Thursday, March 19, 2015

I stopped counting at 20,000 Protestant denominations

ROBERT  April 29, 2013 at 6:30 am
De Maria,
20,000 denominations? I guess you are at least bringing the number down from the 38,000 that others like to throw out.
I’m old enough to remember when it was only 20,000. I quit counting at that point. And, by the way, that is a Protestant number.
There are indeed sources for these numbers and they are neither Catholic nor unscholarly. To summarize briefly:
According to the Dictionary of Christianity in America [Protestant] (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1990): “As of 1980 David B. Barrett identified 20,800 Christian denominations worldwide . . .” (“Denominationalism,” page 351). I have this book, so I have seen this with my own eyes. Barrett “classified them into seven major blocs and 156 ecclesiastical traditions.” This is from the Oxford World Christian Encyclopedia (1982) of which he is the editor. Also, according to the United Nations statistics there were over 23,000 competing and often contradictory denominations worldwide (World Census of Religious Activities [U.N. Information Center, NY, 1989]). This was cited in Frank Schaeffer’s book Dancing Alone (Brookline, MA: Holy Cross Press, 1994), page 4. Schaeffer is Orthodox. The 1999 Encyclopedia of Christianity has this to say: “In 1985 David Barrett could count 22,150 distinct denominations worldwide.” (edited by E. Fahlbusch, et al., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999, vol. 1, p. 800, s.v. “Denomination”). Barrett is the statistical editor. Again citing the Oxford World Christian Encyclopedia (1982): “. . . a projected 22,190 by 1985 . . . The present net increase is 270 denominations each year (five new ones a week).” (pages 15-18)
I have to interrupt my response for some personal business. I’ll return post haste, God willing.
De Maria

1 comment:

  1. I honestly think the title should say "Protest-ant "Non-Denominational" denominations" LOL!!

    When one considers the many 'non-denominational" churches popping up on every street corner these days, with each pastor singing a different message, the number is almost impossible to count.

    Thank God for The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church!


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