Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Elder Preslar on Two Seedism

In previous writings I have referred to Elder Hosea Preslar who was first of North Carolina (Bear Creek Association) in its early days and later a resident of middle Tennessee and friend of Elder (Dr.) John M. Watson.  For instance see my posting "Elder Hosea Preslar & Watson" (see here).

I showed that Elder Preslar believed the Gospel means position, which was the original position of the first generation of Hardshell leaders, including the Bear Creek.  Both Elders Watson and Preslar show that the "no means" view of spiritual birth was one of the foundational principles of Daniel Parker's "Two-Seedism." 

Today's Hardshells tell their members things about their history that are outright falsehoods (which any serious student of Baptist history will soon discover).  When beginning students of Hardshell history ask their Hardshell "historians" about Daniel Parker and his view on the "two seeds," or what was later called "Parkerism," they are told these things (what we might call their "talking points").

1.  Parker was one who rightly opposed the "modern mission system" with all that pertains to that term.

2.  His views on the "two seeds" was quickly declared as a heresy by the Hardshells and his followers were few, mainly in Texas.

3.  The "Primitive Baptist" not only soon disassociated themselves from Parker and his views on the "two seeds," but had no further difficulty with the teachings of Parker.

4.  The "two seed" view had one main error associated with it, and that was of an eternal devil.

5.  Another serious error of this faction (sub cult) was their belief that only the elect fell in Adam, and that the souls of the elect were eternally created in Christ (as a seed) and that these eternal souls or spirits enter the human body in "regeneration."

Generally this is the limit that the "talking points" choose to go.  Further or deeper investigation into the history or "Parkerism" is discouraged.  But, some soon discover, if they persist in their historical studies, that there was more involved in Parker's "two-seedism" than at first meets the eye.

Such further research will discover that Parkerism or two seedism spawned these other doctrinal errors.

1.  "Hollow Log" regeneration or "no change" view of regeneration.

2.  The denial of a physical resurrection of the bodies of both saint and sinner.

3.  A denial that the human nature of Christ was a creature of time, or began its existence when conceived in the womb of the blessed mother, Mary.

4. A denial that conversion to Christ was essential to being regenerated.

5.  A denial that the preaching of the Gospel is a means in spiritual birth or for final salvation.

6.  A denial that the Gospel is to be preached to all men and that they are to be exhorted to believe the Gospel and repent.

Now, the following form the pen of Elder Preslar will help show these things to be true.  Here is what Elder Preslar wrote about his meeting Two Seeders upon his move to Henderson county Tennessee from Anson County North Carolina. 

"From that time forth I was persecuted by some of those people, but I thought, perhaps that Divine Providence had sent me to Tennessee to defend the truths of the gospel, with others of like calling; and that we should suffer together for His sake.  To speak of all the distress this doctrine caused, within my knowledge, would be too tedious.  But for the satisfaction of those that are not acquainted with it, I will endeavor to give the reader a short, but plain sketch of their doctrine, though they, among themselves, seem at times to have it almost every way, any way, and as it were, no way at last.  Some call them the "Sadducees," some "Non-Resurrectionists," but mostly the "Two-Seeders."  Now if there is any system to their doctrine, or if they preach any system, I understand it to be about as follows:

First:  they hold that the foreknowledge of God amounts to a decree, because (say they) it could not be any other way, and therefore denounce the idea that Adam was able to stand, but liable to fall

Secondly:  They hold that the Church of God was in eternal union with Him, (not in purpose, but actually so); and that the church is composed of a family of eternal children, that was in eternal union with God

Thirdly: That when Adam transgressed the law of his Creator, and fell under its curse, that those eternal children fell in him; but not in the same like sense that the children of the devil fell

Fourthly: That the devil is a self-existent devil, or wicked spirit, and that, after Adam had transgressed the law of his Creator, the devil and his children, through Eve, began to make their appearance; and from them came another set of children that they call the children of the devil, or the seed of the serpent.  And that those wicked children are a wicked spiritual family that dwell in mortal bodies; and are therefore called children of the flesh, and that this wicked generation of children constitute the non-elect; and that those eternal children that were in eternal union with God, constitute the elect of God or the church. 

Fifthly: And as they had fallen under the law in Adam, that Christ came and redeemed them back again, and that the Holy Ghost makes manifest this to them in time, and that they are now renewed in the spirit of their mind, that is in the enjoyment of that eternal union they had with God; for (say they), there is nothing the soul receives in time, but a manifestation of what did before exist, not in purpose, for purpose (say they) amounts to nothing, but actually so.

Sixthly: That the gospel never was designed for anything else, but for the edification of the body of Christ, and that believers are the only subjects of gospel address.

Seventhly: That everything must return back again to its origin, and hence, these mortal bodies of ours must return to the dust, and never will be resurrected any more.  They contend for (what they call) a spiritual resurrection, and a spiritual body, that was eternally prepared of God for them; and that this was the kind of body that Jesus ascended into heaven with, and not in the one that was born of the Virgin Mary, crucified upon the Roman cross, and laid in the sepulcher; adding that it is none of our business what became of that body.

Eighthly, and lastly: They say that all other doctrine outside, or differing from this, is unsound, is Armianism, etc.

"The above is a correct and concise account of the items or tenets of doctrine, I understand them to hold forth.  And as I consider their system to be heresy, and having suffered much, as well as many others on account of it, I here give my reasons in a brief way, hoping that Divine Providence may make it a blessing to His church and people hereafter, for of all the systems of heresy that ever I have encountered with yet, I abhor it the most."  (pages 179-80)

"Neither has he told us when or how the devil was made or created, but He has let us know there is a devil, and He has let us know he is a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies, and that he sinned from the beginning, and abode not in the truth; John 8: 44. This much God has been pleased to let us know about the devil.  He does not tell us he never was in possession of the truth, but that he abode not in the truth...Then away with the doctrine of an eternal, self-existent devil."  (pg. 183-84)

"And as to their views of the use and design of the gospel being for nothing but for the edification of the Church, and believers being the only subjects of gospel address, I believe it not." (Page 186)

"But some object to these ideas and say all this is the work of the spirit of God; and the gospel has nothing to do with it. Ah, a gospel without a spirit! Well, God save me from a gospel that has not His spirit. God says His word is quick and powerful, and He says by Peter, This is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you; I Peter 1: 25. And as to the subjects of Gospel address, it is to every creature the disciples were commanded to preach the gospel; and Paul said, Whom we preach warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, etc.; Col. 1: 28. So we see that their idea on that point is false as the balance, and we will now give their last, but not least error a passing notice."  (pg. 187)

"This is the new man begotten by the word of truth; yea, begotten of God; I John 5: 18." (page 185)

"And as to their views of the use and design of the gospel being for nothing but for the edification of the Church, and believers being the only subjects of gospel address, I believe it not." (Page 186)

He says that the gospel "is moreover to be for a witness unto all nations; Matt. 24: 14; and for the awakening of sinners, who are dead in trespasses and in sin." (page 187)

"...the other is the child of God, that was begotten by the word of truth; James 1: 14; I Cor. 4: 15; I John 5: 1." (Page 112)

"About this time there came to hand a work written by Elder Watson of Nashville, Tenn., entitled The Old Baptist Test, or the Bible Signs of the Lord's People.  Well, when I read it, I thanked God and took, as it were, fresh courage, for it contained and explained the very things that we were contending about, and I thought surely my accusers will now yield their ground...So along about this time, perhaps in the year 1858, I visited my old native State (North Carolina) again, and had one more opportunity of preaching to the members at my old association (Bear Creek)...I then made my way to the eastern parts of the State, and had good days among the brethren of the old Kehukee Association."  (pgs. 190-91)

"It was not long after my return home before I went to Nashville.  My sister having been afflicted in a very serious and critical way...I thought, now perhaps, I shall get to see Dr. Watson, the author of the old Baptist Test, as he is an able physician, as well as a minister of the gospel...I at once found him a plain and loving brother.  He took to his house and treated me with all the kindness of a father, and he and Brigs commenced waiting on my sister...I made brother Watson's house my home by his request, and he was a father, as well as a brother to us; he did not only board me free of charge, but bestowed much on me and my sister beside."  (pgs. 192-93)

Two Seedism in the Bear Creek?

Preslar wrote about his return trip to North Carolina (80 days) in the Feb. 11, 1860 issue of "The Primitive Baptist" periodical.  His letter to the editor, Elder Temples, begins on the front page.  Here are some excerpts (see here):

"And while in my mother State, (North Carolina) and in my old section (Anson and Union counties) I met with many that seemed greatly to rejoice at my presence among them: and this being the region of my birth country (of both body and soul) and also in the bounds of my old Association (to wit, Bear Creek), I watched things closely...And although this was one view I took of the case, yet in taking another view, perhaps a large majority of that section are the professed followers of Christ."

"But in the midst of all this confusion, my desire and prayer to God was that the Bear Creek Association might be saved,--saved from the many errors by which she was surrounded, (her well known enemies) And also from some erroneous things or principles, that are now in her midst, or in her ranks, going under the name of "Old Baptist;"  but when named by those who are better acquainted with its signs and marks, is the old Two Seed Parkerite heresy."

Today's Hardshells, including the Bear Creek, though they may reject some of Parker's "Two-Seedism," nevertheless hold to its "no means" view.  Remnants of Parkerism still remain.

No comments: