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Difference between Baptists and Presbyterians

Baptists and Presbyterians

There are many religions in the world and the most followed one is Christianity. All Christians believe in Jesus Christ as the lord and the son of God as well as the saviour of the masses. However, there are numerous practices and beliefs in which Christians differ from each other. There are many divisions and sub divisions within Christianity with the people under each sect having some unique ideologies and/or practices. The most common divide in Christianity is between the Catholics and the Protestants. However, there are also other divisions such as the Methodists, the Presbyterians, the Baptists etc. In this article, we will compare two of these, namely the Baptists and the Presbyterians.

Baptism is the faith followed by those people who compromise churches as well as a group of denominations which subscribe to a doctrine that the faith Baptism should only be performed by those believers who are professing. Moreover, it must be practiced by complete immersion as opposed to sprinkling or affusion. There are many other tenets of Baptist churches, some of which include liberty or soul competency, salvation through faith and faith alone etc. Furthermore, Scripture alone should be used as the source of guidance and rule of faith as well as practice in Baptism. Baptists normally recognize two ministerial offices; deacons and pastors. When we try to classify Baptism under an umbrella division of Christianity, Baptist churches fall under the Protestant Churches, but this is not accepted by all Baptists; some of them disagree to this identity. In contrast to this, Presbyterianism, that traces its origins right back to the British Isles is actually a reformed branch of Reformed Protestantism. The Presbyterians get their name from the form of church government referred to as Presbyterian which is governed by ‘elders’ who form representative assemblies. The word Presbyterian is applied uniquely to those churches that trace their roots down to the English and Scottish churches that carried that name and in other cases the English political groups that were formed or sprung up during the English Civil War. The theology of Presbyterians emphasizes on God’s sovereignty, the Scriptures’ authority and the importance of faith in Christ.

Some principles that are exclusively held by Baptists include the supremacy of Scriptures (canonical) as a norm of practice and faith. Any particular thing can become a matter of faith only if it is explicitly ordained by either command or by example in the Bible. An example is of instant Baptism; the Baptists do not practice infant Baptism giving the reason that the Bible has neither commanded nor exemplified infant Baptism as a practice in Christianity. This, it should be noted, is the principle that separates Baptists from other evangelical Christians. Moving on, Baptists believe that faith is a matter that is between an individual and God and they accept that Baptism is not necessary for salvation; and hence Baptism does not impart any saving grace. This means that it cannot be considered to be a sacrament. A very significant difference between Presbyterians and Baptists is that the former Baptize infants. They do so on the belief that the Baptizing of infants of believing parents is equivalent to or an alternative to the circumcision of Hebrew infants which is done in order to show that they have also joined the covenant community. Moreover, the Presbyterians unbaptize adults by the Aspersion or Sprinkling method or the Affusion method instead of the immersion method.

Summary

1. Baptism-the faith followed by those people who compromise churches as well as a group of denominations which subscribe to a doctrine that the faith baptism should only be performed by those believers who are professing; Presbyterianism-a reformed branch of Reformed Protestantism, gets its name from the form of church government referred to as Presbyterian which is governed by ‘elders’ who form representative assemblies

2. Baptism must be practiced by complete immersion as opposed to sprinkling or affusion; Presbyterians unbaptize adults by the Aspersion or Sprinkling method or the Affusion method instead of the immersion method

3. Baptists do not practice infant Baptism giving the reason that the Bible has neither commanded nor exemplified infant Baptism as a practice in Christianity; the Presbyterians Baptize infants on the belief that the Baptizing of infants of believing parents is equivalent to and an alternate to the circumcision of Hebrew infants which is done in order to show that they have also joined the covenant community


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7 Comments

  1. Some type errors in this article “compromise churches” should be “comprise churches” and “instant baptism” should be “infant baptism.” “Unbaptize” should be “baptize. A large difference not mentioned here: the Presbyterian church is heavily influenced by the doctrinal teachings of John Calvin, which emphasizes the idea of predestination, while the Baptists of today are primarily “…motivated by an Arminian theology that stresses free will, and have emphasized evangelism and discipleship.” (http://www.abc-usa.org/what_we_believe/our-history/)

    • I believe you have these reversed.. Baptist was based on calvin and presbyterian is based on Armenias.

      • Karni, You have the information incorrect. I am a Presbyterian scholar and our religion and denomination is Calvinistic and started by John Calvin and John Knox from Scotland. The Baptist religion is not normally Calvinistic.

        I have found that this article is not that accurate. Outside of government and baptism there are many other things that are different between the two. The Presbyterian church is Reformed and came out from the Roman Catholic church..the Baptists did not . Our belief in Holy Communion is different as we do not believe its a mere memorial but actually the real presence of Christ in the elements spiritually. Our worship is very different. We are also a denomination that follows old ancient creeds as well as modern ones..the Baptist do not. We can be considered liturgical depending on the church and parish, the baptist are not. Not all Presbyterians are evangelical the Baptist are..and the list goes on and on.

  2. Bananas are tasty

  3. On the question of baptism, C H Spurgeon has pointed out : Baptized or un-baptized unless you believe in Jesus Christ as your saviour mere sprinkling of water is of no avail. As the sinner on the cross who was not baptized yet gained paradise.

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