Baptist History Homepage

[A recorded discussion between Ben Stratton and Nathan Finn concerning the issus of Landmarkism.
Nathan Finn:
On Landmarkism: Some Book Recommendations

For those interested in reading more about a key Landmark pastor-theologian, be sure to check out Thomas White's SEBTS dissertation, titled “James Madison Pendleton and His Contribution to Baptist Ecclesiology,” which has been published in the first volume of The Selected Writings of James Madison Pendleton (Baptist Standard Bearer, 2006). White is the editor of this important three-volume work. Also, be on the lookout for James Patterson’s forthcoming biography of the important Landmark leader J. R. Graves, which Lord-willing will be published by B&H Academic in the next year or so.

From Ben Stratton

November 23, 2010
Nathan [Finn],

      I am sorry to hear about the passing of Morgan Patterson. I would have loved to have sit down with him and discussed Baptist history. I have his book on Baptist Successionism, but I must say I am not all that impressed with it. Two of Patterson’s biggest points are successionists used secondary sources and didn’t always copy quotes exactly word for word. What he doesn’t tell you is that’s how all Baptists (and historians) wrote before 1900. Communication was poor and transportation was difficult. People didn’t always have access to primary sources. Also while they didn’t always copy quotes perfectly, they never changed the meaning of the quote.

      Interestingly enough Patterson first wrote this book as his thesis at New Orleans Seminary. The late Roy Beaman, a professor there and a strong landmarker, (Also arguable the greatest Greek scholar in the SBC in his day) read it and pointed these things out to Patterson. Unfortunately Patterson never changed it.

      I could say much more about Tull and McGoldrick. My copies are filled with red ink. IMHO they are not as strong as people think. But if you want to recommend some books on landmarkism, while [why] not recommend some books written by landmarkers? Here’s three good ones:

      1. “The Church That Jesus Built” by Roy Mason. A good intro to landmarkism. Mason pastored one of the largest SBC churches in Florida in the 1940’s.

      2. “The Battle For Baptist History” by I.K. Cross. Cross was the ABA’s best historian and deals with many of the issues people have questions about surrounding Baptist origins.

      3. “Some Critical Lectures on Baptist Successionism” by R.E. Pound. Pound has read virtually everything written on Baptist history or doctrine from the 1600’s through the 1800’s. Some of the quotes he gives are real eye openers! This one’s online at:


[Via the Internet. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

More on Landmarkism
Baptist History Homepage