As the message of Pentecost spread, it adapted to fit existing cultures. Korean Pentecostals, for instance, frequently climb “prayer mountains” for pre-sunrise prayer services, a reflection of a pre-Christian past. At Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, reputedly the world’s largest church, parishioners recite the Apostles’ Creed, pray or sing the Lord’s Prayer, and pray for the reunification of Korea every Sunday, reflecting something of the old Presbyterian majority. Preachers are expected to take off their shoes and don special slippers when they preach, for they stand on “holy ground.” More pragmatically, during the service people are encouraged to pray aloud en masse in “concerts of prayer,” but prayer stops the second a bell is rung. American Pentecostals would find such things almost unthinkable.
Cecil M. Robeck Jr. teaches at Fuller Theological Seminary, is a frequent interpreter of Pentecostalism in ecumenical meetings and is former editor of Pneuma, the journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies.