How many Protestant denominations? 33,820?


#1

This is a spin-off from The Real Luther thread.

An article in the April 16, 2001 Newsweek magazine, that documents the rapid growth of separate, competing, and conflicting Protestant denominations in the world, reports the number of denominations as 33,820.

Newsweek’s source for this number is the World Christian Encyclopedia by David Barrett (2001 edition), where it appears on page 10 of Volume 1. (In 1970, a similar statistical study by Barrett gave the number of denominations as 26,350.) The 2001 figure is broken down as 11,830 traditional denominations and 21,990 paradenominations. He divides Christianity into (Roman) Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant (Barrett is an Anglican clergyman). So if an organization does not belong in one of the first three categories, it’s Protestant. Barrett has some statistical definitions and breakdowns which must be taken into account.

Protestant apologist Eric Svendsen has taken exception to this statistical study, or rather to those who don’t read it his way, and has concluded that are are actually only 8,196 Protestant denominations :smiley: . He criticizes Catholic apologists for using the larger number, though they most likely get it from publications like Newsweek. I doubt that every apologist has a copy of the statistical study, which costs a couple of hundred dollars or more.

I don’t agree with Svendsen limited definition of “Protestant,” but as I told him (in 2001?), 8,196 Protestant denominations are plenty, plenty to prove the fallacy of Sola Scriptura. :whacky:

JMJ Jay


#2

Only 8,196 conflicting versions of the Truth?! (Gee, is that all?)

Sigh Well, if we can all interpret Scriptures differently and believe it to be “our Truth,” I suppose we can all read statistics differently and believe “our math.”

Thankfully One still equals One!

One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church! One Faith, one baptism, One Lord!

Pax Christi. <><


#3

This drive me nuts!! There are not versions of the truth.

There is either the truth or a lie. Something is either true or not.

God have Mercy !

Peace in Jesus and Mary.


#4

[quote=Burnznet]…There are not versions of the truth.

There is either the truth or a lie. Something is either true or not…
[/quote]

In my opinion not all non-Catholics believe in untruths. Some just don’t have the full Truth. Many of our protestant brothers and sisters are doing some very fine and noble things, but they need to know that the Catholic Church teaches the fullness of the faith.

I pray that more non-Catholic Christians will come home and bring their talents and hard work with them. We could certainly use their gifts.

God Bless!


#5

[quote=Bud Stewart]In my opinion not all non-Catholics believe in untruths. Some just don’t have the full Truth. Many of our protestant brothers and sisters are doing some very fine and noble things, but they need to know that the Catholic Church teaches the fullness of the faith.

I pray that more non-Catholic Christians will come home and bring their talents and hard work with them. We could certainly use their gifts.

God Bless!
[/quote]

I agree…look at what John Henry Newman, Scott Hahn, Marcus Grodie, Karl Keating, to name just a few, have brought!:slight_smile:


#6

I certainly agree that the numbers, whatever they are, are less than acceptable. What I and other Protestants do not like is the blind citation of the number 30,000. For one thing if we are talking about truth and lies, this number is a lie as people use it today.

What usually happens is that a person will jump into a conversation about something of discussion and say, “Well we know that your opinion is wrong… see it has led to the creation of 30,000 denominations.”

The usual counter is, “That number is not correct here look at the information “www….”, plus I would appreciate it if you discussed your opposing viewpoint instead of discrediting anything that I could possibly say do to this fact.”

Then after the person has looked over the information they say, “Well 30,000 really doesn’t matter anyway - 3,000 or 30,000 – it still proves my point.”

Fine, but then you should have said “Sola Scriptura” has created multiple churches with multiple viewpoints all claiming to be correct, this is not good…

I have no problem with that, it is a definite weakness of “Sola Scriptura” but please do not use fallacious numbers to discredit any point of view I may have on a subject.

One thing that is misunderstood by both sides is the assumption that “Sola Scriptura” means that all people with the Holy Spirit can interpret the Bible infallibly. Well this obviously is not true…


#7

[quote=Shibboleth]I have no problem with that, it is a definite weakness of “Sola Scriptura” but please do not use fallacious numbers to discredit any point of view I may have on a subject.

One thing that is misunderstood by both sides is the assumption that “Sola Scriptura” means that all people with the Holy Spirit can interpret the Bible infallibly. Well this obviously is not true…
[/quote]

You are correct in that Sola Scriptura is weak and the 30,000 is mostly about this issue. As I mentioned in “The Real Luther” post, there is a bigger picture.

Unfortunately, since the beginning of time, we have proposed our position by giving a picture which slants to our agenda. That includes Protestants, Catholics, Republicans, Democrats, etc. I am just as frustrated with the misinformation and outright lies Protestants use to push their ideas.

Whenever I read something, I always keep in mind who wrote it.

Giod Bless


#8

[quote=Annunciata]I agree…look at what John Henry Newman, Scott Hahn, Marcus Grodie, Karl Keating, to name just a few, have brought!:slight_smile:
[/quote]

i’m not even catholic and i know that karl keating is a cradle catholic, never a protestant. he should be the biggest inspiration to cradle catholics in how well he knows his faith. just a side note :slight_smile:


#9

Karl Keating is a cradle Catholic and an inspiration.

I thought Anglican is Protestant

What I don’t understand about the numbers is this, there this guy who has done the research, pulls the numbers and research together and yet people, who have not done the research to his extent, tell him he is wrong! :frowning:

Has anyone else done this research, that the research and numbers can be compared?

Or is it the number that Protestants feel they must defend? :hmmm:

Whether the number is 30, 300, 3000 or 30,000, it still shows the fallacy of Sola Scriptura, and that should be enough for anyone to come back to the Church, or at least realize there just may be something to the Catholic Church. We have survived 2000 years. :amen:

Sid


#10

And even the 211 Baptist denominations in the Baptist World Alliance is too many. Where’s the unity?


#11

You do realize that the same Guy with his numbers had the Catholic Church broken with these many divisions or denominations?

Also note the Catholic “denominations” in the list, if that is a list of denominations:

Churches-Catholic-American (49)
Churches-Catholic-Byzantine (48)
Churches-Catholic-Evangelical (4)
Churches-Catholic-Mexican (12)
Churches-Catholic-Old (6)
Churches-Catholic-Roman (1962)
Churches-Catholic-Traditional (66)
Churches-Catholic, Church Of God (18)
Churches-Catholic, Ecumenical (2)
Churches-Catholic, Latin Rite (9)

I wonder if you feel like defending those numbers?


#12

[quote=Shibboleth]You do realize that the same Guy with his numbers had the Catholic Church broken with these many divisions or denominations?

I wonder if you feel like defending those numbers?
[/quote]

Churches-Catholic-American (49)
Churches-Catholic-Byzantine (48)
Churches-Catholic-Evangelical (4)
Churches-Catholic-Mexican (12)
Churches-Catholic-Old (6)
Churches-Catholic-Roman (1962)
Churches-Catholic-Traditional (66)
Churches-Catholic, Church Of God (18)
Churches-Catholic, Ecumenical (2)
Churches-Catholic, Latin Rite (9)

I don’t need to defend the numbers, because of three things:

  1. I am not saying the numbers are wrong, because I haven’t done any research to prove otherwise.

  2. I think the names of self-explanatory in that the divisions are mainly cultural, not doctrinal

  3. The Churches listed are all in union with the Vatican and are not in schism.

It also looks like he missed a couple, such as Chaldean Catholic (Iraq), Syrian Catholic (Syria), etc.


#13

Luther is credited for starting the reformation.
Looks more like he started the fragmentation.


No wonder Christianity is no longer taken seriously.


#14

I never said or meant that the numbers are wrong, I said that peoples use of them are incorrect.

For one thing if we are talking about truth and lies, this number is a lie as people use it today.


#15

[quote=tom.wineman]Luther is credited for starting the reformation.
Looks more like he started the fragmentation.

No wonder Christianity is no longer taken seriously.
[/quote]

Let’s not be too hard on poor Luther…he relied on Sola Scriptura…and apparently mistranslated a crucial verse:

The gospel according to Luther: Jesus said to Peter: “and upon this rock I found my many independent-denomenations.” Svendsen would probably understand “traditions” instead of denomenations, but either way it works out the same.

ahh…the importance of a good translation.:smiley:


#16

Pointing the various ‘catholic’ denominations raises some interesting questions and points.

Why does the author of the list believe that there are so many ‘denominations’?

It could be that what is simply a rite within the Catholic Church is seen by him or by others on whom he dependd as somehow separate enough from the Church as to call it a distinct denomination.

If this happened, then there is either a problem with the fellow’s scholarship in assembling the list or a problem in our understanding of how he defines ‘denomination.’

The various rites within the Catholic Church are uniform regarding the unchanging truths of faith and morals. Where they differ are on matters of discipline which are subject to change and which can allow for legitimate diversity.

Now if there is a problem in the man’s scholarship, then that could bring into doubt what he has to say about the number of divisions within Protestant Christianity. In saying this I am by no means denying that there is a great amount of division there. I am saying that it is not good to rely on faulty scholarship to support one’s point (that is, if the man’s scholarship is faulty).

Other groups that he lists as Catholic (Ecumenical, Evangelical, etc.) are most certainly not.

The way that we can determine this is to look at the historical development of each group that claims to be Catholic. After looking at the evidence, which has made the best case? The Catholic Church (with no modifiers) has ample historical evidence to show that has roots going back to the time of the apostles and our Lord himself.

On the other hand, those who identify themselves as, for example, ‘Old Catholics’ can only trace themselves back to a movement in opposition to the defining of papal infallibility at Vatican I.


#17

[quote=Burnznet]This drive me nuts!! There are not versions of the truth.

There is either the truth or a lie. Something is either true or not.

God have Mercy !

Peace in Jesus and Mary.
[/quote]

True, half the truth is still a whole lie :smiley: I mean imagine telling the Priest half the truth, do we qualify that as a good confession ?


#18

I wonder if you feel like defending those numbers?

Part 1
Shibboleth, I love defending those numbers!

Barrett correctly lists 22 “ecclesiastical traditions” under Roman Catholic in 2001. [Svendsen’s article quotes an earlier edition of Barrett’s work.]

The Catholic Church was founded by Christ (Mt. 16:18) and came into being in Jerusalem when the promised Holy Spirit (Jn 14:15-18 et al.) arrived at Pentecost in 33 A.D. (Acts 2:1-4). From Jerusalem, the Church spread to five major cultural centers (in alphabetical order): Alexandria, Antioch, Armenia, Byzantium, and Rome. These were not separate churches – divided by
doctrine as well as by distance – but branches of the One True Church founded by Christ, established and personally taught by one or more of the Apostles. All held to the same doctrines and practices – one Church with many branches.

These Churches expanded through the efforts of the Apostles’ disciples, forming additional branches of the same Church, and teaching others the same Faith they had learned from their mentors, the Apostles. The expansion went on, and is still going on today. The headquarters – and the final authority in matters of faith and morals – was and is the Church of Rome, founded by Sts. Paul and Peter. St. Peter, appointed leader of His Church by Christ, was the first Bishop of Rome. Peter’s successors (there have been 265 of them including JPII) guide the Universal Church.

Members of the Church were first called ‘Christians’ in Antioch (Acts 11:26), and sometimes ‘Catholics’ in or before 110 A.D., when Ignatius of Antioch wrote, “… where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.” (Letter to the Smyrnaeans).

Some 50 years or so later, The Martyrdom of St. Polycarp refers to “the holy and Catholic Church in every place,” and St. Polycarp is called “the bishop of the Catholic Church at Smyrna.”

The Latin Rite (also known as the Roman Rite) became the dominant form of Catholic worship in Western Europe as Latin became the common language, replacing Greek. Different styles of liturgy developed in the East, reflecting differences in cultures and languages. In 1054, the East split from the West and called themselves “Orthodox.” Some Eastern Churches later reunited with Rome and became known as Eastern Catholic
Churches – as opposed to Eastern Orthodox. (The one exception is the Maronites, who never separated from Rome.) Every one of these Churches, or Rites, teaches the same doctrines and acknowledges the Pope – the successor to Peter and the bishop of Rome – as the head of the Catholic (Universal) Church and the supreme authority in matters of doctrine and morals. All these Rites, or Churches, hold to the same Faith (set of beliefs), just as St. Paul insisted: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” And they are all centered on the Eucharist. The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks for and applies to every one of them.

(Continued)


#19

Part 2

A few of these 22 Rites, or Churches, are the Armenian, Maronite, Chaldean, Byzantine, Coptic, Malabar, Latin (aka Roman) and Syrian, for example. They are all Catholic and profess the same Faith as the Church of Rome.

All these Rites, or more properly Churches, offer the same sacrifice, preach the same doctrines, and celebrate the same seven Sacraments. Any Catholic may attend any of the 22 Rites he wishes. They are all the One Church founded by Christ.

The 22 autonomous ritual churches cannot be classified as denominations which, by definition, differ from one another on various points of Biblical interpretation, doctrine, or practice. Historically, they were part of the ®CC for a thousand years, were separated for a time during the Great Schism, and have since come home to Mother Church.

This is a simplified history, but in a nutshell, that’s the story of the Catholic Rites. So the Catholic Church is one organization consisting of (thus far) ***22 autonomous ritual churches ***(including Rome). Together, the various Churches constitute one entity – the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The Rites differ in culture, language, liturgy, canon law, but not in doctrine, practice, or biblical interpretation. They all trace their beginning to an Apostle (not an ordinary man). They all hold to the ancient Faith as it was taught by the Apostles in all its fullness. Each is centered around the Eucharist.

There is no such unifying relationship among the Protestant denominations. Instead of forming a united whole, they are splintered. For example, the original church of Martin Luther does not exist and has been replaced by a plethora of “synods” who disagree with all other Lutheran synods in their interpretation of the Scriptures, doctrines, or religious practices. The
same lamentable story can be told of Calvin’s church. And on and on goes the sad story of Protestantism.

The new trend is independent churches with no
affiliation whatsover with historic Christianity. But these churches are not Catholic, not Orthodox, and not Anglican; therefore, they are Protestant. They base their beliefs on the Bible and thus qualify as Protestants.

Ave Cor Mariae, Jay


#20

Barrett’s World Christian Encyclopedia, A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World, defines “denomination” as: “Any agency consisting of a number of congregations or churches voluntarily aligning themselves with it. 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.” (emphasis added)

Barrett defines “paradenomination” as: “A recent network of churches that is becoming a denomination but resisting denominationalist shortcomings.” Most of us would call them just plain Protestants.

So, there are not exactly 33,820 denominations as a non-statistician would count them. All units of measurement are very carefully defined by Barrett in his work. But there are literally thousands of competing and conflicting Protestant denominations. A look at the Handbook of Denominations in the United States is ample proof of that! And all 211 Baptist denominations in the Baptist World Alliance aren’t listed!

But I think the number of 33,820 has been reported by Newsweek and others, and the majority of folks quote the number from that magazine or a similar source. It is the number given by Barrett, but I repeat, he’s a statistician and his definitions and breakdowns must be taken into account.

But Eric Svendsen’s idea that all Protestants are accounted for under Barrett’s category of “Evangelicals” is bull-oney.

Barrett is a renowned statistician who is also, as I stated previously, an Anglican clergyman. That, I think, accounts for ‘Anglican’ being listed separately and not under “Protestant.” He probably subscribes to the three-branch theory of the “True Church” – Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican.

JMJ Jay


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