Like most denominations, there are different kinds of Pentecostal churches. The one I’m most familiar with is the Pentecostal Holiness Church. To me, Pentecostal churches were just another variation of Christianity. Essentially, I thought they were just Baptists, minus “once saved always saved”, plus speaking in tongues. And I still sort of feel the same way. The Pentecostal church that I know, the one that I researched this month (and a half, ahem), is not much different than the other churches I visited. They believe in the Apostles Creed, they believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the believe in loving and helping others.
So what about the assumptions I shared at the start of this month?
- Pentecostals don’t cut their hair - Most Pentecostal churches don’t believe in this (or that women can’t wear pants) any more. The exception is the United Pentecostal Church, an off-shoot of the Pentecostal faith that seems to be a bit fundamentalist.
- Pentecostals believe in faith healing, and practice it regularly - All Pentecostal churches believe in it, but regular practice varies by individual church.
- Pentecostals are snake handlers – NO!! There were a handful of extremists that started this, but as a rule, no, Pentecostals aren’t snake handler.
- Pentecostals speak in tongues - We covered this. Yes, most do. But not all.
- Pentecostals are very vocal during service, lots of shouting and handraising and amening - Yes.
Most of the assumptions (especially the more extreme ones, like no hair-cutting) were related to the United Pentecostal Church, a variation of Pentecostalism that is much more strict than most. The women don’t significantly cut their hair, so they usually wear their hair in buns atop their heads. They also don’t wear makeup or much jewelry, and they always wear full-length skirts or dresses. (Reminds me of the 7th Day Adventists, or the Fundamentalist LDS Church.) This is a church I would have to spend a lot of time researching to even begin to understand.
So that’s it. Last post about the Pentecostal Church. I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts on the last 12 months over the next few weeks. I’ll even be letting you know what church I end up making my home! So stay tuned – it’s almost over.
Image by Thomas Hawk used under Creative Common License.