#1 Are Pentecostal Protestant?
Pentecostalism is a Protestant movement of the greater Christian denomination. Therefore, yes, Pentecostals could be considered Protestants, but they are a subsect that takes this a step further by creating their own traditions, structures, and customs.
The items that distinguish a Pentecostal from a regular Protestant (and why Pentecostals do not just refer to themselves as Protestants) are the following differences:
Pentecostal (derived from the word Pentecost, meaning fifty) originates from a story told in Acts 2:1-42. At the point fifty days after Easter, everyone gathered to witness Jesus in the power of the holy Spirit. Pentecostals, therefore, received their religion’s name because they honor a trinitarian belief of the Father, the Son, and most predominantly, that of the Holy Spirit.
Because of this past record, Pentecostals tend to embrace the Holy Spirit with more significance than a typical Protestant would.
Historically, Pentecostals will lean towards fundamentalism (a 20th century Protestantism movement that means to literally translate the biblical texts in a form that disregards adaptations, interpretation, or additional doctrines).
Overall, the main difference between a Pentecostal and a general Protestant is that a Pentecostal will tend to be even more ‘bible-led’ and scripturally-guided.
- “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12.
- What is the Difference Between Catholicism and Pentecostalism; March 27th, 2013.
#2 Are Pentecostals Evangelical?
Yes, Pentecostalism is an evangelical, Christian faith that emphasizes the teachings of God through his Holy Bible. A person can be Pentecostal, they can be Evangelical, and they can also be an Evangelical Pentecostal (keep in mind that each of these three are distinct faiths that people identify by).
Evangelical is a religious term that gets passed around passively, often attached to a Christian person solely because they spread the word of God.
Since it is almost every Christian’s innate duty to spread the word of God – It can be argued that all Christians are Evangelical.
The main qualities that make a Christian Pentecostal are:
- Emphasis on the holy spirit/Charismatic expressions (meaning, of or related to the Holy Spirit)
- Faith healing
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive substances
The main qualities that make a Christian Evangelical are:
- Scripture is the basis for the entire faith
- Sharing news to incite conversions or convince outsiders to join (evangelizing)
- Can be seen as more liberal, progressive, and general (a broader category than Pentecostalism)
Therefore, Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism are related by their shared:
- Belief in faith healing
- A vocation to spread the word of God
Do keep in mind – An Evangelical person may not be innately Pentecostal; however, a Pentecostal disciple is innately Evangelical.
- “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” – Matthew 24:35.
- “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15.
#3 Can Pentecostals Dance?
There are many stereotypes regarding the theory that Apostolics do not dance. Although this is true for many stringent or tradition-honoring Pentecostals, it is not always the case.
It is important to note that a distinction that separates many Pentecostals is the belief that one should only dance in the form of worship. Because of this, many Pentecostals will not dance recreationally. Pentecostals want to avoid sexually-tempting gestures that could be misconstrued as lustful.
Therefore, you may only see Pentecostals dance at Church (but not at weddings, parties, or festivities).
Historically, dance was welcomed and encouraged by Pentecostals, seen as a way to connect with God. Since the early days of the Pentecostal movement, dancing was seen as a worship format that engaged with the Holy Spirit. Over time, Pentecostals have become increasingly strict regarding the matter, but it is not uncommon to see them dancing in Church.
- Scripturally, dancing is referred to in a positive light (often seen in celebrations, jubilee, or after periods of mourning). Psalm 149:3 says: “Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”
- “Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” – Jeremiah 31:13.
- “Since dancing (including that innocent waltz) is mostly sensually performed, and can inflame the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the desires of immorality, the Christian (not just the Apostolic Pentecostal Christian) should not participate.” – Ask a Pentecostal.
- Dance Like David Did – Pentecostals of Gainesville Choi; September 22nd, 2013.
#4 Can Pentecostals Wear Pants?
Pentecostal men are permitted to wear pants; however, Pentecostal women are not allowed to wear slacks (to Church especially).
Generally, Pentecostals want their disciples to remain gender-distinct in their wardrobe and hairstyles (meaning, women are encouraged to dress femininely, and men are encouraged to dress masculinely).
Typically, the reason that traditionalistic and fundamentalist Protestant denominations will create the regulation against women wearing pants – is due to the following scriptures:
“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.”
Pentecostals are one of the many Protestant denominations that hold Scripture above all else, placing the text of the Bible as the literal ‘word of God.’ They gain supplemental justification and support for this belief through scriptures-themselves, such as 2 Timothy 3:16, which states:
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
Pentecostal women are forbidden from wearing:
- Any clothing that may incite a man to lustful temptation
- Anything that is too form-fitting
- Body piercings
- Jewelry (simple watches are permitted)
- Low-cut shirts
- Short hair
- “You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs;” – Exodus 28:42.
- “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1-34.
- Oureverydaylife.com – Rules for Pentecostal Women; October 10th, 2017: “The Pentecostal movement, which emerged in the early 20th century, places a central focus on being baptized in the Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues and ecstatic worship services. Today the Pentecostal Church is not only one of the largest traditions within Christianity but one of the largest religious movements in the world. Denominations within Pentecostalism, for example, include the Assemblies of God, the Churches of God in Christ and the United Pentecostal Church International, but the movement also has several nondenominational churches as well. As with most large religious movements, rules for women differ widely from one denomination or Church to the next.”
#5 Can Pentecostals Eat Pork?
Yes, Pentecostals are permitted to eat pork, and this is a matter left up to the personal jurisdiction and dietary preferences of each individual.
Pentecostals, as Fundamentalists that broke off during the period of Reformation which led to the birth of Protestantism, are predominantly led by scriptural-focus. Being that Scripture is held in such high regard for Protestants, many Pentecostals would take a literal translation of scriptures such as Leviticus 11:7-8:
“And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”
Dietary restrictions are a subjective and personal matter, usually not dictated by any Apostolic Church.
- “Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.” – Isaiah 66:17.
- Is It Okay for a Christian to Eat Pork?; May 29th, 2019.
#6 Can Pentecostals Watch TV?
Yes, liberal Pentecostals can watch TV, but generally not Apostolic Pentecostals. Proof of this is seen in newscastings from The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., in which they encourage Pentecostal disciples to watch the PAW 2020 Virtual Convention during the 2020 lockdowns related to COVID-19.
However, you may hear stereotypes and generalizations that Pentecostals do not watch TV. This may also be true, depending on how strict and legalistic that congregation is.
Overall, Pentecostals are known for being Fundamentalistic Christians, which means they are recognized for their austere nature.
Apostolic Pentecostals are viewed as the strictest of all Pentecostal subsects, and this is the group that are forbidden from:
Keep in mind that there are:
- 279-million Pentecostals globally
- 25-million Apostolic Pentecostals globally
Therefore, it is a very small population of Pentecostals that disallow television and cinema.
- “Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.” – Psalm 119:37.
- Spiritualabuse.org – Pentecostal Support of Television; Ministry Video; January 21st, 2007.
#7 Can Pentecostals Drink?
Scriptures explicitly state that alcohol only leads to drunkenness and overindulgence. As Pentecostals heed the Bible’s word with great respect, they honor Scripture as law.
Because of this, many Pentecostals choose not to drink. Seeking to remain sober-minded and centric on their Christian values, many Pentecostals avoid alcohol or would only consume in moderation.
However, some Pentecostals create legitimate rules around the consumption of substance (leaving no room for personal choice or autonomous jurisdiction).This includes the Apostolic Pentecostal congregations (seen as the strictest of all Pentecostals), who outwardly forbid alcohol consumption.
Ephesians 5:18 says:
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”
- “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8.
- “Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:21.
- Is Drinking a Sin? March 23rd, 2020.
#8 Can Pentecostals Cut Their Hair?
It will depend on the legalistic or liberal nature of that Pentecostal group. Women may be forced to keep their hair long due to the fact that Pentecostals honor gender roles (seeking to keep females feminine and males masculine). For this reason, women may be encouraged to keep their hair long; however, most Pentecostals are permitted to get a trim or haircut as needed.
Keep in mind that –
A liberal Pentecostal:
- May fit in with ‘normal’ society
- May not have rules against hair cuts
- Believes in faith healing
- May speak in tongues
- Will dress modestly
- Lives reasonably equivalent to any modern-day Christians
An Apostolic Pentecostal (the strictest of all Pentecostal groups) would forbid:
- Cutting one’s hair
- Drinking alcohol
- Smoking tobacco
- Wearing makeup
- Watching TV or movies
There are approximately 279-million Pentecostals globally, with only 25-million of them being Apostolic Pentecostals. Thus, an exceedingly small percentage of Pentecostals would be forbidden from cutting their hair.
- “But if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.” – 1 Corinthians 11:15.
- “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him.” – 1 Corinthians 11:14.
- Why I Don’t Cut My Hair – Apostolic Hair; April 29th, 2017.
#9 Can Pentecostals Swim?
Yes, Pentecostals are allowed to swim, but they would not be permitted to wear a revealing bikini. In excessively Fundamentalist cases, such as with Apostolic Pentecostals, there may be guidelines against males and females swimming together.
With many forums, blogs, and discussions on the topic, most Pentecostals recommend purchasing a full-length bathing suit covering one from head to knee. Many Pentecostal females will wear a shirt and pants over their swimsuit or find alternative methods for full-coverage.
Nonetheless, the United Pentecostal Church International Organization advises that the following activities are not suitable for devout Christians:
- No dancing
- No mixed swimming
- No movies in theaters
- No television
When referring to mixed swimming, this generally refers to a comingling of both genders.
- “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2.
#10 Can Pentecostals Wear Leggings?
Yes, Pentecostal women are seen wearing leggings, typically as a means to cover themselves more.
The times that Pentecostal women tend to wear leggings are:
- Under their skirt/dress– Apostolic Pentecostals forbid women from wearing pants (so leggings may only be acceptable to some Pentecostals if it is adorned underneath a skirt or dress)
- To add layers and supplemental coverage
- To the beach – under a swimsuit to make it increasingly modest
Attire and dress-code may look different in each Pentecostal congregation, but they would likely be accepted so long as the woman retains a feminine-quality to her wardrobe.
Being that until the 1900s, leggings were for men – this belief may remain preserved by traditional Pentecostals.
- “You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach from the hips to the thighs.” – Exodus 28:42.
- Pants or No Pants? Responsible Faith; November 20th, 2017. “Pants for women has become a laughable argument in Pentecostal..”
- Daily Mail – Burger King Fired Pentecostal Girl Who Wouldn’t Wear Pants; August 2012.
#11 Can Pentecostals Use Birth Control?
Yes, Pentecostals are allowed to use Birth Control. Seen as a measure and moral choice that should be left up to the woman and her family, even conservative religious groups have come around on this matter to offer individual’s self-governing control.
Contraception is advised for being a decision that is kept between a husband and wife, with most Pentecostals not supporting sexual relations before marriage.
Religious groups that accept contraception are:
- Seventh-Day Adventists
- Southern Baptists
Religious groups that are either debating contraception or outwardly reject it are:
- Catholics – assuredly refuse contraception
- Evangelicals – debate the issue
- Lutherans – find it non-acceptable
Americanprogress.org regards ‘The Morality of Contraception’ writing:
- “The Episcopal Church as early as the 1930s approved contraception for purposes of family planning. The Church calls on its programs and projects to “provide information to all men and women on a full range of affordable, acceptable, safe, and non-coercive contraceptive and reproductive health care services.””
- “The United Methodist Church, the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States, says that “each couple has the right and the duty prayerfully and responsibly to control conception according to their circumstances.””
- “The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the largest Lutheran body in the United States, supports the use of safe, effective birth control methods and believes that they encourage “responsible procreation.””
- “The Assemblies of God, the world’s largest Pentecostal denomination, believes contraception is a matter “of personal consciences as godly spouses prayerfully covenant with God about the growth of their families.””
- “The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, supports the use of contraception within marriage, although it opposes contraceptive methods that bar having children altogether. In contravention of this stance, some Southern Baptist leaders recently joined the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in its demand to allow any employer whether religious or secular to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage because of a religious objection.”
- “Presbyterian Church USA supports “full and equal access to contraceptive methods,” and in a recent resolution endorsed coverage for contraceptives as a “part of basic health care.” The Church said that “unintended pregnancies lead to higher rates of infant mortality, low birth weight, and maternal morbidity, and threaten the economic viability of families.”
- “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” – Psalm 127:3.
- “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28.
- Time.com – Kavanaugh Calls Contraception – Abortion-Inducing Drugs; September 6th, 2018.
- Ligonier.org – The Three Waves of Pentecostalism; August 1st, 2020.
#12 Can Pentecostals Date?
Yes, Pentecostals are permitted to date; nevertheless, it is not the typical process of a young courtship. Pentecostals are known for moving slowly on the ideological spectrum yet moving rapidly in a spiritual sense.
Pentecostals do not focus on the physical, but rather, focus on the holy intentions of that person and their worthiness of marriage. Courtship is taken very seriously in Pentecostalism, and it is for the intention of getting married and starting a family. You would not find a Pentecostal female that wanted to recreationally date or test the waters for many decades, as they typically have the end-goal of marriage in mind.
A Pentecostal, especially a stricter Apostolic Pentecostal, would not be allowed to date a non-Christian. An Apostolic Pentecostal would also avoid dating in private, likely going on dates to Church together (publicly and without any privacy) until a bond is formed.
Michael Ensey, a Christian pastor, is quoted as saying:
“As an Apostolic Pentecostal young person, you’re called to live a higher standard when it comes to your dating relationships. If someone isn’t marriage material, then why are they dating material? Don’t waste your time! You’re called to a higher standard! If they’re not in Church, you don’t need to date them.”
Dating may be discussed with one’s Pentecostal pastor, who will offer guidance and wisdom regarding dating. A male Pentecostal may even require permission from the pastor to commit to one woman exclusively.
Pentecostal Writer for DesiringGod.org, Marshall Segal, published a piece through the website of The Walkerton Pentecostal Church – Wait to Date Until You Can Marry:
“Wait to date until you can marry each other. My advice — take it or leave it — is wait until you can reasonably marry him or her in the next eighteen months. It doesn’t mean you have to marry that quickly. The important part is that you could, if God made it clear this was his will and his timing for you. You won’t find eighteen months anywhere in the Bible, and so you should not treat it as God’s law. But you can test — with the Lord, your parents, and close Christian friends — whether that seems wise and safe for you and your heart.”
- “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” – 2 Timothy 2:22.
- “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
- 7 Rules to Apostolic Dating; July 13th, 2018.
- If You’re An Apostolic Dating, You MUST Know This; January 30th, 2019.