I would like to know what percentage of Christians globally belong to denominations which accept evolution of humanity by natural selection (including "theistic evolution"). I can try to calculate these numbers by crossreferencing numbers at Wikipedia "List of Christian denominations by number of members" and "Acceptance of evolution by religious groups", but I'd rather see a published figure somewhere.

I can see a lot published about the percentage among American Christians, but I think this is skewed by fundamentalists in America who are out of step with the global church on this issue. I want to say: X% of global Christians belong to a church which accepts evolution. This would include all Catholics and Orthodox, all Methodists, no Southern Baptists, etc. Just how many is that?

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    You should be aware that belonging to a denomination that accepts evolution is not the same as believing evolution. Some people within those denominations will be YEC. Also be aware that accepting evolution can mean different things. Accepting the occurrence of micro-evolution is very different from believing that evolution is solely responsible for all species on Earth. Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 3:39
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    And do you distinguish between "accepting that evolution is possible" and "accepting that evolution is true"? Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 7:09
  • Yes I am aware of all this- I think my question is a pretty simple one. We know that many denominations accept that evolution might be true. Individual members of course have their own opinions. (On both sides- many people believe in evolution even though their church may be opposed.) Maybe it's clearer to say it this way: how many of the world's christians belong to denominations that do not prohibit a belief in evolution? (Yes I mean "macro-evolution" responsible for speciation.) (By the way, why did I get a down-vote for my question? is it inappropriate? I'm new here) Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 13:13
  • Downvotes are given subjectively, so it means that someone thought the question is unclear or not useful. Perhaps you can edit the question to explain what this statistic is being used for? That way the correct statistic can be given for exactly what you're trying to learn about.
    – user32540
    Commented Mar 9, 2019 at 19:14
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    @user2744010 OK, I'll let the other comments stand, and I'll remove that comment.. I am trying to think of a way to get this question in scope, and at the moment, I am coming up empty. but I think this is skewed by fundamentalists in America who are out of step with the global church on this issue I am not sure how that helps to frame the question. I think what you are facing, somewhat, is that you are dealing with impressions, perceptions, and even labels from people who hate Christianity making general assertions. Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 1:10

1 Answer 1


Answering my own question just in case anybody cares about this topic. This is totally unscientific, just cobbled together from wikipedia and googling. I am still interested in hearing an actual figure from experts. I spent about 20 minutes going through wikipedia articles "Acceptance of evolution by religious groups" and "List of Christian denominations by number of members", plus googling for position statements for the major denominational groups.

Results: out of 2.42 billion Christians globally (I excluded LDS), at least 1.7 billion belong to denominations with official statements that allow for some kinds of "theistic" evolution as the mechanism for God's creation of humanity. The true figure is probably higher, almost certainly not lower (I only checked the groups with big membership- anyone I didn't check is by default being left out of the 1.7 billion figure.) As a percentage, at least 73% of global Christians belong to denominations which allow for some kind of evolution as the mechanism for the creation of humanity.

  • Did you find any denomination that has a statement that takes a position AGAINST evolution, including theistic evolution? I think very, very few would.
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 20:48
  • @Kevin Assemblies of God (67 million members) has this statement (ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/The-Doctrine-of-Creation) which includes: "Any evolutionary theory, including theistic evolution/evolutionary creationism, that claims all forms of life arose from a common ancestry is thereby ruled out." Here is a statement from the SBC in 1982 which I believe has not been revised or superceded (sbc.net/resolutions/967/resolution-on-scientific-creationism). This doesn't exactly prohibit a belief in evolution, but it's pretty close. Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 11:42
  • @Kevin Lutheran Church Missouri Synod is against- here is their statement (lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=1103) (seems to be only PDF), which states that Adam and Eve are historical people and includes "Evolution cannot be “baptized” to make it compatible with the Christian faith", which I read as a prohibition of theistic evolution. Like I said, this is all a bit unscientific- a real survey would have to define exactly what constitutes a real prohibitive statement. Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 12:01
  • The Assemblies of God statement says, "God did not form Adam from some previously existing creature. Any evolutionary theory.... is thereby ruled out." They are specifically speaking about Adam. They have left open evolution for other species. The SBC statement is a resolution supporting a public policy, not a doctrinal statement at all.
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 13:22
  • The Lutheran statement doesn't appear to be a position or doctrinal paper. It looks more like something the President of the Synod wrote to be informative. But, this statement would seem to rule out theistic evolution, though someone might find some wiggle room: lcms.org/about/beliefs/doctrine/…
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 14, 2019 at 13:27

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