Former "Chain-Link" Landmarker, Anyone?

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Meg, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. Meg

    Meg
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    I'm new here, and wondering if there are any other former "chain-link" Landmark folks here.


    Wondering what made you change your views, ie, something you read in Scripture, or a sermon, or a better understanding of a particular verse???

    Thanks a lot!

    Meg
     
  2. rdwhite

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    I understand what Landmarkism is, but I am not clear on the chain-link aspect, so obviously that excludes me, but I am curious to hear more about chain-link landmarkism.
     
  3. Tom Butler

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    The chain-link view is that any Baptist church can link through churches all the way back to the New Testament. One aspect of the view is that each Baptist (or Baptistic) church came out of another local congregation--there is, in effect, a lineage, similar to the way we trace family history.

    This is part of the Landmark position that there has always been a New Testament church in existence since Jesus established his church during his ministry.

    While some Landmarkers suggest that the evidence is thin for church succession (the chain-link view), there is for perpetuity, citing "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18)

    A pastor whose views I respect argues this way: "If you see tracks going into a pond, and tracks coming out of the pond, you may safely assume there there was a wagon which went through the pond, even if you never saw the wagon."
     
  4. rdwhite

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    That sounds like "The Trail of Blood" to me.
     
  5. Salty

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  6. Tom Butler

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    That's exactly what it is.
     
  7. Squire Robertsson

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    Then there is another alternative model, the Spiritual Kinship Model. It's the one I hold to. The SKM takes Matt 16:18 literally. But, it allows for the documentary gaps (dare I say black holes) that exist. Such black holes make the Chain Link Model untenable to me. I am especially aware of the debate over the origins of English Baptists.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    Will you expand on the definition for me? I think I understand what the SKM is, and there is some merit that I can see. But I've done no research on it and I'm sure there are some gaps in my understanding.
     
  9. rsr

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    As Gerald Priest of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary put it:

    Baptist historian Thomas Armitage also argued for a spiritual kinship model of Baptist history. That is, Baptists share with other groups throughout history a commitment to fidelity to the principles of the primitive church. Whether one can prove that one group descended from another is immaterial; they share, in essential aspects, the same doctrines, and that is what makes them spiritual kin.

    One may go further and posit that the doctrines of one group have been passed on to another, and from the spiritual kinship view, this is a much easier case to defend than a chain-link successionism because it claims an influence, not a duplication of beliefs.

    For example, you can trace familiar themes in pre-Reformation Europe among the Lollards, Anabaptists, Moravians and even the Magisterial Reformers. You need not believe that the 17th century English Baptists were directly descended from any of those groups to argue that they shared certain core values or beliefs.

    This also disposes of the problem of proving that exact doctrines of ancient groups, which may be known only from the writings of their enemies - or not at all. To be spiritual kin, you need not conform to every jot and tittle of belief, but in the essentials (however you would like to define them).

    For example, it is not difficult to defend some type of kinship between the English Baptists and the continental Anabaptists, based upon the many values they shared. This obviates the need for a definitive causal link, which can be difficult to pin down.
     
    #9 rsr, Aug 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2009

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