Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Father of Modern Landmarkism: The Life of Ben M. Bogard

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Father of Modern Landmarkism: The Life of Ben M. Bogard

Article excerpt

The Father of Modern Landmarkism: The Life of Ben M. Bogard. By J. Kristian Pratt. James N. Griffith Series in Baptist Studies. (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 2013. Pp. [viii], 202. $35.00, ISBN 978-0-88146-434-4.)

The story of Ben M. Bogard is fascinating and necessary to understand the beliefs of many modern Landmark Baptists. Fortunately, J. Kristian Pratt knows how to tell a good story. Pratt depicts how Bogard came to his beliefs from James Robinson Graves, the founder of Landmarkism; rose to prominence; debated adversaries who challenged those beliefs; and eventually came to found his own denomination. It is difficult to write about Bogard. He is often either vilified as the person who split the Arkansas Baptist State Convention (ABSC) or known as the person who saved Arkansas Baptists from nonbiblical church practices. Relying heavily on primary source material from Bogard and his contemporaries, Pratt is able to present a picture of a man who had a singular purpose. While holding all the traditional Landmark teachings as depicted in the famous Cotton Grove Resolution, Bogard feared that the ABSC and Southern Baptist Convention would eventually usurp the autonomy of the local church. Pratt demonstrates how Bogard hammered this point home in the majority of his debates with Methodists, other Baptists, and the various groups related to the Stone-Campbell movement. Even among his own Landmark brethren, if Bogard believed the autonomy of the local church was in danger, he immediately brought it to light by means of his own newspaper, his own pulpit and the pulpits of his allies, and the radio. …

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