Evangelical and Pentecostal: what is the difference?

QUESTION:

Is there a difference between "evangelical and "Pentecostal"?

Felicia

ANSWER:

Felicia:

The answer is yes and no. By evangelical what people in the United States generally mean refers to those Christians who believe in the essentials of the historic Christian Faith. That would be things such as the inerrancy and authority of the Bible (which is probably the most important), Diety and virgin birth of Jesus Christ along with His death, burial and resurrection, ascension to heaven, and His return. They believe in salvation by faith, the resurrection of the Christian’s body, and the reality of Satan, angels, heaven and hell. In fact, the statement of faith at Newman Bible Academy fairly represents an evangelical view. Sometimes “evangelical” does means something different in other countries.

Now, what about Pentecostals? They also believe the same things as do evangelicals that I mentioned above, but Pentecostals place a large emphasis and focus on some things that evangelicals would either reject, or downplay. This includes the experiences of speaking in tongues, seeing visions, miracle healings, and things like this. Sometimes Pentecostal refers to a specific denomination or church with the word Pentecostal in the name. Other times it is an umbrella term that refers to all that hold to the distinctive I mentioned.



Two major Pentecostal denominations would be the Foursquare Church and Assembly of God. There are many other smaller varieties. The two I mention here would certainly be evangelical as well as Pentecostal.

Let me muddy up the waters. There is also an umbrella term called Charismatic. These people may or may not be evangelical. The term generally refers to a movement within the more mainline churches – and even the Roman Catholic Church. They would emphasize the “gifts of the Spirit” that Pentecostal’s do, but many may or may not believe the historic beliefs of the Christian Faith. By mainline churches I mean those denominations such as Episcopal, Presbyterian, and Methodist, Church of Christ, etc.

The mainline churches are generally classed as either evangelical or liberal. By liberal, I mean they do not believe the essentials of the historical Christian Faith.

Felicia, I hope this helps answer your question. Actually, I have answered more than your question; consequently, I should stop. Esmie tells me that I am too, “voluble,” which means, I guess, that I talk too much. The picture can get even more complicated, but this is enough for now.

All the best, Felicia, and stay in touch. Tell your friends about the website. God bless.

Dr. Newman

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