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World Religions Report

Essay by review  •  January 1, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  2,112 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,263 Views

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World Religions Report

This report will be an in-depth and inside look at the Pentecostal Christian denomination. Pentecostalism is a newer branch to Christianity, and actually had roots in Methodism. Pentecostal is one form of conservative Christianity and developed from the Holiness Movement around the early 1800’s (Christian Meta Groups, 2007).

The Articles of Faith are Christian dotrines that the Pentecostals follow such as the Bible being inspired by the word of God, the creation and fall of man, repetence, divine healing, communion, foot washing, the second coming of Jesus, the millinium, and final judegement (Spritual Healing, 2007). There are three areas of the Pentecostal Christians doctrines that are different than that of the Christian faith. These areas are baptism, the belief in one God, and the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Pentecostal has an “Oneness” theology. This means that there is only one God in the universe. The belief is that God presented himself as the Father in the Old Testament, as the Son in Jesus’ ministry, and as the Holy Spirit after the death of Jesus (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, 2008). Christians also do believe in one God, but they believe in what they call the trinity. This means that they view God as three separate persons during the same three stages of progression.

Baptism also plays a major role in this religion, it is maintained that you need to be baptized in order to be saved. You must be immersed and also have to be baptized in the name of Jesus. The baptism must be done by an ordained minister that also believes in the “oneness” theology. If this is not done this way then you are not truly saved.

A unique feature to this branch of religion is the belief in Glossolalia, which is the ability to speak in tongues (Christian Meta Groups, 2007). The belief is that speaking in tongues will help manifest the Holy Spirit. Other members of the church believe that speaking on tongues is proof that the person has actually been saved.

The Pentecostal Christians are free and spontaneous during their religious services. They enjoy singing, playing instruments, and even dancing while church is in service as well as during a revival ceremony. However, they also are committed to personal holiness. This means that they do not approve of alcohol, tobacco, foul language, drugs, jewelry, and in some cases even make-up. Some churches do have different rules that need to be followed to be a member. Some of these rules may include men being clean shaven, women not cutting their hair, women only wearing dresses or skirts, and sleeve lengths. There are even some that will not allow you to wear a wedding ring saying that if you wear a wedding ring you will be “lost” forever (Spritual Healing, 2007).

The church takes part in a belief known as “The Doctrine of Sanctification”. They believe that if you live your life based on personal holiness that a believer can actually achieve perfection in their lifetime.

The Church of God of Prophecy is the site that I have chosen to conduct this report. This church’s history starts out in Cleveland Tennessee and was established by A.J. Tomlinson, the previous overseer to the Church of God. The church has about 75,000 members in the United States and about 250,000 members worldwide (Tomlinson, 1985) There is a larger concentration of members in Africa and Central and South America.

The Church of God of Prophecy has two locations in my area. The one that I have chosen is located in Tolleson Arizona, and is the smaller of the two locations. This particular church has been around since the 1980’s and most of the members are family and friends that have been attending for many years. The church itself is very modest; the church consists of about 2,000 square feet. There are two aisles of bench seats consisting of ten benches each. They have a piano, drum sets, and two guitars for playing music. At the back of the church there is a small room for the smaller children to attend service, and a small kitchen with a large dining area.

The congregation is led by a Jerry and Hope Gonzalez, who are husband and wife. They have been leading this Church for the last 15 years, before this they were members of the same church in the neighboring city of Tucson Arizona. Jerry and his wife have faced many challenges with starting the church in the beginning. Jerry talks about not always living his life the way a Christian should. Some people did look down on him for his sins and could not overlook his past. This brought to my mind about being saved and if they had this experience, I wanted to know what being saved meant to the church and to the religion. This topic has been a phrase that I have heard many times but never really understood what it meant. I am told that being saved is about accepting Jesus as your savior, and acknowledging that he has died for our sins. Being saved is something happens so suddenly, and that is why it is considered being “born again”. This decision is not to be taken lightly and is a life changing experience. You have to understand what you are about to do and what it means to you personally. You have to accept it and pray to let Jesus into your heart and accept him as your Lord and Savior (Gonzalez & Gonzalez, 2008).

I was very curious to know if member’s in this church spoke in tongues which I had read about previously. During the church service I did not witness anyone doing this. Jerry admits that they do not follow all of the same beliefs as most Pentecostals, such as the speaking in tongues. They actually look at this practice as more of an evil aspect than a positive one. I am told that there is a division in the Church of God about this practice. You either are a firm believer that speaking in tongues is proof that you have given yourself to God, or you believe that this is not a thing of God at all. They also do not fully immerse someone that is being baptized. They believe that this is not necessary, but all churches in this religion have their ideas on what the proper way to baptize should be.

Backsliding is a term that I had seen while researching and wanted to know more about what it was and how or if you could recover from it. Backsliding happens when a person of the Christian faith turns their back on God and the faith. Almost every Christian has or will experience backsliding. As Christians grow in their faith they are asked to do more and more is expected of them. Sometimes this is too much for a person and they feel as though they cannot do what is asked and they start to backslide. The stress can cause some to smoke, drink, and do other things that they know that God

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