Landmarkism Is a Growing Problem in the SBC
In the 1960's a fellow named Bob Ross published a book entitled Old Landmarkism and the Baptists. I had never heard of this book until Bob Ross sent me an unsolicited email over three years ago. Bob, a Southern Baptist himself, wrote to me that he was concerned about the resurgence of Landmarkism, particularly in the Southern Baptist Convention of Texas, and that he would send me his book on Landmarkism. Bob himself published his email to me on the Internet over three years ago, but now I'm publishing it here for you to read for yourself
Sent: Thu 2/23/06 3:31 PM
Dear Brother Burleson:
I have read some of your comments on Landmarkism, and I surely hate to see it apparently rising again to some significance among Southern Baptists.
I spent the first several years of my Christian life in Landmarkism, after having been baptized at Parkview Baptist, Jackson, Tennessee in 1953 by a godly and beloved Pastor (now deceased) who introduced me to the writings of J. R. Graves.
I left the SBC over Neo-orthodoxy in the schools (particularly at Union University) in 1954, and spent the next eleven years of my life advocating Landmarkism among independent Baptists. In the Providence of God, I was enabled by His grace to study my way out of it and abandoned it in 1964.
Since I knew Landmarkism very well from the "inside" of independent Baptists and saw its divisive and sectarian character, I wrote a book, OLD LANDMARKISM AND THE BAPTISTS, briefly discussing the history and teachings of Graves and other Landmark Baptists, including myself. If you have not seen the book, I will be happy to send you a free copy. It is a 188-page paperback, fully documented.
Over the past 41 years, I have received many testimonies from readers -- especially preachers -- who have been helped by my various writings on the erroneous theories and practices of Landmarkism.
Here in Texas, as recently as this week I read the SBTC Texan magazine article by Jim Richards which advocated some of the principles involved in Landmarkism (Feb. 6, 2006, page 5). I hate to see the SBTC leadership get on this dead-end trail which leads to the type of Landmark sectarianism which I have witnessed among independent Baptists, the American Baptist Association (Texarkana headquarters), and the Baptist Missionary Association (Little Rock headquarters).
I have tried my best to maintain fellowship with Christian brethren who hold to Landmarkism, but they usually have held me at arm's length and regard me as a heretic!
Bob L. Ross
The desire to maintain fellowship with all Christian brethren is something which all of us should strive to attain. Landmarkism, however, leads people to separate and divide rather unite and cooperate. Lord willing Southern Baptists will continue to speak out and resist any Landmark Resurgence within the SBC.
In His Grace,