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Pentecostalism is a Christian movement with global reach; it has over 500 million adherents worldwide. Because of the diversity of Pentecostal theological perspectives—the group spans many different denominations and national contexts—generalizing about the movement is difficult. Most accounts date the beginning of Pentecostalism to the start of the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles in 1906.

Throughout most of their history one dominant belief among Pentecostals is that the experience of the Holy Spirit descending upon believers described in the New Testament book Acts of the Apostles is available to modern Christians and that they can experience a “spiritual baptism.” The Holy Spirit is said to grant these believers “spiritual gifts,” particularly glossolalia, the ability to speak in tongues. This experience is thought to have ...

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