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Evangelical vs. Pentecostal: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 10, 2024
Evangelicals focus on the authority of Scripture and the need for personal conversion, while Pentecostals emphasize direct experience of God through the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

Key Differences

Evangelicals are characterized by their emphasis on the authority of the Bible, the necessity of personal conversion, and the importance of sharing their faith. Pentecostals, while sharing these evangelical beliefs, place a stronger emphasis on direct experiences with the Holy Spirit, particularly speaking in tongues and divine healing.
The evangelical movement has its roots in the Protestant Reformation and gained prominence in the 18th and 19th centuries with the revivalist and missionary movements. Pentecostalism emerged in the early 20th century, with an emphasis on a post-conversion religious experience known as the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Evangelical worship is known for its emphasis on preaching and Bible teaching, often accompanied by contemporary Christian music. Pentecostal worship is distinct for its vibrant, expressive style, including speaking in tongues, prophecy, healing, and other charismatic manifestations.
The term 'evangelical' spans a wide range of Protestant denominations and non-denominational churches, making it a broad movement within Christianity. Pentecostalism, while also diverse, is more closely associated with specific denominations like the Assemblies of God or the Church of God in Christ.
Evangelicals have been influential in various social and political spheres, often advocating for conservative values. Pentecostals have also impacted society, particularly through their charismatic worship style and global missionary efforts.

Comparison Chart

Theological Focus

Authority of Scripture, personal conversion
Direct experience with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues

Historical Roots

Protestant Reformation
Early 20th century revival movements

Worship Style

Emphasis on preaching and contemporary music
Vibrant, expressive with charismatic practices

Denominational Range

Broad, spans many denominations
More specific to certain denominations

Cultural Impact

Influential in social/political realms
Known for charismatic worship and missionary work

Evangelical and Pentecostal Definitions


Evangelical Christianity emphasizes the need for personal conversion and faith in Jesus Christ.
She shared her evangelical belief in the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus.


Pentecostals believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit as an experience separate from conversion.
He described his baptism in the Holy Spirit as a life-changing experience at his Pentecostal church.


Evangelical churches often focus on evangelism and missionary work.
Their evangelical church organized a missionary trip to spread their faith.


Pentecostalism emphasizes a direct personal experience with the Holy Spirit, often manifested in speaking in tongues.
During the Pentecostal service, several members spoke in tongues as a sign of the Spirit's presence.


Evangelicals prioritize the authority and teaching of the Bible in their faith.
The evangelical preacher based his sermon entirely on biblical scripture.


Pentecostal worship is known for its expressive, charismatic style, including healing and prophecy.
The Pentecostal congregation engaged in vibrant worship with moments of prophecy and healing.


Evangelicalism is a movement within Protestant Christianity emphasizing salvation by faith alone.
The evangelical doctrine teaches salvation through faith, not works.


Pentecostalism emerged from the early 20th-century revival movements, focusing on spiritual gifts.
The Pentecostal movement grew rapidly, emphasizing the active work of the Holy Spirit in believers' lives.


Evangelicals often participate in social and political issues aligned with their religious beliefs.
The evangelical community led a campaign based on their moral values.


Pentecostals often engage in global missionary efforts with a focus on charismatic worship.
Pentecostal missionaries traveled worldwide, spreading their message through charismatic worship services.


Of, relating to, or in accordance with the Christian gospel, especially one of the four gospel books of the New Testament.


Of, relating to, or occurring at Pentecost.


Evangelical Of, relating to, or being a Christian church believing in the Bible as the sole source of religious authority, in salvation only through conversion and spiritual regeneration, and in the necessity of public witness to faith.


Of, relating to, or being any of various Christian religious congregations whose members seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, in emulation of the Apostles at Pentecost.


A member of a Pentecostal congregation.


Of or pertaining to Pentecost or to Whitsuntide.


Any member of a Pentecostal religious body


Of or relating to or characteristic of any of various Pentecostal religious bodies or their members


Of or relating to or occurring at Pentecost


What defines a Pentecostal Christian?

A Pentecostal Christian emphasizes direct experiences with the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues and healing.

What is an evangelical Christian?

An evangelical Christian is someone who emphasizes the Bible's authority, personal conversion, and the importance of evangelism.

Do evangelicals believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

While evangelicals believe in the Holy Spirit, they may not emphasize a separate baptism of the Spirit as Pentecostals do.

How do Pentecostals view speaking in tongues?

Pentecostals view speaking in tongues as a gift and evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Do evangelicals emphasize missionary work?

Yes, evangelism and missionary work are key components of evangelical Christianity.

Are evangelical services formal or informal?

Evangelical services can range from very traditional to contemporary and informal.

How do Pentecostals view other Christian denominations?

Pentecostals generally recognize other Christian denominations while maintaining distinct beliefs about the Holy Spirit.

What distinguishes Pentecostalism from other forms of Christianity?

Pentecostalism is distinguished by its emphasis on personal experiences with the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues, prophecy, and divine healings.

Are all evangelicals conservative?

While many evangelicals hold conservative views, evangelicalism includes a range of political and theological beliefs.

What is the historical background of Pentecostalism?

Pentecostalism originated in the early 20th century, stemming from revival movements emphasizing spiritual gifts.

What is the evangelical view on social issues?

Evangelicals often have strong views on social issues, typically informed by their interpretation of the Bible.

Do Pentecostals have a specific church structure?

Pentecostal churches can vary in structure, but many are part of denominations like the Assemblies of God.

What role does the Bible play in evangelicalism?

The Bible is central in evangelicalism, viewed as the ultimate authority on matters of faith and practice.

How do Pentecostals participate in worship?

Pentecostal worship is often lively and expressive, with an emphasis on the Holy Spirit's manifestations.

What is a Pentecostal revival service like?

A Pentecostal revival service is often energetic, with emphasis on healing, prophecy, and speaking in tongues.

Do Pentecostals believe in the Trinity?

Yes, Pentecostals believe in the Trinity - God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

How do evangelicals view salvation?

Evangelicals typically believe in salvation by faith alone through Jesus Christ.

What is the main focus of evangelical preaching?

Evangelical preaching often focuses on biblical exposition, personal conversion, and living a Christian life.

Are faith healings common in Pentecostal churches?

Yes, faith healings are a common practice in many Pentecostal churches.

How do evangelicals view the end times?

Evangelicals often have specific beliefs about the end times, typically based on a literal interpretation of biblical prophecy.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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