How Are Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists Different in Their Beliefs?

Roman Catholics and Southern Baptists differ in their beliefs about absolute authority, baptism, the Bible and absolution. They also believe differently about the value and meaning of Communion and how much authority to give church leaders.

While Roman Catholics believe that church leaders have absolute authority, Southern Baptists believe in the ultimate authority of the Bible. They view it as an instruction manual for living as God intends and do not believe it has errors. Roman Catholics do not believe that the Bible is infallible. They believe in the truth of the Bible as interpreted by the church. They also find truth in their traditions.

Southern Baptists view baptism as entirely symbolic and a means of testifying about being saved, not a means of being saved. They do not baptize infants. Roman Catholics baptize infants and view baptism as a sacrament and prerequisite for salvation.

Southern Baptists take communion to honor and remember the death of Jesus, while Roman Catholics place greater meaning in the sacrament of Communion. They believe that Communion wafers represent the body of Christ and that wine represents his blood, and by taking Communion, they grow closer to God.

Roman Catholics believe that the Pope is infallible and recognize the hierarchy within the church, letting it dictate how individual churches operate. Southern Baptists do not believe bishops have absolute power. Their churches operate without instruction and conduct business as they deem fit.