Sunday, April 29, 2007

More of the same

Similar to yesterday's post, here are a couple of more examples of "pre-Landmark" Landmarkism. A couple of years ago Bro. Mark Osgatharp called attention to the first one on the Baptist Board.

In his autobiography, Jeremiah Jeter mentions an incident that took place at the 1824 session of the Portsmouth Association in Virginia. Jeremiah Jeter was an opponent of Landmarkism, but his testimony here stands as evidence of "landmark" principles among the Portsmouth Virginia Association. This was before the rise of the movement named Landmarkism.

"Of the proceedings of the [1824 Portsmouth] Association I recollect nothing, except a discussion on the validity of Pedobaptist immersions. In this conflict I fleshed my youthful sword, and was ingloriously defeated. I had associated with Semple, A. Broaddus, and others among the fathers who maintained the validity of such baptisms, and had adopted their views. As this side of the subject seemed to be feebly supported, I ventured, with probably more courage than discretion, for the first time in my life, to engage in religious controversy.

"My rashness evoked the chastening rod of Richard Poindexter. He was about fifty years old, of medium size, of swarthy complexion, possessed of a mind remarkable for astuteness and great self-possession and readiness for extempore debate. Dr. [A.M.] Poindexter, with greater culture and breadth of mind, bore a strong intellectual resemblance to his sire. It may be reasonably supposed that I was overmatched in the debate.

"I remember but a single illustration in the speech of Elder Poindexter. 'Roundness,' he said, 'is essential to a bullet; beat it flat, and it will cease to be a bullet. So certain things - an authorized administrator being among them - are essential to baptism, and without these things it cannot be baptism.'

"I made, so far as I can recollect, no attempt to reply. The association decided by an overwhelming vote that Pedobaptist immersions are not valid baptisms. I was defeated, but not convinced."

This second illustration is from the Elkhorn Association (org. 1785, KY).

"In 1802, the question as to what constitutes valid Baptism, which had been evaded in 1793, was brought before the Association in a different form, and answered as follows:

"'Query from South Elkhorn. -- What constitutes Baptism? Answer. -- The administrator ought to have [been] baptized himself by immersion, legally called to preach gospel, [and] ordained as the Scriptures dictate; and the candidate for baptism should make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and be baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, by dipping the whole body in water.'"-- From
A History of Kentucky Baptists, Volume II, John Henderson Spencer, 1886

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