Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened in San Antonio

On Saturday night, I was walking from the Residence Inn over to the Convention Center when I first spotted it. The sign to the Crockett Hotel lured visitors inside to the "Landmark Restaurant." I immediately resolved that I needed to gather a group of all those who have been recklessly accused of being "Landmarkers" in the past year and enjoy a meal there together, just so I could take a picture and blog about it, pulling the chain of those who stereotype us. Well, the week got away from me. We tried to go once, but learned that the restaurant only serves breakfast. Finally, early this morning, I was able to get Dr. Malcolm Yarnell to walk over with me for breakfast at the Landmark Restaurant. We walked inside to the hostess station, where the following conversation took place:

Hostess: Table for two? Us: Yes, please. Hostess: Do you have your coupon? Us: We don't have a coupon. Hostess: OK, do you have your room number? Us: Well, we aren't guests at the hotel. We just wanted to eat breakfast over here. Hostess: (Awkward, puzzled silence) Us: Are you not set up for people to pay with cash? Hostess: Well, actually, the restaurant exists to serve breakfast to the guests at the hotel. Us: OK, I'm sorry. We saw the sign outside and thought it was a public restaurant. Hostess: You're welcome to dine at the breakfast buffet in our sister hotel, the Menger, just across the street.
Disappointed, we walked across the street and ate the recommended breakfast. Later in the day, Dr. Ergun Caner called Dr. Yarnell at which time Dr. Yarnell communicated our disappointment at being shut out of the Landmark restaurant. Dr. Caner's reply? "Of course—they're closed communion!" :-)

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bart,
I was hoping to meet you this week in San Antonio. I am the Pastor of a ABA
Church in Phoenix and attend the SBC Pastor's conference each year. I appreciate your articulation of conservative theology and hope to meet you at some point.

Bob Pogue

Tony Kummer said...

Bart,
I just posted a video from the convention where you ask Dr. Mohler a question. You're welcome to post it here too.

Strider said...

Funny story but your point remains. Is that really how Jesus wants you to make your brothers and sisters feel?

volfan007 said...

bart,

what a great story! and, what a great time in san antonio!

i enjoyed meeting you and tracy. you are blessed bro. you are my kind of people. God bless you and yours, and i hope that we will be seeing more of each other in the future.

david

Ben Stratton said...

Bart,

Too bad I wasn't there. I could have gotten you in. (grin)

Great story.

Ron P. said...

Bart,

I wish you would at least have taken a picture with the sign in the background anyway.

I would have loved seeing Dr. Yarnell in his Vader mask at a Landmark institution. :)

Blessings,

Ron P.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Did anybody get a picture of the other end of the spectrum going into a smorgasboard?

volfan007 said...

bart,

email me please. i have a question to ask you in private.

david

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Actually, it was Ergun Caner, and he called me.

Nevertheless, it is a hilarious story.

sbc pastor said...

Now that's funny, I only wish that you could have tasted the french toast... :0)

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Anonymous said...

I wonder if any of the people throwing the "landmark" accusation at you have ever examined your ecclesiology. What is your stance on open vs. closed communion and alien immersion?

Ben Macklin

Ben Macklin said...

Bart -

BTW, I do visit your blog. I just prefer to soak it all in rather than comment (usually).

Question: How much real Landmarkism is still in the convention vs a strongly-developed ecclesiology that identifies solely with Baptist concerns, but a) does not have Landmarkism's historiographical flaws, and b)does not consider the question of the existence of the "in-time" universal church?

Ben Macklin

Ben Macklin said...

Bart - I found the following in Wikipedia:

"Praise-God Barebone (or Barbon; c.1596 – 1679) was an English leather-seller, preacher and Fifth Monarchist. He became a freeman of the Leathersellers Company in January 1623. Around the same time, he began preaching to large audiences that assembled at his house, The Lock and Key in Fleet Street, London. The exact nature of his religious persuasion is not clear; although his enemies styled him a Brownist and Anabaptist, Barebone wrote two books supporting the then-controversial practice of paedo-baptism. Most of his audience were former Baptists.

Barebone later joined the sect known as the Fifth Monarchists and became an object of abuse and ridicule. His meetings were frequently disturbed by riots; on December 20, 1641, his house was stormed by a mob and he was lucky to escape alive."

Is this your namesake? Hope it's only a coincidence.

:-)

Ben Macklin

Kyle said...

Thats just funny, I Enjoy your blog

Kyle Caudell

Bart Barber said...

To all: I'm in Houston with Tracy's family. I've been steering clear of the blogs today, but I'll take a moment to make a small dent in keeping up with comments. Thanks to all of you for stopping by.

Bart Barber said...

Bob Pogue,

Brother, we will meet at some point. Let's just make it here on this earth. ;-)

Bart Barber said...

Tony,

I go to all of this work to keep my likeness hidden from my readers (for the sake of their own digestion), and here you are splattering not only an image but LIVE STREAMING VIDEO of my own self!!!

:-)

Thanks for reading.

Bart Barber said...

Strider,

Perhaps the best way to determine what Jesus would do is to look at what Jesus did. When having the Last Supper, did Jesus stand out on the street and indiscriminately invite Jerusalem inside?

Let us build a theology of the ordinances from something other than subjective suppositions about how Jesus wants us to make people feel. There's plenty of biblical material to discuss. Someday we'll do that.

Bart Barber said...

David,

You are a treasure, my brother. I look forward to more and more time with you in the future.

Bart Barber said...

Ben,

:-)

Bart Barber said...

Ron,

I forgot the camera, or I would have.

Bart Barber said...

Gotta go...supper time. I'll try to finish up later.

Grosey's Messages said...

I thought Paul was Landmark by cutting out the followers of Darby when he said 1 Thess 4:13 But I would not have you .. ignorant, brethren," :)
Steve

Bart Barber said...

Jerry,

Pretty funny!

Bart Barber said...

Dr. Yarnell,

Thanks for making sure this will be an accurate primary source! :-)

Bart Barber said...

Jeremy,

Brother, I know you didn't get in. Spooky people weren't allowed.

Bart Barber said...

Ben,

My brother and my friend, I'm so glad to have you join the conversation. You'll have to understand—this medium rarely permits the kind of depth that we were able to pursue sitting around the conference table.

Real Landmarkism (only Baptist churches are valid churches) does still exist in the SBC, but there's not nearly as much of it as there was 100 years ago (an epoch in which you and I have both spent a lot of time).

There is a significant number of people who find dubious both the "JJJ theory" of Baptist origins and the "1641 (1609) theory" of Baptist origins—who would not argue for a trail of blood but who would make a stronger connection to antecedents of the English Baptists. The number of people who subscribe to successionist historiography these days is, in my experience, pretty small.

The question of the universal church fits more into your discipline than mine. What do you see on the Baptist landscape in that regard?

Finally, yes the name of my blog obviously points to the character you have discovered. Barebones fascinates me because of the name (did you discover the names of his brothers?), and because he lived in the overlap of religion and politics.

I actually had a post on that before my blog blew up. I have an archived copy. Someday I'll put it back up.

Bart Barber said...

Kyle,

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoy the blog. Comment more often!

Ben Macklin said...

Bart (old chap)

It's good to blog with you again. I think you're absolutely right about the successionist historiography; very few are that eager to claim the Donatists is Baptist history. As to the church universal my only evidence is anecdotal. As far as I know, I'm the only one who makes a point to emphasize the local, visible church and refer to the universal church as really existing only in glory (a la Carroll). Carroll made some very good points throughout his work, but I don't think he was the Landmarker others made him out to be (see my dissertation). I do believe in the brother/sisterhood of all Christians but would not call us one, big church. The "bride of Christ" will only be visibly gathered by Christ in glory (Carroll).

I emphasize the local church as God's instrument, say that Baptists have it closest to the mark set by Christ, but neither exclude non-church members from the Lord's Supper, nor deny that other bodies of believers are valid churches. I guess I'm neither an ecumenist, nor a Landmarker. I'm a Christian who believes that Baptistic Theology is closest to being best, who will work with (not against) other Christians so long as they affirm some of the basics of the faith and deny like status to cults such as Mormonism, J.W., and old-line Campbellites.

Ben's short ecclesiology:
1. Open Communion
2. Open Membership to those immersed in other denominations provided they were baptized as believers.
3. Local, visible church
4. Not ecumenical
5. Congregational polity
6. Able to cooperate with Baptists who differ on non-essentials.

What about the communion and baptism questions to you? Would you accept a man as a member who was baptized in an Assembly of God church assuming he was a believer, wanted to be a Baptist, and lived a life of repentant faithfulness?

. . . not to put you on the spot or anything.

:)
Ben Macklin

Bart Barber said...

Ben,

I would think that, in my blogging, I have already demonstrated to the world that I lack the restraint to keep from jumping right onto the spot all by myself. My apologies for failing to articulate a theology of the ordinances. While replying, I failed to consider that first comment of yours.

I'm pretty much in the "like faith and order" position on both ordinances, although with nuances.

For example, I apply the terminology theologically rather than denominationally. We received the baptism of a family from the Carlisle Street Church of Christ upon determining that this congregation (led by a DTS pastor) was as "like faith and order" as any in our Baptist association (including at the point of soteriology!). So, we try not to make it about the words on the sign.

Also, I believe that recent Southern Baptist practice has not emphasized strongly enough that membership in the "right" church does not ipso facto equate to table privileges. Scripture enjoins us to examine ourselves. We must not forget that a good number of Baptists—a good number of my church's own membership—"eat and drink judgment" if they plunge headlong into the Supper. So, in some ways, I'm more restrictive than the most closed of communionists, warning even my church members to consider not taking the Supper unless they are ready to deal significantly with their own sin.

Ben Stratton said...

Brothers Bart and Ben

Landmarkism does exist in the Southern Baptist Convention and is perhaps more widespread than many realize. Two factors in finding landmarkers are: 1) Terminology = There are many Southern Baptist Landmarkers who dislike or are ignore of the term "Landmarkism". 2) Wording = A lot depends on how you word the various points of Landmarkism. Consider the following:

1. While there may not be multitudes of Southern Baptists who would say "only Baptist churches are valid churches", let's word that question a little different such as: "Due to their beliefs in infant baptism, sprinkling, baptismal regeneration, and / or apostasy, do you consider Methodist, Presbyterian, Campbellite, and Pentecostal churches true New Testament Churches? I think you would be surprised to see how many Southern Baptists would answer "NO" to that question.

2. While there may not be many Southern Baptists who would say I believe in Baptist Successionism, (Most don't even know what that means.) if you were to ask the average Southern Baptist pastor if Baptists are related to the Anabaptists and came out of the Anabaptists, most would answer "YES".

3) Of course there are a significant number of Southern Baptist pastors who reject alien immersion and open communion.

4) Also B.H. Carroll was a strong landmarker. While he didn't believe in gospel missions or local church communion, he was landmark on all other points.

5. I also believe Bart Barber is more of Landmarker then he realizes. One of these days we will get together and I will prove this to him! (grin)

Ben Macklin said...

Bart -

Amen. Sounds like we are on the same page. We carefully went over the parts of AOG theology that differed from Baptist theology and as far as I could tell, he was of like faith (order I don't know about). The man we welcomed into our fellowship believed in the security of the believer.

We had one man who insisted that this new member be re-baptized. But I contended that he had already been immersed as a believer so re-baptizing him would not signify a statement of new faith in Christ.

You and I are more on track than you think.


Ben Macklin

Ben Macklin said...

Brother Stratton -

Graves and J.M. Carroll are easy to put into the Landmark camp. B.H. differed on so many aspects of Landmarkism than either Graves or his brother that it is very problematic to put him in the same boat (especially considering how he ousted people who fought convention association).

Carroll was a "dyed-in-the-wool" postmillennialist while Graves was a premillennialist. Carroll's millennial perspective made BAPTIST cooperation essential. The fact that he found so many problems with non-Baptist denominations does not make him a Landmarker; it makes him sure in his ecclesiology!


Ben Macklin

Bart Barber said...

Ben,

Brother...we need to talk in person. Have I given the impression somehow that I have assigned you to some "track" other than mine? Not so. I value our friendship and embrace you as a brother. I disagreed with an assessment of yours once over at Marty's place, but that was given in the same spirit as one might have found in Captain Kirk's Eschatology seminar.

I would not consider the run-of-the-mill AofG church to be "like faith and order"; however, I do not make as much of the difference as perhaps you infer.

Thus, I receive every part of your last comment except for the "as you think" at the end.

Ben Macklin said...

Bro. Bart -

Please don't infer my comments as a challenge to you. We're good. I think it's good to talk-out the issues of church membership with others who are pastors. Until the apokatastasis panton we'll need to work these things out.

:)

Ben