The Baptist church and the Church of God are two separate Protestant denominations that have locations around the world. "Baptist" may be used as a term to describe those who affirm salvation through baptism, but it is also used to describe The American Baptist Church, which represents the largest organization of baptist churches in the world. The Church of God is a separate entity that affirms salvation through baptism but adheres to its own specific doctrines.
The American Baptist Church boasts over 1.3 million members with 5,500 congregations in the United States alone. It is also part of a larger community of 42 million baptists worldwide. The Church of God does not report its number of members, but it has over 39 congregations worldwide, which makes it substantially smaller than the American Baptist Church. However, it is important to note that some areas have what is called "The Baptist Church of God," which blends the teachings of both doctrines and may be counted in both denominations' census data.
Baptist Church Beliefs
The central idea of the baptist doctrine is that individuals gain salvation through participating in the holy ritual of baptism. Most baptist churches believe that accepting Jesus as a personal lord and savior is the only way for a person to ascend to heaven after death. They believe that Jesus died on a cross as payment for the sins of all other humans and accepting Jesus by being baptized is the only way to receive this salvation.
Church of God Beliefs
The Church of God also believes that people can only enter heaven through accepting Jesus in the ritual of baptism. However, because there are so many Church of God locations around the world, many doctrines within the denomination differ from church to church. For example, some churches believe that a large component of accepting salvation is encouraging the salvation of others through evangelizing.
Primary Differences in Doctrine
Because many churches may claim to be a part of the broad title "Baptist" or "Church of God," the precise differences between some churches may be different than that of other churches. However, in general, the Church of God tends to be more conservative, lashing out against homosexuals, adultery and other sexual crimes. Baptists tend to be more conservative than other denominations as well, but they typically focus more on the social gospel and family values.
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