The differences between Baptists and Presbyterians

Around the same time I named Vic MacDonald as the editor, there was a string of several weeks without a Franklin’s Corner for you to read and be amused by. The two actions, while not related, led to widespread speculation I had retired.
To be clear, I haven’t retired and, at this point, I don’t have any concrete plans to do so. My retirement is closer than it’s ever been, but so is yours. For the time being, you have me here to help bring you the best darn newspaper in Clinton. Sorry.
Let’s move on.
Grandson Wyatt and I were headed home from church one Sunday just after Christmas. (See above for the reason I’m just now telling you this.) He asked me the difference between a Baptist (which is us) and a Presbyterian (which is a lot of y’all.)
I should know that. I’ve been a Baptist my entire life. My father was a Baptist minister. My current wife was a Presbyterian until she started dating me and I put my foot down. I told her she was preordained to become a Baptist.
So, I began to explain to Wyatt the differences in the two religions as I see them. Baptists have deacons. Presbyterians have elders. Some deacons are elderly, but that’s not the same thing.
Presbyterians baptize infants. Baptists do not. Baptists baptize those who join the church by immersion. Presbyterians sprinkle adults.
Baptists hold to the Baptist Faith & Message. Presbyterian hold to the Westminster Confession of Faith. Baptists believe in autonomous free will. Presbyterians believe in preordination. (Now you see why my previous sentence about my current wife being preordained to become a Baptist is so funny?)
Another point – and I can’t stress this enough. If any of the differences I just listed aren’t correct or you disagree with any of them, I don’t care. Do not bother to send me an email or a letter and, whatever you do, don’t call me. I don’t care. This is not a serious column about theology. It’s humorous. If you aren’t laughing, I’ll pray for you. That’s something that both Baptists and Presbyterians do.
Back to Wyatt. He had been quiet throughout my explanation of the differences between Baptists and Presbyterians. Finally, I asked him what he was thinking.
“I can tell you one difference between us and them,” he said carefully.
“The Presbyterian preacher tells you when he’s going to pray. Mr. Blake just starts praying,” he said.
I realized he’s right. There are times I have to look around to see if other people have their heads bowed. Other times, I don’t realize we’ve been praying until the “amen.” Come on, man.
Wyatt came up with another interesting thought during Christmas break. (For why I’m just now telling you, see above.)
“Have you noticed,” he said. “There haven’t been any school shootings while all the schools are out for Christmas?”
I thought it was a Duh statement, so I didn’t say anything. I saw him just looking at me. Finally, I broke. “So?”
“So,” he said. “Isn’t it obvious? The way to stop school shootings isn’t gun control or having teachers carry guns. The way to stop school shootings is to stop having school. Problem solved.”

(Larry Franklin is publisher of The Chronicle. His email address is Read his blog at

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