There are approximately 900million Protestants around the world – a huge number. These 900million members of Protestantism are split into several, smaller denominations – each with their own specific belief. While each follows the same core teachings, there are differences in the specific beliefs of each denomination.
Protestantism originated in the 16th Century. The movement was borne out of the Catholic Church, due to protests – helping form the name of Protest-antism. In this article, we look at the top ten largest Protestant denominations.
Protestantism attracts a diverse range of followers, and includes a huge number of different denominations. While some number in the hundreds, others, as we will see – attract hundreds of millions of followers!
10. Anabaptism – 5million
Kicking off the list is Anabaptism – with around 5million members making up this denomination. Anabaptists, like the more well-known Baptists – place huge importance on the act of baptism. The movement dates back to the 1500s, and is therefore one of the oldest Protestant denominations. It is worth noting that not all Anabaptists consider themselves to be Protestant. The Mennonites make up the biggest Church within Anabaptism.
9. Restorationism – 7million
Restorationism is a rather broad term that could within reason apply to many of the denominations listed later on in this list. But we focus on those Churches that have a central philosophy based on restorationism. These Churches aim to unify the entire Christian faith, in an effort to return to the ways of the New Testament. The biggest Church in this movement is called The Churches of Christ, with the Disciples of Christ another large Church within restorationism.
8. Seventh-Day Adventists – 8million
Seventh-day Adventists are best-known for their belief that Saturday should be observed as the day of Worship, rather than Sunday. They believe that a Second Coming of Jesus Christ is imminent, as well as the resurrection of the dead. They also place importance on the trinity, importance of faith, God’s creation of the world in seven days, and, as previously mentioned, worship on Saturdays. 8million people are members of this denomination.
7. Zion Christian Church – 12million
Boasting around 12million members, the Zion Christian Church is based in South Africa. The faith is rather new, having been founded in 1924 following a preacher’s claim that he had received a revelation from God. The Zion Christian Church gradually grew in size, and has seen its membership swell in recent times. They place importance on baptism, aim for redemption through confession, prayer and repentance, and believe the Bible is a text that should be taken literally.
6. Presbyterianism – 40million
Presbyterianism is a popular denomination with approximately 40million followers. The denomination can be traced back to the United Kingdom, with most of its followers these days being found in the United States and parts of Europe. Its numbers in its heartland – the United Kingdom – has somewhat dwindled in recent years.
5. Methodism – 60million
Methodism is a popular denomination that has around 60million members. Their philosophy is based on John Wesley’s teachings. They teach that salvation is possible, place importance on the preaching of the Bible and believe in the concept of original sin. Methodists are mainly found in parts of Europe and the United States. The Unted Methodist Church, at 15million members, is the biggest Church within this denomination.
4. Lutheranism – 75million
With around 75million members, Lutheranism is a very popular denomination. Among its biggest Churches are the Evangelical Church in Germany and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As seen in the titles of these Churches, Lutheranism is evangelical in nature. However, across the various different Churches that make up Lutheranism, many different stances are taken on key issues. The movement is named after Martin Luther – a German philosopher.
3. Baptists – 80million
A very well-known denomination – the Baptists have around 80million members around the world. As the name suggests, Baptists place significant importance on the need for Baptism to take place – which is done via full immersion. They also believe that Baptism should not happen as an infant, instead it must be a conscious decision from a believer. The Baptists are most popular in the United States – with the Southern Baptist Convention the biggest Church within the denomination.
2. Anglicanism – 85million
There are around 85million followers of Anglicanism around the world. It is also known as the Episcopal Church in the United States – where it is very popular. For example, most Presidents of the United States follow the Episcopal Church. Anglicanism can be traced back to the 16th Century. Its biggest denomination is the Church of England – where approximately 25million members are based. It is also popular throughout Europe and parts of Africa. For many years, Anglicanism was the most popular Protestant denomination, until having been usurped.
1st – Pentecostalism – 280million
Pentecostalism has enjoyed a staggering rise in recent decades, with membership numbers exponentially growing, making it the most popular Protestant denomination around the world. Around 280million Pentecostals are based around the world. It is rapidly growing to many parts around the world, including the deeply-religious Southern America continent. It is also popular in the United States, and is seeing an increase in popularity in Europe too. They are known for placing importance on the evidence of miracles, and speaking in tongue. It’s largest Church is the Assemblies of God, which has around 67million members. Given its recent huge rise, it is expected that it will only continue to get bigger. It will probably top this list for a long, long time.