Calvinism: Tiny Minority Historically & Demographically


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In a discussion on an atheist blog, I said that Calvinism was “a tiny minority among Christians”. I’ve mentioned this sort of thing in the past and it always seemed to be controversial. I do not know Why.

What I said is easily demonstrable, in terms of “religious sociology” and demography. Just look up the numbers (Wikipedia is enough for that). They are a small percentage. Look for the numbers (anyone who doubts it). There are 1.34 billion Catholics in the world and (a generous high estimate) 1 billion Protestants; also 260 million Orthodox. It is therefore about 2.6 billion Christians in all.

Now, Calvinism (Presbyterian + Reformed in denominational categories) represents 7% of all Protestants, or 70 million: a small minority of the large minority group. But you have to realize their percentage of the whole (all Christians), what I was talking about. This amounts to 2.7%, or 1 in 37 Christians worldwide.

And it should also be understood (to be even more specific), that many Presbyterians and Reformed (most likely half or more) are theologically liberal and hate the Calvinism that dominated their denomination (along with many other traditional Protestant/Reform beliefs) . So that (if true, and it almost certainly is) would bring it down to 1.35% of Christians worldwide, or 1 in 74 Christians.

Is it a “tiny minority” as I have described it? Yes! Obviously yes. Geneva, Switzerland was Calvin’s favorite terrain. There are now 13.5% of Swiss Reformed, while 37.4% are Catholics: almost three times more.

Switzerland as a whole is 23.8% reformed, and I guarantee you that many of them (as in all these classifications) are “in name only” and no longer believe in double predestination. Catholics + Orthodox are at 38.3% and no religious affiliation at 26.3%. And that was the bastion and the initial base of Calvinism.

The Netherlands was another. The Protestant Church in the Netherlands: a vestige of the dominant Calvinism of 450 years ago, represents only 1.6 million, or 9.1% of the population, while Catholics represent 29% and the irreligious 54, 1%: seven times more numerous than those who (partially) believe in Calvinism.

Anglicanism had a strong Calvinist subgroup (Westminster Confession, Puritans, etc.) which is now virtually extinct. Luther was not as extreme as Calvin, but even so, Lutheranism decided to formally abandon its dual predestination and denial of free will upon his death.

I admit that Calvinism had a greater influence than its numbers would suggest, and a very strong influence indeed in the 15th-17th centuries before theological liberalism decimated it. But that is not the question: what is their historical and current number.

No major figure in Church history until the 16th century believed in Calvinism’s five-point worldview. Calvinists try very hard to co-opt Saint Augustine, but they don’t, as I have shown many times in my writings.

predestination to paradise is not a matter of dispute, because – it may surprise many to learn – even Catholics and Protestants and Orthodox Arminians accept this as truth (although they dispute some of the fine points). I believe in that, as an Orthodox Catholic (Congruist Molinist, to be exact). It is the predestination to hell (“double predestination”) and the denial of free will that the vast majority of Christians have opposed.

The Calvinists had their significant theological and cultural influence, which I acknowledged in one of my comments, and it’s not all bad: it’s mostly the blasphemous double predestination that is the “bad” thing. In fact, I myself have been beneficially influenced by many of their accents which are not heretical. Francis Schaeffer has been a huge influence in my life, along with many other Calvinists (far too many to mention).

It is specifically the false doctrine of double predestination and the denial of human free will that makes God the author of sin and a morally reprehensible Creator, who gives the damned no choice of free will and allows them to go hell for eternity. It is neither biblical nor historical Christianity, and it is morally despicable.

Atheists (many of whom were once anti-intellectual fundamentalists) may claim this is mainstream Christianity (in terms of numbers) and use it to denigrate the “God” that is taught in the system, but this is not the case. is not the case and never. has been.


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Summary: I summarize the demographics and history of Calvinism and show how Calvinists represent only 1.35% of Christians in the world, or 1 in 74 Christians.


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