Landmark Baptist Church

Landmarkism is a type of Baptist ecclesiology developed in the American South in the mid-19th century. It attributes an unbroken continuity and legitimacy to the Baptist Church since Apostolic times. It includes the belief in the exclusive validity of Baptist churches and invalidity of non-Baptist churchly acts. It led to intense debates and splits in the white Baptist community.


The movement began in the Southern United States in 1851, shaped by James Robinson Graves of Tennessee,[1][2] and Ben M. Bogard of Arkansas.[3] The movement was a reaction to religious progressivism earlier in the century.[2] At the time it arose, its proponents claimed Landmarkism was a return to what Baptists had previously believed, while scholars since then have claimed it was "a major departure".[1]

In 1859, the Southern Baptist Convention approved several resolutions disapproving of Landmarkism, which led to adherents gradually withdrawing from the Southern Baptist Convention "to form their own churches and associations and create an independent Landmark Baptist tradition."[4]


Further reading

  • Moritz, Fred. The Landmark Controversy: A Study in Baptist History and Polity (The Maranatha Series) (2013); 22pp
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