Adventists, Baptists and Methodists all thrived on Taiwan soil post-1949 as Protestantism followed a similar trajectory. According to Chuang Ya-tang (莊雅棠), professor of theology at Chang Jung Christian University in Tainan, 57 denominations are active in the country. The Presbyterian Church boasts the highest number of followers at nearly 260,000 today, while roughly 470,000 people belong to local nondenominational churches.
According to a 2019 survey conducted by Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s foremost research organization, 5.5 and 1.3 percent of respondents identify as Protestant and Catholic, respectively. Despite their small numbers, Christians have left very visible footprints in the country, Chen said. “Locals welcome the faith’s presence because followers have made such significant contributions to society,” he added.
In 1885, for example, Presbyterians founded the country’s first high school in Tainan. Similarly, more than 20 institutions of higher learning ranging from colleges and universities to seminaries and medical schools have been established by various Christian groups. But according to Chen, believers have left their most profound impact by setting up hospitals and social welfare institutions around the country.