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Demographics of Charismatics Worldwide

DR. GINA A. ZURLO

CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF GLOBAL CHRISTIANITY


Here’s a short excerpt from our new forthcoming book, Introducing Spirit-Empowered Christianity: The Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Movement in the 21st Century (Oral Roberts University Press, 2020). For more on the subject, see the article by Daniel Sillman in Christianity Today, “Have Pentecostals Outgrown Their Name?”.

Charismatics are defined as Christians affiliated to non-Pentecostal denominations (Anglican, Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox) who exhibit many Pentecostal-like characteristics – healing, robust worship, prayer – in what has been termed the Charismatic Movement. The Charismatic Movement’s roots go back to early Pentecostalism, but its rapid expansion has been mainly since 1960 (later called the Charismatic renewal). Charismatics usually describe themselves as having been “renewed in the Spirit” and as experiencing the Spirit’s supernatural and miraculous and energizing power. They remain within, and form organized renewal groups within, their older mainline non-Pentecostal denominations instead of leaving to join Pentecostal denominations. They demonstrate any or all of the charismata pneumatika (gifts of the Spirit) including signs and wonders but glossolalia is optional.

Type 2 recognizes the existence of Pentecostal individuals within the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions. These are designated “Charismatic” and evaluated by country as Catholic Charismatics, Anglican Charismatics, and so on, designating renewal within an existing tradition. For example, the beginning of the Charismatic movement in Anglican churches is described by Episcopal priest Dennis Bennett in Nine O’clock in the Morning. Traditions are assessed to determine what percentage of adherents identifies themselves as Charismatics, ranging from 0–99%. Self-identification percentages for Charismatics are calculated by contacting renewal agencies working within denominations.

Countries with the largest numbers of Charismatics include Brazil, the Philippines, and the United States (table 6). Guatemala is the country with the highest percentage of Charismatics in the total population, while Mauritius has the highest percentage in the Christian population. Charismatics typically grow by recruiting new members from within existing denominations. Catholics in some countries have stagnant or declining numbers of Charismatics (United States), while others continue to grow rapidly (Brazil, Philippines).