Fred Moritz in the online only Maranatha Baptist Theological Journal attempts to discredit local only ecclesiology as of recent origin, merely a pendulum swing from Campbellism. In part two, I showed how that the Church of Christ (COC) stems from a hermeneutical problem, one mirrored by a universal church ecclesiology. The Bible doesn't support their (COC and universal church people like Moritz) position. And then Moritz doesn't provide historic evidence. To do so, he would have needed to give primary source quotations that indicated that local only men, like James R. Graves, were reacting to Campbellism. He doesn't.
Moritz also tries to trace opposition to alien immersion to Graves. He defines alien immersion as baptism "administered by a Presbyterian, Methodist, or clergy from some other non-Baptist denomination." Moritz talks as though this was some strange concoction of the Landmarkers, which seems to indicate a disconnect between Moritz and historic Baptists. Thomas Crosby couldn't have been influenced by either Campbellists or by James R. Graves, because he wrote his History of English Baptists over 100 years before in 1721, but he does communicate what Baptists historically have believed about the acceptation of baptism. He writes (pp. 15-16):
But when the Paedobaptists argue after this manner, they don’t consider that they hereby cast the fame odium upon the protestant religion in general, which they have so often endeavoured to fix upon the Baptists only; viz. That they can have no right administrator of baptism amongst them, and consequently no true baptism. For as Bishop Burnet observes, at the beginning of the Reformation, all had been baptized in the corrupt way of the church of Rome. If that baptism was nothing, then there was none truly baptized in beginning.
He writes that Protestants had "no right administrator of baptism among them, and consequently no true baptism." Those who had come out of the corruption of Rome, "if that baptism was nothing," then their baptism was not true baptism either. Baptists historically rebaptized those baptized as Roman Catholics and Protestants. That's why they were mockingly called "anabaptists" or "rebaptizers." Mosheim wrote in 1790 in the book An Ecclesiastical History (p. 439): “[T]he ancient Anabaptists practiced the repetition of baptism to those who joined them from other Christian churches.” Again, 1790 was before Thomas or Alexander Campbell and James R. Graves. The Protestants of that day argues against rebaptism---it's all over their writings.
Moritz acts or writes like opposition to alien immersion was new to the Landmarkers. This was a historic Baptist practice. It can be traced as well all the way back to the Donatists. In the book, Sacred Propulsions, in 1768, is written:
The Donatists were so fierce against the catholics, that they would rebaptize all them who came to their churches from the other: but the catholics, as knowing the Donatists did give right baptism, admitted their converts to repentance, but did not rebaptize them. Upon this score the Donatists triumphed, saying, you catholics confess our baptism to be good, and so lay we, but we Donatists deny your baptism to be good; therefore it is rather to be our fide than yours.
This Baptist practice goes back to the acceptance of the Donatist practice of rejecting Catholic baptism.
Many who call themselves Baptists, like Moritz, would consider themselves to be Baptist in their baptism merely because they have a proper recipient, a believer, and then a proper mode, immersion. They leave out one other historic Baptist and biblical facet, that being a proper administrator. Can baptism be accomplished by just anyone? Both Baptists and Protestants wrote a lot about this before James R. Graves and those men ever came on the scene. Graves and the Landmarkers were only reflecting already historic ecclesiology.
[I'm not going to make an all-out argument in this post, but the Bible does also put an emphasis on the administrator of the baptism (I talk about this in this post).]
Trying to Have his Readers Think that Landmarkism Is a Theory that Churches Can and Should Be Able to Trace a Physical Lineage Back to the First Church in Jerusalem
Moritz speculates that the Landmarkers would rebaptize anyone from any church that could not trace, chain-link, all the way back to the Jerusalem church. That's not even what these "Landmarkers" believed. J. R. Graves wrote in his Old Landmarkism: What Is It? (p. 85):
Nor do we admit the claims of the ‘Liberals’ upon us, to prove the continuous existence of the church, of which we are a member, or which baptized us, in order to prove our doctrine of church succession, and that we have been scripturally baptized or ordained. As well might the Infidel call upon me to prove every link of my descent from Adam, before I am allowed to claim an interest in the redemptive work of Christ, which was confined to the family of Adam! We point to the Word of God, and, until the Infidel can destroy its authenticity, our hope is unshaken. In like manner, we point the ‘Liberal’ Baptist to the words of Christ, and will he say they are not sufficient?
Another "Landmarker" and defender of Graves' position, I. K. Cross, wrote in his Landmarkism: An Update (quote off back cover):
I do not know of a reputable Landmark Baptist student of church history who claims that every congregation must trace its individual history link by link back to Christ and the apostles. If this were true there would be few, if any, churches that could validate themselves. This is not [bold in original] the claim of true Baptist church perpetuity. This does not, however, weaken the need for church succession in New Testament church history.
Moritz is arguing a strawman. He doesn't even quote Graves to represent the position of Graves, when Graves' materials are readily available. Landmarkers almost exclusively did not and do not believe in a chain-link position. Some try to go back as far as they can. What I have witnessed of and heard from them is that they believe that succession does exist and that by faith we should look to establish church authority for someone's baptism and church membership. This is what Baptists have believed. Moritz claims to be a Baptist, but in this case, he really argues from the standpoint of a Protestant. He takes the universal church position, which is Roman Catholic and Reformed, and then attempts to smear those who practice according to a historical Baptist heritage. It's sad that he would resort to the type of work that he does in order to propagate his position.
I had never even heard of Graves when I came to my position, and yet I read many others who would not have even been called Landmarkers, who took an identical viewpoint. I in no way am even attempting to defend Graves or the Landmarkers. What we want is the repudiation of a false position, the Catholic and Protestant ecclesiology, and support for the biblical one, which happens to be Baptist, and different than the one espoused in the journal article by Fred Moritz.
More to Come.