What Is It?
WILLIAM KIFFIN, AN OLD LANDMARKER.
But there was a consistent Landmarker and a landmark church in London nearly two hundred years before Mercer wrote that letter; and I have shown that every Baptist Association in America was Landmark in faith and practice one hundred years before. I copy the following historical fact from Cramp’s "History of Baptists:
"The young man [Wm.. Kiffin] became an independent inquirer, prepared to follow the leadings of truth regardless of consequences. [This is the true Landmark spirit—the spirit of God’s true men]. Observing that some excellent ministers had gone into voluntary banishment, rather than conform to the Church of England, he was induced to examine the points in dispute between that church and her opponents. He had been five years a member of the Independent church, then under the care of Mr. Lathrop, when, with many others, he withdrew, and joined the Baptist Church, the first in England of the particular Baptist order, of which Mr. Spilsbury was pastor. Two years after that, in 1640, a difference of opinion respecting the propriety of allowing ministers who had not been immersed to preach to them—in which Mr. Kiffin took the negative side—occasioned a separation. Mr. Kiffin and those who agreed with him seceded, and formed another church, which met in Devonshire Square. He was chosen pastor, and held that office until his death, in 1701 [61 years], the longest pastorate on record."
If the Baptist ministers of America were only such men as Wm. Kiffin, how long would Pedobaptist societies be regarded as churches of Christ? How sad to think that Baptists, by their inconsistent teaching and practice, are doing more than Pedobaptists themselves to build up pedobaptism!
Bro. J. M. Pendleton says: "My opinion is, that the number of Baptists in the United States would he larger by a million today if it had ever been the understanding that there could be no ministerial affiliation between them and Pedobaptists. How strange is such affiliation! The exchange of pulpits makes the impression that these are small matters; and this impression has led many to become Pedobaptists, who would otherwise have copied the example of Christ, who said, concerning His personal immersion, ‘Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.’"