Pentecostal doesn’t describe any one church in particular, but rather a large number of denominations and independent evangelical churches. These churches are united by a belief in the ongoing and active presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, manifested by such things as speaking in tongues. They also believe that Jesus will return to earth in the near future, so they are very focused on missionary work. In addition, Pentecostal churches tend to be very conservative and traditional on issues related to gender, sexuality and marriage.
Marriage Is Holy
The Assemblies of God -- the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world -- “believes marriage is a sacred, holy and monogamous union between a man and a woman,” according to the church website. Pentecostals believe that marriage is a binding, lifelong contract before God, and the desired outcome of any courtship between man and woman. Sex is seen as a gift from God that is only to be enjoyed within the confines of this union. Premarital and extramarital sex is viewed as sinful, and most Pentecostal denominations condemn homosexuality and gay marriage.
Head of the Household
In most Pentecostal churches, men are seen as taking a leadership role within the household, while women are more like helpers. While wives are not discouraged from professional, entrepreneurial or ministry-related endeavors -- indeed, one of the highest-profile Pentecostal ministers in the United States, televangelist Joyce Meyer, is a married woman -- these roles are meant to be secondary to the helper role women play in the family unit.
Pentecostal churches strongly discourage divorce and believe that God hates divorce. This is especially true when the husband and wife declare their faith openly. Divorce is more acceptable in marriages between a Christian and a nonbeliever, but should only be initiated by the nonbeliever. The exception is in the case of repeated adultery or abandonment. In cases of spousal abuse, the Assemblies of God tells its congregants that separation followed by attempts at reconciliation is preferable, though divorce is “possibly” permissible if the abuser shuns efforts at reconciliation and chooses to leave.
Pentecostals believe that Jesus forbade divorced persons from remarrying, except when the divorce was the result of repeated unfaithfulness. The book of 1 Corinthians, meanwhile, permits Christians to remarry after their unfaithful spouse initiates divorce. Outside of these exceptions, remarriage is perceived as being tantamount to adultery.
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