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Pentecostal vs. Apostolic: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 28, 2024
Pentecostalism emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts, while Apostolic refers to beliefs based on the teachings and practices of the Apostles.

Key Differences

Pentecostalism is a Christian movement known for its emphasis on the baptism of the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues, and the active pursuit of spiritual gifts. Apostolic, often associated with the Apostolic Pentecostal movement, also emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit but places a stronger emphasis on the teachings and practices of the early Apostles, including a strict adherence to their doctrines.
Worship styles in Pentecostal churches are often characterized by lively, expressive services with an emphasis on personal spiritual experiences. Apostolic worship, while also vibrant and expressive, often incorporates a more structured approach based on early church traditions, emphasizing the continuity of the Apostolic age's practices and teachings.
The Pentecostal movement broadly accepts the Trinity doctrine, focusing on the distinct roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In contrast, many Apostolic denominations adhere to Oneness theology, which rejects the traditional Trinity in favor of a modalistic view, where God is seen as one person manifesting in three different modes.
In terms of doctrine, Pentecostalism is diverse and includes a range of beliefs and practices. The Apostolic movement, particularly in its Oneness form, is more uniform in its adherence to specific doctrinal interpretations, including the necessity of baptism in Jesus' name and the receiving of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
Both Pentecostal and Apostolic churches place a high value on the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers. However, Apostolic churches often have stricter standards regarding lifestyle and conduct, reflecting their commitment to what they perceive as the apostles' original teachings and lifestyle.

Comparison Chart


Baptism of the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts
Teachings/practices of Apostles, Oneness theology

Worship Style

Lively, expressive services
Vibrant, structured, traditional practices


Diverse, Trinitarian theology
Uniform, often Oneness theology

Interpretation of Baptism

Baptism as symbolic, varies in practice
Baptism in Jesus' name, essential for salvation

Lifestyle and Conduct

Generally flexible
Often stricter standards based on Apostolic teachings

Pentecostal and Apostolic Definitions


A Pentecostal is a member of a Christian movement emphasizing the active work of the Holy Spirit.
She spoke in tongues during the Pentecostal service, showcasing a common spiritual experience in their faith.


Apostolics often emphasize a strict interpretation of the Bible based on Apostolic teachings.
Apostolic believers hold firm to their interpretation of scriptural teachings, as practiced by the first Apostles.


Pentecostals believe in spiritual gifts like healing and prophecy.
The Pentecostal preacher shared stories of miraculous healings in their congregation.


Many Apostolics adhere to the Oneness theology, rejecting the traditional Trinity.
In his Apostolic faith, the concept of the Trinity is viewed through the lens of Oneness theology.


The movement arose in the early 20th century, emphasizing a direct personal experience with God.
Pentecostalism's growth was marked by revival meetings attracting thousands seeking a personal encounter with God.


Apostolic worship tends to blend traditional practices with a focus on the continuation of the Apostles' teachings.
The Apostolic church incorporates elements of ancient Christian rituals in its services.


Pentecostal worship is characterized by expressive and lively services.
Their Pentecostal church is known for its vibrant music and passionate preaching.


An Apostolic is a member of a Christian group adhering to the teachings and practices of the early Apostles.
The Apostolic church service I attended strictly followed the patterns of the early Christian church.


Pentecostals focus on the baptism in the Holy Spirit as a distinct experience.
As a Pentecostal, he believes that receiving the Holy Spirit is vital for a deeper Christian life.


Apostolic churches often have strict lifestyle and conduct standards.
As an Apostolic, she adheres to a lifestyle that she believes aligns closely with that of the early Apostles.


Of, relating to, or occurring at Pentecost.


Of or relating to an apostle.


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


Do Pentecostals believe in the Trinity?

Most Pentecostals adhere to traditional Trinitarian theology.

What defines an Apostolic Christian?

Apostolic Christians are defined by their adherence to the teachings and practices of the early Apostles.

What is the Apostolic view of the Trinity?

Many Apostolics, especially in the Oneness movement, reject traditional Trinitarian views in favor of Oneness theology.

How do Pentecostals worship?

Pentecostal worship is often lively and expressive, with an emphasis on personal spiritual experiences.

What is the primary belief of Pentecostals?

Pentecostals primarily believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the manifestation of spiritual gifts.

Are all Pentecostals Apostolic?

No, not all Pentecostals are Apostolic, as these are distinct movements with different emphases.

What is the Pentecostal stance on biblical interpretation?

Pentecostals generally interpret the Bible with an emphasis on the Holy Spirit's present-day work.

Are Apostolic churches part of a larger denomination?

Apostolic churches can be independent or part of larger Apostolic or Oneness denominations.

What is Apostolic worship like?

Apostolic worship tends to be vibrant but structured, often incorporating traditional Christian practices.

How do Apostolics interpret the Bible?

Apostolics interpret the Bible with a strong emphasis on the continuity of the Apostles' teachings.

Do Apostolics speak in tongues?

Speaking in tongues is common among Apostolics, especially in the context of baptism in the Holy Spirit.

Can Pentecostals be part of different denominations?

Yes, Pentecostal beliefs are present in various Christian denominations.

What is the Pentecostal view on salvation?

Pentecostals typically view salvation as a process involving faith in Jesus, repentance, and a personal experience with the Holy Spirit.

What is the Pentecostal position on modern-day miracles?

Pentecostals commonly believe in and expect modern-day miracles as a part of their faith.

How do Apostolics view salvation?

Apostolics often see salvation as requiring faith in Jesus, baptism in Jesus' name, and receiving the Holy Spirit with evidence of speaking in tongues.

How do Apostolics view modern-day miracles?

Apostolics also believe in modern-day miracles, viewing them as a continuation of the Apostles' works.

Do Pentecostals have a formal liturgy?

Pentecostal services are generally not liturgical and focus on spontaneous worship.

Do Apostolic churches have a formal liturgy?

Apostolic churches may incorporate more structured and traditional elements into their services.

What are typical Pentecostal moral or lifestyle expectations?

While varied, Pentecostal moral expectations often include living a holy life guided by the Spirit.

What lifestyle expectations are typical in Apostolic churches?

Apostolic churches often have stricter lifestyle guidelines, reflecting their interpretation of the Apostles' teachings.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited 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.

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