Christianity is the world’s most popular religion – with over 2billion followers. Christianity is the main religion in Northern America, South America, Europe, and parts of Australasia and Africa. Christianity has recently been seen as a religion that acts as a bastion of peace – though tragically, Christians are officially the most persecuted people worldwide.
With over 2billion followers, it is understandable that not all Christians follow exactly the same beliefs. Therefore, different denominations exist. While some denominations feature thousands of Churches, others operate on a small scale.
Denominations typically differ from one another due to stances on the likes of the infallability of the Bible, the nature of sin, abortion, homosexuality, the Holy Trinity, the after-life and assisted suicide among other areas. In this article, we take a look at the ten biggest Christian denominations worldwide.
For the basis of clarity, please note that we have not considered Protestantism to be one denomination – rather, we have used the array of denominations that make up Protestantism. There are around 900M Protestants worldwide. The same logic, though in reverse, has been used for Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Oriental Orthodoxy, with each of these considered as one large denomination.
10th: Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) – 16.5million
Arguably the most misunderstood denomination of all, the Latter-Day Saints Movement, spearheaded by Joseph Smith in the 1800s, now has around 16.5million members.
Better known by most as Mormons, those who follow this movement have been plagued with widescale confusion and stereotyping – such as the incorrect belief that all those who follow this denomination believe in polygamy.
The biggest Church in this movement is the LDS Church. Among the kindest people you’ll ever meet, those in the LDS Church are always happy to share their gospel with others, have general religious discussions, and more.
You may see a few missionaries throughout your life – usually noticeable by their accompanying Book of Mormon and smartly-dressed appearance.
9th – Presbyterianism – 40million
With 40million followers, Presbyterianism is a popular denomination. It is one of the older Protestant denominations, and has seen its numbers stay at a rather static level in recent years.
Presbyterianism is a reformation-based denomination, with historical links to the United Kingdom. Most of its followers are based in North America or Europe.
The five key beliefs in Presbyterianism is scripture alone, faith alone, Christ alone, grace alone and glory to God alone. Some American Presidents, including Donald Trump, have been affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
8th: Methodism – 60million
A denomination that has seen its numbers dramatically drop in recent years – Methodism has around 60million members worldwide. Based on the teachings and philosophy of John Wesley, Methodists are generally found in the United States and parts of Europe.
Compared to many denominations, it is one of the newer groups, and a renaissance in member numbers cannot be ruled out. The biggest Church in this denomination is the United Methodist Church – which has 15million members.
7th: Oriental Orthodoxy – 65million
A huge range of Churches make up Oriental Orthodoxy – with approximately 65million followers. Oriental Orthodoxy Churches are common in Northern Africa, the Middle East and some parts of Eastern Europe, especially Armenia.
Unfortunately, followers of this area of Christianity have been facing sickening persecution, with the world seemingly sitting back and doing nothing. It simply doesn’t fit today’s left-wing agenda to suggest that Christians are victims. Hopefully, the numbers will bounce back soon.
6th: Lutheranism – 75million
Lutheranism is one of the most popular denominations in Protestant Christianity, and has followers around the world. Lutheranism is particularly popular in many parts of the United States, as well as some European nations – especially those in Scandinavia.
By far the biggest Church within Lutheranism is the Evangelical Church in Germany (20million) – owing to the popularity of Lutheranism there.
Lutheranism is also popular in the United States, with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America having millions of adherents. The movement was named after Martin Luther, and is known for having a diverse array of beliefs even within the denomination.
5th – Baptists – 80million
A very well known denomination is the Baptists. There are around 80million Baptists around the world, with this denomination well-known for its belief that baptism should be only done by professing believers – rather than at childbirth.
Baptisms also involve full immersion – as John the Baptist did to Jesus Christ. The Baptists are one of the oldest Christian denominations. The largest Church within this denomination is the Southern Baptist Convention – where 14.5million members attend various Churches, it is based in the USA.
While Baptists are mainly found in North America, they can be virtually anywhere, with many Churches erected around the world. Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton are among the former US Presidents that were Baptists.
4th – Anglicanism – 85million
Anglicanism has 85million followers around the world, and is arguably the best-known Protestant denomination, with it tracing its roots back to 16th Century United Kingdom.
Its biggest Church is the Church of England, where 25million followers attend worship. It is also popular throughout Europe, and parts of Africa too – with the Church of Nigeria having 20million members.
They are also known as the Episcopal Church in the United States – where they are also very popular. For many years, Anglicanism was the most popular Protestant denomination, and while that mantle has since been passed on, it remains very popular.
3rd – Eastern Orthodox Church – 240million
The Eastern Orthodox Church boasts a huge total of 240million followers around the world. They are primarily found in Eastern Europe – with the Russian Orthodox Church alone having 100million followers.
Other Eastern European nations such as Moldova, Romania and Ukraine have many members of this denomination, with an estimated 90% of the population of Moldova alone being followers. While it is unusual to find huge numbers of followers outside of Eastern Europe, smaller enclaves do exist.
2nd – Pentecostalism – 280million
A denomination that has seen membership numbers enormously rise in recent times is Pentecostalism. Such is its enormous growth, the denomination is now the second biggest denomination of all, and the largest in Protestantism.
This denomination is also one of the youngest in this list, with its phenomenal growth leaving many scholars perplexed. It is very popular in the United States, and is rapidly growing in the deeply-religious continent of South America.
Those who follow Pentecostalism are known for believing salvation can be attained by grace alone, and that experiences with God during religious worship is common, with speaking in tongue a common phenomena at services.
The Assemblies of God – with 67million members – is the biggest branch of Pentecostalism. Having roared up the table in recent times, Pentecostalism is likely to only get more popular as the years go by.
1st – Catholicism – 1.3billion
Of course, the biggest denomination of all in Christianity is Catholicism. Enormously popular in the United States, Europe and South America, it is difficult to travel far around the world without seeing a Catholic Church.
Catholicism dates back thousands of years and currently has over 3,500 dioceses around the world. The Church is fronted by The Pope – who lives in Vatican City.
The core beliefs and principles of Catholicism derive from the Nicene Creed – featuring areas such as believing in one God, believing the virgin Mary is holy and other elements such as everlasting life and the resurrection of the dead.
Many Catholics are known for their deeply religious ways. The Church is also associated with abstinence, their stance on homosexuality and its method of communion.
The Catholic Church is simply enormous. With such a huge following – the Catholic Church is likely to thrive for many years to come.