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Baptist vs. Pentecostal: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 7, 2024
Baptist emphasizes baptism upon personal faith. Pentecostal focuses on the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.

Key Differences

Baptist denominations prioritize individual confession of faith and believer's baptism, often by immersion. In contrast, Pentecostal movements emphasize direct personal experience with God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, often evidenced by speaking in tongues and prophecy.
Baptist churches generally adhere to a more traditional and conservative worship style, while Pentecostal congregations are known for their expressive, charismatic worship practices, including physical healing, miracles, and lively musical worship.
In terms of church governance, many Baptist churches operate independently, valuing local church autonomy. Conversely, Pentecostal churches often have a more hierarchical structure, with greater emphasis on the authority of individual pastors or leaders.
The Baptist faith typically holds a more Calvinistic view on salvation and predestination. In contrast, Pentecostal theology often aligns with Arminianism, emphasizing free will and the possibility of falling from grace.
Historically, the Baptist movement began in the 17th century in England, focusing on religious freedom and separation of church and state. The Pentecostal movement emerged in the early 20th century in America, marked by a revivalist and renewal emphasis.

Comparison Chart


Adult baptism by immersion upon professing faith.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit, evidenced by tongues.

Worship Style

Conservative, traditional.
Expressive, charismatic.

Church Governance

Local church autonomy.
Hierarchical, with strong pastoral authority.

Theological View

Calvinistic, emphasizing predestination.
Arminian, emphasizing free will.

Historical Roots

17th century, England.
Early 20th century, America.

Baptist and Pentecostal Definitions


A member of a Baptist church, emphasizing autonomy and symbolic baptism.
John, a devout Baptist, attends the local Baptist church.


Belonging to a Pentecostal church, known for charismatic worship and miracles.
Their Pentecostal faith encourages lively worship and prayer for healing.


Characterized by the practice of believer's baptism, rejecting infant baptism.
As a Baptist, she believes in baptism after confessing personal faith.


A Christian movement emphasizing the work of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
He spoke in tongues during the Pentecostal service.


A Christian denomination believing in baptism solely of adult believers.
She was baptized last Sunday, officially becoming a Baptist.


Pertaining to the Pentecostal denomination, focusing on spiritual gifts.
The Pentecostal congregation witnessed prophetic messages during the service.


Reflecting the values and doctrines of the Baptist Church.
Their community follows Baptist teachings, especially in worship services.


Characterized by the belief in a direct, personal experience with God.
As Pentecostal believers, they prioritize personal spiritual experiences.


Pertaining to the Baptist denomination, known for its evangelical nature.
The Baptist preacher delivered a powerful sermon on faith.


Reflecting the teachings and practices of Pentecostal Christianity.
Their church service is distinctly Pentecostal, with emphasis on the Holy Spirit.


A member of an evangelical Protestant church of congregational polity, following the Reformed tradition in worship and believing in freedom of conscience, separation of church and state, and baptism only of voluntary, conscious believers.


Of, relating to, or occurring at Pentecost.


Baptist One that baptizes.


Of, relating to, or being any of various Christian religious congregations whose members seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, in emulation of the Apostles at Pentecost.


A person who baptizes.


A member of a Pentecostal congregation.


One who administers baptism; - specifically applied to John, the forerunner of Christ.


Of or pertaining to Pentecost or to Whitsuntide.


One of a denomination of Christians who deny the validity of infant baptism and of sprinkling, and maintain that baptism should be administered to believers alone, and should be by immersion. See Anabaptist.


Any member of a Pentecostal religious body


Follower of Baptistic doctrines


Of or relating to or characteristic of any of various Pentecostal religious bodies or their members


Of or pertaining to or characteristic of the Baptist church;
Baptist baptismal practices
A Baptist minister


Of or relating to or occurring at Pentecost


What is unique about Pentecostal worship?

Pentecostal worship is known for its expressiveness and emphasis on the Holy Spirit.

What defines a Baptist church?

Baptists are defined by believer’s baptism and local church autonomy.

What is speaking in tongues in Pentecostal beliefs?

Speaking in tongues is considered a sign of the Holy Spirit's presence in Pentecostalism.

What theological stance do Baptists often hold?

Many Baptists align with Calvinistic theology, emphasizing predestination.

Do Baptists believe in infant baptism?

No, Baptists practice baptism only for those who profess personal faith.

What’s the Baptist view on the separation of church and state?

Baptists traditionally support the separation of church and state.

What is the Baptist stance on the Bible?

Baptists typically view the Bible as the ultimate authority in matters of faith and practice.

How do Baptist churches govern themselves?

Baptist churches typically operate autonomously without a central hierarchy.

Do Pentecostals practice infant baptism?

No, Pentecostals, like Baptists, generally practice believer’s baptism.

What’s the Pentecostal view on the end times?

Pentecostals often have a strong belief in the imminent return of Jesus and the end times.

Do Pentecostals have formal liturgy?

Pentecostal services usually lack a formal liturgy, focusing on spontaneous worship.

How do Pentecostals view salvation?

Pentecostals generally believe in salvation through faith in Jesus, with an emphasis on personal conversion experiences.

How do Pentecostals interpret miracles?

Pentecostals believe in the active presence of spiritual gifts, including miracles.

Are Baptist services formal or informal?

Baptist services can vary, but they generally lean towards a more formal structure.

What role do pastors play in Pentecostal churches?

Pastors in Pentecostal churches often have significant authority and are seen as spiritual leaders.

Do Baptists believe in the Trinity?

Yes, most Baptists are Trinitarian, believing in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Are Pentecostals Trinitarian?

Yes, Pentecostals are generally Trinitarian, believing in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Is tithing mandatory in Baptist churches?

Tithing is encouraged but not mandatory in most Baptist churches.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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