church of Christ history Traces of the Kingdom - A history of the church of God

Phi 1:17 ....."knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel."




  Landmarkism and Successionalism.

Some people are concerned I'm teaching Landmarkism and/or successionalism.  This allegation is untrue, they could have checked with me first but chose not do so. As a result they are spreading falsehood and rumour. Proverbs 18:17 'He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.' Romans 16:16,17 'And brothers I exhort you to watch those making divisions and causes of stumbling contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. For such ones do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth speaking and flattering they deceive the hearts of those without guile.'

Landmarkism is a Roman Catholic belief that salvation is in the ordained priesthood of the church. Hence for one to be saved it is down to obedience to the church and its priests. Reinvented by some baptists it continues the fatal doctrine that denies the Blood of Christ and the seed principal. Most denominations whilst opposed to the Roman Catholic Church take their priesthood back to some point, through the succession of Bishops going back to Peter, via the Roman Catholic Church. Those who believe in Landmarkism hold to an unbroken line of brethren/churches from the first century church through to today, this not only denies scripture, there are no records, no evidence. They believe that salvation is only possible in this unbroken line from an ordained priest. Hence Landmarkism teaches the need to be baptized by an ordained priest who can follow their lineage, via baptism, to the apostles. Such is blasphemy. Ultimately the idea comes out of paganism where the priests controlled the people through the threat of damnation. The people putting their trust for salvation in the priest rather than the Blood of Christ and obedience to Him.

Those who hold that salvation is only possible in the Restoration Movement deny the seed principle (Matt 13), they without knowing are teaching precisely what they accuse me of doing. The Restoration Movement does not teach such error but the seed principle.

I do not teach successionalism, that all churches come from a common origin in the first century, a development of Landmarkism. By the 1600 and 1700s the church had been near destroyed by the error of Calvinism. It was not persecution that destroyed the church but error from inside. The apostle Paul warned of this in Acts 20:29.

The Restoration Movement in the USA and UK reintroduced/restored the true church, on the seed principle (the Word), it is true a few isolated congregations existed who were founded prior to either Restoration Movements, but these had little influence.

The UK had its own Restoration Movement at the same time as the American. Archie Watters in his History of the British Churches of Christ (1948) wrote "The story of the Churches of Christ in Great Britain is of particular value in correcting an error which has persisted for some time that the movement is peculiarly American. Alexander Campbell was at considerable pains to point out the fact that the movement was as much native to Britain as America."

Alexander Campbell wrote in his Christian Baptist "He who reads Jones' History of the Church of Christ, the history of that society of Christians which we see described in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Apostolic Epistles, which has been persecuted since Constantine by such secular ecclesiastical establishments as that of the English episcopacy, will readily perceive that the church of Christ is quite a different thing from such hierarchies, and that their creeds and confessions have no claim to divine authority, but are reprobated by it. It will be seen that that such has been described by Mosheim and Milner as the Church of Christ has been the beastly persecutor of his church.” Jones' history was first published in 1816. Alexander Campbell was aware of the materials used both in the book and this web-site." It seems he understood the Church of Christ has always existed. William Jones' was a member of the British churches of Christ.

I believe the Lord's Church has always been around. Daniel 2:44 'And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.' Matthew 16:18 'And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'

I have also been faulted for claiming that those mentioned on the this web-site used the identities Christians and the church - the church of Christ. I have used their own writings, they called themselves - The Church of Christ and the members Christians. Isaiah 62:2 'And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.' Acts 11:26 'And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.'

Whether the people I mention are saved is beyond our knowing, they are departed and will be judged by the Word of God. This is not our business, we must worry about the living.

This web-site and book gives a fascinating glimpse into times prior to the Restoration Movement of people who rejected the prevalent Augustinian theology of human depravity held by Roman Catholics, The Orthodox Church, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Calvinists, Protestants and Baptists, in other words, the denominations.  

This should put the record straight - I apologise for having to clarify this. Please continue to enjoy the web-site and learn from its contents, please pray for this ongoing work.



Return to main page