How Pentecostalism began

Pentecostalism traces its conception to a revival at the very beginning of the twentieth-century. In January 1901 Agnes Ozman began to speak in tongues at Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas. Ozman was a student of Charles Fox Parham, a former Methodist preacher and now teacher at Bethel Bible School. Not long after this most of Parham's students – himself included – apparently began speaking in tongues also.

Charles Parham became the origin of Pentecostalism's distinctive teaching. He was the first to insisted on tongues-speaking as the necessary “initial evidence” of Spirit baptism as an experience of the Spirit subsequent to conversion. [1]

Pentecostalism was born with a second much larger revival that followed this five years later. In April 1906, William J. Seymour founded the Apostolic Faith Gospel Mission in Los Angeles and began meetings there. Seymour was a Holiness preacher, and the meetings were held in an abandoned Methodist church at 312 Azusa Street.

Seymour used his platform at Azusa Street to teach that Christians should expect a Spirit baptism accompanied by tongues-speaking as the “initial evidence.” Shortly after tongues-speaking re-occurred at the meetings, and continued for three years until 1909.

News quickly spread overseas and only a year after the opening of the Azusa Street meetings visiting leaders from all over the nation and around the world began returning home with this new teaching, and as a result Pentecostalism began as a worldwide movement.

To understand these events (the origin of Pentecostalism), we need to firstly understand the background to the occurrence of tongues-speaking throughout history.

That's why in the next article we'll talk about “What is the history of tongues?”

More on this topic

Why the origin of Pentecostalism is important

The history of tongues

Why Pentecostalism was successful

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[1] While Pentecostalism now teaches that Spirit baptism is a second work of grace, Parham taught that it was the third (after firstly conversion, and secondly sanctification). | joe towns: christian discussion on pentecost, charisma, pentecostal and charismatic beliefs, the Bible and Jesus; including the origin and history of pentecostalism, baptism in the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, gifts and miracles, divine healing and word of faith, prosperity and wealth, praise and worship, guidance and hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit.

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