What Is the Difference Between Apostolic and Pentecostal Churches?

Apostolic churches represent a smaller branch within the larger Pentecostal denomination that rejects the separatist theory of the trinity. Most Pentecostal churches are Trinitarian, meaning they believe in the individual identities of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

Apostolic Pentecostals hold many of the same beliefs that mainstream Pentecostal churches do with one notable exception. The vast majority of Apostolic churches believe that the doctrine of the Trinity as it is viewed in mainstream Christian circles is polytheistic. Trinitarian Pentecostals acknowledge the separate and equivalent identities of God the Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. Apostolic Pentecostals acknowledge these identities only as different expressions of the same God.

As defined by the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, Apostolic refers to anything related to the 12 apostles of Christ. The Apostolic Pentecostal church believes that their view of the Trinity was expressed by the apostles at Pentecost and should be used to interpret the Scriptures. Mainstream Pentecostals argue that the verse is often misinterpreted, and they maintain the mystery of the Trinity of God as three in one. Apart from this difference, the Apostolic and Pentecostal churches both affirm the divinity of Christ, the receipt of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost and the Gifts of the Spirit.