Pentecostalism - Statistics and Denominations

Statistics and Denominations

Further information: List of Christian denominations#Pentecostalism

In 1995, David Barrett estimated there were 217 million "Denominational Pentecostals" throughout the world. In 2011, a Pew Forum study of global Christianity found that there were an estimated 279 million classical Pentecostals, making 4 percent of the total world population and 12.8 percent of the world's Christian population Pentecostal. The study found "Historically pentecostal denominations" (a category that did not include independent Pentecostal churches) to be the largest Protestant denominational family. The largest percentage of Pentecostals are found in Sub-Saharan Africa (44 percent), followed by the Americas (37 percent) and Asia and the Pacific (16 percent). The movement is enjoying its greatest surge today in the global South, which includes Africa, Latin America, and most of Asia. There are 740 recognized Pentecostal denominations, but the movement also has a significant number of independent churches that are not organized into denominations.

Among the over 700 Pentecostal denominations, 240 are classified as part of Wesleyan, Holiness, or Methodistic Pentecostalism. Until 1910, Pentecostalism was universally Wesleyan in doctrine, and Holiness Pentecostalism continues to predominate in the Southern United States. Wesleyan Pentecostals teach that there are three crisis experiences within a Christian's life: conversion, sanctification, and Spirit baptism. They inherited the holiness movement's belief in entire sanctification. According to Wesleyan Pentecostals, entire sanctification is a definite event that occurs after salvation but before Spirit baptism. This experience cleanses and enables the believer to live a life of personal holiness. This personal cleansing prepares the believer to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Holiness Pentecostal denominations include the Church of God in Christ, Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee), and the International Pentecostal Holiness Church.

After William H. Durham began preaching his Finished Work doctrine in 1910, many Pentecostals rejected the Wesleyan doctrine of entire sanctification and began to teach that there were only two definite crisis experiences in the life of a Christian: conversion and Spirit baptism. These Baptistic, Reformed, or Finished Work Pentecostals teach that a person is initially sanctified at the moment of conversion. After conversion, the believer grows in grace through a lifelong process of progressive sanctification. There are 390 denominations that adhere to the finished work position. They include the Assemblies of God, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, and the Open Bible Churches.

The 1904-1905 Welsh Revival laid the foundation for British Pentecostalism and especially for a distinct family of denominations known as Apostolic Pentecostalism (not to be confused with Oneness Pentecostalism). These Pentecostals are led by a hierarchy of living apostles, prophets, and other charismatic offices. Apostolic Pentecostals are found worldwide in 30 denominations, including the Apostolic Church based in the United Kingdom.

There are 80 Pentecostal denominations that are classified as Jesus' Name or Oneness Pentecostalism (often self identifying as "Apostolic Pentecostals"). These differ from the rest of Pentecostalism in several significant ways. Oneness Pentecostals reject the doctrine of the Trinity. They do not describe God as three persons but rather as three manifestations of the one living God. Oneness Pentecostals practice Jesus' Name Baptism—water baptisms performed in the name of Jesus Christ, rather than that of the Trinity. Oneness Pentecostal adherents believe repentance, baptism in Jesus' name, and Spirit baptism are all essential elements of the conversion experience. Oneness Pentecostals hold that repentance is necessary before baptism to make the ordinance valid, and receipt of the Holy Spirit manifested by speaking in other tongues is necessary afterwards, to complete the work of baptism. This differs from other Pentecostals, along with evangelical Christians in general, who see only repentance and faith in Christ as essential to salvation. This has resulted in Oneness believers being accused by some (including other Pentecostals) of a "works-salvation" soteriology, a charge they vehemently deny. Oneness Pentecostals insist that salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ, coupled with obedience to his command to be "born of water and of the Spirit"; hence, no good works or obedience to laws or rules can save anyone. For them, baptism is not seen as a "work" but rather the indispensable means that Jesus himself provided to come into his kingdom. The major Oneness churches include the United Pentecostal Church International and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.

In addition to the denominational Pentecostal churches, there are many Pentecostal churches that choose to exist independently of denominational oversight. Some of these churches may be doctrinally identical to the various Pentecostal denominations, while others may adopt beliefs and practices that differ considerably from classical Pentecostalism, such as Word of Faith teachings or Kingdom Now theology. Some of these groups have been successful in utilizing the mass media, especially television and radio, to spread their message.

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