After posting An Example Of Biased Interpretation? and giving time for comments, and having received only one comment from brother Fralick (I am not surprised that the Hardshell committed cult member ignores looking at the response to the citation from the 1879 minutes of the Powell's Valley Association of Primitive Baptists - that is to be expected), I will now give my own further thinking about it.
First, let me say that the answer of these elders raises more questions than it answers (in fact, they really give what is a non-sensical answer).
Questions Raised (by the answer of two Hardshell preachers)
The following are initial questions which the "interpretation" given of the statement raises.
Did these elders know of the citation, or was it new to them?
If they knew of it, being well versed in the history of the Hardshells of east Tennessee, then perhaps they can enlighten us all on that history, and thus give credence to their interpretation of the Association committee's statement.
If they did not know of it, how come they were so quick to interpret the statement as they did? Was there anything in the context of the statement, or in other historical materials of the time, that would warrant the Hardshell elders affirming that the statement concerns what Hardshells term "conversion," or "time salvation," or of that which does not connect with "regeneration" or eternal salvation?
Assuming that they did not have reason to interpret the committee's statement as they did, then why did they so interpret it? Or rather, misinterpret the statement?
Does the fact that the elders refused to "see the obvious" not reveal an inner bias against any facts that overthrow the cult's image of itself? Is it not seeing with blinders, and an extreme form of bias? Is it not a kind of psychological "denial" complex?
Is This A Unique Occurrence? Or is it commonplace among Hardshells? Are there other historical writings that they twist and distort, against all reason and evidence to the contrary?
Examples of how Hardshells twist historical writings
Did not the fifty one elders who put out the Fulton Confession not distort the words of the London Confession, even by the admission of many Hardshell leaders? Have they not distorted the words of John Ryland Sr.? Have they not misinterpreted the writings of Benedict the historian, especially his book "Fifty Years Among The Baptists"?
Is it possible that the Hardshells twist and misinterpret the plain language of Scripture as they do the above named writings? As the two elders did?
I believe that the elders undoubtedly handle many passages of Scripture just like they did the statement of the 1879 committee concerning "the heresy of two seedism." They take presuppositions to the Bible just like they do to the historical records. The presupposition that the statement overthrew was the one that said "our denomination has always believed in the anti means view." (or "is no new view")
Finally, let me cite the statement again and see if the statement concerns only a temporal salvation (which is what evangelical 'conversion' is to the Hardshell) or not.
"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."
1. Where is "conversion" or "time salvation" alluded to in the statement?
2. What does it mean to teach that people are eternally justified apart from the preaching of the gospel?
3. Who teaches that people are eternally justified apart from hearing and believing the gospel?
4. Who teaches that "the unbeliever is no subject of gospel address"?
5. Who is it that denies that God uses "means" in "calling his elect" and in "the work of the Spirit in the church"?
The "interpretation" of the two elders to the committee's statement forces one to conclude that the two seed heresy involved a denial that God uses means in conversion and time salvation! Did they not think of that? But, since when has anyone, two seeders included, ever denied that means were necessary in conversion and time salvation? The answer of the two elders assumes that the dispute was over whether the Lord used means in conversion, and yet that has never been a disputed matter among the Hardshells who deny means in eternal salvation. Notice how the word "means" is used more than once, the committee wanting all to know that they did not believe "the two seed heresy" which denied that one must hear and believe the gospel to be eternally saved. All the first Hardshells rejected the anti means view of the two seeders, but their children, esteeming themselves wiser than their fathers, accepted that heresy.
Facts are stubborn things.