Friday, March 13, 2009

One Man Landmarkism in Enid?

Wade Burleson's One Man

As can be seen in the Comments of my previous article, Invitation to Wade Burleson, it seems that Brother Wade favors what might be classified as "One Man Landmarkism" -- if we accept Wade's concept on what constitutes

Wade has said in one of his comments on this blog:

"I believe John Gill gives the finest explanation of Christian baptism, as defined by Scripture, within Baptist literature."

Wade has aligned himself with a quotation from John Gill which prescribes that the
"administrator" of baptism is the person who is qualifed or scripturally authorized to "pass-on" or receive "satisfaction" with respect to a person's profession of faith. Then, after the profession is deemed "satisfactory" by the administrator, the administrator will procede to administer baptism to that person, thereby qualifying the person to become a member of the church thereafter.

Dr. Gill is quoted by Wade:
"Admission to baptism lies solely in the breast of the administrator, who is the only judge of qualifications for it, and has the sole power of receiving to it, and of rejecting from it; if not satisfied, he may reject a person thought fit by a church, and admit a person to baptism not thought fit by a church; but a disagreement is not desirable nor advisable."

This puts the "administrator" squarely in front of the "door" to the church as to church membership, and unless a person "passes muster" with the administrator so as to qualify to receive baptism, he will just have to hoof-it on down to the O'Hairite Berean church where baptism is not even practiced.

If Gill's view is what Wade puts into practice at his church in Enid, Oklahoma, it appears to be the strictest "Landmark" entity I have ever heard of. If Wade does the baptizing at his church, this makes Wade the "only judge" and the"sole power" who "authorizes" or is "satisfied" with one's profession as authentic, and it makes Wade the sole "authority" for approving of the baptism of that person and his qualification for church membership, or rejecting that person.

My, how far we have strayed from original Landmarkism which made the validity of baptism simply depend upon the corporate authority of a church which has a linked-chain succession back to Jesus!

O, for the good ole days!


  1. Bob,

    I find your challenge to Wade fascinating, but I have to tell you, Wade himself is pretty doggone fascinating. Especially of note, are these two jewels on the last comment thread:

    I was calling the IMB baptismal policy Landmark...long before I ever heard of you or your Landmark book/...So, it is obvious that you cannot be my source for whatever understanding of Landmarkism I are not the person from whom I learned what Landmarkism is or is not..."

    Wade seems convinced you are not his source for Landmark. I see you've asked him several times for the sources of his views on Landmark but he cannot seem to give you any. So I went snooping.

    Here is what I quickly found:

    1) The only source cited for Landmark views in Wade's new book Hardball Religion is guess who? A man named Bob Ross. Do you know him? Not one mention, not one essay, not one writer except Bob Ross. Bob Ross is there but no other authority on Landmark is mentioned.

    What's more, one would figure J. R. Graves would be mentioned somewhere in the book, since he is a key player in Landmark. So I snooped a little about that, and sure enough, J. R. Graves is mentioned in the book 6 times. However, Wade does not mention J. R. Graves. The only one who mentions J. R. Graves is Bob Ross! Every time Graves is mentioned, it is in a guy named Bob Ross' material he's mentioned.

    2) For Wade to insist Bob Ross is not his source, he surely pours it on thick about old man Ross and his expertise about Landmarkism. Wade writes in his book:

    "Bob then sent to me an excerpt from the foreword of his excellent work
    on the subject
    ...Ross does an admirable job of warning modern Baptists of the errors of Landmarkism a warning IMB trustees intentionally ignore...Many of our SBC’s influential trustee and administrative leaders (e.g., Paige Patterson, John Floyd, Keith Eitel, Bill Sutton, Malcolm Yarnell) over the past few years have had strong Landmark
    tendencies. Bob Ross gives an excellent overview...

    Not to have influenced him, Wade surely gives old Ross a lot of credit!

    3) Finally, if Wade wasn't depending on Bob Ross, he surely has a strange way of evidencing it. For not only did we see above that Ross is the sole, absolute source Wade quotes concerning Landmark beliefs, but also an essay entitled "Old Lanndmarkism and the Baptists" is printed in full in the appendix. Ever heard of that essay? It's written by a man named Bob Ross.

    For me, I am confused. Here he writes Bob Ross was not his source for Landmark belief but his book says something entirely differently. Hardball Religion indicates clearly Bob Ross was his ONLY source for Landmark.

    And, that's really a problem because the way I understand you, Wade has fundamentally misunderstood his ONLY source. If that's so, where does that leave his view?

    I hope you can help him straighten it out.

    Grace. With that, I am...

  2. Thanks, Peter, for these comments. Does Wade's book really have no sources on Landmarkism but my book? If this is the case, he is in worse shape than I had supposed.

    Wade, however, does have as least one thing going for him, as is evidenced by those who post on his blog -- and that is, I have yet to read a comment on his blog by any one of the pro-Wade bloggers who indicates that the writer knows the most elementary and fundamental point in Landmarkism.

    They apparently assume that differing with Wade's attitude about the IMB constitutes Landmarkism. In other words, if you reject Wade's arbitrary but "gracious" condemnation of the IMB, you are a "Landmarker."

    In my career of debating Campbellites, I found that 99.9% of the Campbellites have no conception whatsoever about their history and their founders. When I have presented the facts about how the movement got started from their very own books, they have no idea what I am talking about. It is so bad in some cases that I have had to agree to not even mention their history and their founders or they would not debate! For example --

    Prior to a debate to be held in Burkburnett, Texas, the Campbellite debater and his elders drafted and required me to sign an "Agreement" that if in the debate I even mentioned the name of any one of their founders, I would have to pay $1,000 each time I did so! Otherwise, they would not debate.

    I think the lack of understanding Landmarkism is just about as thick among Wade's friends who post on his blog. Ignorance about Landmarkism is a plague over there! I have even had a comment on it in an email:

    Of course, you should not be surprised that Burleson misrepresents the views of Church of Christ and Landmarkism. Both he and Debbie Kaufman, a member of Burleson's church and frequent supporter and defender of Burleson and his positions, have demonstrated repeatedly errors in historical and doctrinal accounting: they state things which are incorrect or only half true and when pointed out to them ignore the correction.

    Wade has never once quoted any Landmark source or sources which would correspond to the
    alleged "Landmarkism" which he attributes to the IMB policy on baptism. Instead, he is grabbing at straws, quoting John Gill and referring to Baptist Confessions of Faith, none of which is condemnatory of the IMB policy of requiring baptism which is in accord with the Baptist Faith & Message.

  3. Uh, Petey, I was writing about Landmarkism in November of 2005 on my blog, long before I even knew of Bob Ross and his book. Reemerging Baptist Landmarkism and What Every Baptist Should Know About Believer's Baptism are just two examples. Bob emailed me about his independent concerns of Landmarkism in the SBC and sent me his book months after I was writing about it. By the way, our friend Bob isn't even a Southern Baptist.

    Amazing how you'll cooperate with non-Southern Baptists when you want to. Grin.

    Sorry, Petey, you missed. Grin again. Sounds like you need to take a little of your own advice and find somebody who wants you to minister to them instead of occupying your time always blogging about me. Even bigger grin.

    But don't misunderstand. I love it when you blog about me and my book. Absolutely love it. It only increases the number of people who hear about my book and might want to read it, even if it is only two or three people who actually read what you write.

    Have a nice evening!




    Wade says I am "not a Southern Baptist."

    Then howcum I somehow managed to be a messenger from my church, which is affiliated with the local SBC Association, to the Baptist General Convention of Texas a few years ago where I voted against the proposal to defund the Southern Baptist Convention seminaries? How could Charles Wade and his crew let me slip thru to do that?

    Wonder how I managed to pull that off without being a "Southern Baptist"? Pretty neat, eh?

    It's amazing how Wade can uncover such revelations when he is way off up there in Oklahoma.


    Wade, do you also grin when you miss a 2-footer or slice one into the lake? That's what I do, too. Sometimes it seems that a grin helps relieve the pains, doesn't it?


    Wade wrote of Peter: "By the way, our friend Bob isn't even a Southern Baptist.

    Amazing how you'll cooperate with non-Southern Baptists when you want to. Grin."

    Well, Wade, you "cooperated" with the same fellow when you used his book as your ONLY source on "Landmarkism" in your book . . . so what's wrong with Peter going and doing a little cooperation with me?

    Are you the only one who has a right to cooperate with me?

    Are you a little jealous that Peter is cooperating with me and you can't seem to get any cooperation from me?

    Yeah, Wade, I think you just might have a streak of grinning jealousy over Peter's cooperation with me.


    "Not to have influenced him, Wade surely gives old Ross a lot of credit!"

    And just think, Peter, that was credit given by Wade to a "non-Southern Baptist"!

    I had an email from his publisher, Smyth & Helwys, and the publisher confides that "We hope that Wade Burleson’s admiration of your work will lead some of his readers to also pick up your important writings."

    I know you frown upon using someone's email comment, Peter, but I hope will find it in your heart to give me a "pass" on using the S&H comment.

    After all, Peter, it does reveal that you are in "good company" (Brother Wade) when you get off-track and cooperate with a "non-Southern Baptist."

  8. WADE -- HARD

    Peter, I don't like to get "personal," but it seems to me that Wade is just a little "hard to please." You are "damned if you do, and damned if you don't."

    He's been writing some about "cooperation" with those who are not Southern Baptists, and has recently even praised a couple of Roman Catholic ladies. Yet, when you step out and cooperate with a "non-Southern Baptist" (as Wade has described me), Wade does not appear to be pleased with you.

    So it seems you just can't satisfy the brother. If you don't cooperate with "non-Southern Baptists," he scolds; if you do cooperate with a "non-Southern Baptist," he scolds.

    It just looks as of it's a hopeless case to try to satisfy Brother Wade in the matter of "cooperation."

  9. But Peter . . . in either case, we know that Wade will "grin" and bear it, won't he?

  10. Shop is closed. Up too late tonight following the basketball tourney and "wading" thru the "grins."

    Good night! Numbers 6:24-26.

  11. Brother,

    Notice how I mentioned several things in Wade's book and what does he do? Talks about his blog. I didn't mention his blog. I don't think you mentioned his blog--at least having anything to do with the sources to which we refer.

    He even gives you and me a dig, suggesting how few readers we have. Do you think he was trying to tell us something? oh yeas! Of course! It's about his blog again. What's interesting is, out of the "two or three" who read here, Wade is one of the three! That means we draw the big ones, doesn't it?

    Anyways, I sympathize with you, my brother when you ask Wade so many questions but he never answers. Instead of his book, he brags about his blog. Go figure.

    Grace, my friend.

    With that, I am...


    Peter said, "Anyways, I sympathize with you, my brother when you ask Wade so many questions but he never answers.

    Wade was ostensibly appointed to the IMB to help facilitate the missionary program of Southern Baptists whose biblical views are summarized in the Baptist Faith and Message. I assume he put his "John Hancock to that statement.

    Yet when I asked him if he agrees with two of the articles which are on the church and baptism, he clams up. He quotes heavily from Dr. John Gill who teaches "One Man Landmarkism" (if Wade's view on Landmarkism is correct), yet he squawks about the "Landmarkism" of the men who constitute the IMB.

    If Wade follows Dr. Gill -- as he has re-affirmed in a blog comment -- and he administers baptism at his church, then Wade evidently is the "sole power" at his church for either admitting or rejecting a candidate for baptism, and consequently for qualifying for church membership. He is the "authority" in each case wherein he is the admistrator of baptism, and even his church cannot overrule him, according to the quotation from Dr. Gill.

    I wonder if Wade had his "fingers crossed" when he signed-on the Baptist Faith & Message?