Pentecostalism is a Christian doctrine of worship that puts great importance on the baptism of its followers and their relationship with the Holy Spirit. The manifestation of this relationship with the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. The Pentecostal movement has over 400 million followers and is the fastest expanding Christian doctrine globally. The movement runs a heterogeneous system, with hundreds of independent churches coming up every day.
Charles Parham and Williams Seymour are notable figures in American history because theologians recognize them as the fathers of Pentecostalism in the United States. The Pentecostal doctrine of Christianity began with Charles Parham's teachings in Texas in 1905. William Seymour was Charles Parham's apprentice, and he urged Seymour to attend one of his church services.
Seymour came from a religious background before meeting Parham. He was instrumental in spreading a widely believed notion that speaking in tongues was a manifestation of the Holy Spirit in a Christian. In 1906, Seymour moved to a town called Azusa in Los Angeles, where he began to spread the Pentecostal gospel. He created so much influence that in the same year, he hosted the Azusa Street Revival, which was the first major public broadcast of the Pentecostal way.
Both Seymour and Parham agreed to belong to the same denomination. In October 1906, Seymour began catering to members of different races, while Parham's members stayed predominantly white. However, due to ideological differences, and Parham's dislike for the enthusiastic way black people worshiped in Seymour's church, the men split up the Pentecostal denomination into two, with Seymour taking mostly the African American members to his church called the Church of God in Christ, while Parham took the white members to his church called the Assemblies of God.
The Pentecostal doctrine thrived in the south but was much slower in Los Angeles due to skepticism from the residents. Both churches were also very interested in missionary work, especially in the global south.
The Assemblies of God renounced segregation in the church in 1995. The governing body announced that the church had committed discrimination offenses and resolved to take steps to repent. An interracial Christian event preceded this repentant act called the Miracle in Memphis, where Black and White ministers tried to reconcile the Black and White worshippers.
A.G Garr and his wife were the first international missionaries Seymour baptized and sent to India and Hong Kong to spread the gospel. Seymour's influence also reached a Norwegian Methodist pastor on a church tour in the United States called T. B Barrat. Theologists state that T. B Barrat was responsible for spreading the Pentecostal doctrine in Norway, Germany, Sweden, and France.
Most of the other Christian denominations in America initially ridiculed Pentecostalism. The World Christian Fundamentals Association called the movement "fanatical' and "unscriptural." However, in 1942, the narrative had changed so much that the Pentecostals were a part of the Christian establishment called the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). The NAE is an association of all churches, missionary schools, and organizations.