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Christianity FAQ
What is the difference between Christian, Baptist and Pentecostal religion?
Written by Tom Ehrich

Christianity is one of the world's primary religions. Others would include Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism and Islam. Within the Christian tradition, there are hundreds of different traditions, some large like Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran, and some relatively small, as well as several movements that aren't denominations, but rather approaches to Christian faith. Two of those movements are the Baptist and Pentecostal traditions.

The Baptist tradition encompasses several groups. The largest is the Southern Baptist Convention. These Baptist traditions grew out of the Protestant Reformation in Europe, but have flourished especially in the United States. They don't practice infant baptism, but encourage baptism after the age of 12 or so. Each congregation has certain autonomy. They have a strong commitment to missionary work.

The Pentecostal tradition covers a lot of ground, but is marked mainly by belief in spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues and prophecy. Pentecostal worship tends to be exuberant.

To add to the confusion, there are some Protestant denominations that use the word “Christian” in their congregations' names. One is the Disciples of Christ. Thus, at one street corner in Indianapolis, you will find a Roman Catholic church, a Presbyterian church, and a “Christian” church (Disciples of Christ). All fall within the Christian religion.