J.R. Graves and the Landmark Baptists. The nineteenth century found the American frontier ablaze with controversy. The veil of orthodoxy that united Western Christianity for sixteen hundred years had quickly disintegrated after the Protestant Reformation,

When orphans became heirs: J.R. Graves and the Landmark Baptists. The nineteenth century found the American frontier ablaze with controversy. The veil of orthodoxy that united Western Christianity for sixteen hundred years had quickly disintegrated after the Protestant Reformation, leaving Christianity shaken, splintered, and at odds with itself

Chad W. Hall

Denominationalism remained tied to geography in Europe during the two hundred years after Luther. However, America was a clean slate, a region where individualism and freedom of religion enabled Christians to step out from the tradition of yesteryear and find religious meaning for themselves. This boundless environment fertilized the age-old question of true religious expression.

J. R. Graves, a Baptist writer and minister, exemplified the search for ecclesiastical certainty that was a major facet of nineteenth-century religion in America. His fiery message of successionism appealed to Southern Baptists, who longed for real tradition in the midst of a religiously chaotic environment. Graves’s efforts were designed to establish Baptists firmly as the true church. Yet, his results matched those produced by similar true-church prophets, as he developed and deepened both disunity and turmoil in the denomination.

Graves the Teacher

Graves entered the world on April 10, 1820, near Chester, Vermont. Born in a New England region that had experienced revival, revolution, and revival again, Graves became a child of the search for certainty among uncertain and changing circumstances. His father died when Graves was only two weeks old, and his widowed mother found herself thrust into poverty with two children besides her infant son. The exact means by which the family survived are not known, although speculation leads one to believe that support must have come from next of kin. The desperate situation denied Graves the benefit of a formal education and awarded him and his older brother, Zuinglius Calvin, the task of working to support the family. (1)

Although he lacked formal education, Graves possessed a thirst for knowledge that led to his first vocation. He sought to make up for his educational dearth through a regimented program of self-study. At the age of eighteen, he began work as a teacher in an effort to educate himself and support his mother.

His brother, who had moved to Ohio, soon helped secure him the position of principal at a nearby academy in Kingsville, Ohio. So, at the age of nineteen, Graves moved to Ohio along with his mother and his sister. As principal, he taught during the day and studied at night. During this time, he taught himself several languages, personally gained the equivalent of a college education, and made a detailed study of the Bible. Two years after his move to Ohio, he transferred to a similar position in Nicholasville, Kentucky, where he continued his educational efforts. This tireless exertion lead to a breakdown in his health that forced him back to Ohio where the rest of his family had remained. (2)

During his time in Kentucky and Ohio, Graves began to migrate toward what would prove to be his calling in life: Christian ministry, he had professed a teenage belief in Christ while still in Vermont. His son-in-law later wrote that it was “at the age of fifteen that the light dawned upon his inmost soul and disclosed to him his guilt and helplessness.” Though his mother was a Congregationalist, Graves joined the North Springfield Baptist Church. There was some discussion in Vermont of merging the Baptist and Congregationalist churches during this time, so his denominational choice was not far removed from his mother’s tradition. (3) The church has a record of his baptism and membership, though the exact nature of his conversion is uncertain. His religious experience between the time of his conversion and when he joined Mt. Freedom Baptist Church in Nicholasville is equally unclear. (4)

Ryland Dillard was the pastor of Mt. Freedom where Graves moved his membership in 1841. Dillard animatedly opposed the Campbellite thought that was spreading through his region and splitting Baptist congregations and associations. Dillard served as Graves’s early mentor, forcing him to preach in his stead on one occasion. This coerced preaching experience at Mt. Freedom eventually led the church to ordain Graves in 1842. As an ordained minister, Graves returned to Ohio and received a call to preach in the Baptist church in Ashtabula. Harley recounts that the church’s pastor, “a brilliant infidel,” was leading the church toward Campbellism until Graves rescued the Baptists through a single sermon. (5) Graves would spend the rest of his life trying to rescue Baptists from those he considered to be “infidels.”

Nashville, a Volatile Environment

Graves left Ohio again in 1845 and founded a school in Nashville, Tennessee. The local Baptist newspaper carried word of his arrival: “The Rev. J. R. Graves of Lexington, Ky., has arrived in Nashville, and wishes to conduct a Classical School the next session. He may be reached at the City Hotel.” (6) In Nashville, the young teacher would become involved with the denominational conflicts that marked the Tennessee religious scene of the mid-nineteenth century.

Graves joined First Baptist Church in Nashville, and came under the influence of the pastor, R. B. C. Howell. Howell welcomed the young and energetic Graves, and even enrolled his sons in Graves’s school. Howell was a strong force in Tennessee Baptist life and in the emerging Southern Baptist Convention. His popularity among Tennessee Baptists helped gain him a spot on the inaugural convention ticket in Augusta, Georgia, as the fourth vice president of the SBC. Howell’s notoriety owed in large part to his strong denominational stance against the pedobaptists and Campbellism, traits he would appreciate and foster in Graves.

Denominational wars had been waging in America for some time following the Second Great Awakening, especially in the frontier regions. Baptists were attacked and returned fire on several fronts. Those who could argue their denominational convictions the strongest and loudest were hailed as champions. As Reuben Jones noted on a visit back to his homeland in Tennessee, the area had become a sort of Roman arena that entertained the masses through the exploits of religious heroism:

Theological champions meet with burnished swords and cut and hew each other

to the wondrous gratification of their respective partisans, who gather in

hundreds for successive weeks to these scenes of religious combat…. Our

brethren in Tennessee neither bury the sword nor allow it to rust in the


Jones placed Graves in the middle of the fray, acknowledging that his efforts had resulted in the conversion of a number of pedobaptists. Commenting on Graves’s talent for dispute, Jones went on to write, Graves “infuses his own fearless, uncompromising spirit into the whole machinery of Baptist effort in Tennessee.” Some people are simply born to be fighters. J. R. Graves possessed the natural gifts and the necessary mindset to become one of the most noted denominational warriors of his time. (7)

While Graves and other Baptists repudiated the menace of Campbellism, their real fight in Nashville was with the Methodists. Like many other denominations on the American frontier, including Campbellism, Baptists wanted to return to the faith of the New Testament. Their quarrel with Methodists centered on infant baptism, which the Baptists believed to have no scriptural basis. While other pedobaptist denominations abounded in America, it was the proximity of the Methodists that caused Baptists to despise them so. Both denominations planted their roots deeply in Nashville, opening publishing houses and other denominational offices. Methodists and Baptists were the closest of competitors for the frontier faith, as each struggled to win the denominational debate. This battle with Methodism provided the arena for Graves’s ascent to prominence.

The powerful and popular Howell used his influence to assist the young novice, helping Graves secure the pastorate of Second Baptist Church, Nashville. The church had recently been depleted of its membership through a Campbellite revolt, and Graves’ strong anti-Campbellite stance made him an obvious choice. Graves stayed at the church for only a year, but it was Howell’s other act of assistance that proved to be more important. In 1846, Howell called Graves to be the assistant editor of the Tennessee Baptist, a denominational newspaper that Howell had edited since his arrival in Nashville in 1835. The power of the paper proved to be more important than that of the pulpit, as it helped Graves emerge as a notable Baptist apologist.

Howell had long used the pages of the Tennessee Baptist as a tool of warfare in the denominational debates with Methodists, and Graves followed his lead with intensity. Graves wrote scathing articles aimed at destroying the validity of alien immersion and, thereby denying the propriety of recognizing pedobaptist “societies” and ministers as legitimate churches and ministers of Christ.

The controversial tone of his articles led to widespread attention, and soon started a war of ink with the more ecumenical John L. Waller, who served as the editor of the Western Baptist Review of Kentucky. Waller had used his own paper to promote the efficacy of pedobaptist immersion, thus drawing the ire of Graves who attacked him in the Tennessee Baptist under the pseudonym of “Fidus.” Many consider this editorial skirmish to have been the unofficial beginning of the Landmark controversy. (8)


Howell’s departure for the pastorate of Second Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, in 1850 left Graves as the most influential pro-Baptist voice in Nashville. His popularity grew among Baptists because he offered clear-cut “evidence” in their struggle to define themselves against their Methodist and Campbellite opponents. Denominational loyalties grew hotter as newspapers and open debates fanned the flames of the raging conflicts. Graves developed a sharp tongue and a quick mind to accompany his charismatic demeanor, a combination that proved to be an explosive mixture. Circulation of the Tennessee Baptist grew under his direction, and his views spread throughout the region by means of his preaching, writing, and editing. His voice was heard by all Baptists, accepted by many, and rejected by few. He had developed a strong rapport with fellow isolationist Baptists, while Methodists and his more ecumenical denominational brothers rejected his notions. Sensing the threats from without and within, Graves moved to solidify his position among the people.

Graves called an extensive meeting of interested Baptists at Cotton Grove, Tennessee, in June of 1851. The meeting drew a huge turnout, and its notoriety has led to its designation as the official commencement of the Landmark controversy. Graves presented five questions that came to characterize the Landmark movement. They can be summarized as follows:

1. Can Baptists recognize as valid churches of Christ those societies (i.e., non-Baptist churches) that are not organized according to New Testament patterns in terms of government, officers, ordinances, doctrines, and practices?

2. Should these societies be called gospel churches, or churches in a religious sense?

3. Can Baptists recognize the ministers of these irregular and unscriptural bodies as gospel ministers?

4. Is it not recognizing them as official ministers to invite them into Baptist pulpits?

5. Can Baptists address as brethren those who profess Christ yet who do not hold to the doctrines of Christ and who do not walk according to his commandments, but who are directly opposed to them? (9)

These five questions came to be known as the “Cotton Grove Resolutions” and were the hallmarks of the Landmark movement. These resolutions became the subject of an 1854 pamphlet by J. M. Pendleton entitled An Old Landmark Re-Set. As a colleague of Graves, Pendleton wrote the pamphlet for his friend, who then published it. Forty thousand copies of this tract were sold, and its popularity not only named the movement but also made Landmarkism the center of denominational attention. No longer was it enough to promote the Baptist denomination in the face of other denominations; now Graves was moving toward an ecclesiological orthodoxy that would attempt to bind all Baptists and mark them as the true church. Those Baptists who did not agree with Graves and the tenets of the Cotton Grove Resolutions were cast out according to his rigid conception of the true church.


Baptists in the South had identified themselves as the true church, or at least the truest expression of the church, throughout their denominational wars with the pedobaptists. Their argument had tended to rest on the synonymy of their practices and those of the New Testament churches. However, 1855 marked the point when Graves bridged the centuries and linked Southern Baptists directly and “irrefutably” to the New Testament church. That year that Graves republished G. H. Orchard’s A Concise History of Foreign Baptists, which attempted to design and confirm an intact chain of Baptists back to the apostolic era.

Orchard’s work. first published in 1838 in England, was far removed from historical accuracy, but this mattered little. Orchard held that since the time of Jesus there had always existed an unbroken line of true churches, which was now expressed in the Baptist denomination. The churches in this chain, although not referred to as “Baptist,” nevertheless displayed the same features as their modern Baptist offspring. Orchard listed the Novatians. Montanists, Paulicians, Albigenses, Waldensians, and even St. Patrick of Ireland as some of the forerunners to the German Anabaptists, who in turn gave rise to the modern Baptist churches. Orchard’s reasoning seemed to support everything Graves had been preaching, and his contrived history text was the evidence that Graves needed. (10)

Other nineteenth-century American religious groups also held successionist ideas. In the effort to prove which form of religious expression was legitimate, Roman Catholics had long held the upper hand because of their claim of apostolic succession. The Roman Catholic Church could trace its foundation back to Christ through the office of the bishop of Rome, first held by the apostle Peter. However, the Protestant Episcopal Church in America had two voices that argued for Episcopal legitimacy based on church successionism. John W. Nevin and John H. Hobart both led the Episcopalian High Church movement of the early 1800s. They argued that the Church’s distinguishing characteristics included the threefold ministry of bishop, priest, and deacon, the practice of the sacraments, the liturgy, and Episcopal succession. The Episcopal Church was the true church, visible since apostolic times, and all others were simply invalid. (11)

J. R. Graves and the other Landmarkers adopted similar high church sentiment in their argument that non-Baptist “societies” were not churches. The Baptists, using this church successionist idea, now presented a two-pronged primitivist argument for their legitimacy. On one hand, they believed that they duplicated the New Testament church in their practices. Any Christian group that deviated from the New Testament norm could not possibly be the true expression of the church. On the other hand, they were not only primitive by practice, but also by inheritance. While other denominations could read Scripture and try to mimic the New Testament church, they would fail because they were not the true offspring of the true church. The Landmarkers had not developed what they believed to be the legitimate church; the legitimate church had been bequeathed to them.

Graves had the present and the past, practice and history, sustaining and pushing forth his argument. It was an argument that Southern Baptists wanted to hear and believe because it replaced their uncertain heritage with a clear line to Jesus Christ and the apostolic church. He offered a sense of real tradition in a boisterous New World that lacked tradition. In essence, Graves helped religious orphans believe that they were heirs of the king.


The appeal of Landmarkism was not due solely to Graves’s system of argument or the receptiveness of his audience. Much of his success relied on his own ability as a writer and editor, his preaching aptness, and his sense of call. When he became editor of the Tennessee Baptist, it boasted a circulation of about 1,000 readers. By 1859, less than twelve years later, there were over 13,000 readers and the Tennessee Baptist had the reputation of being one of the most influential Baptist papers in the world. By 1860, the majority of other state Baptist newspapers in the South had developed a distinct Landmarkian tone. Howell noted some years later that during Graves’s zenith the papers of Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama and “some other papers [were] mere echoes of The Tennessee Baptist.” (12)

Graves’s literary outlets were not limited to his role as editor and writer for the Tennessee Baptist. He wrote several books attacking pedobaptists and proclaiming the virtue of the Landmark position. His most famous attacks upon Methodism came in 1856 with the publication of The Great Iron Wheel and the 1857 follow-up work, The Little Iron Wheel. These works, along with his flowing criticism in the Tennessee Baptist, continued and reinforced Graves’s assault on other denominations.

In addition to writing and publishing his own material, Graves also formed a literary empire that carried the Landmark message to nearly every Baptist in the South. In 1847, he organized the Tennessee Baptist Publication Society and was selected to serve as its corresponding secretary. A few years later, he established a publishing firm known as Graves, Marks & Co., which was later renamed Southwestern Publishing House. Southwestern published all of Graves’s periodicals as well as a large number of books that tended to have a Landmark flavor. His publication ventures served as a Landmarkian pipeline leading directly to Baptist pastors, Sunday School classes, and lay readers.

Graves proved so strong that he could challenge the official publication organ of the SBC, the Southern Baptist Publication Society. He contended that the SBPS was doctrinally impure and was not meeting the literary needs of Baptists. Through his own plethora of literary efforts, Graves hoped to supply Southern Baptists with reading material that would lead them toward the Landmark view. It was not long until his efforts bore fruit, and Landmarkism began to have such a profound influence on the people of the South that he and his views were the most popular and powerful force in Southern Baptist life. (13)

Graves’s ability to capture and persuade an audience was also a valuable asset in his climb to prominence. Friends and critics alike remarked as to his power from the pulpit. Samuel Boykin, the editor of the Christian Index, was not a supporter of Graves or his ideas. Still, he marveled at Graves’s ability: “In play of fancy, in power of illustration, in naturalness of delivery, in boldness of thought, and at times tenderness of spirit, he hardly has a peer.” (14) Another critic, John Broadus, touched on the sheer charisma that Graves displayed during his public speaking: “Graves has what many of us lack, that which has marked all distinguished orators. It is called personal magnetism.” (15) When Graves encountered those who had read his arguments, he did not disappoint them with his spoken words. His abilities of oratorical suasion moved people to accept his theology.

Graves drew from a deep well of confidence that was divinely supplied. His task was godly. His aim was clear. His efforts were focused. Such were the traits of a man motivated by what he perceived to be God’s calling. Graves believed that God had named him for a special task:

When I obeyed the voice that spoke to my conscience, I gave up all the

cherished plans of my life to preach the gospel of the Son of God. I opened

a plain Bible and read my commission from the solemn lips of the

priest-murdered, but then risen Son of God…. [M]y responsibility [did not

stop at] simply teaching the positive commands of Christ; these words

burned upon my eye and rung with weighty import in my ear, “Every plant

which my Father hath not planted shall be rooted up!”

Graves saw himself as God’s appointed gardener, charged with removing the ecclesiological weeds from the American frontier. He went on to note that time would vindicate him and his message: “The Christians of the next generation will judge me kindly. I will be remembered with praise, when the names of my opposers have rotted.” (16) Like Christ, Graves was God’s suffering servant (so he thought!)–refuting false religion and enduring attacks leveled by the evil and ignorant.

The Great Conflict

Graves, like most people who claim to have sole possession of the truth, drove away those who did not fall under his spell. His powerful position and strong voice lashed out at those who did not concede to Landmarkism. The denominational statesman soon turned on his own.

R. B. C. Howell returned to the pastorate of First Baptist in Nashville in 1857 to find that his young protege had developed into a veteran religious politician with his sights set on control of the Southern Baptist Convention. However, during Howell’s time in Richmond, he had solidified his own role in the SBC. Howell was the current president of the convention, a post he had held since 1851. Two of the most influential leaders in Southern Baptist life were about to clash.

Graves sought to control the convention by means of literature. However, Howell’s newly formed Sunday School Union would be in charge of supplying materials for the churches of the convention, and there was some debate as to where it would get this literature. Howell favored the Southern Baptist Publication Society, while Graves sought to use the Sunday School Union as a channel for the Landmark literature published by his own company.

Graves used his influence to get one of his closest Landmark cohorts, A. C. Dayton, appointed as president of the Sunday School Union and himself selected as secretary. Howell, fearful of Dayton’s Landmark nature, gathered his supporters in an effort to remove Dayton. This put him in direct opposition to Graves, who attacked his former mentor through the pages of the Tennessee Baptist. Graves lashed out at Howell, and he also hurled personal attacks against a number of other non-Landmark Baptists. The situation was magnified by the fact that Graves was a member of First Baptist, the church Howell served as pastor. Not only was it an intradenominational fight; it was an intracongregational fight as well.

The situation came to a head when First Baptist called a trial against Graves in response to his attacks. The proceedings began October 12, 1858, and Howell argued the church’s case against Graves. The trial lasted five nights, and even though Graves abandoned the proceedings after the first night, there were capacity crowds for each session. In the end, Graves’s own church found him guilty, condemned him for his “arrogant and inflammatory actions,” and terminated his membership. (17)

Graves lost the church battle, but he was not finished. He and a number of his supporters formed what they considered to be the true First Baptist Church of Nashville. Graves’s influence was so strong that both the local Concord Association and the General Association of Tennessee recognized his group while refusing to seat ,messengers from Howell’s church. The Baptist spokesman was buoyed by the local support for his cause. He who had rafted against the divisive nature of Campbellism was about to expand his own denominational rupture.

Graves next set his sights on the SBC. He decided to try to oust Howell during the upcoming 1859 convention in Richmond in order to establish Landmarkism as the rule for the entire SBC. His efforts failed. The election took place in a city that knew and respected Howell but was only on the fringe of Landmarkism’s territory of influence. Howell was reelected president of the convention on the first ballot by a comfortable margin.

Howell then took a step that won him wide acclaim and most likely preserved the unity of the SBC. He gave thanks for the honor of being elected, but declined the office so that any personal element in the issue might be removed. Graves was still a prominent force in Southern Baptist life, but he would never again be so close to gaining control of the political machine. (18)

A Softened Graves

After his defeat in Richmond, Graves continued to hold much of the populace through his writing and speaking. However, the Civil War proved to be a force more powerful than Landmarkism. As the war grew near, denominational divisions were replaced by regional loyalty, and old conflicts were tossed aside for new ones. Baptists in the South pulled together and joined other denominations in their area to present an allied front to northern aggression. Their efforts were futile as the South fell, and Nashville was captured. Graves ceased publication of the Tennessee Baptist in 1862.

The tragedy of war took much of the bite out of Graves, who resettled in Memphis. It was not until February 1867 that he published the first postwar edition of his paper, which he renamed The Baptist. The character of the paper was more moderate, and Graves now offered a softened approach to life and theology. He sought to make Memphis a denominational center for Baptists and called for unity among the brethren. Although he still promoted Landmarkism, he did not seek to promote it through the hostility that once marked his efforts. He wrote: “We are determined not to indulge in politics, or in personalities, old feuds or new ones, anxious as some of our neighbors seem to be to involve us in them.” He lost his publishing enterprises because of the war and poor financial management, and his only voice was his weakened newspaper. (19)

Landmarkism never regained its prewar fervor, and Graves’s earlier achievements and influence could not be duplicated. However, many churches continued to hold Landmark ideas, and its influence can still be seen in those Southern Baptist churches who refuse to accept immersion performed by non-Baptist churches.

Landmarkism’s best promoter continued to be convinced of the truth of Landmarkism, publishing the classic Landmark pronouncement Old Landmarkism: What is it? in 1880. However, the market was no longer as open, and much of the public’s attention had been drawn to other matters.

Graves suffered a paralytic stroke while speaking at First Baptist Church in Memphis in 1884. Though the damage was permanent, he still exercised his ability to travel and write. In fact, his inability to stand drew attention to his famous “chair talks” concerning denominational issues. Graves fell in 1890 and suffered injuries that kept him from ever walking again. Well before his death in 1893, he relinquished interests in the paper to his son-in-law, O. L. Harley, who moved the paper back to Nashville and renamed it Baptist and Reflector. Graves remained special editor, but his contributions were rare, and the paper became more denominational and less theological. The last issue to bear his name as editor carried this tribute to Graves: “He was an important factor in the Baptist denomination in the South for more than half a century and one of the ablest exponents of Baptist faith in the world. He was a great warrior in the cause of truth.” (20)


The American religious landscape changed dramatically during the nineteenth century. The raucous quest for the true church was a vain effort. In the end, Millerism, Campbellism, Mormonism, and a variety of other true-church attempts simply added to the confusion. They promised the certainty of the sun, but each only added a speck of light to an overrun ecclesiological canopy by which religious travelers sought God.

Like other true church prophets, James Robinson Graves failed to unite all Christians under his banner, but he did convince a few. Following his death, new leaders and able proponents of the Landmark view arose who continued to excite eager Baptists about their ancient origins. Landmark churches crystallized by the turn of the century, and in 1905 they seceded from the SBC and formed the American Baptist Association. J. M. Carroll’s 1931 work, Trail of Blood, continued the Landmark propaganda well into the twentieth century. By the late 1980s, there were over 250,000 Baptists who openly and officially adhered to Graves’s theology and traced their history according to Graves’s inaccurate hypothesis. (21)

However, a deeper legacy lay beneath the crust of denominational affiliations and poor history. Outside of Landmark circles, some, but not all, have viewed Graves as an oddity, a side-show exhibit in the carnival of church history. People continue to wonder and marvel at the likes of him and his kind. Like so many of his contemporary prophets and prophets since, Graves’s grasp of the truth was so tight that compassion sometimes slipped through his fingers. He gave away his life for his conviction, and he preached his message with deep sincerity. Yet, through it all he approached some others with an overwhelming amount of intolerance. As has too often been the case in American Christianity, whenever conviction, sincerity, and intolerance are blended together, the combination usually congeals into simple intolerance. Such is the legacy of James Robinson Graves.

(1.) O.L. Harley, J.R. Graves: Life, Times and Teachings (Nashville: n.p., 19297), 1-5.

(2.) Ibid.

(3.) Henry Crocker, Historical Sketch of the Lamoille Baptist Association, 1796-1896 (Burlington, Vt.: Free Press Association, 1896), 21-22.

(4.) Hailey, 16-17.

(5.) Ibid., 20-21. The Baptist-Campbellite conflict centered on several issues. Although both groups held the Bible to be the final source of authority, they differed in their interpretations of Scripture. For one thing, the Campbellites disfavored the Baptist’s confessions and missionary alliances, both of which they thought were unwarranted by Scripture. In addition, the Campbellites sought Christian unity based on two factors: the common confession that “Jesus is Lord,” and baptism by immersion. Baptists believed that the simple common confession left too much room for theological radicalism and could never produce real unity. Finally, Baptists believed Campbellites held too low a view of the Holy Spirit’s work in regeneration. In their mind, the Campbellite emphasis on the Spirit working only through the Word meant that Campbellite Christians had never really experienced conversion, since there had been no experience of the Holy Spirit.

(6.) Tennessee Baptist (June 28, 1845): 720.

(7.) Biblical Recorder (August 16, 1851): 1.

(8.) John L. Waller, “The Validity of Baptism by Pedo-baptist Ministers” in Western Baptist Review, 3, no. 7 (March 1848): 267-72. J. R. Graves, Tennessee Baptist (June 29, 1848): 2. Some concede that Graves cannot be positively identified as the “Fidus” who wrote the article in question. For instance, see James E. Tull, A History of Southern Baptist Landmarkism in the Light of Historical Baptist Ecclesiology (New York: Arno Press, 1980), 130. However, O. L. Hailey claimed that “Fidus” was Graves and Graves himself wrote that he agreed with the position of “Fidus” in an introduction to the article in question.

(9.) J. R. Graves, Old Landmarkism: What Is It? (Texarkana: Baptist Sunday School Committee, 1928 edition), xi-xii.

(10.) W. Morgan Patterson, Baptist Successionism: A Critical View (Valley Forge, Penn.: Judson Press, 1969), 26-27.

(11.) Winthrop Hudson, Religion in America (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1987), 161-63.

(12.) R. B. C. Howell, “A Memorial of the First Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee, from 1820 to 1863,” 219 as cited in Tull, 139-40.

(13.) Tull, 139-41.

(14.) Cited in Harley, 13,

(15.) Biblical Recorder (August 16, 1851): 1.

(16.) J. R. Graves, The Little Iron Wheel (Nashville: Graves, Marks & Co., 1856), 204-06.

(17.) First Baptist Church, Nashville. The Trial of Rev. J. R Graves before the First Baptist Church of Nashville (Nashville, n.p., 1858).

(18.) For more on the conflict, see Homer L. Grice and R. Paul Caudill, “Graves-Howell Controversy (1857-62),” Encyclopedia of Southern Baptists, 1 (1958): 580-85. Graves published his own version of the conflict in Both Sides: A Pull Investigation of the Charges Preferred Against Elder J. R. Graves by R. B. C. Howell and Others (Nashville: Southwestern Publishing House, 1859).

(19.) J. R. Graves, “Half Volume,” in The Baptist (October 5, 1867): 4.

(20.) “Recent Events,” Baptist and Reflector (June 29, 1893).

(21.) C. D. Weaver, “American Baptist Association,” in Bill Leonard, ed., Dictionary of Baptists in America (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press), 20-21.

Chad W. Hall is consultant for discipleship and leadership development for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Cary, North Carolina.

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