Landmarkism

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by sebastian, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. sebastian

    sebastian
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    Hello everyone I'm new to this Board , so here is my question what exactly is Landmarkism in Baptist History thanks [​IMG]
     
  2. Gunther

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    It is the baptist form of catholicism.
     
  3. Major B

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    Actually, Landmarkism is the Baptist form of Campbellism; it developed parallel with, at the same time as, and as a reaction to the Campbellite (Church of Christ) movement, which claimed to have the only real baptism in the only true church.

    Let me start by saying I am not a landmarker, but I know plenty of them. One thing I can say with true appreciation is that I have never met a liberal landmarker. They are orthodox to the faith once delivered.

    The founders of Old Landmarkism were men such as J.M. Pendleton and J.R. Graves, along with many others. These men were conservative, orthodox, Bible-believing Baptists.

    Landmarkism's distinctive doctrines are:

    1. There is no church except local churches.

    2. There is a true succession of churches from the beginning of the first church at Jerusalem on up through today.(Gunther misunderstands, this is not apostolic, through men, as the Catholics, but through congregations, local assemblies). Some landmarkers believe this can be traced from church to church, all the way back, others accept it as a concept which cannot be definitively proven.

    3. Only baptistic churches have this true succession, whatever their name might be.

    4. Baptist churches should not accept the baptism of non-baptistic churches, even if that baptism was by immersion. (the doctrine of Alien Immersion).

    5. In the Lord's supper, only members of the local church should partake (closed communion).

    6. Some Landmarkers also believe in the so-called "Baptist Bride" theory, that the Bride of Christ is the Baptist churches, and other believers are invited to the marriage of the Lamb, but only as guests. Most Landmarkers don't believe this, by the way.

    "J.R. Graves" (not the original, but an internet handle), and R. Charles Blair, both on this board, can probably add or correct to this post, and are welcome to do so.
     
  4. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    SEB,

    The term "Landmarkism" originated with a tract written by J.M. (James Madison) Pendleton, a Kentucky Baptist pastor, in the mid 19th century which was called "An Old Landmark Re-Set." Though written by Pendleton, the tract was actually named by J.R. (James Robinson) Graves, a Tennesee Baptist pastor and editor, who became a primary promoter of the doctrines that came to be known as "Landmarkism."

    The "old Landmark" which Pendleton endeavored to "re-set" was the belief that Baptist churches ought not to recognize the validity of non-Baptist ordinations nor invite non-Baptist ministers to preach in their pulpits. As a side note to that point, he also asserted the old Baptist belief that immersions performed by non-Baptist ministers ought not be recognized as valid baptisms by Baptist churches.

    Though there are many variations among Landmark Baptists, the general idea of Landmarkism is that the New Testament churches were baptistic in doctrine, that such churches have existed in uninterupted succession from the time of Christ, and that only such churches have a valid ministry and valid baptism.

    Today, Landmark Baptist beliefs are found primarily in the American Baptist Association and the Baptist Missionary Association, and to a lesser degree within the Baptist Bible Fellowship and various independent Baptist movements. There remains a small minority of avowedly Landmark churches among the Southern Baptists as well as a great influence by Landmark concepts on Southern Baptist practice.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  5. BrianT

    BrianT
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    What connection, if any, is there between Landmarkism and the teaching of "British Israelitism"?
     
  6. Squire Robertsson

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    None. Though, B/I slops across denominational lines. So, you'll problably find some landmarkers hold to that view, just as you would find B/I cropping up like dandilions in other movements.
     
  7. dh1948

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    I was saved, baptized, married, licensed to preach, ordained, and pastored in the Landmark Baptist work. After 17 years of pastoring Landmark (ABA) churches, I left and became a Southern Baptist. For the first time in my ministry I experienced the freedom to love other people who were not Landmarkers. My only regret was that I did not make the change earlier. I still hold Landmark Baptist churches in high regard because of their commitment to missions.
     
  8. Mark Osgatharp

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    I was born, raised, saved, baptized, married, licensed to preach, ordained, and pastored in the Landmark Baptist work. After 20 years of pastoring Landmark (ABA) churches, I am still an ABA Landmark Baptist.

    Though the ABA churches are certainly not without their faults, I perceive by your statements that your charge of a lack of freedom to love among Landmark churches stems from their commitment to the doctrine of ecclesiastical separation. To which I say,

    "And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

    Here we have the unequivocal assertion that the practice of love demands separation from those who are propogating false doctrines. If the Landmark churches have been over zealous in the application of this principle, there can be no doubt that the Southern Baptists have been extremely remiss in the application of it.

    I hold the Landmark churches in high regard for their commitment to doctrinal purity and separation from heretical churches.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  9. rsr

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    OK, guys, I apologize that I didn't act sooner on the post above Mark's. This discussion doesn't belong in the history forum; it belongs in theology or denominations.

    Feel free to take it there, because it's not about history.

    Again, I apologize for not catching it when it first went off track.

    It is being transferred to the denominations forum.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    Thanks for transferring it! :rolleyes: :eek: :rolleyes:

    Interesting discussion thus far. Wonder if holding to such doctrinal views (as MajorB listed earlier) classifies them as "liberal"?

    To me, any doctrine that ADDS to the Scripture is not conservative, but liberal.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. Frogman

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    I am a landmarker.

    BTW, Major B, if #3 is true, then #6 can not be true.

    It is more of scriptural distinctions. IMHO. Also, it is perhaps a reaction against the unscriptural idea of a universal (Catholic) church, but one preferring the Biblical term found in Eph. 3.15. At least what I believe as such that if Christ organized (not founded because of Heb. 3--God is the builder, so the church is not an after thought), a church and this body is modelled in the NT, then this is the church and none other, and as you correctly said above, not necessarily Baptist in name.

    Also, though I have said it here before and in other places, I believe there is a distinct means of entrance into this body of local and visible believers, namely immersion. So, maybe we are immersionists?

    I don't know, but I know if the first rule of scripture study is close to right, this is the plain sense I receive from what I read. If I am wrong the Lord will some day straighten me out, and you guys can all pat me on the back and say, 'told ya so'...what is that verse that reads something such as seeking the uppermost seat but when the Lord of the supper comes in he moves you to the lowest seat and gives your place to another?

    Is this worked by the Grace of God or by our works? It is something we are studying in my landmark missionary baptist home.

    Oh no!!! Bro. Dallas has three kids. :eek: That is at least five landmarkers, right?

    If we are all the same church in the end, why are there distinctions? Would any of you agree that it doesn't matter which church we attend and what we beleive? Did it matter which church Christ loved and purchased with his own blood?

    Just some questions I have not been able to answer, so I stay with the landmark position knowing that what I cannot physically prove does not mean it is not real.

    BTW, I was raised Protestant and while not pentecostal, definitely Pentecostal in church origination.

    God Bless
    Bro. Dallas [​IMG]
     
  12. Mark Osgatharp

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    Frogman,

    Jesus said:

    "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy."

    I can only think of three ways in which this passage could possibly be interpreted:

    1. These were the only saved people in the church at Sardis. If this is so, then Jesus addressed unsaved people as His "church" which would be contrary to the doctrine of regenerate church membership. This does not appear to be the right understanding because Jesus called on the defiled part of the church to "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard" which could hardly apply to people who were not saved.

    2. These people were faithful and the others were not and therefore the others were in danger of losing their salvation if they did not heed Jesus' warning to "hold fast and repent." If we accept this position we must discard the doctrine of eternal security.

    3. These people were faithful believers while the others were unfaithful believers who were in danger of losing a special reward. This is the only interpretation that I can see which fits the context as well as harmonizes with the doctrine of eternal security. Taken to it's logical position this passages teaches, not only a "baptized-Bride" but a baptized and faithful bride.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  13. Kiffin

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    I was in the ABA for about 15 years. There are many good things about Landmarkism such as a higher view of Baptism and the Lord's Supper and the local church than I find in the SBC. I appreciate that aspect and I personaly believe JR Graves did correct some things in the SBC in the 1800's. I just think he over corrected and went to far but he was not the villain some make him out to be.

    The negative aspects of Landmarkism is a siege mentality and cutting one self off from historic Christianity.

    I will never forget the sermon I heard at a local State ABA meeting on the Bride of Christ.

    1. The New Jerusalem - This is where faithful believers who were members of true churches(Baptists) will reside.

    2. Surrounding the New Jerusalem will be the Old Testament saints (Faithful Israel). They can enter the New Jerusalem but not stay there permanently.

    3. Outer Realm - is where all those Lutherans, unfaithful Baptists, Episcopalians, Charismatics, Methodists, Presbyterians etc.. will have their residence. Like Faithful Israel they can enter the New Jerusalem but not stay there permanently.

    That is one example of Baptist Bride theology though some will hold that Faithful Baptists and Faithful Israel will reside in the New Jerusalem and there are others who will put in in probably differant terms. All of this is more Sci Fi theology with no basis in scripture.
     
  14. Michael Wrenn

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    Kiffin,

    So, I wonder what that means for members of churches like the Full Gospel Baptist Church, mentioned in another thread. Maybe they'll be allowed to live in a trailer park on the outskirts of the New Jerusalem and get to visit downtown on weekends. ;)
     
  15. rlvaughn

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    Landmarkism is neither a Baptist form of Catholicism nor Campbellism. Landmarkism is to ecclesiology what Calvinism is to soteriology. Landmarkism is a systematized form of Baptist ecclesiology whose basic tenets can be found among Baptists before the name "Landmark" was ever attached to any Baptists. "Landmarkism" as a systematized ecclesiology arose among the Southern Baptists in the middle of the 19th century, and is especially associated with J. R. Graves, J. M. Pendleton, and A. C. Dayton. Though attempts have been made to prove that it is "new", some of the same historians making this assertion have admitted that all of the basic tenets of Landmarkism can be found among pre-landmark Baptists. The presence of Baptists that separated from the "missionaries" (e.g. Primitive Baptists) before Landmarkism "occurred", and holding similar ecclesiology, collaborates that fact. I state this not as proof of whether Landmarkism is correct, but of proof that it is not new. What perhaps was new, was a person such as J. R. Graves building the scattered ecclesiological beliefs into a logical & consistent belief system. A few of Graves' emphases may have been streamlined - such as local church ONLY or CLOSED communion- since even some of his contemporaries in Landmarkism accepted some kind of "church in the aggregate" and many practiced communion restricted to like faith and order rather than restricted to church members only.

    In my opinion, the following beliefs are basic to Landmarkism, and take into account both the historical beginnings and future developments of the movement: baptism performed only by church authority, restricted communion for church members only [or some extend this to like faith and order], no pulpit affiliation with other denominations, the church is a local institution only (no universal church), and that Jesus started His church while He was here on earth and has perpetuated her until this day.

    The idea of "Baptist Bride-ism" is not basic to Landmarkism, though it is probably only held by people who are Landmark in theology. Graves' idea of "aggregate of churches=kingdom" is similar.

    Finally, the most well known Landmarkers may be the American Baptist Association and the Baptist Missionary Association of America, but they are probably at least half of the movement. There are several nationally-unaffiliated local associations that are Landmark, a nationally-unaffiliated state association in California, another general body started by churches that separated from the ABA in 1950, and a WHOLE LOT of independent unaffiliated local churches. My Unaffiliated Landmark Baptist Survey tries to make a little sense of these numbers. It is my opinion that all churches holding what I consider the basic tenents of Landmarkism (including non-missionary Baptist) could well number 10,000 in the United States. Again, I assert this not as proof toward right or wrong, but to show that Landmarkism is not just that "out in left field idea" that some people think it is. It has been and is quite an important historical & theological force among Baptists. And this does not even mention that some SBCs, IBFs, BBFIs, WBFs, and others also hold these basic tenets.

    [ October 14, 2003, 08:09 PM: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  16. Frogman

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    Dear Bro. Mark,

    Here is the application I would make taken from your post:

    3. These people were faithful believers while the others were unfaithful believers who were in danger of losing a special reward. This is the only interpretation that I can see which fits the context as well as harmonizes with the doctrine of eternal security. Taken to it's logical position this passages teaches, not only a "baptized-Bride" but a baptized and faithful bride.

    I may have misread your post, are you in disagreement with the first two and also with this distinction? What is the meaning of having the candlestick removed from out of its place? It does not speak individually of being lost, it does not say the light is burned out nor extinguished, but that the candlestick is removed from its place.

    Rev. 2
    5  Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

    Please, understand, if I am wrong I will not spend an unhappy eternity. If I am right, then it is not because of me but because of the Sovereignty of Almighty God.

    If I offend you please forgive me. When I discontinue offending in the least you may read my obituary. Otherwise, just overlook me as an ignorant hillbilly if you wish. But until I learn better I do see these distinctions in Scripture. Which is the greater sin: to speak what I see, or to deny what I see. Which will keep my conscience clean?

    Bro. Dallas

    [ October 15, 2003, 03:20 AM: Message edited by: Frogman ]
     
  17. Mark Osgatharp

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    Frogman,

    Why would you think I was offended? I never get offended at a man for telling me what he believes, even if I think he is wrong. The people who offend me are those who try to hide what they believe or pretend to be something that they are not.

    As for your question, I agree with #3 of my proposed interpretations of this verse.

    Number 1 conflicts with the doctrine of regenerate church membership. Number 2 conflicts with the doctrine of eternal security.

    Number three perfectly accords with the well established teaching that Jesus Christ will reward His servants who are faithful to Him, just as surely as He will deprive and punish those who are not.

    Mark Osgatharp
     

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