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.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


QUESTION: Does agape always mean divine love in the New Testament?

ANSWER: It denotes Christian love to God and men, a love unknown to writers outside the New Testament, a love which chooses its object with decision of will, so that it becomes self-denying or compassionate. It is the distinctive peculiarity of the Christian life.

— from Steele's Answers p. 53.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A "Babbler"?

QUESTION: A bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church insists that all the translators and lexicographers are mistaken when they represent that Paul was a "babbler" by the Athenians whom he met in the market place. He says they complimented Paul by calling him a spermologos, "a great conversationalist," full of seed-thoughts, and wise sayings, which he scattered broadcast in the agora to the delighted astonishment of the natives. Is this bishop correct?

ANSWER: The best scholars quote Homer, Plutarch, and Demosthenes in proof that σπερμολόγος (spermologos), seed-gatherer, is a term of contempt applied to loungers about the market-place picking up a subsistence by whatever may chance to fall from the loads of merchandise; hence a man beggarly and abject, living by flattery and buffoonery, an empty talker, an idle babbler.

— from Steele's Answers pp. 52, 53.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Can Anyone in the Flesh Please God?

QUESTION: Paul says in Rom. 8:9, "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." Since all who live on the earth are in the flesh, is it not impossible for any living man to please God?

ANSWER: The word flesh has both a good and a bad meaning. In this text flesh means the domination of evil inclinations. No man who is thus dominated can please God. But when the evil propensities are controlled by the regenerating Holy Spirit, God is pleased. Every man in the world may please God by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. The flesh may not only be controlled but be crucified.

— from Steele's Answers p. 52.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Natural Man

QUESTION: In 1 Cor. 4:12 Paul speaks of the natural man. What are his characteristics? Our preachers says he is regenerate.

"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14 KJV.)

ANSWER: He is not spiritual but wholly animal. He has a sensuous nature with its subjection to appetite and passion. In Jude 19 he is "sensual," "earthly" and "devilish." If a man is known by the company he keeps, the natural man must be a bad fellow in great need of regeneration and entire sanctification. Except in 1 Cor. 15:44 "natural" Greek "physical" is in the New Testament always used in a bad sense. The preacher is a blind guide. We fear that both he and his hearers will fall into a ditch hard to get out of.

— from Steele's Answers pp. 51, 52.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Dancing Choir

QUESTION: What is the duty of a Methodist Episcopal pastor towards a choir who dance, play cards, attend theaters, and some drink beer?

ANSWER: The book of Discipline places the choir under the control of the pastor, who may if he wishes have a committee of which he is chairman, or he may have the sole direction. Let him discreetly use his power to weed out improper persons.

— from Steele's Answers p. 51.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Error of Antinomianism

Theological errors move in cycles, some times of very long periods. They resemble those comets of unknown orbits which occasionally dash into our solar system; but they are not as harmless. Often they leave moral ruin in their track. Since all Christian truth is practical, and aims at the moral transformation of men, all negations of that truth are deleterious; they not only obscure the truth and obstruct its purifying effect, but they positively corrupt and destroy souls.

This is specially true of errors which release men from obligation to the law of God. After St. Paul had demonstrated the impossibility of justification by works compensative for sin, and had established the doctrine of justification through faith in Christ which works by love and purifies the heart, there started up a class of teachers who drew from Paul's teachings the fallacious inference that the law of God is abolished in the case of the believer, who is henceforth delivered from its authority as the rule of life.

Hence they became, what Luther first styled, Antinomians (Greek anti, against, and nomos, law). We infer from Rom. iii. 8, 31; vi.1; Eph. v. 6; 2 Peter ii. 18, 19, and James ii.17-26, in which warnings are given against perversion of the truth as an excuse for licentiousness, that Antinomianism, in its grosser form, found place in the primitive church. All along the history of the Church, a revival of the cardinal doctrine of justification, by faith only, has been followed by a resurrection of Antinomianism, which Wesley defines as "the doctrine which makes void the law through faith."

Those who aver that ultra-Calvinism is the invariable antecedent of Antinomianism, would be unwilling to accept the necessary inference that the apostle to the Gentiles was an ultra-Calvinist; yet it is true that the doctrines of Calvinism can be logically pushed to that conclusion. It is also true that other forms of doctrine which emphasize faith in Jesus Christ, as the sole ground of acceptance with God, are more or less liable to have the tares of Antinomianism spring up in their field.

The root of this error lies in a false view of the mediatorial work of Christ, that He performs for men the obedience which they ought to perform, and that God can justly demand nothing further from the delinquents. It is claimed that Christ's perfect virtues are reckoned to the believer in such a way as to excuse him for their absence; His chastity compensating for the absence of that moral quality in the believer. Hence, adultery and murder in King David, being compensated by the purity and benevolence of Jesus imputed to him in the mind of God, did not mar David's standing as righteous before God.

It should be said that the Gnostic sects were Antinomian on other grounds. They held that their spiritual natures could not contract moral pollution, whatever their moral conduct might be, sin inhering only in matter. As a piece of gold retains its purity while encompassed by the filth of the swine-sty, so the soul keeps pure amid the grossest sins. This species of Antinomianism was not limited to those who professed faith in Christ. It was adopted by all who held that all evil inheres in uncreated matter.

Modern Universalism is only another form of Antinomianism. It is the expectation of salvation through Christ, without obedience to either the law or the Gospel.

Christianity was very early disfigured by antinomianism, a doctrinal and practical error which opposes itself to God's law even in the evangelical form in which it was defined by His adorable Son, "Thou shalt love God with all thy heart, and thy neighbor as thyself." This had been the burden of Christ's preaching, with the hint that His own life was to be given, as a ransom for many, and to secure grace to enable them to fulfil God's law. The apostles, by precept and example, powerfully enforced their Lord's doctrine and practice. Their lives are true copies of their exhortations. It is hard to say which excite men most to believe and obey, their seraphic sermons or their saintly lives. Success crowned their labors. Both Judaism and paganism heard the thunder of their words of faith and fell prostrate beneath the lightning of their works of love.

But before all is lost, Satan hastens to "transform himself into an angel of light." In this disguise he instills speculative faith, instead of a saving faith which works by love, purifies the heart, and overcomes the world; he pleads for loose living, puts the badge of contempt upon the daily cross, and gets multitudes of Laodiceans and Gnostics into his snare. Sad and sure is the result. Genuine works of faith are neglected; idle works of men's invention are substituted for those of God's commandments; and fallen churches, gliding downward through the smooth way of antinomianism, return to the covert way of Phariseeism, or to the broad way of infidelity.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Give Us a Spiritual Protestantism!

There are multitudes of nominal Christians who confidently assert that it is the highest presumption and folly to expect, in modern times, that full dispensation of the Spirit concerning which so many excellent things are spoken in the Scriptures. They brand as a fanatic the man who proclaims to a slumbering Church the presence of the Holy Ghost, ready to raise the spiritually dead, and to transfigure the spiritually living.

It is asserted that the era of miracles and the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit are past; not understanding that the Spirit himself is entirely distinct from his supernatural gifts. The Spirit descended upon Mary, the mother of our Lord, and upon several other believing women in the upper chamber; but there is no proof that they were endowed with the gift of tongues, or any other charisma. St. Paul himself was not always replenished with miraculous power. A man may be full of the Holy Spirit, and be a temple for his abode, and have no supernatural gift. Love supreme, love made perfect, is superior to all the miraculous endowments. Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. Witness Balaam's supernatural prophecy, followed by his violent death among the enemies of God, and the miracles of Judas, quickly succeeded by treason to his Master and wretched suicide.

Another objection which men at ease in Zion raise against the universal outpouring of the Spirit in these days is the fanaticism which it is supposed to breed. This would exclude all spiritual life from the world; for life is liberty, and all liberty has its perils. The prisoners handcuffed in grated cells, and the dead in silent tombs, are the only two classes of people who are not in peril of the abuse of their physical powers and appetites. That more fanatics and eccentrics start up in a church filled and thrilled with spiritual life than in a Church in a Laodicean stupor, is no more wonderful than that a free country should give birth to more who abuse their freedom, than an autocratic iron despotism, where none dare to stir.

Give us a spiritual Protestantism, with all its perils of rationalism and fanaticism....

Though there may be occasionally a weak or unbalanced mind carried away into fantastic extravagances under the copious effusion of the Holy Spirit, as a mighty rushing wind, the average mind has skill to adjust its sails to the heavenly gale, and speed its way, with stable ballast, toward the port of eternal life.

 Come, O wind! O breath of God! upon myriads of becalmed souls, and sweep them joyfully onward to the haven of rest.

— edited from Love Enthroned, Chapter 9.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Punishment for Sin vs. Sin's Natural Consequences

QUESTION: (a) Explain the difference between the punishment of sin and it's natural consequences. (b) May not Matt. 25:46 and Rev. 22:11 be a statement of the same thing from different standpoints?

Matthew 25:46: "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:but the righteous into life eternal." (KJV)

Revelation 22:11: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still:and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still:and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still." (KJV)

ANSWER: (a) Punishment relates only to the guilt of sin. Forgiveness removes the liability to punishment. It does not remove regret for sin in time nor in eternity. In this sense sin casts a shadow into heaven itself. In other words you cannot forgive the sin which God has forgiven. Nor does God, who forgives a sinner in middle life, restore the blessings lost in his wasted youth, such as education, and intellectual power and possibly physical health lost by sins against his body. The prodigal son was received by his Father, but the money lost by riotous living was not restored in the form of a second division of the paternal estate. Then again others suffer in consequence of one man's sin whose forgiveness does not arrest these evil consequences, such as the poverty of the drunkard's wife and children. His reformation and conversion to Christ does not restore the farm which has gone down his throat and lodged in the till of the saloon. I speak with deliberation and reverence when I say that God cannot forgive the natural consequences of sin, because he cannot change the past. To do so would falsify history. He is a God of truth. He can no more change the past than he can change the multiplication table. (b) There is a sense in which sin is its own punishment, as virtue is its own reward. Yet as this reward differs from that which God will bestow in heaven, so this punishment must differ from that which he will inflict in hell. What this final reward is, and final punishment, has not yet been revealed. It awaits the Day of Judgement. Hence in preaching it may not be best to make this distinction between natural consequences and penalty. There is a poem relating to an impenitent sinner, the last verse of every stanza ending thus:

"To be left alone with memory
Is hell enough for me."

Yet I cannot believe that such expressions as "the wrath of God," "the Day of Judgment," and "eternal judgment" are rhetorical figures for the natural consequences of sin. In that case the final sentence of the Judge would be superfluous. The assertion that the moral law automatically inflicts penalty on transgressors is a doctrine which strongly leans toward the denial of the existence of a personal moral Governor. I lay no foundation for pantheism.

— from Steele's Answers pp. 49-51.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Operas and Sunday Pleasure Riding

QUESTION: What should be done with a Sunday school superintendent whose example it would not be safe to follow in the matter of operas and Sunday pleasure riding?

ANSWER: Kindly labor with him. If he will not reform, you may persuade him to resign.

— from Steele's Answers p. 49

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Damaged Reciever

QUESTION: How would you treat a truly converted and wholly consecrated man who has so long been seeking purity of heart as to become a painfully chronic seeker? It should be noted that he is not in a perfect physical condition.

ANSWER: The last fact noted may be the cause of this difficulty. In reference to chronic cases of lack of assurance, Wesley says: "I believe this is usually owing either to disorder of body, or ignorance of the gospel promises." I have seen a case of despair because of ill health. At Clifton Springs Sanitarium my attention was directed to a Christian woman in total spiritual darkness and great distress of mind because she had no communion with her Saviour [as] in former years. Said I to her: "Why are you here?" "Because," she replied, "the plastering fell from the ceiling of my schoolroom where I was teaching and struck my head."I then told her that her Savior was still speaking to her, but that her telephone receiver was damaged by the concussion and that restored health would bring back her lost communion with the skies. Years afterwards she assured me that this was her experience. Such cases are to be treated with great tenderness and sympathy. It is comforting to know that "God knoweth our frame."

— from Steele's Answers pp. 48, 49.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Do We Experience God?

The subtle suggestion is sometimes presented that this whole matter of Christian experience is all illusory — a phenomenon of our own minds under the influence of causes wholly within itself. The thoughtful believer is sometimes annoyed by the thought that God has nothing to do with inward religious emotions — that what seems to come from without, and to move so marvelously within the soul, assuring of pardon and cleansing from sin, really arises from the hidden depths of our mysterious nature while intently contemplating religious ideas, and that there is no manifestation of God at all as an objective existence.

To this we have two answers.

1. In the first place, if this illusion leaves permanent beneficial effects upon the character, gives victory over sin, fills the soul with love toward God and the purest philanthropy, destroys the fear of death, and adorns and beautifies the spirit with all excellences, it is infinitely better than any reality to be found on earth, and it should be earnestly coveted and diligently sought by every person.

2. But we may know that God manifests himself in Christian experience by the testimony of consciousness — the same testimony that assures us of the existence of the external world.

To demonstrate the existence of the material world, as we have shown, has been for ages "the puzzle of philosophers," as Tyndall styles it, many contending that the sphere of consciousness is limited to the operations of mind itself, and that it cannot directly cognize any thing external. The most that it can do it to infer that its sensations have an external, unknown, and forever unknowable cause. Those who deny the correctness of this inference deny the existence of matter, and resolve it into ideas. With idealists, the ego only exists; the mountain, river, and plain are only so many different modifications of the ego, or self.

At length Sir William Hamilton arose, and cut this metaphysical knot by boldly enlarging the sphere of consciousness to include the outer world.

So we reply that the soul illumined by the Holy Spirit is conscious, not only of its own subjective religious exercises, but of God, their external cause, impressing himself mysteriously upon the Spirit. In other words, we may have, when our perceptions are quickened by the Holy Spirit, the same knowledge of God as we have of the external world. Christians in advanced experience universally testify that they all know God.

— from Love Enthroned, Chapter 13.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

We Trust. God Works.

Guest blog by Hannah Whithall Smith (1832-1911):

There is a certain work to be accomplished. We are to be delivered from the power of sin, and are to be made perfect in every good work to do the will of God. ‘Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,’ we are to be actually ‘changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.’ We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

A real work is to be wrought in us and upon us. Besetting sins are to be conquered. Evil habits are to be overcome. Wrong dispositions and feelings are to be rooted out, and holy tempers and emotions are to be begotten. A positive transformation is to take place. So at least the Bible teaches.

Now somebody must do this. Either we must do it for ourselves, or another must do it for us. We have most of us tried to do it for ourselves at first, and have grievously failed; then we discover from the Scriptures and from our own experience that it is a work we are utterly unable to do for ourselves, but that the Lord Jesus Christ has come on purpose to do it, and that He will do it for all who put themselves wholly into His hand, and trust Him to do it.

Now under these circumstances, what is the part of the believer, and what is the part of the Lord? Plainly the believer can do nothing but trust; while the Lord, in whom he trusts, actually does the work intrusted to Him. Trusting and doing are certainly contrastive things, and often contradictory; but are they contradictory in this case? Manifestly not, because it is two different parties that are concerned.

Friday, March 15, 2013

"O Ye of Little Faith"

The most surprising fact which came to the knowledge of Jesus was the weakness of his disciples' faith. Descended from heaven, written all over with proofs of his divinity, and bearing the great seal of God in his right hand — the miracle-working power — he stood unrecognized in the world. A little band of a dozen or more attach themselves to his fortunes, and avow faith in him; but often their perception of the wonderful beauty of his character was so dim, and their glimpses of his divinity were so brief, that they relapsed into distressing doubt, and were on the point of abandoning him forever.

We often wonder at their skepticism and spiritual stupor, as if we, standing in their place, would have had eyes to pierce the clouds of doubt, and to behold and adore the full-orbed sun in its first rising upon the world's darkness; but we are by no means sure that if we had been the companions of Christ's earthly wanderings, listened to his words, and witnessed his works, we should have escaped the oft-repeated rebuke, "O ye of little faith! wherefore do ye doubt!"

Should Jesus today step into our Christian assemblies, and tell us his view of our spiritual condition, he would find a sentence in his gospels just adapted to the state of the modern Church, "O ye of little faith."

We have somewhere met with a quaint, but exhaustive classification of mankind in respect to Christ; namely, believers, half-believers, make-believers, and unbelievers. There is no fifth class. Nor can they be reduced to three. Some persons deny the existence of half-believers. They assert that there are no degrees of faith; that it is not possible that a soul should be in such an equivocal attitude toward Christian truth; that there is either full belief or unbelief. But half-believers have existed all along the history of the Church; and they throng our churches today, and they make up the majority of disciples now as they did in the days of the Son of man.

It is interesting to trace the boundary between half-believers, or doubters — we use the term synonymously — and unbelievers. Unbelief has no positive element of faith, and hence is always the ground of condemnation. It is always fatal to right practice. The unbeliever cannot perform Christian duties with any sincerity, for there is no motive power. Unbelief is spiritual paralysis, voluntarily induced and retained. Its inner essence and culpability lie in the obstinacy of the will against the truth.

The secret reason why the intellect does not assent to the truth is, that the will refuses to obey. Unbelief has always a moral and not an intellectual cause. It arises, not from a lack of evidence, but from an unwillingness to follow wherever the truth may lead. Hence, Jesus applies his antidote directly to the will when he would prescribe an infallible remedy.

"If any man wills to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

— edited from Love Enthroned Chapter 13.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Spirit Bears Witness With Our Spirit

QUESTION: In Rom. 8:16 is it not more correct to say the Spirit bears witness to our spirit instead of with our spirit?

ANSWER: The Greek says "with," there being two concurring witnesses, our consciousness and the Spirit of God. This makes the certainty as strong as God can make it.

— from Steele's Answers p 48.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Must We Use Scriptural Terms?

QUESTION: Must we not use Scriptural terms in order to enter into any desired state of grace?

ANSWER: God can save a person grossly ignorant of such terms as he saved an Indian squaw convicted of sin who thought she must pray in English to the white man's God. She repeated the only two English words she knew, September and October, till she was assured of forgiveness by the witness of the Spirit. But if any well instructed person is ashamed of the words of Christ descriptive of any state of Christian experience he not only cannot enter into that grace, but it is said "of him will I be ashamed." Yet when perfection, or holiness, or perfect love, is confessed we should be studiously cautious to do it in such a way as to glorify God and not ourselves. A failure to do this has brought much needless reproach upon a good cause.

— from Steele's Answers pp. 47, 48.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dr. Steele Discusses His Book "Antinomianism Revived"

This is the fourth in my ongoing series of necro-interviews with Holiness writers of the past. Today we talk with Dr. Daniel Steele about his 1887 book A Substitute for Holiness or Antinomianism Revived. This book is quite a bit different than the author's other books. In this book he writes to refute a theological error which was just then becoming popular in the Christian world — Dispensationalism. This is the view made popular in our day by such people as Hal Lindsey, Tim LaHaye (of the Left Behind books) and numerous others. For Dr. Steele this was far more than a purely speculative concern about the details of end time events. Read on, and you will see what I mean.

In the 20th Century the Dispensational system of interpretation of end time events became extremely popular in the Christian world — especially here in the United States. If anything, it has now become even more popular. It was originally spread through the Scofield Reference Bible, but since that time, there have been many other popular books and Christian films that have spread this view: Hal Lindsey's The Late, Great Planet Earth, the A Thief in the Night film (1972), and, most prominently, the Left Behind books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins.

This view is known popularly as the "pre-trib" view. Many Christians today have never heard any other view. It teaches that God works differently in different dispensations, but is best known for it's distinctive doctrine of the Rapture — that Christ will come to take his followers out of the world before a great end time Tribulation period. (I have written against this teaching myself: Rapture Theology.)

As I understand it, this view of the end times was just beginning to take hold of the Christian world in your day, Dr. Steele.

Yet, I sense, that your objections are a bit different in tone than mine. I gather that you felt impelled to write a book about this — because you felt that this teaching had serious moral consequences. Specifically, you felt that this was an Antinomian (against-the-moral-law) teaching.

We have noted the fact that a school of popular evangelists have espoused the doctrines which lie at the base of Antinomianism, and that they are zealously inculcating these peculiar tenets in Young Men's Christian Associations and summer schools. We have done what we could, by articles in our Christian periodicals, to warn the public of the certain evil results which will ensue when these doctrines descend from the few Christian teachers who, by well-established Christian habits, are fortified against their pernicious tendency, to the multitudes of weak believers who may be ensnared to their moral ruin by the pleasing doctrine that one act of faith in Christ secures a perpetual exemption from condemnation, and a life long license for walking in the flesh.

Yes, I see. So, your concerns about Dispensationalism do not have to do with the details of this end-time schema per se, but about the effect you believe this will have on the lives of Christians: that it will undermine Christian morality. But, surely, this does not mean that people who teach Dispensationalism are living immoral lives, does it?

Some teachers of this doctrine may live in harmony with the purest ethical precepts of Christ, under what Joseph Cook calls "hereditary momentum," and a personal experience of salvation in former years, before embracing their present theological errors. But what will be the legitimate fruit in those who give full credence to a theoretical error lying so near to conduct and character, and who are without the safeguards of which we have just spoken?

What do you expect will happen if these views became widely taught and believed?

From our knowledge of the human heart we forebode many shipwrecks of moral character. Men generally live below their creeds; few rise above them.

Hmm. Can you give an illustration?

Illustration: A preacher riding on top of an omnibus, in London, addressed words of reproof to a tipsy man by his side, who was using very improper language, and warned him as a transgressor of the law of God. "Oh," said the man, "it is not by works, it is by faith, and I believe in Jesus Christ, and of course I shall be saved." Here is a man, a sample of myriads, who are living in willful sin, dreaming of final salvation on the ground of a barren, fruitless, speculative belief that Jesus Christ died for their salvation, a faith which no more reforms the conduct and transforms the character, than faith in the existence of the sea-serpent.

But, these teachers do speak of faith — they insist on the necessity of faith — so, what, then, is their fatal mistake?

The fatal mistake is in ignoring the Scriptural test of saving faith, evangelical works. It is true that the penitent believer seeking the pardon of sin is justified by faith only. But it is also true that in the day of Judgment the same person will be judged by works only, works which attest the genuineness of his faith (Jer. xvii. 10; xxxii. 19; Ezek. vii. 3, 27:; xviii. 20, 30; 1 Cor. iii. 8, 13-15; 2 Cor. v. 10; GaI. vi. 5-8; especially Matt. xxv. 31-46).

Did you have any personal hesitancy in addressing this topic?

It is due to the Christian public that I should acknowledge my sense of incompetency for the proper handling of this subject. I have long waited for some eminent theologian to lift up his voice in refutation of a system of error which is industriously promoted by persons whose zeal is worthy of a better cause. At length I have yielded to the importunity of many Christian men to expose the character and tendencies of that system of doctrines against which this book is prayerfully directed. I have made a free use of that great armory of weapons — "Fletcher's Checks to Antinomianism." Sometimes I have quoted sentences unchanged, noting them with quotation marks. But frequently these marks could not be used by reason of the alterations which I have made, either to abridge, to modernize, or to eliminate some personal allusion.

In your book, do you quote from the Dispensational Bible teachers of your day?

In my quotations from the writings of the Plymouth Brethren and their sympathizers, I have endeavored to give the exact idea of the writer as gathered from the context.

Can you state for us some of your core convictions about the Gospel of Christ — the convictions which have impelled you to write on this topic?

It is no secret that the author of this book believes in a large Gospel, an evangel co-extensive with the present needs of the depraved offspring of Adam; yea, more: he believes that where sin hath abounded, grace doth here and now much more abound to those believers who insist that Christ is a perfect Saviour from inbred sin, through the efficacy of His blood, in procuring the indwelling Comforter and Sanctifier. He unhesitatingly proclaims and testifies to all the world that Jesus Christ can make clean the inside, as well as the outside of His vessels unto honor; that heart-purity is real and inwrought, and not a stainless robe, concealing unspeakable moral filthiness and leprosy. He believes with St. John against the Gnostics, that if any man asserts that he has by nature no defiling taint of depravity, no bent toward acts of sin, and hence, that he does not need the blood of atonement, that he self-deceived, and the truth is not in him; but if he will confess his lost condition, God is faithful and just, not only to forgive, but also to cleanse from all sin, "actual and original" (Bengel). He is bold to assert that we are living in the days when Ezekiel's prophecy is filled: "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from ALL your filthiness and from ALL your idols I will cleanse you; I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes," — a case of evangelical legalism, — "and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses"; and in the days when the words of Jehovah, by the lips of Moses, are verified in the experience of a multitude of believers: "The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live." He finds St. Paul's inspired unfoldings of the Gospel gems, dropped by Christ, to be the exact fulfilment and realization of these predictions, when the Apostle asserts that "our old man is crucified with him" — that is, in the same manner, and with as deadly an effect — "that the body of sin might be destroyed " — "put out of existence" (Meyer); so that every advanced believer may truthfully assert, "it is no longer I that live" (R. V. Am. Committee).

He is confident that the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus does now "make us free from the law of sin and death," although it does not, this side of the grave, deliver us from errors, ignorances, and such innocent infirmities as St. Paul gloried in without detriment to his saintly character. Believing, as the author is not ashamed to confess with tongue and type and telegraph and telephone, in a genuine CHRISTIAN PERFECTION — a Scriptural term which cannot be used "without raising the pity or indignation of one-half of the religious world, some making it the subject of their pious sneers"--he views with sorrow the resurrection of that spurious perfection which wrought disastrous effects in past generations, consisting in an imaginary perfect and inalienable stand ing in Christ wholly independent of moral con duct and character, the outcome of which must inevitably be, in many cases, the rejection of God's law as the rule of life, and a sad lower ing of the standard of Christian morality. It is an evil omen when Christian teachers make eloquent pleas for the flesh, and fallaciously construct ingenious Scriptural arguments for indwelling sin. So long as the believer dwells in the body, such preaching, instead of inspiring unspeakable abhorrence for sin, deadens men's sensibility to its dreadful nature and leads them "to speak of the corruptions of their hearts in as unaffected and airy a manner, as if they talked of freckles upon their faces, and to run down their sinful nature only to apologize for their sinful practices; or to appear great proficients in self-knowledge, and court the praise due to genuine humility."

Are you concerned that some sincere Christians may be offended by your strong words against this popular view of end time events?

Whoever of my Christian friends may be grieved, I trust that the great day will reveal that truth has not been wounded, but rather cleared of errors and set forth in the robes of her native beauty.