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bluehydrangea

Apostolic/Pentecostals

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bluehydrangea

I'm just wondering what you all think of the Apostolic/Pentecostal faith in general. It's fairly common in the Midwest, but for those unfamiliar with the faith, I'll attempt to summarize: It's a sect of Christianity centered around the idea that speaking in tongues (often referred to as "receiving the Holy Ghost") is necessary for eternal salvation. It is an essential component, and being Baptized/saved is not enough on its own. Some trademarks of the religion include women leaving their hair uncut, eschewing make-up and jewelry, wearing skirts below the knee, and conservative tops. Men typically wear long pants only, and no tank tops/shirtlessness. Church services are long; women and men sit separately, usually. It falls in the charismatic category, so there is lots of crying, speaking in tongues, dancing, and "holy rolling", although dancing in and of itself is usually forbidden, along with alcohol, gambling, movies, etc.

 

Have you had experiences with the Apostolic/Pentecostal faith? Do you think it's a cult or has cult-like tendencies, or do you think it's just a charismatic faith that just isn't right for everyone?

 

I will say that the church in my area is very controlling of its members, and has many characteristics that I would consider unhealthy and cult-like. I am very skeptical of the faith based on my own personal experiences, but I would like to hear from others on the subject. I'll share more on what I've experienced if more info would be appreciated.

Edited by OnceUponATime
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Cleopatra7

This sounds similar to the Holiness churches that are common in the black community. I wouldn't say that apostolic/holiness/Pentecostal churches are cults per se, simply because Pentecostal and Charismatic forms of Christianity are the fastest growing religion in the world, so they can't be considered strange or new in either sense of the word. However, these churches tend to be very insular and legalistic, and would be easy for a cult of personality to form around a charismatic leader, especially one who claims to have faith healing powers. For an insider's view of how holiness churches affect impressionable minds, I would recommend James Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time," where he describes being a child preacher. Although the events in the book happened more than seventy years ago, they are just as relevant to our current age.

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DGayle

The people I know who've gone to these churches underwent drastic and alarming personality changes after joining. We can all open out mouths and blurt out literal gibberish, but when you're in their club, you become convinced it can only happen because God and stuff.

I think these denominations are run my predators for the gullible, for people who want to feel like they belong somewhere by doing something they're told is special.

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BrownieMomma

For the last year and a half, I have been attending what I privately call, or maybe they do it as well, a neo-Pentecostal church.

The main Pentecostals around here is the United Pentecostal Church. I don't know much about it, but it seems like a big organization, but my church is not part of the UPC.

Quite definitely, speaking in tongues is required for salvation. They are not trinitarian, I can't explain it although I've heard it several times, but somehow the Holy Spirit is not the same but God and Jesus are.

There is a fellowship of churches, they call it the Body of Christ, there are BoC churches in several states that I know of. I don't know if money is contributed centrally to some organization, they've never mentioned it.

Budget and money issues are never discussed.

The church I attend is insular. I bet 80% of the church is somehow related to the main family. There are two assistant pastors, their wives are sisters from the main family. The pastor is related by marriage of granddaughter to one of the assistant pastor's sons.

KJV only. Men only are pastors but women are permitted on the platform if they play in the band. Live music, for some reason women are not permitted to play the drums but play everything else. Surprisingly, when the band leader stepped down, one of the pastor wives was allowed to serve as interim leader and this situation has continued for close to a year.

Patriarchial, slight shades of Gothard. SKirts only, sleeves below the elbows. Generally women are expected to wear their hair up but every church service I've been to at least several women have their hair down and styled. Make up is okay. Brightly colored clothes, big neck pieces but no earrings. High heels.

Men are clean shaven, short haired, suits,if on the platform must have white shirt. Always long khakis, jeans ok at certain times. Also sleeves must be below the elbow.

I am not sure I can say this particular church is cult-like, although I always feel on edge to see if its going to manifest somehow. They do not have members, quite vocal about it, no one is a member of the church. Not sure why this is a big deal.

One of the pastor's wives holds a Phd, works as an administrator in a high level position and teaches classes at the state university. She is also outspoken about dressing to standard, testifies that having a drink last night destroys your Christian witness and sends you straight to Hell. She mystifies me, but she also got married the day after high school graduation so somehow worked and had two kids and went to college plus maintained in this church.

It's split about half/half, some wives work, some don't. The PhD is the only one I know of who works and has more than high school education, the rest are admin type workers. Oh wait, there is one teacher who is correctly certified and teaches in the public school system.

One thing that happens that makes me uncomfortable is that congregants will consult with the pastor about major life decisions and abide by his decision. The aforementioned PhD took the positions the pastor told her to take.

This pastor also encouraged me, a divorced mother, to pursue CPA certification. No one has ever even remotely suggested I need to get married in order to count as a person or a Christian.

No one homeschools, all the kids go to public school.

This church is not evangelical. The attention goes inward, not out to save souls or even minister.

Services are about two hours. Freaking long. The big event is when someone goes down front for prayer, that turns into the laying on of hands, crying, tongues (someone kind of howls have never figured out who). The dancing happens during music - males on one side, females on the other. Seating is mixed gender.

I heard one mother, the other divorced mother, admonish her 6yo son to behave or he'd have to stay on the women's side. Great punishment there Mom. There was one young dad with a young son, less than two, and he kept taking the boy to the men's side but the kid would get down and run over to the girls. Dad was clearly worried about this but seriously, the kid was very young. Bit early to read anything in to that other than he's with his sister. Also the mothers wield kitchen tools for spankings during church, the kids are taken out for the spankings.

We are expected to attend church all the damn time. I stopped going a lot and it's a weekly barrage of texts and phone calls and even cards. I don't know why they keep after me so much, there are other people who become iffy, I don't think they go after them. I think I became the pet project of a couple of the most powerful main family members but honestly no idea why. Maybe that is a cult-like feature?

So, I don't think this church could fairly be called a cult or even cult-like but they do have some shades of cultishness, but couldn't that be said of just about any church?

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NotALoserLikeYou

I love me some apostolic hair.

I'll be honest, I did not know that speaking in tongues was a salvation requirement for them. I've gone to churches where people speak in tongues but it was not a salvation requirement. For example, Assembly of God and non denominational churches. That's really kind of scary. That's an immense pressure to perform!

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16strong

Getting this out of the way:

[bBvideo 560,340:2hfx8qvk]

[/bBvideo]

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meee

This is fascinating.

I don't know anything about Apostolic/Pentecostal, but Cleopatra's mention of the "Holiness" group reminds me that I knew someone from there. Her "rules" always comfused the heck out of me--she had to wear skirts below the knees, shirts with sleeves (short sleeves ok), must have feet covered with socks or stockings (no flip-flops for them, lol), and in general, skirts LONGER than below knee/midcalf were discouraged except, like, at a woman's own wedding. But I met her in secular university (we were "skirt buddies" as I was one of the only Orthodox Jews there), and the way she spoke of courtship and such it didn't seem to exist--she grew up in public schools, mixed churches, was friends with guys, and the way their system worked was that you could pretty much only date a guy you grew up with. She was always saying "I believe" this and that, and she emphasized that nobody laid any rules on her, not even her parents or pastor or whatever, and it really was all about what SHE believed to be right. And she was adamant that she was NOT a Christian. Pork and such was fine (i.e. she didn't keep biblical dietary laws), but she stayed away from caffeine and alcohol in any form because they were "addictive."

I never was able to get straight answers out of her about her religion (someone who goes to church and reads New Testament and such, is not a Christian?) -- so I was really interested to see that someone here had heard of her group.

(Sorry. Maybe I should have started my own thread, lol.)

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kimberm

I used to work with a Romanian guy who attended the local romanian Pentecostal church. He was married at 22 and his bride and as 20 after a Duggar style courtship. (He would sit and stew when we ragged on Josh and Anna's courtship). He went to college and received s degree in Accounting after attending a local Christian school. His wife went to public school and no college. The assumption was always that she would stay home with the eleventy kids. I left the job around his 10 year anniversary. No kids. Our assumption was that he was was shooting blanks. Obviously fertility testing is out of the question for these folks.

From time to tine he would talk about his church. The women folk wore dresses and all had long hair. The men dressed in suits and I thought they sat together. I think she was more involved in the church than he.... She would lead the youth group while he always seemed to be watching sports on a Sunday. Maybe that's okay....

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Rachel333

I was raised Pentecostal and speaking in tongues was important but not required for salvation. It's actually news to me that anyone believes that, but there are definitely some weird[er] Pentecostal sects out there. For us, being baptized in the Holy Spirit (or "receiving the Holy Ghost") was another spiritual milestone, like being saved or getting baptized in water.

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Loveday
I love me some apostolic hair.

I'll be honest, I did not know that speaking in tongues was a salvation requirement for them. I've gone to churches where people speak in tongues but it was not a salvation requirement. For example, Assembly of God and non denominational churches. That's really kind of scary. That's an immense pressure to perform!

I find this salvation 'requirement' to be really unusual for a non-Catholic Christian church. Isn't that skating dangerously close to 'works' salvation? I wonder how their pastors explain it when there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that says one has to speak in tongues to be saved. There's only a brief mention or two of tongues, and I don't think there's even room to twist them around to mean that, if I recall the verses correctly. :think: (I should probably look them up and refresh my memory)

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ViolaSebastian
The people I know who've gone to these churches underwent drastic and alarming personality changes after joining. We can all open out mouths and blurt out literal gibberish, but when you're in their club, you become convinced it can only happen because God and stuff.

I think these denominations are run my predators for the gullible, for people who want to feel like they belong somewhere by doing something they're told is special.

{L_MESSAGE_HIDDEN}:
I'm also of this opinion, as I have an aunt that got sucked into Pentecostalism not once, but twice. She was raised as a mainstream Methodist, but I suspect that she has some mental health challenges that may have played into her vulnerability to their message. She went from dressing normally to not cutting her hair, not wearing jewelry, skirts only, etc. Her personality changed, and frankly she became more unhinged than usual, for example telling me off once because I was wearing cut-off jean shorts. (I was 11 and they were almost to the knee, not daisy dukes.) The worst part of it though is what this did to my cousin, her daughter, who was a pre-teen the first time and a teenager the second. Both times, she was pulled out of public school to be homeschooled, and that homeschooling consisted of mostly preparing for a Bible Bee, where she was required to memorize verses and knowledge about the Bible. She was very isolated and most of her contact was with other Church members. My aunt married a man in the Church the second time, so when she left the Church, my cousin lost her step-father. It was just a very messed up time in my family's life and caused a great deal of turmoil and concern for my cousin. Luckily, she made it out to the other side and is a rabid feminist with two college degrees.

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Pater Noster

I'm Pentecostal, and here's what I know.

What you describe is a very small part of the Pentecostal movement. The sect you describe is called Pentecostal Holiness, and they do require things like women wearing long dresses, etc. It's not unheard of for this sect to think that tongues is required for salvation, but the majority of Pentecostals don't believe this. Pentecostal holiness, while it has some good and right things, is kind of like the fundies of the Pentecostal movement. In my interactions with them, I haven't found them to think that women are inferior in any way to men. They are conservative, but not even close to being Gothard-esque. Some people find a lot of freedom in it, and all the dramatic personality changes can be explained just by the fact that it becomes really important really fast to some people. If people swing too hard and fast into it, they will swing out of it hard and fast too.

The majority of Pentecostals are mainly focused on taking the church back to the way it was in early church times, with more focus on loving others and building relationship with God, and less on theology and all the dos and don'ts. Tongues is only to show that we have the Holy Spirit, and isn't required for salvation. Tongues is meant to be an encouragement both to ourselves and others in the church, as a way to have assurance that God is with us. There may some odd-looking stuff, like rolling, but I personally have never felt like that was for me. I am about as feminist as it gets, and I find Pentecostals to be supportive of women's, children's, and LGBTQ rights because again, what we are focused on is simply spreading the love of Jesus to everyone we come across, at least the people in my church and many others that I have met. Our only hard-and-fast rule is that we love people like Jesus loved people. About everything else, we have a conversation. :)

Just my two cents. Hope it helps!

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Rachel333

It is true that Pentecostals have been fairly progressive in the role of women in ministry. Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination, have had female pastors for over a century now.

I personally haven't experienced them being particularly progressive in other areas, though.

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NotALoserLikeYou

Thanks Pater. That's been my experience as well.

I also know that holiness groups don't allow remarriage after divorce for any reason but the AOG do.

The snake handling groups are part of the holiness movement. That's got the be the fundiest of the fundie Pentecostal groups.

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eohiken

"Pennycosts" are my area's main group of fundies. There appears to be at least 2 levels; full long hair + jean skirt hollyroller, and then the-secular-on-the-outside, crazy-on-the-inside. All are very conservative and gender essentialists. The women will work, but only in feminine occupations, and when the kids are older.

Home schooling isn't big here, so most kids are in public school. They are all very dependent on their preachers for everyday living. Big decisions, or little ones, they can't think for themselves. They even get lists of acceptable media, and that's only since they were allowed tvs, which is fairly recently!

And of course, they are a horny bunch, sleeping around, wife swapping, fuck and then marry the teenage babysitter.

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calimojo

I live in an area that has a number of Apostolic Christians and also Mennonites. The AC's wear a small brown crocheted head covering. The adult married women always wear their hair up and a bun and the style is very victorian in nature, which means it has a sort of soft, almost mushrooming look to it. The younger girls and young single women, might wear their hair down but it is usually braided, often french braided. The wear skirts, no makeup and many do get secondary education and often work in health care. Most will quit work after children but some more progressive AC's might continue to work as a nurse even after kids.

Typically their life is agricultural in nature, and they like to have several children. Kids can choose to enter the church when they reach adulthood. Typically their marriages are somewhat arranged. While I don't think it is mandated, matches are recommended by the church. They frown on marrying outside of the church. And shunning is practiced for things like cutting your hair. Sins such as infidelity are confessed to the church. .

Mennonite women in my area are fairly mainstream, though they tend to dress simply and wear their hair long. They encourage and support education for men and women, normally their kids go to public school and they tend to be politically fairly liberal. They are pacifists and often work in peace and justice fields, in addition to Health care or teaching. They may live in the city and may even have wine or mild alcohol at times. Some will brew their own beer.

They have TV's but don't watch a ton of it. Their kids can play in some sports though high competition is not encouraged as they don't really like aggression. Music is very important to them, and they also are fine with kids doing fine arts, though they would not like very explicit plays or music.

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2xx1xy1JD

I have no experience with any of this, so I've got some basic questions:

What is "speaking in tongues"?

What is holy rolling?

Is Apostolic the same thing as Pentacostal?

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ariel9

I can say for sure that a lot of the legalistic stuff is back in the old days and depends on your church location. But you can definately, wear makeup, pants, watch movies, sit with men, you can even have tattoo if you want, or cut your hair.

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Terrie

I suppose there could be more liberal Pentecostals, but I always associate the denomination/movement with Jesus Camp, which included some things I would simply never be okay with, such as one of the girls, Rebecca, proselytizing at a bowling alley and, in a deleted scene, saying she was friends with the neighbor girl to try and get her to come to her family's church. I was raised in a church that heavily frowned upon proselytizing. It was basically seen as talking about your faith as a substitution to actually living it.

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BrownieMomma
I have no experience with any of this, so I've got some basic questions:

What is "speaking in tongues"?

What is holy rolling?

Is Apostolic the same thing as Pentacostal?

Speaking in tongues, as I understand it, means you have been filled with the Holy Spirit and are uttering sounds or types of words. I have been in a church service where men were sitting on the platform, someone was preaching, and a guy all of the sudden jumped up, belted out something in tongues while pointing at the congregation, then he took off running down one side of the church and up the other. He JUMPED three steps (much older man) and took his seat.

Holy Roller is a derogatory term, as I've heard it, for those who speak in tongues. This also has a reference to rolling in the aisles, which I don't know of any church that has actually done that but the term persists.

I'm not familiar with apostolic, it seems to not necessarily equate Pentencostal but I don't really know.

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quiversR4hunting

Speaking in tongues, as I understand it, means you have been filled with the Holy Spirit and are uttering sounds or types of words. I have been in a church service where men were sitting on the platform, someone was preaching, and a guy all of the sudden jumped up, belted out something in tongues while pointing at the congregation, then he took off running down one side of the church and up the other. He JUMPED three steps (much older man) and took his seat.

Holy Roller is a derogatory term, as I've heard it, for those who speak in tongues. This also has a reference to rolling in the aisles, which I don't know of any church that has actually done that but the term persists.

I'm not familiar with apostolic, it seems to not necessarily equate Pentencostal but I don't really know.

Apostolic refers to the apostles. The Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches are apostolic because they trace the church history back to the apostles. I don't know about the Protestant churches that use that term because they can't claim a straight trace back to the apostles.

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shedemei
I have no experience with any of this, so I've got some basic questions:

What is "speaking in tongues"?

What is holy rolling?

Is Apostolic the same thing as Pentacostal?

Speaking in tongues is believed to be the gift of spontaneously speaking other languages to Pentecostals. Other denominations of Christianity regard it as weird at best, and often as heresy.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia

This is an interesting Christian criticism of the practice.

http://www.speaking-in-tongues.net/

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apple1

Apostolic refers to the apostles. The Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches are apostolic because they trace the church history back to the apostles. I don't know about the Protestant churches that use that term because they can't claim a straight trace back to the apostles.

The term "apostolic" as is being referred to in this thread has nothing to do with Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_ ... nomination)

link not broken, it's Wikipedia

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BrownieMomma

Apostolic refers to the apostles. The Roman and Orthodox Catholic churches are apostolic because they trace the church history back to the apostles. I don't know about the Protestant churches that use that term because they can't claim a straight trace back to the apostles.

MMmm that's not what I meant. I see churches named Apostolic Church or Apostolic Lighthouse but not many that call themselves apostolic. I don't know how it is related to Pentecostal, which is common around here.

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quiversR4hunting

The term "apostolic" as is being referred to in this thread has nothing to do with Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostolic_ ... nomination)

link not broken, it's Wikipedia

agreed it has nothing to do with Catholics or Orthodox- even after reading wiki- the only thing I know is they don't use it the same as the Roman Catholic or Orthodox churches

2xx1xy1JD - here is the m/w definition of apostolic (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apostolic)

1 a : of or relating to an apostle

b : of, relating to, or conforming to the teachings of the New Testament apostles

2 a : of or relating to a succession of spiritual authority from the apostles held (as by Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Eastern Orthodox) to be perpetuated by successive ordinations of bishops and to be necessary for valid sacraments and orders

b : papal

I am guessing they use it in relation to definition 1b - conforming/relating to the teachings of the New Testament apostles

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