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Unread 19th April 2010, 06:32 PM
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Difference(s) between Methodist and Baptist

Hello, for a returning Christian just trying to "tie up loose ends", what are the difference(s) between Methodists and Baptists?

I understand the principle differences like adult immersion baptism vs. sprinkling etc., ancestry from Protestantism vs. Anabaptist movement etc.

I understand that they are both reformed churches but I mean in an everyday sense, what are the differences?

In either, who can receive communion, how is communion different, attitudes/principles toward major issues such as marriage, divorce, children etc.

Style of worship (I know Baptists don't have priests but elders but Methodists have ministers)

Style of prayer, how they pray, type of bibles they use (are there differences as in the difference between Catholic and Anglican bibles?)

Mandatory Sunday attendance or worship by intention?

Salvation beliefs, method of salvation, requirements.

I'm sorry if this can be found out by googling, but I've tried the net, wikipedia etc and can't find basic information, everything is very in depth.

Basically, if Mr Smith were a Methodist and Mr Jones a Baptist, how would their everyday lives (religiously and personally based on religios morals) differ from one another?

Thanks and God Bless
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Unread 19th April 2010, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by freebornjim View Post
Hello, for a returning Christian just trying to "tie up loose ends", what are the difference(s) between Methodists and Baptists?
Hi Welcome to Wesley's Parish. I'll try to give you the best answer as someone who is a former Baptist, and now a Methodist.

I understand the principle differences like adult immersion baptism vs. sprinkling etc., ancestry from Protestantism vs. Anabaptist movement etc.
Both groups are considered Protestant. Methodism actually came from Anglicanism.

I understand that they are both reformed churches but I mean in an everyday sense, what are the differences?
Methodists are not Reformed. We are Wesleyan in theology as opposed to the reformed churches that follow the teachings of John Calvin. There are Baptists too that believe in "Free Will" as opposed to those who believe in Predestination. It should be mentioned however that there are a few Calvinistic Methodists out there, one of the most famous was George Whitefield.

In either, who can receive communion, how is communion different, attitudes/principles toward major issues such as marriage, divorce, children etc.
Anyone who responds to the invitation is welcomed to the Lord's table, as it is that, the Lord's table, and not the Methodist's table. This is known as "open communion". There are some Baptists who practice open communion, and there are some who practice closed communion. It may depend on the denomination or even the local church and it's custom. Methodists believe Communion, also called the Lord's Supper, or the Eucharist is a Sacrament and means of grace, and believe in the "real presence", while Baptists view it only as a memorial meal, and an ordinance.

Style of worship (I know Baptists don't have priests but elders but Methodists have ministers)
Traditional worship for Methodists is liturgical and follows the same pattern that you would find in a Anglican/Episcopalian Church with occasionally a few alterations. John Wesley took the "Sunday Service" for the Methodists in America from the Book of Common Prayer. Wesley was an Anglican Priest his entire life, and thus Methodism has retained this. However there are now "blended" and even contemporary services in some churches.

Worship in Baptist Churches contains a more simple service, which focuses around the Sermon, rather than Communion.

Style of prayer, how they pray, type of bibles they use (are there differences as in the difference between Catholic and Anglican bibles?)
Again Methodists are more liturgical, and sometimes use "set" prayers. Baptists generally use less structured prayers. You'll find diffrent churches in both traditions using different bible versions, etc.

Mandatory Sunday attendance or worship by intention?
I've never really experienced mandatory attendance in either tradition.

Salvation beliefs, method of salvation, requirements.
Both believe in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Methodists tend to stress God's previenent, justifying, and sanctifying grace. We believe in Free Will. Methodists believe one can "backslide".

Baptists tend to stress a more "evangelical" understanding of this and would sometimes include the "sinners prayer" in their services. Many Baptists believe in Predestination, but there are a few that believe in Free Will. They also tend to stress "once saved, always saved".

I'm sorry if this can be found out by googling, but I've tried the net, wikipedia etc and can't find basic information, everything is very in depth.

Basically, if Mr Smith were a Methodist and Mr Jones a Baptist, how would their everyday lives (religiously and personally based on religios morals) differ from one another?

Thanks and God Bless
There are quite a few differences, but we are all brothers and sisters united in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Maybe someone else can add to this?
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Unread 19th April 2010, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by svdbygrace View Post
Maybe someone else can add to this?
Good job of summarizing.
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Unread 20th April 2010, 08:58 AM
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To note on the Bible translation, I want to say that Baptists usually will gravitate toward the KJV, NKJV, ESV, or maybe NIV (probably depends on which group of Baptists you're talking about; after all, American Baptists and Southern Baptists are pretty different), along with some others. Methodists would certainly be fine with any of those (albeit without the special footnoting that some editions of the aforementioned might have in them), but we are also quite known for relying on the RSV and NRSV.

Some editions of the NRSV, like the New Oxford Annotated Edition, do include the Deuterocanon (what Protestants typically call the 'Apocrypha') - Methodists don't see these as authoritative the way that the rest of the canonical books are, but every so often you might find some Bible study groups review them. My grandparents' study group did a long time ago (I don't know when exactly), and have a couple of NRSV Bibles that contained them - one of them is sitting on my shelf actually.
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Unread 20th April 2010, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by svdbygrace View Post
Maybe someone else can add to this?
Great summary. The only thing I would add would be how the church is organized and governed. Methodists have a more structured organization than Baptists; the churches are not as independent.
Structure & Organization: Organization - UMC.org

A Methodist church belongs to a district which has a bishop. Baptist churches call and select their own ministers; each church is on its own in the search. The appointment of Methodist ministers is a joint proposition of the church and the district. Bishops can reassign ministers.
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Unread 22nd May 2010, 10:47 PM
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My Baptist husband was trying to find out the differences between it and a Wesleyan church. I used to go to a Wesleyan church and we went to visit it recently, I loved it, and we're going back tomorrow.
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Unread 22nd May 2010, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by California Dreamin' View Post
My Baptist husband was trying to find out the differences between it and a Wesleyan church. I used to go to a Wesleyan church and we went to visit it recently, I loved it, and we're going back tomorrow.
Hope you are blessed by it.
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Unread 22nd May 2010, 11:25 PM
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The summary given is an excellent one. In the end, Methodists and Baptists may seem similar, but the groups come from very different roots and are often quite different. In the apostolic churches, the Lord's Table is important. We "really" receive Jesus. How it works is a mystery.

I too am a former Baptist and taught doctrine and Sunday School in a Southern Baptist Church.

I would add one aspect that you may or may find interesting or important. There is no one "Baptist" chuch. Where I lived, there were 14 (associated with different groups) within 30 miles. There is a huge difference among them with regard to the importance of political issues and tolerance.

I have always found that Methodists are very open, helping, and tolerant. The Church accepts those of all political views and is tolerant of all. Open communion is more than a doctrine; it is the what the Church is all about.

I would also mention that the Methodist Church has ordained women since 1880 and has ordained many female bishops. As a comparison, Southern Baptists (the largest group) does not ordain women as pastors.

Within the Methodist and Weslyan churches, there is considerable variation, but not as in the Baptist churches. Even within a single Methodist church, there may be very different service styles. It may help to visit the web site of local churches. I might note that in my Anglican Church, we have four weekend services, all very different in style.

Welcome home!
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Unread 24th May 2010, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Maid Marie View Post
Hope you are blessed by it.
I had a really great time at the Wesleyan church yesterday. The people were really nice. I like the songs. We are going to alternate between the Baptist church and the Wesleyan church. There is an information night in late June for membership at the Wesleyan church, it's only an hour, and we are planning to go (my husband isn't working that night!)

On the offering envelope there were 3 options: Offering/Tithe, World Missions and the third was for the Church Building fund. I liked that we could put money to World Missions so easily. When I was trying to explain the church to my husband, I said I felt the Wesleyan church did a lot for world missions...

The Baptist church where we got married and where he was baptized, it is not the church he grew up going to (he went to a different Baptist church). And it has the stained glass windows, wooden pews, pipe organ, etc. and my husband is quite traditional and likes that. He just thinks the Wesleyan church is different because the songs are newer, the building is new (2004), etc. But he must think it's alright because we're going to continue going, and he encouraged me to find a drive there when he is working so I can still go.
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Unread 24th May 2010, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by California Dreamin' View Post
On the offering envelope there were 3 options: Offering/Tithe, World Missions and the third was for the Church Building fund. I liked that we could put money to World Missions so easily. When I was trying to explain the church to my husband, I said I felt the Wesleyan church did a lot for world missions...
I am not up on the Wesleyan Church's practices like I am with the CotN and UMC, but I think you're observation is correct. The SBC might be the exception to that.

And am glad that you both enjoyed yourself.
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