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 . 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: