#1 Are Baptists Protestant?
Yes, Baptists are a group of Protestant Christians and a subsect of their denomination, Southern Baptism – is the largest evangelical Protestant faith in America.
The members of Western Christianity that do not prescribe to a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox Church are likely Protestant. Protestantism was formed by bodies of people that separated from these Churches during the period known as Reformation.
Some of the most popular Protestant Religions in order of highest population to lowest are:
- Baptist (33%)
- Nondenominational Protestant (13%)
- Methodist (10%)
- Pentecostal (10%)
- Unspecified Protestant (8%)
- Lutheran (8%)
- Presbyterian (5%)
There are many smaller populations of Protestants, such as the Anabaptists population at (0.3%) and Adventists at (0.6%).
- “And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” – Hebrews 10:10
- “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:16.
- What Do Baptists Believe? Published September 27th, 2018.
#2 Are Baptists Calvinists?
Ultimately, some strict Baptists are Calvinistic, but most are not. If a Baptist is a reformed Baptist (sometimes called Calvinistic Baptists), then they follow a Calvinistic soteriology.
If a Baptist does not believe in the reformed belief or is not a Calvinistic Baptist, then they do not follow a Calvinistic soteriology.
Calvinism isn’t a part of the Baptism lifestyle; however, it is part of their history. The five pillars of Calvinism which define what encompasses a ‘reformed’ Christian are:
- Total Depravity
- Unconditional Election
- Limited Atonement
- Irresistible Grace
Leading with the acronym of TULIP – This is discussed as a summary of Reformed Christianity in the Synod of Dort in 1618. Being reformed is not solely about predestination, but this is a large aspect of it. The foundations come from a multi-layered progression that moved in history from Catholicism – to Protestantism – To Reformed Protestantism.
One can either fall on the side of being Calvinistic or Arminian (Arminianism is defined as a liberal reaction to the Calvinist doctrine of predestination in 17th century, upon which the movement spurred a separation amongst Protestants in which Arminians asserted that God’s sovereignty and man’s free will are compatible).
To this point, most general Baptists air on the side of being Arminian (and more liberally progressive in their spirituality).
Most Baptists are not Calvinistic.
- “He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,” – Ephesians 1:5.
- “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:13.
- “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:36
#3 Are Baptists Christian?
Yes, Baptists are a Protestant Christian denomination which can be described as traditional upholders of the sanctity of the Bible. Practicing baptisms through full immersions, Baptists teach the praise and worship of their holy Lord, God. Claiming the only legitimate authority is the Holy Bible – Baptists are undeniably Christian.
- “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” – John 10:11.
- “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1.
- Pastor Steve Waldron – What Is a Baptist?; Published by New Life of Albany on September 25th, 2017.
#4 Are Baptists Evangelicals?
Yes, Baptists can be Evangelical, but they may also participate in a more legalistic form of Baptism, which would be sterner in social regulation. Southern Baptists, in particular, are the largest Evangelical Protestant denomination in the United States, encompassing more than 20% of all U.S. Evangelical Protestants.
The number of Baptists are declining but not as rapidly as the number of Evangelical Protestants, as seen in this religious study conducted in 2014 by The Pew Research Organization:
Evangelical Free disciples and Independent Baptists are only two small subsects of the larger denominations of Evangelicalism and Baptism – But there are some subtle differences between them. Similarities and differences between the Evangelical Free denomination and the Independent Baptists are:
|Evangelical Free||Independent Baptist|
|Born Again Theology||Yes||Yes|
|Arminian Vs. Calvinistic||Either||Either|
|Baptism for Membership||Sometimes||Yes|
|Cessationist (Tongues, healing, prophecy gifts)||Rarely||Frequently|
Do not let this chart mislead you because there can also be Evangelical Baptists and strict/traditionalist Evangelicals.
It will all depend on:
- The subsect you are referring to
- The congregation/individual’s personal approach
- How they were raised and the way they define their own religion
These qualities and practices can be vastly different depending on who you ask.
Even two Baptists may have considerably opposing thoughts on the same principles and morals.
· “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” – Proverbs 30:5.
#5 Are Baptists Reformed?
Reformed Baptists are those that hold onto Calvinistic theologies or soteriologies (the study of salvation). Due to this, there are Baptists that follow a Reformed approach, as well as those that do not. Many will have a faith that opposes this, leaning more towards an Arminian belief (similar to Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists, and the Amish).
When it comes to subjects of eschatology (the study of death and the afterlife), this is a point at which many Baptists will split off into various directions. There are social stereotypes about Baptist Churches saying to one another, ‘we’ll agree to disagree,’ and leaving this space for interpretation within the Baptist community.
A few of the distinctions to be aware of are:
|Reformed Belief||Baptist Belief|
|The Church||Children are counted as members. Membership is qualified by families, not individuals||Children are not counted as members until after their baptism (allowed after 8-years of age). Membership is on an individual-basis.|
|Church and Government||General supervision is held||Each Church is autonomous|
|Ordinances||Call Baptisms and Communion – The Two Sacraments||Call Baptisms and Communion – The Ordinances|
There are differences and shared variations that can exist between these two entities. It will depend on if you are speaking to a Reformed Baptist, a Traditionalist Baptist, an Independent Baptist, Mainline, Evangelical, etc.
In many ways, Baptists are highly conservative, especially on social issues. Pew Research breaks down the differences between where Southern Baptists lie compared to All Evangelical Protestants on social theology:
· “For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” – Romans 10:10-17.
#6 Are Baptists Catholic?
No, Baptists and Catholics are two separate Christian denominations with vastly different histories, theologies, practices, geographical concentrations, and lifestyles.
Fundamentalist Baptists see the Bible as being wholly literal, not able to be abstractly interpreted. Catholics would disagree with this belief, seeing Scripture as more symbolic and less literal.
Another main difference between the two is that Baptists believe in a full-immersion baptism, which can only be conducted once a child reaches the age of eight (or later decides to officiate his/her faith based on their own free will).
Opposingly, Catholics believe in the doctrine of infant baptism, which does not allow the child an opportunity for free will of choice before being officiated into the Catholic Church. Many Catholics will take this same number of eight but use it for days instead of years; meaning, they will have the child baptized on the eighth day of his/her life instead of the eighth year, so that they can be saved early-on and remain pure in the eyes of God.
Although they share small similarities, such as Communion (The Lord’s Supper) and baptisms, they are largely characterized by their geographical location as well.
Most Baptists live in America, predominantly in the traditionalism of the South, whereas most Catholics live in Latin/Spanish/European regions, such as Brazil, Italy, and Spain. These locations alone will drastically alter and influence the culture behind each faith.
- “This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:50-71.
- Baptist VS Catholic – Literal Interpretation of Bible; Published November 27th, 2018.
#7 Are Baptists Allowed to Dance?
Yes, Baptists are allowed to dance, and this is a common misconception and stereotype.
There are fundamentalist Baptists who may restrict sexual dancing, tangos, or forms of expression that feel outwardly sexual – However, even many Baptist Universities have their own dance team and/or cheerleading squad.
See this video called – Dance Your Shoes Off from the Second Baptist Church Houston. You will see the expressive devotion that many Baptists have in the name of their Lord. With dance being referred to in the Bible on many occasions, it is typically described as a form of merriment, celebration, and joy.
Scriptures such as Psalm 149:3, promote dancing before the Lord:
“Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!”
If a Baptist was against dancing, it could be forms of dance that incite:
- Salacious invitations
- Risqué behavior
- Possible adultery
Despite the small minority of legalistic Christians that prohibit dance, it is not as common as one may believe. Most Baptist church leaders will find dance to be a mere form of expression, not a threat to the Church.
- “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,” – Psalm 30:11.
- What Does the Bible Say About Dancing? Published by World Video Bible School (WVBS); September 1st, 2018.
- Dance Your Shoes Off – Second Baptist Church Houston
#8 Are Baptists Allowed to Drink?
Yes, Baptists are allowed to drink; however, the Church does not support drunkenness or lewd behavior. Seeing alcohol as an avenue to a life detached from God and family – Drinking alcohol is not seen as healthy to most Christians.
Since many Baptists are Conservative Southerners, they have a complex relationship with alcohol. In the 19th century and slightly earlier, they were strongly involved in the promotion and distribution of alcohol. By the Prohibition movement, they were vehemently opposed and supportive of temperance.
Since this era of Prohibition in the 1920s, Baptists have described alcohol as:
- Potentially sinful
- A wedge between God and family
- Contradicts God’s wishes and direct orders
There is a strong range of beliefs in the middle of these. But you will usually find a Baptist that expresses one of these two stances:
- Alcohol is sinful
- Alcohol is fine in moderation
It is also possible for a Baptist not to have a strong opinion about alcohol.
With Church publications writing pieces titled Are Southern Baptists Losing Their Zeal for Temperance? – The number of Baptist drinkers nationwide is on the rise. As it becomes less stigmatized in the general non-religious society, it also becomes less stigmatized within religious groups.
This is not to say the Baptist Church will support drinking; but rather, they would be fine with members drinking moderately, privately in their homes. They would not be okay with public displays of intoxication, violence, drinking and driving, or any high-risk behaviors. The Christian Church will always ostensibly encourage abstinence from all harmful substances.
To offer a source from the subsect, the Southern Baptist Convention, their public beliefs on Alcohol (published at the 1987 Annual Meeting) are:
“WHEREAS, Previous annual meetings of the Southern Baptist Convention have spoken on many occasions about the destructive effects of beverage alcohol consumption; and
WHEREAS, Alcohol advertising, labeling of beverage alcohol containers, and increasing the taxes on beverage alcohol are all matters needing to be addressed through legislation at the federal level; and
WHEREAS, We must acknowledge that alcohol use and abuse are problems affecting many individuals and families of our larger Southern Baptist family.
Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 16-18, 1987, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages; and
Be it finally RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists work toward the passage of legislation at the national level that would limit the advertising of alcoholic beverages, increase proper labeling, and increase taxes on alcoholic beverages.”
The Church’s stance is clear.
Nonetheless, Baptist News reported this survey from LifeWay Research that:
- 39% of Protestant Churchgoers drank alcohol in 2007
- 41% of Protestant Churchgoers drank alcohol in 2017
(An increase of 2% in 10 years).
- “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” – Proverbs 20:1.
- “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds.” – Matthew 11:18-19.
- Six Reasons Why I Don’t Drink – Pastor Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist Church; Published January 28th, 2014.
- Why Baptists Drink But Might Not Want You To Know It; Published by The Odyssey Online; June 21st, 2016.
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