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Jean-Paul Willaime

Subject Religion
Sociology » Sociology of Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Of the 2 billion Christians in the world today, Protestants make up about a quarter, while Roman Catholics represent a little over a half. If Protestant Christendom appeared in the sixteenth century within European Latin Christianity and represented a number of fractures within it, then it would be wrong to associate modern Protestantism with western society (especially with North America). Protestantism has become a world phenomenon, present in Asia (more than 25 percent of South Korea's population is Protestant), Latin America (at least 10 percent of its population), and Africa (17 percent of the population). In the year 2000, out of every 100 Protestants, 31 were in Africa, 25 in Europe, 17 in North America, 12 in Asia, 12 in Latin America, and 3 in Oceania (where they represent 42 percent of the population, the highest proportion in any continent) (Hillerbrand 2004). Protestantism has its origins in a number key reformations within European Christianity in the sixteenth century: the Lutheran Reformation in the Germanic world, the Calvinist Reformations in France, Switzerland, and Scotland, the Anglican Reformation in England, and the Radical Reformation of the Anabaptists and Spiritualists. Even if the Protestant world includes branches which appeared later (Baptism in the seventeenth century, Methodism in the eighteenth, and Pentecostalism in the twentieth), it was these reforms ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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