Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. I am slowly blogging through Steele's Answers, posting each Q & A in the order in which they appear (whether I personally agree with the answer or not). But, these posts come from several other sources, as well. I post particularly eloquent passages from Dr. Steele's other writings. Occasionally I post "guest blogs" from other holiness writers.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Give Us a Spiritual Protestantism!

There are multitudes of nominal Christians who confidently assert that it is the highest presumption and folly to expect, in modern times, that full dispensation of the Spirit concerning which so many excellent things are spoken in the Scriptures. They brand as a fanatic the man who proclaims to a slumbering Church the presence of the Holy Ghost, ready to raise the spiritually dead, and to transfigure the spiritually living.

It is asserted that the era of miracles and the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are past; not understanding that the Spirit himself is entirely distinct from his supernatural gifts. The Spirit descended upon Mary, the mother of our Lord, and upon several other believing women in the upper chamber; but there is no proof that they were endowed with the gift of tongues, or any other charisma. St. Paul himself was not always replenished with miraculous power. A man may be full of the Holy Spirit, and be a temple for his abode, and have no supernatural gift. Love supreme, love made perfect, is superior to all the miraculous endowments. Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. Witness Balaam's supernatural prophecy, followed by his violent death among the enemies of God, and the miracles of Judas, quickly succeeded by treason to his Master and wretched suicide.

Another objection which men at ease in Zion raise against the universal outpouring of the Spirit in these days is the fanaticism which it is supposed to breed. This would exclude all spiritual life from the world; for life is liberty, and all liberty has its perils. The prisoners handcuffed in grated cells, and the dead in silent tombs, are the only two classes of people who are not in peril of the abuse of their physical powers and appetites. That more fanatics and eccentrics start up in a church filled and thrilled with spiritual life than in a Church in a Laodicean stupor, is no more wonderful than that a free country should give birth to more who abuse their freedom, than an autocratic iron despotism, where none dare to stir.

Give us a spiritual Protestantism, with all its perils of rationalism and fanaticism....

Though there may be occasionally a weak or unbalanced mind carried away into fantastic extravagances under the copious effusion of the Holy Spirit, as a mighty rushing wind, the average mind has skill to adjust its sails to the heavenly gale, and speed its way, with stable ballast, toward the port of eternal life.

 Come, O wind! O breath of God! upon myriads of becalmed souls, and sweep them joyfully onward to the haven of rest.

— edited from Love Enthroned, Chapter 9.