The Pen­te­costal Move­ment Part II

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Paul H. Wil­liams Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­

PENTECOSTALISM, WHICH gath­ered speed in the USA at the be­gin­ning of the 20th Cen­tury, is a Protes­tant Chris­tian de­nom­i­na­tion that has grown faster than any other over the past cen­tury, par­tic­u­larly in the USA and the Caribbean. The term Pen­te­costal is com­ing from Pen­te­cost, as in the bib­li­cal day of Pen­te­cost, when fire through the Holy Spirit, de­scended upon the fol­low­ers of Je­sus Christ.

The au­thor­ity of the Bi­ble gov­erns Pentecostalism. There is strict ad­her­ence to Scrip­ture, and any­thing out­side of it has no place in Pen­te­costal teach­ings. The ev­i­dence must be found in the Bi­ble, and be­cause of this strict ad­her­ence to the Bi­ble, Pentecostalism is also known as Apos­tolic and Full Gospel. And in ad­di­tion to the sanc­tity of Scrip­ture, Pen­te­costals have four fun­da­men­tal be­liefs: sal­va­tion through Je­sus Christ, Bap­tism of the Holy Spirit, mirac­u­lous heal­ings, and the sec­ond com­ing of Christ. It is also di­vided into two branches, Trini­tar­ian (Fa­ther, Son and Holy Ghost) and nonTrini­tar­ian (Je­sus only).

At the end of time, as we know it, Pen­te­costals be­lieve peo­ple who have ac­cepted and obeyed Christ will spend eter­nity in Heaven, and those who have not will abide in Hell with Satan as their host. But there is the chance for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion through spir­i­tual re­birth, as Je­sus’ death, burial and res­ur­rec­tion were to save the world from sin. This re­birth should bring for­mer sin­ners closer to God as they have been sanc­ti­fied and re­gen­er­ated, and are now a part of the fam­ily of God. In Je­sus, be­liev­ers are se­cured, but they have to re­pent of their sins be­fore such se­cu­rity is given. And af­ter re­pen­tance comes bap­tism.

There are three lev­els of bap­tism: bap­tism into the body of Christ, wa­ter bap­tism, and Bap­tism of the Holy Spirit. Bap­tism in the body of Christ is the sal­va­tion re­ferred to ear­lier. Ev­ery con­vert be­comes a part of the body of Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Wa­ter bap­tism is sym­bolic of the wash­ing away of the things of this world. It is the phys­i­cal cleans­ing of the body in which the Holy Spirit will dwell. And at the mo­ment of re­birth, the Holy Spirit de­scends upon the con­verts and be­gin to dwell therein. This is the Bap­tism of the Holy Spirit in which Christ is the agent and the Holy Spirit is the medium.

This in­fill­ing of the Holy Spirit is the ul­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with Christ. Speak­ing in tongues is one of the man­i­fes­ta­tions of be­ing filled with the Holy Spirit. Yet, some con­verts be­lieve that bap­tism and speak­ing in tongues, though de­sir­able, are not gen­er­ally re­quired. The One­ness Pen­te­costal branch be­lieves that both wa­ter and spir­i­tual bap­tism are the way to sal­va­tion and that divine heal­ing may come through prayer.

Pen­te­costals be­lieve in the pu­rity of the mind and body, and that Je­sus can heal the af­flicted mind and body. This be­lief in divine heal­ing is un­der­pinned by ex­am­ples of such in the Bi­ble, by the un­der­stand­ing that it is a part of sal­va­tion, that the Gospel of Je­sus Christ is about the sanc­tity of spirit, soul and body, and that ill­nesses are the con­se­quences of sin and can only be cor­rected through divine heal­ing. Prayer is in­te­gral to the act of heal­ing, as well as the lay­ing of hands on the af­fected and the use of anointed prayer cloths.

The Sec­ond Com­ing of Je­sus Christ is what Pen­te­costals look for­ward to more than any­thing else. It is the ul­ti­mate man­i­fes­ta­tion of His au­thor­ity. They be­lieve that Christ is com­ing soon to res­cue them from the sins and va­garies of the world, and take them to Heaven. It is the time when the dead will be res­ur­rected to face the fi­nal judgement, and it may be any­time now, so they are pre­pared to be caught up in the Rap­ture, which will take them away from the ‘Great Tribu­la­tion’, af­ter which there will be a new Earth.


Those are the ma­jor be­liefs, as there are other things that the dif­fer­ent branches be­lieve in. And ac­cord­ing to Rev­erend Ash­ley Smith, Pen­te­costal re­searcher, in an ar­ti­cle called ‘Pentecostalism in Ja­maica’, in Ja­maica Journal Num­ber 42, pub­lished in Septem­ber 1978, the in­di­vid­ual, as well as the group, should sub­mit to the lead­ing of the spirit; there should be a re­turn to the sim­plic­ity of wor­ship of the Apos­tolic age; be­liev­ers ought to sep­a­rate them­selves from the world; con­verts should give tes­ti­monies of their new ex­pe­ri­ence and for­sake evil man­i­fes­ta­tions of the world, such as the en­joy­ment of sec­u­lar amuse­ments and the use of jew­ellery and cos­met­ics.

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