Being in the Christian ministry for years has taught me that Protestantism and Pentecostalism
are similar in so many ways. As a Biblical scholar, I often hear people engage in the Pentecostal
vs. Protestant debate and ask whether these two have different beliefs.
My goal in this article is to uncover the difference between Protestants and Pentecostal. Join
me on this exploration as we share the similarities between Protestant and Pentecostal and
discuss which came first between Protestant and Pentecostal. I will also explain what
Pentecostals think of Protestants and whether Pentecostals and Protestants are both
Christians. Keep reading also to learn whether Pentecostals can attend Protestant churches.
What is the difference between Protestants and Pentecostal?
There exist some differences between the Protestant and the Pentecostal movements. The table below shows these differences.
|Beliefs, values, and practices||Protestantism||Pentecostalism|
|Name||The name Protestant comes from the Latin word Protestatio which means declaration. Protestantism includes all Christian churches that emerged during the Protestant Reformation.||The name Pentecostal comes from the term Pentecost an event in Christianity that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples and other followers of Jesus. The group was in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks.|
|Origin||Protestantism emerged during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. The Reformation started in 1517 when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses at the front door of the Castle Roman Catholic Church.||Pentecostalism emerged during the 20th century and was started by adherents of the Wesleyan-Holiness movement. They were motivated by the expectations for the imminent 2nd coming of the Messiah and Christian revivalism.|
|Founder||Protestantism was founded by Martin Luther, a German reformer and monk. He was unhappy with the malpractices and corruption in the Roman Catholic Church. For instance, he was strongly against the sale of indulgences in the Church.||Charles Parham is considered the founder of the Pentecostalism movement. He was motivated by the belief that the end time was near.|
|Early influencers||Early influencers of the Protestant movement include Martin Luther, Calvin John, Ulrich Zwingli, and John Calvin (Calvinism).||Early influencers of the Pentecostal movement include Charles Parham, an American faith healer and Evangelist, and William J. Seymour, a Wesleyan-Holiness preacher.|
|Membership||Approximately thirty-seven percent of all Christians worldwide attend Protestant churches. This is about nine hundred million to one billion members.||The Pentecostal movement boasts around 279 million followers across the globe.|
|Worship||Protestants have a more formal worship service.||Pentecostals emphasize experiencing the Holy Spirit speaking in tongues during worship and prayers.|
|View of Baptism||Protestants believe that Baptism as a rite makes one a full member of the Church.||Pentecostals believe in the doctrine of Baptism in the Holy Spirit. They believe that Baptism enables one to live an empowered and spirit-filled life. The empowerment of using your spiritual gifts, such as divine healing and speaking in tongues. They view Baptism as a conversion rite.|
|View of the Holy Communion||Protestants believe the Holy Communion is a continuation of a rite that Jesus Christ started during his time here on earth.||Pentecostals believe that the Lord’s Supper is a reminder of the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on behalf of Humankind. It also works as anticipation for his second coming.|
|Salvation||Protestants believe that God’s grace can only save a believer through faith in Jesus Christ/the Son of God alone.||Pentecostalism teaches that salvation can only be achieved through Christ. Churches in this movement emphasize that everyone has free will to choose faith and repentance.|
|Perfectionism||Pentecostals believe that all humans are prone to sin and make mistakes but are redeemed through faith and trust in Christ.||Pentecostalism teaches that a believer can live a pure/perfect life here on earth.|
What are the similarities between Protestant and Pentecostal?
There are more similarities than differences between the Protestant and Pentecostal movements. The table below shows these similarities.
|Beliefs, values, and practices||Protestantism||Pentecostalism|
|Nature of God||Protestants believe in the Holy Trinity. They believe in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.||Pentecostals also believe in the Holy Trinity. This is the belief that God exists in three forms; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.|
|View of Jesus Christ||Protestants believe Jesus Christ is the 2nd person in the Holy Trinity/the Song of God.||Pentecostals also believe that Jesus Christ is the 2nd person in the Holy Trinity/the Song of God.|
|Day of Worship||Protestants go to Church on Sundays.||Pentecostals attend church services on Sundays.|
|Source of Authority in the Church||Protestants believe that the Hebrew Bible/the Holy Scriptures are the sole sources of authority in the Church.||Pentecostals believe the Holy Scriptures are the only sources of divine inspiration in the Church.|
|Bible Used||Protestant churches use the Hebrew Bible. This is the Bible with 66 books. Martin Luther decided to use the Hebrew Bible because the 7 extra books in the Catholic Bible contradict the teachings of the other 66 books in the Bible. An example is the doctrine of purgatory, which states that there is a place between Heaven and earth where all believers will go to be purified before entering Heaven.||Pentecostals use the Hebrew Bible. This is so mainly because they are part of the Protestant movement. As I mentioned, Protestant churches use the Hebrew Bible because they do not affirm some doctrines and teachings in the deuterocanonical books.|
|Sacraments||Protestant churches have only two sacraments; the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.||Pentecostalism is part of the Protestant movement. Like other churches and movements in the Protestant movement, Pentecostals have only two sacraments; Baptism and the Holy Communion.|
|Purgatory||Protestants reject the belief that purgatory exists. According to Catholics, purgatory is a place between earth and Heaven where all believers will pass through for the cleansing of sins before entering Heaven.||Pentecostals also reject the doctrine of a Purgatory.|
|Heaven||Protestants believe that Heaven exists and is where all righteous people will go after judgment day.||Pentecostals also believe in the doctrine of Heaven. They say that Heaven is where all righteous people will go after judgment day.|
|Hell||Protestants believe that hell exists and is where all unrepentant sinners and non-believers will go after judgment day.||Pentecostals believe that hell is a place where all sinners will burn for eternity after judgment day.|
|View of the end of times||Protestants believe in the second coming of the Messiah.||Pentecostals also believe in the second coming of Christ.|
Which came first between Protestant and Pentecostal?
Protestantism came before Pentecostalism. Protestantism emerged during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. The Reformation started in 1517 when Martin Luther posted his Ninety-Five Theses at the front door of the Castle Roman Catholic Church.
Conversely, Pentecostalism emerged during the 20th century and was started by adherents of the Wesleyan-Holiness movement. They were motivated by the expectations for the imminent 2nd coming of the Messiah and Christian revivalism.
Pentecostalism came four millennia after the establishment of the Protestant movement. It is important to note that all Pentecostals are Protestants, but not all Protestants are Pentecostals.
What do Pentecostals think of Protestants?
Pentecostals think of Protestants as family. As shown above, the two movements have more similarities than differences. Also, as I mentioned, Pentecostalism is a part of Protestantism. Therefore, Pentecostal beliefs, values, and practices are similar to those of other churches in the Protestant movement.
Are Pentecostals and Protestants both Christians?
Protestant churches emerged during the 16th-century Protestant Reformation. The churches broke from the Roman Catholic Church, a continuation of the early Christian Church that Christ and his disciples started. Additionally, the beliefs, values, and practices of the Protestant churches are based on the teachings of Christ. As I mentioned, Pentecostalism is part of the Protestant movement. Therefore, Pentecostals and Protestants are Christians.
Can Pentecostals attend Protestant churches?
Pentecostals can attend Protestant churches. All Protestant churches have an open-door policy. They welcome people from other churches to attend their church services. However, it is essential to note that it might be unacceptable for a Pentecostal to participate in the Holy Communion in other Protestant churches if you have not been baptized and confirmed.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.