Glossary of Pentecostal History

Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ—See Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ.


Apostolic Faith—A term broadly used by early American and European Pentecostals.  Charles Fox Parham began a publication called The Apostolic Faith before 1900.  The name was adopted for William J. Seymour’s periodical published in Los Angeles.  At Azusa Street, the name Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission was painted on the side of the building in the fall of 1906.  The term ‘Apostolic’ lost some popularity after Charles Parham’s moral problems, and Trinitarians further distanced themselves from the nomenclature after 1916 with the broad use of the term ‘Apostolic’ amongst Oneness Pentecostal organizations and fellowships.


Assemblies of GodThe Assemblies of God formed in 1914 as an effort to coordinate efforts for evangelization and missions work.  The first superintendent Joseph Roswell Flower became a staunch opponent of Oneness doctrine, which compromised the unity of the organization early on.  Several of the organizations most prominent leaders and preachers adopted the Oneness view of Jesus Christ including R.E. McAlister, Howard A. Goss, Lemuel C. Hall, and Daniel C.O. Opperman.  In 1916, 156 ministers withdrew from the Assemblies of God because of the outright denunciation of Oneness teaching.


Azusa StreetThe veritable birthplace of modern Pentecostalism, Azusa Street Mission was the name given to a converted building that served as the meeting place of the first Pentecostal group in Los Angeles, California.  Meetings began at 312 Azusa in April 1906 under the leadership of William Joseph Seymour and became the epicenter of Pentecostal revival.  Thousands of workers, evangelists, missionaries, and pastors received the baptism of the Holy Ghost at Azusa Street, and the “initial evidence” doctrine was predominantly broadcast by the mission’s publication, The Apostolic Faith and by the diaspora of baptized saints carrying the message from Azusa Street worldwide.


Baptism (Water)—Most early Pentecostals, who emerged from Wesleyan Holiness and Baptistic groups, practiced water baptism by immersion.  Charles Fox Parham began baptizing in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ around 1901.  Most Pentecostals used trine baptism until 1913, when several attendees at the World Wide Pentecostal Camp Meeting in Arroyo Seco, California became convinced that the proper New Testament formula for baptism was “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  The baptismal issue and corollary doctrines became divisive in the early movement, segmenting Pentecostalism into Trinitarian and Oneness camps.  Oneness Pentecostals baptize exclusively in the singular formula (Acts 2:38, 19.5, 22.16).


Baptism (Spirit)—Baptism in the Spirit is the hallmark of the Pentecostal movement.  Pentecostals universally embrace the “initial evidence” doctrine, or the idea that the Baptism of the Holy Ghost is evidenced by the manifestation of speaking in tongues.  Charles Fox Parham and the students at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas adopted this theology in 1900 after intense Bible study of the Acts of the Apostles.  The soteriological significance of the baptism of the Holy Ghost has been variously understood.  Most Trinitarian groups view the baptism as a blessing rather than regenerative.  Contemporary Oneness Pentecostals generally view Spirit baptism as a necessary component of the New Birth.


Bethel Bible College—Founded in Topeka, Kansas in 1900, Bethel was a residential school where Charles Fox Parham taught approximately 40 students.  The group became persuaded of the initial evidence doctrine and replicated the New Testament Pentecostal baptism on 1 January 1901 when Agnes Ozman, a young woman at the school, received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues.


Blessed Truth—Early Oneness publication edited by Daniel C.O. Opperman.


Brush Arbor—A primitive and temporary structure common amongst early Pentecostal groups that provided some shelter for outdoor revival meetings.  Many Pentecostal churches emerged from brush arbor or tent revival meetings.


Camp Meeting—A gathering of Pentecostals, usually from a wide geographic area, for an extended period.  Services were held daily, and early Pentecostal camp meetings last from several days to several months.


Christian Catholic Apostolic Church—Restorationist church formed by John Alexander Dowie.  Dowie began a utopian community in 1900 in Zion, Illinois where he practiced faith healing and preached holy living.  Dowie became increasingly eccentric, identifying himself as Elijah the Restorer in 1901.  Ultimately, the community crumbled under his failing leadership and became a seedbed of Pentecostal revival.  Charles Fox Parham began meetings in Zion in 1906, and many early Pentecostal leaders including John Lake, Daniel C.O. Opperman, and F.F. Bosworth converted from Dowieism.


Church of God in Christ—Formed in 1897, the Church of God in Christ became Pentecostal body by virtue of the Pentecostal baptism of one of the organization’s founders, Charles Mason.  The Church of God in Christ did not accept William Durham’s doctrine of sanctification and sustained their Holiness ideas.  Today, the COGIC is the largest, African American Pentecostal organization.


Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ—Oneness organization formed by Robert C. Lawson, who broke with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1919 after unresolved disagreements about women ministers with PAW leadership and Bishop G.T. Haywood.


Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ—See Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ.


Faith Line—Pentecostal jargon for subsisting “by faith”, believing that God will supply the necessities of living for His people.


Finished Work of Calvary—(See also sanctification)—The idea formulated by William H. Durham, a Pentecostal pastor in Chicago, that Christ’s redemptive work sanctifies the believer at salvation rather than in a second, separate spiritual crisis after conversion.


General Assembly of Apostolic Assemblies—The first Oneness organization formed after the exodus of Oneness ministers from the Assemblies of God in 1916.


Glory March–See Victory March. 


Glossolalia—See Tongues.


Heavenly Choir—Sometimes referred to as the “angelic choir.”  This was an early Pentecostal manifestation of corporate singing under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.  There were several reports of the spontaneous phenomenon at Azusa Street, and singing in tongues continues to be variously practiced in the modern Pentecostal movement.


Holiness Movement—The Holiness Movement swept the United States during the 1860s and 1870s and grew out of Wesleyan Perfectionism, or the notion that regenerated man can be empowered to live above sin.  The Holiness Movement viewed sanctification as a separate crisis after conversion and often equated the “Second Work of Grace” with the Pentecostal baptism.  Many early Pentecostals emerged from the Holiness Movement, viewing speaking in tongues as a “Third Blessing.”


Holiness Standards—An expression denoting the practical guidelines of Christian living as derived from the Scriptures and general consensus of church leadership and culture.  Standards generally refer to the body of teachings concerning disciplines of the Christian life including regulation of dress, adornment, and conduct.  Holy living was an innate part of the early Pentecostal movement as many of its adherents were emerging from ascetic Wesleyan traditions.  Oneness Pentecostals generally maintain a conservative definition of holiness living including positions against women cutting their hair, the wearing of cosmetics, jewelry, or immodest clothing, and worldly activities and entertainments such as attendance at movies, dances, or organized sports. 


Holy Roller—A generally pejorative term applied to Pentecostals based on the popular manifestation of rolling on the floor in ecstasy.


Initial Evidence (Doctrine of)—The idea that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is always evidenced by the manifestation of speaking in tongues as the followers of Christ had done on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.  Charles Fox Parham developed the modern idea of the initial evidence doctrine and propagated this message through evangelization and his publication, The Apostolic Faith.

Jericho March–See Victory March.


Jesus Only—Originally used in reference to the use of the singular baptismal formula by Oneness Pentecostals.  The phrase was not initially pejorative.  In fact, it appears on the logo of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World designed by Bishop G.T. Haywood.  In time, “Jesus Only” was misunderstood to refer to the incorrect idea that Oneness believers denied the Father and Holy Ghost and accepted only the person of Jesus Christ.  This misuse of the term has been sustained as evidenced by E. Calvin Beisner’s 1998 publication of the anti-Oneness book Jesus Only Churches.  Oneness apologists and preachers have sometimes extracted the phrase from Matthew 17.8 and Mark 9.8 as evidence that Christ is the only visible manifestation of the invisible Godhead. 


Meat in Due Season—Early Oneness publication edited by Frank Ewart.

Modal Monarchiansm–A modern denotation for an ancient view of the Godhead.  Widely criticized during the 3rd and 4th centuries by emerging Trinitarian apologists, including Tertullian and Hippolytus, the Monarchians apparently rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, preaching that Christ was Himself God, manifested in human flesh.  Their tenets resemble modern Oneness views of God.


New Issue—The name given by Trinitarian Assemblies of God leadership to emergent Oneness doctrine.  The term was especially popular between 1913 and the exodus of Oneness ministers from the AG in 1916.


Oneness Movement—Oneness Pentecostals emerged from within the greater movement in 1913 following a baptismal service held at the World Wide Pentecostal Camp Meeting in Arroyo Seco, California.  R.E. McAlister, a Canadian evangelist, preached concerning the baptismal formula, noting that Matthew 28.19 was never used as an invocation in the New Testament.  His sermon ignited renewed interest in the Apostolic model of baptism, and Frank Ewart became persuaded that baptism should be administered in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the singular name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Ewart ignited a controversy within the nascent Pentecostal movement that resulted in the division of Pentecostals into Oneness and Trinitarian segments.  Seeking to recover true Apostolic faith, the Oneness movement affirms the strict monotheism of Judaism, describing Christ as the corporal manifestation of the Father, and the Holy Ghost as the one, eternal Spirit of God. 


Pentecostal Church, Incorporated—The Pentecostal Church Incorporated was renamed from the Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance in 1932.  The group had emerged after white ministers withdrew from the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1924.  Howard Goss led the PCI and was elected the first General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church, which formed when the PCI merged with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ in 1945.


Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ—In 1924, the white ministers in the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World withdrew from the organization citing difficulties in spreading the Gospel.  Emmanuel’s Church in Jesus Christ and the Apostolic Churches of Jesus Christ merged to form the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ.  In 1932, the ACJC reunited briefly with the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World adopting the name Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ.  Bishop S.K. Grimes of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World renewed the charter for the parent fellowship, and the PAJC became an almost exclusively white Oneness organization.  In 1945, the PAJC merged with the Pentecostal Church, Inc. to form the United Pentecostal Church.


Pentecostal Assemblies of the WorldOne of the earliest Pentecostal organizations, chartered in 1906.  The group joined the Oneness movement in 1915 when G.T. Haywood, the first Presiding Bishop of the PAW, was rebaptized in the Name of Jesus in Indianapolis, Indiana and accepted the Oneness doctrine.  Today, the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World represents the largest of the predominantly African American Apostolic Pentecostal church organizations.


Pentecostal Ministerial Alliance—See Pentecostal Church Incorporated.


Pentecostal Movement—Early Pentecostals were fiercely anti-denominational and viewed themselves as part of a transformative movement rather than an organizational body.  Many early Pentecostals refused to organize and believed that efforts to form fellowships would ultimately lead to the demise of the movement.  Despite the formation of organizations, Oneness Pentecostals continue to define themselves as a movement rather than a denomination. 


Pentecostal Testimony—Publication of William H. Durham of Chicago.  This paper, which began publication in 1911, propagated the Finished Work at Calvary doctrine.


Sanctification—Sanctification literally means “separation.”  During the Holiness revival of the late nineteenth century, sanctification was viewed as a post-conversional crisis which imparted to the believer supernatural power to overcome sin.  Early Pentecostals often viewed sanctification as a “Second Blessing” and hailed the Pentecostal baptism, evidenced by speaking in tongues, as a tertiary blessing.  William H. Durham, a Pentecostalist from Chicago, became convinced that sanctification occurred at salvation and continued as a work of grace throughout the life of faith.  This doctrine, known as the “Finished Work of Calvary”, split the fledgling Pentecostal movement.  Durham’s ideas were embraced by the Assemblies of God, from which most Oneness believers emerged.  His theory of sanctification is prominently accepted amongst Oneness Pentecostals.  Other Pentecostal leaders maintained the original Holiness perspective.  Charles Mason, first Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ did not accept Durham’s message.  The Church of God in Christ, the largest African American Pentecostal group, continues to embrace sanctification as a separate, second spiritual experience.


Sixteen Fundamental Truths—The creedal statement adopted by the Assemblies of God in 1916 in an effort to alienate Oneness Pentecostal adherents.  The ratification of the strongly Trinitarian creed resulted in the withdraw of 156 Oneness ministers at the General Council. 


Standards—See Holiness Standards

Third Blessing–Pentecostal converts from the Holiness Movement widely taught that the Pentecostal baptism, evidenced by speaking in tongues, was subsequent to salvation and sanctification.  Sanctification was popularly referred to as the “Second Blessing”, and the baptism of the Spirit was known as the “Third Blessing” because of its sequential relationship to the crises of initial salvation and sanctification.  Those who embraced “Finished Work of Calvary” doctrine rejected the notion of sanctification as a separate work and did not employ this language.

Tongues (Evidential)—On the Day of Pentecost, Christ’s followers spoke in tongues, inspired by the Holy Ghost to speak in languages unknown to them.  Throughout the Book of Acts, tongues is mentioned as accompanying the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2.4; Acts 10.46; Acts 19.6).  Modern Pentecostals identify speaking in tongues as the initial evidence of Spirit baptism, replicating the experience of the disciples in the Upper Room in Acts 2.


Tongues (Gift of)—Also called tongues/interpretation, the Gift of Tongues denotes a communicative mode of the Holy Spirit by which a speaker delivers a message in an unknown language under inspiration that is then interpreted in the vernacular language of the congregation.  The administration of the Gift of Tongues is outlined in I Corinthians 14 by St. Paul.

Union Meeting–Generally, union meetings were interdenominational gatherings of Christians for fellowship services.  Early Pentecostal revivalists often found open invitations at such meetings.  Sometimes, the welcome was not extended after preaching or testifying about the baptism of the Holy Ghost. 


United Pentecostal Church—The organizational name of the merger of the Pentecostal Church, Inc. led by Howard A. Goss and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Jesus Christ, led by W.T. Witherspoon.  The 1945 merger formed the largest group of white Oneness Pentecostals and was the ultimate reunification of the various organizations that formed after the white constituency of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World withdrew in 1924 citing evangelization difficulties because of the racial intricacies of the parent fellowship.  Today, the United Pentecostal Church International is the largest Oneness Pentecostal body.


Victory March–The Victory March, variously known also as a Glory March or Jericho March, is a spontaneous procession of worshippers.  Usually marchers circle the outer aisles or perimeter of a building or tent shouting praises to God and rejoicing.  There is generally some implicit or explicit connection to the Israelites who circled the walls of Jericho led by Joshua.


Voice in the Wilderness—Publication of G.T. Haywood of Indianapolis, Indiana.  It began circulation in 1910 and became the official organ of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World in 1918.



9 Responses to “Glossary of Pentecostal History”

  1. miguel que Says:

    Hi. Know anywhere i can get pictures, cartoon images of early pentecostal manifestations (like rolling, laughing, shaking)

  2. Talina Pyne Says:

    very good work the lord must be pleased ur reward is in heaven

  3. Frank Febus Says:

    Your information here seems to be accurate but you have left out aprox. 1900 yrs. of Apostolic history out of your presentation. The Apostolic movement began on the day of Pentecost 2000 yrs. ago and never became a part trinity movement as some Apostolics assume. The lack of accurate information on our historical roots have lead most to believe we morphed out of the Protestant Reformation. Luther and Calvin hated our people and persecuted them. They burned our people at the stake and jailed thousands. I wish Apostolics would do a more thorough study on their history. They would be less inclined to look at trinitarians as their “brothers”. Our true brothers bear our Fathers Name.
    Pastor Frank Febus
    Chattanooga, Tenn.

  4. Dr. Gary W. Garrett Says:

    I found this site to be very informative!

  5. Miss Veronica Shumpert Says:

    Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heaven: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right had” and in St Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the …and of the.. and of the … (Acts 2:38-40 Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of….Save yourselves from this untoward generation) St John 19:28-37 “And again anothe scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced”Hebrews 1:1-13 “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies my footstool? St Marks 9:7 “And there was a cloud that overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son; hear him (Isaiah 9:6) and Acts 4:8-12 “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel……..Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” St John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” God sent Christ and apart of him dwelleth within, yet with understanding God the Almighty visited us upon this earth not from the burning bush, and is dwelling in mankind by the desiring and wanting. All must obey the spirit from the pulpit to those sitting in the pews Acts 19:1-6, 7 who were the disciples who was christians now are Apostles St Matthew 10: 2-4 and in Acts 1:1-2:14, 15-21″And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. A name that came from Heaven to deliver, save, and heal many in spirit, body, and soul. God is a Saviour and he sent a saviour and when judgement day come know one will escape the word of God spoken unto us which Christ came to alert us “How” the creator, maker is still and has not changed. A plan was sent and now to escape our punishment we must be found as he said is exceptable unto him and not in our way or ways. Oh Gentile or Jew, this is an individual walk before God and if you step out you shall be delivered and saved by excepting Christ as the manna that came from God which is of God and be apart of the communion to be saved. Genesis 2:16, 17 brought transgression against God and sin came alive. Yet after the flood a promise was kept and punish to have with a vow shall be forfilled for the disobedient and workers of inquity. God is not a liar (Number 23:19 and has not changed Malachi 3:7 Do we see the bow in the sky in which we call a rainbow, the rain does not cover the entire earth whereby all is comsume or is not to survive from the water to live. Yet he is not a murder when Cain was not destroyed but given life. I said one day drown because we cannot swim to overcome the rain but this is harsh and I will ask for forgiveness by thinking but in response to let someone know God is loving and he did not want to destroy mankind, he was grieved and tired of what was taken place and we knew what we were doing. Now we must get it right with him and the only way is by deliverance and forgiveness. Hardship comes from transgression, and sins comes from when one is acting in ways shouldn’t and know not to conform and did or doing it anyway. Now we must repent and get it right while the sun is shining and we can see the moon as was made not the shine to see as was and the moon unto blood. Tribulation is coming and the very one to acknowledge the very transaction committed before Christ gave up the Ghost and than when gave up the Ghost to acknowledge and must bow down unto him will because God has predesignated and it shall come to past because the prophet told us or servants yield to alert us of the works that will take place before we have our resting place and we must be free from all sins that God want covered under the blood of deliverance and sins cleansed from the water of submerging like Jesus Had also set for the way to be free. When stand before God the Almighty to be judge from things done on this earth in the land of the living.

  6. Sister Veronica Shumpert Says:

    The word came alive and now many are wearing the name because of obedience to Acts 2:38 this shut the mouth of the roaring enemy which is God’s adversay, and our enemy. Since then I am not ashame and mighty glad about it. He has been mighty good unto I, and it took a God to do the things like he has done in these last and evil days. Many do not want to bow down and many is still in denial but it want do any of them any good but come subject because of the operation of the truth forfilled. By having what the the Lord Jesus Christ has setting an example letting us know likewise so shall or will be if we hearken unto the Lord himself. Because of his true love, grace, compassion, forgiveness from the heart in these last and evil days. There is but one God like the bible says it and one Lord and Saviour who is Jesus Christ and we must come subject unto him, because God sent him and the Gospel came from him (God) under one name to surrender unto and know other one in these last and evil days – Hebrews 2:3-9 it was Christ who died upon the cross and shedded blood with water coming forth there after St John 18:25 to 19:34; Revelation 12:17 those become subject unto truth God” shall be given a chance to chose who they will serve but if not hearken unto the Spirit of God shall be judged, Obey Elijah, Ezekiel, and David and let the Holy Ghost have his way through his son “Jesus” the greatest of all Elijah’s, Ezekiels and David the children of the bless seed – who are the ones calling or talking with God still or calling unto him to be saved.

  7. Adrian L. Logan Says:

    “The Voice in the Wilderness” Magazine is now the official organ of the Pentecostal Churches of the Apostolic Faith, Inc. (founded in 1957 by Bishop S.N. Hancock) “The Christian Outlook” Magazine is the official organ of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc.

  8. TheOldLandmark Says:

    Sis. Silvers: Please feel free to link to this ‘blog, if you believe it to be appropriate for your audience. Blessings!

  9. Joshua Says:

    Hi I had a question, did the ladies in the first church wear veils? Because I am having trouble understanding Paul in Corinthians 11. I want my family to be under subjection to the word. May be you can help… I hope anyway.

    Thank you


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