What Does the Bible Say About..? Logo

What Does the Bible Say About..Catholics and Pentecostals?

My wife is a practicing Catholic and we have so many talks about the differences between them and my Pentecostal beliefs and values. Could you please tell me what are the major differences and whether that church was mentioned as being one of the churches in revelations that is going to be expelled, the woman (Mary) being of idol worship. Thank you and I will continue to pray for your excellent website.


There are few significant differences between Catholics and most Pentecostals. The main differences of which I know are these. I am not an expert on the doctrines of either group.

One difference is that Pentecostals do not generally recognize the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. That is, they do not recognize the Pope as supreme head of the church on earth. Many Pentecostals believe that each congregation is independent of all others. The leadership of each congregation is not answerable to a higher council or committee.

While both Catholics and Pentecostals believe that the ability to perform miracles has continued to the present there are some differences in their understandings. Catholics generally consider miracles to be a sign of special holiness (sainthood) in a limited number of individuals. Many Pentecostals believe that every saved person has been gifted with some form of miracle working. Some even say that a person is not saved unless he has a miraculous gift, most often the gift of “speaking in tongues.” Others say one can be saved and not have a miraculous gift, but that having one is a sign that one is more spiritual. Yet others don’t tie the gifts to salvation or spirituality, but believe that some are gifted and some are not, at God’s will.

Most Pentecostals believe that salvation comes to repentant believers who (generally) have been immersed in water. They reject the concept of “original sin” that supports infant baptism. Catholics believe that a child is born sinful and must be baptized (although they don’t insist on immersion) to remove that sin. They do not require faith or repentance before baptism.

Catholics believe in the doctrine of the Trinity. Some Pentecostals accept that doctrine. Many do not. Oneness Pentecostals believe that the doctrine of Trinity is sinful in that it denies that there is one God.

Note that I frequently use vague terms (most, generally, many) in relation to Pentecostal beliefs. I have been chided for stating that Pentecostals believe certain things when some Pentecostals believe otherwise. To compare Pentecostal doctrine to anyone else often requires that one know which form of Pentecostalism is in question.

Your second question was whether the Catholic Church is condemned in the Revelation. Actually, the Catholic Church is never mentioned in that book. The Revelation is about the conflict between the church and the physical government of Rome. The prophecies of that book were fulfilled in the first or second centuries. Since most non-Catholic scholars trace the origin of the Roman Catholic Church as a separate entity only back to 1054 AD (see What Does the Bible Say About..Church History?), the book of the Revelation was fulfilled long before the formation of most churches. The woman condemned in the book is the Roman government, not any church.

Most Catholics do not claim to worship Mary. Therefore they would object to your characterization of idol worship.