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Presbyterian vs Baptist – Beliefs and Differences

What are the differences and specific beliefs between Presbyterian and Baptist?


Religion is a topic that gets people talking, there’s no denying that.

Regardless of what one person believes, religion can help bring people together, get them through hard times, give them faith, and give them a purpose and something to live for.

One thing that is fascinating about religion is the fact that there are so many different ones out there, yet at the same time, there are also so many different similarities.

Protestantism, for example, is practiced all over the globe, yet there are so many different branches that people who follow the same religion can have different beliefs.

A Presbyterian, for instance, can follow Protestantism but have a different set of beliefs to a Baptist, who also follows Protestantism.

Though similar, Baptists and Presbyterians are actually very different from one another, yet people often confuse the two.

To help clear up any confusion once and for all, we’re now going to look at a Presbyterian vs Baptist and look at the key differences, along with any similarities.

Who are the Baptists?What are the differences and specific beliefs between Presbyterian and Baptist

Before we look at a Presbyterian vs Baptist, we first need to look at each one before we can begin looking at the key differences.

A Baptist will only baptize individuals who have stated their loyalty and faith to Christianity.

Baptists do not, however, baptize children.

A Baptist does not believe that Christ died on the cross purely for people who were chosen.

They do not believe in purgatory as they believe that the soul of a person is torn between earth and heaven once a person passes away.

Baptists also believe in the grace of God, though they do not really speak a great deal about the Holy Sacraments.

Instead, they believe purely in the offering of prayer to Christ and Christ only.

They do not pray to Mary or any of the other saints.

Who are the Presbyterians?presbyterian vs baptist

Don’t worry, we’ll also be looking at who Presbyterians are before we look at Presbyterians vs. Baptists and what the key differences and beliefs are.

Unlike Baptists, Presbyterians also baptize children and infants born in Christian households, along with those who have declared their loyalty and their faith to Christ.

One of the core beliefs of Presbyterians, however, is the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross solely for people who were chosen.

As for the soul, however, Presbyterians generally do not speak a great deal about the soul being torn between the earth and heaven.

Instead, they tend to focus on the Lord’s Supper and how the Baptism are the real symbols of the Grace of God.

Though they believe they are the symbols of God’s Grace, they don’t actually believe that they’re the means of God’s Grace.

Presbyterians also place great importance upon scriptures, though again, they do not state that they alone are the sources of the Doctrines of Christianity.

Instead, they state that, as well as the Scriptures, human reasoning also plays a key role in the realization of the Doctrines of Christianity.

In Presbyterianism, human reason is every bit as effective as the Scriptures, which is perhaps the biggest difference between Presbyterians and Baptists.

Presbyterians also tend not to believe that communion serves as the blood and the body of Christ. Instead, they state that communion serves as the symbol of God’s blood and body.

They also do not state that having faith in God can be the savior of humankind.

Presbyterians recommend an understanding of the Holy Bible through the study of the Gospel.

Presbyterian vs Baptist – what are the differences?baptist vs presbyterian

Though these two religious groups are very similar to one another, once you have a basic understanding of the two, which hopefully you now have, you’ll see that there are actually a number of key differences between the two.

Baptists, for example, are firmly of the belief that a person’s salvation can only come through faith in God, and faith in God only.

If you have faith in God, Baptists believe that you will enjoy salvation and be liberated from this world once you pass away.

Presbyterians, however, have slightly different beliefs.

They believe, instead, that God has already made up his mind in terms of whom to save and whom to punish.

This means that they believe in God’s plan and that everything in life is already predetermined.

There are some Baptist churches, however, that believe in predestination as well. This is down to the fact that different Baptist churches have different beliefs.

Key Differencesdifference between presbyterian and baptist

In order to understand the differences between a Presbyterian and Baptist, it’s important to know the similarities beforehand.

While both perform Baptisms, Baptists believe that only people who have faith in Christ should be baptized.

Presbyterians, however, believe that people that have declared faith in Christ, as well as infants and children born into Christian families and households, should be baptized.

Church services between the two are also quite different.

With a Baptist church service, there will be nothing recited out loud from the congregation.

Presbyterians, however, will recite prayers loudly and in unison.

As far as salvation goes, Baptists believe that salvation can only be achieved by one means, and that means having faith in God.

Presbyterians believe that God has already determined whom to save, and whom to punish. This can, of course, greatly influence the behaviors of different people.

Presbyterians still value scriptures, but they also place a huge amount of importance upon human reason too.

On the other side of the coin, Baptists believe that what is said within the Holy Bible is final. They do not go against the view of what the Bible states, as they believe this is final.

Other differences between the Presbyterian and Baptist Church

Church governancedifference between presbyterian and bapt

The Presbyterian church is governed or led by elected elders called the presbyters.

They can be found at various levels of the church, including local, regional, and general assemblies.

They are charged with providing leadership for the church.

They make decisions, ensure strict adherence to the church’s doctrines, and enforce disciplinary actions when the need arises.

Another thing to note about the Presbyterian church governance is the interconnectedness between different churches.

The Presbyterian church has a web of connections across regions, making them part of a hierarchical structure; Churches do not make individual decisions but depend on information and instruction from the top.

On the other hand, the Baptist church is a little more flexible regarding church governance. Each local church is self-governing.

Congregations play active roles in decision-making processes, making the church more inclusive. There are no external influences from any governing body.

Worship stylewhat is the difference between presbyterian and baptist

Presbyterian churches are more structured when worshiping.

They adopt a liturgical form of worship, incorporating formal prayers, creeds, and a liturgical calendar.

This style cuts across most Presbyterian churches across the globe.

So, a member from a different region can still easily flow with worship in a new church.

However, the Baptist church is dynamic. Worship is spontaneous and unique to individual churches.

The environment, culture, and congregational preferences often heavily influence worship. It can be loud or solemn or traditional or contemporary.  

Mission and evangelismdifference between baptist and presbyterian

The Baptist church is more inclined toward evangelism.

It emphasizes the Great Commission and its commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission.

They reach out to lost souls locally and globally, spreading the Good News, baptizing new converts, and teaching them to become disciples.

They also engage in mission works like feeding the poor, visiting those in prisons, etc.

Presbyterians strongly emphasize social justice and engagement with societal issues.

They believe that faith must be expressed in love and service. So they take on causes that directly impact people’s rights as citizens of a nation.

They champion campaigns, sponsor bills, and other social justice.

Presbyterian or Baptist – which should I attend?presbyterian vs baptist

As a Christian seeking to explore new worship options or a new convert looking for where to kick-start your faith journey, the most crucial factor you must consider when choosing a place of worship is if the Bible is the foundation of the church.

The truth is that there’s no perfect church.

All churches are flawed in one way or the other, and people criticize the differences in other churches.

So, if you attend a Presbyterian or Baptist church, you might still get some doses of criticism. However, the Bible is perfect.

It is the complete Word of God. Living on it will give you a deep understanding of God’s law and purpose and will enable you to align your ways toward it.

As such, even though your church may be perceived as flawed, you are assured of following the written Word of God based on personal conviction and inspiration.

Talking about personal conviction and inspiration based on Bible study, the Baptist church believes in the priesthood of all believers.

This simply means that every Christian can study the Bible for themselves and make decisions based on God’s revelation. The Presbyterians often depend on the governing body for theological guidance and direction.

The Bible encourages all believers to be like the Berean Jews, who search the scriptures to confirm the truth of the Gospel preached to them.

They compare sermon notes with the Bible.

 “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11).

That is how to grow as a believer and not be tossed about by the wind of doctrine. 

Many churches today are greatly influenced by the founder’s environment and upbringing.

For example, many churches in Africa prohibit men from wearing caps in the church because it is disrespectful for men to cover their heads in the presence of an elderly one or a king.

Therefore, if you are coming to church, to the presence of God, the King of kings, you must remove your cap.

This tradition has cascaded into the church and become a doctrine. However, in the Western world, where such tradition is non-existent, wearing caps in the church is normal for men. So, study the Bible and understand mere doctrine and God’s instruction.

If you are a Christian who enjoys spontaneity during worship, then a Baptist Church might be the best place for you.

The Presbyterians are more strict in adhering to the liturgy. However, the music, praise, and worship in Baptist churches are mostly contemporary and loud. They utilize modern musical instruments and are free when dancing. 

The Baptist church also allows members to participate in decision-making processes.

You can vote or lend your voice about the church activities and services. You also actively participate in evangelism and mission works, unlike the Presbyterian church, where the elders or presbyters make all decisions on behalf of the whole church.

presbyterian church vs baptist

We are all unique in our mode of worship. The Bible says the church is like a human with different parts.

Everyone has a unique role that makes the body function perfectly. “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12).

But our works and worship must be to edify the church and glorify God (1 Corinthians 14:12). Our ultimate focus as believers must center around serving God and living according to the Holy Bible.

Our service will be acceptable before God if we adhere to the truth of His Word.

Therefore, no Bible-believing church is better than the other. We are all working out our salvation with fear and trembling, hoping to please

God and reign with Him when the trumpet sounds.


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