Assemblies of God vs Baptists: What’s the Difference?


The Assemblies of God and Baptist traditions are sizable and significant branches of Protestant Christianity. They each have a fascinating history in Europe, America and — as of the twenty-first century — around the world. While the Assemblies of God and Baptist churches have many similarities, they have important differences, too.

The Assemblies of God believes that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit, which is an experience that happens after conversion. Traditionally, Baptists believe that Spirit baptism occurs at the time of conversion and most don’t believe tongues is the evidence of it.

Which denomination is older? How is their history, organization, and worldview similar? Does the Assemblies of God and Baptist denominations agree about the doctrine of God, salvation, and the end times? Keep reading to learn more.

Assemblies of God vs Baptists
Is the Assemblies of God theologically or social liberal? Are Baptists? See below

Assemblies of God vs Baptist Comparison: Overview

The Assemblies of God denomination is over 100 years old. It is one of the fastest-growing denominations in the history of Protestant Christianity. The Baptist tradition is comprised of various denominations that are rooted in the 16th-century movement in Europe that fought against the government’s involvement in the affairs of the church.

Similarities: besides their Protestant convictions, the Assemblies of God adopted certain convictions associated with the Baptist tradition, such as the autonomy of the local church and Believer’s Baptism.

OVERVIEWAssemblies of GodBaptist
OriginPentecostal pastors and leaders who had strong convictions about speaking in tongues being the evidence of a post-conversion baptism of the Holy Spirit, organized in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1914.Born out of the 17th-century Puritan and Anabaptist traditions in England. Early Baptists identified as Separatists or Congregationalists and championed individual responsibility in relation to baptism and church membership.
Early influencer(s)Charles Fox Parham (1873-1929), Agnes Ozman (1870–1937), William Joseph Seymour (1870-1922)John Smyth (1570-1612), Roger Williams (1603-1683)
Meaning of name“Assemblies” refers to individual churches. “God” refers to the denomination’s beliefs about God as he is revealed in the Bible.The word “Baptist” comes from the practice of “Believer’s Baptism,” which is the conviction that only professing Christians should be baptized, not infants. The Baptist tradition, however, has other values and emphases, in addition to Believer’s Baptism.
Significant writing outside the BibleThe 16 Fundamental Truths is the name of the denomination’s belief statement.There are many “Baptist Confessions,” each of which expresses the convictions of a Baptist community at a certain place and time. For example, one famous belief statement is referred to as “The First London Baptist Confession of 1644.”
OrganizationAssemblies of God churches are organized according to prebyterian polity (though not theology) at the national level as well as the regional or district level. Individual churches, however, are self-governing.The Baptist tradition values church autonomy, which is found in every denomination. Denominational and network leaders provide support and guidance for local churches, but the congregation has the final say on all matters.
DivisionsCompared with other large Protestant denominations, the Assemblies of God has been free of significant splits. Internal debate has occurred over a number of issues, but the denomination has avoided large protesting factions.The Baptist church is one of the most diverse traditions in Protestant Christianity. Division at the time of the Civil War is a blemish on the tradition’s history. There are Arminian Baptists and Calvinist Baptists. There are some who are political conservative (e.g. The Southern Baptist Convention) and others that are liberal and progressive (e.g. American Baptist Churches USA).
Theological and social worldviewThe Assemblies of God denomination is evangelical and conservative, theologically and socially. The denomination ordains women to be pastors, which some Christians consider liberal and progressive.It depends on the denomination and church. Some Baptist denominations remain very conservative, and others have adopted modern values and sensitivities even when they contradict the historic teachings of the Baptist tradition.
Assemblies of God vs Baptist comparison
What does the Assemblies of God denomination and the Baptist tradition believe about the end times? See below

Assemblies of God vs Baptists beliefs, theology, and doctrine

The Assemblies of God respects the Baptist tradition and considers its members Christians. Many would question the wisdom of Baptist churches that have adopted liberal and progressive positions on social issues. Denominations and churches in the Baptist tradition generally respect the Assemblies of God denomination and consider its members Christians.

BELIEFSAssemblies of GodBaptists
Theology (general)Assemblies of God is Protestant. They believe that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, and not according to works. They reject the authority of the Pope and disagree with the theology of the Eucharist in Catholicism.Baptists are Protestant. They believe salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ alone. They reject the authority of the Pope and disagree with the theology of the Eucharist in Catholicism.
Theology (specific)Assemblies of God is Arminian. Within the framework of Arminianism, their belief systems is often referred to as “Pentecostal theology.”Baptists may be Arminian, some of whom refer to themselves as “Free Will Baptists.” Others are Calvinist. Still other Baptists don’t identify as Arminian or Calvinist. Most Baptists reject Pentecostal theology.
GodTrinitarian. There is one God who exists in three persons.Trinitarian. There is one God who exists in three persons.
JesusJesus is the second person of the Trinity. He is God in human flesh. He is 100% God and 100% man. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died as an atonement for sin, and physically resurrection on the third day.Jesus is the second person of the Trinity. He is God in human flesh. He is 100% God and 100% man. Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died as an atonement for sin, and physically resurrection on the third day.
Is the Holy Spirit God?The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is fully divine. The Spirit applies the salvation that the Father planned and that the Son earned for sinners. He bestows spiritual gifts on believers that they are to use for the edification of the Church.The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He is fully divine. The Spirit applies the salvation that the Father planned and that the Son earned for sinners. He bestows spiritual gifts on believers that they are to use for the edification of the Church.
Speaking in tonguesThe Assemblies of God believes that speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit, which they believe occurs after conversion.Most Baptists believe that baptism in the Holy Spirit occurs at conversion. It’s possible to subscribe to Pentecostal theology and be Baptist, but that isn’t the historic conviction of the tradition.
The Bible#1 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “The Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are verbally inspired of God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct.”Conservative Baptist denominations and churches have a high view of Scripture and affirm the doctrines of inerrancy and infallibility. Liberal and progressive Baptist churches champion modern social convictions as their primary source of inspiration.
Sin#4 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state: “man by voluntary transgression fell and thereby incurred not only physical death but also spiritual death, which is separation from God.” This is also referred to as the doctrine of Original Sin.Traditionally, Baptists believe in the doctrine of Original Sin, which states that all people are born sinners.
View of the atonementAssemblies of God believes that in the penal-substitutionary atonement of Christ. His death was the punishment for sin and he took the place of sinners on the cross. Assemblies of God believes the application of the atonement occurs within the framework of Arminian theology.Historically, the Baptist tradition has affirmed the penal-substitutionary atonement of Christ, like the Assemblies of God. The application of the atonement depends in part on whether a Baptist is an Arminian or a Calvinist.
Salvation#5 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “Salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life.”Baptists may hold to Limited Atonement (Christ death was for the elect) or Unlimited Atonement (Christ’s death was for all). Baptists believe that salvation is by grace through faith, which is a core Protestant conviction.
Spiritual giftsAssemblies of God believes that all spiritual gifts mentioned in the Bible are operational today, including speaking in tongues, divine healing, and miracles.Many Baptists believe that certain spiritual gifts, like speaking in tongues, were only for the first-century church. Other Baptists have the same view as the Assemblies of God on spiritual gifts.
OrdinancesThere are two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper or communion.There are two: baptism and the Lord’s Supper or communion.
Water BaptismSometimes referred to as “credobaptism” (credo = “I believe”), water baptism is for professing believers who have trusted Christ for salvation. The doctrine is often called Believer’s Baptism. Baptism isn’t necessary for salvation.Same as the Assemblies of God. Believer’s Baptism has been a core conviction of the Baptist tradition for centuries.
The Lord’s Supper#6 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements — bread and the fruit of the vine — is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ, a memorial of his suffering and death, and a prophecy of His second coming, and is enjoined on all believers ’till He come!'”Baptists believe consuming the bread and cup is a memorial of the atonement of Christ. They don’t believe Christ is physically present in the elements in any way.
EschatologyPremillennial; #14 of The 16 Fundamental Truths state, “The second coming of Christ includes the rapture of the saints, which is our blessed hope, followed by the visible return of Christ with His saints to reign on earth for one thousand years.”Many Baptists are premillennial, but that viewpoint isn’t required in their denominations and churches. Baptists may be amillennial or postmillennial. All views believe in the Second Coming of Christ.

Assemblies of God and Baptist denominations membership numbers

Though the Assemblies of God started in the early 20th century in the southern United States, it quickly spread around the world.

  • Global membership of the Assemblies of God: estimated 69 million [1]
  • American membership of the Assemblies of God: over 3 million

The Baptist tradition has been active for centuries, which is in part why it has experienced multiple splits. For example, the Southern Baptists and Northern Baptists originally divided over matters related to the Civil War. For another example, in more recent years, Baptist denominations and churches have split over issues like the ordination of women and same-sex marriage. Most Baptists live in the United States.

  • Southern Baptist Convention: 16 million
  • National Baptist Convention, USA: 5 million
  • National Missionary Baptist Convention of America: 2.5 million
  • Baptist General Conference of Texas: 2.4 million
  • American Baptist Churches in the USA: 1.2 million
  • Progressive National Baptist Convention: 1 million
  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship: 1 million

References:
[1] Source
[2] Source
[3] Source

Daniel Isaiah Joseph

Daniel has been in Christian ministry for 25 years. He has been an Associate Pastor and a Senior Pastor. Currently in higher education, Daniel has taught more than 25 different undergraduate courses in Bible and theology-related topics.

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