it is not, and what is, to be an old Landmark Baptist?The true mission of old
"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. For such
like ones as they, are not in subjection to our anointed Lord, but their own
appetites; and by a kind and complementary words the decedent hearts of the
"Be not a partaker and other
men?s sins: keep thyself pure" (1 Tim 5:22).
"If anyone comes to you, and
brings not this doctrine, do not receive him into your handles, nor wish him
success; for he who wishes him success partakes in his evil works" (2 John
10:11). (Translation of Emphatic Diaglott)
"Can two walk together;
except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3).
Landmark Baptist are continually
charged by all who oppose their characteristic principles and policy?Baptists
who know better, not excepted?with many and grievous offenses, in order to
make us obnoxious to our own brethren and, and detested by all others. It seems
proper, therefore, at this point, to refute all these, by stating, first, what
Old Landmarkism is not, before making a summary of what it is.
1. Old Landmarkism is not the
denial of spiritual regeneration to those with whom we decline to associate
ministerially or ecclesiastically.
Still we by no means feel
warranted in saying that we believe that the members of those societies, which
hold and teach that baptism is a sacrament or seal of salvation, or essential to
the remission of sins?as all Pedobaptists and Campbellite societies do hold
and teach?are Christians, or even presumptively regenerate, since they
do not require a credible evidence of regeneration as a condition of membership.
They may believe that baptism, "duly administered," confers the grace
of regeneration upon adults and infants as well, but Baptist do not, and,
therefore we cannot believe that because they are members, it is
therefore probable that they are regenerate, as we are justified in believing
with respect to Baptist Churches that require a credible profession of
regeneration in every instance. It must be true that the vast mass of
Pedobaptists, and the overwhelming mass of the membership of Campbellite
societies are unregenerate, and we are not justified in applying to them the
title of brethren in Christ; for we will thereby mis-teach them, and brethren,
ecclesiastically, we know they are not.
But Landmarkism does not pretend
to sit in judgment upon the state of any man?s heart, but upon his
ecclesiastical relations only. Refusing to affiliate with them, ministerially
and ecclesiastically, is not declaring by our act that we believe their
ministers and members are unregenerate, but that they are not members
of scriptural Churches. Refusing to invite their ministers to preach for our
churches, and to accept their immersions, is no more denying their Christian
character than refusing to invite them to our communion table?Baptist know
this, and all Pedobaptists ought to know it. We mean by our refusal, to
emphasize our protest against their organizations as scriptural churches,
and consequently against their ministers as authorized to preach and to
administer the church ordinance?s. We do not recognized unbaptized and
unordained men, who are Baptists in sentiment, as scriptural ministers, and
qualified to administer Church ordinances; and why should we be expected to
recognize those we regard as disqualified, and who violently oppose our faith
and practice? It is manifestly inconsistent in Baptists to do so, and
Pedobaptists know and freely admit it. In all mere Christian duties, as
private Christians, we are at liberty to participate, but never ministerially or
ecclesiastically. By no act that can possibly be so construed, must we recognize
other societies as Christian churches, or other ministers as Scriptural
2. Landmarkism is not the
denial of the honesty and conscientiousness of Pedobaptists and Campbellites.
We concede to all the honesty of
purpose we claim for ourselves, and we accord to them equal conscientiousness;
but we, nevertheless, belief them honestly deceived, and conscientious in the
belief of unscriptural and pernicious errors; and that it is our bounden duty
to undeceive them by all possible scriptural means; but by no word or deed of
ours to confirm them in their error. It is the highest proof of love to
endeavor, even at the hazard of losing their friendship, to correct the mistakes
and errors of our friends; while to leave them unwarned of a danger of which we
are aware, is the part of an enemy.
3. Landmarkism is not a proof
of our uncharitableness.
We are charged with manifesting a
spirit uncharitable and un-Christlike. This charge is without foundation. Christ
called Himself the "truth;" He hated and opposed all error; he failed
not upon all occasions to rebuke and denounced it; He recognized only those as
His friends who were like Him in this respect.
Charity not only rejoices in the
truth, but is opposed to that which is not truth, and "hateth every false
way." Christ, nor charity, then, requires of us to surrender Christian
principle, and to be unfaithful to the teachings and requirements of duty. We
cannot hope to please Christ, by recognizing the institutions and traditions of
men, as equal to His own churches and Commandments. That is not Christian
charity, but a false liberality and treason to Christ, to surrender or
compromise that which He has committed to us to firmly hold and faithfully
Landmarkism, then, is not opposed
to the spirit of true Christian charity, but to an unscriptural and pernicious
"liberalism" which is being palmed off upon the world for
Christian charity?a spirit which is truly opposed to Christ, and is the
"bane and the curse of a pure Christianity," and daily demonstrates
itself as the very spirit of persecution itself.
4. Landmarkism is not the
denial to others the civil right, or the most perfect liberty to exist as
professed churches, or to their ministers to preach their views, as it is
We accord to all denominations
and to all "religions," Jews and Gentiles, Mohammedan and Pagan, the
same right to exist; and to their priests and teachers the same civil right to teach
and propagate their doctrines, as we claim for ourselves. It is one of
the peculiar characteristics of Baptists, which they have maintained in every
age; and viz., the absolute liberty of conscience and belief, and the freest
expression of them. We would fight as soon to vindicate religious liberty in
this country, to an idolatrous Chinese or a Jew, as to a Baptist. We would not,
had we the absolute power to do so, forbid Pedobaptists, or Campbellites, or
Mormons from preaching, and the fullest enjoyment of their religious rights; but
do most positively deny that they have any scriptural right to exist as churches
of Christ: we do deny their claims to be called or treated as churches of
Christ; we do deny the scripturalness of either their doctrines, or other
ordinances, and their authority to ordain ministers of the gospel, precisely as
we would the right of the lodge, or Young Men?s Christian Associations, should
they assume to do so. We do deny that their ministers have any more authority to
preach the gospel and administer church ordinances, than the officers of lodges
have, by virtue of their office; but, in saying this, we make no allusion to
their personal Christian characters whatever. All the
members and officers of a lodge might be true Christians, but that would
not constitute the lodge a Christian church, or is officers Christian ministers.
The only force we would bring to bear against Pedobaptists, and Campbellites,
and Mormons, to put an end to their existence as churches, or to their ministers
to arrest their preaching, is the sword of truth, wielded in the dauntless
spirit of Paul and the love of Christ. We would convert them from the
error of their ways, and bring them all, by the force of moral suasion, into
sweet subjection to the Law of Christ. We would exterminate the isms by
converting the ists.
We may as well notice here Mark
9:28, which our would-be undenominational brethren constantly quote as proof
positive, that we should not oppose in anyway, but rather encourage all
religious teachers, of even manifest errors, to propagate their false doctrine
so long as they claim to be religious teachers and the friends and followers of
Christ. The Apostles forbade a person to cast out devils in the name of Christ,
because he did not follow them! The Protestant commentators have
generally made all possible use of this passage to support their cause as
against the pretensions of the Romish church, and Baptists have been influenced
to use it against the advocates of apostolic succession, who claim that no one
is authorized to preach unless ordained in the succession; and now "liberal
Baptists," who would recognize all sects as equally "Christian
churches," and all the ministers of those sects as "evangelical
ministers," and bid them God-speed?quote it against Landmarkers. But the
passage yields them no encouragement to disrespect and violate the
order which Christ established, and the positive injunctions of Paul. This man,
whom John and his fellow apostles saw casting out devils, in the name of Christ,
was certainly not an enemy of Christ, and could not have been doing anything contrary
to His will or authority, or he could not have cast out devils. He was
undoubtedly either one of John?s disciples, or one of the seventy who had been
authorized by Christ Himself to do this very miracle when He sent them forth;
and this man may have continued to proclaim the mission of Jesus, and to cast
out devils. He was, most unquestionably, a disciple of Christ, though not one of
the apostles, and therefore, had been baptized. The only irregularity
complained of by John was, that he followed not Christ continually, as the
apostles were required to do, to qualify them for their work after the ascension
of Christ; but it was not required of him, nor of any other disciple of
Christ, save the twelve, to follow Christ constantly. That this man was a friend
and disciple of Christ, is established by the great faith he had in Him
as Messiah or the Son of God?greater than the Apostles themselves were at
times able to exercise. (See Matt 17:16-22). Will a Baptist, therefore, in the
exercise of impartial candor, claim that this passage warrants him in
maintaining that anyone, irrespective of baptism or church relations, or faith
in the doctrine of Christ, is authorized to go forth and preach his erroneous
views in the name of Christ, and to administer church ordinances, and that we
must bid him God-speed, and thus endorse his doctrinal errors which are
subversive of true Christianity, and his irregularities totally subversive of
the church and kingdom of Christ. Let all who desire to believe this know of a
certainty that Christ never set up a kingdom and divided it against itself, nor
can it be that "the house of God, which is the church of the living
God" is divided against itself.
The following are indisputable
1. That without scriptural
baptism there can be no Christian church, and consequently no scriptural
ministers, and no scriptural ordinances.
2. That sprinkling and pouring of
water upon persons, adults, and infants, as a sacrament of salvation, is not
scriptural baptism, but as gross a perversion of it, as it is to administer it in
order to procure the remission of sins.
It is a stern and solemn fact?
3. That we, as Baptists, can not
by our words or acts declare that Pedobaptists or Campbellites societies
are scriptural churches, or their teachers scriptural ministers, or their
ordinances scriptural, without testifying to that we know to be untrue, and
without lending all our influence to support and bid "God-speed" to
their false and pernicious teachings, and thus becoming partakers of their
wrongdoing?as guilty in the sight of God as they themselves are. (See 2 John
is the mission of Landmark Baptist?
1. As Baptists, we are to stand
for the supreme authority of the New Testament as our only and sufficient rule
of faith and practice. The New Testament, and that alone, as opposed to all
human tradition in matters, both of faith and practice, we must claim as
containing the distinguishing doctrine of our denomination?a doctrine
for which we are called earnestly to contend.
2. As Baptists, we are to stand
for the ordinances of Christ as He enjoined them upon His followers, the same in
number, and mode, and order, and in symbolic meaning,
unchanged and unchangeable till He come.
3. As Baptists, we are to stand
for a spiritual and regenerated church, and that none shall be received into
Christ?s church, or be welcomed to its ordinances, without confessing a
personal faith in Christ, and giving credible evidence of piety.
The motto on our banner is:
Before the Church, Blood Before Water.
4. To protest, and to use all our
influence against the recognition, on the part of Baptists, of human societies
as scriptural churches, by affiliation, ministerial or ecclesiastical, or any
alliance or co-operation that is susceptible of being apparently or logically
construed by our members, or theirs, or the world, into a recognition of their
ecclesiastical or ministerial equality with Baptist churches.
5. To preserve and perpetuate the
doctrine of the divine origin and sanctity of the churches of Christ, and the
unbroken continuity of Christ?s kingdom, "from the days of John the
Baptist until now," according to the express words of Christ.
6. To preserve and perpetuate the
divine, inalienable, and sole prerogatives of a Christian church
-- 1, To preach the gospel of the son of God; 2, To select and ordain her own
officers; 3, To control absolutely her own ordinances.
7. To preserve and perpetuate the
scriptural design of baptism, and its validity and recognition only when
scripturally administered by a gospel church.
8. To preserve and perpetuate the
true design and symbolism of the Lord?s Supper, as a local church ordinance,
and for but one purpose?the commemoration of the sacrificial death of
Christ?and not as a denominational ordinance, or as an act expressive of our
Christian or personal fellowship, and much less of courtesy towards
9. To preserve and perpetuate the
doctrine of a divinely called and scripturally qualified and ordained ministry,
to proclaim the gospel, and to administer the ordinances, not upon their own
responsibility, but for, and under the direction of, local churches alone.
10. To preserve and perpetuate
that primitive fealty and faithfulness to the truth, that shunned not to declare
the whole counsel of God, and to teach man to observe all things whatsoever
Christ commanded to be believed and obeyed.
Not the belief and advocacy of
one or two of these principles as the marks of the divinely patterned church,
but the cordial reception and advocacy of all of them, constitute a full
"Old Landmark Baptist."
The Reformed Reader Home Page
Copyright 1999, The Reformed Reader, All Rights Reserved