Wednesday, April 4, 2012

First Babtist Church in Texas

Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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 and Texas.[1]

Baptists seem to have first appeared in North America in the early 17th 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. Many consider his theory a type of Manichaeism.[citation needed]

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 allow no 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. Remnants of Two-Seed doctrine can still be heard among a few Primitive Baptists, if one knows what to listen for. The current status (2003) of the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists appears to be four remaining churches (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.

American novelist Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. prominently alludes to the sect in his early novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, when the title character claims that he is a member.

When I pastored in Palestine, Texas (just north of Elkhart)  I remember talking with a 80 something year old lady while sitting on her porch.

Note the spelling of Baptist.

This building was again repaired in 1996.

1 comment:

Phyllis Blickensderfer said...

Fascinating history -- thanks for sharing.