands exist that serve to illustrate the nuances found in this belief system.
The 20th century saw religious renewal movements erupt in several locations as the Holiness Movement of the 19th century waned. Generally accepted as major starting points for the modern Pentecostal movement are the ‘speaking in tongues’ at the Parham Bible School Topeka, Kansas ,and the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California.
Several church groups emerge from these events and are firmly Trinitarian in their theology. Yet, after 1910 there is a conflict that emerges concerning the ‘name of Jesus’ and the nature and relationship of Christ to God. As a result, the so-called “Oneness Pentecostalism” is born. The terms Pentecostal and Apostolic are then confused in the minds of many and lead to great misunderstandings.