Dr. Swisher, What is Pentecost?  Is it different from being Pentecostal?  Veronica, Findlay, Ohio

Hello Veronica!  This is a great question as today your friends at Epworth UMC and millions of Christians worldwide are celebrating Pentecost Sunday.  Also known as The Birthday of the Church.

entecost literally means 50 signifying Fifty days after Easter when the Holy Spirit descended on the Disciples in Jerusalem.  In this important historical event the Disciples are “filled with the Holy Spirit.”  We believe this is the fulfillment of the promise that Jesus would baptize His followers in the Holy Spirit. This empowerment is available to everyone who Believes and is a crucial element for the effective Christian.

The Pentecostal belief system, also known as Classical Pentecostalism focuses mainly on ones “personal experience of the Holy Spirit.”  People in this form of religion would expect their followers.to “speak in tongues” and manifest other outward expressions of a personal experience with the Holy Spirit.  This sect or expression of the faith may also have clothing restrictions and parameters for how people keep their hair as some Pentecostals are required to wear plain clothing and not cut their hair, etc.

Therefore, the celebration of Pentecost is an actual Historic event for the Christian commemorating the descent of what Jesus called “another helper” namely The Holy Spirit to empower, inform and enrich each believer Pentecostalism on the other hand is a form of faith expression not directly related to the historical day we celebrate today. 

I hope this has been helpful for you Veronica. To find out more we invite you to be our guest in Worship today as we unpack the real meaning of Pentecost at Epworth UMC.