Christianity is the most common and followed religion on the planet. With an estimated over 31 percent of the world’s population following Christianity, the religion is growing.
Christianity has a lot of denominations. It’s understood that over 4,500 denominations of Christianity are present and followed. Only the United States has over 200 denominations.
The Most Popular Christian Denominations
This raises a question, what are the most popular Christian denominations? In this blog, we’ll be listing down the most popular Christian denominations throughout the world.
Christianity is a very old religion that can now be divided into six major denominations: Roman Catholicism, Restorationism, Protestantism, Church of East, and Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy.
Out of these six main groups, Catholicism is the most popular, with around 50 percent of the Christian population being Catholics. Then comes Protestantism, which comprises around 36 percent of the Christian population. The rest of the groups make up the remaining population of Christianity.
The Roman Catholic Church is the most popular and the oldest denomination in Christianity. As mentioned above, it makes up over half of Christianity’s total population.
The countries with a majority of Catholic populations are Vatican City, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, the Philippines, and more.
The Pope himself is the pastor of the Roman Catholic Church.
There are around further denominations in Catholic Churches, like the Latin Church Eastern Catholic Churches, like the Armenian and Syriac Rite.
The Catholics claim they are not a denomination, but a pre-denomination since they are the oldest group of Christianity, but the other Christian groups outright reject this claim of the Catholics.
Protestantism is the second largest major denomination, which comprises around 37 percent of the total Christian population. Protestants are the ones who parted ways from the Catholics during the period of reformation. They are often called reform Christians. Some of the countries with the largest protestant populations are China, the United States, Nigeria, Iceland, Denmark, and more.
Protestantism is further divided into many denominations, some of which are:
Calvinism, often called reformism itself, is a major denomination branching out from Protestantism. The theologies and practices followed in Calvinism are those which were laid down by John Calvin, known as the founder of this denomination. Calvinism, after separating from Roman Catholicism, came into formation in the 16th century.
Another one of the large denominations branching out from Protestantism, Martin Luther was the founder of Lutheranism. The separation of Lutheranism from Roman Catholicism was officially announced in the late 16th century. Unlike Calvinism, Lutheranism had many of the older practices and theologies retained from the pre-separation churches.
Anglicans, the followers of Anglicanism, are widespread across the world and are one of the largest branches of Protestant Christianity as well. Anglicanism came into fruition after the English Reformation of the church, and that’s where it has retained its theologies and practices from. Anglicanism is often described as the middle ground between Lutheranism and Calvinism.
The Bible is the core upon which the faith of Anglicans depends and is further shaped by historic church writers and their lessons.
The Christians who belong to Adventism base their beliefs on the second coming of Jesus. Adventism is comparatively recent, as it was founded in the early 19th century in the United States by the Baptist pastor William miller.
William predicted the second coming of Jesus originally somewhere between the years 184 and 1845. This didn’t happen. Thus his following split out. Some of them carried his message and beliefs forward.
5. Baptist Churches
Baptists are a significant sect of Evangelical Christianity, defined by the fact that they only baptize true Christian believers, and they do it via the process of complete immersion, rather than sprinkling water.
A Baptist Christian shares some of the same basic beliefs other Protestant Christians share but differs on the baptizing method and the people that can be baptized. Some Baptists refuse to believe there was a human founder of their denomination.
Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church, often called just the Orthodox church, is a major denomination of Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Church differs from Catholics as they have no singular figure of authority ruling or governing them, like the Pope governs the Catholics, rather each congregation has its own Bishop.
Eastern orthodox church claims that their practices are based on the holy traditions that are being followed since the start of Christianity. Their practices are also influenced by the historical writers and preachers and their lessons.
Cyprus, Georgia, Siberia, and the Eastern and South-Eastern European countries have the highest number of Eastern Orthodox Christian populations.
Oriental Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Church is one of the oldest denominations of Christianity. This denomination is highly popular in countries like Egypt, India, Armenia, Ethiopia, Sudan, etc., as most of the Christian population in these countries belongs to Oriental Orthodox Christianity.
Oriental Orthodox Christians originally agreed with Catholics as well as Eastern Orthodox Christianity, but got separated due to differences and disagreements over Christology, an aspect that the Oriental Orthodox Christianity is based upon.
Our Final Thoughts
Christianity is a very old religion, of over 2,000 years old. It’s currently the largest followed religion in the world, despite it having a lot of denominations and branches. The question that arises —what are the most popular Christian denominations —is one of the frequently asked questions as people all around the world are curious to learn about it.
With this blog listing down the most popular denominations, we hope to have answered a lot of concerns and made it easier for people to understand the denominations, which can prove to be a little confusing, especially for new learners exploring Christianity.