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Why Do Baptists Do Certain Things?

Why Do Baptists Do Certain Things?

#1 Why Don’t Baptists Baptize Infants?

There are many different Baptist denominations, each with differing opinions. To name a few:

  • Southern Baptist – Evangelical
  • American Baptists Churches USA – Mainline Traditional Christianity
  • National Baptist Convention – Historically Black Protestant

And each denomination may have it’s own unique practices for baptism ceremonies. What you will find as commonalities amongst all Baptists include the following traditions:

  • Baptism by immersion
  • Baptism for adults only
  • The belief that infant baptism is wrong or unnecessary

The reasons why Baptists do not baptize infants are:

  • The Bible does not teach infant baptisms
  • Jesus did not conduct infant baptisms
  • Infants are thought to be born absent of sin
  • Children are considered incapable of committing sin
  • Some argue that infant baptisms are a substitute for circumcision; Baptists disagree with this notion

A child will not be of age for baptism in the Baptist Church until they are eight years old. This is the age by which one can discern from right and wrong and, therefore, be accountable to God.

Figure 1 – Baptism, Bible Study Tools

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38.
  • “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”- Matthew 19:14

Related Video(s):

#2 Why Do Baptists Get Baptized?

The reasons that Baptists get baptized are:

  • To free themselves of past sin
  • To be reborn
  • To be saved by God
  • To be officially converted to the Baptism religion
  • Because Jesus was baptized, and so were his apostles
  • The Bible directly says that one should want to be baptized and baptize others
  • To symbolize in gesture what Jesus sacrifices; the symbol or rebirth, resurrection, and rising from under the water in a new form

Baptists are named for their foundational devotion to being baptized in the name of the Lord and savior. As a major branch of Protestantism, they are distinguished by this practice but opposed to infant baptisms, seeing children under the age of eight as sinless.

Baptists are distinct in their approach to baptisms. While some ‘sprinkle’ the water on one’s forehead and face, Baptists favor immersion. Immersion baptisms mean just what they sound like, the full body is immersed beneath the water, in the same manner as Jesus’ baptism.

Figure 2 – First Baptist Dallas

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” – Mark 16:16

Related Video(s):

#3 Why Do Baptists Use Grape Juice?

There has been a debate amongst Baptists regarding which ranks in higher legitimacy – using wine for the Lord’s Supper (communion) or using grape juice?

The reasons why Baptists and particular churches may opt for grape juice over fermented wine include the following possibilities:

  • They want a non-alcoholic alternative
  • They find drinking in the Church to be a confusing, hypocritical notion since the Church does not promote intense drinking. Most Baptists drink, but drinking beyond moderation is seen as addictive, dangerous, and unacceptable.
  • The Bible mentions wine as being a ‘mocker’ and ‘for the unwise’ Proverbs 20:1
  • They may not enjoy the taste of wine
  • They want to be able to include younger children
  • They want to be able to include recovering alcoholics
  • They see it as symbolism that does not need to be taken so biblically-literal (despite the fact that wine is traditionally used)

Some believe that the ‘fruit of the vine,’ must be fermented by nature (meaning, it must be alcoholic to authentic or accurate).

Regardless, this is a decision left up to the individual’s discretion.

Figure 3 – The Lord’s Supper, Baptist

Related Scripture(s):

  • “(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)” – 1 Timothy 5:23.
  • “It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.” – Romans 14:21.

Related Video(s):

#4 Why Do German Baptists Wear Bonnets?

As a similar denomination to the Amish, German Baptists are in-touch with a plainer life of fewer luxuries and modern-ties. Creating a humble culture that is not oriented to favor superficial qualities over worship, German Baptists females wear Bonnets for the following reasons:

  • To cover and protect their hair
  • To look more modest
  • To desexualize themselves (hair down can be more beautiful, and therefore, more tempting)
  • To create a sense of uniformness amongst all women
  • To pay respect to God
  • To keep warm in the cold
  • To look more unassuming and simple
  • Different colors can have different meanings; a black bonnet may mean mourning, a white bonnet may mean marriage, etc.
Figure 4 – German Baptist New Conference

Related Scripture(s):

  • “And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.” – Exodus 28:40

Related Video(s):

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#5 Why Don’t Baptists Celebrate Advent?

Advent is a month of celebration and preparation leading up to the birth of Jesus. In the liturgical year that prepares for the nativity at Christmas, Advent lasts from November 29th to December 24th.

The reasons why Baptists do not celebrate Advent are:

  • Advent is not often celebrated by Protestants, especially Evangelical or Pentecostal Protestants
  • With the exception of Christmas and Easter, Baptists do not follow the Western Church’s annual calendar of recognized events and days
  • Baptists follow a more puritan-oriented calendar which focuses on the actual Lord’s day

Some do celebrate Advent and there is a growing number that recognizes this period. People are even writing guides with titles like ‘Advent Rediscovered by Southern Baptists ’ and ‘10 Reasons Even Baptists Need to Celebrate Advent.’ Publications such as these prove that the numbers are growing and people are leaning into the holiday spirit earlier than usual!

Numerous Baptist and Southern Baptists started incorporating Advent celebrations years ago as a way to increase the momentum for Christmas joy, services, and donations.

Figure 5 – 10 Reason Every…

Related Scripture(s):

  • “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6.
  • ““Pay attention to all that I have said to you, and make no mention of the names of other gods, nor let it be heard on your lips. “Three times in the year you shall keep a feast to me. You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As I commanded you, you shall eat unleavened bread for seven days at the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in it you came out of Egypt. None shall appear before me empty-handed. You shall keep the Feast of Harvest, of the firstfruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord God. …” – Exodus 23:13-33.

Related Video(s):

#6 Why Are Baptists Commonly Located in the South?

Southern Baptists are the largest Evangelical Protestant group in America. 81% of Baptists live in the South, with 40% of global Baptists being located in America. 

Built with Southern cultural influences and descending from Baptists that lived in the 17th century of America, Southern Baptism became the most popular denomination after dividing with other Baptists over the issue of Slavery.

Ultimately, Slavery is the reason that Baptisms transitioned itself predominantly to the South, with the Southern Baptists establishing their official organization within Georgia in 1845. Now, there are over 15-million Southern Baptists in America, with their religion making up about one-fifth of all U.S. evangelical Protestants (21%).

Figure 6 – The White Baptists Were NOT United

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24.

Related Video(s):

#7 Why Are Baptists Generally So Strict?

Although this may sound like a biased or subjective question – There is in fact a denomination called ‘Strict Baptists,’ or ‘Particular Baptists,’ making this less of an opinion and more of a title.

Strict Baptists (are):

  • Calvinistic Baptists rooted in English history dating back to the 17th century
  • Reject communion
  • Do not drink
  • Read the Bible in a considerably literal translation; seeing little room for interpretation
  • Sometimes referred to as Gospel Herald Strict Baptists
  • Had 6,400 members in 1995; 156 churches in England, only 3 in America

Now, on a separate side of this coin –

Why are general Baptists considered to be so strict?


  • They do not promote drinking
  • They do not encourage lewd behavior, thievery, intoxication, or other extremes
  • They do not gamble
  • They do not smoke tobacco
  • They even prohibit certain movies or forms of provocative dance
  • They do not dress immodestly
  • The South is more conservative and traditional
  • There is a particular culture in the South that can be seen as stricter, more moralistic, and more narrowminded than progressive Northern or Coasterners
Figure 7 – First Baptist Church of Wakefield

Related Scripture(s)/Resource(s):

Related Video(s):

#8 Why Are Baptists So Judgemental?

Frequently seen as narrow-minded and less liberal than other Christian denominations in the United States, Baptists are particularly traditional.

The reasons why Baptists may be ‘so judgemental,’ despite this opposing their preachings to love thy neighbor without casting stones of judgment, are:

  • They do not support homosexual marriage
  • They do not support abortion
  • They do not support heavy drinking
  • They do not support tobacco or marijuana consumption
  • They do not support movies or books with witchcraft (i.e., most would not watch Harry Potter)
  • They do not support many forms of dancing
  • They do not support those that do not make time for their faith
  • They do not understand those that would not prescribe to their belief system

All of these limitations, rules, and self-imposed regulations can leave little room for forgiveness. When there are this many boundary lines for disciples to stay bound within, nearly everyone will be ‘judged’ for not fitting into the small box that Baptists have created for themselves.

If they seem judgemental, they are either concerned for someone’s mortality, their soul, or discriminate against them for not being as dedicated to Christianity as they are.

Christianity is not about being morally superior to others.

The world is broken and messy in many ways, so if a Baptist is behaving disapprovingly against you instead of helping you – They are not practicing what they preach.

Figure 8 – Judgement

Related Scripture(s):

  • “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12.
  • “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”  – Leviticus 19:18

Related Video(s):

#9 Why Are Baptists Concentrated in The South?

Established in the 17th century, Slavery was a contentious matter that led to significant turmoil within the Baptist community. During this time around the civil war, America was dividing itself already (separate of religious influence). As a human rights issue, people were determining an order by which everyone could find a compromise.

In 1845 within the territory of Georgia, Southern Baptists officially separated from the Baptist Church to create their own denomination. Still seen as the more traditional and conservative denomination of the two, Southern Baptists created a culture centered around:

  • Moral integrity
  • Tradition
  • Strict guidelines
  • Dedicated faith

By 1995, Southern Baptists released an official apology for the 150th-anniversary-year upon which they had separated in the name of Slavery. The apology stated that they did not support Slavery or segregation in modern times and expressed sincere regret for their ancestors’ actions 150-years prior.

Still, to this day, Southern Baptists are heavily-concentrated in the South. This is where most Baptists live.

Figure 9 – Southern Baptists

Related Scripture(s):

  • “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:31

Related Video(s):

#10 Why Are Baptists So Legalistic?

The definitions of legalistic are:

  • Of a person, following the letter of the law
  • Of a person, tending to resort to the law
  • Practicing or characterized by rules and sanctions

Within the bounds of these definitions –

One could argue that all religions are legalistic; it is their nature.

The reasons that someone may argue for Baptists being particularly legalistic are:

  • They are very concentrated on traditionalism
  • They are conservative
  • They are fundamentalist
  • They lean into punishment, guilt, and other-shame based reactions when you have sinned
  • They simply have many rules to be legalistic about

The more conservative-minded the Church is, and the more legalistic they tend to be, (conservative in the social sense, not political). 

Even writes:

“Legalism can be defined as trying to achieve salvation through one’s own efforts. Many legalists reject the label, however, because they profess to trust in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone, but if our Christianity is expressed by rules more than relationship, we’re legalists.”

Figure 10 – Legalism and it’s Path to Apostasy

Related Scripture(s):

  • “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” – 1 John 1:8.
  • “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” – Romans 3:23.

Related Video(s):

#11 Why Are Baptists Against Drinking?

A small minority of Baptists do drink, but most would declare that this should be done in ‘moderation.’

The reasons why Baptists dissuade members against drinking are:

  • It is unhealthy
  • It leads to a premature death
  • It is connected to various diseases
  • It weakens the body, which is God’s gift
  • It is morally lax
  • It opposes what the Bible says;  the drinker is the ‘fool,’ and ‘unwise’
  • It directly disobeys God
  • It shortens one’s life, signifying less worship
  • It lowers the quality of that worship
  • It ruins families
  • It frightens children
  • It lowers one’s overall quality of life and ability to think clearly

In 1896, Southern Baptists denounced alcohol and used to excommunicate anyone that consumed or sold alcohol. Today, it is frowned upon and certainly discouraged.

Figure 11 – Southern Baptists, Drinking, ChurchLeaders

Related Scripture(s):

  • “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” – Proverbs 20:1

Related Video(s):

#12 Why Are Baptists Not Allowed to Dance?

Actually, Baptists are allowed to dance. You can clearly see this in Baptist universities that possess Dance Teams. There are also international conventions, ballroom competitions, ballet schools for religious students, and more. 

The rules against dancing are as follows – One should not dance:

  • Provocatively
  • Sensually
  • To tempt others
  • To instigate adultery
  • To appear immodest
  • To performatively steal all attention
  • To displease God

There are many scriptures that refer to God being pleased by dance, or mentioning dance as a form of celebration. He says there is ‘a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance’ (Ecclesiastes 3:4).

Baptists are only instructed to dance properly without sexual innuendos, pelvic thrusting, ‘hugging set to music,’ or inappropriate movement.

Figure 12 – Dance Team Roster, Houston Baptist University

Related Scripture(s):

  • “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,” – Psalm 30:11
  • “Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” – Exodus 15:20.

Related Video(s):

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