Landmarkism and Gospel Missions

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Mark Osgatharp, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    In another thread brother Vaughn gave the following list of the central ideas of Landmarkism:

    Gospel Missionism, on the other hand, is the belief that mission work should be done directly through the local church, as opposed to mission boards, and that mission work should be restricted exclusively to evangelism, church organization, and indoctrination, as opposed to medical work, secular education, and charitable work. In short, Gospel Missionism is the anti-thesis of Conventionism.

    Whereas Gospel Missionists have been, for the most part, stalwart Landmarkers, the two movements are often seen as one and the same. In fact, they are two distinct movements. Though there have been few Gospel Missionists who were not Landmarkers, there have been vast numbers of Landmarkers who were not Gospel Missionists.

    The failure to distinquish between these two movements has led to a gross underestimation of the extent to which the Southern Baptist Convention churches were attached to Landmarkism at the beginning of the 20th century. The fact is, Landmarkism - whether by that name or not - was essentially the original ecclesiology of most Baptists in this country, and remained so in the South well into the 20th century.

    The reason for the rise of Landmarkism as a movement, was that many Baptists in the mid 1800s had fallen into inconsistencies between their doctrine and practice. The Landmarkers called the Baptists back to the practice of the fathers and, in the South, were quite successful in their efforts.

    The Southern Baptist Convention entered the 20th century as a predominantly Landmark group of churches. However, these churches roundly rejected Gospel Missionism and were given wholly over to Conventionism, with all it's attendant evils. Through the Convention system the leaven of liberalism was spread and by the latter part of the century had pushed Landmarkism into minority status in the Convention.

    Here is a link to a good article explainly how Convnentionism has historically worked to suppress the truth and exalt heresy. CORRUPTIVE FEEDBACK

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    MO,

    I deeply appreciate your historical erudition and scholarship.

    However, to make Landmarkism monolithic as you seem to have done may be overselling your case just a bit. (And I think you and I have had conversations a/b this before).

    Although, the Landmark movement was very influential on the SBC c. 1900, I deeply doubt that:

    "The reason for the rise of Landmarkism as a movement, was that many Baptists in the mid 1800s had fallen into inconsistencies between their doctrine and practice. The Landmarkers called the Baptists back to the practice of the fathers and, in the South, were quite successful in their efforts. . . .

    The Southern Baptist Convention entered the 20th century as a predominantly Landmark group of churches. However, these churches roundly rejected Gospel Missionism and were given wholly over to Conventionism, with all it's attendant evils. Through the Convention system the leaven of liberalism was spread and by the latter part of the century had pushed Landmarkism into minority status in the Convention . . . "

    is as simple as you have made it or explained it.

    First,
    because, as you well know, one must go back to the early 1800's to get a full knowledge of all the things going on in Baptist, life rather than offer a simplistic view such as has been set forth. There was many discussions and divisions, especially by the "Black Rock Group(s)" that pre-date the LM movements by years (if I have remembered correctly?). The anti-missions, anti-SS, anti-seminary trained ministers, etc. were already much debated.

    Secondly,
    to mention the LM apart from the Baptists (especially the Southern Baptists) reaction to the Campbellite schism is to do so in a vacuum as you also well know. LM, as you have described it, was all of the things you have said and probably more than you and I know. But, to not investigate the LM and the "Campbell context" misses some of the main dynamics of the actions and resultant reactions does it not?

    I expect to hear from you. I would, however, want you to mix your comments with some measure of grace. I have detected a bit of hatred or detest for the SBC as I have posted and followed your posts over the months.

    If this is a false perception on my part, I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
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    I think this is a distinction that is often missed by writers of both sides of the issue. In his new book, Joe Early pointed out that the BGC/BMA split in Texas was not an non-Landmark/Landmark split. The leaders on both sides were Landmarkers. I think folks both on the SBC side and the ABA/BMA side have tended to try emphasize this as an "us versus them" (non-Landmark vs. Landmark) and that just was not the facts of the case.

    Thanks for the link to Bro. Ramsey's article.
     
  4. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    I do not think it a bit of an exaggeration to say that the Southern Baptists were, at the end of the 19th century, an essentially Landmark Baptist group of churches. That does not mean:

    a. That all Southern Baptists were Landmarkers.

    b. That the Landmarkers themselves were identical in all points.

    c. That there was not a deeply entrenched and influential non-Landmark element in the Convention that eventually prevailed, especially within the educational system.

    What I do maintain is that the core philosophy of Landmarkism, which is that Baptist churches represent the authentic form of Christianity and that they have had a continued existence from the days of Christ until now, was standard Southern Baptist belief and was the faith of the rank and file Southern Baptists well into the 20th century.

    For that matter, there are still a sizable minority of Southern Baptists today who, in spite of the fact that they have an aversion to the term "Landmarkism" - because they associate Landmarkism with anti-Conventionism - still hold to this core priniciple of Landmarkism in their eccesiology.

    I was raised among the churches of the American Baptist Association and, from the preaching I heard, was left with the distinct impression that all Southern Baptists were non-Landmark in their view. One Sunday night, shortly after I commenced my ministry, I had the occasion to visist a Southern Baptist baptismal service and the pastor preached on baptism and preached the exact same doctrine that the Landmarkers preach, including the point that Scriptural baptism must be administered by church authority. And while I know such may be a dying breed, there are still not a few of them around; being a Southern Baptist I'm sure you are well aware of this fact.

    You said,

    Of course the Campbell movement had a great effect on the Baptists, including the Landmarkers, of this country (though Landmark doctrine did not originate in reaction to it, as is commonly asserted and as I recently refuted with incontrovertable historical evidence in this forum). But I did not set out to make a post here discussing that matter.

    I simply made a post pointing out the often overlooked - and yet monumental - fact that Landmarkism and Gospel Missionism are two distinct movement that have often been confounded, both in the present and in the the past, and that this confusion has led to a monumental underestimation of the powerful influence of Landmark eccesliology on the Southern Baptist churches.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    I do not intend to discuss these, nor any other spiritual matters, dispassionately nor with hidden feelings. If you interpret this as hatred for conventionism, then you are absolutely right. If you interpret this as hatred for men, the you are absolutely wrong.

    Let me say with all the Christian love I can muster that I despise conventionism - Southern, Northern or otherwise - with all it's attendant evils as surely as I hate the Devil himself, who I consider the father of it. And it is love for Christ, love for His churches, and love for mankind generally which inspires this hatred. As it is written in the 97th Psalm,

    "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil."

    I have seen, both in life and the annals of our history, the spiritual devestation conventionism has wrought on the Baptist churches of this land. The most bitter struggles of my ministry have been in trying to purge it's leaven out of the churches I have pastored and in opposing it's influence in the associations with which I affiliate (which, for the record, are not Southern Baptist, though many among us aspire to be Landmark clones of the Southern Baptists).

    In spite of all that, I have no animosity whatsoever toward Southern Baptist people or toward Southern Baptist churches per se. I doubt not that Christ owns many of the Southern Baptist churches (though I am equally sure that there are many of them which He disowns) and I have long prayed that God would break the yoke of conventionism - whether Southern, Northern, or otherwise - off the back His churches that they might once again enjoy the freedom wherewith Christ has set us free.

    I challenge you to read, with an open mind and a willing heart, this article on CORRUPTIVE FEEDBACK and see if brother Willard Ramsey didn't hit the nail right square on it's proverbial head.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Mark,

    That hyperlinked site is not responding.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  7. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Mark,

    You have argued voceferiously, educatedly, eruditely, and with an undying passion for your cause(s) and case(s). You have made many a good point that is worth the investigation and the hearing!

    Am I hearing and understanding, in the subtext or backdrop of your passion, a commitment to some form of "Trail of Blood," church succession," or other argument of "unbroken stream" for a uniquely Baptist history?

    I am NOT wanting to make this a thread for "Landmarkism" pro or con. But, it will help me in our future discussions b/t the two of us IF I UNDERSTAND the theological construct and culture out of which you speak, write, and argue.

    This may be a "stupid question!" But, I was trained to ask the "stupid" as well as "obvious questions."

    I ask an honest question seeking an honest answer--from a Christian gentleman whom I believe "seeks the Kingdom's Increase," Christian unity, and the "Glory of God!"

    I remain your humble servant!

    I am reminded of:

    The Christian’s Maxim

    “In Essentials – Unity”

    “In Non-essentials – Liberty”

    “In All Things Charity”

    First Heard Quoted

    By

    Hank Hanagraff, Of the "Bible Answer Man Broadcast"

    sdg!

    rd
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    Rhet, I followed the link yesterday, and have just opened it again. Try it again, perhaps there was just a problem when you tried it.

    Brother Mark, the difference between wherever you speak and East Texas is interesting. In my youth it was common to hear that the difference between the ABA and SBC was "missions". Even after alien baptism became a well-known practice by at least some in the SBC, our ABA leaders seemed to have a problem distancing themselves. It was then that my research showed me how rampant the practice of alien baptism was in the SBC churches, and how many that would not accept did not really understand why - it was the way they had always done it. I was beginning to think there was NO landmarkism in the SBC until I ran across a minute book of a local SBC association in Kentucky. The minute outlined the doctrinal sermon by one of the preachers on baptism or the church (right now I forget which) and it was preached exactly the way an ABA man would have presented it. Since them I have found that Landmarkism is more widespread in the SBC than I supposed. The curious flap over baptism in the International Mission Board testifies to that. Anyway, all that to say, I've kinda changed my mind a couple of times on this.

    I posted this on an IMB member's blog: "Now I theorize that Landmarkism never left the Convention. Rather, in the early 20th century it went into the background in the spirit of cooperation and healing the wounds of the former bitter Landmark controversies. Later it went "underground" due to repeated assualts from both academia and the liberal camp. Now it is ready to resurface. Whether that is thought a good or bad thing will depend on one's own ecclesiological persuasion." I wonder what you all might think of my present theory?
     
  9. rlvaughn

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    Let me clarify - this was what the ABA people were saying - the main difference between the ABA and SBC was the way we do missions. I don't know what the SBC people said, but I think they thought similarly.

    More to the topic of your thread, I think this difference in thinking may have been (especially if you were talking about Arkansas) partly a difference in the background of Texas dissenters versus Arkansas dissenters. The Arkansas State Association split (1901) seems to have been more of a "missions" split than the Texas split. Hayden seems to me to have been a solid Convention-method man when it came to missions. He was against the board and some improper things he thought they were doing. But the East Texas Baptist Convention (later BMA of TX) had a sort of board way of doing missions. They certainly were not gospel missioners, though I think there were gospel mission partisans among them. I also think this is part of what never "jelled" when the ABA was formed in 1924 by mostly churches from AR & TX.
     
  10. Mark Osgatharp

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    Brother Vaughn,

    I think the theory certainly has validity. I would add that in addition to your charitable and well meaning observation that the Landmakers went underground "in the spirit of cooperation and healing the woundf", I quite suspect that many went underground, just as they are beginning to do within the American Baptist Association, to avoid the unmitigated persecution a Landmarkers suffers most every time he opens his Landmark mouth.

    My hope would be that the real Baptists left within the Convention would do more than "resurface." My prayer is that they would exit altogether. That they would heed admonition of the Lord to,

    "Come out from among them and be ye separate."

    Actually, my ideal dream would be that real Baptists everywhere would come together in true unity and peace around the word of God and leave all their extra-Biblical, unbiblical, strife engendering inventions of men behind. I don't know if that will ever happen - in fact I quite doubt it - but it can't hurt to dream.....and pray.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  11. Mark Osgatharp

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    Yes; and, in light of the New Testament, I am incapable of comprehending how a man who believes in even the bare minimum of historically "Baptist" doctrine could think otherwise.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  12. rlvaughn

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    I did say that, but not quite as succinctly as you. But the first part I meant about going into the background in the spirit of cooperation and healing is this, for example - When the shooting stopped, the smoke cleared and the split was over in Texas, Landmarkers were firmly in control of the Baptist General Convention of Texas (and the BMA as well). I think after that point the Landmarkism began to move to the background in the BGC as they emphasized cooperation and building up their organization. IMO, Landmark principles had to go into the background - not being emphasized as much - before the assualts from both academia and the liberals could get a good "anti-Landmark" hearing.
     
  13. Erasmus

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    Have you guys read Tull's book on Landmarkism? It started as his dissertation, but became the most respected history of Landmarkism probably ever written. As Dr. Tull is know dead, it was updated by one of his former students about two years ago. I think this book would add much to the discussion on how landmarkism appears throughout the sbc and our churches. For those of you in Texas, are you being effected by the fires? I am going to Austin Sunday and I was wondering what travelling conditions were like.
     
  14. Kiffen

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    If I am not mistaken does not the ABA have it's own "Cooperative Program" of which Dr. Randy Cloud is Secretary?
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    Erasmus, we drove to Austin last Friday and back again on Tuesday (my son lives there). Drove Hwy 79 first and Hwy 21 coming back. There were no problems other than heavy traffic. So from the Louisiana line to Austin you are probably OK, unless something has changed since then.

    Kiffen, IMO, the ABA has built a "corruptive feedback" system as well. But that's just me. Initially it seems there was a lot of "gospel mission" sentiment among the early ABA'ers, but that somewhere gave way to needing a missionary committee and a secretary-treasurer of missions. One of the things the Arkansas Landmarkers called for in the Arkansas State Convention (ca. 1901) was the "absolute abolition of the office and expense of the Corresponding Secretary under whatever title." Of course, I don't think they were wrong - just wrong when they quietly re-adopted a convention-type system under a different name.
     
  16. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    MO,

    I am glad that I do not have to meet your criteria for what a Baptist is or does.

    Above you said:

    quote:

    Yes; and, in light of the New Testament, I am incapable of comprehending how a man who believes in even the bare minimum of historically "Baptist" doctrine could think otherwise.

    If that is the only contexts and definitions for who we are as Baptists, then I may not fit your yours. I am glad that my own personal convictions before the Lord are all that I have to consider. And I am sorry that those definitions do not fit what you think a Baptist should be or do!

    There are others in the fold that you know not.

    Yours in Christian love!

    sdg!

    rd
     
  17. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    MO,

    Where are you studying and what if I may ask?

    sdg!

    rd
     
  18. imported_J.R. Graves

    imported_J.R. Graves
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    Bro. Mark O. wrote:
    "The Southern Baptist Convention entered the 20th century as a predominantly Landmark group of churches."

    Bro. Mark does have a point about the SBC in the early 20th century. If you look at the SBC in the decades about the 1905 ABA departure, Landmark practice and belief was still the norm. For example the second and third Southern Baptist seminaries were started as a reaction to the Whitsitt Controversy and both for friendly to Landmarkism in the beginning. The Southern Baptists in states such as Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Illinois were solidly Landmark in both practice (no alien immersion and no open communion) and belief (All tenets of Landmarkism preached and taught from the pulpit). Proof of this can be seen in the editors of the SBC papers in these states. Each had Landmark editors through the 1940's and some beyond. Others states such as Alabama, Florida, and Georgia were solidly Landmark in practice, but were mixed in belief. These states had a number of strong landmark Southern Baptist pastors and churches, but also had a share of non-Landmarkers. Yet in the practice of the ordinances, these two groups were in agreement. Lastly were the states of Virginia and North and South Carolina. These states were divided in Landmark practice and only a small minority held to landmarkism in belief. J.B. Jeter, editor of a Baptist paper in Virginia stated that in the late 1800's about 1/2 of Virginia Southern Baptist churches rejected alien immersion. Those of you familiar with the Brown-Porter debate on alien immersion (also called the Sumter Discussion) know that Brown was a Southern Baptist from South Carolina who favored alien immersion. Yet at the beginning of the twentieth century it could be said that a majority of Southern Baptists were favorable to Landmarkism.
     
  19. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    This morning I studied on my bed and read the book of Zechariah in preparation for my message Sunday, which I intend to be, "Who Has Despised The Day Of Small Things?" from Zechariah chapter 4.

    This evening, I was back on my bed and (instigated by your post) did some reading in Tull's critique of Landmarkism, which I aquired a few months ago but have never finished reading (and though it contains some interesting information, I find it to be most thoroughly biased, flawed in it's contentions, and, most annoying of all, assinine in it's glowing praise of all things liberal).

    Last week I read the life of T.P. Crawford (again laying on my bed - that is where I do most of my studying) and was made to reflect on the utter wickedness of conventionism and the utter beauty of simple church centered New Testament Christianity. You said,

    I'm not sure what you mean by "the only contexts and definitions for who we are as Baptists". If you mean Baptist successionism, I most certainly do not think it is the only defininition of who I am as a Baptist.

    What makes me a Baptist is my belief that the Bible is the word of God, the inerrant and all sufficient rule of faith and practice. What makes me a Baptist is my conviction that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is my Salvation and that He commands me to be baptized and to baptize and to be part of one of His churches and to love all of His churches.

    My belief in church succession flows from these beliefs, for I cannot believe that Christ planted His gospel and His churches in this world only for them to die out but later be restored purely by accident. Rather, I must believe that when He gave the commission for His saints to go forth evangelizing and baptizing and indoctrinating and promised to be with them "even to the end of the world" that He actually meant it.

    My point to you was that if you hold to the first part of what I just said - which I believe you probably do - I cannot conceive how you could possibly look disfavorably on idea that these blessed truths have been preached and practiced by the Lord's churches in every generation since He walked on earth.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  20. Erasmus

    Erasmus
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    Peter was also the first Pope.
     

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