“Muscle & Shovel”: Chapter 8B (Landmark Baptists)

muscleshovelWe are considering Michael Shank’s book Muscle and a Shovel.

As promised, I need to tell the story of the Landmark Baptist movement, founded in the 19th Century and centered in Nashville, Tennessee.

Alexander Campbell famously debated the leader and a founder of the Landmark movement, James R. Graves, late in his career, with Graves trying to prove that the Restoration churches are all lost due to not bearing the true marks of the church and not being founded at Pentecost. (Really. Stick with me: it gets better.)

Consider these quotations taken from the Wikipedia article on Landmarkism –

Landmark Baptists have refused to recognize as valid any baptisms or ordinations performed in circumstances other than under the auspices of a Baptist church. Thus, Landmark Baptists have declined to allow non-Baptists to preach in Landmark Baptist churches and have required prospective members who have received “pedobaptism” or “alien immersion” to be baptized by a Baptist church before receiving them into membership. Expressed as a syllogism, the Landmark Baptist argument is:

Major premise: To be valid, Christian ordinations and baptisms must be performed by a valid New Testament church.
Minor premise: Only valid Baptist churches are valid New Testament churches.
Conclusion: Therefore, only ordinations and baptisms performed by valid Baptist churches are valid Christian ordinations and baptisms.

… In the latter half of the nineteenth century, most Landmark Baptists adopted English Baptist pastor G. H. Orchard’s assertion in his book, A Concise of the Baptists (1838), that actual organized Baptist congregations had existed at all times throughout the preceding centuries all the way back to the New Testament era. Orchard wrote:

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. …

Believing that their origins predate those even of Roman Catholicism, Landmark Baptists have generally refused to refer to themselves as Protestants. …

Gospel missions

Baptist missionary Tarleton Perry Crawford proposed in the late nineteenth century a theory of missiology that criticized at several points the missionary structures and methodologies of Baptist conventions and societies. Crawford’s theories were popular among Landmark Baptists. …

James Robinson Graves

Through his Tennessee Baptist newspaper, James Robinson Graves popularized Landmarkism, building for it a virtual hegemony among Southern Baptists west of the Appalachians. … In 1851, Graves called a meeting of likeminded Southern 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 to the disparagement of non-Baptist congregations, and then published their findings as the Cotton Grove Resolutions. The Cotton Grove Resolutions essentially comprise the organizational document of the Landmark Baptist movement.

They are us! We evidently threw away everything Barton Stone and the Campbells taught and bought into the Landmark Baptist system wholesale — taking their arguments and claiming them as our own!

And it’s not just this article. If you read the writings of these men, you can’t help but be struck by how much the 20th Century Churches of Christ sound like the 19th Century Landmark Baptist Churches. They insisted on certain “acts of worship” as “tests of fellowship.” They claimed to be the one, true church of Christ, even predating Catholicism, going back to John the Baptist, and identified themselves by certain “marks of the church.” They refused to be called “Protestants.” And they like to use the language of formal logic to “prove” the most illogical things.

The conservative 20th Century Churches of Christ are much more like 19th Century Landmark Baptists than the pre-Civil War Restoration churches.

As argued by Bill J. Leonard in Baptists in America (2005), p. 25,

Baptists responded [to the Restoration Movement] by insisting that they did not need to restore anything, since they had kept the true church alive since the time of the apostles.

Imagine this conversation –

Restoration Movement preacher to Baptist preacher: Come out of your denominationalism and return to pure, simple, First Century Christianity!

Baptist preacher: But we already practice pure, simple, First Century Christianity.

RMP: The “Baptist Church” is a name not even found in the Bible. Your origins are recent.

BP: We have the true marks of the church. Only we practice the love feast, the laying on of hands, which you’ve willfully omitted, trying to please the world by your compromise and adoption of worldly philosophies! You obviously desire the approval of the Protestant denominations, from which you sprang.

RMP: No, we have the true marks of the church, and there are only Five Acts of Worship.

BP: Only a church with the 9 marks is the one true church. And the true church has the correct founder. We were founded by John the Baptist. You were founded by Thomas Campbell about 50 years ago when Thomas Campbell published his “Declaration and Address.”

RMP: Well, you were founded in 17th Century, and we can trace our roots back to Pentecost — using your own literature and substituting “Church of Christ” for “Baptist” and stopping at Pentecost.

And on it goes. Rather than pointing out the underlying error of the argument (for example, the church is all who are saved, not all who bear certain “marks”), we bought the arguments and swallowed them whole, and then turned the same arguments against the Baptists. It was a horrible blunder.

Around the end of the 19th Century, the Southern Baptist Convention rejected Landmarkism as creedalism (and they were quite right). The Landmark churches became a separate fellowship of about 250,000, which is how about how many there are today, over 100 years later.

I suspect that much of the 20th Century growth of the Churches of Christ was from (a) buying the Landmark arguments and trying to turn them against the Baptists and (b) from absorbing many members from among Landmark Baptists — who came to find the Churches of Christ more like themselves than the Southern Baptists.

Somehow or other, in all the debates with the Landmark Baptists and the frequent conversions of Landmark Baptists to the Churches of Christ, we became unwitting Landmarkers! We began to use the very arguments — even the vocabulary — that was invented to prove us to be heretics!

And I suspect that Shank will use some of these very 19th Century Baptist arguments to prove the Baptists damned and the Churches of Christ saved. And, yes, it’s still creedalism and a human invention.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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40 Responses to “Muscle & Shovel”: Chapter 8B (Landmark Baptists)

  1. Price says:

    Did the Landmarks have an official publication ? Wow..

  2. Monty says:

    I ran across a Landmark web page the other day, and the irony didn’t escape me either. They are us. Funny how ugly and narrow it sounds when it’s coming from some other group.

  3. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Unless you were already one of ’em and just didn’t know it…

  4. Robert Harry says:

    Was the Charles Spurgeon , famous Baptist preacher in England part of this movement?

  5. hist0ryguy says:

    Jay,
    This is a great topic of which most people in the SCM do not know. You have captured what I summarized in my post in another thread about the progression of confusion between reform/restoration of the visible church and the invisible-incorruptible church. Marks of the visible church (in a limited scope) are a Biblical teaching, which is why it is the bases for all those who have ever sought reform. It can become harmful if pressed to far, however. As you presented, not only the Landmark Baptists but many other groups merged some marks of the visible church with the exclusive church throughout history. It makes for an easy to read church timeline map, but is not the best theology.

    Do you remember that Campbell left Presbyterianism around 1809/1810, joined with the Baptist (though he had some distinctions), and did not leave the Baptist until the very late 1820s (maybe 1830). Thus, enjoy Campbell’s defense of immersion and the Baptist name in 1820, which will sound oddly familiar!

    All these sects [all of the Protestants but not Baptists] are of recent origin…not one of them able to furnish a MODEL of their peculiarities, or antiquity, greater than I have mentioned, the Baptists can trace their origin to apostolic times, and produce unequivocal testimonies of their existence in every century down to the present time; and the MODEL of their peculiarities the Scriptures themselves afford, as far as the name BAPTIST is concerned… The grand peculiarity, from which the Baptists have found their name, is found in the Scriptures as a part of Christianity, and is simply this -To require faith or repentance, as previous to Baptism; and to immerse the subject professing faith and repentance in water, in the name, or into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost…

    — 1820, Campbell-Walker debate, p. 262

  6. R.J. says:

    The Independent Christian Church has also bought into this One True Church Doctrine in the 20th Century as well. In fact their argumentation is so similar one would be shocked to find that they readily employ a piano and perhaps a choir in their assemblies!!!

  7. R.J. says:

    @HG if that is indeed what Campbell said then he has indeed gone through some major convictional changes through his life-from Landmarkism to acceptance of all Christians in the sects.

  8. Randall says:

    Many (by no means all)Southern Baptist churches today won’t accept anyone as a member who was not baptized in a Baptist church. It seems that even though they are not of the Landmark variety they have been influence by their theology.

    @ Historyguy: Spurgeon’s writings that I am familiar with do NOT support those things that are unique to the Landmark Baptists. He was a devout Calvinist though as was Thomas Campbell all of his life. Of course I have not read all that Spurgeon wrote but I’ve read a good bit of it.

    Hesed,
    Randall

  9. Randall says:

    Jay,
    Thanks for posting this. It is interesting and important for us to know. I think church history and the historical development of christian doctrine are fascinating and important. The better we understand the history/development of a doctrine the better we understand the doctrine. While I do affirm much of Calvinism as well as the Trinity, orthodox Christology etc. I also understand that these doctrines largely grew out of controversy and were a reaction against what was/came to be heterodox theology. As they are in large part based on human reasoning they are necessarily flawed. I think Thomas Campbell said something very similar to this in the Declaration and Address. I have copied two of his 13 propositions below:

    6) That although inferences and deductions from Scripture premises, when
    fairly inferred, may be truly called the doctrine of God’s holy word, yet are
    they not formally binding upon the consciences of Christians farther than
    they perceive the connection, and evidently see that they are so; for their
    faith must not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power and veracity of
    God. Therefore, no such deductions can be made terms of communion,
    but do properly belong to the after and progressive edification of the
    Church. Hence, it is evident that no such deductions or inferential truths
    ought to have any place in the Church’s confession.

    7) That although doctrinal exhi bitions of the great system of Divine truths, and defensive testimonies in opposition to prevailing errors, be highly expedient, and the more full and explicit they be for those purposes, the better; yet, as these must be in a great measure the effect of human reasoning, and of course must contain many inferential truths, they ought
    not to be made terms of Christian communion; unless we suppose, what is
    contrary to fact, that none have a right to the communion of the Church, but
    such as possess a very clear and decisive judgment, or are come to a very
    high degree of doctrinal information; whereas the Church from the
    beginning did, and ever will, consist of little children and young men, as
    well as fathers.

    Hesed,
    Randall

  10. Of course, the “Necessary Inference” part of CENI is in direct contradiction to T. Campbell’s 6th proposition cited above, as is the “Example” portion of CENI, except as permissive. An example certainly permits an act, but the absence of an example does not restrict.. To find a “law” or “commandment” in God’s silence is a law or commandment of human, not divine, origin. Likewise, to say we must have an approved apostolic example for a practice that is otherwise consistent with the will of God is to bind what God has not bound.

    CENI is the heart of the hermeneutic I was taught as I was growing up in the mid-20th century, and on which I relied for many years, though I never heard of “hermeneutics” until I was at least a sophomore in college.

  11. laymond says:

    Pro 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

  12. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    HG,

    Thanks for the A Campbell quote. I’ve never seen it before. Amazing that he had bought into the originalist arguments of the Baptists in his part of the country.

  13. Randall says:

    Jay and HG,
    Remember that it was Mathias Luce, a Baptist preacher, that eventually convinced A. Campbell that immersion was the appropriate mode of baptism, but until after he (A. Campbell) had a child and needed to decide whether to christen the child or wait until the child was a believer. It was then that A. Campbell decide to be immersed and T. Campbell followed his example. I think that happened on the same day. A. Campbell had heard Luce’s position/argument for some time before he was immersed himself.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  14. Johnny says:

    Randall I have no doubt your experience with SBC’S in your area reflects what you said, but in Alabama I have never known of a SBC rejecting a baptism by immersion due to it not occurring in a SBC.

  15. Larry Cheek says:

    Johnny,
    I have personal experience to testify to about the Baptist churches segregating each other. My grandmother was living in middle western part of Indiana, she was a member of the Northern Baptist churches, she moved to Southern Illinois and was not allowed to be considered as a member or to participate in communion unless she was re-baptized. She insisted that she had been baptized for remission of sins and therefore would not consider to obey their rules. She then was accepted into a local Methodist Church for years until she began attending CoC with my parents.

  16. Johnny says:

    Larry I don’t doubt it happens, I can only speak for my experience

  17. hist0ryguy says:

    RJ,
    The Independent Christian Church is another name for Churches of Christ, both being in the SCM. Most Ind.CC are now instrumental and most COC are AC, but in the 1800s the names were used interchangeably. Campbell did not embrace Landmarkism, but rather argued along the same lines. While Landmarkism was an extreme view in Baptist circles, many Protestants embraced some form of that vision when arguing against Rome, even Campbell. Campbell used Christian in three ways and John Mark Hicks has a good paper on this issue. Still, Campbell despised the human institutions (the sects) but embraced the immersed people in them as Christians. He did not damn the unimmersed, but he did not welcome them as in full fellowship either.

  18. hist0ryguy says:

    Jerry,
    Contrary to what some started promoting – without merit – both Thomas Campbell and Alexander Campbell believed the “Necessary Inference” of CENI coincided -not contradicted- the 6th proposition. We can agree or disagree with CENI and/or the Campbells, but their actions and writings prove the case. I am not saying I agree or disagree, but rather reporting their position. I have grouped both together, but grant that A. Campbell wrote more.

  19. hist0ryguy says:

    Randall,
    I did not write about or mention Spurgeon in my post. Did you intend to direct your comment to someone else?

    Regarding A. Campbell, immersion, and Mathias Luce. Infant baptism was an issue from the start (c.a. 1809) in the meetings that T. Campbell held and was finally rejected with the birth of A. Campbell’s girl. Baptism remained a thorny issue and by 1811 both Campbells had immersed many at their small church though neither of the Campbells had been immersed themselves. By 1812, both Campbells agreed that infant baptism is non-biblical, only believers are proper candidates for baptism, baptism is immersion, and their baptism is invalid, having never been immersed. Thus, they found the nearest credobaptist (hence Mathias Luce) and convinced him to immerse the believers among the family upon a simple confession that Jesus is Lord. A. Campbell did not conclude that baptism is” for forgiveness” until 1823, but even then he was never re-immersed nor was it an issue at the time. The rest is history…

  20. Randall says:

    Hi HG,
    Yes, it was my mistake as it was not you but Robert Harry that asked about Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

    And yes, Mathias Luce and A. Campbell met soon after A.C. joined his father T.C in America during 1809. However, it was not until 1812 that A.C decided to be immersed following the birth of his daughter. Leroy Garrett in his anecdotal history of the S-C movement writes that T.C decided to be immersed after his son, A.C was immersed though it happened on the same day. None the less, it took A.C. about three years from the time he met the Baptist preacher to decide to be immersed. After the Campbells were pretty much forced out of the Presbyterian church they joined a Baptist association (Mahoning Association I think) for a number of years before they were forced out of it – Thus the name of his journal before the Millennial Harbinger was the Christian Baptist – I think from 1823 until 1830.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  21. Randall says:

    As an addition, A.C “acknowledged” that baptism was “for” the remission of sins after Walter Scoot put forth the notion. He, not A.C., is credited with bringing the concept into the S-C movement.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  22. My intended point is tha Campbell did not regard inferences from scripture as suitable as tests of fellowship, which I was taught, incorrectly, that they are.

  23. Randall says:

    Hi History Guy,
    Above your wrote “Baptism remained a thorny issue and by 1811 both Campbells had immersed many at their small church though neither of the Campbells had been immersed themselves.”

    My memory is a little hazy on these events. Was this done specifically at the request of those they immersed? What congregation were they worshiping with at that time? Thanks for refreshing my memory.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  24. Randall says:

    Hi Jerry,
    You are correct that inferences were NOT a test of fellowship for the Campbells. They fully (well more than less) embraced B.W. Stone despite his not being orthodox on the Trinity and Christology.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  25. Randall says:

    Hi Johnny,
    Happy to hear of your experiences. My experiences with the Baptists have mostly been in Texas, but we were members of a Southern Baptist Church in Bangkok. I refused to be baptized again and they made an exception for me. They had not made exceptions for others including one that had been baptized in a conservative Christian church. Two of the most influential men there were from Arkansas and Alabama, respectively.
    I personally know one couple here in Texas (he is now passed away) and she was CofC and he was Baptist. Either way they went the denomination required one of them to be baptized again. There are many similar accounts out there that “they” talk about.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  26. R.J. says:

    “The Independent Christian Church is another name for Churches of Christ, both being in the SCM”.

    You and me are on the same page.:)

    “A. Campbell did not embrace Landmarkism but he did argue along the same lines”.

    True enough. But as soon as he broke away from the Baptists, he seriously reconsidered such notions(that a any sect within Christendom could be traced back to Pentecost). He was even against the claim that the church was apostate until he or any other reformer(before him) came with their reforms. As that would make Christ’s promise null and void in Matthew 16:16.

  27. arkie55 says:

    I find this discussion of Landmarkism fascinating. I didn’t learn about the Landmark Baptists until recently, while reading one of Leonard Allen’s historical synopses. I am somewhat bemused by the “church history” that I was *not* taught, despite having sat in more than one college level church history course.

    I have a question for anyone that has knowledge with which to address it: is there any known connection between the Lunenberg Letter and the Landmark Baptists? Having concluded within the past decade that the positions occupied by the Lunenburg questioner seem to have solidified within Churches of Christ, I now am curious about such a possible connection…

  28. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Arkie,

    The Lunenberg letter was written in response to a woman who was a Christadelphian not a Baptist.

  29. hist0ryguy says:

    R.J.,
    Thank you for sharing your understanding that “He was even against the claim that the church was apostate until he or any other reformer (before him) came with their reforms.”

    That is a misunderstanding and incorrect. One of Campbell’s favorite phrases is talking about the “apostate church foretold by the prophets and apostles.” The Christian System is probably the easiest work for everyone here to access, though other works by Campbell could be cited. I have included a quote from the original preface which was retained in the final print with the second preface and introduces the very basis for his writing the Christian System.

    Since the full development of the great apostasy foretold by Prophets and Apostles, numerous attempts at reformation have been made. Three full centuries, carrying with them the destinies of countless millions, have passed into eternity since the Lutheran effort to dethrone the Man of Sin. During this period many great and wonderful changes have taken place in the political, literary, moral, and religious conditions of society. That the nations composing the western half of the Roman Empire have already been greatly benefited by that effort, scientifically, politically, and morally, no person acquainted with either political or ecclesiastical history can reasonably doubt…

    We must understand how he thought, however. Orthodox were not under consideration since Protestants were/are generally focused on Rome (the West). Campbell does not equate the VISIBLE church with the INVISBLE church contra what a significant number, esp. in COC, think today. Campbell and his entourage believed the institution (the visible) church was corrupt and apostate, but Mt. 16:16 applied to the invisible church, the individual Christians who are IN the corrupt human institutions but not the institution itself. Finally, Campbell called for all Protestants Christians to be unified, but Catholics were generally the enemy (that was the case in those days, Catholics vs. Protestants and vice versa).

  30. hist0ryguy says:

    Randall,
    As I recall, it was not sated who requested the immersion, but rather the fact they were immersed. Until 1812, the Campbells did not advocate immersion of those sprinkled/poured as infants because it would question the legitimacy o f such ones Christianity. By 1812, that changed with the immersion of the Campbell’s & family. Thereafter they immersed everyone, which caused a rift at their congregation. I will have to look up the church the immersions took place at once I am in my office.

    Regarding inferences and the Campbells (I will focus on A. Campbell due to his writings), he advocated the 5 acts of worship model of today’s conservative COC. Campbell embraced the RPW pertaining to worship, but taught that individuals could have diverse believes in private. Two examples: Campbell did not rebuke Jessie B. Ferguson’s unorthodox beliefs until he publically taught them, and Campbell considered Stone his brother but basically told Stone to shut-up teaching Arianism (and in time Stone did).

  31. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Arkie,

    Given that the Landmark Baptists refuse fellowship with those who were baptized by other denominations, regardless of whether the baptism matches their theology, I’d have to say that A. Campbell was a long, long way from the Landmark position by the time he penned his responses to the letter from the women in Lunenburg. Then again, Campbell was not pushing a Baptist understand of baptism. I don’t read him to articulate a fully thought out theology of baptism and salvation, although he is very thoughtful in his responses.

    Here’s a link to the full text of the Lunenburg correspondence from Campbell —

    http://www.outrageouscampbellite.com/The-Lunenburg-Letter.html

    For those interested, here are extensive quotes from A. Campbell re the salvation of the unimmersed post-Lunenburg –

    http://oneinjesus.info/2011/08/what-must-the-church-of-christ-do-to-be-saved-the-baptism-question-part-4-the-lunenburg-letter/

  32. Arkie55,
    I believe the Lunnenburg Letter only addressed whether pious people who had not been immersed could be considered as Christian.The issue of baptizing previously immersed people who did not understand that was for the remission of sins did not become a hot issue until the Firm Foundation was established to oppose accepting immersed people with a handshake in the 1880’s. David Lipscomb opposed that position in the Gospel Advocate. Interestingly, most readers and writers for the Advocate today would agree with the Firm Foundation position.

  33. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Jerry and Arkie,

    A. Campbell’s Richmond Correspondence deals with the Baptist question. Here’s a sample:

    If every one that does not clearly understand the meaning of baptism at the time of his immersion, or afterwards, is, on that account, an alien and “in his sins;” then were the Apostles very remiss in not preaching re-immersion to the church of God in Rome: for Paul had to explain to them the meaning of baptism, chapter vi.–then was Paul very negligent in not constraining “the carnal” Corinthians, the ignorant and superstitious Corinthians, whose consciences were not healed from all the imbecilities of idolatry, to be re-immersed. And ought he not to have re-immersed the Galatians, of whom he “stood in doubt,” and for whom “he travailed again in birth till Christ should be formed in them,” and to whom he expounded the meaning of baptism? (ch. iii. 27.) On this point much could, and, perhaps, much ought to be said; but we will not enter with spirit into it, believing it to be unnecessary. Suffice it here to say, that the notion of re-baptism is wholly out of the Record, and is only an inference drawn from our own conclusions on the present state of christianity, and the inadequate conception of many professors on the import of the Christian Institution. …

    “Instead of this, much better they had gone and brought forth fruits worthy of reformation–confessed their errors, and asked forgiveness through that Mediator whom they had publicly acknowledged, and who has never made the clearness of any person’s conceptions the condition of the benefits of his death, resurrection, and high priesthood in heaven. Then, indeed, they would have had better and more valid proofs of genuine discipleship than in having been twice immersed.”

  34. R.J. says:

    Stone did not believe Arianism(Christ and the Spirit are not Divine) but subordinationism. That the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were One Eternal God but not equal in rank. The Eternal Son Is Subject to the Father. The Eternal Spirit is subject to the Son. It is an unorthodox view of the Trinity but by no means Unitarian.

  35. Randall says:

    I would be rather interested in reading where Stone acknowledged that Jesus existed from eternity past.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  36. hist0ryguy says:

    The blog may find this article by JMH helpful regarding A. Campbell and the Lunnenburg Letter.

    http://johnmarkhicks.faithsite.com/content.asp?CID=10070

  37. hist0ryguy says:

    R.J.,
    Stone believes in the Son’s pre-existence, but the nature of this pre-existence is not eternal. A. Campbell had to write a series of articles and convince Stone stop “speculating” and just use the words of Scripture. Though Stone started using the words of Scripture, his Arian speculation remained. There are many books and articles in the SCM covering the issue, even Stone’s writings. Look at the primary sources when possible in conjunction with those who spent a lifetime studying these characters.

    One primary source is Stone, An Address to the Christian Churches, https://webfiles.acu.edu/departments/Library/HR/restmov_nov11/www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/bstone/ADDR-2ND.HTM#Sec2

    Arg.1 …the one only true God was never begotten nor born–then the expressions, the first begotten–the first born, cannot apply to the Son as very God…the Son of God was begotten before 1820 years ago, and yet not from eternity… Arg. 10 … The person, for whom the body was prepared, was not God; for he came to do the will of God… it appears that a person existed in heaven previous to his union with the body prepared for him, and that this person was not very God; therefore it must be the Son of God… [The Son] is not equal in essence, being or eternity…

    Compare Stone with Arius

    Letter to Eusebius of Nicomedia, Arius says: and before the Son was begotten or created or defined or established, he was not [he is not eternal with the Father]… But we are persecuted because we say, the son has a beginning, but God is without beginning. The Son is from nothing. But we speak thus as inasmuch as he [Son] is neither part of God, nor from any substratum.

    Letter to Alexander of Alexandria, Arius says: we know one God-alone unbegotten, everlasting, without beginning… immutable and unchangeable… [The Son] is not everlasting or co-everlasting or unbegotten with the father… Nor does he have being with the father… God is thus before all as a monad and cause. Therefore, he [the Father] is also before the Son.

  38. R.J. says:

    I totally forgot about his earlier work.;) I apologize for my hastiness.

    I’ve always heard that he eventually repented of this and started preaching Trinitarian Subordination. If he did not change his Arian views, then is he saved since he did not believe that Jesus was God(Yahweh)? Christ said…

    “If you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins”. John 8:24

  39. hist0ryguy says:

    RJ,
    Stone’s early work certainly caused a fair amount of backlash, enough that Campbell had to defend him but also reprove him. Some think Stone changed his mind (to some degree); others think Stone just “used the words of Scripture” without inserting his thoughts on the subject. It is certain, however, that Stone no longer publically opposed Trinitarianism and stopped writing about the topic after Campbell reproved him. To my knowledge, Stone never affirmed Trinitarianism, which Campbell believed the only acceptable teaching in a public setting. One could have a private belief, but private beliefs were to remain private.

    Was Stone saved? Sure
    I do not agree with the structure of your question, but I understand your valid point. Stone, like any good Arian, would reply that he affirms John 8:24, but in light of X (insert another favorite Arian verse) it is us (Trinitarians) who make Jesus’ claims to be more than they are in John 8:21, 24.

    How does the church handle the eternal state of the heretic? A heretic and apostate are different. Regarding the heretic, there is a difference between seeking to know and better understand or explain a teaching, which is what God expects of us as we grow in grace and salvation, and having a rebellious heart that seeks to tear down and divide. There is also a difference between those who deny salvation through Jesus (e.g. Christianity) while affirming another religion (e.g. Mormonism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc.,) and those who follow Jesus/Christianity but misunderstand or incorrectly explain the relationship between the Father, Son, and Spirit.

    The church has always condemned heresy while granting that that God will judge every Christian upon the motive of their heart (1 Cor. 4:5; 8:6-7; Php. 3:15-16).

  40. R.J. says:

    “The church has always condemned heresy while granting that that God will judge every Christian upon the motive of their heart” (1 Cor. 4:5; 8:6-7; Php. 3:15-16).

    I agree too. In closer view, Jesus was talking to Jews who adamantly refused to acknowledge him as Yahweh in the flesh. While Barton apparently only had an honest struggle with what he was taught.

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