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8/02/2009

IDENTIFYING MISTAKES

In doing online research I have been baffled by some of the ‘instant expert sites.” These are webpages where anyone can provide ‘expert’ answers (i.e., opinions) on any number of questions. Several would lay claim to ‘all Pentecostal women’ wearing long skirts and long hair. (
http://pentecostzone.com/blog/view/id_6647/title_the-basics-of-why-pentecostal-girls-do-what-they/)

The truth of the matter is that this answer is wrong. Not all Pentecostal women wear long skirts or long hair. The truth of the matter is that there are many denominations that identify themselves as “Pentecostal” (in fact Wikipedia lists several: Assemblies of God (The largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, 57 million adherents worldwide; Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) over 6 million, the Church of God in Christ has a membership of 5.5 million, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel has 5 million members, the United Pentecostal Church International has a membership of over 4 million,[35] and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church has over 3 million members. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentecostalism.

Just as it is impossible to say ‘all Baptists’ or ‘all Catholics’, Pentecostalism has its doctrinal and social nuances. It is impossible to say ‘all Pentecostals’ because no one group, person, or statement applies to all varieties of the movement.

Most of the current doctrinal divergences cluster around : the use of the name of Jesus in Baptism, the necessity of water baptism to salvation, and the role of speaking in tongues in the salvation process.
So, who does, among Pentecostals, is most likely to be seen sporting long skirts and long hair?
The United Pentecostal Church believes in modest dress by both genders, but has a list for women on their webpage at United Pentecostal Church : http://www.upci.org/doctrine/scripturesModesty.asp. They also have a different concept of the Godhead, believing in baptism only in the name of Jesus and members have been known (personal observation) to wear long dresses and long hair.

A group of Pentecostal churches known as the “Apostolic Pentecostal Churches” do claim this dress code, as expressed on a blog, The Ninety-Nine Ninety and nine, Apostolic women : http://www.ninetyandnine.com/Archives/20060828/cover.htm . (Note, the term is flexible as is seen in http://www.apostolic-movement.com/video2.php?format=; caution should be used when seeing the term ‘Apostolic’).
From the ‘Apostolic Pentecostal Directory’ (http://www.apostolic-churches.com/about.html) the doctrinal nuances are outlined: “This Apostolic Pentecostal Doctrine being the Bible standard of full salvation, which is the absolute essentiality of repentance, baptism in water by immersion in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance. (Acts 2:1-4, 2:37-39); We believe the Bibles teaches that the above statement to be essential and not subsequent to salvation.”

So beware the next time you read ‘all Pentecostal women’ do this or that, because the person is most likely speaking only a small handful of members of the Pentecostal movement or they are merely reflecting their own, quite limited, understanding of who is a Pentecostal.

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