LANDMARKISM IN PHILADELPHIA.
Bro. E. L Magoon invited a
Swedenborgian preacher to occupy his pulpit, and in consequence the following
was offered in the Baptist Ministers? Conference in Philadelphia:
"Whereas, The public mind
has been charged with knowledge of the fact that the pulpit of a Baptist Church
of this city, has, by invitation and acceptance, been made the vehicle of
publishing grievous and dangerous error; and,
"Whereas. The silence of a
representative body of Baptist ministers may be construed as an enactment of
such proceedings and utterances; therefore,
while we rightfully continue to disclaim any assumption of ecclesiastical
authority, yet we feel called upon to express public dissent from proceedings
thus publicly announced, and that, as a conference, we hereby enter upon record
our fraternal protest against employing the appointments of any Baptist
meeting-house to aid in disseminating opinions that we, as Baptists, believe are
contrary to the teaching of the Word of God."
Bros. Wayland and Catheart
opposed the resolution as unnecessary, but Brother J.M. Pendleton and others
favored it. After some discussion it was adopted. It would seem that there is
some Landmarkism even in Philadelphia. What will those do now who condemned the
protest of the St. Louis pastors? We are pleased to see the pastors of
Philadelphia so sound.?Texas Baptist Herald..
I unite with the Herald in
an expression of my gratification at this evidence of the soundness of the
Philadelphia Baptist pastors. I am not surprised at ?the opposition of Bro.
Wayland to the resolutions, but I am at Bro. Cathcart?s; because I know him to
he a consistent and uncompromising Baptist, and the course of Bro. Magoon is
fundamentally unbaptistic, inconsistent, and unscriptural.
Paul expressly says:
"Now I entreat you,
brethren, to watch those who are making factions and laying snares, contrary to
the teachings which you have learned, and turn away from them.
"Now we charge you,
brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw from every brother
who walks disorderly, and not according to the instruction which you have
received from us, and if any one obey not our word, by this letter, point
him out, and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame."
And he charges Timothy not to be
a partaker of other men?s sins, and to bid no false teacher God-speed by an
act that may be so construed; since that would involve one in complicity with
his false teachings.
John says: "For if there
come any one unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your
house, neither bid him God-speed."
A. Clark well says: "No
sound Christian should countenance any man as a gospel minister, who holds and
preaches erroneous doctrines."
If John forbade a beloved sister
to receive a teacher of false doctrine into her private house, lest he should
contaminate her family with his errors, how much less should he be allowed to
occupy our houses of worship and teach the children of God?
Where was the church of
which Bro. Magoon is the servant? Did he not consult it? Had it
nothing to say? Or is it like the churches of some other learned doctors of
divinity?a mere cipher?allowed no voice whatever as to who the pastor may
put into the pulpit during his pastorate? There is a class of ministers?who
claim that the pulpit belongs to them, and it is not the business of the church
to question their right to put into it whom they see fit?that it is their
pulpit?and they speak of it as "my pulpit!" They might as well say
"my baptism" and "my supper, as "my pulpit." The
pulpit, like the supper and baptism, belongs solely to the church, and not at
all to the pastor of the church; and when he cannot occupy it, it is the duty to
refer the filling of it to the church. He might as well claim the right to
appoint his successor for all time, as to appoint his substitute for one Sunday,
without consulting the church. A principle cannot be divided.
It was indeed eminently proper
and right for the pastors of Philadelphia to express their disapprobation of the
unscriptural act of Bro. Magoon. But in this protest the Philadelphia pastors
placed themselves squarely on Old Landmark ground. If it is wrong for any one
preacher of acknowledged heresies to occupy a Baptist pulpit and preach to a
Baptist congregation, it certainly is equally improper and unscriptural for any
other preacher of unscriptural and pernicious doctrines. There is not a Baptist
minister in Philadelphia who will not admit, if called upon, that the doctrine
of federal holiness of all children born of believing parents taught by
Presbyterians, and the doctrine of infant purity taught by Methodists, and the
sacramental character and efficacy of the ordinances taught by all Pedobaptists
and Campbellites, are as unscriptural and pernicious?as "grievous and
dangerous errors,"?as any thing taught by the Swedenborgians; and, if it
is improper and wrong to invite a Swedenborgian to occupy a Baptist pulpit, it
is equally so to invite or permit a Pedobaptist or a Campbellite to do so; and
we do say, that if one such can properly occupy a Baptist pulpit, by invitation,
one Sunday, he can as properly, by election, one year, or
always. If Baptists can scripturally commune at the Lord?s Table with
Pedobaptists once, they can ten thousand times?and always?and,
therefore, they can unite and become one church; and so can and should all
denominations that commune together. There is no avoiding the logic of this
conclusion. We extend the hand of Landmark fellowship, therefore, to every
pastor who voted for the above resolutions.
Landmark Established in Philadelphia.
A Mr. Henry Losch, a regularly
ordained Presbyterian minister, recently renounced Presbyterianism, and was
scripturally baptized into one of the Baptist Churches, which soon invited a
number of ministers to assist it in the examination of Bro. Losch, with
reference to ordination. Bro. J. Wheaton Smith, one of the Presbytery, and a
Baptist pastor in Philadelphia, offered the following resolutions, viz.:
"Whereas, our brother, Bro.
Henry Losch, a regularly ordained Presbyterian minister, has been brought to
believe in the scripturalness of those views which we hold distinctively as
Baptists, attesting the earnestness of this belief by uniting with a Baptist
Church, on profession of his faith in Christ by Christian baptism; and,
"Whereas, He has related to
this council not only the story of his change, but also of his Christian
experience, his call from God to the ministry, and of his view of those
doctrines which he has held heretofore in common with ourselves; therefore,
we congratulate the Christian brethren from whom he comes, on their wisdom with
their views in ordaining him to their ministry, and that now we heartily adopt
him into ours, commending him to any Baptist Church who may invite him to be
I have no intimation how many, or
the names of the Baptist ministers who, with Bro. Smith, advocated the above
resolutions, but I do not believe that Bro. Henson supported it or Bro.
Cathcart, who openly avowed that he believed that "Baptist Churches were
the only scriptural or evangelical churches on earth; and if that declaration
classed him with High Church Baptists, or Landmarkers, then he was a Landmark
Baptist, and not ashamed for the world to know it." Grand and noble words
from a grand and noble Baptist! It would seem from the above resolution that
Bro. Smith has fully yielded to the "demand" that Bro. A. Barnes made
upon him, and recognizes Pedobaptist societies as scriptural churches; in all
respects equal to Baptist Churches, for he unquestionably concedes it in the
He admits that the ordination or
commission to preach the gospel and administer church ordinances, which Bro.
Losch received from the Presbyterians, was a valid ordination.
But every sound Baptist on earth,
and every intelligent Bible reader of every denomination admits that a
scriptural church of Christ alone can ordain?i.e., commission?a
man to preach the gospel and administer church ordinances.
If, therefore, Mr. Losch?s
ordination was scriptural, the Presbyterian church of America is a scriptural
church, and its infant sprinklings, and sprinkling for baptism; its doctrine of
federal holiness and eternal reprobation of the larger part of the human race;
and its provincial form of church government, are all scriptural, and,
therefore, there is but one inevitable conclusion that Bro. Smith cannot escape,
viz.: Baptist organizations are not churches of Christ in any sense,
but an organized muster against the authority of Christ; because
Baptist churches are fundamentally unlike, and radically opposed to, and
subversive of, the Presbyterian church. And it is axiomatically true that things
unlike each other must be and are unlike the same thing?i.e.,
if the Presbyterian organization is a scriptural church, Baptist
organizations, claiming to be churches, certainly are not, because radically
unlike, and subversive of the Presbyterian. The world reasons, if some of our
eminent teachers do not, and every thinking man on the continent would have
concluded with us?that if Mr. Losch was indeed an ordained minister, then the
Presbyterian organization is a scriptural church, then its sprinklings, and
infant baptism, and doctrines are scriptural, and Baptists sin in opposing them.
While we regret that there is a Baptist minister in Philadelphia who would
present such a resolution, we exceedingly rejoice that it was not indorsed by
I can but express my astonishment
at the position of Bro. Smith, so glaringly unscriptural as well as inconsistent
and absurd! The Scriptures teach, by precept and example, that baptism must
precede ordination to the ministry, and Baptists have invariably observed this
order. I do not think that Bro. Smith could be influenced to lay his hand upon a
candidate for ordination, whom he knew was unbaptized, and for the very reason
that he believes baptism must precede church membership, and church membership
must precede ordination, as unquestionably as faith in Christ precedes baptism
and church membership. But, by his resolution, he urges upon a Baptist
Presbytery to indorse an utter subversion of this order?i.e.,
that there can be a scriptural ordination before baptism.
Bro. Smith admits that Mr. Losch
was an unbaptized man when the Presbyterians professed to ordain him, and he
admits that the Presbyterians, being a society of unbaptized persons, are not a
church of Christ; and, therefore, have no shadow of authority to ordain a
minister, and, therefore, he required Mr. Losch to he baptized before he would
receive him to membership. By his resolution he proposes to indorse Mr.
Losch?s Presbyterian ordination, and thus subvert the divine order and
establish the precedent among Baptists that there can be a scriptural ordination
without baptism?that ordination may scripturally precede baptism!
And more?that an organization
which is manifestly not a church, can make an officer for a church of Christ,
and even commission an unbaptized man to preach the gospel and baptize!
We claim that those ministers who
voted to ordain Bro. Losch, placed themselves squarely by our side on Old
Landmark ground?they can not consistently oppose it, and, to he
consistent, they are compelled to advocate and practice the Landmark policy.
For if Mr. Losch was an
unordained and unbaptized man, he certainly had no right to claim to be a
scriptural minister of the gospel, and assume to administer its offices; and it
was certainly unscriptural and sinful for Baptist ministers to accredit his
false claim by any act whatever.
But, inviting him into their
pulpits to preach or pray for them as a minister, or receiving his immersions
for valid baptisms, would be accrediting him as such, and the society in which
he officiates as a scriptural church.
Furthermore, if Mr. Losch was
not, while a Presbyterian either baptized or ordained, his baptismal acts,
though by immersion, would be as null and void as though administered by a man
who did not profess to belong to a Christian church. Therefore, those ministers
who voted down that resolution, did impliedly declare that the immersions of an
unordained and unbaptized man are null. They thus put themselves on the record
as opposed to alien immersions.
They cannot, therefore,
consistently affiliate with unbaptized and unordained men, as ministers of the
gospel, nor can they indorse any of their official acts?though the outward
form be correct?as scriptural or valid. Thus these two decisions by the
Baptist pastors of Philadelphia indorse all the Old Lan mar principles for which
Since writing the above I have
received the following article from Bro. J. M. Pendleton, of Upland,
Pennsylvania, which will set the whole matter in a light before the reader, and
must forever settle the question of what Old Landmarkism is, in the mind of
every one who can appreciate argument or consistency.
J. M. Pendleton
"The Memphis Baptist is
the paper in which can be most appropriately chronicled an account of a recent
ordination in Philadelphia, which has caused some little excitement. The editor
of The Baptist will appreciate more highly than any other editor the
decision of the council of ordination. The facts in the case are these:
"Bro. Henry Losch, a
Presbyterian preacher, having learned the way of the Lord more perfectly, united
with the Memorial Church, and was baptized by the pastor, Bro. Henson. In due
time a council was called to consider the matter of Mr. Losch?s ordination. It
was, fortunately, a large council, confined, so far as I know, to our city
churches, and therefore it was not my privilege to be present. The council
having been organized, Bro. J. Wheaton Smith offered a resolution virtually
recognizing and indorsing the validity of the Presbyterian ordination already
received by the brother. This led to an earnest discussion, and the vote on the
resolution was quite significant?two for it, fifty against it. Bro.
Smith was of course chagrined, and referred in no very courteous way to the
decision as an ?outrage on a Christian church,? but the council was firm.
The brother has been ordained?I do not say reordained, but simply ordained.
"There has been a flurry of
excitement among the Presbyterians, and the editor of their paper (The
Presbyterian) has come cut with a long article on what he calls ?New
Marvels of Sacramentarianism,? and pronounces the vote on Bro. Smith?s
resolution as a ?sign of the survival and revival of ecclesiastical
bigotry.? By ?Sacramentarianism? the editor of course means the
impartation of grace through ordination, which doctrine he ought to know no
Baptist believes. The truth is, there is no more grace imparted in ordination
than in baptism, and baptism is symbolic of grace already received.
"The excitement of the
editor of The Presbyterian was contagious. Hence when the Philadelphia
Central Presbytery met, January 6, a preamble and resolution were offered by
Bro. Eva, complaining of the action of the Baptist council, and denouncing its
decision as a ?transgression of Protestant principles of equality, unity,
fraternity, and charity.? In his remarks, as published in the Public Ledger
of January 7, he is reported as saying, ?The Baptist clergymen would not
meet with Presbyterian clergymen at the table of the Lord, and now it seems that
they will not act with them in the matter of the ordination of the ministry.
When his brethren said to him you are neither baptized nor ordained, he desired
not to meet with them.? It will be seen that Bro. Eva wishes Baptist ministers
to recognize him as baptized and ordained. His idea is that an exchange of
pulpits implies this. I ask all anti-Landmark Baptist preachers to take this
matter into consideration. Many of them say that Pedobaptist ministers, in being
invited by them to preach, know the invitation does not imply a recognition of
their baptism or ordination. They can see from the above what Bro. Eva, of
Philadelphia, thinks. He wishes to have nothing to do with ?Baptist
clergymen? unless they admit that he is ?baptized? and ?ordained.?
"In the same discussion,
Bro. Poor said that he had been invited, some time ago, by a Baptist clergyman
to preach for him, to which request he replied: ?How can you ask me to occupy
your pulpit, if the fact that you do not acknowledge our ordination is
correct?? His friend, in reply, said that he did not acknowledge the
ordination of Presbyterian ministers. Bro. Poor added that, from that day to
this, he had declined to preach in Baptist pulpits. Here we see that another
Presbyterian minister makes a recognition of his ordination indispensable to his
preaching in Baptist pulpits. Surely when the facts are fully understood by
Baptists and Pedobaptists, the interchange of pulpits will cease.
"In the matter of ordination
Presbyterians are quite unreasonable, though they, perhaps, think otherwise. I
will explain what I mean: They consider baptism and church membership
prerequisites to ordination. Very well. Baptists take the same view. Where,
then, is the difference? It is concerning baptism and the church-membership
resulting. Believing Pedobaptists without baptism, and consequently without
scriptural church-membership, it is impossible for Baptists to recognize the
validity of Pedobaptist ordinations. Philadelphia Presbyterians believe that
baptism precedes ordination, but they are unwilling for Baptists to believe the
same thing, unless the latter will also believe that the sprinkling of an
unconscious infant is baptism. This would be as difficult as to swallow not only
a camel, but a caravan of camels. What, then, is to be done? The antagonism
between Baptists and their opponents is so decided that harmony is impossible,
unless one side or the other surrenders. Compromise is utterly out of the
question. Compromise is very well in matters involving no principle, but where
principle is concerned there is no place for it.
"As to the few Baptists who
are satisfied with Pedobaptist ordinations, I scarcely know what to say. They
must believe that baptism, to say the least, is not prerequisite to ordination,
and how they can believe this defies ordinary comprehension. They find nothing
in the Scriptures nor in the customs of Baptist Churches to justify such a
belief. Manifestly the elders ordained by Paul and Barnabas in every church were
church members, and had, therefore, been baptized. No man is now ordained in any
Baptist Church unless the church calls for his ordination, and the church can
not go beyond its own members in making a call, for its jurisdiction extends no
farther. All its members, however, have been baptized, and therefore every
ordination among Baptists presupposes baptism and church-membership. How, then,
any Baptist can ignore one of the principles and one of the practices of his
denomination, so as to believe that there can be ordination where there has been
no baptism, and consequently no church-membership, is as strange as the Romish
doctrine of Transubstantiation. The Baptist who recognizes Pedobaptist
ordinations must recognize Pedobaptist sprinkling as baptism, and Pedobaptist
organizations as New Testament churches. He who can do this will find it
difficult to say why he is a Baptist. Indeed, if Pedobaptist ordinations are
valid, there is no use for the Baptist denomination?it has no moral right to
exist and the sooner it surrenders its life the better. Yes, the right of
Baptist Churches to exist is involved in the ordination question which has
recently created a little stir in Philadelphia."
The Reformed Reader Home Page
Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved