Landmark Baptist Church Survey

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by rlvaughn, Jun 5, 2001.

  1. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    On the old Baptist Board I mentioned starting a survey concerning independent unaffiliated Baptist churches that hold to "Landmark" ecclesiology. This ecclesiology is most easily recognized in the practice of the churches (baptism performed only by Baptist church authority, closed communion for church members only [some extend this to like faith and order], and no pulpit affiliation with other denominations) and in the teaching concerning the church (that it is a local institution only and that Jesus started His church while He was here on earth).

    I am wrapping up this survey and trying to put it into some format. I thought I would give a report of my findings in case some one is still interested.

    I have found a total of 1252 churches which profess to at least the basic level of "Landmark" ecclesiology. As far as I have been able to find, all 1252 of these churches are completely unaffiliated. So this number does not include churches of the American Baptist Association, Baptist Bible Fellowship, Baptist Missionary Association, Fundamental Baptist Fellowship, Independent Baptist Fellowship, World Baptist Fellowship, etc. Fifteen (15) of the churches are in Canada and the rest are in the United States. There is at least one unaffiliated "Landmark" church in every state except VERMONT (there may be one or more in Vermont, but I have not contacted any churches there that profess this ecclesiology). The largest concentrations of these churches are - Texas (171), Kentucky (161), Tennessee (91), California (51), Ohio (50), Illinois (46), Florida (45), Arkansas (44), Oklahoma (42), and West Virginia (41).

    These are preliminary numbers and subject to change when the final summation is made. (If there were a graemlin that looked tired I would place him here)

    [ June 18, 2001: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  2. Frogman

    Frogman
    Expand Collapse
    <img src="http://www.churches.net/churches/fubc/Fr
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2001
    Messages:
    5,492
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brother Vaughn,

    I had been wondering how your survey was going. Thanks for giving your time. I notice the state of Indiana is not listed, was wondering if you had gathered any information at all concerning this area.

    We are working in Ferdinand, Dubois County at present and I am searching for a church to attend while away.

    Just thought I would enquire. God Bless you in you walk with Him.
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    Yes, Frogman, I have 33 unaffiliated Landmark Baptist churches in Indiana that I have on my list (I only listed the top ten states on my first post). There are other churches as well, such as the Bethel Association around the Indianapolis area. The only church I found that seemed close to Ferdinand is Seventh Street Baptist Church on 304 7th St. in Cannelton, IN. I do not personally know anything about them, just that it is supposed to hold the Landmark doctrines on the church. I am not very familiar with Indiana. I would be glad to hear if you learn of other sound churches while you are there. [​IMG]
     
  4. Frogman

    Frogman
    Expand Collapse
    <img src="http://www.churches.net/churches/fubc/Fr
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2001
    Messages:
    5,492
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for your reply concerning this.

    The work I do will have us in the rural area surrounding Ferdinand, I am certain I will happen upon various churches, and I will be sure to let you know concerning them.
     
  5. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    I am trying to finish the Landmark survey, but there seems to be no end to it. Since starting this post I have added 32 more churches, bringing the total to 1284. From a mission report I received via e-mail today, I think I may have located about 15 more, but I must check them out.
     
  6. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    At the request of Brother Vaughn, I am moving this topic to the Denominational Discussion Forum (which didn't exist when this thread started).
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    THANKS, Dr. Bob!! [​IMG]
     
  8. upstart

    upstart
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2001
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi! My name is Rosa. If anyone lives in the Fort Worth area in texas, there is a landmark Baptist church. I go there. It Is Wonderful. The webpage is landmarkministries.org and the Pastor is Dr. Jack Green. We'd Love for you to come and visit.

    Thanks,
    Rosa [​IMG]
     
  9. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    I have completed my unaffiliated Landmark Baptist Church survey. Actually, I quit - there is really no end to something like this. After weeding out duplicates and/or churches for which I discovered some denominational affiliation, I have a total of 1283 churches. I have compiled no actual membership statistics for these churches, but, based on the average size of churches from known landmark Baptist statistics (ABA, BMAA, etc.) the membership of these churches should be approximately 200,000. (155 is the number I used for the average)

    I have also identified 35 associations that hold Landmark ecclesiology - 3 general associations, 1 state association, and 31 unaffiliated local associations (the 3 general and 1 state also have local associations affiliated with them). In these 35 associations I have identified 3657 churches with 569,338 members. Most of these statistics are from the year 2000, but, for 8 or 10 of the local associations, the latest stats I could find were early 1990's. If these numbers are combined with the independent churches, there are almost 5000 churches that hold Landmark ecclesiology, representing about 770,000 members. I am still of the opinion that there are nearly twice as many unaffiliated independent landmark Baptists as I have been able to identify.

    Add to these facts, that the groups of Baptists often identified as Primitivistic (Central Baptists, Duck River/Kindred Baptists, Old Regular Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Regular Baptists, and United Baptists) usually hold an ecclesiology in practice like Landmarkism (they do not accept baptisms from other orders, do not use ministers from other orders, and practice closed communion), churches in the United States holding this form of ecclesiology probably number 8000 to 10,000 with over 1,000,000 members. These churches are usually not identified as Landmark Baptists because the term is usually limited to missionary Baptists.

    This also does not consider that a number of churches in the Baptist Bible Fellowship, Southwide Baptist Fellowship, World Baptist Fellowship, and even the Southern Baptist Convention would identify with this doctrine and practice. This shows that, while still a small grouping compared to the total number of Baptists in the United States, Landmark-type Baptist ecclesiology does have an important place in American Baptist life.
     
  10. Taufer

    Taufer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2001
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great work Brother Vaughn! I have been called a statistic junkie and this was a really potent fix. Seriously, I was a member of an independent Landmark Baptist church in Ohio during my youth (1960s). They were part of a subgroup that was also Sovereign Grace in theology. The church I belonged to had some rather unique characteristics not usually associtated with Baptists. We used fermented wine in communion, did not celebrate Christmas and Easter, did not pass a collection plate, women were encouraged to cover their heads during worship, many of the families did not have television. There was another like-minded church in southwestern Ohio we associated with and we attended meetings with other churches in Kentucky quite often. Are there other informal circles of fellowship like this among the 1,283 independent Landmark Baptist churches you found? Are you going to make available your complete survey?

    [ November 09, 2001: Message edited by: Taufer ]
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    Hi, Taufer. It's good to see that someone else is interested in statistics. I have a curiousity in that regard. The unique characteristics that you mentioned actually have a fairly strong history among Baptists, though not prominent in modern ones. Throughout the south, you can still find small pockets of Baptists that would adhere to the things you mentioned, with the general exception of the head covering. That has never caught on too well down here. But in the old days, the ladies did wear hats. Fermented wine for communion can become a heated issue in certain places. If you would be interested in e-mailing me privately, I would like to check and see if the churches with which you are familiar are on my list. I have a fairly large contingent of Sovereign Grace Independent Landmark Baptists on my list. I don't have the disk with me - I will post up a number later. Currently, I am only supplying the list to those who participated in the survey that ask for it. There are several sites on the world wide web for these churches. I will post some links to sites also.
     
  12. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25
    In my attempt to make sense of the 1283 unaffiliated independent landmark Baptist churches on my list, I developed seven categories to note some of the differences between the churches - Covenant Landmark, Direct Mission, Independent Fundamental, Old Time Missionary Baptist, Sovereign Grace, Unregistered Baptists, and Unknown. These categories are somewhat arbitrary (I place the churches in the categories rather the churches placing themselves) and fluid (many of the churches could legitimately be placed in two or more categories). The decision to place a church in a catergory was based on what I thought seemed to be her primary emphasis that made her stand out and/or seemed to guide her in her choice of fellowship with other churches. I am listing below a link to represent these categories and the total number of churches placed in each category. Remember that each link is representative of a single church and may not represent other churches in the same category. It is possible that some of the churches in a category would fellowship with churches that I have placed in another category. Another possiblity is that some churches placed in a category might not fellowship with other churches in the same category.

    Covenant Landmark - 28 churches. These churches might be described as believing that only Christians in landmark Baptist churches are part of the New Covenant. They might not choose to describe themselves this way. Be sure to check out the website.

    Direct Mission - 61 churches. Many of these churches have an historical connection to the gospel mission movement of missionary to China T. P. Crawford. I placed these in a separate category because I felt that their landmark principles of mission work was the chief reason they choose not to participate in associations or fellowships.

    Independent Fundamental - 379 churches. These churches are very much heirs of the traits developed from the fundamentalist/modernist controversies of the early 1900's. They are the same as others commonly thought of independent fundamental Baptists, but with a stronger local church emphasis on baptism, Lord's supper, and pulpit affiliation, etc.

    Old Time Missionary Baptist - 171 churches. These churches place a strong emphasis on a definite salvation experience, and usually have a mourner's bench in or near the front of the church. They tend to usually not have as strong objections to associations and fellowships as some unaffiliated Baptists, and are often found closely fellowshipping with other Old Time Missionary Baptists that are in associations.

    Sovereign Grace - 417 churches. These churches place a strong emphasis on the doctrines of grace, usually known as TULIP or five-point Calvinism. I think most of these churches would not fellowship with other churches that do not hold the doctrines of grace.

    Unregistered Baptist - 29 churches. These churches could probably all be placed in the independent fundamentalist category. But I found a strain of Landmarkers that are asserting that churches should not incorporate or otherwise cooperate with certain requirements of the government (e.g. Indianapolis Baptist Temple). Some of these believe that the registration and cooperation with governmental tax laws, etc. causes a church to lose its candlestick (no longer be recognized as a true church).

    Unknown - 198 churches. These are churches which I believe meet the basic requirements to be called "Landmark", and yet I found no outstanding features (or did not have enough information) to classify them. In this group are probably some who themselves observe Landmark practices such as closed baptism, closed communion and non-pulpit affiliation, and yet do not strictly draw the line of fellowship on these issues.

    These unaffiliated independent Landmark Baptist churches are scattered throughout the United States, with especially strong areas being in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. The Sovereign Grace Landmarkers are very strong in Kentucky, but also surprisingly strong in states like West Virginia and Ohio. The Covenant Landmarkers have their strongest base on the west coast. They draw their lines of fellowship on the covenant issue, but not on whether a church is independent. So they are often found fellowshipping with Covenant Landmarkers in the ABA, etc. The Independent Fundamental Landmarkers have great strength in Texas, probably partly because of the influence of J. Frank Norris and Louis Entzminger. Old Time Missionary Baptists have their greatest strength in Tennessee and Kentucky.

    [ November 09, 2001: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  13. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,140
    Likes Received:
    25

Share This Page

Loading...