Preceded The Landmark Movement
In Early America
Pastor Daniel Merrill on Baptist Perpetuity, 1805
Daniel Merrill [Born in Rowley, Essex County, Massachusetts, 18 March, 1765: died in Sedgwick, Hancock County, Maine. 3 June, 1833] was a minister among the Congregationalists, but in 1805 he became convinced of the truth of Scriptural baptism and became a Baptist. He was ordained to the Baptist ministry at Sedgwick, Maine on May 15, 1805. Shortly after his ordination he preached a series of seven sermons on The Mode and Subjects of Baptism which was published that year. He later added a eighth sermon to this series entitled, A Miniature History of the Baptists. The tenth edition was published in 1812. The following quote by Pastor Daniel Merrill in 1805 show further proof that Baptists throughout America in the nineteenth century believed in Baptist perpetuity based upon Matthew 16:18.
"The origin of the Baptists can be found no where, unless it be conceded, that it was a Jordan or Enon. ... The Hussites, in the fifteenth century, the Wickliffites, in the fourteeth and the Petrobrussians, in the twelfth, and the Waldenses, were all Baptists. ... The consequences of this whole is this: The Baptists have no origin short of the apostles. They arose in the days of John the Baptist, and increased largely in the days of our blessed Saviour, when he showed himself unto Israel, and the days of his apostles, and have existed, under the severest persecutions, with intervals of prosperity, every since. ... In this short history of the Baptists, we see the continued accomplishment of one of Christ's promissory predictions, which is, Matt. 16:18, 'The gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.'" -- Pastor Daniel Merrill, Mode and Subjects of Baptism, published 1805.
The Convert's Guide to First Principles, 1838
The quote below is from "The Convert's Guide to First Principles" by Pastor Israel Robords, published in 1838 to instruct a large number of new converts in the church from a recent revival. Robords was pastor of the First Baptist Church of New Haven, Connecticut. Notice that in 1838 we have a pastor in New England referring to Baptist "succession" and "true church." This is just further proof that J. R. Graves and the Landmark movement did not teach anything new in Baptist history.
"It is not expected that we should give a church history in this limited essay. All that will be done is to glance at the existence of the church in each successive century; and we shall only be able to notice where the true church flourished in one or two places at the same time. ...
"Owing to the different languages of those nations where the followers of Christ have lived and to the asperities of their opposers, the church has been known by the name of Baptists, Anabaptists, Wickliffites, Lollards, Hugonots, Mennonites, Hussites, Petrobrusians, Albigenses, Waldenses, Paulicans, etc.; and to oppose image worship, infant baptism, transubstantiation, and the unwarrantable power of the Pope, have ever been characteristics of this people. ...
"We should keep in mind that nearly every question has two sides; and while the controversy between us and the pedobaptists respects church origin, we are happy to have their full concession that they are recent dissenters from the Roman Catholics; and that the Baptist church is not only the true church of God, but that for her 'it is easy to trace a succession of witnesses for Jesus Christ against His rival at Rome.'" -- Pastor Israel Robords, The Convert's Guide to First Principles, published in 1838, pp. 78, 79, 97, and 98. Note: The last sentence of the quote includes a phrase from Brown's Bible Dictionary, p. 152.
J. M. Pendleton Believed in Perpetuity, 1856
James Madison Pendleton (1811-1891) believed like all Baptists of his day. That is that the Paulicans, Waldenses, and Albigenses represented the true church during the dark ages and that through them Baptists can be traced backward to the days of the New Testament. The below quote is from Pendleton's book Three Reasons Why I Am A Baptist. Together with J. R. Graves and A. C. Dayton in the mid-1800's, J. M. Pendleton made up the Landmark Baptist Triumvirate.
However, it has been claimed by some "Baptist scholars" that J. M. Pendleton was not really a Landmark Baptist. These scholars claim that Pendleton did not believe in Baptist perpetuity or succession. In taking this position, their only argument is an argument from silence. But is this true? Did J. M. Pendleton believe in Baptist perpetuity? Consider Pendleton's own words:
"And here is may be said that advocates of infant baptism have often evinced a persecuting spirit. It will never be known till the revelations of the last day, what multitude have been put to death for denying the rights of unconscious infants to the ordinance of baptism. O Babylon! drunken with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus, a fearful doom awaits thee. During the dark ages the spirit that prompted Augustine and his coadjutors to anathematize the opposers of infant baptism prevailed and became intensely rancorous. Could the martyred Paulicans, Waldenses, and Albigenses rise from the dead, they would tell a tale that would send a thrill of horror to the heart of humanity. But I must not enlarge." -- Pastor James Madison Pendleton, Three Reasons Why I Am A Baptist, published in 1856, pp. 71-72.