The following is from Chapter 20 "Direct Voice Speaking (Historical)" of my ongoing book "The Hardshell Baptist Cult."
Brother Ross writes further:
"In the course of these chapters, it will be noted, Hardshells have no Baptist writings prior to the 1800's which affirm the type of doctrine they believe as to the New Birth, Effectual Calling, the Work of the Holy Spirit, and the "Place of the Gospel," or the Truth, in relation to the Spirit's work."
(From HISTORY AND HERESIES OF HARDSHELLISM, #2 [04/24--2006] - some emphasis mine)
Both Brother Ross and I have challenged the Hardshells to produce the proof of anyone prior to Gilbert Beebe who espoused the heterodox view of "Direct Voice" or "Direct Speaking" of Christ. None have yet produced the evidence! Some, however, rather than giving us the "names" and the "proofs," say such things as these.
From Elder C. C. Morris:
"Some few years ago, a man (Brother Ross?) raised a question about whether there was “any writer among the Baptists who taught the view of "direct voice" or "direct speaking" regeneration before Elder [Gilbert] Beebe....”
By his question the man implies that Elder Gilbert Beebe, along about the year 1832, is the one who originated the doctrine of “direct regeneration.” It is not our intention in this article to prove such a writer or writers existed before Elder Beebe and to name them, but rather it is to prove the ancient, widespread, and accepted proclamation of the doctrine of regeneration without the “benefit” of human help. In so doing, the answer to this man’s question should be apparent.
Also, it has been falsely said, “There weren’t any who believed in the direct operation of the Holy Spirit before the Hardshells came along. In their opposition to Missions, the Hardshells concocted this new doctrine.” (I think this latter citation is a reference to my writings)
Either the ones who perpetuate this falsehood are ignorant of history, or they would deliberately deceive those who are, or both. In the next few pages, we propose to look into some historical truths about the doctrine of immediate regeneration, hoping our understanding will be enlightened by the light that comes only from Christ Himself."
Is it not striking that this Elder did not simply give Brother Ross and myself the answer we want? Why did he not just cite another Elder, prior to Beebe, prior to the rise of the Hardshells, to prove we were wrong? He states that we are wrong in our charge, but he does not give us the evidence that we are wrong! If we are so wrong, where are the citations of Baptists prior to Beebe who believed as he on the "Direct Speaking" theory?
If we are "ignorant of history" then why does he not cite the sources? He does go on to cite from a work to try and prove that some Anabaptists and others perhaps believed as he does (which he does not even prove), but he never produces one historical proof that any prior to Beebe believed the "Direct Voice" view, and certainly not among the Baptists.
He said: "It is not our intention in this article to prove such a writer or writers existed before Elder Beebe and to name them."
Why not? Why not take a few minutes and name them? Who is really the "deceiver" here? Anyone with enough sense to lick a postage stamp can discern that this Elder does not have any "historical proof" that the Baptists, prior to the Hardshells, believed this new novel and aberrant view of what it means to hear Christ for salvation.
After trying to prove that there were some possible heretics among the Anabaptists who believed in "immediate" regeneration without means (which he does not do), he says:
"As we find in every century an extensive, unbroken chain of believers in the virgin birth of Christ Jesus, His deity, His effectual blood atonement, and His literal bodily resurrection, even so we find in every age those who believed in regeneration by the Holy Spirit without human intervention. The fact that many denominations besides the Old Baptists held to this doctrine of regeneration without human means or instrumentality does not militate against its truth, any more than such a fact could be used successfully to argue against the deity of our Lord, His virgin birth, His blood atonement, or His bodily resurrection.
When we cite the beliefs of the Anabaptists and the Mennonites, we are not necessarily tracing Old School Baptist “perpetuity” through them, as though we of necessity are their modern descendents and counterparts, nor are we saying that we necessarily have any other particular point in common with them. Rather, for now, we are pointing out as straightforwardly as possible that down through the ages, the belief in the Holy Spirit’s direct operation in regenerating His elect has always been far more common and widespread than our doctrinal opponents suppose or will admit."
(Elder C. C. Morris - http://www.the-remnant.com/backissue10.htm)
Again, he gave no long list, or chain, of those who have believed Hardshell ideas on the new birth and gospel means. Why claim there is such a "chain of witnesses" and then not gives us some names in that chain? Why not cite some Baptist sources? Why not cite the London and Philadelphia Confessions? Why not quote some leading Elder in the 1700s, like John Gill or John Gano? Why not some some pre-1800 association minutes or circular letters?
Let me now cite another Hardshell who trys to say the same thing, without any evidence whatsoever, saying that there have been great men down through the ages of the church who held Hardshell views on the new birth.
"The view we hold with regard to this fundamental doctrine is not new, nor, we hasten to say, has it ever been without a witness. Across the centuries it has been firmly held and consistently defended by men who in the main were unaccredited by the scholarship of the world. Here and there, like monuments in distant lands, these fearless sentinals have stood in defense of the everlasting truth...however, these voices in the wilderness, with their labors little noticed and their names seldom recorded, have left their mark on Christian civilization. We thank God for the privilege of standing where these immortals stood, of defending the unpopular but glorious doctrine which they defended, and of sharing in some small measure the hardships which they endured." (Systematic Theology, page 305, 306)
Let us ask ourselves these questions in view of the above writing.
1. Why did Sarrels and Morris simply not give us the "names" of all these great "immortals"? If their "names" have been "seldom recorded," why not take the time and RECORD THEM!?
2. How can you decry, in one breath, the fact that these esteemed "immortals" have been "little noticed," and then not give us their "names"!? Why not give us their writings that supposedly support Hardshell views? Unbelievable!
3. If these supposed people are the "great sentinels" of "this fundamental doctrine" of the Hardshell church, surely the Hardshells would want to record their "names" and to perpetuate their writings! And yet, what do both these Elders do? They do not produce the evidence that they say exists in such abundance!