Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Inquiring Minds Want To Know...

What exactly do Baptists believe?
I'm pretty sure I can say this without offending anyone (right?)... there are a LOT of Baptist churches down here. I mean A LOT. There are literally 5 in a row down the street from us. Five in a row... not kind of near each other... literally next door to each other. What is the deal? Obviously I realize it is a Christian denomination. In Michigan there were a couple Baptist churches in Ann Arbor but not more than any other denomination. I looked up the churches in Asheville... and I'm not exaggerating... there are 53 Baptist churches in Asheville (there are 6 Episcopalian in case you were wondering ;). Fifty-freaking-three! I just don't understand how that can be necessary... or possible.
Seeing as two of our "elderly" neighbors have invited us to attend the one around the block (and I'm totally going to go... you know how I feel about religion!) I'm curious to know what I should expect.


P.O.M. said...

Ok, hopefully I don't offend anyone. But I went to a Batist Church and there was A LOT of singin' and a dancin' and even some holy rollin' around. But it was fun - from a observation standpoint.

hicktowndiva said...

Welcome to the Bible Belt!

The Baptist Church is a pretty conservative, "bible-thumping", Christian religion. Take up with the Episcopalians. They are way more fun at parties.

Julie said...

Both of my friends who have moved from the northeast to a city in the south have been asked numerous times what church they belong to. One moved to Huntsville, Alabamba and the other to Nashville. That is just not something that happens up where we live. It's funny, I still do not know what religion some of my better friends are. Just does not come up. Ever.

AshinMT said...

I think that baptists beleive that you have to make an informed choice about Baptism, and Jesus. (make sense?) like, you choose it as an adult instead of say when your a small child. Im pretty sure they are a form of Protestants, if you are more familiar. Wait... i just wikipedia'd(is that a word?)... check it out, pretty interesting.

gooddog said...

Thought of you today as i was driving to the movies (with sunshinemom) and passed an "Amish Trading Post" in HIGH POINT, NC!! wtf? sunshinemom says it sells furniture.

anyway, my only other comment is that when my hubby and I lived in hickory, NC for 4 years we looked in the phone book when we moved to find an episcopal church. There were over 70 (seriously) baptist churches and 2(2!) Episcopal ones. I do think Ashinmt gave a good, short definition though. but what do I know as i drink actual wine at my church! ;) welcome again to NC!

Mrs Furious said...

That actually sounds intriguing. I do kind of want to see what it is all about... but it's always awkward to tell people you aren't really interested in "joining" their church.

well it won't surprise you that I was raised Episcopalian ;)

That is so true. I don't think anyone has ever asked me what church I went to (or if) before. But the nice old lady came right out and said "Now are you Baptists?".

""Amish Trading Post" in HIGH POINT, NC"
I knew they couldn't be that far away ;)

angie said...

Having been raised baptist for the first 13 years of my life, I can tell you what our church was all about. It is very conservative. You are, indeed, baptized only when you are old enough to make that decision (around 13 in my case). You go through a class which i'd guess is similar to confirmation and then get dunked in a baptism pool (like jesus did, no sprinkling).

The Sunday after I was baptized, the minister gave a sermon that could have been titled, what it means to be a baptist. That meant that women could not wear pants or work outside the home. No card playing, or nonChristian movies or music. In fact, the minister used to live by my grandma's house and I remember when we would play cards she'd look for his car so we could put the cards down if he was driving by. My other great memory is that our minister hated catholics--they were almost the devil (hmmm and now I am Catholic).

I believe (though not sure) that still to this day women can't lead a church...but I am not at all sure about this. There was a big vote on women's roles several years ago and I believe women's roles were denied.

(Side note: I will bop over tomorrow to your old house as requested.)

Jenny O. said...

With 53 baptist churches you will get 53 different experiences- they are all typically the same in theology (christian, of course, and believe in certain rites and rituals) but they can differ widely in their style (ie: contemporary or traditional.) Personally, I have been to both conservative and very liberal Baptist churches. (Yes, liberal Baptist churches exist! :) )

If you try one and don't care for it, don't rule out all 53. They are likely very different.

Gypsy Family said...

I think I can help! My MIL was raised Baptist and was just telling me when I was there a couple of weeks ago: "Put 2 Baptists in a church together and next week you'll have two churches." Apparently they disagree amongst themselves quite a bit? The only other anecdote I have to back that up is that my grandmother is Southern Baptist and has been to many different churches over the years (had to leave the last one after she and her crazy husband split up - the church was on his side) and her various children all go to different churches and have also jumped around a lot over the years. Maybe because they take it so seriously, they get upset easily when things aren't going the way they think they should?? At any rate, I do believe you can count the Baptists as at the center of the evangalist movement. Although I could perhaps be wrong about that. My poor grandmother...sent me religious book after religious book, made sure I went to Sunday School whenever I stayed with her... and all to no avail!!

Geez, sorry about the novel...

Amy said...

you crack me up. you'd be culturally shocked if you moved here then if only 53 churches of the same kind shock you. within 1/8" of a mile of MY house, are 4 mormon churches. it's just that there are so many mormons, who all meet at around the same time on sundays, they need a lot of meeting houses. keep in mind that there are like 3 or 4 different service times per church and we're all divided up into "wards" or groups by where we live. i don't know if baptists are similar in that they need lots of meeting houses because there are so many of them but i imagine that's the case. they probably don't all believe different things and therefore have to have their churches.

perhaps you should pop in and visit a service. you might learn something. that's what i'd do! couldn't hurt to learn the local culture since that's obviously baptist!

Mrs Furious said...

You might be interested to know that Kid went to a Mormon service last month. It was actually the Pioneer Day service... combining both her love of pioneers & Jesus!
Oh I'm going. How do I know if I'm not Baptist if I don't? ;)
It seems (see Jenny O) that there are wide differences between the churches. But I think you are also right that clearly 90% of church goers are clearly Baptist as well!

Jenny O.,
That is interesting. It makes me think that "Baptist" is actually more like saying "Protestant" in that there are many divisions within the group. As it were there isn't a whole lot of difference from one Episcopal church to another.

Now more than once I've seen something about church votes... could that explain the many factions like Gypsy Family is saying?

Elizabeth said...

Oh my, it turns out I AM taking my heathen, Goddess worshiping self down to Chapel Hill. I'll have to find some polite way to explain to all the different Baptists that no I *really* don't want to check out their church... Nothing against it, just not my flavor of religion. Evangelism makes me kinda nervious I must say.

But! Moving to NC at least for this year!

Mrs Furious said...

Hey! When do you come?
There are plenty of goddess worshipers around here ;)

Elizabeth said...

I'll be starting September 2nd!

michelline said...

Baptists are generally huge proselytizers. I was raised a Baptist and my grandmother used to tell me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, as long as it wasn't a Catholic.

I think the most common Baptist denomination in the South is the Southern Baptist. These are usually quite conservative. Think Bible Belt... Billy Graham...

And welcome to the South. Where there are more churches on the corners than Starbucks and KFCs combined!

Kid Art said...

Interesting! Let us know how it goes. 1/2 my extended family is very conservative Southern Baptist (one of my cousins even got married at Bob Jones University - check it out on Google!). Southern Baptists in my experience are very evangelical and particularly conservative regarding women's roles and behavior. At the wedding I mentioned, I went over to the reception area quite a bit early to deliver some refreshments that the bride had requested my mom and I make (mints that needed to be refrigerated). I had on capri pants and a modest nursing top, infant baby on my hip - and you would not have believed the scandalized looks I got from the women there setting things up (assuming it was for my pants?!). Of course I had planned to change into a dress for the wedding itself... but I will not ever forget the horrified looks, thinly veneered with Southern manners! :)

Mrs Furious said...

that is interesting!

inkelywinkely said...

yes, baptist is conservative, but i have never heard of one that wouldn't allow you to wear pants. that sounds like pentecostal. i was raised pentecostal- and that is a church to stay away form. But, the baptist churches I have went to, around here, meaning Louisiana- the deep south- were very boring and full of old people. I was always envious of the baptists growing up because they could wear pants and make up and we couldn't. Every baptist person I know pretty much works outside the home, unless they belong to a southern baptist ( yes that is a religion) church.
The seem to be less conservative than I was raised. If you want to see interesting, honestly try a united pentecostal church. Trust me when I say, don't ever join, though, its like a cult.

inkelywinkely said...

I would also say that they do tend to dislike catholics. Pentecostals do, too. I am Catholic now, and I was taught the pope is the anti christ.
Pentecostal is all about hell fire and brimstone, baptist churches I visited, tended to be more lax on things. It is true that there are more conservative baptists, down here we call them bapticostals.

inkelywinkely said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dinah Soar said...

I've been Baptist since age 20.

There are different groups, but basically they believe that the Bible is God's revelation of himself to man. That Jesus is the Son of God and came to seek and save that which was lost (mankind).

Salvation, is by grace through faith, not through your own works, but the finished work of Christ on the cross.

When it comes to dress, most believe it should be modest...some believe women shouldn't wear pants considering pants immodest...(I wear pants...not too tight, so they are modest)...many believe the Bible teaches a woman cannot take a leadership position in the church based on the Scripture that in the church a woman is not to usurp authority over a man.

Also, in marriage they believe, as the Bible states, the husband is the head of the wife. But this does not give him free reign..He answers to Christ...he must submit to the wife, as she to him...basically there must be a head in the home--just like in a place of business, there is a Chief and there are Indians...positionally the Indians answer to the Chief, but they are not inferior or of less importance...and just like I'd submit to my boss in the workplace, even if he was a jerk, I'm to submit to my husband...but that doesn't means I can't disagree with him...I can...bottom line is the husband answers to God and is therefore on dangerous ground if he mistreats his wife...not a bad system all things considered.

That's the short of it.

BTW...some believe social drinking is allowed--Paul says a little wine is good for the stomach--- but drunkenness is not...others believe if 10 drinks make you drunk and you drink one drink you are 1/10 they don't imbibe at all, ever.

Also, most do not use profanity--at least not publicly. Of course, many are not genuine when it comes to the practice of their faith, which is to be found in all religions. Some believe Christians should never go to a movie theater, although they will watch movies in their home (which I find contradictory--I am choosy about what I allow to enter my mind, but I find no problem watching a movie in the theater if it is acceptable to watch in my home..though I prefer not to support Hollywood which is for the most part anti-Christian).

Also, Baptists believe Jews are God's chosen ones and that the covenant God made with Abraham still holds today. And Baptist believe the Old as well as the New Testament.

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