In "The History of the Baptists of Tennessee" by Lawrence Edwards (August, 1940), University of Tennessee - Knoxville (see here), a work I have just read, I found some interesting information about the history of the Hardshells. Some of this information I will give in this posting.
Preliminary Observations and Comments
1. The facts here presented by this historian can be added to the other historical proofs I already have put forth and help to substantiate my claim that the no means view of today's Hardshells had its birth among the "two seed" followers of Daniel Parker, but was not the general view of the other Hardshells.
2. The citations to be given are from the Powell's Valley Association of which I was once a member when I first joined the Hardshells and one that is a close ally of the Bear Creek Association here in North Carolina, of which I was also once a member. These citations will show the Powell's Valley Association, as late as 1879, held to the Gospel means position, though they were "anti missionary."
As a prelude to the citations regarding the Powell's Valley Association I wish to cite these words of our historian. It is from Chapter IV, titled "ANTI-MISSION BAPTISTS OCCUPIED BY DOCTRINAL DISPUTES."
"After the mission schism the anti-mission or Primitive Baptist churches lapsed into a period of doctrinal disputation that threatened their utter dissolution. Condemning missions as institutions of men unauthorized by the Scriptures, they withdrew doggedly into their stern predestinarian doctrine and for a few years were torn by grave doctrinal disputes."
All I can say is amen! Anyone who has studied the history of the Hardshells know this. Further, I don't know any man living who knows more about it than I do.
In chapter V, "THE TWO-SEED HERESY AND ABSOLUTE PREDESTINATION," Lawrence wrote:
"The Two-Seed doctrine, which was beginning to occupy the attention of the churches in the early 1870's, continued to plague the Primitive Baptists, especially those of the Powell Valley association, until 1889, when a split occurred in the association. The Nolachucky association, too, felt the impact of this conflict, but no complete rift, such as the Powell Valley experienced, occurred in any of the other East Tennessee associations.
At the 1879 meeting of the Powell Valley association the tenth item of business said: Committee appointed to draft advice to the churches in regard to the Two-Seed doctrine, who reported as follows:
We as an association advise our sister churches to have no fellowship with what is generally known as the two-Seed Heresy or those who teach the doctrine of an Eternally damned or Eternally Justified outside of the preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom of God and teach that the unbeliever is no subject of gospel address. We believe that God makes use of the Gospel as a means of calling his Elect and this means is the work of the Spirit in the church.
But the Powell Valley seems to feed on division and dissension, for in the early years of the twentieth century it was again torn asunder." (pg. 89)
Now, today's Hardshells of the Powell's Valley and Bear Creek Associations do not declare non-fellowship for those who believe in the Two Seed heresy of anti means, but are two seeders themselves or imbibers of Daniel Parker's heresies! Those who Elder Watson (who is mentioned in this history) called "ultraists" and "modern innovators" are those who are of the anti means heresy and who Elder Watson and Elder Hosea Preslar identified as being an invention of the two seeders or Parkerites. (See my posting Hosea Preslar)
Of course, after I found this information about the Powell's Valley, I had to share it with dad, who I am sure was shocked to know that the Powell's Valley believed in means till at least 1879.
What will you do with such facts, my Hardshell brethren?