Getting a handle on the global number of Evangelicals
Ed Stetzer: Brian, why did you think it important to produce Evangelicals Around the World?
Brian Stiller: I was browsing in a bookstore and saw Evangelicals for Dummies. In flipping through the pages I was impressed with their accuracy, but all they wrote about was the United States.
Listening to the news and hearing how Evangelicals have become a voting bloc in North America, I knew then it was time we defined ourselves.
ES: What was the next step?
BS: I contacted Mark Noll from Notre Dame and Chris Wright in England and asked them if a global book—defining Evangelicals—had ever been done. They knew of none. The more I searched, and as I came up against all kinds of misinformation and misalignments, I knew it was time we told ourselves and others who we are in the world.
ES: So how many Evangelicals are there?
BS: About 600 million.
ES: Where do Evangelicals actually fit in the broader Christian tradition?
BS: There are three basic categories: Roman Catholics are 1.2 billion. The World Council of Churches (which includes the Eastern Rite and Orthodox) are 500 million and the World Evangelical Alliance represents 600 million.
ES: Explain a bit about where Pentecostals fit since they "spill over" into other traditions.
BS: There is a debate as to where they fit as members of the Evangelical clan, but most scholars see them as part of the Evangelical family. Although, with their influence in other Christian communions and the wider Charismatic groupings both within the Protestant and Roman Catholic communities, as a group it is estimated to be around 300 million.
ES: How did you go about the project?
BS: I assembled three outstanding scholars and writers: Todd Johnson, Director for the Center for the Study of Global ...