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.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Authority and Faith

"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." — John vi. 68

Our text demonstrates that a craving for authority in respect to religious questions is natural to the human soul and that Christianity is more than a system of abstract truth addressed to the reason, — it is a series of facts to be apprehended by faith. We hunger for certainty in matters of such vital interest and of such personal importance. The interests are of too great a magnitude to permit us to rest at ease without a clear knowledge of our relations to eternity, and without all possible safeguards about our future well-being. Uncertainty brings suspense and fear. How natural the inquiry, is there no person who knows how to answer our religions inquiries, whose word is of sufficient weight to give to our anxious souls the confidence and security of certainty? How reasonable, if such a person should appear on earth and display undoubted credentials, unrolling his commission written by the finger of God and enstamped with heaven's broad seal of miracles, that all mankind should hail him with joy, and hasten to sit at his feet, to drink in his words, and to submit to his guidance, laying their hands in his, saying, Lead thou me, O thou unerring guide, for I am blind. What a value in one word coming down out of heaven direct, distinct and authoritative on a question of immediate personal interest to us all — an interest so broad that it sweeps in the whole of the endless future of the soul.

See the perplexed Grecian moralist in his cell at Athens groping for light on the destiny of man, and finding no clear and steady blaze flaming up from that heap of subtle reasonings, fables and traditions which Socrates piled up to illumine his own passage to the tomb and to cheer his lingering, weeping and inconsolable friends. How he cried out for a theios logos (θεῖος λόγος), a divine word, to shoot its steady radiance athwart their darkness, and to give the rest of assurance to their weary spirits.

Such a divine Logos have we, who is the true light coming into the world enlightening every man. He hath brought life and immortality to light. He did not originate the doctrine, but he established it on the basis of his own authority. No wonder that Peter refused to abandon this light. Peter, who had left his fishing nets to go spellbound after Jesus, Peter who had beheld the miracles wrought by his word, who had listened entranced to his revelation of things unseen, and who had gazed upon the transcendent glory and majesty of his Master transfigured on the mount. This thirst for authority cannot be suppressed. It is ineradicable in the human soul. If men are deprived of the infallible word they must be provided with an infallible substitute. Hence Rome sways the rod of spiritual power over millions because she professes to speak with authority. Even skeptics themselves, who contemn the authority of Jesus as derogatory to the dignity of true manhood, distrusting the authority of reason, unconsciously lean upon one another. Voltaire, Paine, Parker and Ingersoll, each in his respective age does all the thinking, and the crowd of skeptics of feebler wing or weaker brain follow cravenly in their track. Thus our boasted freethinkers think in the chains of a fallible human authority. Said a puzzled liberalist when asked to reconcile the conflict between Jesus Christ's pretensions and his moral excellence, "I must visit Theodore and ask him how he gets along with this difficulty."

Jesus Exultant Chapter 9.