Does anyone have a source to the claim of 43,000 denominations? I remember viewing a protestant source that stated something near that but can’t seem to find it. Any help would be appreciated. I’ve also heard the numbers range from 30,000 to 40,000.
I don’t know about 43,000, but PhilVaz wrote The Facts and Stats on 33000 Demonimations…The real figure is hard to pinpoint. PhilVaz has an estimate at the time he wrote it around 9000 for Protestants. Now if you add people who are “Bible only” Protestants who refuse to affiliate or who call themselves “non-demoninational” you might be able to argue millions of “denominations,” But, point being, there are at least “thousands” of Protestant denominations.
i guess you dont have to look for the source on the web.here where i live ,there are four indep christian churches on the same commercial complex.about 500 ft from them there are another two indep churches .so in one block ,we have 6 denominations already.i just passed by this week at one church that is situated next to an adult video store.that church has closed ,the store is still in business.on the same street two churches who were coexisting with each other have closed ,as well.said building has a sign “for lease”. close to where i live,there is a church inside a funeral parlor complex.they keep changing the day of worship from friday to saturday to sunday ,now back to saturday.another church just keep changing its name virtually every 6 mos.here in my area the ratio is ,for every 1 catholic church ,there is about 100 non catholic churches and this is predominantly hispanic region.
These 33,000 are subdivided into “6 major ecclesiastico-cultural mega-blocs”, and ordering them by denomination size we have (I am rounding up or down slightly for convenience, using year 2000 figures) :
Independents (about 22000)
Protestants (about 9000)
“Marginals” (about 1600)
Roman Catholics (242)
I think this is a fairly reputable source. Of course the number has probably grown since 2001. THis chart isn’t easy to transfer but you get the idea…
From a chart on the site:
MEMBERSHIP BY 6 ECCLESIASTICAL MEGABLOCS
1800 1900 1970 mid-2000 mid-2007 2025 projected
Congregations (worship centers)
What are marginals?
I didn’t know that there were 242 different denominations of Roman Catholicism.
There aren’t – read what the site actually says:
From these western and smaller eastern rites the encyclopedia gets 242 “Roman Catholic denominations” (year 2000 numbers). The largest is by far the Latin-rite (commonly called “Roman Catholics” by non-Catholic Christians) with 976 million members of the 994 million total members (or 98% of the total, year 1995 numbers). However, since virtually all of these western and smaller eastern rites are in union with the Pope (I am not sure of some of them), there is actually one Catholic Church, not 242 churches or denominations. Based on the encyclopedia’s own definition of “denomination” the editors appear to be separating and counting by country which is how you get to 242 (or 238 countries plus 4) “denominations” of Roman Catholics. The Catholic Church in Canada is not a different “denomination” from the Catholic Church in the U.S., which is not a different Catholic Church from the one in England, etc. If you search the available “World Christian Database” online, there is indeed one Catholic Church in the U.S.A., (see also Barrett, Encyclopedia, volume 1, page 783 for the U.S.A.) and in the world there are indeed 238 “Roman Catholic” denominations (for exactly 238 countries), i.e. one Catholic Church for each country. The same “counting by country” seems to be the case with some of the denominations in the other mega-blocs.
When dividing these “denominations” by country as they do, there are definitely some problems in figuring out the true total “denominations” since many of them are being counted more than once – and in fact 241 times too much in the case of “Roman Catholic” denominations. Barrett’s Encyclopedia states this explicitly:
“As a statistical unit in this Encyclopedia, a 'denomination' always refers to one single country. Thus the Roman Catholic Church, although a single organization, is described here as consisting of 236 denominations in the world's 238 countries.” (Barrett, et al, World Christian Encyclopedia, volume 1, page 27, in the "Glossary" under definition for "Denomination" [later updated to 242], emphasis added)
It’s a case of using different countries one specific Church is present in, even if that Church belongs to the same collective organization, and the site points out why this is wrong.
But, it is the methodology used by the organization which is the usual, though often uncited, source for such figures, for their own idiosyncratic purposes. As they stated, a few years back:
"Thank you for your inquiry. I can assure you that the figure of 39,000 is in no way inflated. This number represents our most current, up-to-date data. As we are constantly updating this figure, it is not published in print form. The figure of 33,800 from the year 2000 was printed in our book World Christian Trends, (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2001). Part 12 of World Christian Trends (WCT), Table 12-1 gives figures of denominational totals for all 238 countries of the world. These figures are also represented graphically in WCT on page 917, Global Map 14. The definition for denominations used in WCT, and also in our publication World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford, 2001) is as follows:
“Any agency consisting of a number of congregations or churches voluntarily aligning themselves with it. As a statistical unit in this survey, a ‘denomination’ always refers to one single country. Thus the Roman Catholic Church, although a single organization, is described here as consisting of 236 denominations in the world’s 238 countries.”
More precise listings of denominations can be found in the World Christian Encyclopedia, under the article for each country. These lists are not exhaustive, as there are too many small denominations to list separately, but they should help give a clearer picture". (bolding added).
There aren’t !! There is ONE, HOLY CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC Church founded by Jesus Christ under the authority of the Pope in Rome. There are 21 Rites but they are fully Catholic and under the authority of the Pope. Can’t help what others call themselves. Pray for Christian unity as Jesus prayed for. God Bless, Memaw
[quote=Micosil]Based on the encyclopedia’s own definition of “denomination” the editors appear to be separating and counting by country which is how you get to 242 (or 238 countries plus 4)
I’m confused how they get to 242. What are the extra 4? And elsewhere it says “236 denominations in the world’s 238 countries”, so are there actually an extra 6? Which countries aren’t counted? North Korea? Or is Vatican City counted as part of the Church of Rome and the Catholic Church in Italy?
Would require more research on the part of anyone wanting such details.
The numbers change regularly, with each successive publication of their research data. Those are from a couple of years ago.
Nor did I, so I checked with google. So far, Its only come up with one, which fortunately is the one I belong to.
Checked and bookmarked
Thank you, though that is part of my signature.
So, dividing the Protestant number by 200 might be a reasonable estimate - if one wanted to count each non-denominational church as a separate denomination?
It is just not true that there are 43000 religious denominations.
Leaving us with 165? If we count every group that has 2 or 3 congregations as a denomination, I think there would have to be more. Might be something close to that in the US.
The trouble is that it’s easy to count the Southern Baptists, and the American Baptists, and the United Methodists, and the ELCA, LC-MS, LC-WS, PC-USA, etc. What is tougher is deciding whether Preacher Joe’s Bible Church has essentially the same beliefs as fifty other congregations- usually it will, but it’s very hard to sort, and if they don’t really affiliate with each other shouls they count as a denomination?
As the organization which produces that data which is the usual source of the denomination figures recognizes, it’s a difficult point:
“More precise listings of denominations can be found in the World Christian Encyclopedia, under the article for each country. These lists are not exhaustive, as there are too many small denominations to list separately, but they should help give a clearer picture”.
So how many are there?
Please give the number of actual denominations, as well as your source.
I will be happy to use your number, as long as I find your source reliable and reasonable.