Protestantism as a worldwide renewal movement from 1945 until today

Panoramic survey

by Jan A.B. Jongeneel (Author)
©2022 Monographs 402 Pages


The volume deals with the witness and the service of Protestants and Protestant churches in all nations and contexts and sketches Protestantism as a global renewal movement. It is active in the setting of all 171 nations with a non-Protestant religious or secular majority, and in the 28 Protestant majority nations. Protestantism wants to make all people 'mature' and all societies 'responsible.' It made the Bible the most translated book on earth and provided more songs and hymns than any other religion or movement. About 10 % of the world population is Protestant. But the impact of Protestantism on world culture is larger than 10 %. The book highlights the significance of Protestant Noble Peace Prize winners and martyrs. Billy Graham, Martin Luther King, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela are the most influential Protestants in the post-war period. Protestants dream of a universal language, a universal statement of faith, and a universal hymn.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface and Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • Part I: Witness and Protest
  • 1. Introduction
  • Paying Attention to ‘Protestantism’
  • Defining ‘Protestantism’
  • The Term ‘Protestantism’ Derived from the Latin Word ‘Protestatio’: Witness and Protest
  • Protestantism as Movement of Aliens and Members of the Household of God
  • Protestantism as Renewal Movement
  • Protestantism as Movement with Vocational and Empowering Dreams
  • Structure of the Study
  • Adequate Terminology
  • Primary and Secondary Sources
  • Statistical Data as Source
  • Monograph Instead of a Collection of Essays
  • 2. Worldwide Presence: Unity and Diversity
  • Presence in All Continents and Nations
  • Statistical Surveys of Christian Communities
  • Statistical Survey of Religions, Worldviews, and Ideologies in All Countries
  • Universal Freedom of Religion
  • Unity and Diversity in Worldwide Protestantism
  • 3. Identity and Main Activities in All Continents
  • Introduction
  • Birth and Growth of the Protestant Identity
  • Translation, Distribution, and Interpretation of the Bible
  • Singing Praise to God in Churches, Schools and Hospitals, and at Home
  • Jesus Christ as the Bridge between Heaven and Earth, and between Human Beings and Communities
  • Personalism: People Always More Important than Systems
  • The Church as Worldwide Community of Believing, Hoping, and Loving People
  • Impact of the Gospel on World Culture: Religious Freedom and Other Human Rights
  • Part II: Discipleship and Community Building
  • 4. Presence in the Context of Ethnic Religions
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Ethnic Religions
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 5. Presence in the Three Countries with a Hindu and Shinto Majority
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Hinduism and Shintoism
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimonies of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives in the Hindu Context of India and Nepal
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives in the Shinto Context of Japan
  • 6. Presence in the Six Nations with a Buddhist Majority
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Buddhism
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 7. Presence in the State of Israel;Worldwide Messianic Judaism
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Judaism
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives in the Context of Judaism and the State of Israel
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives of Messianic Judaism/Hebrew Christianity
  • 8. Presence in the Thirteen Countries with an Oriental/Eastern Orthodox Majority
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Oriental/Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 9. Presence in the Fifty-Nine Countries with a Roman Catholic Majority
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Roman Catholicism
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 10. Presence in the Twenty-Nine Countries with a Protestant Majority
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Protestantism on the Spot
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 11. Presence in the Twenty Countries with a Multifaceted Majority
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter in a Multifaceted Christian Setting
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 12. Presence in the Forty-Eight Countries with a Muslim Majority
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Islam
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 13. Presence in the Five Countries with a Ruling Communist Party
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with Communism
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • 14. Presence in the Fifteen Countries with a Pluralistic Society
  • Introduction
  • History of the Encounter with People in a Multireligious Setting
  • Comparative Statistics
  • Religious Freedom and Persecution
  • Testimony of Confessors and Martyrs
  • Responsibilities and Perspectives
  • Part III: Worldwide Recognition of God and Worldwide Freedom and Renewal
  • 15. Worldwide Recognition and Adoration of God as the Ultimate Reality
  • Introduction
  • Cyclical and Linear Views
  • Testimony in the Context of Ethnic Religions: Do Not Depict God
  • Testimony in the Context of the Hindu Pantheon: God as Creator, vis-à-vis Brahman
  • Testimony in the Context of Buddhism: The Fullness of God vis-à-vis Emptiness
  • Testimony in the Context of Islam: The Greatness of God Demonstrated in the Messiahship of Jesus
  • Testimony in the Context of Communism: God Almighty Transcending the Power of the Communist Party
  • Testimony in the Context of Secularism: Ultimate Truth Transcending Sensory Perception
  • Reliance on God/Ultimate Reality, Great in Time and Eternity
  • 16. Worldwide Freedom to Make People ‘Mature’ and Societies ‘Responsible’
  • Introduction
  • Isolation, Assimilation, and Selective Acculturation
  • Worldwide Commitment to Maturity
  • Worldwide Commitment to Human Dignity as Human Right
  • Worldwide Commitment to Moral Dignity as Expression of Human Dignity
  • Worldwide Taking Responsibility for Peace, Human Rights, and Justice
  • Worldwide Taking Responsibility for Earth Keeping (Ecology)
  • 17. Worldwide Renewal Movement, Dreaming of a Universal Language, a Universal Statement of Faith, and a Universal Hymn
  • Introduction
  • Protestantism as a Movement Outgrown from the Monastery, Focusing on Cross and Resurrection
  • Movements vis-à-vis Structures and Institutions
  • Protestantism as a Universal Language Movement: The Bible – the Most Accessible Book
  • Protestantism as a Universal Statement of Faith Movement: Jesus Christ – the Most Confessed Lord
  • Protestantism as a Universal Hymn Movement: Hallelujah/Praise the Lord – the Most Sung Hymn
  • Glossary
  • Timetable
  • Index of Biblical Texts
  • Index of Nations
  • Index of Personal Names
  • Index of Subjects
  • Series Index

←14 | 15→

Preface and Acknowledgments

This volume is a translation, revision, and enlargement of my Dutch study Protestantisme als wereldwijde vernieuwingsbeweging (1945–2020), published in 2021. It describes and analyzes Protestantism as a worldwide renewal movement that shrinks in many Western nations, but grows in many non-Western nations. After the Cultural Revolution in China (1966–1976), the Protestant Movement grew so vastly in this nation that people started to talk about ‘the Protestant fever.’ This volume strives to be an in-depth study of both the decline and the growth of post-war Protestantism in six continents. But this volume is unable to give a conclusive answer to the burning question: ‘Why growth in some continents and nations, and shrinkage in others?’

The present study is directly connected with the course of my life. I was born before the Second World War (1938) and baptized in the Netherlands Reformed Church as a child (1939). I have taken part in the worldwide Protestant Movement since my studentship (1957), and professionally after the defense of my dissertation at Leiden University and my ordination as a Reformed minister in the Hague (1971). I got the nice opportunity to teach in Indonesia (1971–1980), the Netherlands (1982–2008), the USA (2004), and occasionally elsewhere. In Utrecht University, I have been the promoter of 41 Th.D. candidates, originating from thirteen nations in five continents. In other words, I have fifty years of experience in the broad field of the history of World Christianity which is described and analyzed in this panoramic study.

I have acknowledged the contributions of the many scholars and friends who helped me to publish the Dutch volume. Their names are mentioned in the foreword of the Dutch edition. At this place I express my sincere thanks to all people who have assisted me in transforming the Dutch edition into an English monograph. I would like to thank the editorial board of the Studies in the Intercultural History of Christianity for permitting me to publish once again in this series, and Frau Ute Winkelkötter and the production team of Peter Lang as Publishing House for its kindness, including its help to correct my Dutch English. Also thanks to my oldest son Christian J. B. Jongeneel who once again has taken care of the layout of the manuscript. Finally, I am thankful to the institutions who have generously funded this project.

I dedicate this study to the memory of the known and unknown Protestant Christians who expressed their faith, hope, and love to God and humanity, and for that simple reason were discriminated, oppressed, tortured, and martyred. ←15 | 16→I have paid a lot of attention to their witness and service, wondering whether my own faith would be strong enough to live with continuous threats, to endure long-lasting loneliness in prisons, and to be ready for martyrdom.

Jan A.B. Jongeneel,

Professor Emeritus Indonesian Christian University Tomohon (UKIT)

Professor Emeritus Utrecht University (UU)

←16 | 17→


The list of Abbreviations is limited to (1) Latin keywords and (2) Christianity in general and Protestantism in particular. It includes abbreviations of the reference works mentioned in the text and the footnotes. Bible texts are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version, using its abbreviations of the Bible books. The latter abbreviations are not mentioned in this list, but are supposed to be known by people who use this volume.

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1 Introduction

Paying Attention to ‘Protestantism’

At the beginning of the twenty-first century Christianity has more adherents than any other religion, worldview, or ideology: ca. 30 à 33 % of the world population. Islam holds the second position: ca. 20 à 23 % of the world population. In the past century Islam grew quicker than Christianity. But Protestantism continued to grow inside Christianity. Today ca. 10 à 12 % of the world population is Protestant. In all nations Protestantism is present, either ‘above-ground’ or ‘underground.’ It influences countless individuals and people groups in all continents.

Scholars published more about worldwide Christianity than about worldwide Protestantism. This historical-systematic study corrects this one-sidedness. It offers a panoramic survey of Protestantism as a 500-year-old renewal movement in the history of Christianity and in world history. For practical reasons it merely describes and analyzes the postwar period: from 1945 until today. It places Protestant facts and values in an ecumenical framework, showing full openness to the views of both non-Protestant fellow Christians and the adherents of other religions, worldviews, and ideologies. The methodological restriction to ‘Protestantism,’ or ‘the Protestant People’s Movement,’ is not the result of a negative attitude towards other Christian denominations and other religions and ideologies. It is the result of making appropriate choices. The academic work of the present author is characterized by a lifetime participation in various interdenominational, international, and cross-cultural networks and activities at home and abroad.

Defining ‘Protestantism’

The term ‘Protestantism’ can be used in different ways. Many scholars view ‘Protestantism’ as that form of Christianity which is neither Oriental/Eastern Orthodox, nor Roman Catholic, nor marginal/sectarian Christian. Others do not include ‘Anglicans’ and/or ‘Independents’ in ‘Protestantism.’ Their quite narrow definition of ‘Protestantism’ has the advantage of extra specification inside worldwide Christianity, but the disadvantage of fragmentation, and consequently confusion. The present study supports the wide definition. It treats Anglicans and Independents as ‘Protestants.’ But it refers to ‘Anglicans’ and ‘Independents’ as specific branches of ‘Protestantism’ if there is a need to do ←25 | 26→so. In the next chapter more attention will be paid to the favored broad understanding of the term ‘Protestantism.’

Willem van de Pol, Professor of ‘the Phenomenology of Protestantism’ at the Roman Catholic University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, introduced the term ‘World Protestantism,’ parallel to the older term ‘World Christianity.’1 The present study uses the term ‘World Protestantism’ and ‘Worldwide Protestantism’ interchangeably. But it does not make use of the connected terms ‘Global Protestantism’ and ‘Pan-Protestantism.’2

In one way or another ‘World Christianity’ and ‘World Protestantism’ are connected with the ‘World Church,’ largely embodied in the World Council of Churches (WCC) at Geneva, Switzerland (1948).3 The World Church, established in the first century of the Christian/common era, is the oldest intercontinental organization. Today it is the greatest volunteer movement on earth. The widespread Protestant People’s Movement also counts millions of volunteers.

The present study pays more attention to the worldwide developments in Protestantism than to the trends in the thousands of local Protestant churches and organizations. But it takes into account that the unity and diversity of World Protestantism is rooted in, and shaped by the many local Protestant communities in the cities and in the countryside of all nations.

The Term ‘Protestantism’ Derived from the Latin Word ‘Protestatio’: Witness and Protest

At first the term ‘Protestant’ was an invective, but in the course of the times it became a title of respect and honor. It owes its origin to the use of the Latin noun ‘protestatio = (1) testimony, witness, (2) protestation, protest’ on the Diet at Speyer in Germany (1529). This word is derived from the Latin verb ‘protestari = (1) to testify, to bear witness, (2) to protest.’←26 | 27→

At the Diet at Speyer (1526), the German estates met in the absence of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. They unanimously agreed that each German ruler along with his subjects has the right to ‘live, govern and carry himself as he hopes and trusts to answer to God and His Imperial Majesty,’ until a general council convened. Three years later this large council took place at Speyer. King Ferdinand of Bohemia and Hungary, the Emperor’s representative, and the Roman Catholic estates wanted to revoke the decisions taken in 1526 and to maintain the church’s doctrinal and liturgical standards. But the Protestant estates appealed to the protestatio principle: unanimously taken decisions cannot be overturned by the votes of a majority. Moreover, they emphasized that they were bound to their conscience in matters of God’s honor and mankind’s salvation. The Roman Catholic majority rejected the protestatio. As a fatal consequence of this decision, a separation of the parties involved took place and ‘Protestantism’ was born. It became a renewal movement of (1) protest against religious intolerance and (2) witness. It testified that Christians always and everywhere are obliged to obey the ‘Lord of lords and King of kings’ (Rev. 17:14), more than ecclesiastical authorities and emperors.4

In the past centuries prominent Roman Catholic and Protestant believers have tried to improve the ecclesial relationships. But they were not very successful in their achievements. In the twentieth century a breakthrough took place. The Ecumenical Movement, embodied in the World Council of Churches (1948), and the Second Vatican Council (1962–1966) initiated a new era. The World Council of Churches and the Roman Catholic Church published the document Common Witness (1984), which can be viewed as the end of the era of antagonism and polemics.5 This innovative development urged all Protestants to rethink their witness and their protest. They widened their horizon and started to ‘protest’ all Christian and non-Christian persons, organizations, and governments who in one way or another legalize and practice religious intolerance. They combined this broad ‘protest’ with in-depth ‘witness.’ In recent history their witness is based upon (1) the Bible as religious authority, and (2) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), proclaimed by the United Nations Organization, as secular authoritative source.←27 | 28→

Protestantism as Movement of Aliens and Members of the Household of God

Scholars described and interpreted Protestantism in various ways. Conrad Mönnich, Lutheran church historian at the University of Amsterdam, published a book in Dutch on the early history of Protestantism, entitled Aliens and Transients (1980).6 He derived this title from the words spoken by King David in Israel to characterize himself and his people: ‘aliens and transients’ (1 Chr. 29:15). Anabaptists wholeheartedly agreed with Mönnich and added that it is also appropriate to understand contemporary Protestantism in this way.7 But other authors feel more at home with the apostle Paul, who witnessed in one of his letters to the non-Jewish Christians in the Roman Empire: ‘You are no longer strangers and aliens, but citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God’ (Eph. 2:19–20).8 In today’s global setting some Protestants still regard themselves as ‘aliens and transients,’ and others as ‘members of the household of God.’ These different views are influenced by local insights and personal experiences. Protestant believers in majority settings may be less inclined to see themselves as ‘aliens and strangers’ than fellow believers who daily experience discrimination and persecution.

The Biblical term ‘aliens and transients’ must not be confused with the term ‘foreign religions.’ Some South and East Asians regard Christianity and Islam as ‘foreign religions,’ whether or not linked to their fear and hatred of foreigners in general (xenophobia). In India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other adherents of Hindutva nationalism merely want to recognize the religions that originate from the banks of the Indus and Ganges. Also some Chinese people label Christianity as a ‘foreign religion,’ because it was not born at the banks of the Yangtze. Christians in both India and China reject these biased opinions, emphasizing that their religion was not born in Europe or America, but in Asia: Jesus and his disciples were Asians. Moreover, the first preachers of the Gospel in India and China did not come from the Western world, but from Syria. Indian and Chinese Christians view themselves as ‘citizens’ of both the kingdom ←28 | 29→of God and their native country. In a similar way African Christians oppose the stipulation that Christianity is a ‘foreign religion’ on African soil.9

Jesus himself was in Egypt, Africa (Mt. 2:13–15).

Protestantism as Renewal Movement

Protestantism is a ‘renewal movement,’ the largest reform movement in church history. It is a renewal movement across the full width, that is, from hyper-liberalism on the very left side to ultra-Orthodoxy on the very right. This ecumenical view differs from the opinion of Patrick Johnstone, connected with WEC International, who merely views the Evangelical Movement, the Pentecostal Movement, and the Charismatic Renewal as renewal movements.10


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2022 (August)
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 402 pp., 34 tables.

Biographical notes

Jan A.B. Jongeneel (Author)

Jan A.B. Jongeneel is Honorary Emeritus Professor "Missiology" at Utrecht University, and Honorary Lifetime Member of the International Association of Mission Studies (IAMS). He supervised 41 Ph.D. candidates and published in Dutch, English, German, Korean and Indonesian languages. One of his recent publications is: Jesus Christ in World History: His Presence and Representation in Cyclical and Linear Settings (2009).


Title: Protestantism as a worldwide renewal movement from 1945 until today