Differences between Catholic faith and Baptist?

My daughter is considering being Baptist. When asked why, she describes their wide range of children’s programs, a large and beautiful building, and social contacts. I have encouraged her to thoroughly research the faith first. Can someone help me to accuately describe for her how Catholic is different from Baptist?

You could start by going here: ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/SeriesSearchprog.asp?SeriesID=-6892289&NewList=&T1=journeyand scrolling until you find “former Baptist” and listening to the stories of why they became Catholic. Honestly, I don’t know of **any **well catechized Catholic who EVER became Baptist (or Protestant of any kind). Once people start questioning and learning their faith they come to Rome for the fullness of the faith.

Carole,

I would ask her, if a church taught that Jesus wasn’t God, but just some pretender who managed to convince the weak-minded of his outlandish claims, would she still attend that church if it had a wide range of children’s programs, a large and beautiful building, and social contacts? I suspect she’d say, “Of course not!” Well, that’s a start, because it means that the truth is important to her. Baptist teaching is NOT in accordance with Catholic teaching, and directly contradicts it in many areas. They can’t both be true—one is true, and one is false. The Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded, dispensing the sacraments that Christ initiated, including the Eucharist. Would she exchange the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (have her read John 6 and the discourse at the Last Supper), for a nice building and fun programs for the kids? If she desires those things (which are, of course, very desirable) why doesn’t she try to start those things at her own parish? The Church needs people like her who can initiate just those kinds of social benefits that she is attracted to. And above all, keep praying…I’ll keep her in my prayers.

[quote=mercygate]You could start by going here: ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/SeriesSearchprog.asp?SeriesID=-6892289&NewList=&T1=journeyand scrolling until you find “former Baptist” and listening to the stories of why they became Catholic. Honestly, I don’t know of **any **well catechized Catholic who EVER became Baptist (or Protestant of any kind). Once people start questioning and learning their faith they come to Rome for the fullness of the faith.
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Carole,

Ask her how she’s going to feel when teachers of the “awesome children’s programs” tell her children that their grandma isn’t a Christian???

I can’t give you many theological differences, but can tell you some differences I have seen in my own faith journey. I converted 14 years ago to the Catholic faith and have had no regrets. Although all of my family remain Baptists, we have many interesting talks during the family get togethers.

  1. The real presence. Despite looking at the Bible and Church teachings my family does not see their monthly communion as anything other than a symbol. Teachings aside, if Jesus was not present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Eucharist, how could I possibly get the feeling of love, peace, and wholeness from just a wafer and cup of grape juice?
  2. Authority. I often ask them who do they question if there is explanation needed regarding a specific Bible passage, or matter of faith? They always say the Pastor. He is the authority they look to for answers. We have the Church. All 2000 years of it as a guide. We accept the Magisterium of the Church and recognize that God has not set up a democratic faith given to each to decide as we feel best. This is one of the reasons my family has continued to move from Church to Church over the years… the youth program was good, but then declined so we moved… the Pastor was very good in his Sermons, but said something that upset us so we looked for another Church… I don’t like the way someone runs a fund raiser so we went somewhere else… it goes on and on.
    I didn’t intend to get too lengthy here, but thought I would share a couple of things that have been very important to me. I only wish that my entire family was Catholic, and I pray to St. Monica for assistance in this continously.

I will keep you in my prayers.

[quote=Sherlock]Carole,

I would ask her, if a church taught that Jesus wasn’t God, but just some pretender who managed to convince the weak-minded of his outlandish claims, would she still attend that church if it had a wide range of children’s programs, a large and beautiful building, and social contacts? I suspect she’d say, “Of course not!” Well, that’s a start, because it means that the truth is important to her.

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Are you posing this as a hypothetical or are you saying this is what Baptist folks believe?

Baptist teaching is NOT in accordance with Catholic teaching, and directly contradicts it in many areas. They can’t both be true—one is true, and one is false. The Catholic Church is the Church that Christ founded, dispensing the sacraments that Christ initiated, including the Eucharist. Would she exchange the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (have her read John 6 and the discourse at the Last Supper), for a nice building and fun programs for the kids? If she desires those things (which are, of course, very desirable) why doesn’t she try to start those things at her own parish? The Church needs people like her who can initiate just those kinds of social benefits that she is attracted to. And above all, keep praying…I’ll keep her in my prayers.

Baptist teaching is much different than catholic teaching as you explained here. Real presence is one of those main differences.
Of course the other main difference is the view of the Christian church and whose authority it is under.

[quote=carol marie]Carole,

Ask her how she’s going to feel when teachers of the “awesome children’s programs” tell her children that their grandma isn’t a Christian???
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As a life-long baptist I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone call a catholic a “non-Christian”. My pastors have always taught that people from all walks of life and many denominations would make it to heaven, including catholics. Unless this happened to you personally or is verifiable by someone close to you I would say this is a generalization and should not be repeated because my experience has not been so.

On the contrary, I could say that many catholics I’ve encountered on this forum have repeatedly viewed non-catholics as non-Christians.

You might ask her why she did not become involved in great children’s programs and community building events in her Catholic parish. Did she offer to teach CCD? Did she volunteer for VBS, pre-school, child care for parent meetings? Youth group? Did she sign up for the parish picnic committee or covered dish supper? Did she sign up for perpetual adoration? Altar and Rosary society? Right to life group? Catholic Daughters, Juniors, juniorettes? did she help with the parish scout troop, softball team or other sponsored youth activities? Does she have a clue about true Catholic doctrine and did she ever take any steps to become educated and informed about it? Enroll in bible study, adult education classes, be an RCIA sponsor?

We have all kinds of great activities too, but we have one activity which no other denomination has, and which is the source of our communion in Christ, and the event that build our community. It is the Eucharist. Without the Eucharist there is no Church, no Body of Christ, no communion.

[quote=mercygate]You could start by going here: ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/SeriesSearchprog.asp?SeriesID=-6892289&NewList=&T1=journeyand scrolling until you find “former Baptist” and listening to the stories of why they became Catholic. Honestly, I don’t know of **any **well catechized Catholic who EVER became Baptist (or Protestant of any kind). Once people start questioning and learning their faith they come to Rome for the fullness of the faith.
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I love your use of words - “any well catechized Catholic”. And, what would a well catechized catholic look like? There are many, many, many catholics who have turned protestant and Baptist I’m afraid. I guess it all depends on your definition, doesn’t it?

[quote=ahimsaman72]I love your use of words - “any well catechized Catholic”. And, what would a well catechized catholic look like? There are many, many, many catholics who have turned protestant and Baptist I’m afraid. I guess it all depends on your definition, doesn’t it?
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All of the ex-Catholic Evangelicals who have approached me about the errors of my ways have either held seriously flawed views about what the Church actually teaches or, if catechized, they have had a problem with some Church official, or they have been unwilling to accept Church discipline – 99% of the time it is her sexual morality that they are unwilling to embrace. I have been told by ex-Catholics that they never heard the Gospel in the Catholic Church, that Catholics worship Mary, that we idolize statues, that we think the Pope is God, that we believe in works righteousness . . . It is a list with which you are eminently familiar.

The young woman in question is not contemplating going to the Baptist Church because of anything doctrinal (which shows she is uncatechized) but because it has better programs – and who can deny that a lot of Baptist churches do a REALLY great job of meeting the social/family needs of their people? I know from other threads that you, ahimsaman72, would not consider this woman’s attraction to the children’s programs and social contacts an appropriate reason to attend the church. It’s not about the body count.

[quote=Carole]My daughter is considering being Baptist. When asked why, she describes their wide range of children’s programs, a large and beautiful building, and social contacts. I have encouraged her to thoroughly research the faith first. Can someone help me to accuately describe for her how Catholic is different from Baptist?
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Carole,
I know it must be difficult given these circumstances here. I agree with you - she should research the faith first. There is a booklet titled, “The Baptist Faith and Message” which is the basic creed for Southern Baptists across the country. You can find the link here: sbc.net/bfm/. There are different brands of Baptist out there, though. I am a Southern Baptist myself, although since moving to Iowa, we chose an independent baptist congregation because of the teaching, people and worship. There’s not many southern baptist congregations where we live.

Of course there are many good things about the Baptist faith as you have described above. She must understand there are many dividing teachings and principles between being a Catholic or a Baptist.

For example, all churches are autonomous. There is no central leader outside of the local congregation. This is a “congregational” form of church government. Deacons (elders) and Pastors are the ruling authorities (as they were in the early church period). Decisions on specific ministries and leaders and other basic affairs of the church are handled by the pastors with deacons being the servants of the church and handling upkeep of the building and providing basic needs for the congregation. But, the congregation also has a say in the church. Baptist churches have by-laws which are basically their constitution. Teaching and processes are ruled by these by-laws. I could give you examples if needed.

Secondly, the issues of baptism and salvation are much different. Baptism is seen as symbolic and not part of regeneration. Salvation is based on faith, not works. There are no sacramental graces in the Baptist faith. Salvation depends upon knowledge of the sacrifice of Christ - his atonement for our sins, repenting of sins, confession of sins and asking Jesus Christ for forgiveness and newness of life and to find a home in their hearts and lives. From there, the new believer is instructed to follow through with total immersion of believer in water for the washing away of stain of sin and resurrection to new life. Of course as I stated above, this is a symbolic gesture and not binding on one’s salvation.

Thirdly, the biggest difference you will find is the teaching of authority. Who’s in charge in matters of faith and morals? Well, the simplified answer is for the Baptist it is the Word of God - the Scriptures alone. Of course this has been discussed at length here on this forum and which I have been a part of at times. Baptists believe a living teaching authority is not needed to interpret Scriptures or guide all Christians. They believe the Holy Spirit is alive and well in the hearts of all believers and leads those believers He indwells to the truth they need to know as it is contained in the Bible.

Carole, in my mind these are the distinctive theological items that your daughter needs to be aware of. Outside of that, she obviously has seen the social aspects of the Baptist faith. I have been to very welcoming churches and been to those which I felt uncomfortable. But, by and large I have found Baptists to love each other and embrace each other in our struggle to live Christian lives. Whatever she chooses I wish her and you peace and blessings from Christ OUR Saviour.

[quote=mercygate]All of the ex-Catholic Evangelicals who have approached me about the errors of my ways have either held seriously flawed views about what the Church actually teaches or, if catechized, they have had a problem with some Church official, or they have been unwilling to accept Church discipline – 99% of the time it is her sexual morality that they are unwilling to embrace. I have been told by ex-Catholics that they never heard the Gospel in the Catholic Church, that Catholics worship Mary, that we idolize statues, that we think the Pope is God, that we believe in works righteousness . . . It is a list with which you are eminently familiar.

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I suppose I would agree with your assessment here. I would strongly agree that the sexual morality issue is a big one. Yes, I am familiar with the arguments against the Catholic Church. Though I don’t personally agree with some of the attacks on the Catholic church (worship Mary, idolize statues, think Pope is God) obviously I have issues with the church in other matters.

The young woman in question is not contemplating going to the Baptist Church because of anything doctrinal (which shows she is uncatechized) but because it has better programs – and who can deny that a lot of Baptist churches do a REALLY great job of meeting the social/family needs of their people? I know from other threads that you, ahimsaman72, would not consider this woman’s attraction to the children’s programs and social contacts an appropriate reason to attend the church. It’s not about the body count.

I agree that it’s not about the body count. I would welcome her wholeheartedly in our congregation even if it were only for the reasons she has stated. I would only want a chance to love her as a sister and teach her deeply about a faith in Christ. I would want her to understand, though, that she would have to deal with these theological differences eventually if she cared about them at all. I don’t want her to show up and hear my pastor talk about the Bible as the sole rule of faith and be shocked by it.

Her reasons are wholly legitimate. But ultimately her relationship with Jesus Christ and standing with God are the most important things to remember in the whole thing - whether she stays a Catholic or becomes a Baptist. I would caution that the grass is always greener on the other side and to weigh the pros and cons.

When I was considering converting to Catholicism there were some problems because of it. Families usually aren’t accepting - there’s a long conversion process and there is doctrine to think about also. Switching usually isn’t easy.

So, for Catholics who wish to become Baptists - I always want them to be aware of the obvious doctrinal differences left standing after the smoke clears. I pray that she has an open mind either way and she prays and seeks God’s face in the matter.

Now THIS sounds like your best self! But for a Catholic, those reasons are not legitimate for leaving – as you are aware. A Methodist might become a Baptist for such reasons, but for Catholics the stakes are higher. Our relationship with the Church directly relates to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless, among people who leave the Catholic Church and later return, many claim that part of their return to the Church was owing to a period of time spent in a Bible-based Evangelical denomination. The Holy Spirit is busy, busy, busy, all the time and you simply cannot keep him in the house!

[quote=mercygate]Now THIS sounds like your best self! But for a Catholic, those reasons are not legitimate for leaving – as you are aware. A Methodist might become a Baptist for such reasons, but for Catholics the stakes are higher. Our relationship with the Church directly relates to our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless, among people who leave the Catholic Church and later return, many claim that part of their return to the Church was owing to a period of time spent in a Bible-based Evangelical denomination. The Holy Spirit is busy, busy, busy, all the time and you simply cannot keep him in the house!
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Am I reading a compliment here? :smiley:

Yes, due to the major differences in theology I would say that converting from the Catholic church to the Baptist church is quite different from the step from Methodist to Baptist. For Baptists our ties to the church body are different from our ties with God. Our standing with God depends on our faith in Him and Christian walk with Him, not with church attendance and absolute doctrinal beliefs. This has something to do with perseverance of the saints, predestination and election of believers, which were part of the foundational beliefs of the Baptist church when it was founded.

And yes, the Holy Spirit is busy all the time. He testifies of Jesus Christ wherever He goes, just like Christ said He would. It is up to us to listen for His voice and go with it.

Being a Catholic who left the Church to embrace evangelical Christianity not too far from the baptists, only to renounce it to reconcile with Catholicism, i can tell you that the biggest and most profound difference is the Sacraments.

the Sacraments are REAL encounters with Christ Incarnate. Protestant denominations like Baptists believe that all grace comes from purely spiritual ways.

They believe in accepting Christ as your lord and savior to be saved, but the fact is, is that they miss the mystery and reality of the encounter with Christ in the 7 Sacraments.

They deny that the Sacraments confer any grace. They think that they are works, but they are mistaken.

They place a lot of emphasis on a “personal relationship with the Lord”

However, what could be more personal that accepting Christ every time you go to receive the Eucharist.

PS, they also deny any devotion to our blessed Mother and deny her intercession for us to Jesus (among many many other differences).

And Paul, only mentions salvation as an individual experience once. He usually talks about it in a communial sense. This is completely missed in the Baptist Church.

Steve,

yes, you’re right about that too.

Carole,

I was a Southern Baptist for the first 33 years of my life. I officially became Catholic in May of this year. The Baptist Churchs I went to had a lot of great programs. There was always things to do for every age group. There are some things about the Baptist Church that I miss. I miss the Bible study classes. I miss all of the activities. (I was a member at Second Baptist in Houston, and they have the largest singles ministry of any church in the United States.)

Despite all of that, when I really began looking at the doctrine one thing concerned me. Baptist do not even agree on issues of salvation. Southern Baptist believe you cannot lose your salvation. Freewill Baptist believe you can lose your salvation. Then I began looking at other things protestant believe, issues such as baptism. Southern Baptist believe you don’t have to be baptized, but Church of Christ believe you do. These are very important issues. They are, in reality, matters of life and death, and both sides cannot be correct. These are a few things that you might point out to her. As ahimsaman72 point out, authority is a major difference.

If she is insistent, she could do a lot worse than Southern Baptist. I know I have more in common with many Southern Baptist than I do liberal Catholics. Southen Baptist, at least teach there are absolute rights and wrongs. They’re not big on a lot of gray areas.

[quote=Steve M]Carole,

I was a Southern Baptist for the first 33 years of my life. I officially became Catholic in May of this year. The Baptist Churchs I went to had a lot of great programs. There was always things to do for every age group. There are some things about the Baptist Church that I miss. I miss the Bible study classes. I miss all of the activities. (I was a member at Second Baptist in Houston, and they have the largest singles ministry of any church in the United States.)

Despite all of that, when I really began looking at the doctrine one thing concerned me. Baptist do not even agree on issues of salvation. Southern Baptist believe you cannot lose your salvation. Freewill Baptist believe you can lose your salvation. Then I began looking at other things protestant believe, issues such as baptism. Southern Baptist believe you don’t have to be baptized, but Church of Christ believe you do. These are very important issues. They are, in reality, matters of life and death, and both sides cannot be correct. These are a few things that you might point out to her. As ahimsaman72 point out, authority is a major difference.

If she is insistent, she could do a lot worse than Southern Baptist. I know I have more in common with many Southern Baptist than I do liberal Catholics. Southen Baptist, at least teach there are absolute rights and wrongs. They’re not big on a lot of gray areas.
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By and large, Southern Baptist ministers are completely against abortion, gay marriage, etc. as are Catholics. You are correct - there are fewer gray areas. The Baptist Faith and Message clearly shows what doctrine they adhere to. At least there is cohesiveness in that respect.

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