By T. Naab

The term “Pentecostals” existed prior to the 20th century but the doctrine we know today as Pentecostalism was invented in 1901. There were a few holiness groups (came out of Wesleyans) that held to entire sanctification. This was known by some as being Pentecostal and some groups called themselves Pentecostal Holiness, or Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene[1], etc. The teaching of “baptism in the Holy Spirit” had nothing to do with physical evidence, tongues, at that time. It was what they referred to as being sanctified[2]. After Azusa St in 1906, many dropped the name “Pentecostal” from their names due to what Pentecostalism had become.[3]

The inventor of Pentecostalism, as it is today, was Charles Parham, he was known as “Father Parham” to the new groups.[4] Charles Parham was a non-Trinitarian but yet was not fully a modalist. He was more a Tritheist.[5] He was a member of the KKK. He was also reportedly arrested for sodomy with 2 minor boys in Texas.[6] A student of Parham was a man named William Seymour. Seymour was forced to sit in the hall, while Parham taught in a class room, and listen through a door that was cracked open because he was black.[7] Seymour was asked to come to southern California to help a lady pastor named Julia Hutchinson in her “church”. He was locked out after he began teaching Parham’s garbage. Seymour gained a few from Hutchinson's “church” that wanted to hear more of this new teaching. Seymour began teaching in a home of  Edward Lee, a janitor at a local bank, Seymour began a prayer group that had been meeting regularly at the home of Richard and Ruth Asbery, at 214 North Bonnie Brae. They soon out grew this house and moved to the old church and stable at 312 Azusa St. in 1906.

Many people visited Azusa St. some of those men that visited started the Assemblies of God in 1914. Men like John G. Lake, F.F. Bosworth, etc[8]. There were also men like Glenn Cook and Frank Ewart. Pentecostalism had become a large black community mostly from 1st and 2nd generation freed African slaves. Wesleyans were abolitionists and fought for women’s rights so this attracted the black man and women. Also the Wesleyans built plantation churches for the slaves and had a traveling minister preach to them, known as a “circuit rider”. In 1914 a group of white Pentecostals gathered in Arkansas and formed the white denomination, The Assemblies of God[9]. At that time they took no stand on modalism or Trinitarianism. Their “Statement of Fundamental Truths" that contained the 16 doctrines of the Assemblies of God, stated simply, “The one true God has revealed Himself as the eternally self-existent "I AM," the Creator of heaven and earth and the Redeemer of mankind. He has further revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”[10]. Also in 1913 a man by the name of R. E. McAlister was preaching in southern California on the power of the name of Jesus. Two men that I mentioned earlier Glenn Cook and Frank Ewart were present and begin to think about this “Name of Jesus” teaching. By 1914 these 2 men had determined that the Biblical means to salvation was to be baptized in the Name of Jesus only and all who were not were unsaved. Glenn Cook then baptized Frank Ewart and Frank Ewart baptized Glenn Cook[11]. In essence Oneness Pentecostalism was founded by 2 self proclaimed lost men. (think about that) In 1918, oneness teaching had come to the forefront and the newly founded Assemblies of God had to deal with it. They voted and decided to be Trinitarian and reject Oneness doctrine. Let me re-type that…THEY VOTED AND DECIDED TO BE TRINITARIAN! They then made addendums to their 16 Doctrines of Fundamental Truths.

Although modalism, or Sabellianism, has been around since the 3rd century and has been thoroughly debunked as being non-Christian, modalism still exist and this error is doomed to be repeated. Modalism basically teaches that God has been in the mode of the Father, then in the mode of the Son, now in the mode of the Holy Spirit. Father became the son, which became the Holy Spirit. Oneness Pentecostalism is modalism but not all modalist are Oneness Pentecostal. Oneness Pentecostal is a doctrine that teaches one must repent, believe, be baptized by immersion in the name of Jesus ONLY, etc, to be saved. Modalism does not teach this as necessary. This is why many like TD Jakes, or Paula White are not really Oneness Pentecostals, they are modalist Charismatics. The Word of faith movement has made the doctrine of the Trinity a non-essential.

This is where Paul and Jan Crouch, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Bakker, and many others came from. This is the spirit that spawned them. This is why TBN is so horrid. TBN allows any doctrine to be spoken and defends people like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, TD Jakes, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, and many others. Paul said some proclaim the Gospel for bad reasons, this we can overlook. What we can not over look is a bad gospel for “good” reasons.


[1] MANUAL CHURCH OF THE NAZARENE, NAZARENE PUBLISHING HOUSE Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A., ISBN 083-412-2529, pg 18-19

[2] BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY GHOST -- By P. F. Bresee, Los Angeles, Calif.

[3] The New Georgia Encyclopedia, Church of the Nazarene, Brad E. Kelle, Emory University

[4] John G. Lake, The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings” by Roberts Liardon. Albury Publishing, 992 pages. -from pages 474- 480

[5] Selected Sermons of the Late Charles F. Parham, ed Sarah E. Parham (Baxter Springs, KS: Apostolic Faith Bible College, 1941)

[6] Goff, James R. Jr. (1988). Fields White Unto Harvest: Charles F. Parham and the Missionary Origins of Pentecostalism. University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-025-8. 

[7] Martin, Larry E., ed. The Topeka Outpouring of 1901. Joplin, Mo.: Christian Life Books, 1997.

[8] General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA) - Our History (2006)

[9] General Council of the Assemblies of God (USA) - Our History (2006)

[10] Assemblies of God Statement of Fundamental Truths Part 2 “The One True God”

[11] Meat in Due Season (1915–20, eds. Frank Ewart & Glenn Cook)


Copyright © 2008 []. All rights reserved .Revised: 05/17/2009