Pentecostals Celebrate 100-Year Anniversary of Their Movement

December 31, 2000

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

On December 31, 2000, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Pentecostal movement, which "has, by some estimates, as many as 500 million members worldwide" turns 100 this New Year's Day. "Several thousand Pentecostals are expected to attend a special celebration of the anniversary at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka" on New Year's Eve. Tim Miller, chairman of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Kansas, says "some scholars describe the rise of the Pentecostal movement as important as the Protestant Reformation of the 15th and 16th centuries." Pentecostals include members of large denominations, such as the Assemblies of God and the United Pentecostal Church, hundreds of independent congregations, and members of other Protestant denominations and the Roman Catholic Church. "Pentecostals share a belief that the Holy Spirit fills believers in ways that can be seen, most notably when someone speaks in tongues...An important scriptural passage for Pentecostals is I Corinthians 12:7-11, in which the apostle Paul lists nine gifts from the Holy Spirit, including healing, prophecy and the ability to speak in tongues and interpret." The movement was founded by Rev. Charles Fox Parham and 40 of his students. "Some early accounts of Parham and his students were dismissive...Disagreement remains strong among some Protestants about Pentecostal beliefs, particularly speaking in tongues."