Baptist vs. Catholic

Please help me understand some of the differences between the Baptist religion and Catholicism. I’m a cradle Catholic and never really learned much about other religions. My new friend is Baptist and I just want to understand better.

It really depends on which flavor of Baptist your friend ascribes to. Some Baptists are rabid anti-Catholics, and other are quite friendly to Catholics. Some believe the Catholic Church is the harlot from the Book of Revelation, and leading all Catholics to hell, and some believe Catholics are simply misguided but still Christians.

A few starting points for you to understand. Baptists believe in sola scriptura, which means that the Bible is the only infallible source of the Christian faith (the Bible never claims such). So they will not accept Sacred Tradition or Church teaching as having any authority.

They do not have a priesthood, and do not have the Eucharist. Depending on the particular church she attends, they may have a reenactment of the Lord’s Supper monthly, twice a year, or never. They do NOT believe the bread/crackers and wine/grape juice become the Body and Blood of Jesus. They believe it is only a symbolic participation.

They do not have a Mass. They have worship services, where they will have some things similar to a Mass. They will have hymns, some Bible readings, and then sermon. Since they don’t have the Eucharist, the focal point of the worship service is the sermon. It will be considerably longer than a homily. The music can range anywhere from traditional hymns to modern day rock bands. It all depends on the view of the pastor and the church.

Generally, most of them believe in the 5 Solas, which I would recommend you research a little if you are going to get into deep discussions with her, so you can understand the lens that she views the Christian religion through.

They only have two sacraments, but they don’t call them that or even recognize sacraments. Those are baptism and matrimony. But they don’t believe that baptism washes away sin, they believe it is only ceremonial and an outward sign of your inward change.

Like I said, it REALLY depends on which “flavor” of Baptist your friend ascribes to. Because each different Baptist church has a different set of beliefs. If you have some more specific questions, feel free to ask.

1 Like

As zz912 said, beliefs vary. The Baptist church I grew up in was independent and had some variances in belief with other Baptist churches in the area.

Most of the Baptist churches I knew believed that baptism was only a symbol and that it conferred no grace. One taught that baptism was essential for salvation. All thought baptism came only after the candidate accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior. There was no baptism for infants. People could be baptized more than once. If a person stated that he or she was not right with the Lord at the time of his or her first baptism, he or she could be baptized again.

Most believed that the King James Version with sixty-six books was the only reliable Bible.

Some believed that Catholics prayed to statues, that they had to do everything a pope said, and that they worshiped the Virgin Mary. I heard that Catholic prayers were ineffective because they were vain repetitions. People needed to be saved out of the Catholic church.

Deacons were elected and were then ordained. Their ordination did not give them authority to marry or to bury, but they acted as the church board. There were always twelve active deacons. Their formal role in church services was to pass the trays of grape juice and the plates with broken unsalted crackers we used for communion, symbolic only, and to say the occasional opening or closing prayers.

There was no process to looked at failed marriages. People who had been divorced or who had married someone who had been divorced could not have a position of authority in the church.

Dancing or any use of alcohol other than strictly medicinal were always considered sinful.

Salvation, once one sincerely said the Sinner’s Prayer, was believed eternal. Later sin, not matter how serious, could only change the amount of reward one might receive in Heaven. A sinner could be punished by God, but he could not do anything to cause later condemnation. The punishment that the saved sinner could receive was described as “There will be bloodshed in the woodshed.”

There were no holy days of obligation. I cannot remember ever being in church on Christmas prior to going to a Catholic church as an adult. There was no liturgical season following Christmas or Easter.

They referred to baptism and communion as ordinances, never as sacraments.

Members of the church would often be referred to as Brother or Sister Jones. That did not indicate anything other than being a member of the church

If you want to get to know and understand your friend better, you should go talk to her. No one here can truly tell you what she believes, because we’re not her.

The reason I’m asking is because neither of us know enough about the other’s religion to know what to ask! Things we each may take for granted as basic to being a Christian could be vastly different and we wouldn’t know to ask. I was not well catechized as a child and learned my Faith as an adult, continuing now, and I never learned much about other religions because I would never want to leave my Faith and lose Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Thank you for your help. I know my friend and I must talk a lot to learn what and why we each hold certain beliefs but I just needed a stepping off place.

In that case, I applaud you both! Learning about a different faith is a great way to expand your horizons, understand your neighbors, and gain a deeper appreciation of your own native faith. I am obviously neither Baptist or Catholic, but have studied both (the latter is what brought me to CF).

I recommend you start with the basics and work from there. Some places you’ll probably find differences:

• The role of baptism in salvation and who/when should be baptized
• Interpretation of the Lord’s Supper (literally flesh vs symbolic)
• How salvation is attained (gradual processes, vs largely one time event)
• Church governing (all Baptist churches are independent from each other, and may or may not agree with other Baptist churches).
• Who a priest is and what his life is like
• Which books are in the Bible
• Liturgy
• How repentance is done (with a priest or not)
• Saints and Mary
• Sacraments involved.
• The “stuff” and culture associated with a church building (candles, statues, incense, robes, stain glass, etc).

Places of similarities:
• Belief in Christ, Trinity, role of faith in one’s life, the Lord’s sacrifice, love of scripture, etc.

Yes, that’s what I need! Thank you so much!

Happy to help!

If you’d be willing, I would like to hear how your guys discussion go (I’m excited for you :)).

I give this list a :thumbsup:

The only thing I would add is don’t jump to conclusions or think you understand everything she tells you. The reason I say this is I have found quite often we actually mean the same thing we are just using different words. Or you might be in disagreement without realizing the disagreement is in how you define a word. Grace, faith and works are the biggies that can mean different things to different faiths.

Also, don’t ever be afraid to say, I am not sure but I can find out and get back to you.

God bless.

Well, as far as Southern Baptists are concerned:

While not a creed per say, most Southern baptists hold to this. There is a resurgence of Calvinism creeping through the SBC and they are more closely aligned with the early statements of faith that were constructed in England in the 17 and 1800’s.

Totally seconding this sound advice! :thumbsup:

I have hi-lighted the ares a Catholic should be concerned about EDITED 4 SPACE

Basic Beliefs of Baptist

The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation. {Scriptura ALONE}


There is one and only one living and true God. …The eternal triune God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence, or being.

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ, He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. …He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His substitutionary death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of men from sin.


Man is the special creation of God, in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. …By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. … The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every person of every race possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer.** In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification.

God’s Purpose of Grace

Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. …All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end.{Once Saved ALWAYS Saved]

The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous** local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel**,

Baptism & the Lord’s Supper

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water. …It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus.

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members … memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming.

Evangelism & Missions

It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations… to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by verbal witness undergirded by a Christian lifestyle, and by other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Last Things

God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. …Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly…the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell. …The righteous… will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.


God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions.

Religious Liberty

Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. …A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal.


God has ordained the family as the foundational institution of human society. It is composed of persons related to one another by marriage, blood or adoption.
Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime. … The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect, and to lead his family. A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation… Children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord. Parents are to demonstrate to their children God’s pattern for marriage END QUOTES.

No Baptists have priests only Pastors or preachers. Then standard 66 books. No .They repent direrctly to the Father. No saints. No sacraments, they call them ordinances. They use no “stuff” Except robes for the choir.

Baptists remind me a lot of the LDS.

And just when you think you know everything… start looking up Unitarian Baptists and the Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia (the nation):
I guarantee most Baptists in the US have never seen or heard of that, nor would they be comfortable with it.

Baptists in the UK are also vastly different that the US, many are politically liberal and not recognizable to the US mainline Baptist bodies:

And you know what I would do? Pick out two times when you visit each other’s worship service. Go together and experience the ‘other’'s faith in the midst of their worship and community. Lots of questions will surface and you will have a context for explaining and listening. The settings will be a bit different and the language may reflect a new theology to you, but bottom line, it’s all about knowing and loving Christ together.

How exciting you are doing this!

Most everything is symbolic with the Baptists. Some take communion monthly, some quarterly. It’s grape juice.

They also seem to be the most anti-Catholic denomination I have ever seen. Especially the older folks, new Baptists may be more accepting.

This denomination, also, for the most part, stays straight and narrow. No abortion, no “alternative” lifestyle, etc, etc.

Despite the Anti-Catholic venom I have seen, they have my respect for remaining moral.

Pray with each other, and read the Scriptures.

Very risky for Catholics

Before doing this you need to check with your Pastor first

There exist the high risk of Scandal here

Very important you ck first


Why is that?

I kind of agree with Pat on this one. I would hold off on visiting each others churches until after you dialogue a while. You 2 need to see where you both are coming from before you go to the others church. You don’t need to be pressured by other parishioners attending the service that might hammer you with questions that you are not at a point of being able to comfortably answer.