A Southern Baptist with an eye toward history has written an excellent article reporting on early Southern Baptist fathers attempts to resist a growing influence of Landmarkism. Gene Bridges has posted an entry on his blog entitled Southern Baptists and Baptism where he eloquently refutes the Landmark positions of two modern Baptists.
In Gene's blog he quotes J.L. Dagg, President of Mercer University in the 19th century and the greatest theologian the Southern Baptist Convention has ever produced. Dr. Dagg wrote a classic work entitled "Manuel of Church Order" where he discusses many practical issues Southern Baptist pastors will face in their respective ministries.
J.L. Dagg points out that pastors will meet some people who wish to join a Southern Baptist church, but they have been Scripturally baptized by "Pedobaptist ministers" ( i.e. Methodist pastors, Presbyterian pastors, Episcopal pastors, etc . . .) Dagg asks the question "is rebaptism necessary according to the Holy Scriptures?"
It is clear from the Scriptures, that, in ordinary cases, baptism was designed to be administered but once; and the pastor, as a servant of Christ, is bound to decide, in the fear of God, whether the case before him justifies a repetition of the rite.
It has sometimes happened, that ministers have differed in their views; and a candidate, whom one minister has refused to rebaptize, has been rebaptized by another. In such cases, no breach of fellowship between the ministers occurs; nor ought it to be allowed.
In like manner, a difference of opinion may exist between churches; and one church may admit without rebaptism, when another church would require it. This difference should not disturb the kind intercourse between the churches. But if the individual who has been received without rebaptism, should seek to remove his membership to the church that deems rebaptism necessary, the latter church has authority, as an independent body, to reject him.
A local church is to make the evaluation.
Oh how we need strong theologians like Dagg today to be statesmen in our convention. Southern Baptist pastors for a century and a half have disagreed over the validity of baptisms at the hands of non-baptistic pastors, but Dr. Dagg rightly points out that it ought not cause anyone to separate from fellowship or cooperation, or what he calls, "kind intercourse" within the convention.
How right he is.
We ought not keep people off the mission field who have been Scripturally baptized in different denominations, have been accepted by Southern Baptist churches as members, and are in every way qualified to serve as a missionary. Just because a Landmark pastor will not receive that missionary candidate into fellowhship in his church, should not mean that missionary candidate is disqualified from representing the Southern Baptist convention.
In His Grace,