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Featured Supernatural Self-Perpetuating Divine Design Ensures church Succession.

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Alan Gross, Feb 11, 2023.

  1. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    The "Linked Chain" Bugaboo

    There are some who insist that in order to adequately substantiate the continuity of Baptist churches through the centuries we would have to be able to establish a linked chain of such churches, without a break, from the very first one started by Jesus.

    I cannot agree with those who hold such a view, and indeed I consider it foolish.

    Let us remember what those dissenting groups were up against through the days of their awful persecution.

    Often they had to go into hiding, and if they wrote and published anything after printing came into vogue, it was usually seized and destroyed.

    Under the circumstances, it is remarkable that we have as much information about these groups as we have.

    Do I believe that there has been a linked chain of true churches through the centuries?

    I certainly do, but my belief in the continuity of Baptist churches does not depend upon being able to trace this unbroken chain.

    Rather IT DEPENDS UPON THE SACRED WORD OF PROMISE SPOKEN BY CHRIST OUR LORD.

    Since I have trusted my very soul to Christ, I can surely trust Him to keep His word to preserve His church.

    It is a pretty sorry Christian who says, "I can't take the mere promise of Jesus - I must have some actual links hooked up in an unbroken chain from Christ until now, if I'm to believe in Baptist church continuity."

    I have seen the pedigree of a Tennessee Baptist church that traces it's history back through the centuries to the days of Christ, giving historical references to substantiate the claim.

    That's very interesting, and it presents one case of a chain link history back to New Testament times. Cardinal Hosius previously quoted, an enemy of those early dissenting assemblies, dates Baptists back to 354 A.D.

    That's quite an admission, and it certainly favors the idea of a chain link line of succession.

    John Clark Ridpath, Methodist author of "Ridpath's History of the World," in a letter to Baptist historian W. A. Jarrell, said that there were Baptists existing in the year A.D. 100.

    Other writers of different denominations, have readily admitted the existence of Baptists back in the very early centuries.

    There is every indication that Baptist churches existed in unbroken historical continuity from apostolic days, but the point I am insisting on is this: WE SHOULD NOT HAVE TO HAVE EXAMPLES OF CHAIN LINK PEDIGREES HISTORICALLY VERIFIED AND WITHOUT THE ABSENCE OF A SINGLE LINK, TO ENABLE US TO FULLY BELIEVE IN THE PERPETUITY OF BAPTIST CHURCHES."

    "For instance, the Anabaptists may be to some historians a band of foolish radicals, while to others they may be the persecuted heroes of the Cross.

    The historian's account will magnify or minimize certain events in their lives according to how he evaluates them as a people.

    "We see what we want to see. . . ."

    Buell H. Kazee, The Church and the Ordinances, "The Problem of Baptism in History", pp. 97-98.
     
  2. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    People disagree on how many. I'd list believers baptism at the top of the list. Others I'd include is autonomy of the local church, priesthood of believers, saved membership, baptism as an ordinance, and congressional (rather than elder or external) rule.

    Which New Testament church?

    Doesn't matter as they all had the same gospel in common....which is the criteria.
     
  3. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Mr. Kazee makes a very foolish argument (we can't account for them because they were "in hiding"). That argument discounts God's ability to maintain a witness (a "city on a hill"....if you will). And of course it depends on what can only be called a mythology (or something that is necessary for one's position to be correct but is absent from known reality).

    Problem is many of the churches that Landmarkism claims as its forerunners held doctrine vastly different from what Landmark churches hold.

    It is true that Baptist doctrine existed throughout history, so there is a spiritual kinship.
     
  4. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    "The woman (The Lord's Organized assemblies)
    fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God..."
    Revelation 12:6
     
  5. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    One Baptist writer, ". . .Others felt disposed to forego baptism, because salvation had been realized without. Tertullian says to those, " Whereas it is an acknowledged rule that none
    can be saved without baptism." He farther argues, from Christ's words, John iii. 5, to prove the necessity
    of obeying and conforming ; and asserts, " that all believers from thenceforth [^from the giving of the above words] were baptized." . . . .,"

    John 3:5 has nothing to do with baptism.
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    You are letting Landmarkism influence your interpretation on that one.

    Point is that is not the nature of the churches.
     
  7. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Tertullan didn't teach, to his credit, that baptism was essential for salvation (he associated baotism with death and the washing away of sins, BUT emphasized water baptism as an outward sacrament testifying to an inner reality..see On Baptism).

    BUT his understanding of Baptism still alienates him from being Baptist (he cautioned against infant baptism (and baptizing the unmarried) for fear that they would afterwards sin and lose their salvation.
     
  8. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Our church prints this book,
    "The Great Commission Credentials", by Mark Fenison,

    and our church pre-dates J.R. Graves' birth, by many moons, yet our authority came, according to the Biblical doctrine of “church succession.”


    "Bryan Station Baptist Church is a local, visible, called-out assembly of scripturally baptized believers, covenanted together according to the Biblical pattern of a “one member, one vote,” spirit-led democracy; whose purpose is the carrying out of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:16-20. The Bible teaches that only such a church as this is authorized and constructed to be able to do so.

    "Our authority came, according to the Biblical doctrine of “church succession,” through particular New England “separate” Baptists who had sought out existing Baptist churches for this arm of authority.

    ...
    The outlined procedure this book follows is;

    (1) to examine Matthew 28:19-20 in order to discover who are those referred to as“ye”by their contextual characteristics;

    (2) to demonstrate this commission was observed in the book of Acts;

    (3) to show that early English and American Baptists designated the proper observance by such phrases as “gospel order”or “due binding order”or “regular church order”etc.;

    (4) to demonstrate that historical “Landmark” Baptists thoroughly refuted the idea of “direct” authority as they believed the Great Commission was

    (a) not given to the ministry, much less merely baptized believers;

    (b) but was given solely to the church and

    (c) included authority to constitute baptized believers into churches.


    Mark W. Fenison February 20, 2007

    ...

    In "The Great Commission Credentials", it states:

    "There is no state of limbo where baptized believers exist outside the authority of an existing church while still unconstituted.

    The so-called doctrine of“direct authority” demands this kind of ecclesiastical state of limbo and denies the horizontal and instrumental administrator identified as Go “ye”, to Jesus' church as a Divine Organization, in the Great Commission.

    New Churches do not evolve out of thin air. Church authority is exercised by an existing church in regard to constituting new churches in two distinct ways.

    One way is to call a church business meeting and by vote dismiss members for the express purpose to pursue constitution of a new church under the direction of a church-ordained man.

    Another way is to call a church business meeting, and by vote, recommend a brother for ordination; and then send that man on the mission field to preach, baptize and gather the baptized believers into a church.

    Behind both methods of church constitution is the vote of a church and thus “church authority”; and the result is that everything is done decently and in order without confusion.

    Indeed, those who embrace the “direct authority” position ( the position that Christ directly and repeatedly redelivers this commission to believers in every generation.

    According to this position, the Bible is the only authority necessary for any true believers to take up this commission at any time in any generation.

    This is the foundation for the Reformation and all who originate their own denominations)
    admit that church authority is essential to the constitution of a church.



    They admit that without church-authorized baptism there can be no scriptural materials out of which to constitute a church.

    This is admission that churches cannot be constituted apart from direct linkage through baptism authorized and administered by a previous existing church.

    This is organic link by link church succession in its historical sense, having church authority as its basis and baptism as its linkage between a preceding church and the newly constituted church.

    The direct authority movement is in essence usurping church authority, rebelling against the authority of Scriptures, and providing the foundation for every form of ecclesiastical disorder and confusion imaginable.

    It is the recipe for schism within churches that provides the schismatic a way around church discipline by simply self-organizing.
     
  9. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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  10. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I'd say that writer (Fenison, I believe) holds a Catholic ecclesiastical view (to a degree, anyway).

    To be fair, it sounds Catholic not because it is but because Landmarkism came about a few centuries ago to give Protestants the lineage Catholics claimed.

    The author here looks for an "organic link by link succession" of churches, pointing out that churches ate not formed "out of thin air".

    BUT biblical churches DO form "out of thin air". The kinship is Christ, not another church.
     
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  11. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Matthew 16:17-18, ". . . And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; . . ."

    John 6:44, ". . . No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: . . ."
     
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  12. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    No, he believes the word church as a local body only, like you do, then applied in the generic since, as an institution.

    That is the opposite of the Catholic universal view.


    THE GENERIC USE OF A WORD

    I believe that in a number of the remaining 18 verses the word church is used in the generic sense. In such a case the word may be singular and yet not refer to any particular object of the class but to every object of that class. Let me illustrate what I mean by a word being used abstractly, or generically. "The home is a Divine institution." The word home is used generically or abstractly in this sentence. The definite article with the word does not mean there is one particular home singled out from the rest. The word home has not taken on a new meaning; it retains its common meaning. There is no such thing as a universal, invisible home.
    The word church is used abstractly in some of these debatable verses, not referring to any particular church at any definite place, but to the church as an institution. When a concrete application of the word is made it must be to a particular local church somewhere. Most Bible scholars chose to ignore the abstract usage of the word church in the Bible, although they will freely concede such is true of other words. Rather than allowing the word to retain its common meaning throughout the New Testament, a most reasonable and logical thing to do, they ascribe a new meaning to the word. They say it must mean a universal, invisible church. ekklesia never had such a meaning in the Greek writings. This new meaning is contrary to the primary and literal meaning of ekklesia. If I can give a word a new meaning so as to fit my creed when the common meaning makes good sense, then I can change the entire Bible to suit my fancy and the next person can do the same!
     
  13. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    J.R. Graves was born in 1820 and our church was born by succession authority method on 1786.

    Landmarkism before J. R. Graves

    " Can Baptists, consistently with their principles or the Scriptures, recognize those societies not organized according to the pattern of the Jerusalem Church, but possessing different governments, different officers, a different class of members, different ordinances, doctrines and practices, as churches of Christ?"
     
  14. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    I will continue to post Succesionist posts, not shove to the organic, historical, part, but the strictly Biblical, like Matthew 28:18.

    Spontaneously?

    the position that Christ directly and repeatedly redelivers this commission to believers in every generation?

    "According to this position, the Bible is the only authority necessary for any true believers to take up this commission at any time in any generation?

    This is the foundation for the Reformation and all who originate their own denominations
     
  15. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I agree, but at the same time words do change in meaning. As far as ekklesia, it is used in Scripture to mean local churches and an embodiment of local churches. I am unaware of any universal use (like Christians outside of local churches), but I wouldn't go so far as to say it cannot mean this in places (like the church of Jesus Christ compared to the church in Cornith....for example).

    IMHO it is more important to understand what one means.
     
  16. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I never said Graves invented Landmarkism. I said it is a few centuries old and was developed by Christians who believed they needed a succession as a type of authority (or legitimacy) along the lines of the RCV (and because of the challenges of the RCC).

    I see no difference between the Catholic churches looking back to Apostolic churches to claim a false linage.

    But it doesn't matter to me. I'd actually prefer to attend a church established by Christians a decade ago as these ate more often the most spiritually awake churches.
     
  17. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    Not spontaneously but by God.

    Here is what I mean (an illustration):

    A man finds a Bible on the side of the road. The Bible was thrown away and it fell out of a truck bed. Tge man reads it, and through that revelation God saves him. He shares this with his family and friends and they are saved. They form a church, baptize one another and reach put to their community. They choose a pastor from among them. And the church grows.

    That church is no less a church because it lacks a linage.
     
  18. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    There are all sorts of churches and beliefs... But the one that matters the most is the one God builds alone... Called the triumphant church, there are no isms and schisms... Perfect Harmony... The linage is Jesus Christ... Brother Glen:)

    All aboard for the Glory Train!:Thumbsup:Thumbsup
     
  19. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    I agree.
     
  20. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Claims bring made that are not explicitly taught in God's word.
     
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