HELP me convey to my Baptist friend that he is a Protestant!


#1

There’s this Landmark Baptist guy that I’ve been having discussions with on MySpace. We agree on the fact that Protestantism is a heresy, yet he denies that he’s a Protestant! He claims that the Baptist community can trace its way back to Christ. Personally, I think that this is very intelligent of them to attempt to do so, but it doesn’t seem to be backed up by history. Any help would be appreciated in demonstrating that the Baptist religion didn’t exist 2000 years ago. Thanks! :thumbsup:

PS - What the heck is a *Landmark * Baptist?!


#2

In case you’re interested, his group can be found here:

Apologetics of Landmark Doctrine

Here are some of their discussions:

BTW, Steve and myself (Jon) are the only Catholics on there, so if anyone has myspace, feel free to join us! :thumbsup:


#3

Ok, I’m a butterfly, I’m a bird, I’m a catepillar
I guess that makes me that species too?

I guess that they were in hiding for 2000 years and came out on Ground Hog’s Day and saw their shadow HAHAHAHA.

Ok, I’m done laughing now, I guess I should be compassionate all the time. I guess I should just ask one question and see what the answer is:

Where is the Apostlistic Succession?


#4

They believe the Church is democratic.


#5

The burden of proof is not on you to prove they did not exist but on him to prove they did.


#6

Ask your friend if he subscribes to any or all of the following:

  1. Sola Scriptura
  2. Sola Fide
  3. Private Interpretation
  4. An invisible Church

If so he is, by any accepted definition, a Protestant, since Christians holding these views (except for a few isolated fringies)did not exist until the “Reformation” He can call himself a poached egg, but that does not change what he is. This is known as “Humpty Dumpty language”:

**Humpty Dumpty language ** noun. An idiosyncratic or eccentric use of language in which the meaning of particular words is determined by the speaker.

Example Citation:
“Nevertheless, it is hard not to see some Alice-in-Wonderland logic in action here. ‘Good’ advice cannot, except in Humpty Dumpty language, be better than ‘best’.”
—Philip Coggan, " ‘Best advice’ you might do better to ignore," Financial Times (London)

Notes:
This phrase probably derives from the following scene in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”:

  • “There’s glory for you!”
    "I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ " Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ "
    "But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’ " Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    "The question is, " said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty. “which is to be master—that’s all.”*
    wordspy.com/words/HumptyDumptylanguage.asp

As far as the question of “ancient Baptists,” here is a must-read article which appeared in Envoy Magazine:

“Ancient Baptists” and Other Myths
By Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem.
envoymagazine.com/backissues/2.4/coverstory.html


#7

Technically speaking, your Baptist friend is correct. “Protestants” was a label given to those people who “protested” at the second diet of Speyer against what could be called a peace treaty between the Catholic and Lutheran church. The “Protestants” wanted to continue to disrupt the mass and harass the Catholic faithful. By usage de facto, it became a label for all non-Catholic Christians.

Try referring to him as a “Heretical schismatic.” He might like that better.

Thal59


#8

[quote=JSmitty2005]There’s this Landmark Baptist guy that I’ve been having discussions with on MySpace. We agree on the fact that Protestantism is a heresy, yet he denies that he’s a Protestant! He claims that the Baptist community can trace its way back to Christ. Personally, I think that this is very intelligent of them to attempt to do so, but it doesn’t seem to be backed up by history. Any help would be appreciated in demonstrating that the Baptist religion didn’t exist 2000 years ago. Thanks! :thumbsup:

PS - What the heck is a *Landmark *Baptist?!
[/quote]

First, I would ask him to provide some documents from the first, second, third, and fourth centuries that are distinctly Landmark Baptist in flavor.

He is likely to realize quickly that no documents exist and start claiming that his doctrine is the same as the apostles and that should be enough. If he does this, let him know that you aren’t talking about doctrine you want to see historical proof that his church existed in the first few centuries. He won’t be able to provide anything and will deflect and bluster for a long time.


#9

[quote=JSmitty2005]There’s this Landmark Baptist guy that I’ve been having discussions with on MySpace. We agree on the fact that Protestantism is a heresy, yet he denies that he’s a Protestant! He claims that the Baptist community can trace its way back to Christ. Personally, I think that this is very intelligent of them to attempt to do so, but it doesn’t seem to be backed up by history. Any help would be appreciated in demonstrating that the Baptist religion didn’t exist 2000 years ago. Thanks! :thumbsup:

PS - What the heck is a *Landmark * Baptist?!
[/quote]

Wow, history is a “stumbling block” for them. That’s a new one! Maybe there is hope afterall! :wink:


#10

[quote=JSmitty2005]There’s this Landmark Baptist guy that I’ve been having discussions with on MySpace. We agree on the fact that Protestantism is a heresy, yet he denies that he’s a Protestant! He claims that the Baptist community can trace its way back to Christ. Personally, I think that this is very intelligent of them to attempt to do so, but it doesn’t seem to be backed up by history. Any help would be appreciated in demonstrating that the Baptist religion didn’t exist 2000 years ago. Thanks! :thumbsup:

PS - What the heck is a *Landmark *Baptist?!
[/quote]

I have been in a similar situation with a baptist on another board. The next two paragraphs are from the article linked below.

Baptist James Edward McGoldrick, professor of history at Cedarville College, summarizes the situation well. “Perhaps no other major body of professing Christians has had as much difficulty in discerning it historical roots as have the Baptists. A survey of conflicting opinions might lead a perceptive observer to conclude that Baptists suffer from an identity crisis. . . . Many Baptists object vehemently and argue that their history can be traced across the centuries to New Testament times. Some Baptist deny categorically that they are Protestants and that the history of their churches is related to the success of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. Those who reject the Protestant character and Reformation origins of the Baptists usually maintain a view of church history sometimes called ‘Baptist Successionism’ . . . enhanced enormously by a booklet entitled The Trail of Blood.

After acknowledging his initial advocacy of “successionism”, McGoldrick explains, “Extensive graduate study and independent investigation of church history has, however, convinced [me] that the view *once held so dear has not been, and cannot be, verified. On the contrary, surviving primary documents render the successionist view untenable. . . . Although free church groups in ancient and medieval times sometimes promoted doctrines and practices agreeable to modern Baptists, when judged by standards now acknowledged as baptistic, not one of them merits recognition as a Baptist church. Baptists arose in the seventeenth century in Holland and England. They are Protestants, heirs of the Reformers” (Baptist Successionism: A Crucial Question in Baptist History [Metuchen, NJ: American Theological Library Assoc. and Scarecrow Press, 1994], 1-2).

Steve Ray on The Trail of Blood*


#11

Okay, actually, here’s the one that I was looking for:

On Protestantism

My friend (Mike) mentions several groups that he claims that the Baptists have descended from. Here’s what he said:

the first church was a baptist church, and the catholic church reformed out of it, and then all other denomination have come out of the catholic church and its churches.

this does not apply to all baptists, because some have some how appeared out of no where, but baptists have been known, by ana-baptists, novations, montanists, don atists, paulicians, arnoldists albigenes, henricians, and then eventually baptists. these churches have existed since the days of christ…

Do you guys know anything about these groups? I’ve never even heard of some of them before. I’d like to try and show him that they held contradictory views with each other or with present-day Baptists.


#12

[quote=JSmitty2005]Okay, actually, here’s the one that I was looking for:

On Protestantism

My friend (Mike) mentions several groups that he claims that the Baptists have descended from. Here’s what he said:

Do you guys know anything about these groups? I’ve never even heard of some of them before. I’d like to try and show him that they held contradictory views with each other or with present-day Baptists.
[/quote]

Just look up those groups on New Advent. Montanists were a group that had a prophet and 2 prophetesses who spoke as God, being posessed by him, somewhat akin to Evangelicals without the speaking in tongues. Stuff about chastity preparing them for their trances. You can read Tertullian about them (he eventually defected from the church and joined them). Basicaly one of the early gnostic groups in Asia Minor.

Donatists hail from N. Africa, lasted from around 300 AD to 400AD. A schismatic group that used to seek out martyrdom on purpose. Read St. Augustine on Donatus. Something about contestation of bishopric as well.

Novatian was a schismatic Roman catholic priest. For a guy who was baptist he sure tried to convince people he was pope. After Fabians death he tried to convince the other churches that he was pope instead of Comelius. Long story short, he lost. So how is it he is a baptist?

Basically all of the groups you mentioned are unrelated and in different parts of the world, some are schismatics, some are fringe groups claiming to be christian. When you look up their doctrines they don’t have anything in common, for example albigensians were dualists, yet they never did the prophet/prophetess thing.

Here is going to be your Landmark baptist friends arguement. Those are lies by the catholic church, though when asked for proof he doesn’t have any. We burned all their documents throughout the centuries, so again they have no record of themsleves. The second bible to them is the trail of blood, which no honest baptist gives credability to any more. It’s been disproven too much and is untennable (except to some kooks and Landmark Baptists)

I debate with one of their pastors now and again, he can’t answer questions except with the typical conspiracry theory stuff. However apparently they have begun using catholic language i.e. they are the ones who gave scripture to the world, though they can’t prove it, no councils etc. (amazingly enough you might ask there is tons of evidence for groups thorughout the ages, but none for landmark baptists, highly suspect over a 2000 year history that there isn’t one thing about them at least somewhere.)

They apparently recently changed their view (at least the pastor I debate) from Sola scriptura, to scripture and other sources (they hate the word tradition (at least over the last 2 years)) So if they preserved scripture, they must have some ancient manuscripts around somewhere that they have been passing along. Oh yeah, we burned those too. Ermm then how did they preserve them?

They are a finge group way out of touch with reality, relying on loose connections tied together in the “trail of blood” of groups from different centuries, different beliefs, and different geographical areas, that share pretty much nothing in common, though some of them rebaptized. Amazingly enough they didn’t discover their heritage until that book was published :stuck_out_tongue: Fascinating for people who claim such grand succession. How come they weren’t aware of it before that?

You’ll have to do some homework to show the truth, but even then they usually don’t listen. It’s somewhow better to believe (alluring really) conspiracy theories. He is going to continue to tell you that history is wrong and that we (the catholic church) made up history, yet he will be unable to prove his side. It’ll be a circular arguement.

They also think baptist conferences are heretics for giving up the trail of blood. The other baptist groups apparently are all going to hell, go figure.

Good luck but don’t hold your breath.

Peace and God Bless
Nicene


#13

I found this link to the “Trail of Blood” book in Steve Ray’s article:

users.aol.com/libcfl/trail.htm :rolleyes: :rotfl: :eek:

Thanks for the help Nicene and others…keep it coming if anyone else has anything to add after looking at some of the things this Mike guy has said. I’ll try and keep you all posted.


#14

Ask him if “Landmark Baptist” is the real faith, who would feel more comfortable worshiping with the early Christians?

Then point him to the Church Fathers.


#15

You know, this idea must be spreading in the Protestant churches. The Lutherans on the Luther Quest thread also deny that they are Protestants. Go figure!


#16

After reading this, I think I have the beginnings of a great song about the Landmark “Trail of Blood,” set to the tune of “Ring of Fire”:

*Oh, the Church
Is a Baptist thing
When we baptize
Ain’t no sprinkling

We could trace our roots
To the Bible age
But the Cath’lic church
Done burnt every page…
*

Now, everybody…


#17

[quote=JSmitty2005]There’s this Landmark Baptist guy that I’ve been having discussions with on MySpace. We agree on the fact that Protestantism is a heresy, yet he denies that he’s a Protestant! He claims that the Baptist community can trace its way back to Christ. Personally, I think that this is very intelligent of them to attempt to do so, but it doesn’t seem to be backed up by history. Any help would be appreciated in demonstrating that the Baptist religion didn’t exist 2000 years ago. Thanks! :thumbsup:

PS - What the heck is a *Landmark * Baptist?!
[/quote]

A Landmark Baptist is precisely a Baptist who thinks that the Baptist tradition goes back in a kind of “apostolic succession” to the time of the Apostles. If this guy is a hardline Landmarkist, you probably have little hope of convincing him, because as others have pointed out he’ll just tell you that the official version of church history is Catholic propaganda.

Many Baptists and other low-church Protestants will make arguments like this out of ignorance, and you can perhaps convince them by citing Baptist historians such as Leon McBeth. McBeth’s book The Baptist Heritage shows clearly that the Baptist tradition originated in radical English “Separatist” Puritanism in the early 17th century. But if your friend is hardline enough to use the word “Landmark” (lots of Baptists are basically Landmarkists without knowing the term), he’s probably just going to dismiss people like McBeth. Notice that on amazon.com one of the comments claimed that McBeth’s account is “skewed” and offered the Landmarkist tract “the Trail of Blood” as giving “another side” of the story.

If people are determined to believe something, they will believe it. You can’t force them not to. But you can at least point out that his version of history is very different from that of mainstream Baptist historians.

Of course the question of self-definition is a different one. Your friend may not be a Protestant in the sense that he may not regard the Reformation as having any kind of authority over him or being part of “his story.” That’s his prerogative. But as a matter of history the Baptist tradition *does *come out of the Reformation, and any reasonable, well-informed person knows that.

Edwin


#18

[quote=Ted CharlotteNC]Ok, I’m a butterfly, I’m a bird, I’m a catepillar
I guess that makes me that species too?

I guess that they were in hiding for 2000 years and came out on Ground Hog’s Day and saw their shadow HAHAHAHA.

Ok, I’m done laughing now, I guess I should be compassionate all the time. I guess I should just ask one question and see what the answer is:

Where is the Apostlistic Succession?
[/quote]

It is possible their bishops were abducted by aliens and returned after the reformation. We have no proof that it was otherwise.

whostartedyourchurch.com/


#19

baptists have been known, by ana-baptists,

If the Baptists are the same as the Anabaptists, why did the early Baptist John Smyth baptize himself (because he thought that there was no validly baptized person to baptize him) even though he was lodging with an Anabaptist? Clearly *he *didn’t think he was an Anabaptist. And most Anabaptists rejected any kind of military service, political involvement, or swearing oaths. They also did not believe in “eternal security” (in fact no one outside the Reformed tradition did/does–this one belief alone marks Baptists who hold it as an offshoot of Reformed Protestantism). Still, this is the only item on your friend’s list that has any validity at all. (The Anabaptists were still part of the Reformation movement, so this doesn’t help him a whole lot–it just pushes his tradition back 100 years.)

novations,

The Novatianists rebaptized heretics, because they thought that baptism was salvific and outside the Church there was no salvation. They also believed that serious sin committed after baptism could not be forgiven. Does your friend believe that?

montanists,

The Montanists spoke with tongues and practiced the gifts of prophecy, etc. Does your friend’s church do that? They also shared the Novatianist beliefs I’ve already mentioned. The Montanist writer Tertullian rejected infant baptism, but he did so because he believed that sins committed after baptism could not be forgiven, so obviously you didn’t want to baptize someone until you were pretty sure they weren’t going to fall back into sin. (He also suggests that unmarried people shouldn’t be baptized unless they have made a firm commitment to celibacy.) Furthermore, Tertullian believed that the sponsors of a baptized person (particularly in the case of an infant, who can’t answer for him/herself) were reponsible for the fate of that person’s soul–so that if the person you sponsored sinned and was damned this could put your own soul in danger.

don atists,

Basically the Donatists were much like the Novatianists. They appear to have believed in some sense (the exact parameters of this are debated) that an unholy priest or bishop had no validity, much less authority, and the sacraments celebrated by such a person were null and void (hence rebaptism). They clearly believed that baptism was salvific, and I know of no evidence that they rejected infant baptism. If they had, I’m sure Augustine would have mentioned it, and I don’t recall him ever doing so (and I’ve read much of his anti-Donatist writing, though it was a while ago).

paulicians,

No one knows for sure what the Paulicians (a heretical movement in the Byzantine Empire in the early Middle Ages) believed. One theory is that they were dualists, rather like the Manichaeans. Another is that they were adoptionists, if I remember rightly (i.e., they thought Jesus was a human being adopted as God’s son). Either way, there’s no evidence I know of that there views were those of Baptists. Landmarkists just latch on to them because we don’t know much about them either way so they can impute to them whatever views they find convenient.


#20

arnoldists

Arnold of Brescia was a 12th-century reformer who attacked the temporal power of the Church. He seems to have denied that bad priests have the power to celebrate the Eucharist, etc., and some later figures accused him of having heretical views about the sacraments, but it’s not clear what these are or if this is an accurate accusation. Basically he got in trouble for church politics more than for theology.

albigenes,

The Albigenses or Cathars were a powerful movement in southern France and northern Italy. They were divided into different groups and there’s a lot of controversy about exactly what they believed, but we do have a number of documents from them and the main lines of their theology are clear. (I recommend the collection of documents in Heresies of The High Middle Ages (Columbia University Press, 1969, 1991). They believed that the physical world was created by an evil god, who also inspired the Old Testament. They were hostile to sex, especially to the procreation of children, though Catholics accused them of believing that sexual behavior was morally indifferent as long as it didn’t lead to procreation (it’s not clear to me that they actually believed this–it may have been slander). They rejected the Real Presence and baptismal regeneration–because they thought material things were creatures of the evil god and couldn’t convey grace. They did have a sacrament of their own called the “Consolamentum” (basically a laying on of hands), which was considered a “spiritual baptism” and was usually administered on a person’s deathbed because after it you had to lead a very strict life (vegetarianism, celibacy, poverty, etc.). According to Catholic sources, they thought that if the person who administered the consolamentum fell into sin, all those he had “consoled” had to be “re-consoled.” And so on–there are some points of contact with Baptist belief, but these guys were hardly Baptists.

You can read Cathar texts in *Heresies of the High Middle Ages, *nos. 57-60. We have solid evidence for what they believed–it isn’t just Catholic propaganda.

henricians

See *Heresies of the High Middle Ages, *nos. 11-12, 14. Henry of Le Mans was very anti-clerical but it’s not clear what his heresies were beyond that. He was accused of sexual immorality, but that was a standard part of anti-heretical polemic.

Edwin


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.