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Landmark Baptist Church

Though numerous churches and some organizations use the terms Landmark and Landmark Baptist in their name, there is no identifiable sub-group of Baptists known as the Landmark Baptist Church.

Landmark Baptists trace their origin back to the days of Christ, but the names "Landmarkism" and "Landmark Baptist" arose out of an ecclesiological controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention in the mid-1800's. The leaders of what would become known as the Landmark movement were James Robinson Graves, James Madison Pendleton, and Amos Cooper Dayton (sometimes called the Great Triumvirate).

The emphasis of Landmarkism is (1) that the church is local and visible only; (2) that the church has had a continuous existence since its organization by Jesus Christ before Pentecost until the present day (sometimes called Baptist successionism or church perpetuity); (3) that the Great Commission was given to the church (local churches) only; and (4) that baptism and the Lord's supper are church ordinances and are only valid when performed by authority of a New Testament (Baptist) church.

Landmark ideas of ecclesiology still exist within the Southern Baptist Convention, but are more closely associated with the American Baptist Association, the Baptist Missionary Association of America, and the Interstate & Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association. Many Independent Baptist churches and most unaffiliated Missionary Baptist local associations also hold this ecclesiology. When a majority of the Southern Baptist Convention refused to apply the logical conclusions of Landmarkism to their institutions (such as totally remodeling their system of mission work), many of the strongest advocates of Landmarkism withdrew in the late 1800's. The Gospel Mission controversy, centering around missionary Tarleton Perry Crawford in China, and the Whitsitt controversy, centering around the historical views of seminary professor William Heth Whitsitt, are considered part of the Landmark controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Some other Baptists, such as Primitive Baptists, hold ecclesiological viewpoints that are very similar to Landmarkism.