What Is It?
OLD LANDMARKISM IN PHILADELPHIA.
Bro. E. L Magoon invited a Swedenborgian preacher to occupy his pulpit, and in consequence the following was offered in the Baptist Ministers’ Conference in Philadelphia:
"Whereas, The public mind has been charged with knowledge of the fact that the pulpit of a Baptist Church of this city, has, by invitation and acceptance, been made the vehicle of publishing grievous and dangerous error; and,
"Whereas. The silence of a representative body of Baptist ministers may be construed as an enactment of such proceedings and utterances; therefore,
"Resolved, That while we rightfully continue to disclaim any assumption of ecclesiastical authority, yet we feel called upon to express public dissent from proceedings thus publicly announced, and that, as a conference, we hereby enter upon record our fraternal protest against employing the appointments of any Baptist meeting-house to aid in disseminating opinions that we, as Baptists, believe are contrary to the teaching of the Word of God."
Bros. Wayland and Catheart opposed the resolution as unnecessary, but Brother J.M. Pendleton and others favored it. After some discussion it was adopted. It would seem that there is some Landmarkism even in Philadelphia. What will those do now who condemned the protest of the St. Louis pastors? We are pleased to see the pastors of Philadelphia so sound.—Texas Baptist Herald..
I unite with the Herald in an expression of my gratification at this evidence of the soundness of the Philadelphia Baptist pastors. I am not surprised at ‘the opposition of Bro. Wayland to the resolutions, but I am at Bro. Cathcart’s; because I know him to he a consistent and uncompromising Baptist, and the course of Bro. Magoon is fundamentally unbaptistic, inconsistent, and unscriptural.
Paul expressly says:
"Now I entreat you, brethren, to watch those who are making factions and laying snares, contrary to the teachings which you have learned, and turn away from them.
"Now we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly, and not according to the instruction which you have received from us, and if any one obey not our word, by this letter, point him out, and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame."
And he charges Timothy not to be a partaker of other men’s sins, and to bid no false teacher God-speed by an act that may be so construed; since that would involve one in complicity with his false teachings.
John says: "For if there come any one unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God-speed."
A. Clark well says: "No sound Christian should countenance any man as a gospel minister, who holds and preaches erroneous doctrines."
If John forbade a beloved sister to receive a teacher of false doctrine into her private house, lest he should contaminate her family with his errors, how much less should he be allowed to occupy our houses of worship and teach the children of God?
Where was the church of which Bro. Magoon is the servant? Did he not consult it? Had it nothing to say? Or is it like the churches of some other learned doctors of divinity—a mere cipher—allowed no voice whatever as to who the pastor may put into the pulpit during his pastorate? There is a class of ministers—who claim that the pulpit belongs to them, and it is not the business of the church to question their right to put into it whom they see fit—that it is their pulpit—and they speak of it as "my pulpit!" They might as well say "my baptism" and "my supper, as "my pulpit." The pulpit, like the supper and baptism, belongs solely to the church, and not at all to the pastor of the church; and when he cannot occupy it, it is the duty to refer the filling of it to the church. He might as well claim the right to appoint his successor for all time, as to appoint his substitute for one Sunday, without consulting the church. A principle cannot be divided.
It was indeed eminently proper and right for the pastors of Philadelphia to express their disapprobation of the unscriptural act of Bro. Magoon. But in this protest the Philadelphia pastors placed themselves squarely on Old Landmark ground. If it is wrong for any one preacher of acknowledged heresies to occupy a Baptist pulpit and preach to a Baptist congregation, it certainly is equally improper and unscriptural for any other preacher of unscriptural and pernicious doctrines. There is not a Baptist minister in Philadelphia who will not admit, if called upon, that the doctrine of federal holiness of all children born of believing parents taught by Presbyterians, and the doctrine of infant purity taught by Methodists, and the sacramental character and efficacy of the ordinances taught by all Pedobaptists and Campbellites, are as unscriptural and pernicious—as "grievous and dangerous errors,"—as any thing taught by the Swedenborgians; and, if it is improper and wrong to invite a Swedenborgian to occupy a Baptist pulpit, it is equally so to invite or permit a Pedobaptist or a Campbellite to do so; and we do say, that if one such can properly occupy a Baptist pulpit, by invitation, one Sunday, he can as properly, by election, one year, or always. If Baptists can scripturally commune at the Lord’s Table with Pedobaptists once, they can ten thousand times—and always—and, therefore, they can unite and become one church; and so can and should all denominations that commune together. There is no avoiding the logic of this conclusion. We extend the hand of Landmark fellowship, therefore, to every pastor who voted for the above resolutions.
Another Landmark Established in Philadelphia.
A Mr. Henry Losch, a regularly ordained Presbyterian minister, recently renounced Presbyterianism, and was scripturally baptized into one of the Baptist Churches, which soon invited a number of ministers to assist it in the examination of Bro. Losch, with reference to ordination. Bro. J. Wheaton Smith, one of the Presbytery, and a Baptist pastor in Philadelphia, offered the following resolutions, viz.:
"Whereas, our brother, Bro. Henry Losch, a regularly ordained Presbyterian minister, has been brought to believe in the scripturalness of those views which we hold distinctively as Baptists, attesting the earnestness of this belief by uniting with a Baptist Church, on profession of his faith in Christ by Christian baptism; and,
"Whereas, He has related to this council not only the story of his change, but also of his Christian experience, his call from God to the ministry, and of his view of those doctrines which he has held heretofore in common with ourselves; therefore,
"Resolved, That we congratulate the Christian brethren from whom he comes, on their wisdom with their views in ordaining him to their ministry, and that now we heartily adopt him into ours, commending him to any Baptist Church who may invite him to be their pastor."
I have no intimation how many, or the names of the Baptist ministers who, with Bro. Smith, advocated the above resolutions, but I do not believe that Bro. Henson supported it or Bro. Cathcart, who openly avowed that he believed that "Baptist Churches were the only scriptural or evangelical churches on earth; and if that declaration classed him with High Church Baptists, or Landmarkers, then he was a Landmark Baptist, and not ashamed for the world to know it." Grand and noble words from a grand and noble Baptist! It would seem from the above resolution that Bro. Smith has fully yielded to the "demand" that Bro. A. Barnes made upon him, and recognizes Pedobaptist societies as scriptural churches; in all respects equal to Baptist Churches, for he unquestionably concedes it in the above resolution.
He admits that the ordination or commission to preach the gospel and administer church ordinances, which Bro. Losch received from the Presbyterians, was a valid ordination.
But every sound Baptist on earth, and every intelligent Bible reader of every denomination admits that a scriptural church of Christ alone can ordain—i.e., commission—a man to preach the gospel and administer church ordinances.
If, therefore, Mr. Losch’s ordination was scriptural, the Presbyterian church of America is a scriptural church, and its infant sprinklings, and sprinkling for baptism; its doctrine of federal holiness and eternal reprobation of the larger part of the human race; and its provincial form of church government, are all scriptural, and, therefore, there is but one inevitable conclusion that Bro. Smith cannot escape, viz.: Baptist organizations are not churches of Christ in any sense, but an organized muster against the authority of Christ; because Baptist churches are fundamentally unlike, and radically opposed to, and subversive of, the Presbyterian church. And it is axiomatically true that things unlike each other must be and are unlike the same thing—i.e., if the Presbyterian organization is a scriptural church, Baptist organizations, claiming to be churches, certainly are not, because radically unlike, and subversive of the Presbyterian. The world reasons, if some of our eminent teachers do not, and every thinking man on the continent would have concluded with us—that if Mr. Losch was indeed an ordained minister, then the Presbyterian organization is a scriptural church, then its sprinklings, and infant baptism, and doctrines are scriptural, and Baptists sin in opposing them. While we regret that there is a Baptist minister in Philadelphia who would present such a resolution, we exceedingly rejoice that it was not indorsed by that presbytery.
I can but express my astonishment at the position of Bro. Smith, so glaringly unscriptural as well as inconsistent and absurd! The Scriptures teach, by precept and example, that baptism must precede ordination to the ministry, and Baptists have invariably observed this order. I do not think that Bro. Smith could be influenced to lay his hand upon a candidate for ordination, whom he knew was unbaptized, and for the very reason that he believes baptism must precede church membership, and church membership must precede ordination, as unquestionably as faith in Christ precedes baptism and church membership. But, by his resolution, he urges upon a Baptist Presbytery to indorse an utter subversion of this order—i.e., that there can be a scriptural ordination before baptism.
Bro. Smith admits that Mr. Losch was an unbaptized man when the Presbyterians professed to ordain him, and he admits that the Presbyterians, being a society of unbaptized persons, are not a church of Christ; and, therefore, have no shadow of authority to ordain a minister, and, therefore, he required Mr. Losch to he baptized before he would receive him to membership. By his resolution he proposes to indorse Mr. Losch’s Presbyterian ordination, and thus subvert the divine order and establish the precedent among Baptists that there can be a scriptural ordination without baptism—that ordination may scripturally precede baptism!
And more—that an organization which is manifestly not a church, can make an officer for a church of Christ, and even commission an unbaptized man to preach the gospel and baptize!
We claim that those ministers who voted to ordain Bro. Losch, placed themselves squarely by our side on Old Landmark ground—they can not consistently oppose it, and, to he consistent, they are compelled to advocate and practice the Landmark policy.
For if Mr. Losch was an unordained and unbaptized man, he certainly had no right to claim to be a scriptural minister of the gospel, and assume to administer its offices; and it was certainly unscriptural and sinful for Baptist ministers to accredit his false claim by any act whatever.
But, inviting him into their pulpits to preach or pray for them as a minister, or receiving his immersions for valid baptisms, would be accrediting him as such, and the society in which he officiates as a scriptural church.
Furthermore, if Mr. Losch was not, while a Presbyterian either baptized or ordained, his baptismal acts, though by immersion, would be as null and void as though administered by a man who did not profess to belong to a Christian church. Therefore, those ministers who voted down that resolution, did impliedly declare that the immersions of an unordained and unbaptized man are null. They thus put themselves on the record as opposed to alien immersions.
They cannot, therefore, consistently affiliate with unbaptized and unordained men, as ministers of the gospel, nor can they indorse any of their official acts—though the outward form be correct—as scriptural or valid. Thus these two decisions by the Baptist pastors of Philadelphia indorse all the Old Lan mar principles for which we contend.
Since writing the above I have received the following article from Bro. J. M. Pendleton, of Upland, Pennsylvania, which will set the whole matter in a light before the reader, and must forever settle the question of what Old Landmarkism is, in the mind of every one who can appreciate argument or consistency.
A Philadelphia Ordination
By J. M. Pendleton
"The Memphis Baptist is the paper in which can be most appropriately chronicled an account of a recent ordination in Philadelphia, which has caused some little excitement. The editor of The Baptist will appreciate more highly than any other editor the decision of the council of ordination. The facts in the case are these:
"Bro. Henry Losch, a Presbyterian preacher, having learned the way of the Lord more perfectly, united with the Memorial Church, and was baptized by the pastor, Bro. Henson. In due time a council was called to consider the matter of Mr. Losch’s ordination. It was, fortunately, a large council, confined, so far as I know, to our city churches, and therefore it was not my privilege to be present. The council having been organized, Bro. J. Wheaton Smith offered a resolution virtually recognizing and indorsing the validity of the Presbyterian ordination already received by the brother. This led to an earnest discussion, and the vote on the resolution was quite significant—two for it, fifty against it. Bro. Smith was of course chagrined, and referred in no very courteous way to the decision as an ‘outrage on a Christian church,’ but the council was firm. The brother has been ordained—I do not say reordained, but simply ordained.
"There has been a flurry of excitement among the Presbyterians, and the editor of their paper (The Presbyterian) has come cut with a long article on what he calls ‘New Marvels of Sacramentarianism,’ and pronounces the vote on Bro. Smith’s resolution as a ‘sign of the survival and revival of ecclesiastical bigotry.’ By ‘Sacramentarianism’ the editor of course means the impartation of grace through ordination, which doctrine he ought to know no Baptist believes. The truth is, there is no more grace imparted in ordination than in baptism, and baptism is symbolic of grace already received.
"The excitement of the editor of The Presbyterian was contagious. Hence when the Philadelphia Central Presbytery met, January 6, a preamble and resolution were offered by Bro. Eva, complaining of the action of the Baptist council, and denouncing its decision as a ‘transgression of Protestant principles of equality, unity, fraternity, and charity.’ In his remarks, as published in the Public Ledger of January 7, he is reported as saying, ‘The Baptist clergymen would not meet with Presbyterian clergymen at the table of the Lord, and now it seems that they will not act with them in the matter of the ordination of the ministry. When his brethren said to him you are neither baptized nor ordained, he desired not to meet with them.’ It will be seen that Bro. Eva wishes Baptist ministers to recognize him as baptized and ordained. His idea is that an exchange of pulpits implies this. I ask all anti-Landmark Baptist preachers to take this matter into consideration. Many of them say that Pedobaptist ministers, in being invited by them to preach, know the invitation does not imply a recognition of their baptism or ordination. They can see from the above what Bro. Eva, of Philadelphia, thinks. He wishes to have nothing to do with ‘Baptist clergymen’ unless they admit that he is ‘baptized’ and ‘ordained.’
"In the same discussion, Bro. Poor said that he had been invited, some time ago, by a Baptist clergyman to preach for him, to which request he replied: ‘How can you ask me to occupy your pulpit, if the fact that you do not acknowledge our ordination is correct?’ His friend, in reply, said that he did not acknowledge the ordination of Presbyterian ministers. Bro. Poor added that, from that day to this, he had declined to preach in Baptist pulpits. Here we see that another Presbyterian minister makes a recognition of his ordination indispensable to his preaching in Baptist pulpits. Surely when the facts are fully understood by Baptists and Pedobaptists, the interchange of pulpits will cease.
"In the matter of ordination Presbyterians are quite unreasonable, though they, perhaps, think otherwise. I will explain what I mean: They consider baptism and church membership prerequisites to ordination. Very well. Baptists take the same view. Where, then, is the difference? It is concerning baptism and the church-membership resulting. Believing Pedobaptists without baptism, and consequently without scriptural church-membership, it is impossible for Baptists to recognize the validity of Pedobaptist ordinations. Philadelphia Presbyterians believe that baptism precedes ordination, but they are unwilling for Baptists to believe the same thing, unless the latter will also believe that the sprinkling of an unconscious infant is baptism. This would be as difficult as to swallow not only a camel, but a caravan of camels. What, then, is to be done? The antagonism between Baptists and their opponents is so decided that harmony is impossible, unless one side or the other surrenders. Compromise is utterly out of the question. Compromise is very well in matters involving no principle, but where principle is concerned there is no place for it.
"As to the few Baptists who are satisfied with Pedobaptist ordinations, I scarcely know what to say. They must believe that baptism, to say the least, is not prerequisite to ordination, and how they can believe this defies ordinary comprehension. They find nothing in the Scriptures nor in the customs of Baptist Churches to justify such a belief. Manifestly the elders ordained by Paul and Barnabas in every church were church members, and had, therefore, been baptized. No man is now ordained in any Baptist Church unless the church calls for his ordination, and the church can not go beyond its own members in making a call, for its jurisdiction extends no farther. All its members, however, have been baptized, and therefore every ordination among Baptists presupposes baptism and church-membership. How, then, any Baptist can ignore one of the principles and one of the practices of his denomination, so as to believe that there can be ordination where there has been no baptism, and consequently no church-membership, is as strange as the Romish doctrine of Transubstantiation. The Baptist who recognizes Pedobaptist ordinations must recognize Pedobaptist sprinkling as baptism, and Pedobaptist organizations as New Testament churches. He who can do this will find it difficult to say why he is a Baptist. Indeed, if Pedobaptist ordinations are valid, there is no use for the Baptist denomination—it has no moral right to exist and the sooner it surrenders its life the better. Yes, the right of Baptist Churches to exist is involved in the ordination question which has recently created a little stir in Philadelphia."