The Hardshells are adept at fanciful interpretation. It may be due in part to their being against theological education for their ministers. One example of this may be seen in Elder Guy Hunt, former Governor of Alabama and once a major leader among the Hardshells. In a book called "Identity of the True Baptist Church," volume I, published in 1971, under an article titled "The Commission," Hunt says this about the command of Christ to "go and preach the Gospel to every creature." (Mark 16: 15-16)
"The every creature means those who are creatures in Christ. 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.' (II Cor. 5: 17. If you were to try to embrace every human being in 'every creature,' you would have to also embrace beast, fowls, and fish, for they are also creatures." (pg. 130)
This is the most absurd thing that I have ever heard! People who are not married to the Hardshell cult will also see it as ridiculous. With such men as Elder Hunt it makes no difference to point out to them how common sense excludes the inclusion of animals in the term "every creature." And, it makes no difference to point out how the text puts those who do not believe into the category of "every creature," for the Hardshells believe that most of those who are "new creatures" do not believe the Gospel, or believe in Jesus. How can one reason with such people who handle the word of God in this manner?
Jesus says, that among the "every creature" that hears the Gospel, those who do not believe will be "damned," but this is not enough to convince such men as Hunt. He would say that the damnation is not eternal damnation, but simply a temporal damnation. He would likewise say that being "saved" in the passage cannot denote eternal salvation, but a temporal salvation.
Now, is this not fanciful interpretation? Does it not show how the cults are blinded by their own suppositions, which they take to the Scriptures and make the Scriptures to agree with their preconceived ideas? By such hermeneutics one can make the Bible say or mean anything.