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 started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book 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. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Previous Sins & Christian Ministry

QUESTION: Is it right to refuse to license a man to preach the Gospel because of sins committed before his conversion — since which God has forgiven?

ANSWER: There are sins which cast a long shadow after they have been forgiven, by reason of which I should not vote for a man's admission to the sacred office of the Christian ministry. If Aaron Burr, the grandson of President Jonathan Edwards, had been soundly converted after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, and had applied for a license to preach, the church which refused his application would have acted wisely. If St. Augustine, who was converted after he had become the father of a illegitimate son, had not been permitted to enter the priesthood because of this sin of his youth, no wrong would have been done to him. It would have been an unfortunate disability. If after a matrimonial shipwreck by a divorce and a second marriage a man should be converted and ask to be ordained to the Christian ministry while the first wife is still living, the church would be justified in saying to him, we have confidence in your Christian character, but we prefer that you should be a layman and not a preacher. Among Gentile converts were some polygamists, who it seems were baptized and received into the church, but when they wished to become ordained ministers, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, laid down the law for all future generations: "Let the deacons be husbands of one wife," i.e., only one at a time.

— From Steele's Answers pp. 7,8.

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