Who Moved My Landmark?

Who Moved My Landmark?

Who Moved My Old Landmark?
Changing Definitions of Landmarkism
in the Early Twentieth Century

Christopher Bart Barber

Lecture, Baptist Heritage Lecture Series
Campbellsville University
18 March 2014


        The most powerful theological force in the Western two-thirds of the Southern Baptist Convention at the turn of the twentieth century was Landmarkism. From the Llano Estacado to the banks of the Cumberland, from the Ozark Plateau to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, Landmarkism’s hegemony was absolute along the vibrant growing edge of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). More than any political party, social movement, or denominational program, Landmarkism enjoyed virtually unanimous support among these Southern Baptists.

       Entire lengthy published works have addressed the origins, proponents, history, and nature of Landmarkism. The subject has also drawn the attention of several unpublished doctoral dissertations. If one should consider the journal articles, editorials in denominational newspapers, and even, in more recent days, the blog posts and websites dealing with Landmarkism in one way or another, the number of scholars researching Landmarkism would grow significantly.

       Few aspects of the body of academic work dedicated to Landmarkism are as remarkable as the diversity with which these various scholars have defined Landmarkism. One can almost say that no two major scholars have defined Landmarkism in the same way. This is true even if one considers only the work of Southern Baptist historians who share similar ideological convictions and academic pedigrees. Why has Baptist historiography struggled so onerously with the task of crafting a consensus definition of Landmarkism? Isn’t it ironic that a movement so interested in understanding Baptist history could prove so difficult for Baptist historians to understand?

       The mainstream of Southern Baptist scholarship has postulated two discrete phases in the history of Landmarkism: an antebellum nativity for the movement that jousted with Campbellites and Pedobaptists; and a turn-of-the-century adolescence—a “later Landmarkism” or “schismatic Landmarkism”—that rent the fabric of Southern Baptist life.

       The nineteenth-century phase began in 1851 with the Cotton Grove (TN) Resolutions. Choosing an endpoint for the twentieth-century phase of the movement is difficult, since Landmarkism has faded due to slow enervation more than it has met with any calamitous end, but as a decisive factor in the denominational organization of Baptists in the American South, the last major event in the story of Landmarkism is the 1950 departure of a disaffected group within the American Baptist Association (ABA) to form the Baptist Missionary Association of America (BMAA). The turn of the twentieth century serves as a dividing point between these two portions of the Landmark story because Samuel Augustus Hayden and his followers organized the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas in 1900, inaugurating the new era, and because the last surviving member of the original Landmark triumvirate, the inimitable James Robinson Graves (b. 1820), had died in 1893, closing out the old one.

       Different Southern Baptist historians have interpreted the later, twentieth-century history of Landmarkism differently under this two-phase model. Some have regarded Landmarkism as a caustic agent in the convention’s past, opining that the cathartic purge of Landmark elements from the denomination early in the century opened the door to a golden age of progress.1 Others have acknowledged Landmarkism as a cohesive agent that the SBC retained, thereby staving off potential fracture threatened by other, more divisive issues and powering Southern Baptist geographic expansion.2

Yet others have supposed that the Landmark schisms were incomplete, removing only the most intolerable Landmark elements yet leaving behind a sinister grassroots Landmarkism to foil the onward march of ecumenism and other progressive concepts in the SBC.3 This latter phase of Landmarkism, and not the nineteenth-century component of the movement, is the part of the story that has foiled historians’ attempts to achieve a consensus definition of Landmarkism. During the twentieth century, after Landmarkism splintered denominationally, changing definitions of Landmarkism became weapons in the schismatic wars that characterized the most unseemly moments of this epoch. Their internecine jockeying over the mantle of James Robinson Graves, the great Elijah of Landmarkism, produced a definitional mish-mash that has infected Southern Baptist historiography to this day. In no episode is this process more transparently visible than in the conflict between the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) and the General Association of Baptist Churches in Arkansas (GABCA) after their split in 1901.

Defining Early Landmarkism

       An appropriate starting place is to define Landmarkism as it existed in its nineteenth-century phase. James Tull has correctly concluded that “Landmarkism was a fairly definite and clear-cut” set of theological concepts, and it is therefore appropriate for us to prefer definitions that consider Landmarkism as set of theological beliefs rather than as a syndrome of relational pathologies, an approach to the task of Baptist History, a quasi- denominational movement, or even the encapsulation of one man’s life and writings.4

Those items that belong in a definition of Landmarkism will meet three criteria: (1) The key architects of Landmarkism will have agreed concerning the definitional attributes of Landmarkism; (2) The definitional attributes of Landmarkism will appear prominently in the expositions and defenses of Landmarkism that the key architects of Landmarkism wrote; and (3) Non-Landmark Baptists will have rejected at least one of the definitional attributes of Landmarkism.5

       Measured by these criteria, the items that appropriately define Landmarkism are Baptist exclusivism, the rejection of the official actions of non-Baptist churches as invalid, and the refusal to give even the most subtle courteous public recognition of these invalid church actions. Baptist exclusivism is the belief that all and only Baptist churches are valid New Testament churches. Because all but Baptist churches are not valid churches, Landmark Baptists rejected the baptisms and ordinations of these churches as invalid, since they believed that only valid churches could perform these sacred actions in valid ways. According to the Landmark Baptists, it would be an inappropriate validation of these invalid baptisms or ordinations for a Baptist to sit under the preaching of a non-Baptist or acknowledge as brethren non-Baptist ministers, much less to admit to membership in a Baptist church anyone who had not been baptized under the auspices of a Baptist church.

       Missing from this definition are a few items that have appeared from time to time in other definitions of Landmarkism. Embrace of the Gospel Missions plan for missionary organization does not appropriately belong in any definition of nineteenth-century Landmarkism. In his study of the Gospel Missions movement Adrian Lamkin has persuasively argued that the movement is the brainchild of Tarleton Perry Crawford (1821 – 1902) and that neither Graves nor any other Landmark influence played any causative role in the development of Crawford’s philosophy.6

       Organic church successionism also does not appear in this definition of Landmarkism. Landmark theory requires some idea of Baptist perpetuity, or else it is impracticably difficult to support the idea that Baptist churches and only Baptist churches are valid New Testament churches, but even James Madison Pendleton (1811 – 1891), a member of the great Landmark triumvirate and a close friend and sometimes colleague of Graves, endorsed simply a succession of Baptist ideas back to the time of Christ rather than an unbroken succession of Baptist churches. However influential Graves’s theory of Baptist history and documents like James Milton Carroll’s Trail of Blood may have been, an influential cadre of Landmark Baptists embraced all of the core tenets of Landmarkism and also embraced the idea of Baptist perpetuity without adopting the organic theory of an unbroken succession of Baptist churches.7

       Closed communion—the idea that only the members of a local church should be admitted to that church’s observances of the Lord’s Supper—does not belong within the definition of Landmarkism. Again, Pendleton broke ranks with Graves over the idea of non- intercommunion among Baptist churches of like faith and order. Among the second generation of Landmark leaders vocal resistance to Graves’s views on the extent of communion were hard to miss. In his introduction to the third edition of Graves’s An Old Landmark Re-Set, Arkansas Landmark pastor J. B. Moody (1838 – 1931) pointedly instructed the readers:

       May God help you my dear brother preacher to read the following pages rightly. For a later and more extended discussion I refer you to Dr. Graves’ [sic] work on “Landmarkism; What is it?” I think he erred by introducing church communion, as that does not involve other denominations. Indeed I know many Landmark Baptists who discard church communion, and many church communionists who discard Landmarkism. Let each question stand on its own merits, as one does not involve the other.8

       Moody’s point is well-taken, and modern historians would do as well to consider it as was true for his initial audience. Although open communion would be very difficult to reconcile with Landmarkism, either close or closed communion have been popular and consistent options among Landmark Baptists.

       By these criteria, the best brief definition of nineteenth-century Landmarkism is Hugh Wamble’s: Landmarkism amounts to a theory of the “sole validity of Baptist churches.”9 A more specific definition would be as follows: Landmarkism is an ecclesiology that denies the validity of the existence or acts of any church that does not: (1) consist solely of members who have received symbolic immersion pursuant to a public self-declaration that they have been converted; (2) organize into a gathered, autonomous, local congregation; (3) acknowledge only two scriptural church offices—the pastor and the deacon; (4) perform only baptism and the Lord’s Supper as symbolic ordinances; and (5) demonstrate without defect its continuity to the original New Testament church.

Defining Later Landmarkism

       Beginning in the late 1890s a period of upheaval in Southern Baptist life produced a major exodus of churches from the Southern Baptist Convention. The geographical distribution of these departing churches was not uniform—the churches who left the SBC were overwhelmingly concentrated in the areas of the convention where Landmarkism was strongest, particularly in Texas and Arkansas.

       If a more complicated definition of Landmarkism than the definition offered above is appropriate at all, the development of this so-called “schismatic Landmarkism” necessitates it. Certainly the first few decades of the twentieth century prompted widespread debate over who was and was not a true, genuine Landmark Baptist. Specifically, Baptists began to debate whether Landmarkism was compatible with “Conventionism,” the organizational structure of the Southern Baptist Convention. That voices—loud voices—in Baptist life in the American South claimed that Landmarkism must be defined to include opposition to the structure of the Southern Baptist Convention is indubitable. The question is whether scholars today should take those claims seriously as theology or regard them as mere propaganda. A key factor in making that choice will be whether scholars choose to regard the denominational splits of 1900 – 1902 as a quarrel over Landmarkism or a quarrel among Landmarkers. The data clearly indicate that it was the latter: a quarrel among people who were in complete agreement about Landmarkism but who disagreed over other matters.

       In Arkansas, all of the leaders of the group who left the ABSC were Landmark Baptists, but so were all of the leaders of the group who stayed behind. The statement of faith of the Caroline Baptist Association—perhaps the most influential local association in the state, including the home churches of both James Phillip Eagle and Benjamin Bogard—was simply a synopsis of J. M. Pendleton’s Church Manual.10 J. B. Moody led the pro-ABSC movement so passionately and eloquently that C. B. Williams wrote an epic poem about the Paragould meeting in which he memorialized Moody’s work. Moody also, as mentioned above, wrote the introduction to the third edition of Pendleton’s An Old Landmark Re-Set.11 President J. W. Conger of Ouachita Baptist College readily contrasted his institution’s firm Landmarkism to the infidelities of William Heth Whitsitt’s Southern Baptist Theological Seminary when competing for students, and Conger presented the ABSC committee report that called for Whitsitt’s ouster. Also serving on that committee were A. H. Autry, O. L. Hailey, P. C. Barton, T. C. Swofford, and J. G. Doyle. All of these but Swofford and Doyle were ABSC supporters and strident Landmark Baptists.12 Hailey was the son-in-law of J. R. Graves and was an early supporter of the ABSC in the controversy. During the height of the controversy, the flagship church of the convention, Second Baptist Church of Little Rock, called as their pastor a nationally recognized champion of Landmarkism, John T. Christian. Christian was the keynote speaker at Eagle’s funeral.13 James Sterling Rogers, destined to become one of the most powerful Arkansas Baptists of the twentieth century, was but a young missionary appointee of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention when he led the Gainesville Baptist Association’s push to secure Whitsitt’s termination.14 As late as 1948 Rogers maintained that he and the Baptists of the ABSC were dependable adherents of Landmarkism.15 These men were the key leaders of the pro-ABSC wing in Arkansas. Without them, there would have been no pro-ABSC wing of Baptist life in Arkansas. Not a one of them even exhibited any moderation in their Landmark convictions as defined above.

       Furthermore, the leaders of the group that broke away from the ABSC while in the process of breaking away did not ever allege that their opponents were not sincere and thoroughgoing Landmarkers. During the negotiations that transpired between 1901 and 1902, none of the breakaway group’s demands touched upon Landmark themes. Instead, the division in Arkansas was between rural churches and urban churches, fueled more by William Jennings Bryan and Senator Jeff Davis than by J. R. Graves and J. M. Pendleton. Arkansas Baptists divided over how much influence city churches should have in the convention and over whether Baptist mission offerings should fund the salaries of executives in Little Rock.

Landmarkism in the Public Debate

       If Landmarkism did not cause the turn-of-the-century splits among Landmark Baptists, then how did so many people come to associate Landmarkism with these controversies in Texas and Arkansas and the new denominations that emerged from them? In Arkansas, the dissenting group introduced Landmarkism into the debate after the melee that split the convention. Although Landmarkism did not cause the differences among Arkansas Baptists, after they were divided, the two groups began to fight over which faction could rightfully claim the mantle of J. R. Graves.

       In the newspaper war, in December 1901, the pages of the Arkansas Baptist, which was the official newspaper of the breakaway movement, suddenly and violently erupted into accusations that the ABSC had betrayed Landmarkism. Attempting to paint the entire ABSC—a known Landmark institution—as disloyal to Landmarkism was a novel and uncertain endeavor. The Arkansas Baptist first advanced the charge in a tenuous, anonymous, two-part article entitled “Old Landmarks Restated.” The article’s content was no different than earlier diatribes against the evils of ecclesiastical “combinations” that “usurped the functions of the church” in order to pay “extravagant salaries to their officers and assistants,” although it contained a strong plea for the social gospel that was absent from most Arkansas Baptist agrarianism. The title, rather than the content of the article, was the most striking contribution to the idea that the ABSC might be impeached as having defected from the true Landmark way.16

       The same issue of the Arkansas Baptist contained a letter reminding the people of Arkansas that J. R. Graves had stood toe-to-toe with the convention bosses in 1859.17 J. P. Copeland recounted a conversation with a Methodist who analyzed Paragould thus: “Baptists are rapidly following the Methodist church in their progressive work.” In stirring Landmark rhetoric, Copeland concluded, “Shall we sit down as poor mendicants and beg of our priests and prelates for a morsel of liberty?”18

       In twelve short months—the interval between two convention meetings that yielded precisely the same decisions—the Arkansas Baptist’s view of the ABSC had changed from a “regular and representative convention of Arkansas Baptists” to a group that “ignores the voice of the laity, denies the sovereignty and independence of local churches, [and] invests the bishops and prelates with supreme authority to control and dictate as seemeth good in their sight.” The alleged breach of Landmark orthodoxy was clear when agitators claimed that the ABSC “associated Baptist with episcopacy.”19

       W. A. Clark picked up the theme in the Christmas edition of the Arkansas Baptist, tarring new General Secretary A. J. Barton and the new pro-ABSC Baptist Advance newspaper with the charge of abandoning Landmarkism. Clark cited a conversation between Barton and a Presbyterian minister at the New Orleans 1901 SBC annual meeting. Barton allegedly told the Pedobaptist that he was “praying for that longed for time when a larger liberty will characterize our larger Christian fellowship.” The statement appeared to be a direct denunciation of the Baptist exclusivism that defined Landmarkism. Clark then accused the Baptist Advance of being a failed Pedobaptist paper that the ABSC was reinvigorating, presumably in collusion with the former owners.20

       Bogard also began to accuse the ABSC of relinquishing the “Old Landmarks.” In an extended analysis of The Great Iron Wheel, Bogard declared J. R. Graves to have been opposed resolutely to Baptist conventions. The campaign to brand the ABSC as enemies of Landmarkism had succeeded so well that in spite of the convention’s clear and undiluted record of opposition toward Whitsitt, Bogard unabashedly linked the two:

       On page 138 [of The Great Iron Wheel], Graves says: ‘No church can alienate her trusts, or delegate them to another, and for a third party or power to usurp them is in open opposition to the authority of Christ. ‘And yet men unblushingly tell us that Graves believed in the modern doctrine of convention sovereignty and secretary bossism.’ What has been said of J. R. Graves by the Whitsittite and ‘organized’ gang is enough to make the grand old man turn over in his grave. [Irregularities in the use of quotation marks appear in the original]21

       Landmarkism did not displace agrarian dissent in the Arkansas Baptist. Clark’s old guard continued to harness the political and economic frustrations of Arkansas’s populace. Disaffected Baptists complained that the ABSC’s mission plan “discriminate[d] between the city, larger towns and the country and small towns.” The ABSC and its Executive Board had become nothing other than a “church trust”—“a combination of greater powers to oppress weaker powers,” and a “cult of the city and town churches.” The leaders of the ABSC were “Machiavelli. . .reincarnated.”22

       The readers of the Arkansas Baptist rapidly fused the two concepts of agrarianism and Landmarkism. Although Arkansas could boast some “good ‘Landmark’ Baptist churches in both the country, towns and cities,” the “country church is the greatest, because of its unswerving fidelity to Baptist doctrines.” Down through the Landmark trail of blood, the faithful martyrs who had preserved the Baptist faith through the Dark Ages had fled the towns and hidden in the countryside. Piety and faithfulness obviously were rural virtues, and Christ had plainly entrusted the Old Landmarks to the country churches for safe keeping.23 Founded by a city-church pastor who lived in urban areas throughout his days of influence, Landmarkism had become, for Bogard’s adherents, virtually the exclusive possession of country folk. Finally, in the middle of 1902, the Arkansas Baptist changed its name to the (Arkansas) Landmark Baptist, seeking to make final its hegemony over the title.

       Through the Baptist Advance, supporters of the ABSC fought back, not by denouncing Landmarkism but by claiming to represent the true followers of the Landmark Triumvirate. J. B. Moody defended his own Landmarkism.24 The paper charged the Arkansas Baptist with shaming the legacy of Graves: “I am sure this new and improper use of the term ‘Landmark Baptist’ will do more to bring the principles and truths hitherto represented by it, into disrepute, than all the opposition ever hurled against it.”25 The leaders of the GABCA were “pretended Landmarkers” who had distorted the noble legacy of Landmarkism into a newfangled and extreme dogma of “strict Landmarkism” that bore little resemblance to the simple teachings of Graves.26 The greatest trump card for the ABSC was an article by O. L. Hailey. Graves’s own son-in-law, successor, and biographer argued forcefully that “Dr. Graves [was] not opposed to our organized work,” but had participated vigorously in convention structures. Bogard and his associates were quoting Graves out of context and misrepresenting his positions, attempting to deceive Arkansans into believing that their movement was advancing the legacy of Graves.27

       The Baptist Advance not only defended its Landmark credentials, but also took the offensive, attacking the General Association as the “most un-Scriptural body ever organized among Baptists.” By making the church the unit of representation in the association, the GABCA was violating the Landmark principle that a church “cannot delegate its authority nor merge itself into any other body.”28 Furthermore, although each local church was autonomous, “its sovereignty and independence are limited to its own sphere.” The ABSC could not violate the independence of the churches, but neither could a church or minority group of churches dictate terms to the cooperative body of the ABSC.29

       What prompted this sudden appeal to Landmarkism after the impasse in the ABSC? By the early 1900s, Graves had solidified his theory of church succession and incorporated it into Landmarkism. Graves’s theory of church succession opposed the “branch theory” of the church—the idea that the different denominations are but branches of the true, universal church. Under Graves’s theory, branching away from the trunk of the church meant apostasy, not diversity. Antiquity of organization signified validity and authority. Until 1902, Arkansas Baptists had been claiming that the SBC and the ABSC contained the true descendants of the New Testament church. In order to split away from the ABSC and the SBC without abandoning the true succession of the church, they needed to demonstrate that their new organization was the vehicle preserving the old landmarks, or else they would be vulnerable to the charge of apostasy.

       Predictably, both groups began to claim antiquity for themselves and a recent origin for their opponents. Throughout the controversy, the ABSC proclaimed that their methods were not new.30 Bogard correctly claimed that Baptist mission boards did not originate until 1792.31 This Landmark squabble over which faction represented the ancient tradition endured for generations, even after Southern Baptists in Arkansas began to relinquish the Landmark name (but not the ecclesiology) to the Bogard group. As late as 1948—nearly a half-century after the Bogard schism—the ABSC armed its followers with this list detailing the “Origin of the Denominations”:

         BAPTISTS, A. D. 32, by Jesus Christ. 

         ROMAN CATHOLICS, separated from the Baptists in the third century A. D., and gradually drifted into the papacy. The first Universal Bishop or Pope was Boniface III, who was made such by Emperor Phocas A. D. 606. But, Leo the Great, was made Pope of the Western Catholic Church as early as 440 A. D. 

LUTHERANS, A. D. 1529 by Martin Luther. PRESBYTERIANS, A. D. 1535, by John Calvin. EPISCOPALIANS, A. D. 1539 by King Henry VIII. QUAKERS, A. D. 1648, by Geo. Fox.

METHODISTS, A. D. 1729 by John Wesley.

CAMPBELLITES, A. D. 1827 by Alexander Campbell. FREE WILL BAPTISTS, A. D. 1780 by Benj. Randall. MORMONS, A. D. 1830, by Joseph SMITH. HARDSHELL BAPTISTS, A. D. 1832 by Daniel Parker.


RUSSELLISM, A. D. 1910 by Charles Taze “Pastor” Russell.

“LANDMARK BAPTIST ASSOCIATION”—(In Arkansas) About 1902, by B. M. Bogard, and Associates.32

       Thus, although Landmarkism was not a cause of the Bogard schism, it was a justification after the fact, employed to protect Bogard’s group from the charge of schismatic apostasy. Both sides of the schism claimed to be the true Landmark Baptists and the heirs of the New Testament tradition, appealing to the Baptists of Arkansas to cling to the ancient truth and shun the apostates.


       Because internecine propaganda affected the changes made to the definition of Landmarkism in the early twentieth century, students of Baptist History should be reluctant to adopt the results of this contest over the mantle of J. R. Graves as any definitive statement about the theological nature of Landmarkism. The Old Landmark Baptists may be guilty of excessive hubris against non-Baptists, but if they proved susceptible to internal division, perhaps that fault pertains less to the fact that they were Landmark Baptists than to the fact that they were any sort of Baptists at all.


Alldredge, E. P. and E. J. A. McKinney. The Campaign Arsenal: Being a Storehouse of Ammunition for Speakers in the Baptist 75 Million Campaign in Arkansas July 1 to December 7, 1919. Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Baptist Campaign Commission, 1919.

Arkansas Baptist. 23 January 1895-30 December 1903.

Baker, Robert A. The Southern Baptist Convention and Its People, 1607-1972. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1974.

Baptist Handbook: Centennial Edition. Little Rock, AR: The Executive Board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1948.

Barnes, William Wright. The Southern Baptist Convention, 1845-1953: The First History of a Great Denomination. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1954.

Bogard, Ben[jamin] Marquis, J. A. Smith, M. P. Metheny, and G. S. Anderson. Conventionism from Four Angles. Texarkana, TX: The Baptist Commoner, n.d.

Christian, John T. Baptist History Vindicated. Louisville, KY: Baptist Book Concern, 1899.

______. Did They Dip? or, An Examination into the Act of Baptism as Practiced by the English and American Baptists before the Year 1641. Louisville, KY: Baptist Book Concern, 1896.

______. A History of the Baptists: Together with Some Account of Their Principles and Practices. 2 vols. Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1922.

Hall, J. N., ed. Landmarkism. N.p., [1899]. Reprint, Walker, WV: Truth Publications, [1980].

Hinson, E[dward] Glenn. A History of Baptists in Arkansas, 1818-1978. Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1979.

Lamkin, Adrian Jr. “The Gospel Missions Movement within the Southern Baptist Convention.” Ph.D. diss, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1980.

Minutes of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. 1850, 1854, 1856, 1870-1910.

Minutes of the Caroline Baptist Association, 1895-1903.

Minutes of the Gainesville Missionary Baptist Association, 1887, 1889, 1891-1899, 1901-1903.

Moore, David O. “The Landmark Baptists and Their Attack upon the Southern Baptist Convention Historically Analyzed.” Th.D. thesis, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1949.

______. An Old Landmark Re-Set. 3rd edition. N.p., 1899. In Hall, J. N., ed. Landmarkism. N.p., [1899]. Reprint, Walker, WV: Truth Publications, [1980].

Patterson, T. A. “The Theology of J. R. Graves and Its Influence on Southern Baptist Life.” Th.D. diss, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1944.

Rogers, J[ames] S[terling]. History of Arkansas Baptists. Little Rock, AR: Executive Board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1948.

Stookey, Stephen Martin. “The Impact of Landmarkism upon Southern Baptist Western Geographical Expansion.” Ph.D. diss, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994.

Tull, James E. High-Church Baptists in the South: The Origin, Nature, and Influence of Landmarkism. Edited by Morris Ashcraft. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2000.

______. “A Study of Southern Baptist Landmarkism in the Light of Historical Baptist Ecclesiology.” 2 vols. Ph.D. diss, Columbia University, 1960.

Wamble, Hugh. “Landmarkism: Doctrinaire Ecclesiology among Baptists.” Church History 33 (December 1964): 429-47.

White, Thomas. “James Madison Pendleton and His Contributions to Baptist Ecclesiology.” Ph.D. diss, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2005.




1 William Wright Barnes, The Southern Baptist Convention, 1845-1953 (Nashville, TN: Broadman, 1954), 117.

2 Stephen Martin Stookey, “The Impact of Landmarkism upon Southern Baptist Western Geographical Expansion” (Ph.D. diss. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1994), 165-73.

3  James E. Tull, High-Church Baptists in the South: The Origin, Nature, and influence of Landmarkism, ed. Morris Ashcraft (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2000), 165-73.

4 Tull defined Landmarkism theologically. See James E. Tull, “A Study of Southern Baptist Landmarkism in the Light of Historical Baptist Ecclesiology,” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1960), 261-62. Although E. Glenn Hinson affirmed a set of theological precepts associated with Landmarkism, the most oft-repeated emphasis within Hinson’s analysis identified the movement as a coping mechanism through which Baptists attempted to relate to Campbellism. See E[dward] Glenn Hinson, A History of Baptists in Arkansas, 1818-1978 (Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1979), 15, 42-47, 173. James Sterling Rogers suggested that the organic succession of Baptist churches from the time of Christ was the discriminator of Landmarkism, making it essentially a theory of history. See J[ames] S[terling] Rogers, History of Arkansas Baptists (Little Rock, AR: Executive Board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1948), 589. Robert A. Baker denied the existence of a “unified system of Landmark doctrine,” and opted to define Landmarkism as a denominational movement. See Robert A. Baker, The Southern Baptist Convention and its People, 1607-1972 (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1974), 277. David O. Moore generally defined Landmarkism as “all that [J. R. Graves] taught.” See David O. Moore, “The Landmark Baptists and Their Attack,” 158. See also T. A.  Patterson, “The Theology of J. R. Graves and Its Influence on Southern Baptist Life,” (Th. D. diss., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1944), 128.

5 This argument is itself a circular argument: one defines Landmarkism by reference to its key leaders, who deserve recognition as key leaders of the movement because of their fidelity to Landmarkism. Nevertheless, the central role of Graves, Pendleton, and Dayton in the formation of Landmarkism is a sound conclusion from inductive rather than deductive reasoning. These three men were intimately involved in the earliest phases of the Landmark Baptist movement. Their writings were popular among Landmark Baptists, who revered these three as key exponents of Landmark Baptist theology.

6 Adrian Lamkin Jr., “The Gospel Missions Movement within the Southern Baptist Convention” (Ph. D. diss, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1980), 45-47, 208-10. Lamkin did acknowledge that Graves’s 1859 attack upon the structure of the SBC later served as “ammunition” for Crawford in the heat of the Gospel Mission controversy. See ibid., 47. Nevertheless, Lamkin listed precursors of the Gospel Missions movement outside Landmarkism, including prominent Northern Baptist Francis Wayland. See Lamkin, 32-35; and Francis Wayland, Notes on the Principles and Practices of Baptist Churches (New York: Sheldon, Blakeman, & Co.; Boston: Gould & Lincoln; Chicago: S. C. Griggs & Co., 1857), 177-90.

7 For Pendleton’s views of Baptist Perpetuity, see James Madison Pendleton, An Old Landmark Re- Set, 3d ed. (n.p., 1899), in J. N. Hall, Landmarkism (n.p., [1899]; reprint, Walker, WV: Truth Publications, [1980]), 19; and Thomas White, “James Madison Pendleton and His Contributions to Baptist Ecclesiology” (Ph.D. diss, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2005), 8-12.

8 J. B. Moody, introduction to An Old Landmark Re-Set, by James Madison Pendleton, in Hall, Landmarkism, 8.

9 Hugh Wamble, “Landmarkism: Doctrinaire Ecclesiology Among Baptists,” Church History 33 (December 1964):429.

10 Minutes of the Caroline Baptist Association, 1899, Riley-Hickingbotham Library, Ouachita Baptist University, Arkadelphia, AR. Unless otherwise noted, Riley-Hickingbotham Library houses all of the minutes for this organization that are cited in this paper.

11 For Moody’s mention in the poem, see C. B. Williams, “The ‘Greatest’ Convention,” Arkansas Baptist, 11 December 1901, 2.

12 Minutes of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1896. Ouachita was still trumpeting its Landmarkism as late as 1903. See J. W. Conger, “What Colleges?” Arkansas Baptist, 3 September 1903, 7.

13 Christian, a Baptist historian, made an academic career of combating Whitsitt’s views. See John T. Christian, Did They Dip? or, An Examination into the Act of Baptism as Practiced by the English and American Baptists before the Year 1641 (Louisville, KY: Baptist Book Concern, 1896); Idem, Baptist History Vindicated (Louisville, KY: Baptist Book Concern, 1899); and Idem, A History of the Baptists: Together with Some Account of Their Principles and Practices (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1922).

14 Minutes of the Gainesville Misisonary Baptist Association, 1897.

15 Rogers, 589.

16 16 A Layman [pseud.], “Old Landmarks Restated,” Arkansas Baptist, 11 December 1901; and Idem, “Old Landmarks Restated,” Arkansas Baptist, 18 December 1901, 6. Another anonymous writer attempted to demonstrate that the ABSC, James Bruton Gambrell, and the Texas Baptist Standard were all involved in a conspiracy to advocate “‘Gambrellism’ or ‘Standardism’ or alien immersion or alienation.” See Countryman [pseud.], “Keep Your Crooked Sticks at Home,” Arkansas Baptist, 18 December 1901, 6; and J. F. McClung, “Texas Dots,” Arkansas Baptist, 26 February 1902.

17 G. W. Hill, “History Repeated,” Arkansas Baptist, 18 December 1901.

18 J. P. Copeland, “Baptist Episcopacy,” Arkansas Baptist, 25 December 1901, 2. See also R. S. Duncan, “How the Early Churches Became Catholic,” (Missouri Baptist) Word and Way, quoted in Arkansas Baptist, 25 December 1901, 16.

19 Ibid.; and W[illiam] A[llen] Clark, “A Re-Statement,” Arkansas Baptist, 23 January 1901, 8.

20 W[illiam] A[llen] Clark, editorial page, Arkansas Baptist, 25 December 1901, 8.

21 Ben[jamin] M[arquis] Bogard, “Doctrinal and Practical,” Arkansas Baptist, 15 January 1902, 1.

22 J. E. Cox, “State Mission Work,” Arkansas Baptist, 11 December 1901; J. P. Copeland, “Church Trusts,” Arkansas Baptist, 11 December 1901; Oliver S. Jones, “The Latest Cult,” Arkansas Baptist, 8 January 1902, 9; and W[illiam] A[llen] Clark, editorial page, Arkansas Baptist, 25 December 1901, 8.

23 A. A. Andrus, “The ‘Country Church,’” Arkansas Baptist, 22 January 1902, 2.

24 J. B. Moody, “How I Stand,” (Arkansas) Baptist Advance, 18 January 1902.

25 T. C. Mahan, “What’s In a Name?” (Arkansas) Baptist Advance, 6 August 1903, 5.

26 “A School of Mendacity,” (Arkansas) Baptist Advance, 6 August 1902, 11; and J. B. Moody, “How I Stand,” (Arkansas) Baptist Advance, 18 January 1902.

27 O[rren] L[uico] Hailey, “Dr. Graves Not Opposed to Our Organized Work,” (Arkansas) Baptist Advance, 15 March 1902, 13.

28 A[rthur] J[ames] Barton, John Jeter Hurt, and E. J. A. McKinney, eds., “Is It Scriptural?” (Arkansas) Baptist Advance, 8 October 1903, 4.

29 Giles C. Taylor, “The Limits of Church Sovereignty,” (Arkansas) Baptist Advance, 16 July 1903, 7.

30 See particularly the Executive Board report in Minutes of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1901.

31 See Bogard’s section in Ben[jamin] M[arquis] Bogard, J. A. Smith, M. P. Metheny, and G. S. Anderson, Conventionism from Four Angles (Texarkana: The Baptist Commoner, n. d.).

32 Baptist Handbook: Centennial Edition (Little Rock, AR: The Executive Board of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, 1948), 38. See also E. P. Alldredge and E. J. A. McKinney, The Campaign Arsenal: Being a Storehouse of Ammunition for Speakers in the Baptist 75 Million Campaign in Arkansas July 1 to December 7, 1919 (Little Rock, AR: Arkansas Baptist Campaign Commission, 1919), 103-05.