I am currently conducting research which seeks to establish that Charismatic Christianity, which started with Charles Parham in the early 20th century, has had the greatest influence on the church in America up into today.

One possible piece of evidence for my case rests on the total population of Charismatic Christians in America. This number is difficult to discern though for a number of couple of reasons:

Firstly, although there are denominations which represent Charismatic beliefs such as Assemblies of God, United Pentecostal Church International etc., these populations are not comprehensive in examining the totality of Charismatic influence; many non-denominational churches hold beliefs similar to Pentecostals for example.

Secondly, virtually all Protestant denominations & Catholicism have some influence of Charismatic Christianity in them today. The measure of this influence is difficult to quantify when determining how many Charismatic Christians are in actually in the population of Christians in America.

Given these difficulties listed, I am curious if any scholarly research group has conducted research to best piece together an estimate which best identifies the population of those which subscribe to the theology first promulgated by Charles Parham in the early 1900's.

  • One question as well would be if you would count people who consider themselves Charismatics or if you are going to count people unaware of Parham. Another question could be whether Parham's Charismatic movement is really novel to the point that it would be noteworthy; for instance, some Wesleyans may be in a state where you could look at Charismatic practice as being in line with their own beliefs, but with a more emotional rather than rational perspective (as I was when I attended a Charismatic church from a Nazarene background). Commented Feb 20, 2019 at 6:04

1 Answer 1


Todd Johnson, who is the director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, reported on the global demographics of the Pentecostal and Charismatic renewal.

He does this by first breaking down our demographic of interest into a single group called “renewalists” which are comprised of three “waves”: Pentecostals, Charismatics, and neocharismatics. Despite the three waves, Johnson argues that they all point to an interconnected movement:

“The case for the Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal as a single interconnected movement can best be made by considering how the movement starts and spreads in any area, from the days of the earliest Pentecostals to those of current Charismatics and neocharismatics. The start of the movement anywhere has always been an unexpected or unpredictable happening rather than the result of any human planning or organization. First individuals (at random across the existing churches), then groups, then large numbers in semi-organized movements become filled with the Spirit and embark on the common Charismatic experience. All of them, originally, can collectively be termed Renewalists.”

Number of Renewalists in the United States

For these “renewalists,” as Johnson calls them, we find that they have quite a substantial representation in American Christianity. According to a reference Johnson makes to the World Christian Database, as of 2010, there are roughly 76,000,000 renewalists in the U.S.1

That is to say approximately 1/3rd of all Christians in the U.S identify with renewalist ideology. This renewalist group makes up in fact the largest demographic of Christian in the U.S. today, with Catholics trailing in second at about 70,000,000 followers, or about 30% of the Christian population.

  1. Johnson, T.M. Soc (2009) 46: 479. The Global Demographics of the Pentecostal and Charismatic Renewal
  • last year the statistics is around 40,000 to 45,000 its almost twice the growth and the projection is only 50,000..the figure is really astonishing. Commented Feb 18, 2019 at 8:01

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