As a Pentecostal, I can say that Pentecostals are pretty strange. We do weird things during worship, speak strange gibberish, and do A LOT of praying. With so much focus on what we do, it can be pretty hard for people to figure out what it is we actually believe. Do Pentecostals even believe in God?
Do Pentecostals believe in God? Yes, Pentecostalism is a theological branch of Christianity. Pentecostals affirm all orthodox Christian doctrine, including belief in a triune God. All Christian belief centers around God.
Pentecostals sometimes don’t make that fact easy to see. We talk about the Holy Spirit a lot, but what is it? Does that mean we don’t believe in God? And where does Jesus fit into all of this? Well don’t worry, I’m going to answer all your questions below.
What Do Pentecostals Believe About God?
Pentecostalism was a movement that started in the early 1900’s. It grew out of pretty typical evangelical roots into what it is today. Pentecostals affirm all of the orthodox teaching about God. Including that Jesus Christ is Lord and that he died for our sins and was resurrected.
But let’s break it down a bit further:
Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. This tells us that there is a divine being that we refer to as God. This God existed before anything else, and this God is powerful enough to create. Skip ahead a couple chapters and we can see that God creates Mankind in his image. That in the beginning, this perfect creation of Man was supposed to steward the earth and honor God.
God only gives one commandment in the Garden: Don’t eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. There is a lot to unpack here but suffice it to say that God loves Mankind enough to give them free will. We end up making a poor decision with this free will and separate ourselves from God.
From that moment, God worked tirelessly to try and bring us back into relationship with Him. He accomplishes this by sending His son, Jesus Christ, to die for the sins of the world so we could finally be in relationship with him. This is essentially what all Christians believe about God.
What Does ‘Triune’ Mean?
Christians believe that God exists in three persons. That there is one essence and will of God, but that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all partake in that essence. If you’re confused, that is okay because this is a pretty confusing concept. Christians believe that there is one God, three persons. And this belief is incredibly specific to Christianity. For example, Muslims believe in one god, Allah. Allah is not three persons, he is one. Hindu’s believe in many gods, many persons. Several people may have several different gods.
The Trinity was codified in the Council of Nicaea in 325 C.E. Christians everywhere have affirmed the doctrine of the Trinity ever since. Today there are certain sects who claim to be Christian and don’t believe in a triune God, Oneness Pentecostals for example. But unfortunately, the Trinity is dogma to the Christian faith. If you don’t affirm the Trinity, many would say that you cannot consider yourself a Christian.
The persons of the Trinity are:
- God the Father – Often explained as the Creator (though Jesus also created). The Father is sometimes called the Planner. It was the Father who sent Jesus down so that we may be reunited with God. Often times in the Old Testament, when a reference to God was made, it was referring to the Father. 1 Corinthians 8:6 says, “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live”.
- God the Son – Jesus Christ, the one who redeemned humanity through dying on the cross. Jesus took on the sin of the world to make it possible for us to receive salvation. According to Christian doctrine, Jesus currently sits at the right hand of the Father and one day will come again to make the world new. Christians receive Salvation through prayer to Jesus, as Romans 10 says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved”.
- The Holy Spirit – God’s acting force on this earth right now. When someone accepts salvation, the Holy Spirit is their mark and guide. Christians believe that he guides us in our lives and Gods will. The Holy Spirit is the one who allows for healings and other gifts. It is the gift of God in the believer’s life today. Acts 2 says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tonguesas the Spirit enabled them”.
Do Pentecostals Worship One Above the Other?
No, though there are some people who think we do. Pentecostalism places a heavy emphasis on the work of the Holy Spirit. The day of Pentecost in the New Testament (from which we get our name) was the day when the Holy Spirit first descended upon believers and they performed great works among the people.
Pentecostals tend to focus on the Holy Spirit often because we tend to focus on gifts often. Pentecostals fully believe in and expect miraculous healings, signs from God, words of wisdom, and prophecy. These are all things that come from the Holy Spirit. This isn’t to say at all the we ignore the Father or the Son.
Pentecostals believe in the specific persons of the trinity in their roles. We acknowledge and thank the Father for the life he gives us every day and the plan he has for us. We worship Jesus and accept his salvation, thanking him for our union with God. And we pray for the Holy Spirit, that he fills our lives and speak into us what we need.
This is all matching the orthodox description of God. Pentecostals affirm God and all seven ecumenical councils of the Church.
Why do People Think Pentecostals Don’t Believe in God?
Well, there are many who criticize Pentecostalism. Christians from specifically Calvinistic or Cessationist backgrounds often claim a lot of things about Pentecostals. John MacArthur, a very popular pastor, once said, “the defining characteristics that label Pentecostalism “Pentecostalism” as apart from general Orthodox Christianity, are not Biblical. So the movement is defined by things that aren’t Biblical”.
This is obviously something that I strongly disagree with. As I said before, Pentecostals affirm all Christian orthodoxy and the seven Ecumenical Councils that defined orthodox Christianity. But Pentecostals are a little weird, and people often fear or attack things they don’t understand. But at the end of the day, Pentecostals believe in God.
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