Pentecostal vs. Evangelical: Do they have different beliefs?

Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism are Christian movements that share much in common because they are part of the Protestant movement started in 1517 by Martin Luther. However, scholars are trying to establish whether the two have different beliefs in the famous Evangelical vs. Pentecostal debate.

Pentecostal and Evangelicalism have different beliefs. The significant difference between the two is that Pentecostals firmly believe in the baptism with the Holy Ghost that enables a firm Christian to live A Holy Spirit-filled and empowered life. Spirit-filled individuals receive gifts such as divine healing and speaking in tongues. On the other hand, not all Evangelicals believe in baptism with the Holy Spirit.

What is the difference between Pentecostals and Evangelicals? What are the similarities between Pentecostal and Evangelical? Which came first between Pentecostal and Evangelical? What do Evangelicals think of Pentecostals? Are Evangelicals and Pentecostals both Christians? Can Evangelicals attend Pentecostal churches? Read on to find answers to these questions!

What is the difference between Pentecostals and Evangelicals?

There are several differences between Pentecostals and Evangelicals. The table below shows the main differences between the two Christian belief systems.

Beliefs Pentecostalism Evangelicalism
NameThe name Pentecostal comes from the word Pentecost. This event celebrates the descent of the Holy Ghost upon Christ’s Apostles and other followers in Jerusalem during the Feast of Weeks, Acts 2:1-31.The name Evangelical is derived from the Greek term euangelion, which means good news.
OriginThe origin of the Pentecostalism movement can be traced back to the early 20th century. It was started by firm adherents of the Wesleyan-Holiness movement driven by the expectation that Christ was returning soon and Christian revivalism.The origin of the Evangelicalism movement can be traced back to 1738. Different theological streams contributed to the foundation of this movement. The streams include; Moravianism, Presbyterianism, Quakerism, Puritanism, Radical Pietism, and Pietism.
Early influencersEarly influencers include; Charles Parham, William J. Seymour, Dwight L. Moody, Albert Benjamin Simpson, and R. A. Torrey.Early influencers include; John Wesley and the early Methodists, bishop Nicholas Zinzendorf, Martin Lloyd-Jones, William J. Seymour, Francisco Olazabal, John Scott, Gudina Tumsa, Harold Ockenga, Bill Bright, Billy Graham, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and George Fox.
The Lord’s SupperPentecostals believe that elements (bread and wine) used during the Lord’s Supper are memorials of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and His death for the atonement of man’s sin. However, they reject the widespread belief in Catholicism that Christ’s blood and body are present in the elements.Evangelicals have different views about the Lord’s Supper. For instance, Baptists believe that the elements used in the Lord’s Supper are just memorials of Christ’s sacrifice. On the other hand, Lutherans believe that Christ’s blood and body are present in the elements.
BaptismPentecostals firmly believe in baptism with the Holy Spirit.Not all Evangelicals believe in baptism with the Holy Spirit.
View of End of TimesPentecostals are premillennial. They believe that Jesus Christ will return and reign for 1000 years here.Evangelicals can be post-millennial, millennial, or premillennial.

What are the similarities between Pentecostal and Evangelical?

There are many similarities between Pentecostalism and Evangelicalism. The table below shows the main similarities between the two Christian movements.

Beliefs Pentecostalism Evangelicalism
Nature of GodPentecostals believe in the triune nature of God. This is the belief that God exists in three forms; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.Evangelicals also believe in the triune nature of God.
JesusPentecostals believe that Jesus is the 2nd Deity in the triune nature of God.Evangelicals also believe that Christ is the 2nd Deity in the triune nature of God.
Biblical InerrancyPentecostals adhere to the inerrancy of the Bible. They believe that the Holy Scriptures are without error in their teachings.Evangelicals also adhere to the inerrancy of the Bible.
The doctrine of Penal-substitutionary AtonementPentecostals believe that Jesus’ death redeemed man from his sinful nature.Evangelicals also believe that Jesus died on the cross so that man’s sins could be forgiven.
Holy SpiritPentecostals believe in baptism through the Holy Ghost, after which a believer is spirit-filled, can speak in tongues, possess the power to heal, and do miracles.Evangelicals believe in the existence of the Holy Spirit. However, not all Evangelical churches affirm the practice of speaking in tongues.
OrdinancesPentecostals observe two ordinances; the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) and baptism.Evangelicals also observe two ordinances; the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion) and baptism.
OrganizationPentecostalism is not a Church (Christian denomination) but a belief system that several Protestant churches hold.Evangelicalism is not a Church (denomination) but a Christian movement followed by many Protestant churches. Evangelical denominations have Presbyterian, congregational or Episcopalian forms of government.
Being Born AgainPentecostals agree that a new rebirth (being born again) is necessary for those wishing to become firm Christians.Evangelicals affirm the essentiality of being born again.
The doctrine of the PurgatoryPentecostals reject the doctrine of Purgatory. They do not believe in a place between Heaven and Hell.Evangelicals also reject the doctrine of Purgatory. They do not believe in a place between Heaven and Hell.
BiblePentecostals believe that the Bible is the sole source of authority on Church practice and faith.Evangelicals also firmly believe that the Bible is the sole source of authority on Church practice and faith.
Bible UsedPentecostals use the Hebrew Bible. The Bible with 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament.Evangelicals also use the Hebrew Bible.

Which came first between Pentecostal and Evangelical?

Evangelicalism came before Pentecostalism. The origin of the Evangelicalism movement can be traced back to 1738. Different theological streams contributed to the foundation of this movement. The streams include; Moravianism, Presbyterianism, Quakerism, Puritanism, Radical Pietism, and Pietism. Conversely, the origin of the Pentecostalism movement can be traced back to the early 20th century. It was started by firm adherents of the Wesleyan-Holiness movement driven by the expectation that Christ was returning soon and Christian revivalism. Therefore, Evangelicalism came earlier.

Pentecostal vs. Evangelical
What do Evangelicals think of Pentecostals? See below

What do Evangelicals think of Pentecostals?

Evangelicals view Pentecostals as brothers and sisters in Christ. The Pentecostalism movement is part of the Evangelicalism movement. Therefore, the two movements have more similarities than differences. For instance, the two movements share similar beliefs about the nature of God, Biblical inerrancy, being born again, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the doctrine of Penal-substitutionary atonement, and more. The only significant difference between the two movements is their view on baptism. Pentecostals believe in baptism with the Holy Ghost. Not all Evangelicals believe in baptism through the Holy Ghost.

Are Evangelicals and Pentecostals both Christians?

Evangelicalism and Pentecostalism are Christian movements. As I mentioned, they are both parts of the Protestant movement, and Pentecostalism is part of the Evangelicalism movement. The Protestant movement is a 16th-century reformation started by reformists within the Catholic Church, citing abuses and malpractices such as the sale of indulgences. The movement was started by Martin Luther in 1517 when he posted the 95 Theses on the front door of the Catholic cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany. This incident gave birth to the Protestant movement across Europe. It is out of this Reformation that Evangelicalism was born during the 18th century. The Pentecostal movement was born out of the Evangelicalism movement at the start of the 20th century.

Can Evangelicals attend Pentecostal churches?

Evangelicals can attend Pentecostal churches because, as explained above, Pentecostalism is part of the Evangelical movement. It is for this reason that Pentecostals and Evangelicals have similar beliefs. Therefore, if an Evangelical decides to attend a Pentecostal Church, they will feel a bit at home. The only thing that people from other Evangelical churches might find odd when attending a Pentecostal Church is the practice of speaking in tongues. Also, some Evangelical churches practice infant baptism, which Pentecostals reject.

References

10differences.org. (2022). Pentecostal vs. Catholic: All the differences explained. Retrieved January 11, 2023

faithpro.org. (2018). Evangelical, charismatic, and Pentecostal Christians- what’s the difference? Retrieved January 11, 2023

fullerstudio.fuller.edu. (2017). Evangelicals, Pentecostals, and Charismatics: A difficult relationship or promising convergence? Retrieved January 11, 2023

GotQuestions.org. (2009, December 05). What is the Pentecostal Church and what do Pentecostals believe? Retrieved January 11, 2023

pluralism.org. (n.d.). Evangelicalism, fundamentalism, and Pentecostalism. Retrieved January 11, 2023

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