Landmarkism--Truth or Heresy?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Tom Butler, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    Just sorta curious why the Landmark ecclesiology draws such venomous criticism. Usually it's described as the "Landmark heresy," as if the two words are forever linked.

    So why is it heresy?

    Why is the notion of Baptist perpetuity such an anathema?
    Why is the idea of Baptist church successionism so disliked?

    Why is the idea that the universal church is a useless figment of the imagination attract such angry dissent?

    I can understand honest disagreement, what I don't understand is why Landmarkers are considered heretics.
     
  2. HankD

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    It would be helpful for all, new and old alike, if the doctrine(s) of "Landmarkism" were presented (preferably from a Landmarker or a Landmark publication).

    HankD
     
  3. Martin

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    I read a quote from Spurgeon just last night about that deals with at least part of this...

    "We believe that the Baptists are the original Christians. We did not commence our existence at the reformation, we were reformers before Luther and Calvin were born; we never came from the Church of Rome, for we were never in it, but we have an unbroken line up to the apostles themselves. We have always existed from the days of Christ, and our principles, sometimes veiled and forgotten, like a river which may travel under ground for a little season, have always had honest and holy adherents. Persecuted alike by Romanists and Protestants of almost every sect, yet there has never existed a Government holding Baptist principles which persecuted others; nor, I believe, any body of Baptists ever held it to be right to put the consciences of others under the control of man..."Charles H. Spurgeon


    Not saying that I agree, just an observation.
     
    #3 Martin, Jan 1, 2007
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  4. Jim1999

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    It is strange how so many claim the baptist churches are the closest to the New Testament church and yet take a huge leap of nothingness until the birth of the English baptist church.

    Landmarkism makes an attempt to follow similar churches down through the ages. Some groups embraced heretical beliefs, but what is new. Some so-called baptist churches to-day follow weird beliefs too.

    The Trail of Blood gives a reasonable trace of baptistic history.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  5. pinoybaptist

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    Here's something from Wilkipedia.

     
  6. pinoybaptist

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    Landmarkism.....

    More about Landmarkism from Wilkipedia ...

     
  7. pinoybaptist

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    More on Landmarkism...

    still on landmarkism from Wilkipedia Dictionary...

     
  8. pinoybaptist

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    Personally, I think that Baptist churches, most of them, anyway, but particularly Primitive Baptist churches and those of like doctrines and practices,are the closest one can get to seeing or joining a New Testament church.

    However, I will not lay claim to any direct descendancy from the first New Testament church founded by the Savior because it cannot be proven by Scripture, and any claim to be so is therefore unscriptural..
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    pinoybaptist, thanks for doing the legwork to background everybody on Landmarkism. I guess I assumed everybody was familiar with it.

    There is one other aspect that arouses passions: The supremacy of the local church. Basically, the view is that there is no such thing as the Universal Church. It holds that any reference in the Bible which seems to refer to such an entity is in fact a generic reference, similar to such institutions as the "family." It holds that the generic takes concrete expression in the specific--that is, local--church.

    In the same way, there is no such entity as the family, as in "the breakdown of the family." The breakdowns occur in individual families.

    A corollary to that, which also stirs emotions, is the view that Jesus established a congregation, made up of the twelve, during his earthly ministry. This, as opposed to the view that the church was formed on the Day of Pentecost.

    Now, that everybody is up to speed, release the hounds!
     
  10. mnw

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    Baptists, at least in my circles, do not have the idea of linking churches all the way back to the NT like some kind of Roman Catholic apostolic succession.

    What they do claim is a succession of churches who held to and were defined by the fundamentals. (Here I refer to the fundamentals as of 100 years ago, not necessarily what are viewed as the fundementals by many today.)

    Here in the UK we do not have Landmark churches so my understanding is limited. Something that has struck me is their tendency towards being baptist briders and perhaps a dogmatism in areas of Christian liberty.

    I don't believe this is an accurate statement, but I know Jim has studied a lot more and a lot longer than I. We must have just come out to different conclusions.

    I believe there is a viable link going back a lot farther than the English Baptists... but this is probably starting to go off topic
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    mnw, you mentioned "Baptist Briders." I grew up in a Landmark stronghold in Western Kentucky and Tennessee , but I had never heard of that view before about 30 years ago.

    To explain, if Baptist churches constitute the only true NT churches, that only Baptist churches (and their members) constitute the Bride of Christ. Therefore, only Baptists will be permitted to participate in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

    As one old preacher told me, "everybody else will have to stand around and watch."
     
  12. PastorSBC1303

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    I am not going to call it heresy.

    However, my problem with Landmarkism is the arrogant notion that comes a long with it that Baptists hold a monopoly on the truth. I just fail to see this in Scripture.

    I had an old Landmark Baptist Pastor tell me one time that I had absolutely no business having any non-baptist authors on my bookshelves.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    Well, I'm not for arrogance, of course. And I have some solid books by non-Baptists in my library.

    But here's the problem we Baptists have. We do, in fact, believe that what we believe is informed by scripture. Therefore, those who do not agree are by definition wrong. They do not hold the truth. These days we try to be polite and make noises like, we just see it differently. The fact is, they are wrong and we are right. It's hard to say it that way without sounding arrogant.

    Do other denominations have some truth? Of course. Do Baptist have a monopoly on truth? Of course not.

    But, but...if we do not believe that what we hold as Baptist distinctive are true, supported by scripture, why are we still there?

    All denominations claim to be the repositories of Biblical truth. Every one of them. Why should Baptists, particularly Landmark Baptists, be the only ones considered arrogant for making such a claim?

    As a matter of fact, what if your pastor said to you, "well, we get most of it right, but we're wrong on a few things. We don't have a monopoly on the truth, you see. Why, to claim that would be arrogant." You'd be gone in a New York minute.

    By the way, what is a New York minute?
     
    #13 Tom Butler, Jan 1, 2007
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  14. mnw

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    Sorry Tom, didn't mean to misrepresent any one. :)

    I guess looking from the outside in it is hard to see exactly what goes on.
     
  15. Tom Butler

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    mnw, I can't see where you misrepresented anyone or anything.

    You used the term "baptist briders" and I suspected that some folks wouldn't know what that meant, thus the explanation.
     
  16. Jim1999

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    Stretching the facts is a common error made by most of us. Sometimes a statement of fact must rest on itself and does not require exploration.

    We often find this with theology. We take a doctrinal viewpoint and expand it to death, so that the basic premise makes no sense whatever.

    We see this with the expansion of a simple verse of scripture. It says what it says and does not need, out of context, elaboration. Yet we tend to do it.

    Some concepts such as morality, does not need chapter and verse, it just makes common sense compared to the standard of God set by His own nature.

    Whilst we are instructed to be holy as God is holy, we fully appreciate that man has the innate ability to stray. God has chosen to use the whole man, and fully accounts for man's ability to commit sin in this fleshly state. God used Peter with all his flaws. Paul admitted he had difficulties in his flesh. Believers down through the ages did not profess perfection in this life.

    Who are we to be any different? The point is, we must keep our eyes on Jesus, and His standards, and then live accordingly.

    Landmarkism is no different. If we push it to the extreme, we end up with nebulous concepts and contradictions. If we simply state we believe the Baptist local church to be modelled after the New Testament Church then we have no difficulty with it, and we are where we ought to be.

    Frankly, the various denominations within the Christian realm on earth helps to keep some sense of common fellowship and unity. I can differ with some groups, and yet be one with them in Christ. Neither of us need to compromise what we believe to be true, but our commonality is the essence of Christianity; the Christ and His truth.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  17. Tom Butler

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    Jim, you are so right.

    I have what I call Landmark "tendencies." I embrace some aspects, but not the extremes.

    Here's an example. I'm aware of some Landmarkers who disapprove of a college Baptist Student Union's sponsoring a campus revival, because it is not under the auspices and authority of a local church. I think that's taking it too far.
     
  18. dh1948

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    Former Landmarker

    I was saved through the ministry of an ABA Landmark Baptist church in 1963. My formative years as a Christian were spent in Landmark churches. Eventually, I was married in...became a teacher in...surrendered to preach in a Landmark Baptist church.

    I surrendered to preach while a university student. My Landmark preacher friends convinced me that I did not need a secular education. I needed to go to an ABA Bible institute for my education so I could get grounded in the faith. In fact, at that time the institute presidents, aka: seminary presidents, were making their rounds among ABA churches encouraging young people to attend Bible institute before college so they could get firmly grounded in the faith (Landmark teaching). There was concern that Landmark students were running off to secular colleges and winding up being Southern Baptists.

    To shorten a long story...I earned a couple of diplomas from an ABA Bible institute, taught in that institute, and served as pastor of three Landmark churches. My skepticism about teachings such as a Baptist bride and Landmark Baptist perpetuity began to arise after about 12 years of pastoring. I "stuck it out" for another 5 years before I decided that it was time for me to move on. The seventeen years I had pastored as a Landmark Baptist had left me with an attitude of superiority and arrogance. Like many other Landmark pastors in that day, my favorite pasttimes were gloating in my rigid orthodoxy and bashing Southern Baptists.

    Maybe Landmarkism is a heresy. I am not sure. But I do know that the attitude it nurtured in me was so unlike the attitude of Jesus. Though my journey from being a staunch Landmark Baptist to being a Southern Baptist is too long to recount here, I can assure you that once I left the Landmark "movement" my entire perspective changed. I could never go back.
     
  19. PastorSBC1303

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    Very nice testimony dh1948, thanks for sharing.

    This is exactly what I was talking about in my previous post.

    Landmark theology naturally leads to an arrogant, unChristlike attitude and ministry.
     
  20. Karen

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    Personally, I don't see it. I was raised in a very ABA, Landmark family.
    Went to a number of such churches many times in MO.
    (Although my parents were SBC. I am still SBC.)

    There is, in my opinion, no necessary link between Landmark theology and arrogance. If you don't think what you believe is true, do you really believe it? :saint:

    That would be, in my opinion, as false as saying that the theology of SBC churches aligned with the Founders movement necessarily leads to deemphasizing evangelism.
     

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