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, May 11, 2015

Where the Spirit is, There is the Church

The maxim of Protestantism of the low-church, nonritualistic type is this, "Where the Spirit is, there is the Church": The maxim of the Papist and sacramentarian is, "Where the Church is, there is the Spirit." In the first case the Spirit creates the Church; in the other the Church professedly insures the presence of the Spirit. But He dwells only in hearts, not in sacraments or in organizations. Hence no organization, however apostolic its history and successive in its ordinations, can secure the Holy Spirit. Paul exhorts believers "earnestly to strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit (the oneness which He brings about) in (or within) the bond of peace," i. e., the bond by which peace is conserved, which is love. As Christ came to establish peace on earth, so the Holy Ghost, "another Comforter," came to execute Christ's purpose, not by treaties formed by diplomats, but by "shedding abroad the love of God" in the hearts of men. Says Chrysostom, "The Spirit unites those who are widely sundered by nationality and different manners."

George Bowen writes:



We profess to desire earnestly the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but we shall do well to note that one of the first things which the Holy Spirit will aim to produce in us will be this Christlike love to the brethren. How many brethren in Christ are now effectively separated from you by a high wall of social position, a wall of conventionality that has been reared by Christian pride? Were Christ's mysterious and unfathomable love to them to find its way, perchance, into your heart, how it would laugh at the huge hindrance of this wall, and by a breath cause it to dissolve into the ambient air! This is no hypothesis. In lands where the Spirit of God is poured out we are told of the sudden and beautiful flowing together of social streams that have flowed separately on for generations. Love like that which Jesus manifested to the Samaritan woman and to the woman who was a sinner, has now found new exhibitions of itself.

— from The Gospel of the Comforter Chapter 20.