Historians debate reasons for rise of Landmarkism in 19th century

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    WACO, Texas (ABP) -- All Landmark Baptists believe in church succession, at least to some degree, but not every Baptist holding that position is -- or was -- a Landmarker, according to Alan Lefever, director of the Texas Baptist Historical Collection.
    [​IMG]Neither J.M. Carroll, author of The Trail of Blood defense of Landmarkism, nor his more-famous brother, B.H., was a Landmark Baptist in the truest sense, said Lefever, author of Fighting the Good Fight, a biography of B.H. Carroll.J.M. Carroll was the Texas agent for the Foreign Mission Board, secretary of the Texas Baptist Education Commission and president of Howard Payne College.
    B.H. Carroll was the founding president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
    “If you label them Landmarkers, then you have to call them ‘denominational Landmarkers,’ and that’s an oxymoron,” Lefever said.
    The Landmark emphasis on succession was “almost inevitable” for Baptists, considering their consistent desire to replicate the New Testament church, said Doug Weaver, a religion professor at Baylor University and author of the recently published book, In Search of the New Testament Church: The Baptist Story.
    “Landmarkism built on themes and ideas already present in Baptist history. To say with confidence and biblicist certainty that you are restoring the New Testament faith and practice implies what Landmarkism makes specific: We are the embodiment of the New Testament church,” Weaver said.

    The rest of the story is at

    http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3765&Itemid=53
     
  2. Tom Butler

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    It is generally assumed that Landmarkism was developed by J. R. Graves, which resulted in the Cotton Grove Resolution in 1851. Graves was the most prolific advocate of the ecclesiology.

    However, as the article makes clear, some elements of Landmarkism were already present in many Baptist churches years before.

    In 1841, Graves came from Vermont to Kentucky and united with the Mount Freedom Baptist church in Jessamine County This was the same church which licensed and ordained him to preach. He later moved to Nashville, Tennessee.

    In 1838, Mount Freedom had already taken a doctrinal stand on two issues regarding baptism and the Lord's Supper:


    This response reflected a view and practice already in existence for more than 100 years, articulated in the minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association as early as 1729.


    It is true that Campbellism had ravaged many Baptist churches in the early part of the 19th century. But Landmarkism did not rise as a response from Baptists. Baptists were simply defending a view already in existence.
     
  3. Fred Moritz

    Fred Moritz
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    Landmark Baptists

    Bob L. Ross has one of the best analyses of Landmarkism that I have read. He does not deal so much with history as with the tenets of the movement.

    The book is available from Pilgrim Publications in Pasadena, TX. It is a series of articles he wrote about 40 years ago and collected them in the book. It is worth reading.
     
  4. thegospelgeek

    thegospelgeek
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    What is Landmarkism?
     
  5. rlvaughn

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    Landmarkism is a "logical system" of ecclesiology. My definition is:
    1. The church is a local autonomous body authorized by Jesus Christ to evangelize, baptise, and teach His disciples.
    2. Jesus organized His church during His personal ministry, promised its continued existence, and that church (generically) still exists today.
    3. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water by the authority of a local New Testament church; believers who have been immersed by other denominations must submit to baptism by an authorized administrator.
    4. The Lord's supper is restricted to baptised believers who are walking in orderly church capacity.
    I won't paste the entire threads in here, but will link to two posts where I discussed it if you want to read more:

    http://baptistsearch.blogspot.com/2007/03/landmark-ecclesiology.html
    http://baptistsearch.blogspot.com/2007/04/origin-of-term-landmark.html
     
  6. rlvaughn

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    In my opinion, Lefever is laboring under a misconception of what Landmarkism is. J. R. Graves is often credited with being the father of Landmarkism. He spent his entire ministry within the Southern Baptist Convention. The two others who with Graves are called "The Great Triumvirate", J. M. Pendleton and A. C. Dayton, labored within the denominational system (Pendleton in his last years in the North rather than the SBC). It would seem that Lefever's criteria would exclude the "original Landmarkers" from being Landmarkers.
     
  7. thegospelgeek

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    One quick question and I will bow out. If the Church is autonomous (agreed) and you don't accept baptism from other denominations, how can you accept baptism from other churches at all, especially those not in association with your church?
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    How interesting is it that most of premier fellows being discussed here use initials for their first names...

    maybe I'll do the same in my career. :)
     
  9. gb93433

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    I have known some that do not accept baptism from other Baptist churches.
     
  10. Tom Butler

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    Some Baptist churches don't. If I recall correctly, former Baptist Board member Bro. Bob was from the Old Regular Baptists, and he said they baptized all new members, even if they came from other Baptist fellowships.

    My frame of reference is as a Southern Baptist. All SBC churches I know about will accept members of "like faith and order" whether they carry the name Baptist or not. They are assumed to be "in association" with each other.

    The congregation I serve will also accept for membership those who are Independent Baptists. Although they are not SBC, the only difference between them and SBC churches is that they are not SBC. Some IFB churches have returned to the SBC with the Conservative Resurgence, and have been warmly welcomed.
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    Bro. Vaughn, allow me to be explicit regarding the church. It was not formed on the Day of Pentecost, but established, as you said, during Jesus' earthly ministry. The New Testament knows nothing of the so-called Universal Invisible Church, only local congregations.

    There may be instances where the word is used in a generic sense, but it takes expression in a concrete, visible local assembly.

    It may also be used in a prospective sense, referring to the great General Assembly in heaven.

    It was to the local assembly (first composed of the twelve disciples) to which Jesus gave instruction and teaching, then the Great Commission. If Jesus gave the Great Commission to a "universal church," that body has been a massive failure.

    In Acts 20:28, Paul urged the Ephesian elders to "feed the church of God, which
    he (Jesus) purchased with his own blood. Paul had just described the elders as overseers (bishops) and described the congregation at Ephesus as a "flock," implying that they were also shepherds (pastors) of that flock.

    As far as we know, Paul never instructed anyone to established elders in the "universal church," only in local congregations.

    In I Corinthians 12:27, Paul described the church at Corinth (the "ye" to whom he was writing) as the body of Christ.
     
  12. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Is he for it or agin' it?
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    To continue post #11, May I also add that the entire governmental structure of the Southern Baptist Convention is based on some elements of Landmarkism--primarily the autonomy of the local church.

    Those who run the business of the Convention are sent from local churches, called messengers. They are not sent from associations or state conventions, nor from any regional body. The local church representative may bind convention entities to certain positions, but may not bind any local church in any way.

    That is why the SBC does not called itself The Southern Baptist Church. It's not a church. Technically, the SBC exists for only two or three days a year. The rest of the time, various committees carry out the convention mandates. Those committee members are from local churches, elected by representatives of local churches.
     
  14. gb93433

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    My wife and I joined a SBC church where they accepted a baptism which was done by immersion of a church of like faith and practice. I was baptized by an IFB pastor in a non-denominational church. My wife was baptized by and EFCA pastor in the Pacific Ocean. When we joined the first SBC church we attended we were accepted by statement. When we moved to Ft. Worth for me to go to seminary we joined a large local church near the seminary and they required a person to be baptized in a SBC church at the time. We moved our membership from the previous SBC church to the one in Ft. Worth and have never been baptized in a Baptist church.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    Western Kentucky and West Tennessee were once strongholds of Landmarkism. It was so pervasive that it didn't even have a name; that's just the way it was.

    Not any more. Here in Western Kentucky, a number of churches have begun accepting "alien immersion." That is, immersion from non-Baptists groups, or groups not of like faith and order. Those churches and their associations have parted ways.

    It's sad, because such practice reflects a low view of baptism and a low view of the local church. Do not be surprised if some of these churches eventually accept sprinkling and pouring as acceptable modes of baptism.

    On another, more liberal board that I frequent, that's already happening. You think your baptism is just as valid as mine? Wal, that's just fine, come on in, brother. You want to join our church, fellowship with us, but you want us to change our policy and approve your baptism? Shoot, no problem. Why, we so inclusive; we're not like those Neanderthals that want you to be immersed.

    Pardon the sarcasm, but this stuff just breaks my heart. Such a low view of baptism, for which many Baptists have died, and such a low view of the local churches which Jesus purchased with his own blood.
     
  16. Tom Butler

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    More of my rant.

    When I was growing up, Baptists considered themselves as closest to the New Testament church which Jesus founded. Those who differed on baptism, who differed on soteriology, who had a hierarchical government were not considered to be NT churches.

    Therefore, any baptism by those groups was considered in-valid. They lacked the proper authority, since the command to baptize was given to the true NT churches. Local churches defined valid baptism, not the individual.

    No one questioned the salvation of Methodists, Presbyterians and the like; only that they were not NT churches.

    That's all changed. Today, Landmarkers are viewed not only with distaste, but actual hostility. Heretics. A great many churches (not all, thankfully) believe immersion is the proper mode, but if you were sprinkled, well, you're not wrong, just different, and that's just peachy.

    Sure, Baptists are New Testament churches, but so is everybody else that claims to be. All those issues which divide us have acquired a new definition--secondary, thus non-essential, thus not tests of fellowship.

    In essence, there are few if any tests of fellowship any more. Cum-bah-yah.

    Yes, I know that there are Baptist churches out there which still cling to the traditional Baptist beliefs and practices. But our number is shrinking. Preachers are still preaching an uncompromising gospel, God is still in the saving business, and churches are still reaching out to the lost. Therein lies my hope and my confidence. It's still the Christ's church, he still grows it, and he has promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail.
     
  17. gb93433

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    That reminds me of what I have seen happen to so many who were not taught very well but just the political line which can easily be challenged often because of the lack of substance of biblical support from the teacher/pastor. It is too much shout stomp and spit, while supplying a generous amount of huffing and puffing doing the theatrical dance of entertainment and of course all in the name of Jesus. One would not have to leave home to get much of that when he can turn on the TV and watch the faithful theater of dancers (preachers) and a few others like one who divorced his wife and married his secretary.

    I think the problem is much worse than that. I think it is such a low view of God and confidence in the God by those leading them.

    Sometime when you get a chance listen to the Lutheran pastor at http://media.sermonindex.net/3/SID3404.wmv and then tell us how many Baptists you know who have a greater faith in Jesus Christ.
     
    #17 gb93433, Jan 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2009
  18. Tom Butler

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    One of the tenets of Landmarkism is successionism--that from the days of the apostles to this moment, true New Testament churches birthed other similar bodies. Any Baptist church in existence today came out of another Baptist church, and so it has been since the first century.

    Scholars on both sides of the issue have debated whether there is a reliable record of such succession. Part of the anti-succession argument is to denigrate those groups which Landmarkers cite as Baptist progenitors. Those Ana-Baptists, Paulicians, Petrobriusions, Novationists, Donatist, Waldenses, etc. The chief criticism is that some of these groups were sort of weird and had some strange practices.

    Of course, none of them was perfect, just as we Baptists are not perfect. But there are two factors that need to be considered.

    One, none of them identified with the Roman Catholic church, and in fact were branded as heretics by the established state-supported church.

    Two, They were persecuted, burned, hacked, sawn asunder and universally condemned because of their view of baptism. Very simply, that it should be for believers only, non-sacramental, and that infants should not be baptized.

    The persecution of Baptists never stopped. John Bunyan spent 12 years in Bedford Prison because he refused court orders to stop preaching independently of the Church of England.

    In America, Dr. John Clarke (Pastor of FBC Newport, Rhode Island) a Mr. Crandal and Obadiah Holmes were caught by the Puritans preaching in Massachusetts. They were thrown into jail and fined. Dr. Clarke's fine was paid by friends. Mr. Crandal was released on his promise to appear in court the next day. Mr Holmes was kept in prison for two months, then publicly whipped.

    And why were they persecuted? Because they preached against infant baptism.

    Folks, that is our heritage as Baptists. Persecution, death. We ought not to reject those folks just because they were weird. We ought to embrace them as our spiritual ancestors.

    Those who seek be unified with other denominations because we're all "The Church," need to read our history. Wherever there was a religious group supported by the stste, dissenters were persecuted, even killed. All because of our view of baptism.
     
  19. Tom Butler

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    Jim's quote is from the Landmark Poll thread in the Baptist Theology section. I wanted to avoid debating the issue in a poll thread, where hijacking was about to happen. So I'm posting my response here. And Jim, none of the questions are directed at you, but to anyone else who reads it.

    May I flesh out the proposition as questions for those of you who say there is no evidence of baptistic churches prior to the Reformation:

    Do you contend that from the rise of the Roman Catholic church until the Reformation there did not exist a single entity which held to New Testament doctrines and practice? That for a thousand years or more there was no witness to the truth of the scriptures and anyone who was saved was saved despite the absence of a New Testament witness?

    Baptists, Landmark or not, hold that the historic distinctives which identify them as Baptists are the same as those of 1st-century churches. Baptists, Landmark or not, have always held that God has always had a witness through the centuries. Do you agree or disagree?

    If you agree, could you identify one or more of those groups who constituted that witness? If you eliminate Waldenses, Novations, etc., those groups cited by Landmarks as progenitors of Baptists today, please name those who do. If you cannot name any, or hold that there weren't any, please explain how God would withhold the gospel for a millenium in light of Jesus promise that the gates of Hell would not prevail against his church.

    Flinally, if Baptists are not the closest to New Testament doctrine and practice, could you tell us which one is? And which ones are not?

    Do the Reformation churches qualify?
     
  20. Jim1999

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    copied from the other thread:

    Tom, I think you know that I believe there were churches right from New Testament times that carried the truth of Christ throughout history. The Reformation affected the Roman Catholic Church. All the reformers came out of the Church of Rome.

    If there were not groups of true churches along the way who did the Roman Catholic Church persecute along the way?

    I cannot name all the groups at the moment. I am too many years removed from that specific study and I have virtually no memory left from my strokes...sometimes it works and often it doesn't...poor excuse, I know, but it is truth.

    Despite the Roman Church we have men of truth within who wrote some marvellous documents of scripture and theology. These we treasure as much as we abhor the sideline facts of the Roman Church.

    My argument before was that IF these churches did not exist then PERHAPS the Church of England is right in claiming apostolic succession for their bishops and by that right we should all be Anglicans and not baptists. If what they said is true, then baptists didn't exist until after the Reformation and we are in essence a new cult. Perhaps Smythe was the founder of the baptists and he didn't even practice immersion and never formed a baptist church. He became a Methodist (I think).

    So where does that leave us, claiming scriptural truth as we do. Funny how we suddenlly found truth. I am amazed.

    Cheers,

    Jim
    __________________
     

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