Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists
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Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists are part of a larger sub-group of Baptists that is commonly referred to as "anti-mission" Baptists. This sub-group includes the Duck River and Kindred Baptists, Old Regular Baptists, some Regular Baptists and some United Baptists. Only a minuscule minority of Primitive Baptists adhere to this doctrine, primarily churches in Northern Alabama, Eastern Tennessee, Indiana, and Texas.
Baptists seem to have first appeared in North America in the early 18th century. Through the influence of the Philadelphia Baptist Association (org. 1707), the influx of members to the churches from the Great Awakenings, and the union of the disparate Regular and Separate Baptists, by the early 19th century Baptists would become an important American denomination. This growth was not without its pangs, and by 1820 these Baptists were embroiled in an intense and sometimes bitter "missions" controversy. Much of the controversy centered around the newly formed Baptist Board of Foreign Missions.
Elder Daniel Parker (1781–1844) was one of the earlier ministers to speak out against the "missions" movement. In 1820, he released a booklet entitled "A Public Address to the Baptist Society, and Friends of Religion in General, on the Principle and Practice of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States of America." The Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, organized at Philadelphia in 1814, is best known as the Triennial Convention, but its official name was the "General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States." Objections by Baptists to the Convention were based on both soteriology and ecclesiology. Parker was a strict Predestinarian, but his chief objections in the booklet are based on ecclesiology - for example, "They have violated the right or government of the Church of Christ in forming themselves into a body and acting without of the union." Several important preachers on the east coast led in the "anti-missions" movement, but Elder Parker was the leader on the frontier, and probably spoke best to the common man.
It appears that during this time, Parker was also formulating views on God and man that he would first release in his Views on the Two Seeds (1826). Parker taught that all persons are either of the "good seed" of God or of the "bad seed" of Satan (the children of the good seed are roughly equivalent to the "elect" of Calvinism, and those of the bad seed similar to the "non-elect"), and were predestined that way from the beginning. Therefore mission activity was not only unbiblical, but as a practical matter useless, since the "decision" was already made prior to birth.
It seems that Parker spread his "two seeds" far and wide, and a goodly number of the "anti-missions" movement accepted his doctrine, though it never achieved anything near majority status. In 1834, Daniel Parker and others migrated to the Texas frontier. Texas was still part of Mexico and the government would not allow organization of Protestant (non-Catholic) churches in the region. Elder Parker determined to organize a church before he arrived in Texas. The Pilgrim Predestinarian Regular Baptist Church was constituted July 26, 1833 in Illinois. It still exists today, near Elkhart, Texas, though as "Primitive" rather than "Two-Seed." Daniel Parker's name is almost synonymous with "anti-missions", but he was one of the important frontier preachers in Texas, leading in the organization of about nine churches in the eastern part of the state.
After the "missionary" and "anti-missionary" controversy brought division among Baptists, the "anti-missionaries" were called by names such as Old School, Old Regular, Predestinarian, and Primitive (as well as the pejorative "hardshells"). The Two-Seed churches were often connected with the Primitive Baptists and seem to have been so until late in the 19th century. By that time, most Primitive Baptists had excluded the "Two-Seeders" for holding heretical doctrines. Though they hold much in common with Primitive Baptists and often are so identified by outsiders, the Two-Seed churches do not consider themselves Primitive Baptists.
Following Parker's death
The Two-Seed theological stance is known in some circles as Hyper-Calvinism, i.e. only evangelize to those who can be discerned as being members of the elect. In 1845, shortly after Parker's death, this group experienced its first major schism. Central Kentucky's Elder Thomas P. Dudley, a member of a church of the Licking Creek Association, produced a work on "Two Souls" to supplement Parker's on the two seeds.
In 1936, this body reported two churches in urban settings and fourteen in rural areas. The membership stood at 201. One of the urban churches (in Alabama) had 57 members and was certainly the largest single congregation. Local churches existed in Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky. For some reason, the congregations in Texas and Indiana are not included in the report for 1906 although they had been listed in 1906 and 1916. Previously churches existed in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Missouri. Three associations were also enumerated: Caney Fork, Drakes Creek, and Richland Creek. In 1916, there had been nine associations.
Remnants of Two-Seed doctrine can still be heard among a few Primitive Baptists, if one knows what to listen for. In 2003, there appeared to be four remaining churches of the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists: two in Texas, and one each in Indiana and Tennessee) with approximately 80 members. Two of the churches participate together in the Trinity River Association, and two are independent.
Baptist historian Albert W. Wardin, Jr. reported the following statistics in an article published in the June 22, 2002 issue of Baptist History and Heritage:
The U.S. religious census of 1906 recorded 781 members with 279 in Tennessee in nineteen churches, the most in any state. Thirty years later, Tennessee had ninety-eight members in nine churches. Today, nationwide there are only five congregations left. Two are members of the Trinity River Association which includes the Little Hope Church near Jacksboro, Texas, and the Otter Creek Church in Putnam County, Indiana, with a total membership in 2001 of forty members. The Little Hope Church split in the 1940s, and the division meets in a home near Bryson, Texas. Another congregation, Mt. Moriah in Limestone County, Alabama, has only three members, existing practically in name only. The fourth congregation is the Concord Church in the Highland District near McMinnville, Tennessee, with ten members and an average attendance each Sunday from twelve to fifteen. Like other Primitive Baptists, it has no Sunday school and uses no musical instruments in worship. The Lord's Supper is observed annually with foot washing. Wine is used in the supper. It belongs to no association.
- Crowley, John G. Primitive Baptists of the Wiregrass South: 1815 to the Present. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1999. Hardcover ISBN 978-0-8130-1610-5 Paperback ISBN 978-0-8130-4468-2
- Exley, Jo Ella Powell. Frontier Blood: The Saga of the Parker Family., College Station, TX: Texas A & M University Press, 2001. ISBN 978-1-60344-109-4
- Lee, O. Max. Daniel Parker's Doctrine of the Two Seeds. Thesis (Th. M.)—Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1962. xi,  leaves.
- Wimberly, Dan D. Daniel Parker: Pioneer Preacher and Political Leader. Dissertation–Texas Tech University. May 1995. (374 pdfs)
- ——. Frontier Religion: Elder Daniel Parker, His Religious and Political Life. Austin, TX: Eakin Press, 2002. ISBN 978-1571683205
- Mead, Frank S., rev. by Samuel S. Hill. Handbook of Denominations in the United States. 8th ed. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1985, p. 57.
- "Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists". in United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Murphy, Dr. T. H., Supervisor. Religious Bodies, 1936: Volume II Part 1 Denominations A to J: Statistics, History, Doctrine Organization and Work. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1941, Vol. 2, Part 1 pp. 234–238.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (July 2013)|
- Sermon, "Marriage", Elder Sonny Pyles, http://www.primitivebaptistsermons.com
- Sparks, Elder John. The Roots of Appalachian Christianity: The Life and legacy of Elder Shubal Stearns. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2001, p. 246.
- * "Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists". in United States Department of Commerce. Bureau of the Census. Murphy, Dr. T. H., Supervisor. Religious Bodies, 1936: Volume II Part 1 Denominations A to J: Statistics, History, Doctrine Organization and Work. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1941, Vol. 2, Part 1 pp. 234-236.
- Albert W. Wardin, Jr. ″Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists: a Small Baptist Body.″ Baptist History and Heritage. June 22, 2002 
- "Crowley Studies Rare Religion". Tuesday, June 7, 2011.
- Trinity River Association minutes[full citation needed]
- Wardin, Jr., Albert W., Baptists Around the World[full citation needed]
- Leonard, Bill J. (ed.), Dictionary of Baptists in America[full citation needed]
- Adherents.com Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists Part 1 of 2
- Adherents.com Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists Part 2 of 2
- Online Collection of Daniel Parker's major writings available either in PDF or HTML.
- A Public Address to the Baptist Society, and Friends of Religion in General, on the Principle and Practice of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States of America by Elder Daniel Parker (1820)
- Old Caney Fork Two Seed Baptist Association
- Elder Daniel Parker
- Old Pilgrim Church
- Old Fort Parker
- "Baptists, Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit". Encyclopedia Americana. 1920.