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Thread: What is the difference between the American Baptist and Southern Baptist churches?

  1. #1
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    What is the difference between the American Baptist and Southern Baptist churches?

    This new church Nate and I started attending are Southern Baptist...my mom and her husband's church is American baptist. When I asked him about the differences last night he said the American Baptist was a little bit more liberal but didn't really explain in what way. I have gone to many different denominations in my life but not Baptist other then going to my mom's church on special occasions and my son did go to AWANA there too. But we really didn't care for that church to join and go regularly.

    Anyway I am just wanting to know the difference between the two. Thanks.


    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    I think the modern era has really blurred the edges around many denominations, but a generation or two ago the distinction would have been much more clear. I anticipate the "more liberal" is probably in relation to drinking or smoking.

    There's an old Baptist saying that goes "don't drink, smoke, swear, or chew, or go with girls that do".

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    Mmmm...well he did say the Southern Baptist didn't allow any woman preachers, but the American Baptist did a little. I forgot about that.

    Its hard to image this church we are attending is more conversative..I described it here: http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php?t=165406

    At my mom's church well first it looks like a church... Has pews and sanctuary and all...and most dress up for church, though not everyone. Its comes off as more formal I guess. The church we went too doesn't look like a church from the outside or the inside! Has chairs, and a small stage for a band..no altar, no pulpit for the preacher...the preacher is in casual clothes..no one is dressed up at all. The music is more modern Christian music. Alot of dance lighting...no bibles...the scripture for that day's sermon message is printed in the bulletin. At my mom's church when we went for Easter they had a couple of songs with old english in them...'thy', 'doeth', 'thou', 'hath'..(however that is spelled). Kind of hard to sing with those words too. Yet they are more liberal?

    I am confused...
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    I went to the American Baptist website and found they appear to have beliefs that are similar to Southern Baptist.

    I attend a Southern Baptist church and was told years ago that the SB church was founded when a group of individuals believed African Americans could be saved while others did not (Era when slavery was predominate in the south) thus, forming church that African Americans could attend.

    I've talked to others about differences in Independent, Free Will etc....it seems the issues are pretty minor i.e. how they send money to missionaries etc. and by "minor" I'm not speaking of doctrinal issues related to faith, the person of Jesus Christ, salvation etc...

    I don't know much either, but I hope that helps.
    Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
    Psalm 62:5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moxie View Post
    I went to the American Baptist website and found they appear to have beliefs that are similar to Southern Baptist.

    I attend a Southern Baptist church and was told years ago that the SB church was founded when a group of individuals believed African Americans could be saved while others did not (Era when slavery was predominate in the south) thus, forming church that African Americans could attend.

    I've talked to others about differences in Independent, Free Will etc....it seems the issues are pretty minor i.e. how they send money to missionaries etc. and by "minor" I'm not speaking of doctrinal issues related to faith, the person of Jesus Christ, salvation etc...

    I don't know much either, but I hope that helps.
    Oh ok thanks for that information....it is helpful.
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    moonglow,

    You might find the following link useful:

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Baptists-...ssionary-3.htm

    In my limited experience with an American Baptist (ABA) church, I found the points illuminated in "Andrew's" answers to be accurate.

    blessings,
    faithmyeyes

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    Quote Originally Posted by faithmyeyes View Post
    moonglow,

    You might find the following link useful:

    http://en.allexperts.com/q/Baptists-...ssionary-3.htm

    In my limited experience with an American Baptist (ABA) church, I found the points illuminated in "Andrew's" answers to be accurate.

    blessings,
    faithmyeyes
    Ok I read through that twice and don't have a clue what he was saying... sorry.
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    Ok I read through that twice and don't have a clue what he was saying... sorry.
    If I read it correctly (and that's a big "if"), it seems to indicate that American Baptists believe that their denomination is the only "right" one, and that other denominations have been misled. Southern Baptists, however, believe that people can come to God through other denominations of the Christian faith as well, so long as the basic principles of Christianity are met (one God, Christ died for our sins, all that good stuff ).
    We long to be known and we fear it like nothing else.
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    and the world will be appalled.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lbeaty1981 View Post
    If I read it correctly (and that's a big "if"), it seems to indicate that American Baptists believe that their denomination is the only "right" one, and that other denominations have been misled. Southern Baptists, however, believe that people can come to God through other denominations of the Christian faith as well, so long as the basic principles of Christianity are met (one God, Christ died for our sins, all that good stuff ).
    Thanks for explaining that to me..I couldn't tell which church they were talking about on that...that is why I got confused.

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

  10. #10

    American Baptist vs Southern Baptist

    Moonglow

    The name on the church says little about the worship style or life within. You have to sample the fare, even commit to getting acquainted with people inside, to find out who they are and what they emphasize within Christian faith.

    The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 by congregations who were not allowed to seat delegates at a meeting of the American Baptist Home Mission Society...the mission entity for work within USA. They were refused seats because they would not/did not renounce slavery. The Baptist congregations in rural America were somewhat different culturally than those in the urban areas. Southern congregations were more rural generally...northern congregations more urban generally. Lots of room for disagreements there!

    American Baptists in the Northeast tend to be more "liberal" in their theology, while those in the Far West tend to be more "conservative." Again, you have to find out what they are preaching/teaching to determine where they are theologically. American Baptists have ordained women for many years (back into the late 1800s) while there are few ordained Southern Baptist women. American Baptists are the most racially mixed of all Christian denominations.

    The American Baptists were known as the Northern Baptist Convention until the late 1950s when they began to take the name American Baptist back. There seemed no hope of reconciliation between the two groups at that time.

    Baptists divide their groups quite easily since they are organized around congregations. New divisions have taken place in the north and south many times since 1845.

    I hope you find this helpful.

    Everett

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    Quote Originally Posted by evcurry View Post
    Moonglow

    The name on the church says little about the worship style or life within. You have to sample the fare, even commit to getting acquainted with people inside, to find out who they are and what they emphasize within Christian faith.

    The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 by congregations who were not allowed to seat delegates at a meeting of the American Baptist Home Mission Society...the mission entity for work within USA. They were refused seats because they would not/did not renounce slavery. The Baptist congregations in rural America were somewhat different culturally than those in the urban areas. Southern congregations were more rural generally...northern congregations more urban generally. Lots of room for disagreements there!

    American Baptists in the Northeast tend to be more "liberal" in their theology, while those in the Far West tend to be more "conservative." Again, you have to find out what they are preaching/teaching to determine where they are theologically. American Baptists have ordained women for many years (back into the late 1800s) while there are few ordained Southern Baptist women. American Baptists are the most racially mixed of all Christian denominations.

    The American Baptists were known as the Northern Baptist Convention until the late 1950s when they began to take the name American Baptist back. There seemed no hope of reconciliation between the two groups at that time.

    Baptists divide their groups quite easily since they are organized around congregations. New divisions have taken place in the north and south many times since 1845.

    I hope you find this helpful.

    Everett
    Very true..thanks for the information. I just had one question...what are they divided on now? If anything....

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    American Baptists can say hello when they see each other in the liquor store

  13. #13

    Re: What is the difference between the American Baptist and Southern Baptist churches

    @ orendorf: saying hello at the liquor store is better than sneaking in the back alley way and lying about your drinking, i guess you're saying that's what the Southern Baptists do.

    @moonglow: i was fortunate enough to have parents who believed that i should choose which religious organization i wanted to be a part of. growing up, they took me to many different churches of just about every denomination (catholic, LDS, southern baptist, american baptist, adventists, etc.) so i would find a place i felt comfortable and at home in. one i would WANT to make a commitment to. i didn't find that church until i was 15 years old and went to San Lorenzo Baptist Church in San Lorenzo, CA. i was baptized in that church after my 16th birthday to the words of John 3:16. it is an American Baptist church. in what i have seen going to both southern and american baptist churches, the most significant difference is that american baptists are more realistic in their views. (some of you may call this being "too liberal"). they believe that God knows we are imperfect, that we will make wrong choices, make mistakes, but if we truly open our hearts to Him and ask for His forgiveness He will lead us down the right path. the southern baptist churches i attended seem to be more adamant about being "damned" for your mistakes, that we are supposed to be perfect and making mistakes are for the weak ones. this is what i got from my experience. liberal, in my opinion, not whatsoever. just honest in admitting that we ARE imperfect and we ALL do make mistakes and God knows that. if He wanted us to be perfect we would not have been given free will. the American Baptists seem to get this ideology better than the Southern Baptist's, at least from my experience. i am proud to be a member of the American Baptist church.

  14. #14

    Re: What is the difference between the American Baptist and Southern Baptist churches

    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    Thanks for explaining that to me..I couldn't tell which church they were talking about on that...that is why I got confused.

    God bless
    @lbeaty1981: your information is incorrect. American Baptists do not believe we are the only "right" one. we do believe that people can come to God through other denominations of the faith as well. please get your facts straight before making them. thank you and have a blessed day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverdaisy View Post
    @ orendorf: saying hello at the liquor store is better than sneaking in the back alley way and lying about your drinking, i guess you're saying that's what the Southern Baptists do.

    @moonglow: i was fortunate enough to have parents who believed that i should choose which religious organization i wanted to be a part of. growing up, they took me to many different churches of just about every denomination (catholic, LDS, southern baptist, american baptist, adventists, etc.) so i would find a place i felt comfortable and at home in. one i would WANT to make a commitment to. i didn't find that church until i was 15 years old and went to San Lorenzo Baptist Church in San Lorenzo, CA. i was baptized in that church after my 16th birthday to the words of John 3:16. it is an American Baptist church. in what i have seen going to both southern and american baptist churches, the most significant difference is that american baptists are more realistic in their views. (some of you may call this being "too liberal"). they believe that God knows we are imperfect, that we will make wrong choices, make mistakes, but if we truly open our hearts to Him and ask for His forgiveness He will lead us down the right path. the southern baptist churches i attended seem to be more adamant about being "damned" for your mistakes, that we are supposed to be perfect and making mistakes are for the weak ones. this is what i got from my experience. liberal, in my opinion, not whatsoever. just honest in admitting that we ARE imperfect and we ALL do make mistakes and God knows that. if He wanted us to be perfect we would not have been given free will. the American Baptists seem to get this ideology better than the Southern Baptist's, at least from my experience. i am proud to be a member of the American Baptist church.
    Thanks for your post...we have continued on in this church and become members and its been a huge blessing in our lives. No 'being damned' for any mistakes either. In fact the pastor just discussed what the unforgivable sin was in the bible last weekend...of which as he pointed out there is only ONE unforgivable sin. Which is correct because that is what the bible says. What I have been seeing and hearing from others it it appears the pastor sets the tone of these churches. That what one experiences in one...doesn't mean its like that in all Southern Baptist churches or American Baptist churches. Each seems to be very different depending on the pastor. I think its that way in many churches actually and explains why some have bad experiences and some only good.

    My son is 15 and his faith has grown by leaps and bounds in this church so I feel very blessed to have found it. We were in a nondenominational church before that for years and many times he told me how much he hated it. Not a good thing. Which is why we aren't going there anymore. Eventually he would have ended up losing his faith and possibly even hating God if we had stayed. So I thank God for helping us find this church.

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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