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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Carroll -- B. H. -- was a "Landmarker"

Jason Allen gets it wrong in The Worst Decision B. H. Carroll Never Made. Allen wrote a good article about an interesting historical incident, but he made one glaring error -- that B. H. Carroll was not a "Landmark" Baptist. Allen writes, "While Carroll agitated for Whitsitt’s removal, he never fully embraced the Landmark understanding of Baptist origins as championed by his younger brother J. M. Carroll." Allen credits Leon McBeth as the source of this information. [H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness (Nashville: Broadman, 1987), 670.] Nevertheless, McBeth merely says it without proof.* In contrast to Allen's and McBeth's assertion, B. H. Carroll wrote, for example, this Landmarkist statement: "Jesus said, 'The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.' I do not believe they have. They have never been able to convince me that the gates of hell have prevailed against the church. I believe that God not only has had people in all ages, but that he has had an organized people...I do not undervalue church history, but far more important to me than fallible human records of passing events is the New Testament forecast of church history. The former may err – the latter never." [From Colossians, Ephesians, and Hebrews in An Interpretation of the English Bible]

B. H. Carroll is a giant among Southern Baptists. Though he has been dead for almost 100 years, he "yet speaks". Love and admiration for Carroll combined with despising Landmarkism create a strange mix for anti- and non-Landmark Southern Baptists to distort, misinterpret or reinterpret history. Landmark Southern Baptist historian Ben Stratton has addressed this briefly in A Response to Errors on Landmarkism.

I would simply add, "do your homework and don't let your biases distort history." Antis, don't redefine Landmarkism so narrowly, carefully and complexly so that you can include those you despise and exclude your "favorites". Carroll was not a "Landmark" come-out-er, but he was a "Landmark" stay-in-er. He held all all the tenets of classic Landmarkism -- Baptist church perpetuity, rejection of alien immersion and so on.

* Had McBeth any real information proving his assertion, it would have been nice for him to reference it rather than just reference J. M. Carroll's Trail of Blood booklet.

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