IN THE CAROLINAS
The first traces of organized Baptist life in the South are found in the Carolinas. For this reason alone the history of the Baptists in this region is of rather great significance for the present study. In addition, this history reveals the extensive influence of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, the importance of which body was noted in the previous chapter. Then, too, outward from the Carolinas, the Baptists here radiated an influence that extended into all states around them, including Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and even beyond. The abundance of the available historical materials renders a full consideration of them impossible, but the effort will be made to point out those characteristics, doctrines, and practices of the Carolina Baptists which are relevant. The records of representative associations form the principal base for this phase of the study. The central points of emphasis will be the ecclesiological concepts of the Carolina Baptists, their practices relative to the ordinances, and their relationships with other denominations.
Historical Background Organized Baptist work in the Carolinas had its beginning in 1696 with the emigration of the Baptist church at Kittery, Maine, from the place of its establishment to Somerton, South Carolina, under the leadership of William Screven. This group joined forces with Baptists already present in the colony and became the First Baptist Church of Charleston.1 That it was of the Calvinistic order is indicated by its adoption of the London Confession of 1689 as its doctrinal statement.2 Its important leadership role among the Baptist churches of this area is attested by the organization of the Charleston Baptist Association in 1751.3 The first organized Baptist church in North Carolina was a General Baptist congregation gathered by Paul Palmer about the year 1727 at a place identified by Benedict as Perquimans in the Chowan district of the state. Palmer, a native of Maryland, had been a member of the Welch Tract Baptist Church in Delaware.4 Through his extensive and zealous evangelistic labors, along with those of Joseph Parker, William Sojourner, Josiah Hart, and others, numerous General Baptist congregations were formed in the eastern section of North Carolina. 5 The apparent success of these ministers in their evangelistic efforts was somewhat marred by the looseness of discipline that prevailed in their churches and by the neglect of proper standards in the baptism of converts and the reception of them to membership.6 Burkitt and Read said, with perhaps some bias, that "their custom was to baptize any persons who were willing, whether they had an experience of grace or not, so, in consequence of this practice, they had many members, who were baptized before they were converted."7 This situation was radically changed between 1750 and 1760 in a movement that resulted in the transformation of these General Baptist churches into Calvinistic churches of the strictest type. This "revolution," as Paschal terms it, was brought about by the efforts of Robert Williams, a native of North Carolina, and John Gano, Peterson Vanhorn and Benjamin Miller, these latter three being sent out by the Philadelphia Association on an appeal by Williams. The transformation was so comprehensive and complete "that only two or three feeble organizations of the General Baptists were left in the Province." 8 The third group of Baptists to make their appearance in this region, and in some respects the most important group, were the Separate Baptists, who came from New England to North Carolina under the leadership of Shubal Stearns. Their characteristic enthusiasm, the manner and method of their preaching, their celebration of the nine Christian rites, in addition to other distinguishing peculiarities, caused many of the inhabitants of the area into which they came to regard them with astonishment. Some even among the Regular Baptists could not consider themselves as in fellowship with the Separates.9 But the manifest power of the Separate Baptists evangelists and the unparalleled growth of their churches were factors that could not be ignored nor denied. In a short time, the first of their churches, the Sandy Creek, grew from a membership of sixteen to 606 and the Little River church grew in three years from five to 500.10 The Sandy Creek Association was formed in 1758, three years after the arrival of Stearns and his company. By 1788, the differences in doctrine and practice between the Regular Baptists and the Separates had been sufficiently resolved to permit a union between the two groups, after which they were known as "United Baptists."11
Ecclesiological Concepts A major influence upon the ecclesiology of Carolina Baptists was that of the Philadelphia Association, principally through the widespread adoption of its Confession of Faith by churches and associations,12 but also through its close correspondence with and general interest in the developing work in the South. Another factor of equal importance ecclesiologically was the advent of the Separate Baptists from New England, with their strong localism. Of lesser significance was the influence of the General Baptists, so numerous in the early stages of Carolina Baptist life. To this group may be traced the centralizing tendency that may be observed at several points.
Nature of the Church By the wide use that was made of the Philadelphia Confession, there was at least a minimal degree of recognition of the universal church concept. The Charleston church, and later the Charleston Association, were perhaps the most emphatic at this point. The first section of the Charleston Summary of Church Discipline speaks of the "catholic, or universal church," which "forms one compleat [sic] and glorious body"13 The Saluda Baptist Association, in its 1826 circular letter, defined the church as being, in one scriptural sense, "the whole Body of the Lord's people from Adam to his last redeemed child."14 But statements giving express recognition to the universal church idea, beyond that which might have been signified by the adoption of the Philadelphia Confession were the exception and not the rule. The major emphasis was placed upon the local or "gospel" church. In the circular letter referred to above, the Saluda Association acknowledging that the universal church can never be convened in this world, devoted its attention to the practical matters relating to a gospel church.15 The Broad River Association, asked in 1812: "What is a Church?" said in reply: "We believe a Gospel church consists of an indefinite number of saints joined together by consent, yet we think not complete without a minister."16 The Sandy Creek Association, in its "Principles of Faith" adopted in 1816, defined the church in strictly local terms as a congregation of faithful persons who have obtained fellowship with each other and have agreed to keep up a godly discipline, according to the rules of the gospel.17 It is of no little interest that this same association in 1845 adopted the New Hampshire Declaration as the statement of its faith.18 It was obviously the local church, with its practical concerns, that absorbed the attention and interest of the Carolina Baptists.
The Independence and Authority of the Church The records of the various associations reveal that an area of major concern was the independence and authority of the local church. The power of each local body to govern itself was repeatedly asserted in the strongest possible terms. The statement of the Saluda Association in 1826 may be regarded as typical:We proceed to the form of government. This is independency. By this we mean that each church has the keys of government in her own hands. The church acknowledges, therefore, no head but Christ, and submits to no laws but those of his enactment . . . . The church is made the highest tribunal on earth, before whom offenders of their body are to be taken.19
Though this independence of the church was universally conceded among Baptists, yet it was regarded as a matter of such basic importance that every association deemed it necessary to issue its own declaration on the subject. The action taken in 1849 by the Chowan Association of North Carolina, in its adoption of a revised version of the New Hampshire Confession seems to be of special significance. Apparently not fully satisfied with the article on the church, this body added an article entitled "Of Church Independence" in which it declared that the independence of a local church is not to be compromised at any point of principle or practice by the action of associations, convention, or ministerial conferences.20
The authority of the church was especially emphasized with regard to the gospel ministry. Many of the queries sent up from the churches were concerned with the extent of the church's authority at this point. In 1791 the Bethel Association of South Carolina was queried as to the power of a church in imposing restrictions upon or giving particular instructions to a licensed minister who is a member of the church. It was asked: Did such power belong to the church or to the association? The rightful authority of the church was affirmed.21 The power of the church in the ordination of a man to the ministry was consistently upheld, although the advice and assistance of the association was usually counseled. In 1775 the Charleston Association declared that a man, to be ordained to the work of the ministry, must be called thereto "by the voice of the church to which he belongs."22 A man who proved himself unworthy of the ministry, either by moral misconduct or by doctrinal deviation, could be laid under the censure of his church and deposed from office.23 The Sandy Creek Association, in response to a query in 1824, declared that "it is not right" to encourage an ex-communicated or censured preacher in any way in the exercise of a preaching ministry, because he preaches without the authority and sanction of a local church. Even if he has been unjustly excluded from his church, he ought not preach until he has been received into the fellowship of another church.24 Thus, the right and authority of the church to exercise a discretionary control over the gospel ministry was carefully guarded. Another area of discussion with regard to the church's authority concerned the power of the churches in relation to missionary operations. There was an apparent concern that the association and other organizations, in their initiation of missionary enterprises, might usurp the power and authority of the church. The Broad River Association faced the question in 1846, in connection with the adoption of a circular letter on "Domestic Missions."On a motion to adopt the letter, there was elicited a considerable debate, in which Elders Dobbins, Webb (of Green River,) Curtis and others took part. The tone of the letter was considered rather ultra, as a missionary document, by Elder Dobbins, while the other brethren named favored its adoption. Elder Dobbins was not opposed to missionary operations among the churches, as churches, but was opposed to any action by the Association, as an agent with plenary powers, to inaugurate such a scheme or system of measures as that indicated in Elder Hill's circular. He claimed that he was a "go-between" the two extremes, and would favor any action taken by the churches, as such, for the furtherance of domestic missions, while he would at all times oppose any action on the part of the Association to lord it over the churches.25
The letter was finally adopted, with such changes as were suggested by Elder Dobbins. The point of significance is that this insistence upon the initiation and conduct of missionary activities by the churches was basically the same position taken by the Landmarkers in their opposition to the authority of mission boards. They were not antimissionary; they simply objected to any system that seemed to compromise the authority of the church.26 The same statement may be applied to the Gospel Mission movement of the 1880's and 1890's.27
The authority of the church with regard to the admission and discipline of members was carefully observed. Such authority was considered as belonging to the church as a whole and not simply to the pastor. The Charleston Association in 1826 responded to a query from the Little Pee Dee church by saying that each particular church, and not the pastor separately considered, has the authority to receive and exclude its own members.28 Sister churches were expected to treat with respect the disciplinary actions of those churches with whom they were in fellowship and not to receive to communion or membership those under the censure of other bodies.29
The Church and the Association The constant concern for maintaining the independence of the church was necessarily reflected in the relations between churches and associations. The effort was made to give express definition to those relationships in order that the churches might be assured that their independence was not endangered. The Charleston Association established a pattern that was widely copied with its statement that "the Baptist Association . . . arrogates no higher a Title than that of an Advisory-Council; consistent with such epithet it ought even to act, when it acts at all; without intruding on the Rights of Independent congregation Churches; or usurping authority over them."30 Similar statements were adopted by other associational bodies.31 Despite these disclaimers of coercive power over the churches, the records of the associations bear a testimony to he fact that problems did arise involving the relationships of churches and and associations. The division of the Sandy Creek body in 1771 came principally because of the exercise of excessive power by the association over the churches.32 The same mistake led to the dissolution of the Congares Association.33 In their efforts to cope with the problem of unqualified and unworthy ministers, the associations came perilously close to overstepping the bounds of advisory councils. The Charleston body went so far, in 1775 and again in 1838, as to prescribe the essential qualifications for a valid ordination. In the former year, it ruled on the validity of an ordination at Coosawatchie.34 In 1805, the Bethel Association ruled that an excommunicated minister cannot be restored to the ministry by the local church, but only by the association. This action was modified two years later because of complaints by the churches that their authority was infringed.35 It is clear that the churches were alive to the danger of domination by the association and jealously guarded their independence and authority. It may here be mentioned that there was considerable opposition among the associations to any affiliation with the state conventions. In 1822 the Bethel Association refused to establish such a connection36 and in 1841, the Saluda Association, though a majority were apparently in favor, decided not to press the issue because of strong prejudice on the part of some.37 This did not necessarily represent an antimission spirit, but was more likely due to a concern for maintaining the independence of the churches.
Practice Relative to the Ordinances In characteristic Baptist fashion, the Carolina Baptists were influenced in their practices relative to the ordinances by the conviction that the rules for their proper observance were explicitly set forth in the Scripture. Their primary concern, therefore, as the queries to the associations reveal, was that "gospel order" be followed at all points. The early period of Carolina Baptist history witnessed some departures from traditional Baptist usages, as far as the ordinances were concerned, especially among the Separate Baptists, but with the passage of years, these unique features fell into disuse. Unquestionably a major influence at this point was the doctrinal stability of the Philadelphia association.
The Church and the Ordinances The close relationship of the ordinances to the local church was fully recognized. The Charleston circular letter for 1806 stressed that it is the obligation of the church to keep the ordinances as Christ delivered them to his people. This requiresthat the church should have satisfaction, that these ordinances are administered according to the divine command and pattern to those who are admitted to their communion, as well as the individual who applies for membership, or special connexion, that they are so administered to him. That the church has no right to add to divine ordinances, or to diminish from them; but on the contrary, is strictly enjoined to guard against doing so, is certain.38
The 1786 minutes of the Charleston Association speak of believer's baptism as "the only true baptism established by Christ in his church [italics mine],"39 and the Charleston Summary of Church Discipline expressly identifies the Lord's Supper as an ordinance of the church.40 The Sandy Creek Association, in its 1816 "Principles of Faith," spoke of baptism and the Lord's Supper as those ordinances of the Lord which are "to be continued by his church until his second coming."41 While the specific phrase "church ordinance" is seldom used, especially in the earlier period, it is abundantly clear from the citations given above, that the church was looked upon as the custodian of the ordinances.
A part of the church's responsibility in this connection was to provide a proper administrator for the ordinances and to guard against any improper administration of them by an unqualified person. The "Abstract of Principles" originally devised in 1787 to facilitate the union between the Regular and Separate Baptists had as its last article a statement as to the necessity of a properly qualified and authorized administrator. This "Abstract," with various revisions, was widely adopted by many churches and associations.42 The Broad River version, adopted by that association in 1801, stated the requirement thus:We believe that no minister has a right to the administration of the ordinances, only such as have been called of God, as was Aaron, and regularly baptized and approved of by the Church, and come under the imposition of hands by the Presbytery.43 The Saluda Association adopted a similar statement, specifying, along with Broad River, that the administrator must be "regularly baptized."44 The Charleston Association stated, in its Discipline, that only those persons who have been commissioned by the church by a solemn setting apart to the work of the ministry are qualified to administer the ordinances, and they are to do this in a strict conformity to the Word of God.45 The same body ruled in 1825 that it would not be consistent with gospel order for a church, when destitute of a pastor, to appoint one of their number, from time to time, to administer the ordinances.Were any Church of our faith and order to proceed, in this manner, we should consider such conduct as altogether inconsistent with the word of God, and productive of incalculable evil. We would, therefore, advise all our Churches to beware of such unwarrantable innovations in rules of discipline.46
The point of difficulty was that such a one, not being ordained, would lack the proper authorization for the administration of the ordinances and it was regarded as the church's responsibility to see to it that such unauthorized persons did not officiate at the celebration of the ordinances.
Several of the Carolina associations, most notably the Charleston, followed the practice of observing the Lord's Supper at their annual meetings. On occasion the baptismal ordinance was also administered.47 It is to be noted that the practice was by no means universal. The Broad River Association turned down a proposal in 1822 to commence the celebration of the Lord's Supper at its meetings, saying that it would not be best to adopt such a rule at this time.48 Rodgerson has said that the custom followed by the Charleston Association indicates that the ordinance of baptism (and presumably also the Supper) was not considered an official act of the church.49 But this is not at all the necessary signification. The church's responsibility for the right administration of the ordinances has been noted above, along with the express statement that the Lord's Supper is a church ordinance. In the words of Pendleton, "if baptism is not a church ordinance, it follows that a church has no right to say by whom it shall be administered."50 There is at least a strong indication that when the ordinances were administered at the associational meetings, the host church was considered to be the administering authority with the messengers from the churches participating as invited guests.51
The Question of Baptismal Validity Inevitably, Carolina Baptists were faced, as their brethren elsewhere had been, with the question of what constitutes valid baptism. The central issue concerned the administrator. There was a general agreement, as noted above that a properly qualified and authorized administrator was important for the right administration of the ordinances. Certainly there was no thought that the qualifications of the administrator were a matter of indifference. But was the administrator of such importance that if he lacked the proper qualifications his administrations were invalid? If a person was baptized by immersion on a profession of his faith by an unapprised and unordained administrator, was his baptism valid? This was essentially the question that was repeated brought before the Baptist associations of North and South Carolina. The answers returned by these bodies indicate that there was no great unanimity on the matter. The Charleston Association, the oldest and most influential such body in the South, went on record at an early date as giving recognition to those baptisms administered by Paul Palmer, a pioneer General Baptist preacher, who was regarded by them as a disorderly person. At the same time, a negative answer was returned to a query as to whether it was warrantable to baptize a second time a person whose first baptism was administered in an unconverted state.52 A later query, in the year 1837, evidently concerned the validity of baptisms administered by a non-Baptist: “Is it proper, in any case, to re-baptize individuals who have once been baptized on a credible profession of faith?” The association replied in the negative.53 The Charleston body was evidently opposed to rebaptism under any circumstances. The Kehukee Association in 1783 gave its approval to baptism administered by an unauthorized minister. The approval was somewhat qualified by the statement that “the person who administered the ordinance was very much out of his duty, and displeasure ought to be shown to such a practice.”54 A number of the other associations disagreed with the position taken by the Charleston and Kehukee bodies. The Bethel Association of South Carolina was queried by the Fair-forest Church in 1793 as to the validity of immersion administered by a Pedobaptist administrator. The answer was delayed until the following year and then, by a majority vote, the association overturned the report of its own committee and ruled that “the regular baptism of the administrator, and his sentiments in favor of believer’s baptism, are necessary to the right administration of the ordinance to any subject.”55 A similar query from the Hopewell Church in 1807 was answered in the negative.56 Thus the Bethel Association took the firm position that all Pedobaptist baptism is invalid. Broad River Association was organized out of Bethel in 1800. In 1817 the church at Union asked if the association “approbates their conduct in receiving members from a society of Methodists who have been baptized by immersion and account the same valid?” The brief answer was given that the action of the church in receiving such members did not comport with the simplicity of the gospel, but it was promised that the next circular letter would deal more extensively with the matter.57 Accordingly, 1818, William King wrote on the subject, “On a Baptist Church receiving members into fellowship, who were baptized by immersion in Methodist Societies.” King took the ground “that as certain priests anciently failed to show their genealogy among the lawful priests, and were rejected; in like manner should all administrators of the ordinance of baptism be rejected, who fail to show their own baptism according to the gospel, by a minister who has himself been baptized in a regular line from the Apostles down to the present day.”58 Here, then, is not only a clear rejection of non-Baptist immersion but also the strongest possible assertion of the necessity of a baptismal succession from the apostles. Again, in 1829, the association affirmed that, in its judgment, immersion administered by an administrator of another denomination was not valid.59 In 1839, the Sandy Creek Association took the same position as the Broad River body in its rejection of non-Baptist immersion, advising the Pleasant Grove church by a unanimous vote that it would be inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel for a Baptist church to receive into the fellowship immersed members of other denominations without baptizing them again. The grounds on which this rejection was based are of particular interest:We cannot admit the validity of their baptisms without admitting they are true and scriptural gospel churches if we do this we unchurch ourselves, for God never set up or authorized but one Christian denomination. . . .
The Baptist is the only denomination that can claim descent from the apostolic churches, through the true persecuted and witnessing church, that fled into the wilderness for 1260 years. . . .
That the Baptist have descended from the true church is susceptible of the clearest proof. This is not true of any other denomination. . . . Ordinances cannot be validly administered by both Baptists and Pedobaptists. God is not the author of but one of them, consequently, we cannot receive members upon baptism administered by them, without repudiating the ordinances administered by ourselves. 60
Not only, then, did this association reject the validity of Pedobaptist immersion; they also asserted the succession of Baptist churches from the days of the apostles and denied that the churches of other denominations were true and scriptural gospel churches. This is scarcely to be distinguished from the Landmark position of later years.
In an earlier action in 1822, the Sandy Creek Association declared that if a minister acts without church authority, his ministerial acts are invalid. “The validity of his official acts depends upon his being a member of the church, and clothed with ministerial authority.”61 Thus, the authority of the church was ruled essential for the validity of ministerial actions.
The Lord’s Supper and the Communion Question With regard to the matter of communion with other denominations, the Baptist churches of North and South Carolina were virtually unanimous in their refusal to engage in or to sanction such a practice. Yet the question was evidently a recurring one and numerous queries reflect the measure of concern which Baptists felt on the matter. The Euhaw Baptist Church asked the Charleston Association in 1786 if a member, being separated by a considerable distance from his church, might be at liberty to commune with a Presbyterian or Independent church. The association replied that it would be disorderly to commune with those who have not received believer’s baptism, since this is the only true baptism established by Christ in his church, and that such a practice would be an affront to the regal authority of Christ.62 In 1802, the same association declared that Baptists could not commune with Pedobaptists because to do so would be equivalent to an acknowledgement of the validity of infant baptism and the power of a church to alter the order which Christ has established in his churches. The practice was therefore deemed to be inconsistent with gospel order.63 In 1804 the Broad River association advised that a church member who communes with Pedobaptists ought not, by the rule of Scripture, be held in fellowship.64 The Bethel Association, on four separate occasions from 1797 to 1822, expressed itself as being in opposition to the practice of open or mixed communion and in 1802 declared that there were no grounds “under present existing circumstances” on which Baptists might fellowship with Pedobaptists at the Lord’s Table, as desirable an object as that might be.65 The circular letters of the various associations provide a further indication of the importance of the communion question to the Baptist mind. In 1806 the letter of the Charleston Association was on the subject, “The Communion of Saints.”66 The 1815 letter of the Broad River Association was written by Ambrose Carlton on “The Scriptural reasons why the Baptist do not commune with other denominations of Christians.”67 The same body appointed Thomas Curtis to write the letter for 1850 on the subject of “Christian Communion.”68 In the Bethel Association, a query from one of the churches in 1822 prompted the writing in 1823 of a circular letter on the question of close communion.69 These letters and others like them were designed to aid in the indoctrination of the members of the churches in distinctive principles and practices of the Baptist denomination with regard to the Lord’s Supper and to remind them that it was because of these principles that Baptists were set apart from all the other Christian denominations. It should be noted here that among the Carolina Baptists, as in the Philadelphia Association, transient or occasional communion was permitted, but only within restricted limits. If a Baptist church member desired to partake of the Lord’s Supper in a church to which he did not belong, he might be permitted to do so, if he were “an orderly person” and if he were known to be a member in good standing in his own church. A person traveling at a distance from his home church was generally expected to produce a recommendatory letter from his church before being admitted to communion. In other words, it was the local church’s responsibility, as guardian of the ordinances, to prevent any improper approaches to the Lord’s Table, and each church had the power to admit those whom she would to the observance of the Supper. Thus, while a limited intercommunion was the practice of most, if not all, of the Carolina Baptist churches, a church was apparently not considered to be under any imperative obligation to admit anyone outside the local membership to communion. As we pointed out in the previous chapter, this was very close to the position of the moderate Landmarkers70
Relationships between Baptists and Pedobaptists The unwillingness of Baptists to commune with those of other denominations proved to be a sore point of contention in their relationships with these other groups. According to the circular letters on the subject, the Baptist practice of close communion was regarded by the Pedobaptists as nothing short of criminal. The Baptists were accused of being narrow, contracted, bigoted, and sectarian and of declaring practically that all denominations but the Baptists were unchristian.71 In response to such criticism, the Baptists protested that they did indeed regard evangelical Pedobaptists as their brethren in Christ, but as brethren walking in disorder, with respect to the ordinances. Baptists were willing, at least on occasion, to listen to Pedobaptist preachers and to be instructed by them in things concerning God’s Kingdom, but with regard to the Pedobaptist principles and practices relative to the ordinances, they felt constrained to withdraw from them.72 The Bethel Association, answering a query in 1802 on the matter of communion, urged the Baptist brethren to be as friendly as possible to all godly persons of other denominations and to unite with them in prayer for the commencement of the time when all God’s people shall see eye to eye.73 Perhaps a typical Baptists statement on the matter of Baptist-Pedobaptist relationships generally may be found in the circular letter prepared in 1820 by Elder Berryman Hicks for the Broad River Association on the subject, “The Foundation on which Christians can be Agreed.” Hicks declared that the baptism of believers by immersion, because of what it symbolizes, is the indispensable foundation on which Christians may be united, and that there is no other suitable basis for agreement. He supposed a hypothetical Pedobaptist question: “As we all profess to believe in Jesus Christ, can we not be agreed by laying aside all our non-essentials?” The Baptist answer to such a question, in the words of Hicks, would be: “If you have non-essentials, you are at liberty to lay them aside. We humbly request you to do so; but we have not any non-essentials.”74 It seems clear, then, from this letter, which must be considered fairly representative, that the Baptists took a firm and uncompromising stand on what they conceived to be the scriptural principles of their denomination. The general inflexibility of the Baptist position made any extensive intercourse between the Baptists and Pedobaptists a virtual impossibility.
Summary and Evaluation The Baptists of North and South Carolina, representing the three major strands of Baptist life in America, displayed from the earliest days of their history a strong interest in matters of ecclesiological concern. While extending a rather limited recognition to the concept of the universal church, their major interest was in the local church and the practical aspects of church life. The independence of the church was especially emphasized and defended. The authority of the church in virtually every area of Christian life and endeavor was magnified. This was particularly true with regard to the gospel ministry; the church alone was viewed as having the authority to license and ordain men to the ministry and to censure them for any conduct considered improper or unworthy. With regard to the ordinances, they were considered to be a function of the church, whose responsibility it was to see that they were properly administered, according to Scripture. This emphasis on a strict scriptural observance of the ordinances led at least a substantial number of the Carolina Baptist churches to reject Pedobaptist immersion as unscriptural, and, in their practice of close communion, they were almost unanimous. Principally because of their position on the ordinances, the relations of the Baptists with other denominations were not always cordial, but there is evidence that many of the Baptists were desirous of more harmonious relationships with other Christians, if such could be had without the sacrifice of principle. At several significant points, then, the principles and practices of the Carolina Baptist with regard to the church and the ordinances bore a remarkable similarity to the corresponding principles of Landmarkism. The strong emphasis that was placed on the independence and authority of the local church was essentially the same, although perhaps not so explicit, as the later Landmark stress on the primacy of the local church. The insistence that the gospel ministry, in its every aspect, was to be under the control of the church, and that ministers were not to “exercise their gifts” without the sanctioning authority of a local church, was reflected in the Landmark emphasis that the preaching of the gospel was an official act or duty of the church and that there could be no authority for the proclamation of the Christian message that did not derive from a true church of Christ. Also, the concern that some Carolina Baptists expressed that missionary activities carried on by the associations or other organizations would detract from the central role assigned to the church in the New Testament as well as the hesitance of a number of Carolina churches and associations to form a connection with a state convention were strongly echoed in the Landmark demand that the rights of the churches be fully recognized in the conduct of missionary work by the mission boards and in the total work of the conventions. Of particular significance is the rejection of Pedobaptist immersion by at least a large number of the of the Carolina Baptist churches. Their unwillingness to accept such baptism as valid was based on the belief that a properly qualified administrator was necessary for a valid administration of the ordinances, and that one of the necessary qualifications for an administrator was his own baptism as a believer by immersion.. Thus, they declared, in effect, that the Pedobaptist churches were without scriptural ordinances. Some of the Carolina Baptists, as has been noted above, went on to the position of denying that the Pedobaptist churches were true and scriptural gospel churches. This was the view that was so emphatically urged by Graves, Pendleton and the other Landmarkers. In their judgment, the Pedobaptist “societies” lacked true ecclesiastical character and therefore could not validly administer the ordinances or give valid authorization to an administrator. The Landmark position was but the logical development of the earlier Baptist insistence on a properly qualified and authorized administrator for a valid administration of the ordinance. In their practice of close communion, the Carolina Baptists emphasized strongly their separation from other denominations of Christians. They could not conscientiously fellowship at the Lord’s Table with those whom they considered to be unbaptized and whose churches they considered to be defective and disorderly, particularly with regard to the ordinances. The controversies resulting from the expression of these views served to enhance the Baptist feeling of isolation from other Christian groups. This separatistic spirit, which magnified the differences between Baptists and other denominations, was one of the leading characteristics of Landmarkism. It is apparent that there were many areas of relationship between the principles and practices of Carolina Baptist prior to 1851 and those of Landmarkism. This seems to give added emphasis to the suggestion that Landmarkism was not an abrupt departure from the historic Baptist faith, but was a movement with its roots in the mainstream of Baptist life. ___________
1. Robert A. Baker, pp. 48, 51-52.
2. Joe M. King, A History of South Carolina Baptists (Columbia, S. C.: Genral Board of South Carolina Baptist Convention, 1964), p. 14. See also Robert A. Baker, pp. 55, 65.
3. Wood Furman (comp.), A History of the Charleston Association of Baptist Churches in the State of South Carolina (Charleston: J. Hoff, 1811), pp. 8-9.
4. Benedict, General History, p. 691.
5. George W. Paschal, History of North Carolina Baptists (2 vols., Raleign: General Board, North Carolina Baptist State Convention, 1930), I, 199.
6. Ibid., p. 202; Benedict, General History, p. 632.
7. Lemuel Burkitt and James Read, A Concise History of the Kehukee Baptist Association, from Its Original Rise down to 1800 (rev. ed., Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 1850), p. 40.
8. Paschal, I, 204-9.
9. Benedict, General History, pp. 683-84. The nine Christian rites referred to are: baptism, the Lord's Supper, love-feasts, the laying on of hands, washing of feet, anointing the sick, the right hand of fellowship, the kiss of charity, and the devoting of children. Morgan Edwards, "Materials towards a History of the Baptists in the Province of North-Carolina," ed. G. W. Paschal, North Carolina Historical Review, VII, (July, 1930), 384.
10. Benedict, General History, pp. 684-85.
11. Paschal, I, 475.
12. Paschal, II, 263.
13.Charleston Baptist Association, A Summary of Church Discipline (Charleston: Printed by David Bruce, 1774), p. 1.
14. Minutes of Saluda Baptist Association, 1826, p. 4.
16. John R. Logan, Sketches, Historical and Biographical, of Broad River and King's Mountain Baptist Associations from 1800 to 1882 (Shelby, N. C.: Babington, Roberts and Co., p. 105.
17. George W. Purefoy, A History of the Sandy Creek Baptist Association (New York: Sheldon and Co., Publishers, 1859), p. 105.
18. Ibid., p. 198.
19. Minutes of Saluda Baptist Association, 1826, pp. 8-9.
20. James A. Delke (comp.), History of the North Carolina Chowan Baptist Association, 1806-1881 (Raleigh: Edwards, Broughton and Co., Publishers, 1882), p. 94.
21. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1791, .3.
22. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1775, p. 2.
23. Furman, p. 28.
24. Purefoy, pp. 127-28.
25. Logan, pp. 65-66.
26. W. W. Barnes, The Southern Baptist Convention, 1845-1953, pp. 110-13.
27. Ibid., pp. 113ff.
28. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1826, p. 5.
29. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1804, pp. 1-2.
30. Charleston Association, Summary of Church Discipline, p. 41. Cf. Logan, pp. 14-15.
31. Purefoy, p. 106; T. H. Garrett, A History of the Saluda Baptist Association (Richmond, Va.: B. F. Johnson Publishing Co., 1896), p. 346.
32. Edwards, North Carolina Historical Review, VIII, 399.
33. Benedict, General History, p. 712.
34. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1775, pp. 2, 3; 1838, p. 3.
35. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1805, p. 4; 1807, p. 3.
36. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1822, p. 4.
37. Garrett, p. 54.
38. Furman, p. 191.
39. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1786, p.1.
40. Charleston Association, Summary of Church Discipline, p. 3.
41. Purefoy, p. 105.
42. Paschal, II, 262, 263-64.
43. Logan, p. 17.
44. Garrett, p. 350.
45. Charleston Association, Summary of Church Discipline, p. 12.
46. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1825, p. 7.
47. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1804, p. 1. See also the minutes for 1811 and 1813.
48. Logan, p. 39.
49. Rodgerson, p. 128.
50. Pendleton, Southern Baptist Review and Eclectic, Nos. 2 and 3, 67.
51. Charleston Association, Summary of Church Discipline, pp. 48-49. See above, p. 30.
52. Furman, p. 37.
53. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1837, p. 3.
54. Burkitt and Read, p. 71.
55. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1794, p. 2.
56. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1807, p. 2.
57. Logan, p. 35.
58. Ibid., p. 436.
59. Ibid., p. 46.
60. Purefoy, pp. 179-180.
61. Ibid., p. 122.
62. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1786.
63. Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1802, p. 3.
64. Logan, p. 20.
65. See Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1795, 1797, 1802, and 1822.
66. Furman, pp. 188-97.
67. Logan, p. 33.
68. Ibid., p. 77.
69. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1822, 1823.
70. Circular Letter, Minutes of Charleston Baptist Association, 1825, p. 14. Charleston Association, Summary of Church Discipline, p. 19.
71. Paschal, II, 509n; Logan, pp. 319-30.
72. Logan, pp. 320-21.
73. Minutes of Bethel Baptist Association, 1802, p. 2.
74. Logan, pp. 411-14.
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