Glossary

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Charismatics

Those who testify to a renewing experience of the Holy Spirit and present exercise of the gifts of the Spirit such as glossalalia, healing, prophecy and miracles. The charismatic renewal, or “Second Wave” Pentecostalism, has generally remained within mainline denominations. A further “Third Wave” renewal movement occurred with many characteristics of the Second Wave, but with less open identification with formal Pentecostalism or the charismatic movement. Second and Third Wave charismatics are counted as a single entity in this book. In our global survey of denominations, we have assessed percentages of affiliated charismatic Christians for each of the 37,500 denominations in the world from 1990-2010. The assessment largely excludes those no longer actively associated with charismatic renewal.

Christian

Anyone who professes to be Christian. The term embraces all traditions and confessions of Christianity. It is no indicator of the degree of commitment or theological orthodoxy. The primary emphasis utilized is that of recognizing self-identification as well as accepting the Scriptural principles illustrated in Matt 10:32 and Romans 10:9.

Ethnoreligionist

This is a collective term for adherents of faiths that are usually specifically confined to a particular ethnic group rather than being open or universal. It encompasses (but is not limited to) animists, ancestor-worshippers, polytheists, spirit-worshippers, shamanists, folk religionists, pantheists, cargo cults, tribal messianic movements and other such expressions of religious belief.

Evangelicals

All who emphasize and adhere to all four of the following:

  • The Lord Jesus Christ as the sole source of salvation through faith in Him, as validated by His crucifixion and resurrection. 
  • Personal faith and conversion with regeneration by the Holy Spirit. 
  • Recognition of the inspired Word of God as the ultimate basis and authority for faith and Christian living. 
  • Commitment to biblical witness, evangelism and mission that brings others to faith in Christ. 

Evangelicals are largely Protestant, Independent or Anglican, but some are Catholic or Orthodox. It is one of the TransBloc movements in this book. 

This definition is very close but not identical to the definition introduced in David Bebbington’s Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s as the Bebbington Quadrilateral, which offered crucicentrism, conversionism, biblicism and activism as the four qualities of evangelicalism. 

The definition of evangelicals and the statistics relating to them are so fundamental to the contents of this book that it is important for the reader to understand the implications. It enables a measurement of the size and spectacular numerical growth of evangelical Christians over the past few decades. 

Evangelicals are enumerated in OW as: 

  • All affiliated Christians (church members, their children, other participants of the faith community) of denominations that are definitively evangelical in theology as explained above. 
  • The proportion of the affiliated Christians in other denominations (that are not wholly evangelical in theology) who would hold evangelical views, whether Western in origin or otherwise.

This is a theological and not an experiential definition. It does not mean that all evangelicals as defined above are actually born-again. In many nations, only 10-40% of evangelicals so defined may have had a valid conversion and regularly attend church services. However, it does show how many people align themselves with churches where the gospel is being proclaimed as such. 

Pentecostals

Those affiliated to specifically Pentecostal denominations committed to a Pentecostal theology, usually including a post-conversion experience of a baptism in the Spirit, present exercise of the gifts of the Spirit and speaking in tongues.

People Group

A significantly large sociological grouping of individuals who perceive themselves to have a common affinity. From the viewpoint of evangelization, this is the largest possible group within which the gospel can be spread without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.