Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Misc. on Landmarkism

Wrote Elder Jeremy Sarber:

"Now out of this issue springs others, but Landmarkism seems to be the foundation for them. Out of it comes a denominational arrogance, arbitrarily strict views on who can and cannot participate in the Lord’s Supper, and the requirement of every non-Primitive Baptist believer to get re-baptized. It may also account for the many splits and divisions that have taken place over the years. Everyone’s trying to protect the last remnant of Christ’s true church." ("Why I Left The Primitive Baptist Church" - see here)

Amen to that!

In the "The History of the Baptists of Tennessee with Particular Attention to the Primitive Baptists of East Tennessee," by Lawrence Edwards (1941 - see here), Edwards writes the following in CHAPTER V, titled "THE TWO-SEED HERESY AND ABSOLUTE PREDESTINATION" (emphasis mine):

"But the Powell Valley seems to feed on division and dissension (this is the Association my father and I were once a part of), for in the early years of the twentieth century it was again torn asunder. This time secret orders caused the trouble. This controversy, however, was not so localized as the one which caused the division in 1889. It swept all Primitive Baptist groups in the South and Midwest and even today calls forth editorials now and then from controversial writers. The next chapter will show how the secret order controversy affected the East Tennessee associations.

When the Powell Valley association met in August, 1904, with the church at Gibson Station, Lee County, Virginia, it was faced with a problem similar to that which it had faced in 1889--a problem concerning two letters sent to the association from one church, obviously by opposing factions in that church. The two letters were referred to a "Committee on Credentials," which submitted the following report:

We your committee to whom was referred the matter of the two letters and messengers of the Mossy Spring Church, advise that the matter be referred back to the said church, to use all lawful means according to the gospel of Christ to settle said matter in the church. Another item in the minutes of this year, 1904, showed that the association was deeply concerned over the impending strife. This was the fifteenth item, which was as follows:

On motion, we advise each church in the Union to appoint two days of fasting and prayer that the Lord would enable each member by His Holy Spirit to lay aside everything that causes offense; submitting themselves one to another according to the Bible, by putting away all malice, evil-speaking, back biting and hypocrisy; adhering more closely to the Golden Rule. But the fasting and prayer availed nothing. The various churches in the association went about the business of excluding members who would not declare non-fellowship for members of secret orders. Some of the association's ablest ministers were excluded before the meeting of the association in 1905. The seventh item of the proceedings of that year says:

On motion we fully endorse the action of the churches that excluded Elders A. Boruff, J. D. Monroe, S. M. Petree and Y. B. Weaver. Another item in the 1905 minutes shows that they would not accept a letter from a church "for holding and fellowshiping members whose baptism was administered by ministers in disorder."

They continued by regretting "that the real cause of said trouble is hid from so many of our good brethren," and contended that "there is no issue between our people on doctrine, neither was the secret order question the original cause." They contended further that "we have had members belonging to secret orders in our fellowship for perhaps one hundred years or more. Why, then, should such be made subjects of non-fellowship now, they wondered."

I cite all this because David Pyles, in his article on re-baptism, made a distinction between "intra denominational" divisions and "inter denominational" divisions. I wonder if David would have advised these two factions to reconcile, and not make the issue a "test of fellowship," and to accept each other's baptisms?

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