The New Force in Church Growth
It was only since the Democratic presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter in 1976 that evangelicalism has re-emerged from a relatively dormant phase back into general American consciousness as a dominant religious force in public life. And whereas the Great Awakening revival supported liberal reforms, and especially the political aspirations of Thomas Jefferson, himself not an orthodox Christian, by A.D. 2000 the American evangelical world had swung to the opposite political pole to make possible the election of conservative George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004.
How does the Jesus movement fare in the first decade of the third millennium A.D.? The world total of adherents to Christianity is approximately 2.1 billion; compared with Islam, 1.3 billion; secular-irreligious-atheist, 1.1 billion; Hinduism, 900 million; Chinese traditionalism (Taoism and others), 394 million; Buddhists, 376 million, and many others, all under 25 million (probably of most interest in current events, Judaism has 15 million adherents).
Among the Christian groups, Catholicism is by far the largest, with 1.1 billion adherents, with an estimated 675 million Protestants in the world, ranging from the most traditional (Lutherans, Anglicans, and Calvinists) to some out of the range of the orthodox definition of Christian, like Mormons and Unitarians.
Among the Protestants, the fastest growing group of all is the Pentecostals, who account for an estimated 100 million Protestants worldwide, after having originated little more than a century ago. If Pentecostals are seen as a subset of evangelicals (where, most, but not all Pentecostals fall), it is clear that evangelicalism in general is the fastest-growing segment of Christendom.
Defining Christian groups isn't easy. Some statistical studies want to lump together Catholics and the most Catholic–like groups, by which they mean Anglicans and the Orthodox, though most adherents of Anglican and Orthodox confessions would probably resist this categorizing. Though many Anglicans have taken to resisting being classified as Protestant, English law requires that the monarch be a Protestant, by which it is generally understood to mean “an Anglican,” that being the established church of England. So in that sense Anglicanism is definitely Protestant, and its defining thirty-nine articles are definitely part of the Protestant Reformation.
Anglicanism's American branch, the Episcopal Church, was until recent years known officially as the Protestant Episcopal Church. Many Orthodox feel that their differences with Catholicism put them closer to (though by no means in) the Protestant camp, rather than the Catholic one. Orthodoxy's long membership in the World Council of Churches, an agency established and run by Protestants, accords with this opinion.
“Speaking in tongues” doesn't appear in church history from the second through nineteenth centuries. In 1901, Agnes Ozman talked in tongues at Bethel Bible College in Topeka. Considered a sign of the Holy Spirit, it spread to the Holiness movement. In 1906, people began speaking in tongues during the Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles. Many consider that revival the beginning of Pentecostalism.
Likewise, the vast majority of Pentecostals, who are generally defined as believing in a need for “being filled by the Holy Spirit” and in signs of that filling, like gifts of healing and speaking in tongues, are products of American evangelicalism and its exportation to places like Brazil and other far-flung mission areas. But some Pentecostals are not Trinitarian. And some denominations, mostly aligned with theologically liberal mainline Protestantism, most notably the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, are not in the evangelical column, as that word is popularly used.