Differences between Catholic and Baptist

Let’s look at the differences between Catholics and Baptists. What exactly is the distinction between the two?

Is one of them genuinely Christian and the other not? Let’s have a look.

Catholics and Baptists share some essential characteristics, but their beliefs and practices are vastly different.

Let’s look at how the Roman Catholic Church and Baptist theology differ.


Catholic Church

Catholics claim that their origins date all the way back to the followers of Christ. According to legend, Peter was the very first head of The church, followed by Linus as Bishop of Rome in AD 67, and then Clement in AD 88. Catholics claim that Peter, Linus, and Clement formed the line of succession that has led to the current Pope in Rome. Historically, this has been referred to as the apostolic succession line.

The Council of Nicaea, which took place in 325 AD, aimed, along with other matters, to mold the church leadership after that of Rome’s imperial empire. The term “Roman Catholic” came into common usage when Christianity was adopted as the imperial religion in AD 380, and Rome was recognized as the center of the global church.

Some Catholic beliefs:

  • The pope is the supreme leader of the Catholic Church, which is made up of local bishops. (The word “catholic” is derived from the Hellenic term “universal.”)

 

  • Catholicism requires that a person goes to a priest to be absolved of their sins. The priest may typically prescribe a “penance” to assist the person in internalizing remorse and mercy, such as reciting the “Hail Mary” prayer or doing good deeds for someone they have wronged.

 

  • Catholics honor the saints (those who lived exemplary lives of holiness and worked wonders as a result) as well as Mary, the mother of Jesus. According to belief, they don’t pray to these departed saints, but to God via the departed — as intermediaries between God and the living. Mary is revered as both the spiritual mother of the church and the celestial monarch.

 

The Baptists

Martin Luther, a Catholic theologian, published his 95 Theses in 1517, in which he challenged numerous components of Roman Catholicism. He argued that the pope couldn’t pardon sins, that redemption came via faith solely (rather than faith and deeds, as Catholics claimed), and that the Scriptures were the only source of faith. Many people left the Roman Catholic church as a result of Luther’s ideas, resulting in the formation of many Protestant churches.

Around 1600, a group of Protestant Christians known as Baptists began to question long-held traditions like infant baptism. They thought that one must be mature enough to accept Jesus before being baptized, which must be done fully submerged. They also thought that each local church should be autonomous and self-governing.

Some Baptist beliefs:

  • There is no structure of power over local churches or areas, therefore each church is self-governing.

 

  •  Baptists believe in the priestly nature of the Christians and that confessions of sins can be made solely to God.

 

  • Baptists respect Mary and other historical Christian figures, yet they do not even offer prayers to or through them. A fundamental Baptist belief is that Jesus is the only one who can mediate between God and humans.

 

  • Baptists hold that the state should not prescribe church customs or liturgy and that the church should not try to influence politics.

Catholics and Baptists have different perspectives on salvation.

The Catholic perspective on salvation

Catholics have traditionally believed that salvation is a journey that starts with baptism and progresses via prayer, charitable deeds, and participation in the Church’s ceremonies. They don’t agree that when we are saved, we are completely virtuous in God’s eyes.

Several Catholics have recently changed their beliefs about salvation. In 1998, two famous Catholic theologians, Fathers R. J. Neuhaus and Michael Novak teamed together with Protestants to issue a “Gift of Salvation” proclamation, affirming justification by faith only.

Baptists’ perspective on salvation.

Baptists believe that the only way to be saved is to trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection as a substitute for our sins. To be saved, you must put your faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

The only way to be saved is to admit you’re a sinner, confess all your transgressions, believe that Christ conquered death again to pay the penalty for your sins, and accept Him as your personal Savior and Lord. To be saved, all you have to do is confess with your lips, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and accept in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. Because you accept with your heart and are vindicated, and you declare with your tongue and are saved.” (Rom. 10:9–10)

Salvation occurs in the moment of faith, not through time.

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Difference between Catholic and Baptist: Purgatory

Catholics believe you must not have any unconfessed sin when you die. That’s almost impossible to do since you may not have time to confess to a priest before dying or may have forgotten some sins. Therefore, purgatory is a place of purification and punishment for unconfessed sin, to achieve the holiness needed to enter heaven.

Baptists believe that all sins are forgiven once a person is saved. Baptists believe that a saved person is immediately ushered into heaven when they die, thus they don’t believe in purgatory.


Difference between Catholic and Baptist: Faith and works

Historically, the Catholic Church has taught that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:22). They think that baptism initiates the Godly life, and that when a person is given communion, his or her faith matures and the individual will become more holy.

Baptists believe that salvation is based solely on faith, but that good acts are an outward representation of that faith. Good actions are a byproduct of redemption and abiding in the Lord, but only faith saves.


Difference between Catholic and Baptist: Sacraments

The sacraments of the Catholic Church

Sacraments are religious procedures that are indications and pathways of God’s mercy to people who accept them, according to Catholics. There are 7 sacraments in Catholicism.

Selected rites of initiation:

Baptism is typically performed on infants, however, adolescents and young adults are often baptized. Getting accepted into the Catholic church requires getting baptized, which is done by sprinkling water on your head 3 times. According to Catholic doctrine, baptism cleanses, saves, and blesses the sinner, and the Holy Spirit is bestowed unto the person who receives it.

Catholic kids are “confirmed” to conclude their entrance into the church at the age of seven. Classes are held to help children get ready for their “first reconciliation” (first confession). Confirmation involves anointing the head with consecrated oil, and the church leader says, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Catholics believe that the bread and wine are converted into the blood and flesh of Christ in their true essence during the Eucharist (Holy Communion) . The faithful are sanctified through Holy Communion. At least once a week, Catholics are required to partake in Holy Communion.

Healing sacraments:

In Penance (or Reconciliation), one must express contrition or guilt for past wrongdoing, confess to a priest, get absolution (forgiveness), and perform the atonement.

Anointing of the Sick was once reserved for those who were about to pass away (Last Rites or Extreme Unction). Those who are near death due to severe sickness, accident, or old age can now be anointed with oil and prayed for to recover.

Service sacraments (not required for all believers)

A layperson becomes a deacon, a priest becomes a bishop, and a priest becomes a bishop through Holy Orders. Only a bishop has the authority to give Holy Orders.

Matrimony (Marriage) symbolizes the sacredness of a man and woman’s union and the establishment of a legally binding contract. Getting married requires couples to become baptized and make the commitment to grow in their faith together as well as pass it on to their children.

The ordinance of the Baptist church

It is important to note, however, that while the Baptist church does not have sacraments, it does have two ordinances that are acts of obedience to particular mandates from God for the entire congregation. Ordinances represent a believer’s connection with Christ and serve to remind us of what Jesus accomplished for us.

Baptism is only given to those who have accepted Christ as their Savior and are of legal age. Baptism entails total immersion in water, which represents Jesus’ passing, burial, and resurrection. A baptized believer is required to be a church member.

The Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion, commemorates Jesus’ death for our sins by eating bread, which represents His body and drinking red wine, which represents His blood.

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The Bible in the eyes of Catholics and Baptists

Most Catholics and Baptists agree the Bible is flawless and divinely inspired.

Catholics, on the other hand, contrast with Baptists in three ways when it comes to the Bible:

What exactly does the Bible contain?

Most Protestants’ Scriptures do not include the Apocrypha, which the Catholic Church has seven of its own. These include the first and second Maccabees books, Tobit and Judith, Sirach and Wisdom, and Baruch.

When Luther translated the Scriptures into German, he followed the Jewish Council of Jamnia’s decision to exclude certain works from their canon, which was made in AD 90. The King James Bible and other modern versions were adopted by other Protestants as a result of his influence.

Is the Bible the exclusive source of authority?

The Bible, according to Baptists, is the only source of faith and conduct.

Catholics adhere to the church’s doctrines and customs, as well as the Bible. They believe that the Bible alone cannot guarantee clarity about all divine revelation, and that “Sacred Tradition” passed down through the ages by church leaders should be given equal weight.


Difference between Catholic and Baptist: Doctrinal perspectives

Is it possible to know for sure whether or not you are saved?

Catholics are unsure if they are saved because they believe salvation is a journey that is dependent on their participation in the sacraments following baptism. No one knows for sure whether they will go to heaven or damnation when they die.

Baptists are adamant that if you have confidence in God, you will be saved as a result of the Holy Spirit’s inner witness.

Is it possible to lose your salvation?

Committing a “mortal sin” and failing to repent or confess it before death can result in eternal damnation, according to the Catholic Church.

Most Baptists believe in the perseverance of the saints, which holds that once you’ve been truly saved, you can’t lose it.

Are we predestined to go to heaven or hell?

Catholics hold a variety of opinions on predestination, although they all think it exists (Romans 8:29-30). They believe that God allows people the liberty to make their own decisions, but that because of His omniscient (all-knowing), God already knows what they will select. Catholics do not believe in hell predestination because they think that hell is reserved for individuals who have committed serious crimes and did not confess them before death.

Most Baptists believe that people are predestined for heaven or hell based on their faith alone, not on anything they have done or haven’t done.

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