Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An Analysis and Review of Kevin Bauder's "Landmarkism", pt. 6

Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four   Part Five

Kevin Bauder begins the next section, entitled, "Alien Immersion and Rebaptism," with the sentence, "Landmark Baptists insist that a proper administrator is essential for valid baptism."  He sets up a strawman by saying that proper administrator means "the succession of baptisms that leads back to John the Baptist."  Graves himself denies that definition.  Maybe there are churches and pastors today who say that's a requirement.  I'm still saying I've never met one.  If they do believe that, they didn't get it from Graves, because he wasn't saying that.

What I say, which is essentially what Graves said, and what I know other men say, who are local only in their ecclesiology, is that proper authority or a proper administrator is needed to be valid baptism. Bauder starts the next paragraph with the statement, "All Baptists agree that invalid baptism is not genuine baptism at all."  Bauder himself writes that baptism must be valid.  However, when he discusses valid baptism, he does not include proper authority.

Bauder doesn't write this, but his universal church theory has a lot to do with acceptance of a baptism regardless of authority.  If the true church is the universal church, then someone out there can operate as a free agent without submitting to any church.  Someone could just starting baptizing people without any authorization, because he could claim that he was getting it directly from Jesus in a spiritual way.  This is not modeled in the New Testament.

Let's for a moment for the sake of this discussion argue from the standpoint that authority or proper administrator don't mean the ability to trace church succession back to the Jerusalem church.  On many occasions here I've written about proper authority.  It's obvious that authority matters in the New Testament.  Jesus gave keys to Peter in Matthew 16.  Each of the seven messengers, what are pastors, in Revelation 2 and 3, are in Jesus' right hand of authority.  Churches can bind and loose on earth and, therefore, in heaven.  Jesus speaks about possessing all authority when He mandates the Great Commission.

There is authority.  What is disobedience?  It is not obeying authority.  When John baptized, he baptized with authority.  The gospels make a big deal about his getting his authority to baptize from heaven.  Jesus traveled 75 miles or so to go to John to be baptized by someone who had authority.

Some of what I'm writing about here relates to the authority of scripture.  Are we regulated by scripture?  Are we regulated by biblical example?  If the New Testament speaks about how things are done, then we should assume that is how things are to be done.  When worship was and has been violated, men laid out the regulative principle of worship.  We know that methods should be regulated by scripture too.  Paul said that preaching was God's ordained method for the gospel or salvation. Other means are not to be used.

The ordinance of baptism was given to the church.  The church has the authority to baptize.  It must be a church.  What is often called a church can dip below the standard of being a church.  When a church becomes apostate, it loses its authority.  Jesus isn't welcome there any more.  The candlestick has gone out, the glory is departed.

Baptist churches have believed and believe that only Baptist churches today have divine authority.  I often call this "horizontal authority."  The Bible remains an authority always in this world, what I call "vertical authority."  A pastor, for instance, we see in a church has authority.  He can rebuke, like Paul told Titus, "with all authority" (Titus 2:15).  Hebrews 13:17 says, "obey them that have the rule over you."  Pastors have rule.  That is horizontal authority.

It is not a matter of checking out to see if the baptisms are chain link.  It's looking to see if someone has been baptized by a church.  The church must have authority.  Roman Catholicism has no authority.  It is apostate.  Protestant churches came out of Roman Catholicism, so they don't have authority either.  What does that leave you with?  Baptisms must come from Baptist churches.  I look to see if a church was started by another church.  I'm suspect if it isn't a Baptist church.  This is just following the example of scripture, being regulated by scripture, understanding how authority operates.  Scripture says authority is necessary.

When you read Graves, his concern was that Baptist churches had accepted Presbyterian baptism and Campbellite baptism.  A man sprinkled as an infant baptized someone, so the man baptizing wasn't baptized.  He doesn't have authority to baptize if he isn't baptized.  I'm not going to explain the Campbellite, because that should be obvious.

Bauder spends an entire paragraph explaining how that baptizing someone a "second time," rebaptism, confuses the gospel, like portraying a picture that someone lost his salvation.  He says it is heresy and sin to rebaptize, just because of alien immersion. The paragraph is an ignorant one.  It's hard to see how that he could have been serious.  I believe he was, but it's difficult.  It is rather simple if he spent a few moments, it would seem.  See, Bauder himself thinks that some baptisms are not valid.

To Bauder, baptisms are not valid if they are the wrong mode, recipient, or meaning.  So what would he do with those invalid baptisms?  Would he rebaptize?  Yes, he would.  Or else, he would say, like I would, a person wasn't baptized in the first place.  It isn't baptism if it is sprinkling.  It isn't baptism if a person wasn't saved.  Someone makes a profession as a small child, is baptized, later understands it was not a true profession, so this person is truly converted, and then is baptized.  He was never baptized in the first place.  It isn't a "second baptism" to Bauder because the first one wasn't valid.

Like Bauder believes baptisms are not valid, we believe that authority is another scriptural qualification for baptism.  The Bible teaches this.  Bauder leaves it out.  He doesn't give good reason for leaving it out, because he doesn't deal with the scriptural basis of authority, debunking that at all. He doesn't get into the history either.  He relies pretty much on conventional wisdom and his own opinion, what I call, seat of the pants.  I could say that he is sinning by leaving it out.  He should stop sinning.  He is disobedient to the example of scripture.  Jesus went to authority.  Jesus gave authority to the church to baptize.

Bauder is selective or just loose about authority.  This is being disrespectful to God, to the Bible, and to the church.  It is careless with something really important.  I get why people don't like authority. They like to free float and do their own thing without accountability. I get it.  Someone can behave in a more ecumenical fashion, to make people who teach and practice false doctrine to feel accepted, because he accepts their baptism.  It's just sentimentalism.  It isn't loving.  It's also very confusing, because it devalues actual baptism.  Yes, I'm telling you what I really think (except it's actually a little more harsh than this).

A person not baptized with proper authority is not baptized.  This was around before Graves and the 19th century.  Consider the 1689 London Baptist Confession:
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.
Then consider the first Baptist confession in the American colonies, the Philadelphia Baptist Confession in 1742:
1. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are ordinances of positive and sovereign institution, appointed by the Lord Jesus, the only lawgiver, to be continued in his church to the end of the world.  (Matt. 28:19, 20; 1 Cor. 11;26)  2. These holy appointments are to be administered by those only who are qualified and thereunto called, according to the commission of Christ.  (Matt. 28:19; 1 Cor. 4:1)
I can give a lot more historical evidence.  It's all over the place.  When Bauder says that Baptists accept irregular baptism, that's a newer concept, that comes after modernism began really taking its way in the world.  His position is not the historical position.  It's the new one, the one that fits well with a universal church belief that is more concerned with getting along with more people, even with doctrinal and practical differences.

More to Come

23 comments:

Farmer Brown said...

I think you are really trying to thread the needle in your first two paragraphs. First you say this: "He sets up a strawman by saying that proper administrator means "the succession of baptisms that leads back to John the Baptist."

Then you say this: "What I say, which is essentially what Graves said, and what I know other men say, who are local only in their ecclesiology, is that proper authority or a proper administrator is needed to be valid baptism." and this: "It is not a matter of checking out to see if the baptisms are chain link. It's looking to see if someone has been baptized by a church."

This is dancing on the head of a pin. You are saying all baptisms have to go back to John the Baptist(JTB), you are just saying you are not saying that. The logical progression of your ideas requires all valid baptisms to go back to the fist valid baptizer. If it does not, then it did not come from authority.

You conflate two concepts, the first being baptism proceeds solely from JTB and the second being a visable chain link succession. Those are not the same.

You do in fact require someone to be baptized by someone in the succession of JTB. Otherwise, from where did their authority to baptize come? It could not have just sprung up from a church that lacked a valid baptism.

You give the example of your wife and her rebaptism. Even though she was baptized in what looks like a church, it lacks valid authority and therefore is not a church. So a valid church has to have a valid baptism, and a valid baptism proceeds only from a valid church.

No matter how you slice it, the end of this reasoning is JTB. If there is any other way to have a valid baptism, please explain what it is. Can anyone have a valid baptism that did not begin with JTB?

Terry Basham, II said...

Bauder really says that it is a sin and heresy to rebaptize someone?

Kent Brandenburg said...

I just got home. I've been able to publish comments, but not time to answer them, which is often how it occurs. I'm going to answer Terry first and then get to Farmer Brown. Yes, Bauder writes a chapter on Landmarkism in a book on the Baptist Distinctives, and he writes: "To submit to a second baptism is as much to say that Jesus had to die, to be buried, and to rise again a second time. This symbolic confession is heretical and sinful. . . . By requiring the rebaptism of those who have experienced "alien immersion," Landmarkism forces Christians to sin against the gospel itself."

I've noticed fundamentalists like to use the word "heresy" to apply to those who teach there is one Bible and if they are local only in their ecclesiology. You've got to be multiple version and universal church not to be a heretic.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Farmer Brown,

Did Jesus get baptized by John the Baptist because he had authority to baptize?

Could Jesus have been baptized by anyone else but John the Baptist?

When Jesus said He had all authority and then commissioned the assembly (the pronouns are plural) in Mt 28 to baptize, was the authority also to baptize?

Does someone need authority to baptize?

Farmer Brown said...

KentCan someone have a valid baptism which has not descended from John the Baptist? I am not challenging churches being the only venue with the authority to empower someone to baptize. Can someone have a valid baptism which has not descended from John the Baptist?

Kent Brandenburg said...

Farmer,

I've stated my position. The authority is not based on a chain link. The fact that you can't trace the chain doesn't mean that you don't act in faith to obey what you do know.

JTB baptized with authority. No authority proceeds from Roman Catholic and by extension, Protestant, among others. This is a matter of faith, looking for authority, because God expects it to be that way.

I could make a more in depth argument to prove the point that there needs to be horizontal authority, not just vertical, as I've defined those two.

Why does someone need to have a church to baptize? Can't someone just read the Bible, know he needs to be baptized and enlist his neighbor? Can someone be obedient to God, who just starts meeting on his own because he read it in the Bible, evangelizes, and then starts baptizing?

With your position, you could have a faction of Roman Catholics, who break from their group, who could baptize each other and call their new group a church. Silence is not permission.

Farmer Brown said...

I am not trying to be obtuse, but I really do not understand your position. That is why I asked, "Can someone have a valid baptism which has not descended from John the Baptist?" I have asked some version of that several times in different threads on this and never had a clear answer.

You were more clear about my position than about the question I asked. What you attributed to me is incorrect, that is not my position.

It is my observation that you are the one making the straw man arguments. I am asking "Can someone have a valid baptism which has not descended from John the Baptist?" and you are answering "Do you need to have a visible chain link?", which is not the question I asked.

Can someone have a valid baptism which has not descended from John the Baptist?

ProudBaptist said...

Bro. Kent, does Bro. Bauder quote directly from any Graves or any Landmark writers? I am just wondering given the abundance and availability of books by Landmarkers. I am a former Roman Catholic who got saved while he was in the Navy at the age of 24. I was discipled in Scofield Dispensationalism by Missions to Military. After I got out I found myself attending and then later joining a Landmark Missionary Baptist Church (ABA). I have been preaching and pastoring Landmark Baptist churches for the past twenty years. My former Pastor, Mentor and Seminary Professor Bro. John Penn, an accredited historian taught me church history in seminary. I was exposed to an abundance of Landmark literature and when I spent my first year in seminary researching Landmarkism I never had any trouble finding books and pamphlets to study. Bogard press, Challenger press, BMAA material and other books published by Landmark Missionary Baptists. I plan on reading Bro. Bauder's book to see where he is coming from. Do you think he would read any books by Graves, Dayton, Hall, Carroll, Pendleton, Bogard, Anderson, Tulga, etc.? I mean I have literally got multiple copies, I would really like for him to have an accurate understanding of what a Landmarker is.

Terry Basham, II said...

one could be baptized by an unbaptized person if the church authorized such an action...

those whome judas iscariot (i presume he was baptized) were legitimately immersed because they had authority to do so.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Farmer,

No, without a connection to the first church one cannot have a valid baptism. However, there is not a need to trace it all the way back, chain link by chain link, any more than there is to trace chain link by chain link back to Adam. We know by faith that we are all the descendants of Adam, and we know by faith that there are churches that literally go all the way back to John and the first church.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Farmer,

It's obvious I didn't know what you were asking by "descendants of JBT." It seemed that your point was that if someone could not show the family tree, each descendant from JTB all the way to your baptizer, then he isn't valid. I'm still not sure that isn't what you mean, but I have more hope right at the moment that you meant something else. It wasn't clear to me, so I apologize if I was missing something. You're not happy that someone is not answering your question, and I can't say I still understand your question. Thomas' comment seems to say to me that you were saying something different than I thought, if he is right.

I would answer, if that's what you meant, like Thomas' answer. If I had just said, "no," to your question, I was assuming that I would be saying property authority didn't matter, because no one needed to be a descendant of JTB to have legitimate baptism, that is, the fact that John got his baptism from heaven didn't matter. The fact that Jesus traveled from Galilee to Judea just to be baptized of John didn't matter. I am saying authority does matter, but that one cannot chain link back to John.

I don't think I was saying anything different than Thomas, but he definitely added. I've had this discussion with him, and hear him use those talking points, and had agreed with the way he was putting it.

I can say I don't understand your position either. It sounds like you're saying it's just got to be a church, so it's a matter of what constitutes a true church from you. That's what I think I'm hearing so far.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Terry,

I agree in essence with your Judas implication. If someone really weren't saved, we didn't know it, but he baptized with church authority, then the baptism was still valid. It's a good way to illustrate it too.

Does that debunk something I've said so far?

Kent Brandenburg said...

ProudBaptist,

Bauder doesn't quote Landmarkers. He doesn't quote Graves. I'm quite sure he has access to them. I would guess they've got all of the men you listed in their library at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Even if not, they are easy to get on kindle, google books, etc. They are in the public domain.

I didn't come to my position from reading them, because I never really even knew about Graves until I was finished with Seminary. Nobody ever mentioned him. All I heard was "Landmarkers bad," here's why, quoting none of them. I have noticed that this is how a lot of fundamentalists have operated. I don't say that as a shot on fundamentalists, just telling what I've seen. I've had it done to me personally many times by fundamentalists. It's not exclusive to them though. Especially conservative evangelicals, the same -- not all of them, but they've picked up some of the same methods.

Farmer Brown said...

Thanks for the responses. Thomas said, "However, there is not a need to trace it all the way back, chain link by chain link, any more than there is to trace chain link by chain link back to Adam."

Your analogy is flawed. All men are men, but not all men are baptized. In fact most baptized are not baptized.

I have heard this several times, this faulty Adam argument, but never seen scripture on it. You need to prove that proving your baptismal lineage is unnecessary, or it is necessary. By your own admission, a single bad baptism 500 years ago invalidates all that follow.

If it is important to prove one or two generations of your baptismal provenance, it is important to know them all. You cannot say it must be descended from John, and also say it's not important to know. Those two positions are mutually exclusive.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Farmer,

You'll have to refresh me on when Thomas or I said a "single bad baptism 500 years ago invalidates all that follow." Did one of either us say that? Neither of us have argued for chain link.

Your missing my point about John. It does seem like you are trying for some reason to miss my point. I really don't think I'm being obtuse. Maybe you've got skin in the game here. Something I've said maybe contradicts what you have done or did in your real life? I'm asking.

Jesus got His baptism from John, so baptism needs to be authoritative. We know Catholic baptism isn't, so neither is Protestant. That leaves Baptists. You act in faith on what you know. That's how faith works.

Farmer Brown said...

Kent said, 'You'll have to refresh me on when Thomas or I said a "single bad baptism 500 years ago invalidates all that follow."'

You said it here: "No, without a connection to the first church one cannot have a valid baptism." That was Thomas, but it is your position as well. Therefore, a break in that chain, even if it is unknown, invalidates all following baptisms, isn't that true? You are arguing for a chain link, you just do not want to say you are. Instead you insist on a chain link, but insist it does not need to be known.

Unlike many who look at this position, I have actually spent several months considering your position. I have seriously considered whether your position is correct and whether I should change my position.

Included in this position is Bible study, reading Graves book, reading your and Thomas position statements, hours of discussions with friends who are pastors on both sides of this. I considered it seriously.

However, I find a number of problems with this position, not the least of which is the obvious inconsistency of saying "No, without a connection to the first church one cannot have a valid baptism." and in the next breath saying "I don't believe in a chain link." That is terminally inconsistent.

Craig Kuha said...

Kent, im a truckdriver..read through your post. You are a good writer and thinker. Thanks Craig

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thanks Craig. Craig, I've known some Kuha's in the past, while I was living in Watertown, Wisconsin.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Farmer,

I'm going to answer your comment within pasted text, just to be sure I'm not missing something. I'll put your comments in italics.

Kent said, 'You'll have to refresh me on when Thomas or I said a "single bad baptism 500 years ago invalidates all that follow."'

You said it here: "No, without a connection to the first church one cannot have a valid baptism." That was Thomas, but it is your position as well. Therefore, a break in that chain, even if it is unknown, invalidates all following baptisms, isn't that true? You are arguing for a chain link, you just do not want to say you are. Instead you insist on a chain link, but insist it does not need to be known.


What we have very, very specifically said and many times is that there is no chain link required, and you are saying that we said there is a chain link required -- not because we said it, but it must be, must be, according to you, what we mean. We mean that, according to you, because we have to mean that. That is the only connection (word Thomas used) we could be talking about, even if we said it wasn't.

We actually said, "No." This is classic arguing of a strawman, and I was very firm at saying it was not the position, and you stated it was our position. Actually my position is the one I said it was. I said that there is authority. A church must start a church. It must be an authoritative church. We are baptized with authority, the need of which is seen with the example of JTB and the Great Commission.

You are saying, it seems, to make that argument, there must be a chain link, therefore, we believe in a chain link. We're saying, "No." At this juncture, we're just dealing with your criticism of our position. I really do not know at all what yours is.

We're not arguing for something that isn't in the Bible. Chain link isn't in there. Authority going through John and then Jesus and then the church -- those are in there. I keep leaving this right where it is, because I'm looking for some sense that you would even agree with what I'm saying without bringing in the strawman.

...to be continued...

Kent Brandenburg said...

Unlike many who look at this position, I have actually spent several months considering your position. I have seriously considered whether your position is correct and whether I should change my position.

OK.

Included in this position is Bible study, reading Graves book, reading your and Thomas position statements, hours of discussions with friends who are pastors on both sides of this. I considered it seriously.

I don't know what your position is. I took this position before I ever read Graves. I read Graves because I saw people write about him, and I wondered if it were true.

However, I find a number of problems with this position, not the least of which is the obvious inconsistency of saying "No, without a connection to the first church one cannot have a valid baptism." and in the next breath saying "I don't believe in a chain link." That is terminally inconsistent.

The connection is a "faith connection," not a visible chain link connection. We believe that you need authority as said before. It can't be traced, so you are acting in faith that it exists. It is similar to our "preservation of scripture" position. We believe we have and know every Word, and we can't show that in history during every century. We are taking it by faith. Some call this fideism.

The connection between myself as a man, as a human being, with Adam is also one of faith, because I can't show you my chain link, visible lineage, on paper, between me and Adam. It isn't an exact illustration, but it works in my mind. You're saying it doesn't in yours.

When I act in faith, I can't accept what I know does not have authority, as I explained before. I believe I can back up this practice in scripture, as I have on different occasions here, not in book length form. It's the only position that reads consistent with scripture. I wouldn't know if yours could, because I don't know what it is, and I'm assuming that's purposeful.

I believe that there are, then also, a number of practical ramifications to believing and practicing like I do. I don't think another position will work in practice either.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Farmer,

Thanks for the question.

I commend you for studying this question carefully. That is very good.

Since God wants His people to obey His commands, and it would be impossible to do that if one could not tell if churches come from the one started by Christ or not, therefore your hypothesized "break" in the line has not taken place. Since I have promises that Christ would preserve His church (Mt 16:18, etc.), and texts that require believers to join the church, and so on, therefore I can have confidence that is is possible to know where those churches are today. Since there are no promises that God would preserve "enough" uninspired history to rattle a chain all the way back, I don't have confidence that this would take place.

Thus, I can trust that there has been no break based on the promise of God, which is good enough.

By the way, you believe we all came from Adam because of God's promises as well. Evolutionary theory does not hypothesize a single human source for the human race, and it cannot be proven 100% from history, so the analogy, while certainly not absolutely perfect, does hold.

I think I am in agreement with Pastor Brandenburg on this, but I will let him speak for himself. If by "chain link" you mean that there must be a visible actual link-by-link traceable history all the way back--so that the teaching of the Bible cannot be accepted without whatever one determines to be a sufficient amount of extra-biblical historical evidence--then I am not "chain link." If by this terminology one merely means that there is an actual link all the way back--as, perhaps, a chain that went across the Atlantic ocean and actually was linked all the way back, although not necessarily visible from the top of the water--then it is not the best terminology, nor something I would use, but it could express truth.

The position I am advocating is simply a necessary consequence of Biblical teaching on the church and baptism. If you have not read them already, please examine the Scriptural case here:

http://faithsaves.net/great-commission/

and here:

http://faithsaves.net/non-baptist-baptism/

We must not abandon any good and necessary consequence of a teaching of Scripture because we think there is not enough extra-biblical, uninspired history preserved to validate the Biblical teaching. We must believe the Biblical teaching whether we have any extra-biblical evidence or not. Thus, speculation about what might have happened in A. D. 750 must not be allowed to overturn any good and necessary consequence of Biblical statements.

Thanks.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Thomas,

I concur. I appreciate your chiming in, because I know I leave things out at times.

Craig Kuha said...

Yes sir knew u back then, graduated from academy. Your pa was one of my teachers.
Anyway I was doing alot of research on Bible translations a few years ago and stumbled on your confession of preservation which was very helpful.
Thanks Craig.