Landmarkism and The Southern Baptist Convention

I would strongly encourage folks to read Wade Burleson’s blog and SBC Outpost. Things are brewing in the SBC prior to Greensboro that have historical roots you must understand. With that in mind, I have published a booklet on a particular part of SBC history. You may read it here.

These are blog entries, so you will need to scroll to the bottom and work you way upward. If you wish to have a copy of the manuscript and are not going to be in attendance at Greensboro, email me. My email is in my blogger profile, which you can find at the host site.

If you know messengers attending Greensboro, share this information with them, either by way of the URL or by emailing me for a manuscript for you to send them. There are 1000 copies of the printed version. I will have just under 100 in Greensboro at the Founders Breakfast. The other 900 are already dogeared for key persons in the SBC. Don’t let the limited publication stop you from reading it or obtaining a copy, since I’m just an email away.

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2 Comments on “Landmarkism and The Southern Baptist Convention”

  1. Ben Stratton Says:

    If you want to read a different historical prespective on Southern Baptist Landmarkism, check out my website. There are quotes from James Boyce, John Broadus, B.H. Carroll, R.B.C. Howell, P.H. Mell, John Spilsbury, W.A. Criswell, etc.

  2. Gene Says:

    P.H. Mell refuted Landmarkists. It would be rather interesting to see what you think you have from him in support of Landmarkism, since his work Corrective Church Discipline was repudiated by Graves, et.al.

    Broadus:

    “I think it highly undesirable that persons previously immersed by Pedobaptists or Campbellites should be received as they stand into the Baptist Church. I think they ought to be baptized when received, for the sake of good order, and to prevent any troublesome questions from afterwards arising. I think that the candidate, even if satisfied with his previous immersion as a baptism, ought to be willing to be baptized now, to satisfy the church and give no trouble hereafter, and that if he is not willing the church can do without him.” John A. Broadus

    Of course, Broadus was also friends with Toy, so this is a product of his desire to keep the peace in the churches where this would be problem. To read this as an acceptance of Landmark ecclesiology as such is dubious. He is trying to promote unity not necessarily your peculiar doctrines.

    Criswell: Not a Landmarkist. Yes, he rejected “alien baptism” as did many, particularly in the early 20th century…but how did they define “alien baptism?” That’s the issue you never address, you assume, without benefit of argument that is your doctrine, but what if I told you that “alien baptism” in NC during the early 20th century meant persons coming from non-Baptist churches who had not been immersed at all, but it did not include persons coming from those churches who had been immersed, and it sometimes meant those simply not baptized as believers without reference to the mode. Even if they did use your definition this still does not support your position, because this would be a holdover from Landmarkism itself, so your consistent appeal to the rejection of alien immersion during this time period assumes the validity of the premise and then argues the premise in the conclusion. This is viciously circular.

    Spilsbury: His church is the one that objected to successionism. He accepted closed communion, but that is not a Landmark distinctive. It is anachronistic to read Landmarkism back into Spilsbury.

    Carroll both supported and failed to support it. This is covered in the booklet.

    RBC Howell: the SBC history archive lists him as an anti-Landmarkist, and from what I have read from him, he waffles. I wouldn’t consider him a reputable church historian for his views on successionism, since he also calls Sandy Creek Association Arminians.

    You asked me at one time:

    It seems to me you still refuse to admit Dagg rejected Pedobaptist immersions. You latch on to the words “some” and “in general”. Rememberhe is writing in the middle 1800’s, not the 21st century. Do not take these words to mean Dagg would receivce pedobaptist immersions. You would be hard pressed to find a Presbyterian in Dagg’s time period that put pouring and immersion on the same level. And the Presbyterians of that age didn’t believe Romans 6 referred to water baptism. That is what he means by it being a symbol of a burial. The FACT is Dagg’s personal opinion was pedobaptist immersions should be rejected. I am willing to admit he would accept Free Will Baptist immersions. Are you will to admit he would reject pedobaptist immersions?

    No, I am not, because that is not what Dagg actually says and is not anything I have maintained about Dagg. You have CONSISTENTLY misrepresented me on this on the blogs.

    To begin with, Dagg actually states that some Presbyterians do in point of fact, baptize correctly. He writes: Some Pedobaptist ministers will administer immersion reluctantly, believing it to be an ineligible mode of baptism…

    I wasn’t aware that “some Paedobaptist ministers will administer immersion reluctantly…, meant something other than what it says here…but he very clearly stated that some Presbyterians DID baptize by immersion, though they were reluctant. Romans 6 is not really germaine to the issue, as there is enough Scripture chasing this issue that one does not need it to underwrite believer’s baptism. He is not stating that the administrator’s view of baptism certainly and always underwrites valid baptism.

    Pedobaptist ministers do not, in general, administer the rite as an emblem of Christ’s burial and resurrection.

    Here is where he clarifies himself. So, let’s look at what the most prominent Princetonian of the age said about adult baptism.

    As I pointed out to you then, Presby’s affirm baptism symbolizes the New Covenant, which they define as encompassing adult believers and their children. However, Baptists, by virtue of their own view of baptism ALSO affirm that baptism is the sign of the New Covenant. Dagg was influenced by Charles Hodge as was Boyce, and Hodge on adult baptism is virtually identical to Dagg on the meaning of baptism for anyone who is not an infant. That person MUST, says Hodge be a believer. He states this explicitly a number of times. On mode, he accepts immersion, pouring, and sprinkling. True, Presby’s then affirmed this referred to our spiritual union w/Christ, but then this is not an altogether invalid use of the text, even for a Baptist given the close order in which baptism and conversion came in that time.

    See, I didn’t have to go far to find a Presbyterian of note that put pouring and immersion on the same level, since Hodge also states under mode that as long as the act is done with the proper meaning for an adult, the mode doesn’t really matter. There is no command to do any one of the 3 modes in particular in his view, ergo, they are on the same level.

    So, when an administrator mistakes the design of baptism, and overlooks its chief symbolical signification, every enlightened and conscientious candidate, who understands the nature and design of the ceremony, may well doubt the propriety of uniting with such a minister in a service about which they are so little agreed.

    So here, Dagg says that the candidate baptized has reason to doubt the propriety of his baptism.

    The holy book furnishes satisfactory proof that when the rite has been once duly performed, there is no necessity to repeat it; but it furnishes no proof that God will be displeased, if one who has failed to come up to the full measure of his duty, should seek another opportunity to obey the divine command with scrupulous exactness.

    As I pointed out to you before, and in the booklet, and which you have CONSISTENTLY ignored in the past:

    He stops short of saying the candidate must be rebaptized. He says that it is up to the local church to decide. He WOULD advise them to do so, from the look of his statements, but he would not MANDATE that a man be rebaptized, which is what you want him to say. His personal opinion is that if the candidate questions it, he should be rebaptized. His opinion is highly qualified. You’re oversimplifying his caveated position. Administrative decisions are up to the local church. Ergo, there is no universal mandate from Dagg to rebaptize such persons.

    Notice I have not denied that Dagg would likely have advised them to be rebaptized, as you have alleged. I deny that he would mandate that churches rebaptized these persons precisely because his words deal with those who, for conscience’s sake have questions about their baptism. That church may or may not decide to receive that individual baptized by the Presbyterian, but Dagg says the candidate’s responsibility is his profession of faith. administration decision is up to the local church as is the acceptance or rejection of baptisms.


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