The Pentecostal movement is a worldwide Christian movement, which in the course of its existence produced numerous denominations and at the same time developed a significant effect within the traditional churches and free churches - for example in the form of the so-called charismatic movement . For all directions of the Pentecostal movement, the work of the Holy Spirit is of central importance in doctrine and practice of faith. On most theological questions, the Pentecostal movement follows the tradition of evangelicalism .
Forerunners of the Pentecostal movement existed in 16th century Europe and 18th century America . Today's Pentecostal movement goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, the charismatic movement influenced by it to the beginning of the 1960s.
The terms Pentecostals , Pentecostal Church , Pentecostal Movement refer to the Pentecost festival, which recalls the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Jerusalem early church as reported in the New Testament . In the 1870s and 1880s there was an increasing number of prayers in evangelical circles in the USA for a new Pentecost , that is, for a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Reports of a revival that struck Wales in 1905 sparked anticipation of a second Pentecost . When, on April 9, 1906, at a church service meeting on Azusa Street in Los Angeles, special phenomena occurred that appeared to be similar to those of the first Pentecost in Jerusalem, the second Pentecost was thought to have come. The movement that arose in the context of these events and spread around the world, was now on as Pentecostalism (English: Pentecostal movement ), respectively.
The theological founder of the Pentecostal movement is Charles Fox Parham , who in 1901 first developed a teaching of speaking in tongues in his Bethel Bible School in Topeka and interpreted it in this context as initial evidence of receiving a baptism with the Holy Spirit . The already mentioned Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles provided the main impetus for the beginning and later expansion of the Pentecostal movement . It lasted from 1906 to 1909 and was under the direction of Parham disciple and black sanctification preacher William J. Seymour . On April 14, 1906, in a sermon, he announced God's judgment of wrath that would shake the earth. When four days later the city of San Francisco was almost completely destroyed by a strong earthquake , Seymour's community on Azusa Street gained great popularity. It received massive numbers of visitors, and the presence of numerous missionaries who had traveled to Los Angeles from all over the world ensured that many churches were founded in the USA, Europe, China and the then colonial areas of South America, Africa and Asia. The movement was particularly attractive to Christians in what is now the Third World , because from the outset, white and black Americans, especially from the poorer sections of the population, were largely equal members.
As early as 1914 there was a separation within the US Pentecostal movement, when the Assemblies of God split off from the Church of God in Christ, which had been established in 1897 as part of the sanctification movement . In October 1916 there was another break in St. Louis with the Oneness Pentecostals , who rejected the Trinity .
Pentecostals in the United States made extensive use of modern media early on. Pentecostal Aimee Semple McPherson preached in 1918 on one of the first radio stations in the United States. The Christian mission broadcaster Radio HCJB was founded in Ecuador in 1931 by the Pentecostal Clarence Jones from Chicago .
Related to the Pentecostal movement is the charismatic movement that has emerged within the various churches of the West since the 1960s. It has survived in many churches, but in some cases has also led to the establishment of independent congregations of their own.
In 1906, the Pentecostal movement came to Norway through Thomas Ball Barratt and from there came to Northern Germany in 1907. The Hamburg city missionary Emil Meyer had got to know the young Pentecostal church on the occasion of a visit to Oslo and on this occasion invited two Norwegians, Agnes Telle and Dagmar Gregersen, who were gifted with speaking in tongues, to his sphere of activity in Hamburg. The sick Kassel Evangelist Heinrich Dallmeyer was present at an event in which the two women preached . He asked for intercession for his suffering and, according to his own statements, he experienced healing and the so-called baptism with the Holy Spirit that same evening . Dallmeyer invited the two Norwegians to Kassel and introduced them to the community movement there.
Furthermore, the German Pentecostal movement goes back to a revival in Mülheim an der Ruhr in 1905 under the tent missionary Jonathan Paul . The roots of the Pentecostals were the sanctification and revival movement of the 19th century. The pietistic community movement was critical of the Pentecostal movement. In 1909 she accused her in her Berlin declaration :
"The so-called. Pentecostal movement is not from above but from below; it has many phenomena in common with spiritism . Demons work in her who, guided by Satan with cunning, mix lies and truth in order to deceive the children of God. In many cases, the so-called. 'Spirit gifted' subsequently proved possessed . "
As a result, the movement developed in independent communities and joined together in 1913 in the Mülheim Association . However, this could not prevent the further expansion of the Pentecostal movement.
Before and towards the end of the Second World War , the church of Christians Ecclesia was formed in Germany , the people's mission of determined Christians that was banned under the National Socialist regime and re-established after the war , the Elim churches , the Church of God Germany and in 1947 the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Freie Pfingstgemeinden in Germany ”, which was constituted in 1954 as the“ Working Group of Christian Congregations in Germany ”(ACD eV). The ACD e. V. is the forerunner organization of the Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (BFP), in which the Volksmission e. C. (since 1988) and the Christian Church Ecclesia (since 2000, fully since 2008) as congregational federations. Since 1991 there has been a stronger cooperation with the German Evangelical Alliance, which is rooted in Pietism .
Despite all the amalgamations, the Pentecostal movement should not be understood as a uniform organization in the sense of state church law . In addition to the corporately organized communities of the movement, there are independent individual communities that are primarily organized under association law .
New local congregations can arise through the deliberately sponsored establishment of subsidiary congregations or splits. The Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden expressly endorses the formation of churches.
The Pentecostal movement is a worldwide Christian movement. Worldwide it includes 200 to 600 million people, depending on the counting method. In a survey of ten countries in October 2006, the Pew Research Center in Washington came to the following results:
- In Guatemala 20%, in Kenya 33% and in Brazil 15% belong to the Pentecostal movement.
- In the Philippines 4%, in South Africa 10% (7.6%, 2001), in Chile 9%, in Nigeria 18% and in the United States 5% belong to the Pentecostal movement.
In Germany, the Pentecostal movement has around 300,000 members (0.37% of the total population) who are spread across the various Pentecostal churches, charismatic renewal movements and around 300 free congregations.
In the research literature, the Pentecostal movement is usually described in three waves:
- The classical Pentecostals, who emerged from revivals in the USA and Europe at the beginning of the 20th century and today mainly belong to the evangelical middle-class milieu.
- The charismatic renewal within the great people's churches from the 1950s.
- The so-called third wave , which from around 1970 onwards spread mainly in third world countries . These Pentecostals are also known as the Neo-Charismatic Movement and, with several hundred million followers, make up the largest part of the worldwide Pentecostal movement.
Brazil plays a special role in the third wave, with 15% having the largest proportion of Pentecostals in Latin America (after Guatemala 20%) and where Pentecostal churches have a direct influence on politics. In addition to the Assembleias de Deus , the offshoot of the American Assemblies of God , there are also national Pentecostal churches such as the Congregação Cristã no Brasil and the Pentecostal Brasil para Cristo . Furthermore, controversial organizations such as the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus , which was founded by the media entrepreneur Edir Macedo and helped him to achieve considerable wealth, as well as the fundamentalist sect Deus é Amor , which has connections to armed gangs of the favelas , use theology the Pentecostal movement.
Democratic Republic of Congo
In the DR Congo the sect Combat Spirituel (CS) (German for spiritual warfare ), which is close to the ex-President Joseph Kabila , has spread. CS attracted attention through extreme practices, such as "witch hunts" and sometimes violent exorcism rituals on children by CS clergy and members , which led to international protests.
The phenomenon of witch children also exists in Nigeria. Some of them are also tortured. In a Liberty Gospel Church propaganda film called End of the Wicked , rituals and cannibalism are shown by alleged witch children. When asked by the New York Times , the head of Liberty Gospel Church , Helen Ukpabio, told the New York Times that "their cinematic depictions of possessed children gathering in the moonlight to devour human flesh" were not meant to be serious.
The activist Leo Igwe , who campaigns against these practices, was attacked and robbed by a mob made up of around 150 members of the Liberty Gospel Church . Following this attack, Ukpabio sued Igwe and other activists for injunctive relief in order to silence their critics. Some of the events were recorded on film.
The aggressive missionary efforts of the Pentecostal movement in the Muslim north of the country are also blamed for a further escalation of the conflict in northern Nigeria . Erhard Kamphausen from the Mission Academy of the University of Hamburg spoke of “ spiritual warfare ” in core Muslim areas. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) condemned the obstruction of Christian religious practice in the Islamic-dominated northern provinces of Nigeria several times and urged the government to enforce the religious freedom guaranteed in the constitution. Critical media, on the other hand, suspect the PFN of wanting to turn Nigeria into a fundamentalist Christian state, contrary to its assurances that it campaigns for religious freedom.
Nigeria is home to many prominent television preachers such as Chris Oyakhilome and TB Joshua , who are also controversial within the Pentecostal movement. TB Joshua was accused by the PFN of engaging in occult practices and deceiving Christians out of greed.
The Pentecostal movement belongs to Christianity and, besides general biblical teachings, also teaches the experience of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This creates traits that distinguish them from non-charismatic Christian groups.
The Pentecostal movement sees a church in the vicinity of the New Testament congregation only if it gives space to the work of the Holy Spirit, in particular to the spiritual gifts such as healing , prophecy and speaking in tongues . The New Testament reports on the effects of the spirit are also today a model for church life. The traditional doctrine of the Trinity is proclaimed in most Pentecostal churches . However, there are also Pentecostal churches that proclaim the Oneness theology or a non-Trinitarian deity.
The baptism is a baptism of faith instead. A baptism of underage children is usually refused. The Lord's Supper is understood as a memorial meal . In addition to baptism and the Lord's Supper, some congregations also practice washing their feet .
The path to salvation includes several decisive experiences, conversion and the baptism of the Spirit , which is often accompanied by speaking in tongues or other gifts of the Spirit. Most Pentecostal circles believe that sanctification is a prerequisite for being baptized and receiving the gifts of the Spirit .
The Bible is seen as verbally inspired , infallible, and consistent. Christologically , the death and resurrection of the Son of God Jesus Christ are at the center of the understanding of salvation , with which the believers establish a personal relationship. On these points the Pentecostal movement is committed to the evangelical tradition.
Members of the Pentecostal movement try to integrate biblical knowledge and scientific knowledge into a worldview that they can understand. In many groups, however, the theory of evolution is rejected and a creationist standpoint is adopted.
The ethics of the Pentecostal churches are based on their understanding of the Bible. Practiced homosexuality , extramarital intercourse and termination of pregnancy are predominantly rejected. But there are also confessing homosexual Pentecostals like Richard Grenell .
In contrast to right-wing conservative evangelical groups, which can be found primarily in the United States and Western Europe and preach an ethics oriented towards the other world, there are also concepts in the Pentecostal movement in Africa and Latin America that not only see the change in unjust political structures as necessary. In the relationship between ethics of conviction and responsibility, however , the emphasis is generally on the individual practice of faith, which is not responsible to society but to God.
The " prosperity gospel " (also known as "faith gospel" or "gospel of prosperity " , which is questionable from a scientific and theological point of view and also regarded as heretical by many evangelicals and representatives of the Pentecostal movement itself) is particularly widespread in the poverty-stricken African and South American Pentecostal churches “), Which puts individual and economic success in a direct causal relationship to religious lifestyle, that is, a strong belief automatically leads to financial wealth . Prosperity Gospel is predominantly spread by television preachers .
Church services in Pentecostal churches are often lively. There is a lot of enthusiastic singing, sometimes you move to the music. Music plays a major role, modern instruments such as keyboards or drums are preferred to pipe organs , and the songs are generally modern, rhythmic and often come from the English-speaking world. A service of at least one hour is the rule.
An important part of the worship service is called praise and adoration : Singing worship songs alternating with freely formulated prayers. Arms and hands are sometimes raised as a prayer or worship posture. Glossolalia and prophetic speech also characterize the worship services of many Pentecostal churches. A certain predictability and familiarity of the course of the divine service in the basics is definitely advocated in the Pentecostal tradition, a formal liturgy is, however, largely rejected. It could - so convinced Pentecostals - block the work of the Holy Spirit.
The divine sermons are committed and mostly delivered in free speech. Every now and then the audience is asked from the sermons, with a loud amen! or hallelujah! to give their consent or to underline the statements made by the sermons. For the sermon it is often important to substantiate it with quotes from the Bible. At the end of the sermon, some personal reactions to what has been heard are requested. People who want to be converted or want healing are asked to come forward. Here - often during the service - personal intercession, blessings and pastoral care are offered. Healing blessings and prayer for the sick by the laying on of hands are also common. The processes are roughly based on reports about churches in the New Testament and the traditional actions of Jesus in the Gospels.
A small number of small rural Pentecostal churches in the USA and Canada practice the snake- grabbing ritual as part of their worship services , in which those involved accept a bite as a proof of their faith.
House groups play a major role in Pentecostal churches. In regular meetings in a small, committed group, people sing, pray and study the Bible together . There are also offers to participate in groups, depending on interests, age group or gender; for example choirs, groups of children, teenagers, girls, women and senior citizens and groups of men.
Pentecostal congregations are usually missionary- oriented, which is one of the reasons for the strong growth of this movement. There are also a number of diaconal works and institutions that belong to the Pentecostal movement or have their roots there. These include kindergartens, homes for the elderly, clinics, facilities for the care of the handicapped as well as therapeutically assisted living communities for the mentally ill and drug addicts.
A selection of diaconal institutions connected with the Pentecostal movement:
- Teen Challenge - among other things, work among drug addicts
- Youth, Mission and Social Work Altensteig
- House Nazareth - Norden-Norddeich
- Social work of the Free Christian Communities Bremen
The Pentecostals also appear politically, as in the United States , Chile and especially in Brazil . They appear there either as a representative of the interests of disadvantaged population groups, such as the former governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro , Benedita da Silva , who campaigns for women's rights, or opposition politician Marina Silva , who is involved in environmental protection and stands for liberal drug policy, what is criticized by the church leadership of the Assembleias de Deus . In contrast, there are representatives of the religious right such as Pastor Everaldo Pereira and Pastor Marco Feliciano from the Assembleias de Deus , who are close to the Bolsonaro government and who have made a name for themselves primarily through political scandals.
Ivanir dos Santos, chairman of the Council against Religious Intolerance, sums up that Pentecostal churches, not just in Brazil, but throughout Latin America, sought political power. Sect leader Edir Macedo stated that he “ wanted to establish a theocratic state”.
Pastor and human rights activist Frank Chikane is a church leader in South Africa . As the successor to the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu in the South African Council of Churches , he was arrested and tortured several times. Today he is a South African civil servant. In South Africa around 10 percent of all Christians belong to the new Pentecostal churches.
Prominent Pentecostals in the United States include B. Republicans Mike Pence , Sarah Palin and Richard Grenell . The political activity of the Pentecostal movement there is predominantly, but not exclusively, assigned to the conservative camp or the Christian right . Some represent dominionist positions, thus calling for the introduction of an evangelical god state, but there are substantive differences to Presbyterian Dominionists. In April 2015, Republican Michele Bachmann , who is close to the neo-charismatics, said that Obama's policy towards Iran, with which the United States was negotiating a civilian nuclear program, would lead straight into the apocalypse. However, this is basically to be welcomed, since it also means that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent, which she as a believing Christian fills with joy.
Allegations of religious intolerance
A UN report from 2009 on behalf of the Brazilian Committee against Religious Intolerance (CCIR), consisting of representatives from 18 religious communities and human rights groups, summarized that Pentecostal churches in general, and the Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus (IURD) specifically, Harassing and attacking followers of other religions and spreading religious intolerance. The IURD “demonizes” in particular the Afro-Brazilian Umbanda and Candomblé religions, so schoolchildren are impressed by evangelical teachers that “Candomblé is a matter of the devil”. Furthermore, Jews are portrayed as "Jesus murderers", Catholics as "devil worshipers", other Protestants as "false Christians" and Muslims as "demonic". The chairman of the committee summarized that "Fascism and Nazism started in this way, by demonizing other groups".
Pentecostal congregations are usually organized in a congregational manner . The church leadership usually consists of volunteer elders and full-time preachers or pastors. Voluntary work by community members is encouraged. The understanding of the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit, which is typical in Pentecostal churches, is often in tension with fixed structures.
The ordination of women is allowed in the German Pentecostal churches. No uniform statement can be made about this worldwide, since the majority of Pentecostal churches are organized in a congregational manner . However, a 2006 poll by the Pew Research Center found that Pentecostal supporters were just as supportive of the ordination of women as the average Christian.
The world's largest Pentecostal denomination is the Assemblies of God . There are also the Church of God in Christ , the New Testament Church , the Church of God (Cleveland) , the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World , the Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ and the United Pentecostal Church .
Most German Pentecostal congregations are united in the Bund Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden KdöR (BFP). In 1999 the federal government still comprised 500 congregations, in 2010 there were around 760 congregations, many of which were called the Free Christian Congregation. Legally, the municipalities in Germany are usually organized as a registered association .
Another association of German Pentecostal congregations is the Congregation of God Germany KdöR with 70 congregations and approx. 3,500 members based in Urbach , Baden-Württemberg. It is part of the international Church of God (Cleveland) , which has around 10 million members worldwide.
The first German Pentecostal congregations, which were formed from 1905 to 1908 within the community movement ( Pietism ), merged in 1913 to form the Christian Community Association Mülheim / Ruhr , which today is a small association as the Mülheimer Association of Free Church Evangelical Congregations with 44 congregations and which today consists of the essential theological foundations of the Pentecostal movement.
The Forum Freikirchlicher Pfingstgemeinden (FFP) forms an umbrella organization of Pentecostal congregations . The Mülheim Association is no longer a member of the FFP.
In addition, there is a network of Russian-German Pentecostal churches that generally call themselves “Free Evangelical Christian Churches”. The association comprises around 120 communities with around 18,000 members.
In 1923 the Pentecost message was brought to Austria by Swedish missionaries, especially in the Vienna area. In 1928 preachers of the Swiss Pentecostal movement came to the Salzkammergut. In 1946 the Free Christian Congregations were formed in Austria, of which there were 18 congregations with over 800 baptized members in the mid-1980s. Today, many Austrian Pentecostal congregations are united in the Free Christian Church Association - Pentecostal Church in Austria (FCGÖ). There is also the Pentecostal Church of God in Austria , a representation of the Cleveland Church of God , with 27 congregations and approx. 4000 members. The former has been legally recognized within the framework of the free churches in Austria since 2013 , while the latter has been a registered denominational community (since 2001).
The Swiss Pentecostal Mission comprises 63 congregations with around 9200 members. She is a member of the Association of Evangelical Free Churches and Congregations in Switzerland . In addition, and also a member of the association, there is the MovementPlus with over 5000 members in 37 local churches. In 1974 the Federation of Pentecostal Free Churches in Switzerland was founded.
The participation of Pentecostal churches in the ecumenical movement is inconsistent.
In Germany, the Federation of Free Pentecostal Churches is a member of the Association of Evangelical Free Churches and has been a guest member of the Working Group of Christian Churches in Germany since March 2011 . The congregations are partially connected to the German Evangelical Alliance at the local level .
The Mülheim Association of Free Churches Evangelical Congregations is a member of the Working Group of Christian Churches in Germany and the Association of Evangelical Free Churches.
The Pentecostal movement is rather skeptical about liberal currents (such as in the regional churches ) and traditional forms (such as in the Orthodox Church ) of Christianity. Non-Christian religions are viewed as a wrong path or misinterpretation, since salvation and forgiveness are only mediated through Jesus Christ.
- Swiss Pentecost Mission
- Free Christian Church - Pentecostal Church in Austria
- Federation of Free Church Pentecostal Congregations
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