From Pew Forum, “Global Christianity,” December 2011 report.

“The figures in this report on pentecostal, charismatic and evangelical Christians and on Protestant denominational families were commissioned by the Pew Forum from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass., whose researchers generated estimates based in large part on figures provided by Christian organizations around the world.”

Christians and Protestants in the World in numbers

 

CHRISTIANS BY MOVEMENT

Estimated number% of World Christian Population
Pentecostals279,080,00012.8%
Charismatic304,990,00014.0%
Evangelical285,480,00013.1%

*Please note, while Pentecostals and Charismatics are two distinct categories, they overlap with Evangelicals. These numbers should not be added together.

The numbers above define Christians by Movement as:

  • Pentecostals: “Pentecostals are members of distinct Protestant denominations or independent churches that hold the teaching that all Christians should seek a post-conversion religious experience called the baptism of the Holy Spirit.”
  • Charismatics: “Charismatics are members of non-pentecostal denominations — including Catholic, Orthodox and some Protestant denominations — who hold at least some pentecostal beliefs and engage in at least some spiritual practices associated with pentecostalism, including divine healing, prophecy and speaking in tongues.”
  • Evangelicals: “Evangelicals are Christians who (1) believe in the centrality of the conversion or “born again” experience in receiving salvation; (2) believe in the authority of the Bible as God’s revelation to humanity; and (3) have a strong commitment to evangelism or sharing the Christian message.”

 

 

PENTECOSTALS, CHARISMATICS, AND EVANGELICALS BY REGION

% Region, Pentecostal% World Pentecostal Population% Region, Charismatic% World, Charismatic Population% Region, Evangelical% World Evangelical Population
Americas10.9%36.7%15.8%48.5%10.0%32.9%
Sub-Saharan Africa14.8%43.7%6.5%17.4%13.3%38.4%
Asia-Pacific1.1%15.5%2.2%29.5%1.5%20.8%
Europe1.5%4.0%1.8%4.3%2.9%7.5%
Middle East - North Africa0.1%0.1%0.2%0.3%0.3%0.3%
WORLD TOTAL4.0 %100% 4.4 %100% 4.1%100%

 

Please note:

It’s difficult to count Christians; it’s immensely hard to count Evangelicals in the world.

What and how do you count?  Do you count attendance?   Do you count by self-identification or do you count by what they say they believe?   How all do you acquire these numbers, how do you ensure that they are accurate and obtained by fair standards?  How do you square seemingly incongruent sets of numbers together to get a bigger picture of the whole?

We’ll leave that to the statisticians.  When resources allow, we’d love to ask them about the difficulties.  For now, if you are interested, please read Pew’s Appendices.

 

 

 

 

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