I became a regular contributor to the Tennessee Baptist, a weekly sheet published in Nashville, J. R. Graves, editor. I wrote on various subjects and was requested to write several articles on this question: "Ought Baptists to Recognize Pedobaptist Preachers as Gospel Ministers?" I answered in the negative, and wrote four articles which were afterward published in pamphlet form under the title, "An Old Landmark Re-set." Bro. Graves furnished the title, for he said the "Old Landmark" once stood, but had fallen, and needed to be re-set. So much for the name. This tract had a wide circulation, for the copy now before me has on the title page the words, "Fortieth Thousand." — J. M. Pendleton, Reminiscences of A Long Life, 1891, pp. 103-4.
Pillars of Orthodoxy, or Defenders of the Faith
Ben M. Bogard, editor, 1900
An Old Landmark Reset
Ought Baptists to Invite Pedobaptists to Preach in Their Pulpits?
By J. M. Pendleton, D. D.
In the discussion of this question opinions which have originated from our feelings and partialities should, as far as possible, be discarded. An honest and an earnest desire to know the truth should gain ascendancy of the heart; for then there will be a willingness to adopt the conclusions to which the truth leads. "Buy the truth and sell it not," is the language of reason as well as revelation. There is no advantage in error. So far from it, it is mischievous, hurtful, pernicious. A false principle in science operates injuriously until its unsoundness is detected. An error committed in laying the foundation of a government diffuses its influence throughout the superstructure reared on that foundation. Error can never be harmless, and even should it be apparently so, it is owing to the counteracting presence and operation of truth. There is no truth so important as that which God has revealed in his word. All other truth yields to the superior value of truth divine. The injunction — "Buy the truth and sell it not" — is eminently wise. The truth is a jewel of such transcendent worth that it ought to be
bought at any price and sold at no price. Let him who secures this jewel retain it. Let him not consider its alienation from him a possible thing. Let life be surrendered rather.
The question, Ought Baptists to recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers? must receive either an affirmative or negative answer. It does not admit an ambiguous response. The truth is in the affirmative or negative. And the writer will aim to show that truth requires the question to be answered negatively. Some, perhaps, will say there is great uncharitableness in my object, and that nothing but bigotry could prompt me to attempt the execution of such an object. Others in their sudden astonishment will probably say, "He is beside himself." And others still may exclaim, "He is throwing himself beyond the circumference of the sympathies of all evangelical denominations." "But none of these things move me." "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of man’s judgment: he that judgeth me is the Lord."
To present the subject as impressively as possible, and especially to propitiate Pedobaptists to a calm examination of it, I avail myself of some extracts from the celebrated letter of Dr. Griffin on "Open Communion."* Dr. G. was for many years the distinguished President of Williams College. No Pedobaptist Rabbi of New England had a more enviable reputation. He died beloved and lamented. In his letter he says:
* This letter may be seen in J. G. Fuller's work on Communion, pp. 243-249.
"I agree with the advocates for close communion in two points: 1. That baptism is the initiatory ordinance which introduces us into the visible church; of course, where there is no baptism there are no visible churches. 2. That we ought not to commune with those who are not baptized, and, of course, are not church members, even if we regard them as Christians. Should a pious Quaker so far depart from his principles as to wish to commune with me at the Lord’s table, while he yet refused to be baptized, I could not receive him; because there is such a relationship established between the ordinances that I have no right to separate them; in other words, I have no right to send the sacred elements out of the church. The only question then is, whether those associations of evangelical Christians that call themselves churches, and that practice sprinkling, are real churches of Christ; in other words, whether baptism by sprinkling is valid baptism.
"If nothing but immersion is baptism, there is no visible church except among the Baptists. But certainly God has owned other associations of Christians as churches. He has poured his Spirit out upon them in their assemblies, and what is more decisive, at the table of the Lord; and has communed with them, and built them up by means of that ordinance, which, were they not churches, it would be profanity to approach.
"What is a church? It is a company of believers, in covenant with God, essentially organized according
to the gospel, holding the essential doctrines, and practicing the essential duties. If you demand more, you may not find a church on earth."
It is seen from the foregoing that Dr. Griffin fully admits that "where there is no baptism there are no visible churches." This is the belief of Baptists. Indeed, the declaration may be considered a scriptural axiom. We can reason from it. He says: "The only question then is, whether those associations of evangelical Christians that call themselves churches, and that practice sprinkling, are real churches of Christ." This is the question, plain to those who wish to understand it, but Dr. G. gives it a simplifying touch, and makes it too plain to be misunderstood. He brings the whole matter into this narrow compass — "whether baptism by sprinkling is valid baptism."
No one who deserves the name of Baptist will hesitate to answer, NO. I use Dr. G.’s expression, fully aware of the solecism couched in the phrase, "baptism by sprinkling." It is as philologically objectionable as the phrase, immersion by sprinkling.
It is the universal belief of Baptists that the action of sprinkling or pouring, so far from being baptism, does not bear the remotest resemblance to it. They cannot imagine how any analogy can be detected even with the aid of a theological microscope. Robert Hall, who is considered a liberal Baptist, and whose argument for "mixed communion" is an ingenious web of magnificent sophistry, endorses
immersion as the only baptismal action. He communed with Pedobaptists with the express understanding that he believed them unbaptized. And if he so regarded them every other Baptist certainly does.
"The only question," says Dr. Griffin, "is, whether baptism by sprinkling is valid baptism." It would be very easy to show that it is not, were this the time and place to enter into an investigation of the matter. However, this is unnecessary; for the object of the writer is not so much to convince Pedobaptists that they are in error, as to fasten on Baptists the conviction that they ought not to countenance that error.
Dr. Griffin concedes that if sprinkling is not baptism Pedobaptist organizations are not visible churches of Christ; for, says he, "where there is no baptism there are no visible churches." From this premise, laid down with admirable clearness and candor, every Baptist is irresistibly and inevitably led to the conclusion that there are no visible churches of Christ among Pedobaptists. To show that I do not misconceive or misrepresent Dr. Griffin’s view, I again quote the following: "If nothing but immersion is baptism, there is no visible church except among the Baptists." "Nothing but immersion is baptism," say the Baptists of Asia, Europe, Africa, and the isles of the sea, while in America, from Maine to California, the same declaration is made beside a thousand streams, filling the valleys with its delightful echoes, and making the
hills vocal with its triumphant reverberations. Baptists must, therefore, Dr. G. being judge, look alone among themselves for visible churches of Christ.
The unwarranted substitution of sprinkling for baptism of itself invalidates the claim of Pedobaptist societies to be considered churches of Christ. But there is another fact which renders that claim utterly worthless. It is the element of infant membership in those societies. Why is the distinctive epithet Pedobaptist applied to them? Because they practice what is called infant baptism. They seem, in the judgment of Baptists, at least, to make a specific effort to subvert the foundation principles of New Testament church organization. They introduce unconscious infants into their churches falsely so-called — thus practically superseding the necessity of personal repentance, faith and regeneration in order to membership. If it were the object of Pedobaptists to thwart the purposes and the plan of Jesus Christ in reference to the organic structure of his churches, I cannot conceive how they could do so more effectually than by making infant membership the predominant element of their organizations. It is the predominant element. This arises from the well-known fact which secures an increase of population, namely, that there are more children than parents. How then can it come within the limits of the wildest possibility for a Pedobaptist society to be a church of Christ, when the infant enters more largely than the adult element into its composition? True, the members of such a society
say they are in favor of believers’ baptism. This, however, is a mistake. It is transparent sophistry. For let the sprinkled infant become an adult and believe on Jesus Christ—then when Baptists insist on the baptism of such a believer, behold Pedobaptists wish the sprinkling of the unconscious infant to be received instead of the baptism of the believer! Yet, they say, they are in favor of the baptism of believers! Greatly in favor of it, truly! They allow the sprinkling of a babe to supersede the baptism of an accountable agent! And they know, too, that if their principles should universally prevail, the baptism of believers would be banished from the world. It would become an obsolete thing. There would be only a historical knowledge of it.
Pedobaptists, then, so far as an overwhelming majority of their subjects of baptism is concerned, have no baptism. They have improper subjects, even if the action were right. But the action is wrong. They sprinkle or pour water, refusing to do what Christ commanded. This remark applies to the great body of Pedobaptists. Some of them, it is true, will immerse rather than lose valuable accessions to their societies. But the opposition to immersion is becoming very decided. May the day soon come when Pedobaptist societies shall universally refuse to practice it. Then the parties in the baptismal controversy will stand in their proper places.
If Pedobaptists fail to exemplify the precepts of
the New Testament in reference to the subjects and the action of baptism, they have no churches among them. They have their organizations, but they are not gospel organizations. It will be said that there are good, pious men among Pedobaptists. This is cheerfully conceded, but it proves nothing as to the evangelical nature of those organizations. There are good, pious men in Masonic Lodges, Bible Societies, Temperance Societies, and Colonization Societies; but Masonic Lodges, Bible Societies, Temperance Societies, and Colonization Societies are not churches of Christ. Nor are Pedobaptist societies.
In this day of spurious liberality and false charity much is said about evangelical denominations and evangelical churches. What is an evangelical denomination? A denomination whose faith and practice correspond with the gospel. What is an evangelical church? A church formed according to the New Testament model. Pedobaptist denominations, therefore, are not evangelical. Pedobaptist churches, as they are called, are not evangelical. There is supposed to be a wonderful virtue in the epithet evangelical. It is used as a balm for many a wound, as a plaster for many a sore. Its application to a denomination is thought to bring the denomination at once within the pale of respectability and fellowship. It is used with injurious latitude of meaning. It gives currency to many doctrines and practices which deserve emphatic condemnation. "Evangelical Alliances," so called, may, for aught I know, have done some good work; but there is danger lest
they infuse greater vitality and energy into the errors of those who enter the co-partnership. The religious nomenclature of the age requires serious revision. It is high time to call things by names expressive of their properties. The language of Ashdod should not be heard within the precincts of Zion. Nor should the language of Zion be employed in describing what belongs to Ashdod. More, perhaps, is meant by "the form of sound words" than most persons imagine. But to return from this apparent parent digression.
If Pedobaptist societies are not churches of Christ, whence do their ministers derive their authority to preach? Is there any scriptural authority to preach which does not come through a church of Christ? And if Pedobaptist ministers are not in Christian churches, have they any right to preach? That is to say, have they any authority according to the gospel? They are doubtless authorized by the forms and regulations of their respective societies. But do they act under evangelical authority? It is perfectly evident to the writer that they do not. It would be strange indeed for them to act under a commission, some of the injunctions of which they utterly disregard. The ordinance of baptism in its action and subject they pervert. They change the order of the ascending Saviour’s last commission, and administer what they call baptism to infants who give no proof of discipleship, and who are naturally incapable of going through the process of discipleship. Are we at liberty to bid those men "God speed" and aid
them in deceiving the world, by acknowledging their societies as churches, and themselves as veritable gospel ministers, who invert the order established by the Head of the church?
Would Pedobaptists recognize as a minister of Christ a good man whom they consider unbaptized, and consequently disconnected from what they would term every "branch of the church?" They would not. They would say to such a man, "We would not judge your heart — we do not deny your piety, etc., but we cannot countenance you as a preacher as long as you remain unbaptized and sustain no ecclesiastical relation." This is in substance what they would say, and I ask if Baptists should not look on Pedobaptist ministers just as the latter would look on unbaptized men who might choose to go forth and preach? If Pedobaptists are unwilling to recognize as ministers of the gospel men who, in their judgment, have never been baptized, why should Baptists be expected to do so? Consistency, so far from requiring it, requires the very opposite. Pedobaptists cannot reasonably complain of us, for in this we act on the principle which their practice sanctions. Believing their preachers unbaptized, we cannot with the shadow of propriety recognize them as gospel ministers. If Jesus Christ intended that his ministers should be the servants of the church — and have the sanction of the church in their work — who can be a minister of Christ, according to the gospel, without belonging to the church? No one will say that a church can send forth a man to preach who
does not belong to her body, and over whom she has no jurisdiction. The writer does not say there are not pious, devoted men in the Pedobaptist ministry, but he denies that they have scriptural authority to preach. He denies in reference to them just what they would deny in reference to a pious Quaker minister. The so-called baptism of a Pedobaptist preacher is no more authority for preaching than the no-baptism of a Quaker. The former is as evidently out of the church as the latter. It is as well to discard an ordinance altogether as to pervert and caricature it. Neither Pedobaptists nor Quakers have baptism among them, and "where there is no baptism there are no visible churches."
Now, if Pedobaptist preachers do not belong to the church of Christ, they ought not to be recognized as ministers of Christ. But they are so recognized wherever Baptist ministers invite them to preach or exchange pulpits with them. As to calling on them to pray, it is a different matter; for men ought to pray whether they are in the church or not.* But they ought not to preach unless they have membership in the church of Christ. To this all will agree, who have scriptural baptism, as well as those who substitute it for that which is no baptism. Baptists and Pedobaptists differ materially. Their views are
* But to invite them into our pulpits to pray, is to recognize them before the world as gospel ministers, since custom consecrates the pulpit to acknowledged gospel ministers, and therefore, when we act with them in a ministerial capacity, speak of them as gospel ministers, or receive their acts as those of gospel ministers, we plainly and "more loudly than with trumpets," proclaim them gospel ministers, and consequently their societies as gospel churches and if so why not, commune with them? - J. R. Graves.
totally dissimilar as to the design of baptism, the elements that enter into the composition of a gospel church, the form of government, etc. These differences are by no means nonessential; but a recognition of Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers is a virtual proclamation of their non essentiality. The people so understand it. They are ready to say that there can be no material differences between the views of ministers who exchange pulpits and perform other acts of ministerial recognition. And thus the custom of exchanging pulpits, originating, as it probably did, in the excess of an unscriptural charity, has a tendency to obliterate the line of demarcation between truth and error. Many a man no doubt has become a Pedobaptist because Baptists have so acted as to make the impression that there is no great difference between them and their opponents. Alas, that there are some Baptists whose disposition to compromise with adversaries leads them to act as if they were not only ashamed of their distinctive principles, but wished everybody else to be. I am heartily ashamed of such Baptists.
If it is not absurd to suppose such a thing, let it be supposed that there were persons in the apostolic times corresponding to modern Pedobaptists. Can any Baptists believe that Paul, beholding the practices of such persons — seeing the sprinkling of infants substituted for the immersion of believers — would recognize the ministers of such sects as ministers of Christ, acting according to the gospel? Surely not. Paul would have protested against such
a caricature of the Christian system. He would have said to such ministers, "Will ye not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?" The great apostle would have done nothing that could have been construed into a connivance at error. And why should Baptists now?
We have reasons "to thank God and take courage" that our number in the United States is now over 4,000,000 members, and that it is constantly increasing. But would we not have been much more numerous than we are if we had had no more religious intercourse with Pedobaptists than in the days of the persecution in Virginia and Massachusetts? There cannot be a rational doubt of it. All compromises with Pedobaptists have been disadvantageous to Baptists, and they will always be. These dishonorable compromises have ever involved an implied understanding that Baptists were not to preach the whole truth on the subject of baptism. The teachings of the New Testament on this subject are held in abeyance. No man, it is true, can preach the whole gospel and leave baptism out; but in these Union Meetings it is thought best to leave it out for the sake of harmonious cooperation. It is to be hoped that the day of these Union Meetings is passed away, never to return. It is time for it to be understood that Baptists and Pedobaptists can not "walk together," because they are not "agreed." The impossibility of "walking together" without agreement was recognized in the days of the prophets, and why should there be a vain effort to
make an impossibility then a possibility now? Every such effort is unwise, and involves on the part of Baptists a sacrifice of principle.
It is often said by Pedobaptists that Baptists act inconsistently in inviting their ministers to preach with them, while they fail to recognize them at the Lord’s table. I acknowledge the inconsistency. It is a flagrant inconsistency. No one ought to deny it. Booth, in his "Vindication of the Baptists from the charge of Bigotry in refusing to commune with Pedobaptists at the Lord’s table," does not and cannot refute this charge of inconsistency. It defies refutation, and the only way to dispose of it is to take away the foundation on which it rests. Let Baptists cease to recognize Pedobaptist preachers as ministers of the gospel, by inviting them to preach, and the charge of inconsistency will be heard no more.
Our refusal to commune with Pedobaptists grows out of the fact that they are unbaptized, and out of the church. We say they have no right to commune as unbaptized persons. Pedobaptists, however, have as much right to commune unbaptized as they have to preach unbaptized. That is to say, they have no right to do either. The Baptist argument on "Communion" possesses great power, but it is paralyzed whenever Pedobaptists can say, "You invite our ministers to your pulpits, but you do not invite us to commune with you." Let Baptists repudiate the inconsistency that most of them have been guilty of for half a century, and then their Defense of Close
Communion will be perfectly triumphant. It will stand a tower of strength, against which Pedobaptists will vainly turn their artillery. No Baptist who recognizes Pedobaptist preachers as ministers will ever write a consistent Treatise on Communion. It is high time for all our brethren to know this. Consistency requires that while we fail to invite Pedobaptists to the Lord’s table, we should not maintain ministerial intercourse with their preachers.
And another thing follows: The official acts of Pedobaptist preachers have no validity in them. Their falsely so-called baptisms are a nullity — their ordinances are a nullity. Immersions administered by them ought to be repudiated by Baptists. How is it? Pedobaptist ministers are not in the visible kingdom of Christ. How then can they induct others into it by baptism ? Can they introduce others where they have not gone themselves? Would it not be a violation of all governmental analogies to allow those to act as officers of a kingdom who are not citizens of that kingdom? It may be argued that in case of necessity an irregular act is not an invalid act. As to immersions by Pedobaptist preachers there is no necessity, and never was. There are Baptist ministers enough to administer baptism, and they love to do it. It is high time for those who ridicule immersion and yet perform it rather than lose a valuable member, to be discountenanced. They deserve the contempt of all honorable men. They are willing, for selfish and sectarian purposes, to perform an act in the name of the Sacred Three,
and yet make light of that act! Such men I leave in the hands of a merciful God.
I have now attempted to establish the position that Baptists ought not to recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers. Whether I have accomplished my object, I leave for others to say. In conclusion I will notice some of the objections which will probably be urged against the view here presented. Pedobaptists will say, This doctrine repels us from our "Baptist brethren." The time has been when this would have been a recommendation of, rather than an objection to, the doctrine. In other days repulsion from, was considered more desirable than attraction to, "Baptist brethren." The sentiment was once fearfully prevalent that Baptists were more worthy of prison, fagots and death, than of pulpits and communion tables. What country has not witnessed their martyr-sufferings? What soil has not been stained with their blood? They have been persecuted by Rome Pagan and by Rome Papal; for the latter inherited all the cruelty of the former. Rome has ever found FIRE her most effectual argument.
In the early part of the sixteenth century the light of Luther’s Reformation began to dawn on Europe, and Baptists probably began to flatter themselves that the days of their persecution were ended. But this was not so. Luther was not their friend — Zuinglius thought them worthy of death — and the true idea of religious liberty never penetrated Calvin’s mind. These eminent Reformers were in several
respects more nearly allied to Romanists than to Baptists.
And who does not know that Protestant England has had a prominent agency in the work of persecution? Who does not remember the inhuman saying of Rogers at the burning of a Baptist? "Burning alive," said he, "was no cruel death, but easy enough."
It seems from testimony not to be disputed* that Edward Wightman was the last person "that suffered this cruel kind of death [burning] in England; and it may be remarked that William Sawtre, the first that suffered in that manner for his religious opinions, was supposed to have denied infant baptism so that this sect had the honor both of leading the way, and bringing up the rear of all the martyrs who were burnt alive in England, as well as that, a great number of those who suffered this death for their religion, in the two hundred years between, were of this denomination."
This is Pedobaptist testimony, and let it speak for itself.
Who has not read the story of Baptist suffering in the Colony of Virginia before the Revolution? There are persons now alive whose ancestors preached through prison grates in that renowned Commonwealth. And the sterile soil of Massachusetts has been enriched with Baptist blood. Puritans shed it—men who braved the dangers of the deep that they might enjoy religious liberty. This
* See the "Religious World Displayed," vol. 3, p. 66. By Rev. Robert Adam, Minister of the Church of England.
is perhaps the most paradoxical fact recorded in history. The Revolution established the principle of religious liberty, and since then Baptists have so risen in the scale of respectability that sects, which once looked on them with disdain, now court alliance with them. Beware, Baptists, beware. Whipping and fining and imprisonment are not the only methods by which you can be injured. There is the embrace of apparent love which is the embrace of death. Error loves to ally itself with truth and the interests of truth suffer by every such alliance.
It will probably be said the position of the author of this treatise is in conflict with the charity of the gospel. If so, "it is a grievous fault." There is no term used more frequently than charity—there is none more strangely misunderstood. A man of charity is generally supposed to possess what are termed "liberal principles," and those who have these liberal principles, in nine cases out of ten, have no fixed principles at all. Charity rejoiceth IN THE TRUTH." That is a spurious charity which does not recognize truth as a jewel of priceless value. It is a misfortune that the severance of truth and charity has ever been considered a possible thing.
True charity will prompt Baptists not to connive at the errors of Pedobaptists, but to protest perpetually against those errors. And this is done most effectually by a decided advocacy of the truth and an emphatic condemnation of whatever militates against it. How can Baptists utter a consistent, sensible, effective protest against the many errors of Pedobaptism
if they recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers ? It cannot be done. But a refusal to recognize them in this capacity is an impressive condemnation of their errors. True charity prompts this course.
Some faint-hearted Baptists may say that if the sentiment advocated by the writer is made practical it will bring great unpopularity and odium on the Baptist denomination. This objection is scarcely worthy of consideration. The question refers not to unpopularity and odium, but to right and truth. What is right? is the inquiry. What does a jealous maintenance of truth demand of us? Popularity is a bauble, dependent for its existence on the capricious direction public opinion takes. Jesus our Saviour was unpopular. His doctrines were unpopular. The first Christians were unpopular. We shall have illustrious predecessors in unpopularity. And the advantage of our consistency will more than neutralize the disadvantages of unpopularity.
Odium! What Baptist is afraid of odium? If our people are not yet familiarized with it they ought to be; for the very day Paul was taken a prisoner to Rome our sect "was everywhere spoken against." There has been time enough and opportunity enough from then until now to learn to bear odium patiently. We see the law of adaptation illustrated all around us. Light is adapted to the eye — sound to the ear — birds to the air — fishes to the water and Baptists to odium. There is no cause of complaint.
It will probably be said that the tendency of these views will be to interfere with the social relations of neighborhoods and communities. The writer thinks otherwise. Why should there be any rupture of social ties? There is no necessity for it. I will illustrate: The officers of Masonic lodges are not invited into Odd Fellows halls and vice versa. This is no interference with the social relations of the two orders.
Episcopal preachers do not recognize the preachers of other denominations as gospel ministers, nor do I know that the social relations of neighborhoods are affected thereby. There is no good reason why they should be. I would have Baptists, as neighbors and citizens, to exemplify every social virtue; but let them not do that which will inevitably be construed into a connivance at what they deem material errors. The question of questions must be, WHAT IS RIGHT? AND THEY MUST DARE TO DO RIGHT, LET CONSEQUENCES BE AS THEY MAY.
Of Reformers, ALIAS Campbellites, I have said nothing, because, as they reject infant baptism, they cannot be placed in the same class with Pedobaptists. Important arguments, conclusive against the latter, would be without force or pertinency in their application to the former. I take it for granted that ministerial and religious intercourse between Baptists and Campbellites would be utterly unjustifiable. They differ fundamentally in their views of repentance, faith, regeneration, justification, the influence of the Holy Spirit, the design of baptism,
etc., etc. They are not "agreed," and they cannot walk together. An attempt to do so would involve deep hypocrisy and a culpable sacrifice of principle.
If, for the sentiments presented in this treatise, the author should be stigmatized as a bigot, while the justice of the charge is positively denied, he is willing, if need be, to wear the stigma till death shall efface it.
APPENDIX The doctrine of the "Old Landmark" has been written against and repudiated by able men. If the many efforts that have been made to prove it false have been unsuccessful, the fact of itself furnishes prima facia evidence that it is true. This little treatise has certainly undergone a severe scrutiny. By some objectors its leading views have been emphatically condemned; by others they, have been virtually sanctioned, though the author’s conclusions from those views have been disavowed. I ought, perhaps, to feel myself complimented that so many distinguished Doctors have considered the "Landmark" worthy of their consideration. Drs. Waller, Burrows, Cosssitt, Hill, Lynd and Everts have employed their pens against it, while Prof. Farnam has had no small share in the discussion. I know of no gentleman more worthy than he of the title LL.D. Others have written against the "Landmark" to whom I shall not refer particularly, because their objections will be met in the response to the individuals named, and because some of them have written over fictitious signatures.
It will be remembered that the "Landmark" was first published in the Tennessee Baptist, and when about to be issued in pamphlet form it was advertised with other productions under the caption of New Issues. Nothing was meant by the phrase, "New Issues," except new publications. I refer to this little matter that the reader may fully understand the allusions of Dr. Waller in the Western Recorder, September 20, 1854. Referring to the views presented in the "Landmark" he says:"These views are something new under the sun. They are published as ‘New Issues.’ They are not the sentiments of those Baptists who, in the dark days of Popery and persecution, are now regarded as the witnesses of the truth, when the whole world ‘wondered after the beast.’ The Baptists who, in England, when Presbyterianism had the ascendency, and who were sent to dungeons and to death because they were Baptists, it is well known never taught such doctrine. Nor did the Baptists of New England, nor the Baptists of Virginia, when persecuted in every way that ingenuity could invent or malice could inflict, by Puritan and Episcopalian bigotry, assert these 'new issues.’"
Dr. W. died in about one month after writing the foregoing. He never had an opportunity to explain some things which need explanation, and to enlarge on some points which certainly require amplification. It is useless now to conjecture what he would have written had he lived. There can be no reasonable doubt that the work of demolishing the "Landmark"
would have been committed chiefly to his hands. His success in that work would have been another matter.
What are the "views" contained in the "Landmark?" That Pedobaptist societies are not gospel churches and that Baptists should not, therefore, recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers. It is strange if these "views" were not entertained by Baptists in the dark age of Popery. "Were the opposite views entertained? Was it then believed that the Pedobaptist societies were gospel churches? Where is the evidence? Were Pedobaptist preachers then recognized as gospel ministers? Where is the proof? Had Dr. W. lived he would no doubt have sought for the proof, but he would, I imagine, have sought in vain.
It is stranger still if the English Baptists when "Presbyterianism had the ascendency" and consigned them "to dungeons and to death BECAUSE THEY WERE BAPTISTS," were opposed to the views set forth in the "Landmark." Presbyterian preachers, be it known, had much to do in instigating the persecution which drove Baptists into "dungeons," etc., and did those Baptists recognize those preachers as gospel ministers? Did they while musing in prison feel reconciled to their lot because members of gospel churches had decreed that lot? Were their chains less galling because fastened on them by order of the members of a so-called EVANGELICAL church? When they were "sent to death because they were Baptists," (Dr. W. intimates no other
reason) did the fires burn less severely because they were EVANGELICALLY kindled? Did those Baptists say the men who have instigated this persecuting policy and deem us fit for the stake Simply BECAUSE WE ARE BAPTISTS, are gospel ministers, and it mitigates the agonies of death to know that they are inflicted with the approbation of the members of gospel churches! I venture to say such views as these never alleviated the excruciating pains of a Baptist martyr.
But it is strangest of it all if, when Baptists of New England and Virginia were "persecuted in every way that ingenuity could invent or malice inflict," they considered their persecutors members of gospel churches, and the most influential of them gospel ministers! Can credulity itself believe this?
Did those Baptists in New England who were whipped until the blood ran from their lacerated backs to the ground say that it was all done in accordance with the wishes of an EVANGELICAL church? Dr. W.’s grandfather preached through the grates of a Virginia prison. "Episcopalian bigotry" would not allow him to preach elsewhere, and was unwilling for him to preach there. Did that persecuted man of God look on Episcopalians as "a branch of the church of Christ?" No, he regarded the Episcopal hierarchy as a part and parcel of Babylon the great. How could the persecuted Baptists of Virginia recognize the "parsons" of the "Old Dominion" as gospel ministers To me it is inconceivable.
Dr. Waller, to make out a strong case, insists that Baptists when suffering the most cruel persecutions have recognized Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers — have so recognized them when those preachers have had a prominent agency in the work of persecution. I dissent emphatically from this view, but suppose I were to concede, for argument’s sake, what Dr. W. contended for. What then? I would urge most strenuously that such a belief on the part of Baptists would have prevented all the persecutions they ever suffered from so-called evangelical Pedobaptists.
Why were they persecuted by Pedobaptists? Because they could not conform to views and practices of Pedobaptists. They were punished for nonconformity. Why could not they conform? And why? Because they did not consider Pedobaptist societies gospel churches, and did not recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers. They saw not in Pedobaptist organizations the elements of which a New Testament church is composed. They saw in every such organization a departure from the teachings of Christ — a departure which they could not sanction, even though their blood was the price to be paid for their refusal to do so. But they could have sanctioned anything they deemed evangelical — they could have fraternized with any preachers they considered set apart to the ministry according to the gospel. The very fact that Baptists have been persecuted by Pedobaptists proves that there are material and fundamental differences between them.
Would the latter have persecuted the former for differences considered immaterial? Would the former have submitted to the persecution of the latter for unimportant differences! Surely not. They would have yielded all points of difference had they been considered nonessential. On the other hand, the persecuted Baptists regarded the views and practices of the Pedobaptists so contrary to the gospel that conformity to those views and practices was looked upon as more fearful than stripes, imprisonment and death. HENCE Baptist blood was poured forth like water. HENCE the numerous martyr-fires that have burned so brightly in times past. Indeed, it may be said for substance, that Baptists have been persecuted by Pedobaptists because they considered themselves and were considered by their persecutors "Landmark" men.
How to reconcile the quotation I have made from Dr. Waller with his article on the "Reformation," as published in the first volume of the Christian Repository, I do not know. In that article he says: "We have shown from the Scriptures, as interpreted by the Reformers themselves, that the Papism is neither THE church nor a BRANCH of the church." Nor is this all. He refers to the Lutheran, Presbyterian and Episcopal churches, so-called, as daughters of the "mother of harlots," and argues that in the evidence of Baptists (that is, those holding Baptist views, though not always called Baptists), from the days of the Apostles, is illustrated the truth of the Saviour’s declaration, "And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," that is, the church.
Again says Dr. W., "If the Romish church was the true church, then the founders of the Reformed churches were deposed and excommunicated; and if She was not, then they have no ministry, no ordinances, no ecclesiastical existence. If she was not the Church of Christ, then they are not the churches of Christ, themselves being witnesses." Let it be remembered that the Papism is neither THE church nor a branch of the church." Then it follows irresistibly from Dr. W.’s logic that "the Reformed Churches are not the churches of Christ." Aye, he says, they have NO MINISTRY, NO ORDINANCES, NO ECCLESIASTICAL EXISTENCE." This sentence is, to say the least, as sweeping and denunciatory of Pedobaptist organizations as anything in the "Landmark." How its author could have opposed the doctrine of the "Landmark" without retracting this sentence (and indeed the whole of his article on the "Reformation," I profess not to understand. If Pedobaptist societies have "no ministry," ought their preachers to be recognized as gospel ministers? The question really amounts to this: Ought they to be recognized as being what they are not? And the substance of this question is, Ought hypocrisy to be practiced? which everybody will answer in the negative. If Pedobaptists have "no ordinances," are we to recognize their ordinances, so-called, as gospel ordinances? Surely not. Again, if they have "no ecclesiastical existence," shall Baptists recognize their societies as churches of Christ — churches organized
according to the gospel? This would be absurd; for it would be recognizing as a fact a thing that has no existence. So much for Dr. Waller’s opposition to the "Landmark."*
Dr. Burrows, pastor of the First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, and editor of the Baptist Memorial, notices the "Landmark" in his paper of February, 1855. He is opposed to the doctrine it inculcates, because he says, "There is no necessary Scriptural connection between baptism and preaching. We shall adhere in this matter to the broad license given in our authorized standard, ‘Let him that beareth say come.'"
When I saw this notice of the "Landmark" I proposed to Dr. B., through the Tennessee Baptist, a series of questions, to which he courteously responded in the March number of his paper. The first five questions had reference to the Scriptural priority of baptism to preaching. Hence Dr. Burrows answers them together. He says: "To the first five we reply, that in all probability there were no unbaptized preachers in apostolic days. There was no controversy on the manner of baptism, and consequently all who united with the churches were immersed ‘in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'"
If this is not an abandonment of the position that "there is no necessary Scriptural connection between
* I have considered it due to the interests of truth to make this reference to the writings of Dr. Waller. His very name is regarded by multitudes as a "tower of strength." I think in his article on the "Reformation" he appears as a "Landmark" Baptist.
baptism and preaching," I do not understand the force of language. If preachers in apostolic days "were baptized—if "all who united with the churches were immersed" what Scriptural authority have unbaptized men to preach now? Must not the rule which governed THEN govern NOW? Or are we left without rule? There is a Scriptural connection between baptism and preaching. Jesus was baptized before he preached; and in this, as in other respects, he left us an example that we should follow his steps. I will not here enlarge on this topic, for I consider Dr. B. as having surrendered the point be first made. As to the expression, "Let him that heareth say come," it is difficult for me to attempt SERIOUSLY to show that it contains no authority for an unbaptized man to preach. It has no more reference to preaching than it has to praying or singing or shouting. Let the opposite view be taken, and it follows that when a wicked man, an impenitent sinner, hears, he must preach! "Let him [whether saint or sinner] that heareth say come." A wicked father may with propriety speak to his children of the "great salvation," but he must not become a preacher. Who will say that he ought?
One of my questions to Dr. B. was in these words: "Had there been Pedobaptist preachers in the apostolic age, would Paul have recognized them as gospel ministers?" His answer to that: "If Paul did rejoice when wicked men preached the gospel ‘through envy and strife,’ he would doubtless have
rejoiced too to know that it was preached by a godly Pedobaptist, if such an anomaly had been known in his day."
This answer does not fully meet the question. Paul’s rejoicing that the gospel was preached was one thing — his recognizing those who preached it as gospel ministers was another thing; otherwise he must have recognized those "wicked men" who preached "through envy and strife" as gospel ministers, which is absurd.
Dr. B. says: "We cover the ground of the whole series as well as the last three questions by the following lessons from the inspired word: ‘And John said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followed not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not, for there is no man who shall do a miracle in my name that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.’
'Some, indeed, preach Christ, even of envy and strife, and some also of good will. What then? Notwithstanding every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.'"
And what have these Scriptures to do with the recognition of Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Dr. B. must concede this; for he thinks a "Pedobaptist" would have been an "anomaly" in the apostolic age. It would be well for the editor of the "Memorial," when he writes on this subject again, to inform his readers how what would have been an "anomaly"
in the days of the apostles can be metamorphosed into a gospel minister in the present age. I think it will be generally admitted that though Dr. Burrows has made an attempt to remove the "Landmark" lie has not succeeded. It still stands.
Dr. Cossitt, a prominent Cumberland Presbyterian, and a Professor of Theology in the Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, has been pleased to employ his pen against the "Landmark." He attempts to show that a "rejection of Pedobaptist ministers and churches is inconsistent with the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief."*
I take pleasure in saying that, as a courteous controversialist, I know of no one who excels Dr. Cossitt. It need not be feared that a discussion will, on his part, degenerate into those personalities which are so offensive to good taste. I recognize him as an elevated and a refined gentleman.
While I cheerfully say all this, and would by no means treat Dr. C. with disrespect, I shall occupy but little space in replying to him because the proposition he aims to establish is, as it seems to me, self-evidently untenable. How can a refusal to recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers, and Pedobaptist societies as gospel churches, be "inconsistent with the right of private judgment in matters of religious belief?" Inconsistent with the right of whose private judgment? That of Pedobaptists? How so? They are left to think for themselves. There is no interference with any right of * See Tennessee Baptist, February 17th and 24th, 1855.
private judgment or public action. Baptists have the right of private judgment as well as others, and if) in the exercise of that right, they come to the conclusion that they ought not to recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers, must they not act out their convictions? How can they as honest, Christian men do otherwise? They have the right of interpreting the Scriptures for themselves, and this right involves the kindred right of acting in accordance with their interpretations.
How the sentiment of the "Landmark" is "inconsistent with the right of private judgment," &c., utterly defies my comprehension. If it interferes in the least with the right of private judgment in Baptists or Pedobaptists, it is to me strangely inconceivable.
As to the effort of Dr. C. to construe my repudiating sentiment " (as he pleased to term it) into a persecution of Pedobaptists, I have only to say it is singular persecution! Do we persecute men by letting them alone? O that the millions of Baptist martyrs bad only been persecuted in this way — BY BEING LET ALONE! Dr. C. does not consider himself a persecutor of Unitarians, Universalists, etc., because he has no religious intercourse with them. And he is not. How then can he make me a persecutor because I do not recognize Pedobaptist preachers as gospel ministers? Will he say Unitarians, Universalists, etc., are errorists? So I say of Presbyterians, Methodists, etc. I do not believe that the errors of Presbyterians, Methodists, etc., are so serious
as those of Unitarians, etc. There are graduations in error. But as to the principle involved there is no difference. Dr. C. refuses to recognize a Unitarian preacher as a gospel minister. Why? Because in the exercise of the rights of private judgment he decides that the errors of such a preacher require and justify the refusal. This is true of me in regard to Presbyterian preachers. Dr. C. remonstrates against this, but in so doing he only condemns in me what he allows in himself. And in condemning me he ought to take care lest he infringe on "the right of private judgment," of which he is so jealous.
The truth is, there is no room for controversy between Dr. C. and myself, except on the baptismal question. We both believe that baptism is a prerequisite to membership in a visible church of Christ. We also believe that church membership is a prerequisite to a scriptural consecration to the work of the ministry. Wherein, then, do we differ? As to the question, What is baptism? and who are entitled to it? With his views he supposes persons baptized and in the church whom I regard unbaptized and out of the church. He therefore considers those eligible to the ministry of the gospel who in my judgment are scripturally ineligible. The difference between us is about baptism, and as this is not the place for a discussion of this topic, I take a most respectful leave of Dr. Cossitt.
Dr. Hill, editor of the Presbyterian Herald, Louisville, Ky., has expressed his opposition to the "Landmark."
He admits, however, that the position advocated is consistent with Baptist principles — that the logic is with what he terms the "Baptist High Church party" — that the error of "Landmark" men is not in their conclusions, but in their premises — the same premises which lead to close communion, etc. I can but be gratified that a gentleman of Dr. Hill’s learning and intelligence makes these admissions. As I have addressed a letter to Dr. H. which will be found in Appendix No. 3, I say no more of him in this connection.
Dr. Lynd, President of the Western Theological Institute, and one of the leading Baptist ministers of Kentucky, has identified himself with the opponents of the "Landmark." He has expressed his regret that the little treatise was ever written, and seems to think its author will regret it too. Dr. Lynd’s decided opposition to the "Landmark" is very remarkable in view of the following facts:
In the "Cross and Baptist Journal" of April 15, 1836, he expresses himself thus: "I assume the position that Baptists and Pedobaptists differ on ESSENTIAL points, ESSENTIAL to the honor of Jesus Christ and the future prosperity of the churches. And I would have the community understand it. Have Baptists forgotten the ground which they occupy? Have they forgot that the difference involves the constitution and government of gospel churches?" Again, "I have feared for some time that the union of Baptists with other denominations would prove to be an alliance of much ultimate evil.
Who would have thought that after writing thus Dr. L. would oppose such a separation between Baptists and Pedobaptists as the "Landmark" recommends? But this is not all.
In the Western Recorder of January 10, 1855, Dr. Lynd uses the following language: "The constituents of a church, according to primitive model, are such persons as have been baptized upon a credible profession of repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." In the same paper of April 25, 1855, he says: "Churches organized, according to primitive usage, are those in which the constituents are immersed believers, called the saved and the sanctified. Ministers of the gospel were appointed by the churches, and recognized, fellowshipped, and set apart to full official authority, by the elders of the churches."
From this definition of a gospel church, it follows irresistibly that Pedobaptist societies are not gospel churches. They are not composed of ‘such persons as have been baptized upon a credible profession of repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." The "constituents" of these societies are not "immersed believers." From the premises of Dr. Lynd, as well as those of Dr. Waller, the conclusion is inevitable that Pedobaptists can lay no valid claim to "ecclesiastical existence." This is the doctrine of the "Landmark," and why is it worse in me to publish it than in Drs. Lynd and Waller?
But, says Dr. L., "ministers of the gospel were
appointed by the churches," etc. The persons appointed were of course members of the churches, or otherwise the churches would have no jurisdiction over them. If they were members of the churches, they were, according to Dr. L.'s definition of a church, "immersed believers." So be it. Then it follows that in apostolic times none were appointed "ministers of the gospel" who were not church members, and consequently "immersed believers." And here the perplexing question arises: Can men now be ministers of the gospel who are not members of churches formed according to the gospel? I say they cannot; and, therefore, they ought not to be so recognized. This is the position of the "Landmark."
Some, however, have made a distinction between a minister of the gospel and a preacher of the gospel. They say a minister must belong to a gospel church, having been immersed on a profession of faith, but that a preacher does not of necessity belong to a gospel church, and that immersion on a profession of faith is not a prerequisite to preaching. But can it be shown that unbaptized men — and consequently sustaining no church relation — were, in primitive times, permitted to preach? Was there a class of men analogous to modern Pedobaptist preachers who were not recognized as ministers of the gospel, but were considered preachers, and invited to preach, and allowed to immerse, though never immersed themselves? The truth is, there is no scriptural authority for making a distinction
between a minister of the gospel and a preacher of the gospel. Paul speaks of himself as a "minister" and a "Preacher," and says to Timothy, "Preach the word," and in the same chapter, "Make full proof of thy ministry." Dr. L. says that " Ministers of the gospel were appointed by the churches." I ask if preachers preached without such appointment? To suppose they did is an absurdity. We have only to read the Acts of the Apostles to see the priority of church-membership to preaching the gospel.
After reading the preceding extracts from Dr. Lynd, the reader will be surprised to know that in the Western Recorder of May 16, 1855, he says:
"I have never denied that Pedobaptist societies are churches, or that their elders are gospel ministers. I hope I never shall, be it orthodox or heterodox." Dr. L. had lost his usual equanimity when he wrote this. For him to hope never to make a certain denial, though it be heterodox not to make it, is doing injustice both to his head and heart.
How Pedobaptist "elders" are "gospel ministers," when, in apostolic times, "ministers were appointed by the churches," and the churches were composed of "immersed believers," is too much for mortal comprehension. I could as easily understand how two and four make twenty. Dr. L., however, kindly prophesies in the Recorder of June 6, 1855, that when I shall have "taken a wider theological range" I will change my position. Alas, that so many take a "theological range" wider than the
New Testament! If I reason from premises that Dr. L. has laid down I must conclude that the doctrine of the "Landmark" is true; if I conclude that it is false, I must first repudiate his premises, and then take a "theological range" beyond the limits of truth. From taking such a "range" I must be excused. I protest most earnestly and solemnly against it.*
Dr. Everts, pastor of the Walnut Street Baptist Church, Louisville, Kentucky, has perhaps written at greater length against the "Old Landmark" than any other individual. His views may be seen in the Christian Repository for January, April and May, 1855. In the January number Dr. E. thus expresses himself: "In its Scriptural and primary distinction, a church is an assembly of believers, called out of the world." Then it follows that baptized infants constitute no part of the church of Christ. They do not enter into its composition at all. Pedobaptists, however, say they do. Dr. E. then must of necessity admit that Pedobaptist organizations are churches in a sense which they themselves do not recognize. For we shall see that he concedes these organizations to be churches. Again, says Dr. E., "As believers they are naturally combined under some form of discipline and ordinances." What "form of discipline and ordinances?" I ask. Must it not be the "form" which the Scriptures enjoin? Believers, in their regeneration, are called
* To understand fully the references to Dr. Lynd the reader will remember that several communications from him and the author of the "Landmark" have been published in the Western Recorder.
out from the world in one sense, and in the most important sense, too. God looks upon them as separate from the world. But then there is to be a visible separation from the world. There is to be the combination to which Dr. E. refers. How is the visible separation to take place? How is the combination to be effected? Is it not by baptism? And if so, can there be a church organization without baptism? Let all the Doctors of Divinity in Christendom answer. Dr. Griffin said truly, "Where there is no baptism there are no visible churches."
"But" says Dr. E., "the regimen or discipline does not enter into the essence of the church. Without these they [believers] may be saved, or belong to the church universal." Yes, but the discussion is not about the "church universal," but about visible churches of Christ. There is no universal visible church; and if the universal invisible church, composed of all the saved, has what Dr. E. calls "form," it is impossible to know what it is. We have no idea of "form" apart from visibility.
Of Pedobaptist societies Dr. E. says: "They are churches, but churches imperfectly organized and disciplined; churches in partial error and disobedience; churches irregular and unscriptural in their ordinances and polity. What shall I say to this? We can learn from the Scriptures alone what a church is, for the Scriptures alone prescribe the materials of which it is composed, its form of organization, etc. How then there can be churches "UNSCRIPTURAL in their ordinances and polity" I cannot
conceive. To say that the Scriptures provided for the existence of UNSCRIPTURAL churches is an absurdity. Dr. E. first speaks of Pedobaptist communities as "churches imperfectly organized and disciplined "then as "churches in partial error and disobedience" and lastly, as "churches irregular and unscriptural in their ordinances and polity." Thus he ends the sentence, but it is incomplete, and always will be, till he adds that "unscriptural churches" are not churches at all. A visible church without baptism. How can this be? The various sects of Pedobaptists themselves say it cannot be. Baptists once said, whatever they may say now, that a church is composed of persons baptized upon a credible profession of faith in Christ. The day has been when Baptists had never heard or thought of a visible church without baptism — nor had Pedobaptists. The times are now changed, and Baptists may be found who are determined on having Pedobaptists in the visible churches of Christ without baptism — a thing that Pedobaptists themselves consider impossible.
Dr. E. says again "Though we look for visible churches only where there is baptism, or intended baptism," etc. I need not quote further. This is the first time I have known a Baptist minister to make "intended baptism" answer the purpose which baptism answers! "Tell it not in Gath!" lest Presbyterians rejoice and Methodists triumph! What is this "intended baptism?" It is of course not baptism. It is intended as baptism. What
does the intention amount to? If Christ commands believers to be immersed, as he certainly does, and they intend ever so sincerely to obey him by submitting to the sprinkling of water, do they obey him? This is the question. In other words, does sincerity of intention in doing a thing make it right? If so, Saul of Tarsus did right in doing many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
After all, Dr. Everts' conceptions of a church seem to be confused; for in the Maynumber of the Repository he speaks of "Pedobaptist communities" as "in a scriptural sense Christian congregations or churches," and yet he says, "We do not regard Pedobaptist communities churches organized according to the gospel." To reconcile these two declarations is a task I have no capacity to perform. How communities not "organized according to the gospel" can be, "in a scriptural sense, Christian congregations or churches," is more than I ever expect to know. The thing being impossible, cannot be known.
Dr. E. does me injustice — unintentionally no doubt — by representing me as making a distinction between "churches of Christ," and "churches organized according to the gospel." I make no such distinction. I use the phrases as synonymous. Indeed, where Dr. E. quotes from me I use no phrase as explanatory of the other, which shows that I regard them as equivalent. The effort of Dr. E. to prove Pedobaptist societies "churches of Christ" is generally regarded among Baptists (so
far as I have learned) as a signal failure. This being the fact, I shall not enlarge on the topic. There is another point made by Dr. E., namely, that "preaching the gospel is not exclusively an official act;" but as I shall have occasion to notice this in meeting Prof. Farnam's objections, I here take leave of the pastor of the Walnut Street Church.
Prof. Farnam is, in some respects, superior to all the opponents of the "Landmark" who have yet taken part in the discussion. He has a deeper penetration and superior logical acumen. He thinks more closely. This, at least, is my opinion. It would be very difficult to have his professorship in the Georgetown College more ably filled.
As to the discussion on the "Landmark" question between Prof. F. and myself in the Tennessee Baptist, I shall not now refer to all the points directly and indirectly presented. Nor is it necessary; for Prof. F. in the Baptist of August 18, 1855, (which contains his last article) says: "I have argued this question with him on the hypothesis that Pedobaptist societies are not gospel churches." Again, referring to me, he says: "The proposition which he ought to have proven in the outset is, THAT NO UNORDAINED CHRISTIAN HAS THE RIGHT TO PREACH!" I marvel at this from so acute a logician. What makes it my duty to prove a negative? Men may, if they choose, attempt the proof of a negative, as I did in writing the "Landmark," but the laws of logic do not demand it of them. Why did not Prof. F. prove that private Christians have a
right to preach? He is in the affirmative, and if he can establish this proposition the "Landmark" falls aye, more than this—it will follow that our churches, from the days of the apostles, have performed a work of supererogation in setting men apart to the ministry. It is important in this discussion to have a definite conception of the word PREACH. There are not less than six terms in the original Greek of the Acts of the Apostles which are translated PREACH. This word PREACH must be a remarkable one if it conveys all the ideas expressed by six Greek terms. One of these terms means TO PREACH — TO PROCLAIM PUBLICLY — TO CRY AS A HERALD; and there is but one that does. A second term means TO COMMUNICATE GOOD TIDINGS, and it may be done publicly or privately. A third term simply means TO DECLARE, a fourth To REASON, a fifth TO SPEAK, and the sixth TO SPEAK BOLDLY. Yet they are all translated PREACH. I am concerned in this controversy with the first two of the six terms. The first of the two is used, Mark xvi.15, Luke xxiv. 47: "PREACH the gospel to every creature" — "that repentance and remission of sins should be PREACHED," etc. The word here certainly means to proclaim publicly. It is used Acts viii. 5:1, "Philip went down to the city of Samaria and PREACHED Christ unto them." But it is not used in the fourth verse of the same chapter, where it is said, "they that were scattered abroad went everywhere PREACHING the word;" nor is it used in the 35th verse of the chapter where Philip is said to have "PREACHED Jesus"
to the Ethiopian. In these two verses the second Greek term is employed which means TO COMMUNICATE GOOD TIDINGS. The first of these terms is KERUSSO, the second EUANGELIZO.
It will throw some light on the subject to ascertain how the first of these terms is used in the Greek version of the Old Testament. It is employed Genesis xli. 43, "And they CRIED before him, Bow the knee," etc. It is used Jonah i. 2, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it," etc.; also iii. 2, 5, 7: "PREACH unto it the PREACHING that I bid thee." "And he CRIED and said," etc. "So the people of Nineveh believed God and PROCLAIMED a fast." "And he caused it to be PROCLAIMED," etc. Here we have the terms CRY, PREACH and PROCLAIM, but in the Greek version one term, and that the one employed by Christ, Mark xvi. 15. It is evident, therefore, that the word in the Septuagint means to PROCLAIM PUBLICLY. And that it has the same meaning in the New Testament, may be seen from a variety of passages in which it is translated to preach, and from Revelation v. 2, "And I saw a strong angel PROCLAIMING with a loud voice," etc. This word in the New Testament is first applied to John the Baptist, Matthew iii. 1. It is used also Matthew iv. 17, From that time JESUS BEGAN TO PREACH," etc. And this passage, as Elder J. S. Baker has argued, shows very clearly the distinction between TALKING, CONVERSING on divine things and PREACHING. Jesus had TALKED ON divine things, to say the least, from the time he was twelve years old, but be began to PREACH after he was baptized.
And this is a very significant fact. If Jesus did not BEGIN to preach till he was baptized, what authority does the New Testament give any unbaptized man to preach?
My position is that, according to the gospel, authority to preach must, under God, emanate from a visible church of Christ. Hence members of a visible church alone are eligible to the work of the ministry; for a church has no control of those who do not belong to it. But Pedobaptist societies are not visible churches of Christ. How then can they confer gospel authority to preach? Prof. Farnam, however, argues the "Landmark" question on the hypothesis that Pedobaptist societies are not gospel churches, and he refers to illustrious Pedobaptists who, he has no doubt, were called of God to preach. This presents no difficulty; for God's call must, according to the gospel, be succeeded by a church’s call, and recognized in the credentials given by that church to the individual called. I go farther and say, that if God were, with an audible voice, as loud as heaven’s mightiest thunder, to call a Pedobaptist to preach, we would not be justified in departing from the Scriptures, unless we were divinely told the utterances of that voice were intended to supersede the teachings of the New Testament. Such information would intimate the beginning of a new economy, and I am writing of the present dispensation.
I need not enlarge. Prof. F., to maintain his position, must not only show that the lay-members of a visible church have the right to preach, but he,
must show that unbaptized persons (and consequently in no scriptural sense, members of a visible church of Christ) have the same right. This, I am sure, he can never do, and because he cannot do it, the "Landmark" stands, and is, I think, likely to stand.
I have now noticed the most prominent objections, that have been made to my little Tract; and though some of them at first view may appear plausible, yet when analyzed, not one of them, as it seems to me, is valid. =================
[From Ben M. Bogard, editor, Pillars of Orthodoxy, or Defenders of the Faith, 1900 — jrd
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