October 24, 2017

iMonk Classic: The Little Red Book

Classic iMonk Post
by Michael Spencer
From May 2, 2008

“Only Scriptural Baptist churches can make a legitimate claim to an unbroken succession back to the time of Christ and the apostles. Christ only built one kind of church and that church is described in detail in the New Testament. The only churches meeting the requirements of that description today are true Baptist churches. Baptist churches have existed in every age since their founding by Christ, though they have not always been known by that name. We do not deny that there are those in other so-called “churches” that have been born again by the grace of God. We do deny, however, that these man-made organizations are true churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– Landmark Baptist Church self-description

When I was just a boy, I found a little red book in my father’s drawer of religious literature. The book was called The Trail of Blood. It would be part of my world for many, many years to come.

I would continue to see the book around our home and then in church until I was given my own copy shortly after I was baptized.

The Trail of Blood was the primary popular expression of a belief called Baptist Landmarkism. Landmarkism was the Baptist version of apostolic succession; a way to prove that Baptists, not Roman Catholics, Campbellites or any other denomination, were the actual historical successors to Jesus.

The Trail of Blood fascinated me as a child because of a large chart in the middle of the booklet. The chart started with John the Baptist and Jesus, then the apostles, and then quickly began a list of names I’d never heard of at the time: Montanists, Cathari, Paulinists, etc. All of these led up to modern Baptists, who could confidently claim that they were the true church founded by Jesus Christ, as history proved.

The title of the book came from the assertion that these true Baptists had been almost extinguished in every age, and this was traced with variable red dots on the chart. Hence, The Trail of Blood.

Of course, The Trail of Blood is nonsense. The “historical precedents” weren’t Baptists at all, and many of theme were heretical groups by any standard. Interestingly, The Trail of Blood remains in print, and is still sold in Lifeway stores here in Kentucky, despite its repeatedly disproven and discredited claims.

I remains in print because the concern with asserting that one group is the “true” church amid a collection of impostors is as strong as ever.

James Robinson Graves

The Trail of Blood was indicative of my church’s contention that only one denomination could be called the “true” church. This anxiety over which denomination of all the denominations in our city was the true church ran deep through our community, its preaching, its teaching and relationships with other churches in our community.

Anxiety? Yes, anxiety about which denomination was the church Jesus founded was a major part of the spiritual atmosphere for the first two decades of my life. It took me many more years to come to terms with how this affected me. Only recently have I come to see what a subtly persistent poison this anxiety is been in my own life.

Why was my church so anxious about these matters? Why did a church in the largest denomination in the world- a church with close to a thousand in the pews on Sunday morning- have any concern at all about this issue of which church was the true church?

History and culture are part of the answer.

Historically, Baptists in our community had been drawn into these debates by the birth of the Campbellite movement. The Campbellite movement claimed to have restored the New Testament church in its simplicity. Almost a third of Baptist churches in Kentucky were claimed by the Campbellite movement. This confrontation and loss led to a Landmarkist counter-movement that answered the claims of restorationists with “historical evidence.”

Alexander Campbell

The difference between Baptists and Campbellites is so slight- mostly in the area of baptisimal regeneration- that it’s amazing to know that these two denominations were bitter rivals for generations. Later Campbellite evolution went liberal (Disciples), Fundamentalist (Church of Christ) and generic evangelical (Bob Russell independent Christian Churches.)

But the historical debate with the Campbellites and their Church of Christ cousins did not create or sustain the anxiety over the true church that I experienced growing up. My church was barely aware of the claims of the Campbellite movement.

We were, however, deeply aware of the claims of Roman Catholicism.

The religious culture of our community was one-third Catholic and one-third Baptist. This was the day when a definable, pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic culture was still a reality, and this meant that Baptists and Roman Catholics still had limited contact with one another. Issues of inter-marriage and even public schooling were alive and well.

Our church’s Landmarkism was firmly aimed at the Roman Catholic claim to be the true church. Landmarkism taught us that not only could this not be true on historical grounds- just read the chart- but it could not be true because of the obvious mistreatment and persecution of Baptists by Catholics.

Stories of Catholic abuses were common in our church. When I dated a Catholic girl in high school, I was bombarded with the usual stories of what would happen if we married and had children. In our church, Catholic control of the religious world extended beyond the Catholic church to all Protestants, so we were as suspicious of the Methodists as we were the Roman Catholics.

This anxiety was at least partially about the knowledge that we weren’t the only people in the world claiming to be the church, and our many assertions about truth were not exclusive. There were Christians who drank beer, had dances, baptized babies and didn’t consider every movie to be the road to hell. There were other Christians out there who were ignoring the things we believed were absolutely vital.

But most importantly, the Roman Church asserted itself as the one true church, a claim our church believed uniquely belonged to us. Landmarkism was a way to stake out our claim as the only ones who were right and to convince ourselves and our children than our answers were God’s answers.

What about this same anxiety today? There are apparently still thousands and thousands of Christians who engage in constant polemics in the cause of establishing that their tradition, even their denomination, is the “true” church?

Despite the fact that our church did preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it followed another agenda as well: the idea that salvation is a gift to those who join the true church and stay with it. We did not hesitate to tell someone that they were not part of the church Jesus founded, but only a “religious society.”

Of course, I don’t believe these things today, but they have not left easily. In some ways, I’ve never ceased to have that anxiety. When a comment thread here at IM takes off in the direction of Lutheran vs. Catholic vs. Evangelicals vs. Emerging, my anxieties are alive and well. All the arguments for who has the true sacraments and who is the true church still shake me down.

I prefer the better way of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. The boundaries of the church are a generous view of baptism and the Eucharist. The substance of Christian belief is what has been believed in common by all Christians in all times and places. The essential center of each tradition contains what is most congenial to understanding the commitments of other traditions. The quest for the one, true denomination that all Christians must enter gives way to a critical appreciation of the church in its historical, cultural and geographic unity and diversity.

My problem is that while I can type this, it’s been far more difficult getting this into the deepest places of my emotional life. I am the most ecumenical person in my predictably fundamentalist Southern Baptist setting, but Catholic polemics and apologetics still throw me far off center. The boy who grew up in the Landmark environment and mindset is still alive inside the psychology of a man who works with Christians from every tradition and denomination.

This has been, hands down, the worst aspect of the blogosphere for me. From relentlessly critical Catholic apologists, to Lutherans defending their particular stance between Catholicism and Protestantism, to the narrow Calvinistic exclusivity of the Truly Reformed to the arrogant over-confidence of my own Southern Baptist denomination, my fellow Christians who are strongly committed to their own traditions tend to throw me into a defensive mindset that makes me ashamed of myself.

The anxiety over the true church has no place at all in the Jesus-centered spirituality that is the heart of my journey. It is my goal to love all other Christians, but my past and muddled present continue to get in the way.

Thanks to the Little Red Book, I’m still kind of a jerk.

Comments

  1. We are all jerks until Jesus stands between us and sin. I was raised in the true church. It was like the Baptists, but kept the 7th day as the Sabbath. I rejected all that as a teenager. Now in the seventh decade of life I have found Jesus again. Without His grace I am dead.

  2. In a somewhat Clintonesque way, I feel your pain. I still wrestle with this one. What is is that differentiates between my current Church of the Latter Day Risers and the First Church of St Whiner down the street? Of those items that may differentiate, which are actually truly relevant? Inquiring minds &c….

    (Denominations’ names changed to protect the culpable.)

  3. Every church that professes Jesus as Lord and Savior of sinners has it’s belivers and non believers in the pews (folding chairs).

    Christ Jesus can work faith in any of them. It may be tougher in some than in others, but that is still not a barrier to Him.

  4. Grew up Southern Baptist, more Indie Fundie than Southern Baptist really. The Trail of Blood booklet was everywhere. But our case growing up in NE Alabama was not an issue of RC’s it was Cambellites. The CoC in our neck of the woods was very dogmatic and confrontational. They literally would run an add in the newspaper weekly condemning every one else. RC’s were not on our radar.

    • I believe it. I grew up Baptist and was baptized in a Church of Christ when I was 18. That CofC was part of a movement of churches that believed that *it* was the only true church, with the *possible* exceptions of “mainline” Churches of Christ and Independent Christian Churches–and even they weren’t necessarily safe!

      I’m in what some would consider to be a more “liberal” CofC now because they don’t ram the “we’re the only Christians” doctrine down our throats. But I have wrestled with the question of “who’s right?” for over 20 years and I’m no nearer an answer. I believe God, I believe Jesus is the only way to God–but every Christian denomination believes that THEY are right and can “prove” it by Scripture.

  5. A couple of things:

    A car near my home has this bumper sticker ~ The True Church is invisible.

    I recently purchased, read and underlined most of Mere Churchianity. I felt a soul connection to Michael in a lot of what he wrote in and this….

    my fellow Christians who are strongly committed to their own traditions tend to throw me into a defensive mindset that makes me ashamed of myself.

    Validates that soul connection. I can get extremely defensive against anything that sounds, smells or looks like legalism/fundamentalism and in that mindset and sometimes in my verbal outlashings towards other Christians, I have been ashamed of myself. Lord have mercy! Michael’s candor is something that I can only respect…..deeply!

    And lastly this: It is my goal to love all other Christians, but my past and muddled present continue to get in the way……..

    I am living these words more so now than ever in my life. And no, most of the time I do not know what to do about it. Sometimes, it was easier to be the rebel, the backslider, than the prodigal who has returned Home. All the past and muddled present creates some ugly chaos in my soul.

    But, I carry on. With Jesus. Cuz there really isn’t any other choice. For me.

    • Like the bumper sticker!

      And, of course, the only mark that Jesus mentioned by which the world would know that we are his disciples is in our love for one another.

      And that love manifests itself visibly in words and actions.

  6. Similar to Michael’s experience, the book that I recall around the house as a child was L.G. Tomlinson’s “Churches of Today,” which performed a very similar function for the Churches/Disciples of Christ (Campbellites ironically).

    • Yep. That’s an excellent example of how the Church of Christ can “prove” that THEY are the only church that has the truth and that everyone else is wrong.

  7. Pentecostals like me bypass all that apostolic succession stuff ’cause we’re in direct contact with the Holy Spirit Himself. But of course this regularly develops a different sort of person that is no less jerk-like. Just harder to refute with history.

    • Funny you should mention us Pentecostals … every year there’s a big conference in my city known as Landmark (the first thing I thought of when the word “Landmarkites” came up). It’s put on by the largest congregation in the United Pentecostal church International denomination. The UPCI’s official position is that one is not saved until one has both been baptized “in Jesus’ name” according to the formula given in Acts 2:38 (Matthew 28:19 doesn’t count — you have to use the right words!) AND received the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues. They also reject the doctrine of the Trinity, and are thus considered a cult by many other denominations.

      Needless to say, the UPCI considers itself to be “the one true church.”

      Despite all that farrago, I have several good friends who are part of that congregation == none of which ever felt I needed to be converted — and for several years worked at the Christian radio station that the congregation owns. Praise God that individuals are often smarter than denominations.

  8. The joke around Louisville is that Southeast Christian (Bob Russell retired pastor) is the largest Baptist church in Louisville.

    • Damaris says:

      I saw a church in the southern Indiana town of St. Joseph that was called “The First Baptist Church of St. Joseph.” And I bet it was — first and only!

  9. ha! got all my ‘true Church’ bases covered! with my quite extensive church member+attendance resume, i figure i’ve got the real anointment for any trick question St. Peter may ask once i am standing there at the Pearly Gates…

    here is where i find myself wondering just what the ‘true Church’ would look like. since i can only speak for my own personal experiences, i have found that each faith expression i whole-heartedly joined in on had its fair share of religious elites, religious hypocrites, sinners, saints & seekers. seemed to me the playing field was level no matter which team one claimed to play for. in fact, it was my deliberate venture into discovering more about different faith expressions that opened my eyes more to the similarities rather than the vociferously defended apologetic posturing…

    it was easy enough to recognize all the categories listed above in each church i attended. wow. the proportion of self-righteous, deluded, plastic, power hungry, control freakish, sincere, humble, loving saints evenly distributed throughout the various faith expressions i traveled with on my faith journey. no one faith expression has a corner on the market for kookiness or ‘radical’ fringe elements or pew warmer socialites or the truly elect out to set all doctrinal misconceptions right.

    i have a ‘sense’ i am part of a larger Body dynamic that includes those that do not acknowledge my family inclusion. and i am sure there are those i also do not recognize that are in fact related to me by divine adoption. i have developed a more generous orthodoxy with or without McLaren’s definition of what that looks like. and as i have engaged with others of different faith expressions i can appreciate various perspectives that i myself may not hold. i am not one to defend or challenge those differences as much as i used to. there are more saints like me that have had enough of the doctrinal wars to avoid them in favor of living out the life of a disciple that does want to be more blessing than noisy gong. and in the silence of my prayer closet i am all too painfully aware of just how far short i fall when focusing on Jesus in His awesomeness. thank you Jesus for Your mercy, forgiveness, love & grace. no bragging rights in the kingdom no matter what membership card on has in their wallet…

  10. A couple of years back a friend of mine was traveling out to New Mexico on vacation. He was a relatively new believer and asked for advice on what church he should visit on Sunday while he was out there. I suggested the Calvary Chapel in Albuquerque, as I knew they had a solid evangelical reputation. Someone else jumped in and said that he should not attend there because they didn’t believe the same as our church on soteriology (our church is Acts 29 and therefore Reformed). I really don’t understand this mentality. Calvary Chapel believes the same as ours on basic doctrines. Why are so people so threatened about even exposing themselves for one Sunday to anything different? Catholic-Protestant may have fallen somewhat by the wayside, but Arminian-Calvinist is alive and well. Different battlegrounds, same battle.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I’ve always been leery of Calvary Chapels. Nothing I could put my finger on and say “that’s it”, but Calvary Chapels in my area seem to concentrate all the worst parts of Fundagelical attitudes under one roof.

  11. Dear Mike,

    Thank you for this wonderfully insightful post! Your observations are true of everyone of us who tenaciously holds onto his/her denomination out of the belief that it is the only “true” church.

    It is fascinating how one’s love for Christ easily shifts to a love for a particular denomination. Well, the reverse is also true that love for a denomination can shift to a love for Christ. Unfortunately, too many equate criticism of their denomination as criticism of Christ. My background was charismatic and non-denominational that assured me that we were more spiritual than the rest. We had the “Spirit” but they had the “letter of the law.”
    Sheer hubris I tell you!

    I may just keep this post for everytime a friend brings up their “true church” argument.

    Blessings

    Yuri

  12. I feel my Fundamentalist Baptist upbringing has failed me. I grew up in a family with a library room – wall to wall Fundamentalist Baptist theology, novels, and biographies. I have never read this book. I’m torn. I want to go find a copy and read it, yet I know it will just make me angry.

  13. I do think the title of that book is appropriate for something claiming to give the history of the true church. Churches have certainly left a lot blood in their wake (both literal and metaphorically) as they’ve tried to stake their claims as the true church.

  14. Southern Baptists have not cornered the market on arrogant over-confindence. I heard a Catholic radio personality taking questions from an evangelical caller and I just cringed at how she unrelentingly held to the Catholic organization as the direct line from Christ, the true and only church. She seemed to have an earthly, not heavenly, take on the thing. The church is invisible and has no particular name. It’s visibility occurs when “two or three are gathered in my name” It would seem that the divergent branches began as early as Peter and Paul. Certainly there is legitimate lineage and we can take pride in those who have gone before us but anyone who thinks that the Holy Spirit will be confined to their lineage alone and is contained inside their walls, well, they’ve got some racket going. That’s a miracle of the highest order.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “Catholic organization (TM)”, Chris? Not Catholic Church?

      The only times I’ve heard the term “Catholic organization” (usually “Roman Catholic organization”) have been from rabid Anti-Catholics on the radio.

  15. This excellent post reminded me of something my father always said: “Someday we’ll all be surprised and perhaps even shocked, as to who God, through Christ, has let into His wonderful heaven.” Even today, where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is, in the midst of them!

  16. Pattie says:

    I am a “cradle Catholic”, meaning I was raised RC. Other than a brief teenaged rebellion, this is where Christ speaks to me. My church family, like my earthly one, has many flaws, bickering, and hurt feelings….yet we stay together anyway.

    I speak as one, and only one middle aged chubby Catholic grandmother (a YOUNG one, tho!) in expressing sorrow for other Christians who have been wounded by Catholics in thought, word, or deed. We have loud, arrogant idiots like any other group, and we have misguided souls who only want to “help” our “separated brethren” see the Light. We collectively have a history of loudly asserting our spot as the “One True Church”, in some eras more forcefully than others. Christ is perfect, but His followers each seem to have a knack for messing with the message in one way or another! So……..insofar as I am but a small voice, I am sorry. Can you forgive me and mine???

    I have been confused myself at times…the first time someone told me I wasn’t a Christian because I was Catholic, I looked at them like they had three green heads. It made about as much sense to my young brain as saying that Fords aren’t REALLY cars after all. And we now live in Jerry Falwell’s home town, and his megachurch and schools (Pre-K to 12th grade and Liberty University) loom large in the life of the city. It is a VERY “churched” city, with most mainstream churches exhibitting packed parking lots every Sunday until noon. When we first got here, we found that in 95% of social settings and in line at the grocery store, one of the standard introductory questions is “Where do ya’ll go to church?” or the variation “Have you found a church yet?” When we named out parish (one of only two Catholic parishes in town) the looks ranged from veiled contempt to fake smiles and nods to sudden preoccupation with that yogurt coupon.

    So, living in a city that is only 6% Catholic has been an adjustment, and I wear a crucifx to speak for me. But, for 75% of the time since He rose 2000 years ago, Catholic and Christian were synomous…..I think that gives Catholics the right to call ourselves CHRISTIAN…….and let the Lord laugh over all of our articial lines in the sand.

  17. stuart says:

    Rule of Thumb: If they serve WINE at communion, they are not Christians and avoid those apostate churches. We all know Jesus only touched the pure fruit of the vine.

  18. CM, if it makes you feel any better, the first time I went to our non-denominational church in Japan I was wondering if God really permitted powerpoint to be projected in real churches (= Catholic church). I have gotten through that thankfully. My RC roots are deep within me, and there are new roots from other traditions, and I love them all to the extent they point to (and not away from) Christ.

  19. David Cornwell says:

    When I was a teenager I went hear a Church of Christ preacher during a revival. He spent 10 minutes telling why he was not a “Reverend.” Too humble to use that term, he said.

    • awesome.

    • David, I think the term is “umble”, as in Uriah Heep.

      I also heard a revivalist-type preacher (doubled as country/gospel singer, and in the same service) claim the same thing: “But it’s not about me, it’s about JEE-suss.”

      After about the third time I started to wonder if it really was about him.

  20. sharon says:

    I was raised in a Baptist church (GARBC) in the midwest where Baptists aren’t as common as in the south, and was taught something like this at church. I can still remember being in my public high school world history class. The teacher was talking about church history and said there was only one denomination that hadn’t come out of the Catholic church and asked if anyone knew which one that was. I confidently raised my hand and answered “Baptist.” To which, he replied, “no” and moved on. I don’t remember what his answer was but I remember my confusion at that moment.

    It makes me smile now to think of it.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      I am curious what his answer would have been. There are any number of denominations which can’t in any meaningful sense be characterized as having “come out” of the Catholic church, unless one adopts the position that the Catholic church was founded at Pentecost, and no other church was. Which leaves the question of what the one exception would be.

      • I am curious too. I wish I could remember.

        • Dana Ames says:

          Orthodox 🙂

          Dana

          • Richard Hershberger says:

            That would be a good guess as to what the teacher had in mind, but wouldn’t actually make much sense. The Monophysite and the Nestorian churches did not split off from the Catholics any more (or any less) than did the Orthodox. If this was the intended answer, it smacks of a little knowledge.

  21. just ran into this quote:

    “We often think we have no need of anyone else’s advice or reproof. Always remember, much grace does not imply much enlightenment. We may be wise but have little love, or we may have love with little wisdom. God has wisely joined us all together as the parts of a body so that we cannot say to another, ‘I have no need of you.’ ”

    – John Wesley

  22. Richard McNeeley says:

    Unfortunately this book was required reading in my Baptist history class. I don’t really remember much of it, so it didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Perhaps it is because I have long believed that all christians are members of the same body. We don’t need to know who was first.

  23. Still Tormented says:

    First, allow me to acknowledge that Monk’s ministry lives on. And I am grateful! Now at the age of nearly 60, I continue to be troubled about much of my Fundie Indie upbringing. The church I attended during my first 20 years was fantastic at teaching the Bible. However, it fell far short of providing life applications (other than promising the scourging of believers who sin) and internalizing the love of God for the entire world, and may I say, all demoninations. I remeber as a young child hearing the Fundie pastor preach a sermon in 1960 of the apocalyptic that would occur in John Kennedy (an RC) were to elected president. Comments how non-Catholic believers would be physically destroyed by the government and children would be forced to watch their parents murdered by these agents of kennedy and the RC. I recall going home that night and crying and crying while I told my mother I did not want her to be killed. That is but one demonstration of the hate and evil things I was taught about social issues! When questioned, the trump card would be thrown on the table: Well, God revealed this to me! I have gone too long. The true church is comprised of people who trust in Christ’s atoning sacrifice for forgiveness of their sins and are trusting Him for their source of strength. This where we find the only meaningful common ground. I think we can agree on that!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      That is but one demonstration of the hate and evil things I was taught about social issues! When questioned, the trump card would be thrown on the table: Well, God revealed this to me!

      According to (mostly Jewish) sources, THAT was the original meaning of “Taking God’s Name In Vain” — doing evil and justifying it as Of God. (Like God was saying “You do your own dirty work — don’t drag My Name into it!”) Cussing was a distant secondary application.

      I wonder what those same Fundie pastors would have said if you said a cussword in their presence…

    • Dana Ames says:

      Dear ST,
      I was raised RC, and I remember feeling very uncomfortable as a child hearing my dad talk about the potential persecution of Catholics by Protestants if Kennedy got elected. He was extremely concerned.

      Dana

  24. I have enjoyed reading all these comments. All churches are composed of sinners. We are there because we need Jesus to stand with us. He has died for all of us. I try not to be judgemental, but because I am Still a sinner, I fail. All of us have had similar experiences and we are all saved if we accept Jesus as Lord.

  25. Tyrean says:

    Interesting post and comment conversation. I think we are all pulled by our “traditions” to believe that one way is better than another. I was baptized at age 7 in a Lutheran Church, not because I came from a Lutheran family, but because our car kept breaking down and that church was only a block away. My mom wanted to be baptized and she wanted me to be baptized. I loved growing up Lutheran, but I had friends who were Catholic, Baptist, Nazarene, and “Non-denominational.” I have been told by “non-denominational” Christians that all Lutherans are pagans, and that all denominations are evil. However, I’ve found that Foursquare, Fellowship, and other non-denominational groups are just as denominational as Lutherans. Each group has their own traditions, and their own practices that are just slightly different from the others. Does that mean one is better, or more true? I don’t think so. Our denominational status has no power over sin and death. Jesus is our Savior, our light, and our truth.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      I have been told by “non-denominational” Christians that all Lutherans are pagans, and that all denominations are evil. However, I’ve found that Foursquare, Fellowship, and other non-denominational groups are just as denominational as Lutherans.

      Haven’t you heard of the term “Non-Denominational Denomination”?

      And a lot of that denomination has a bad case of “Us Four, No More (and I’m suspicious about the other three of you), Amen.” The One And Only One True Church, just like Jehovah’s Witnesses and early Mormons.

  26. My (deceased) mother was C of C. My father is a Baptist. I rarely went to church growing up, but usually C of C
    when I did. I was almost atheist in college, but became an RC in 1978. I converted to C of C in 1980’s-lured by the True Church preaching-but went back to RC. My first wife died. I remarried–left RC (abuse scandal) and joined my new wife’s First Baptist Church. But I have still RC leanings, and feel C S Lewis’s view is correct.
    I now believe less in denominations of any kind and more in Jesus. But we can’t deny Tradition and it’s affect on us. Great post. Eye opening.

  27. Richard Hershberger says:

    “…Lutherans defending their particular stance between Catholicism and Protestantism…”

    Huh? Could someone please expand upon this startling characterization of Lutheranism?

  28. Martin Romero says:

    This does certainly bring memories of True-Churchism Syndrome! Did anyone here also had to live through the God’s-Only-End times-Remnant stages of the illness?

    Thank God it’s all past now for me… Sad for those still trapped in such way of thinking.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      “God’s-Only-End-Time-Remnant” was a popular claim in the Burned-Over District of Upstate New York back in the 19th Century. Both the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Mormons (as well as a lot of God’s-Only-True-End-Time-Remnants lost to history) started out with this claim.

  29. I think “one true church” claims can only be answered with irony and humor.

    I like Robert Hart’s approach (he’s a continuing Anglican who has two brothers, one who is Catholic and one who is Orthodox, they all write at various times for Touchstone and similar publications).

    Robert refers to “the two one true churches” when he speaks of the Catholics and Orthodox. Obviously he needs to amend this to include Landmark Baptists 🙂

    Blessings from Vienna, Austria!