During atheistic time there were spread a lot of lies about many different religious denominations to discredit them and until today some of those rumors still master the minds of people. In Moldova the Orthodox Church has the largest number of Christians, and after it comes the Baptist Church. Because they live in the same society, it is important for people to know about each other. Even more, I noticed that people in Moldova, when they hear about a different religion than the Orthodox one, automatically call all others “Baptists.” So, what are the similarities and differences between Orthodox Christians and Baptists.
The biggest similarity is that Orthodox Christians and Baptists love God, believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and have the foundation or their faith in the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Both of them believe the teaching about the Holy Trinity and the divinity of Jesus Christ (Jehovah’s witnesses do not confess it).
The very name “Baptist” shows the major difference between these two Christian denominations. The word “baptist” comes from the Greek “baptizo” and it means baptized by ducking. Baptist Christians do not recognize the baptism of young children, but they believe only in the baptism of mature people who have entered the covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ. Because they are baptized only after they believed, they were in a way nicknamed by others as “baptists”, that means baptized. But, as the reader sees, this nickname or name may be applied to both kind of Christians because and one and others are baptized, only some are baptized when they are small, while others being mature, when they believed.
Another difference is the attitude towards the Holy Scriptures. Baptists believe that only the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament are inspired by God and they have the whole authority in matters of faith. They lead themselves only after what it is written in the Bible. Orthodox Christians accept at the same level as the Holy Scripture the so named Sacred Tradition based on some of apocryphal books (which were not included in the Bible) and the writings of the church fathers. Where Sacred Tradition comes in contradiction with the Holy Scriptures, Baptists give priority to the last one. In fact, Baptists put the greatest emphasis on studying the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, during the divine services the pastor and preachers explain the Bible and they gather in church or at homes to study the Bible systematically. This is a very beautiful and important thing.
Another difference is that Baptists do not recognize the cult of icons and worshiping the saints.
We are the disciples of the Lord Jesus
When He was sitting with His disciples at the Last Supper, before His arrest and crucifixion, the Lord Jesus told them:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)(NASB)
Both Baptist and Orthodox and many other Christians from other denominations are first of all the disciples of Jesus Christ and this is what we want people to see in us. If we love one another as He has loved us and if we treat each other with respect, thus all people will know that we are truly His disciples by deeds and not just by name. So may God help us.
Translated by Felicia Rotaru