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Landmark Baptist

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Landmarkism is return to what Baptists have previously believed.


1. The church and the kingdom of Christ is a divine institution;

2. The church is a visible institution;

3. The locality of the church is upon this earth;

4. The church is a local organization, a single congregation;

5. The church is composed of a regenerate membership;

6. The church's baptism is the profession, on the part of he subject, of the faith of the Gospel by which he is saved;

7. The Lord's Supper is a local church ordinance.


The principles of Landmarkism pre-date the Landmark Baptist movement.

The Landmark Baptist movement is an attempt to restore and perpetuate Biblical principles

which are being supplanted by religious progressivism and ecumenism.


A "Landmark Baptist church" is one that holds the idea of Landmarkism or Landmark ecclesiology;

Many Independent Baptist churches and most Old Time Missionary Baptist churches

(many of which pre-date the Southern Baptist Convention and never affiliated with it) also hold this ecclesiology.

Baptist churches predate those of Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy.

Landmark Baptists refuse to refer to ourselves as Protestants as we did not protest out of the Catholic church,

but rather predate it; a continuation of the church that Jesus Christ began in Jerusalem.


“ During the first three centuries, Christian congregations, all over the East, subsisted in separate independent bodies,

unsupported by government, and consequently without any secular power over one another. All this time they were Baptist churches… „

—G. H. Orchard


Being independent, each individual church follows the Scriptural logic of the church of Jesus Christ which the Bible states will continue.

There is no board to answer to, no council to sign on with, and no head other than Jesus as the Bible clearly teaches.


Baptists debated as early as the eighteenth century about whether churches

should allow Christians to participate in the Lord's Supper before receiving valid baptism.

In the final decades of the nineteenth century, Landmark Baptists began to assert that Baptist churches

should not allow even Baptists from other congregations to participate in the Lord's Supper away from their home congregation.

Some Baptists in the Southern Baptist Convention objected to the practice of apportioning messengers (delegates) to the various congregations

according to their respective numbers of members or dollars contributed.

These Baptists insisted that each local congregation have equal representation in convention bodies.

This issue was prominent in controversies provoked by Samuel Augustus Hayden and Benjamin M. Bogard.

The majority of scholarly analysts have tied this dispute to Landmarkism,


In 1851, J.R. Graves called a meeting of like-minded Baptists at the Cotton Grove Baptist Church near Jackson, Tennessee to address five questions:

1. Can Baptists with their principles on the Scriptures, consistently recognize those societies not organized according to the Jerusalem church,

but possessing different government, different officers, a different class of members, different ordinances, doctrines and practices as churches of Christ?

2. Ought they to be called gospel churches or churches in a religious sense?

3. Can we consistently recognize the ministers of such irregular and unscriptural bodies as gospel ministers?

4. Is it not virtually recognizing them as official ministers to invite them into our pulpits or by any other act

that would or could be construed as such recognition?

5. Can we consistently address as brethren those professing Christianity who not only have not the doctrine of Christ

and walk not according to his commandments but are arrayed in direct and bitter opposition to them?

The majority of the gathered Baptists resolved these questions by non-recognition of non-Baptist congregations,

and then published their findings as the "Cotton Grove Resolutions".

"Old Landmark"

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, in mode, in 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:

. Christ 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 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 toward others.

9. To preserve and perpetuate the doctrine of a divinely called and scripturally qualified and ordained ministry,

to pro-claim the gospel, and to administer theordinances, 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 men 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."


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