Denomination Differences

Methodist vs. Baptist Beliefs

Baptists and Methodists are two quite similar denominations. Both would be considered pretty standard Protestant denominations. Many churches of each denomination find their origins in movements arising out of the Church of England which sought to bring Revival and correct doctrinal errors in the Anglican church. They desired to go back to the gospel basics of salvation by faith alone based on their belief that the Bible is the sole authority for matters of faith and doctrine. Typically both denominations reject the Calvinist view of predestination, and both practice believers baptism, although Methodists practice paedobaptism as well. Both denominations have the other typical Protestant beliefs in common as well, obviously.

They do of course have their differences, however. In addition to the aforementioned infant baptism, Methodists believe that baptism is an act of grace that cleanses one of his sins, while Baptists believe salvation itself does so and that baptism is merely symbolic. Furthermore, Methodists believe in conditional security and that if leaves the faith then he must get saved again, while Baptists generally believe that once one is saved, he is always saved.

On social issues, the differences will vary greatly from church to church. While Baptist churches tend to be independent and congregational, they are generally unanimous in believing that sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman is sin and that life begins at conception. Methodists practice a connectional leadership structure, but their beliefs on these issues vary greatly between sub-denominations and even between congregations.

Belief Table

MethodistBaptist
a.k.a.
  • Wesleyan
  • Nazarene
Number of Members80,000,000[1][2]100,000,000
How does one get saved?Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.Sola fide: Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection alone to save you.[3][4]
Who gets saved?Anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.Most believe anyone who chooses by his own free will to believe and accept God's gift of grace will be saved.[5]
Can one lose his salvation?Yes, a Christian can lose his salvation by apostasy.Most believe eternal security: No, once a Christian is saved, he is always saved.[4][6][7]
Who gets baptized and why?Saved people and their infant children get baptized by as the first sacrament of Christian initiation, cleansing them of all sins.Saved people get baptized as a public demonstration of their new lives.[8]
How should baptism be done?Baptism should be by sprinkling water on the head.Baptism should be by immersion.[8]
When does one receive the Holy Spirit?The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.The Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation.[9]
What is the trinity?The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.The Trinity is God existing as one god in three equal, eternal, cosubstantial persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit.[6][9][10]
What is the human nature?Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.Total depravity: Human nature is corrupt, naturally inclined to evil, and incapable of choosing God on his own.[4][10]
Are we guilty of Adam's original sin?No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.No, we are not guilty of Adam's sin, but we did inherit the consequences and a corrupt human nature from him, causing us all to sin.
Are Christians required to keep the Old Testament ceremonial laws?No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.No, the ceremonial laws of Judaism were fulfilled and done away with by Jesus.
Can Christians become sinless in this earthly life?Yes, Christians can become evangelically perfect through sanctification.No, although Christians can and should sin less, they can never become sinless in this life.
Do the elements of communion become the body and blood of Christ?No, the elements do not become the body and blood of Christ, but Christ is present in an unknown way.No, the elements merely symbolically represent the body and blood of Christ.
Can one be baptized of behalf of someone who has died?No, the dead cannot be baptized.No, the dead cannot be baptized.
What happens if a saved person dies without being perfect?Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[11]Once Christians leave their sinful bodies, nothing else is needed to receive glorified, sinless bodies.[12][13]
Did Mary ever sin?Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.Yes, Mary sinned like all other humans except Jesus.
What spiritual gifts are available today?Cessationism: Spiritual gifts used for serving are available today, while gifts used as signs have ceased.[14][15]
What framework has God used in dealing with man?Covenant theology: God acts either within the covenant of works or the covenant of grace.Dispensationalism: God acts differently with humanity in seven different periods of history.
What is the gift of tongues?The gift of tongues is the ability to speak foreign human languages without knowing how.
What are the requirements for clergy?Varies widelyExperienced men above reproach, faithful to their wives and with with obedient children if applicable, and able to teach are to be appointed as pastors.
How many church ordinances/​sacraments are there?The church has two sacraments: Baptism and Holy Communion.[16]The church has two ordinances: Baptism and Holy Communion.
To whom do Christians need to confess their sins?Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins. A general confession of sinfulness is usually done as a group during a service.Confession should be made directly to God, but confession to another believer is beneficial for some sins.
How should a church be structured?Connectionalism: Churches are governed by conferences of representatives. How respresentatives and pastors are chosen varies widely.Congregationalist: Every church congregation should be independent and governed by its members.
What day of the week should Christians worship?Christians worship on Sunday.Christians worship on Sunday.
How does God's revelation come to us today?Prima scriptura: There are many sources of God's revelation, although none can contradict the Bible.Sola scriptura: The Bible is the only infallible source of God's revelation, sufficient for all faith and practice.
How was the Bible written?Verbal plenary inspiration: The Bible was written by men who had every word supernaturaly inspired by God.[4][17]
How many books are in the Bible?There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.There are 66 canonical books of the Bible: 39 Old Testament books and 27 New Testament books.
Is the Bible inerrant?No, the Bible is not inerrant in any respect.[18]Yes, the Bible was written without any error.[4][17]
Who can speak with God's authority today?Nobody today can speak for God.
How was the earth created?Creationism: The earth was spoken into existence by God.
What is marriage?Varies widely[19][20][21][22]Marriage is a covenant before God between one man and one woman.[6][23]
Is sex permissible outside marriage?Varies widely[19][20][21][22]No, sex outside of marriage is not permissible.[6]
When is divorce permissible?Varies widely[24][25]Divorce is only permissible for adultery.
May a Christian remarry while his former spouse is still alive?Varies widely[24][25]No, a Christian should not remarry while his former spouse lives.
When does a fetus become human?No established doctrine[26][27]Humanity begins at conception.[23][28]
Is contraception permissible?Yes, contraceptives are permissible.Yes, contraceptives are permissible.
Are blood transfusions permissible?Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.Yes, blood transfusions are permissible.
Should women cover their heads?No, head coverings are no longer required due to cultural changes.[29]No, women's long hair is enough of a covering.[30][31]
Should Christians drink alcohol?Most believe that yes, drinking alcohol is fine as long as one does not get drunk.[32][33]Most believe no, alcohol should be totally avoided.
Should Christians fight in wars?Most believe that no, Christians should never fight.[34][35]Yes, Christians should fight in just wars.
How should Christians musically worship God?Varies widely
Whom does the Holy Spirit come from?The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son.[36]No established doctrine
Who can be demon-possessed?Demons can possess unbelievers but not Christians.
Do icons glorify God?No, icons violate the Second Commandment against graven images.
Where does a Christian's soul go after death?No established doctrine[37]Christians immediately go to heaven when they die.[12][38]
When does the Tribulation happen?Futurism: The Tribulation will happen at a time in the future which no man knows the time of.
When will the church be raptured?Pretribulationism rapture: The church will be raptured sometime before the Tribulation.
When is the millennial reign of Christ happen?Premillennialism: The millennial reign of Christ will be the 1,000 years immediately after the Tribulation.