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.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Does God Override Human Freedom in Answer to Prayer?

QUESTION: Since the Question Box denies conversion by a temporary suspension of freedom, how do you explain John 15:7, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you?"

ANSWER: At first sight this looks like a reckless promise, but a closer study discovers safeguards, one of which is "unto you," implying the gift of grace, strength and all the fruit of the Spirit to those who do the asking. Another safeguard is in "abide in me," implying such a union with Christ as to ask for nothing unwise, and not in accord with his will expressed in "my words abide in you." Now we know that he said, "Ye will not come to me that ye may have life," and we know that Christ will not do so foolish a thing as to dehumanize a saloon-keeper and turn him into a machine and thrust him neck and heels into his kingdom against his will, though all the saints on earth are asking to save him. What is salvation but the awakening of love, free and spontaneous in a wicked heart? Can love be forced? What crude theological ideas some people have! They think it is the office of the Holy Spirit to take every stubborn sinner by the coat collar and drag him to Christ in answer to prayer. This is inherited from predestinarianism.

Steele's Answers pp. 207, 208.