Intro

This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I began the project on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed it on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. I still do that every once in a while.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Antinomian Faith

We look in vain in all these writers of the Antinomian school, whether ancient or modern, any adequate definitions of saving faith. After a faithful and patient study, extending through ten years, I can find in these writings no better notion of faith than a bare intellectual assent to the fact that Jesus put away sin once and forever on His cross.

There is no preliminary to this mental act, such as a heart-felt conviction of sin, and eternal abandonment of it in purpose and in reality. Nor is there any test of this faith in the genuineness of its fruits.

The evangelical definition of saving faith is utterly ignored, — that it has its root in genuine repentance, its bud and blossom in joyful obedience, and its fruitage in holiness of heart and life; that in addition to the assent of the intellect, — the fruitless faith of devils (James ii. 19), — there must be the consent of the will, the Christward movement of the moral sensibilities, and an unwavering reliance on Him, and on Him alone, as a present Saviour.

Nor do the Antinomians teach that faith is continuous — a life-long outgoing of the heart in glad obedience — but rather that its efficacy is concentrated into a single act of assent to a past fact, an act which forever and forever justifies.

We can easily predict the character of the edifice built upon a foundation so defective. On such a corner-stone we do not expect to find a love which purifies the heart and overcomes the world, a hunger and thirst after righteousness, an eager pursuit of holiness, and "pressing on unto perfection" (Heb. vi. 1, Rev. Ver.), and that "perfect love which casteth out all fear that has torment."

We find rather a dry, intellectual religion, tenacious of its speculative theory, indifferent to inward and outward holiness, and reveling in imaginary graces, or, rather, in the perfections of Christ falsely imputed to themselves, and preferring to keep the old man alive rather than his summary crucifixion, in order "that the body of sin may be destroyed." We find a system which is a great comfort to the backslider in heart and life, and a pleasant refuge to those who have lost their inheritance among the sanctified, into which they once entered when under better religious instruction.