Although both Presbyterian and Pentecostal churches are Protestant Christians but have different theological beliefs. People get stuck while choosing because they are pretty similar. So what can we understand when we compare Pentecostal vs. Presbyterian?
Pentecostal and Presbyterian churches believe in God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible. However, they have a different Biblical stand on social issues and the works of the Holy Spirit. They also have different beliefs about Baptism.
So, what is the difference between Pentecostals and Presbyterians? What are the similarities between Pentecostal and Presbyterian? What is the theological comparison between Pentecostalism and Presbyterianism? Which came first between Pentecostal and Presbyterian? What do Presbyterians think of Pentecostals? Are Presbyterians and Pentecostals both Christians? Can Presbyterians attend Pentecostal churches? Read on to find out.
What is the difference between Pentecostals and Presbyterians?
The key contributors to the foundation of the Pentecostal church were Charles Parham and William Seymour. The origin can be dated back to the twentieth century, that is, for the modern Pentecostal. However, for the oldest Pentecostal church, it can be traced back to the 16th century. On the other hand, there were two founders of the Presbyterian Church, but in different places. These are John Calvin and John Knox. The foundation dates back to the 16th century in France by John Calvin and in Scotland by John Knox.
The origin of the names of the two churches is different. The name of the Pentecostal church came from the Pentecost day recorded in Acts 2. On the day of the Pentecost, the early church members were empowered by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke in tongues. The name is about this very day, and it is connected deeply to the theological perspective of the church regarding the Holy Spirit and His gifts. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church gets its name from its belief in church leadership. The name has its roots in Greek, and it was formed from the Greek word “Presbyteros,” which means elder. It was formed, and its meaning was described by traditions that Calvin and Knox formed. The main meaning of the churches is that they are elder-led churches.
Stand on social issues.
Also, the churches differ in the Biblical stand on social issues, that is, being conservative or liberal. Conservative churches are not in support of the idea of abortion, same-sex marriage, the use of drugs, and other things that the Bible strictly warns. On the other hand, liberal churches support things like same-sex marriage. So, Pentecostal churches have been serious conservatives and evangelicals. In the contemporary world, not even the biggest branch of Pentecostal churches, like the Assembly church, has tried to be liberal.
Unlike Pentecostal churches, Presbyterian churches have tried to move away from being conservative churches. This change of stand on social issues has brought division in the Presbyterian Church because some want to follow the rules of 500 years ago. In contrast, others are persistent about a change of perspective towards the LGBTQ community and gender-based issues. Gender-based issues, in this case, imply abortion also because it is perceived as a right for women to have a choice about their reproduction which some Presbyterians are proving to be okay with.
Theologian Perspective towards the Holy Spirit
Something else, the Pentecostal church and the Presbyterian churches differ in terms of theological perspective towards the Holy Spirit and His gifts. As mentioned earlier, the Pentecostal church gets its name from the day of the Pentecost, and it explains why their theological belief in the Holy Spirit and His gifts. The Pentecostal church believes that the gifts of the Holy Spirit that were available on the day of the Pentecost are still granted to members. For example, on the day of the Pentecost, believers were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. Today, the church believes that the gifts of the Holy Spirit, like speaking in tongues, are given to members. Therefore, the Pentecostal church is largely Arminian. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church is Calvinistic, implying that they are reformed. The church believes that gifts of the Holy Spirit were only viable for the people in the early church, especially the gift of speaking in tongues.
Also, the Pentecostal and the Presbyterian churches have different denominational churches with different congregational populations. In the Pentecostal church, there is the Assembly of God church, which has the highest population, followed by the Church of God in Christ. On the other hand, the leading church with the highest population among Presbyterian churches is the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), followed by the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA).
What are the similarities between Pentecostal and Presbyterian?
Both churches have similar theological perspectives about Heaven. New Heaven and new earth is the eternal destination of believers.
Both churches believe that no one will escape final judgment. There is Heaven, and there is hell. Believers who pass judgment will go to Heaven, while sinners will go to hell.
Second Coming of Christ and Christian Foundation
Both Churches believe in the second coming of Christ. When it comes to Jesus Christ, both churches have similar beliefs, and it makes sense because Jesus is the founder of Christianity. They believe that Jesus Christ comes second in the Trinity. He was born a virgin and lived on earth serving God and ministering. He was betrayed, rejected, crucified, died, resurrected, and ascended into Heaven. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross saved the human race.
Origin of Sin
Also, both Pentecostal and Presbyterian churches also believe that human beings are born sinners. God created man and woman in His image and likeness and put them in paradise—the Garden of Eden. They were instructed not to taste the fruit of the middle tree, but Satan tricked them into tasting it, leading to man’s fall. By tasting the forbidden fruit, more human beings were born, meaning they were products of sin. That is precisely why both churches believe that people are born sinners. Therefore each person requires redemption.
What is the theological comparison between Pentecostalism and Presbyterianism?
When you compare the theology of the Pentecostal church with the theology of the Presbyterian Church, you will realize that they are a little different, even though they are all Christian churches.
Authority from the Bible
First, the Pentecostal church gets its authority from the Bible, and they believe in the inspiration of the scriptures. In addition, they believe that the Bible does not lie, i.e., it is infallible. Lastly, the Bible does not have any errors, according to Pentecostals. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church does get its authority from the Bible and still believes in the inspiration of the scripture. However, conservative Presbyterians believe that the Bible is infallible and inerrant, while Liberal Presbyterians believe alternatively.
Beliefs about God
Secondly, the two churches have comparatively different beliefs about God. The Pentecostal church has two beliefs about God, depending on the group. The larger Pentecostal group believes that God is fully divine and part of the Holy Trinity. However, there is the oneness Pentecostal church that does not believe in the Holy Trinity but in God. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church believes in the Holy Trinity and that God is part of the Holy Trinity and each member is fully divine.
Although both churches believe that it is only through Jesus Christ that they disagree about God having chosen some and left some for salvation, the Pentecostal church has Arminian beliefs and believes God has given all people free will to choose salvation. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church believes that God has chosen those He wants to save and left others that He does not intend to save.
The Pentecostal church’s belief in Baptism greatly differs from the Presbyterian beliefs about Baptism. The Pentecostal church requires that a believer personally accepts Christ as their personal savior before they get baptized. For someone to accept Jesus, they must be fully grown to understand what they mean when they say they are born again. Therefore, it implies that Pentecostals do not baptize infants. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church believes in both infant and adult Baptism by means of sprinkling. To them, Baptism means that the member gets included in the covenant community.
While partaking in their Holy Communion, the Pentecostal church believes that the bread and cup are memorials of Christ’s crucifixion. It reminds them that He will come back again. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church refutes the idea that the Holy Communion is a symbol of remembrance and embraces the idea that Jesus is always spiritually present in the Holy Communion.
The work of the Holy Spirit
Also, the two churches hold different beliefs about the Holy Spirit and His work. The Pentecostal church believes in the divinity of the Holy Spirit and applies Jesus’s salvation, and grants Christians spiritual gifts. They believe that there is the second Baptism through the Holy Spirit that Christians should seek and experience. On the other hand, Presbyterians believe similarly, save for the idea that the Holy Spirit gives second Baptism.
Reign of Christ
Pentecostals believe the millennial reign of Christ is literal and meant to come forth after rapture and seven years of tribulation. On the other hand, the Presbyterian Church is millennial. They imply that the millennial reign of Christ is figurative, and it is the period between the first and second coming of Christ.
Although both churches believe that Jesus can heal today even when He is not physically on earth, they differ a little. Pentecostals take healing and deliverance as an integral part of the gospel, while Presbyterians do not.
Which came first between Pentecostal and Presbyterian?
The Presbyterian came first before Pentecostal. The Pentecostal church was formed in the 20th century. The Presbyterian dates back to the 16th century. However, they say that the oldest Pentecostal also existed in the 16th century.
What do Presbyterians think of Pentecostals?
Presbyterians are a little suspicious about Pentecostals who speak in tongues. However, they believe that Pentecostals are also Christians despite their different beliefs. Also, their agreeing about God, Jesus, and the Bible creates mutual respect.
Are Presbyterians and Pentecostals both Christians?
Presbyterians and Pentecostals are both Christians because they believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. They get their authority from the Bible. Lastly, they believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
Can Presbyterians attend Pentecostal churches?
Presbyterians can attend Pentecostal churches because they have a common belief in God. Secondly, they both get authority from the Bible. Lastly, both churches preach life after death, and judgment day is inevitable. The problem is that Presbyterians might be uncomfortable in Pentecostal churches because Pentecostals are so expressive with their worship, while Presbyterians are reserved and formal.
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