Protestantism today

The most frequently asked questions.

  • Lutheran Churches,
  • Reformed Churches,
  • Evangelical Churches,
  • Anglican Churches,
  • Pentecostal Churches.

Each has a different ruling system.

How many Protestants are there in the world ?

  • Lutheran Churches : 65 million people
  • Reformed Churches : 50 million people
  • Evangelical Churches : 500 million people
  • Anglican Churches : 70 million people
  • Pentecostal Churches 200 million people

How many Protestants are there in France ?

Since they were persecuted, they have been a minority. They can mostly be found in Alsace and Languedoc regions.

Protestantism ranks third in France after Catholicism and Islam with over one million members, i.e. 2% of the French population, well-wishers excluded.

What is the French Protestant Federation (Fédération Protestante de France) ?

Since 1905 the Federation has regrouped most Protestant churches and associations in France. The Churches belong to various trends of Protestantism which appeared since the Reformation, namely Lutheran, Reformed, Evangelical and Pentecostal. As for associations they were mainly congregations, institutions, charities and groups working in various fields such as childhood, elderly people, healthcare and social care, leisure and holidays, education, communication, artistic creativeness, international relations and development, etc.

Which ceremonies are Protestant ?

  • Holy Communion at the Musée du Désert © Haussonville

The most important is worship to honour God :

  • worship in the Temple on Sunday mornings, with the whole community
  • family or individual worship.

Community worship is celebrated by a pastor or an appointed lay preacher.

What is worship like ?

It may vary from one church to another but in all churches there is a sermon on a text from the Bible, and the celebration of sacraments.

There are two sacraments :

  • Baptism, which can be of children or of adults who freely confess their faith.
  • The Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion, which is generally not celebrated every Sunday.

Do the Protestants have priests ?

No there are no priests but pastors.

Among the most innovative principles of reformation is the universal ministry of the believers, which makes all baptised members equal. Pastors and lay people share the management of the Church.

Pastors have no specific status within the Church. They hold a specific function which they were trained for during their university studies in theology.

With unity in mind, they specifically perform preaching and sacraments, enliven the community they are in charge of as ministers, but also accompany, listen to and theologically train its members.

Are women allowed to be pastors ?

Yes, in most Protestant Churches, women may become pastors. In France 10% of pastors are women.

Who leads the Churches ?

Each local Church is autonomous. Joined in Federations, the Churches elect a president who represents them over a limited period.

Why are there so many Protestants in politics ?

The Reformers did away with monasteries and prompted believers to serve God in their daily lives, occupations and active roles in public life. The concern about public life is still present today.

What is the Protestants' attitude towards sexuality ?

Concerning ethics, each Protestant acts according to his conscience and only refers to God. It is the same with sexuality, a field in which Protestant Churches give few guidelines. They admit divorce and re-marriage of the divorced.

Do the Protestants believe in life after death ?

Referring to the Bible, the Protestants believe in the Resurrection after death. But little is said in the Bible about life after death.

Associated notes

  • Protestantism in Alsace in 19th century

    In Alsace the numerous Lutheran community, as well as the predominant reformed one in Mulhouse, were to be submitted to the same requirements as the reformed churches “inland”. But the...
  • Protestantism around the world

    Protestantism comprises a great variety of churches belonging to five main groups. Most have joined a Churches’ Ecumenical Council trying to present a united message.
  • Protestant faith

    There are common beliefs to all christians, expressed in the articles of faith of the early Church; however the protestants belonging to the Féderation protestante de France acknowledge six main...
  • The French Protestant Federation (FPF)

    Since 1905, the Fédération protestante de France has included most Protestant Churches and Associations. Most branches of Protestantism which have grown up since the Reformation are represented.
  • Protestantism in France

    With about one million members, the Protestant Church ranks third in France after Catholicism and Islam. But there is an uneven spread over the different geographical regions.

Associated tours

  • Protestantism in the XXth century

    The law of 9th December 1905 separating the Churches from the State guaranteed the freedom of public worship for the Reformed Church and a legal framework. Hardly surprisingly, most Protestants...