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Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit predestinarian Baptists: a small Baptist body, which over the years has been a curiosity of American religious life, is the Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists.

Its progenitor was Daniel Parker (1781-1844), a native of Virginia who after moving to Georgia arrived in Tennessee in 1803. He was ordained to the Baptist ministry in 1806 at Turnbull's Creek Baptist Church in Dickson County and moved to a farm in Sumner County where he continued preaching. In December 1817, he moved to Illinois and then in 1833 to Texas where he died in 1844.

At the Concord Association in 1816 and 1817, Parker strongly protested against the mission program of Luther Rice. His opposition was not against missions per se but against organized missions. He attacked the mission program in several publications--A Public Address to the Baptist Society (1820), Plain Truth (1823), and The Author's Defence (1824). He also used his periodical, the Church Advocate, published in Indiana from 1829 to 1831. The paper also circulated in Tennessee.

Parker was known for his opposition to innovations, which put him in the camp with other Primitive Baptists, and for his distinctive doctrine of the Two Seeds. In 1826, he began to propound this view in a pamphlet, Views on the Two Seeds, which was soon followed in the same year by A Supplement or Explanation of My Views on the Two Seeds and The Second Dose of Doctrine on the Two Seeds. He claimed that the elect were born with the good seed, implanted by God in Adam and Eve, and the nonelect were born of the evil seed which came from Satan. He felt such a view absolved God from predestinating the nonelect to hell since at birth one's destiny was already determined. He claimed that he gained this view from an old fellow Baptist in Tennessee around 1811 and that at first he had rejected it as heresy.

Missionary Baptists, of course, rejected this doctrine as well as most Primitive Baptists. Two-Seedism evolved into a gnostic sect, taking even more extreme positions never advocated by Parker himself. It started opposing all means in salvation, denying the nonelect had souls, and rejecting a bodily resurrection and a literal hell, spiritualizing both. In 1847, John M. Watson, a leading Primitive Baptist in Tennessee, wrote a pamphlet condemning Parkerism. Later in his book, The Old Baptist Test, which appeared in 1855, Watson included a section, "A Refutation of the Manichaeo Parkerite Heresy."

Two-Seedism spread throughout the South, particularly in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida, and Texas, and also in the Old Northwest. One of the centers of Two-Seedism was in the Drake's Creek, Caney Creek, and Richland Creek Associations which extended from southern Kentucky through Middle Tennessee into northern Alabama. These associations corresponded among themselves but not with other Primitive Baptists.

Two-Seed Predestinarian Baptists always remained a small group. The U.S. religious census of 1906 recorded 781 members with 279 in Tennessee in nineteen churches, the most in any state. Thirty years later, Tennessee had ninety-eight members in nine churches. Today, nationwide there are only five congregations left. Two are members of the Trinity River Association which includes the Little Hope Church near Jacksboro, Texas, and the Otter Creek Church in Putnam County, Indiana, with a total membership in 2001 of forty members. The Little Hope Church split in the 1940s, and the division meets in a home near Bryson, Texas. Another congregation, Mt. Moriah in Limestone County, Alabama, has only three members, existing practically in name only. The fourth congregation is the Concord Church in the Highland District near McMinnville, Tennessee, with ten members and an average attendance each Sunday from twelve to fifteen. Like other Primitive Baptists, it has no Sunday school and uses no musical instruments in worship. The Lord's Supper is observed annually with foot washing. Wine is used in the supper. It belongs to no association.

Although Two-Seed Predestinarian Baptists have seriously declined and may even face extinction, they nevertheless have been able to continue to exist into the twenty-first century. Tennessee, a state where Two-Seedism was first broached, is one of the few states left where there is a congregation of this order.

Albert W. Wardin Jr. is professor emeritus of Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee, where he taught history from 1967 to 1993.

Albert W. Wardin Jr., Tennessee Baptists: A Comprehensive History, 1779-1999 (Brentwood: Executive Board of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, 1999), 110-11, 145-46. 458. Dan B. Wimberly. "Daniel Parker: Pioneer Preacher and Political Leader" (Ph.D. diss., Texas Tech University, 1995). O. Max Lee, "Daniel Parker's Doctrine of the Two Seeds" (Th. M. thesis, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1962). Trinity River Association of the Regular Predestinarian Baptist Faith and Order, Minutes, 2001. Telephone interviews by the author with Mrs. Glenda Roberts, McMinnville. January 2, 1992, and April 19, 2002. An important source, of course, is Dan Parker's own writings as noted in the text.
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Author:Wardin, Albert W., Jr.
Publication:Baptist History and Heritage
Date:Jun 22, 2002
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