What Are the Differences Between the Methodist and Baptist Religions?

Baptist churches are typically more evangelical and reformed with no central governing body, whereas the Methodist church was founded greatly on the life and teachings of John and Charles Wesley, Church of England missionaries in the 1700s. Both are denominations of the Christian faith.

Both Baptist and Methodist churches practice baptism, or an outward profession of Jesus Christ as Savior, and communion, in which the bread and wine symbolize the blood and body of Christ. However, for Methodists, baptism is seen as a means of salvation and is usually performed with a sprinkle of holy water, whereas for Baptists it occurs later in life with a full immersion.

The Baptist church is commonly linked to John Smyth in the 1600s, who led the Separatists. The Separatists Church later became the Particular Baptists and its members sailed to America as pilgrims to avoid religious persecution. Generally, Baptists believe in salvation through faith and the literal Second Coming of Christ, often referred to as “Judgment Day.”

In contrast with Baptists, Methodists generally believe that the Second Coming focuses on welcoming God’s grace, rather than His judgment.

Baptists were influential in the first civil government featuring the separation of church and state in Rhode Island. Conservative Baptists disagree with alcohol, gambling and tobacco, and sometimes dancing and movies as well. Baptism today is one of the largest Christian denominations, with about 43 million Baptists worldwide.

Methodism began later, with a small lay movement beginning in the 1700s and in its earliest years comprised mostly German-speaking people in America, officially becoming a church in 1968. The United Methodist Church has since grown to about 12 million believers in 42,000 congregations worldwide and consists of a central governing body, thus minimizing the autonomy of individual congregations.