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, February 28, 2014

What is "Renouncing All"?

QUESTION: What is meant by renouncing "all that he hath" in order to become a disciple of Christ? Luke 14:88.

ANSWER: It means that we must renounce the selfish principle of using our property solely for our gratification and that we must henceforth use it to glorify God, as his stewards or trustees. Only fanatics insist on the literal interpretation that no man can become a true disciple until he has pauperized himself and his family. None of Christ's requirements are in collision with the necessary conditions of human life. Property is necessary to human existence. We must have food, raiment, shelter, fuel, medicine, tools, teachers and books if we would advance beyond savagery. Opponents of the Gospel delight to load up Christianity with a lot of impracticabilities, such as hating father and mother, lending money to rum-smelling tramps, and, becoming a pauper in order to become a disciple. In all these matters the first law of interpretation is common sense.

Steele's Answers pp. 111, 112.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Does New Birth Impart the Divine Nature?

QUESTION: Does not the new birth impart the Divine nature?

ANSWER: Properly speaking, only one man has the Divine nature, the only Son of God. The regenerate are figuratively called sons of God and are said to partakers of the Divine nature. This means that they have, through the Holy Spirit, taken on the likeness of God, in outline at least, a similarity to Christ, loving what he loves and hating what he hates.

Steele's Answers p. 111.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Salvation in Two Installments

QUESTION: Why is entire sanctification distinct from the forgiveness of sins and subsequent thereto?

ANSWER: There is a distinction in the nature of these two works; the first act taking place in the mind of God, as the moral Governor, and the second an act of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer. Again, a sinner begging for pardon realizes his transgressions of God's law and his need of forgiveness and believes for this only. He has little or no realization of his depravity, and for this reason he has not faith for its removal. After the spiritual life has been inspired in him and has encountered inward antagonisms he is in a condition to appreciate his need of purification and to believe for it with a faith much stronger than that required for forgiveness. It is much easier for a child of God to trust his loving Father than it is for a sinner to trust in God who is angry with the wicked every day. Hence it is a merciful arrangement that salvation should be administered in two installments. If the faith requisite for entire sanctification must be exercised for pardon, no one would find pardon. He would not be in a condition to fulfill this requirement.

Steele's Answers pp. 110, 111.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mountain Removing Faith

QUESTION: Explain Mark 11:28, "especially mountain removing faith."

ANSWER; This is an Oriental proverb for the removal of some stupendous obstacle or the conquest of any appalling difficulty. It is to be symbolically interpreted, and not literally, unless the spirit of God should in a supernatural way inspire miracle working faith for such an object, which he has never yet done. When Christianity went forth from Jerusalem to conquer Jewish opposition, and pagan persecution, faith removed the Alpine mountains which stood in the path of a dozen unarmed, and unlearned fishermen and peasants. This text does not encourage anything spectacular or arbitrary. We are dependent upon the Holy Spirit for a knowledge of what we should pray for. When we know this, it is easy to believe. When God wants us to work miracles he will inspire in us miracle working faith.

Steele's Answers p. 110.

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Age of the Holy Spirit is Opened!

In that sublime formula of worship, the Te Deum Laudamus, which has dropped from the lips of dying sires to living sons for fifteen centuries, there is found this sentence, referring to the work of Christ in opening the dispensation of the Spirit:

"When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, 
Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers." 

To make the Church realize the presence of [the Holy Spirit], "The Executive of the Godhead," there must be more praying in the Holy Ghost, more preaching with the demonstration of the Spirit, more singing with the Spirit, and testifying as the Spirit giveth utterance, with the attesting fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace. There must be more faith in the Holy Spirit as "the greatest gift that man could wish, or that heaven can send."

We belie His presence when in our fruitless lives we present Him as a barren tree, with no golden fruit to attract and feed hungry souls. This poor, blind world, which apprehends only sensible things, physical causes and effects, must be lifted up by the lever of sanctified character from the low plane of naturalism, to apprehend the presence of the supernatural on earth, the standing miracle of Christianity — the Holy Spirit dwelling in human hearts and transfiguring human lives.

How glorious will be that era when the brief credo, "I believe in the Holy Ghost," has descended from the head into the heart of the Church, or has ascended from an intellectual assent into assured knowledge. "But ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you" (John xiv. 17). Then, and not till then, will Jesus, the glorified Bridegroom, have the entire heart of His bride, for then will the Spirit, the Bridegroom's looking glass, fully unveil His loveliness to her eyes as the chief among ten thousand. "He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you."

How cheering the thought that this period of intense spiritual illumination and power is not fixed by the decree of God in the distant future, but that it may be inaugurated in our own day by a simple, all surrendering faith in Christ's promise of the Comforter. The spiritual hunger of the Church eagerly devours every year nearly a million of tracts issued from the Willard Tract Repository alone, on the fulness of the Spirit as the Comforter and Sanctifier. Scores of periodicals setting forth entire sanctification from sin, not by death, but by the Holy Ghost, are, springing up in all Protestant lands, and even in foreign missions. These are indications of the dawn of that returning day of Pentecost, when the Spirit shall be poured out in His fulness upon all who "know the exceeding greatness of Christ's power to us-ward who believe." The eastern sky has streaks of light betokening the sunrise of a day power. Christians of every name, lone watchers on the mountain-tops, now see the edge of the ascending disc, and are shouting to the inhabitants of the dark valleys below to awake and arise, and behold the splendors of the King of day.

Reader, the perfect restoration of the reign of the Spirit over the Church involves your personal co-operation, and the entire consecration of your heart; your victory over the world, your crucifixion with Christ, the entire cleansing of your heart, and the transformation of your body into "the temple of the Holy Ghost," — "an habitation of God through the Spirit." Are you ready to be nailed to the Cross? By the "you" I mean the old self-life.

"Come Holy Spirit! from the height
Of heaven send down Thy blessed light!
Come Father of the friendless poor!
Giver of gifts, and Light of hearts,
Come with that unction which imparts
Such consolations as endure.

"Where Thou art, Lord, there is no ill,
For evil's self Thy light can kill:
O let that light upon us rise!
Lord, heal our wounds, and cleanse our stains,
Fountain of grace! and with Thy rains
Our barren spirits fertilize."

Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 16.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Executive of the Godhead

For several years our mind has been laboring to invent some concise expression for the sum of all the offices of the Third Person of the Trinity, in the transformation, sanctification, and habitation of souls who fully believe in Christ Jesus. At last Dr. Hodge, [President of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary at Princeton, N.J. U.S.A.] has struck out with his die the very coin which our own mint has failed to stamp and contribute to the currency of Christian experience and theological discussion. "The Holy Ghost is the Executive of the Godhead." We telegraph our thanks to Princeton. May Dr. Hodge's mint continue to pour out its golden coin into our religious literature for many years more. This clear cut conception and expression of the work of the Spirit is exceedingly beautiful because it is indisputably true. Law emanates from the Father, and mercy and judgment are committed to the Son, while the Executive of both Persons is the ever blessed Spirit. Here we have the three departments of government: the legislative, the judicial, and the executive. Through the Holy Spirit the Father and the Son operate on human souls, reproving, regenerating, witnessing and sanctifying. We now see how a person may honor the Father, and in a measure the Son, and yet fail of obtaining the highest spiritual grace through a failure to honor the Holy Ghost, the blessed Comforter; just as a man may show all proper respect to the lawmaking and law-interpreting departments of our own government, and secure their action, and then miss his purpose at last by ignoring the last link necessary to its realization — the executive officer, without whose agency statutes and courts are ineffectual. We fear that there are many Christians who inadvertently fail in their tribute of respect, faith, and worship to the Holy Ghost, regarding him as an impersonal emanation or influence streaming from God, or as only another name for the Father, who can just as well without Him reach and transfigure their sin-stained souls, through the blood of the Lamb that taketh away the sin of the world.

To human reason this looks very plausible. But Christian experience, especially in its advanced stages, has proved it to be fallacious. We must believe in the Holy Ghost as the indispensable agent in the production of spiritual life, both in its incipiency and in its FULLNESS. There is a sense in which he is now the most important active factor in the production of Christian character.

The work of the Father in the gift of the Son, the work of the Son in pouring out His own blood as a sin-offering, are completed past acts. But the work of the Spirit in each individual believer is incomplete.

They very greatly mistake who suppose that He fully accomplished His mission to our world on the day of Pentecost, or, at the farthest, when He had inspired the last word of the New Testament; and that He then withdrew, leaving the Church under the reign of fixed spiritual laws. Such a creed as this chills the soul and deadens all the fires of faith and love.

Let the entire Church come to a full realization that the Comforter came to abide, and that He is now descending in personal pentecosts as certainly and as demonstrably in the consciousness of every perfect believer as He did in the upper room in Jerusalem: then will the glory of the dispensation of the Spirit begin to be generally seen, and "the Executive of the Godhead" receive fitting honour.

To have faith in Christ and not to have faith in the Spirit seems to be a great contradiction: yet we submit it for the judgment of candid inquirers whether this very contradiction is not strikingly exhibited in the case of almost all who profess to be followers of Christ. To know the Father, we must know the Son; to know Christ, we must know the Spirit.  — George Bowen, Love Revealed.

This is our privilege: "Ye know Him." "He shall testify of Me." We suspect that much of the repugnance among good Christian people to an instantaneous sanctification comes from a sort of naturalistic view of the kingdom of grace left to the operation of fixed laws in the absence of the King. They forget that the King has left in His stead a personal successor and viceregent, clothed with omnipotent power.

The day of Pentecost was a pattern day. All the days of this dispensation should have been like it, or should have exceeded it. But alas! the Church has fallen down to the state in which it was before this blessing had been bestowed, and it is necessary, for us to ask Christ to begin over again. We, of course, in respect to knowledge — intellectual knowledge of spiritual things — are far in advance of the point where the disciples were before the Pentecost. But it should be borne in mind that when truths have once been fully revealed and made a part of orthodoxy, the holding of them does not necessarily imply any operation of the Spirit of God. We deceive ourselves, doubtless, in this way, imagining that because we have the whole Scriptures, and are conversant with all its great truths, the Spirit of God is necessarily working in us. We need the baptism of the Spirit as much as the apostles did at the time of Christ's resurrection. — George Bowen, Love Revealed.

That was not a mere dash of rhetoric which fell from the pen of John Fletcher, when he spoke of the Pentecost as the opening of "the kingdom of the Holy Ghost." He has the signet ring of our glorified King Jesus, and reigns over the family on earth as the Son of Man reigns over the family above. He has not shut himself up as an impersonal force in the tomb of uniform law, but he walks through the earth, a glorious personality, with the keys of divine power attached to His girdle, and with the rod of empire in His right hand. He works miracles in the realm of spirit, as did Immanuel in the realm of matter. The new Creator of the soul performs a greater work than the original Creator of man, inasmuch as the former works upon material which is capable of an eternal resistance to His plastic touch, while in matter there was no such antagonism.

Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 16.

Friday, February 21, 2014

On Hebrews 11:39, 40

QUESTION: Explain Heb. 11:39, 40, "And, these all, having had witness borne to them through their faith, received not the promise. God having provided some better thing concerning us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect."

ANSWER: The difficulty lies in the meaning of two words, "promise" and "perfect." Promise is here used for the thing promised, the resurrection of the body and the glorification of the soul and body in the likeness of the glorified God-man. This is the perfection for which the heroes of faith recorded in this chapter, "the Westminster Abbey of the Old Testament," are waiting till the Second Advent of Christ and the general resurrection. The souls of the blessed dead are neither unconscious, nor hidden away in some doleful place, but they are in heaven, according to the constant testimony of the New Testament Scriptures, enjoying all that is possible for disembodied spirits. They are in the heaven of glory, "with Christ, which is very far better" than perfect love to him on the earth, while they were subject to the limiting an instantaneous increase and perfection, "when soul and body will his glorious image bear." The history of the saints upon the earth must be finished before the completion of heaven comes on. So it may be very properly said that the patriarchs, prophets and ancient saints are waiting for the completion of our dispensation before their glory will be made perfect by the dawning of the day in which their bodies will live again. Blessed in their present condition, they are blessed also in their anticipation of a supreme and eternal perfection. Thus, the "promise" is the "perfection."

Steele's Answers pp. 108-110.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Be Ye Perfect

QUESTION: Is Matt. 5:48 a precept or a prediction? We note that the revisors have changed the words, "Be ye perfect" to "Ye shall be perfect," making them a promise instead of a command.

ANSWER: Both forms are mandatory. All the requirements and prohibitions of the Decalogue, except the fifth, are in the indicative form, "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not." This is really in the Greek as strong as the imperative mood. Even though we had no expressed command, we would be bound to realize the highest ideal. This is found in the character of Jesus Christ. "While a better is in sight, we can rest in no good; and the refusal to move onward is to be a traitor to the highest, and so, finally, to the good itself," says Dr. Borden P. Bowne. Indifference in sight of spiritual perfection is a perilous attitude of a free moral agent professing faith in Christ.

Steele's Answers pp. 108.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Deeper Death?

QUESTION: Does the Bible teach that after we are wholly sanctified there is yet a deeper death?

ANSWER: This question has the odor of Plymouth and Keswick, and of Geneva, the home of Calvin. Many good people cling to the doleful doctrine that sin is necessary to this present life and that it must continue till physical death in the case of the normal Christian, and that a perfectly holy man is something abnormal. The Bible teaches that Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil. Sin is the devil's masterpiece which the Lamb of God came into the world provisionally to destroy through the efficacy of faith in his blood. He has opened a fountain for sin and all uncleanness, not in the article of death or after our last heart-beat. Paul certainly contemplated a period of life after dying unto sin once for all, when, in answer to our question, in a slightly changed form, he quired thus: "We who died to sin, how shall we live any longer therein?" It is not a process, "are dying," but a completed act, "died." Strictly speaking, there are no degrees of death, although we hear men in the street using this phrase, "deader than Julius Caesar." Crucifixion, Paul's favorite word for the cessation of the self-centered life, is a decisive act admitting of no degrees, or "dying deeper down," "our old man was crucified" (aorist) subsequently explained by Paul's reference to his own experience in Gal. 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer that I live" (American Revision). He did not need to die deeper down. The fact that he kept his body under by holding in check his innocent animal appetites, like those of Jesus Christ, does not prove the need of a deeper death in the one case any more than in the other.

Steele's Answers pp. 107, 108.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On Luke 11:41

QUESTION: Explain Luke 11:41, "But rather give alms of such things as ye have; and behold, all things are clean unto you."

ANSWER: The exegetes are about equally divided, some saying, "By acts directly contrary to rapine and wickedness, show that your hearts are cleansed, and these outward washings are needless" (Wesley); and others assert that Jesus ironically describes the error of the Pharisees, "Give alms, forsooth, and make compensation for your extortions and cleanse of all your guilt." Jesus does not often use irony, but I think he uses it with good effect here. He casts no slur on almsgiving, but upon using, it as a cover for sin.

Steele's Answers p. 106.

Monday, February 17, 2014

On Mark 16:17, 18 (The Snake Handling Verses)

QUESTION: Is Mark 16:17, 18 to be taken in its literal meaning? If so, have not all believers the power to cast out devils, to heal the sick, to drink deadly poisons and handle rattlesnakes without harm?

ANSWER: The Revision informs the reader that the last twelve verses of Mark are not in the two oldest manuscripts, and that some authorities have a different ending to his Gospel. Most of the experts regard it as "an apocryphal fragment" (Meyer) and that "the internal evidence is very weighty against Mark being the author." (Alford.) No less than twenty-one words and phrases occur in these verses, and some of them several times, which are never elsewhere used by Mark. For this reason I have for more than thirty years conscientiously refrained from quoting any part of this passage as a proof-text of any doctrine. It is thought that either he left his Gospel unfinished, having died in the middle of a sentence, or what is more probable, that the last part of his manuscript was accidentally torn off before any copies were made. In India a favorite method of annoying the missionary preaching in the open air is to bring him a cobra, whose bite is fatal, and ask him to handle it in proof of the truth of his sacred books. The grave doubt of the genuineness of this passage affords him a good reason for declining this test. We look in vain in the Acts of the Apostles for any instance of drinking poison or picking up snakes to demonstrate the divine origin of Christianity.

Steele's Answers p. 105, 106.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cartoons & Theological Controversy

QUESTION: Is the cartoon a proper instrument of theological controversy?

ANSWER: Some have thought that Paul used it for imparting religious instruction in Gal. 3:1 "before whose eyes Jesus Christ was depicted as crucified." It is better to understand Paul as saying that Christ crucified was vividly portrayed in his preaching. The comic cartoon was very early used as a weapon against Christ by pagans. Recently a wall of the barracks of the Pretorian guard, with which Paul was acquainted in his imprisonment at Rome, was laid bare, showing a rough cartoon of a cross to which a man with the head of a donkey was nailed. Beneath it a soldier is kneeling and these words are written, "Clovius worships his god." If the cartoon continues to be used, let the enemies of Christ have a monopoly of it. Let not professed Christians use it against one another.

Steele's Answers p. 104, 105.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Is Accepting Christ Necessary?

QUESTION: Which is correct: "All will be saved except those who reject Christ," or "None will be saved except those who accept Christ?

ANSWER: Aside from infants and pious pagans living up to their best light in total ignorance of the Savior, my preference is to say, "Christ has begun to save the fallen race and he will save every one who will receive him as both Savior and Lord." Many sinners say, "I am not conscious of rejecting Christ," while they cannot say, "I am conscious of receiving Christ." This is the reason for my preference.

Steele's Answers p. 104.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why Not Now?

If the blessing of conscious completeness in Christ, and the abiding Comforter and Sanctifier, is by faith only, why not now? Today is the day of salvation. Full salvation surrounds you like a shoreless ocean. Appropriate to your utmost capacity today. You will gain nothing by waiting. There is no lack for God to supplement, and there is no particular in which you can improve yourself and make yourself more acceptable to Him. Neither sanctification nor justification is by works. Works involve the element of time; but faith says, "Now, this instant, Thou, O God, wilt receive my offering."

"But," says doubt, "suppose that I feel just the same after I thus believe, what then?"

Keep on believing the promise, and insisting that God is true. He may delay for days and weeks the declaration of your complete acceptance, in order to develop and test your faith. The longer the delay, if you trust unwaveringly, the more marvelous the manifestation of Christ to your soul as your complete Saviour, when the Comforter takes the things of Christ and shows them unto you. The Syrophoenician woman lost nothing by pressing her suit against chilling discouragements. Faint not.

Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 15.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Let Yourself Go

Some teach that consecration must be a perfect and distinct act, preceding faith as a distinct act. But we can never surrender to a person whom we do not trust. So that faith, simple faith, lies at the bottom of every step God-ward. We have recently seen a beautiful illustration of the need of trust in order to complete consecration. A glass-worker makes a beautiful, yet exceedingly frail, ornament, and brings it to his friend as a gift. He says, "This is yours; it is very delicate, and must be touched with the greatest care.

"But," says the friend, whose hand has been out stretched for several minutes, "why do you not let go your grasp and give it to me?"

"O, because I am afraid that you will take hold of it so strongly as to break it, and all my labour will be lost," replies the giver.

"But you say that it is mine; let it go, then, and if it is shattered in the transfer, the loss will be mine and not yours."

If your gift of yourself to Christ is in good faith, let yourself go; and if you break all in pieces, you have lost nothing; it is His loss. Perhaps He can make a better use of you, thus shattered, than He could with your wholeness. In His service a broken heart is a thousand times more efficient for good than a whole one.

Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 15.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Consecration and Trust

There are but two steps down into the pool which makes whole — consecration and trust. Difficulties attend both steps. Some are in doubt whether they surrender all to the disposal of Christ. To such we say, Consecrate all you know, and then all you do not know. This includes all your assets. God asks no more than this. At this point many fail, through fear that they are to become paupers, when God means to endow them with untold wealth. What, let Christ become my Lord indeed! Is it safe to give Him complete control over my heart, to be the Sovereign of my will, the Owner of all my property, while I sink down to a mere stewardship under Him. Will He not take some cruel advantage of me? Will He not command me to hard service? Will not reproaches be heaped up on me, if I avow before men and angels that I am wholly Christ's? Very likely He will honour you by entrusting to you some difficult labour. If you go into partnership with Him, you must share all the reproach which comes upon the firm. You are advised beforehand that Jesus is an unpopular character in what is called the best society. "If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?" "The world will hate you, because it hateth Me: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Hence there can be no perfect consecration without an accompanying perfect trust.

Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 15.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Your Good Name or God's Glory?

Perfect reliance on Christ is impossible so long as you are cherishing your good name as a treasure more precious than His glory. I think that He had ministers of His Gospel especially in view when He said, "How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?" This is not a rebuke for a jealous care of our moral standing, since an untarnished name is, with preachers, an indispensable condition of success, but for a weak truckling to a public opinion, hostile to unadulterated Christian truth. Some are tempted to temporize, and tone down the Gospel to please men on whom they think themselves dependent. Reader, your reputation is not too good to give to the Lord Jesus. Paul's self-surrender included his popularity. "If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."

Mile-Stone Papers Part 1, Chapter 15.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Church Membership Conditions

QUESTION: What moral right has the church to make conditions for membership which were not required in the apostolic church?

ANSWER: Very little is said in the New Testament about the qualifications for church membership beyond faith in Christ and obedience to his moral precepts. But should the experience of many generations uniformly result in the conviction that certain courses of conduct are invariably detrimental to faith and strongly tend to a destruction of good morals, the church has a right to forbid such practices.

Steele's Answers p. 103, 104.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Virtue vs. Holiness

What is the specific difference between virtue and holiness? Repression. Virtue is the triumph of right against strong inward tendencies toward the opposite. Jesus triumphed over outward temptations to sin, and was holy. Mary Magdalene, by divine grace, triumphed over strong inward tendencies toward vice, and was virtuous. The repressive theory of holiness, involving, as it must, the co-working of the human soul with the divine Represser, confounds the broad distinction between holiness and virtue, and banishes holiness from the earth, substituting virtue instead. In fact, we do not see any possibility, by this theory, for a fallen man ever to become holy in the sense of the entire extinction of inbred sin. If this is only repressed here it may be only repressed for ever hereafter. If the Holy Spirit cannot eradicate original sin now, through our faith in the blood of Jesus, what assurance have we that He can ever entirely sanctify our souls?

But if by repression is meant the right poising of the innocent passions of sanctified human nature after the extinction of ingratitude, unbelief, malice, self-will, and every other characteristic of depraved human nature which is sinful, per se, we accept it as Wesleyan and Scriptural.

— edited from Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 13.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is a Sunday School Picnic a Means of Grace?

QUESTION: Is a Sunday school excursion and picnic a means of grace?

ANSWER: Yes, to the teachers and officers it is a means of the grace of patience and watchfulness against physical and moral harm to the children entrusted to their care. To the children themselves, especially to those shut up in cities, the picnic is a healthful change, affording a glimpse of nature in the grove, on the mountain top, or by the seaside. It is not exactly a religions institution, but is a proper device for holding the children and youths to a religious institution, just as the tailor's basting thread is necessary to hold the parts of his work together till he can put in the permanent stitches. When D. L. Moody began his Sunday school in the slums of Chicago, he used cakes and maple sugar with which to attach his scholars to his school, while he was endeavoring to attach them to Christ with an everlasting tie.

Steele's Answers p. 103.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What is the Best Book of Illustrations for a Preacher?

QUESTION: What is the best book of illustrations for the pulpit?

ANSWER: The best three are: (1) the Bible, (2) Nature and (3) experience. A thorough study of those will furnish you with abundant illustrations pertinent and instructive. Cultivate the habit of seeing spiritual truths in the natural world and in the events of daily life. As for cyclopedias of illustration, the less you use them the better for your sermons and your self-respect. In my youthful ministry I cumbered my library with them, but I got rid of them so long ago that I have forgotten the names of their compilers. Become your own cyclopedia. Jesus often said, "The kingdom of heaven is like." Keep on the lookout for likes. If you wish to know what attractiveness they give to a sermon when the preacher is the discoverer of the likeness, read a volume of Rev. Louis Albert Banks, as a modern instance.

Steele's Answers pp. 102, 103.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Should a Preacher Become a Lecturer?

QUESTION: What do you think of a Gospel preacher's entering the lecture field?

ANSWER: When Henry Ward Beecher visited Boston for the last time, the students of the School of Theology of Boston University invited him to address them. He gave them a rousing offhand speech and then invited the students to ask any questions. One asked if he would advise the preacher to prepare a few lectures. As quick as a flash of lightning, Beecher replied: "What do you want two nozzles to your hydrant for, when you have water enough for only one?"

Steele's Answers p. 102.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Drink a Little Wine?

QUESTION: Explain I Tim. 5:23: "Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

ANSWER: Here are three facts: a total abstainer from intoxicants, a weak stomach needing a tonic, and a medical prescription of wine in homeopathic doses. There seems to be no moral peril in this advice by an apostle of the Gospel of Christ to a man who was not a reformed drunkard. It puts wine into the medicine chest where it belongs, and not on the sideboard, where it steals away the brains.

Steele's Answers pp. 101, 102.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Once Saved Always Saved?

QUESTION: A class of people here teach that a person once saved cannot be lost. Their chief proof text is John 10:28, "I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." Please explain.

ANSWER: All of God's promises of spiritual blessings are conditioned expressly or by implication. The implied condition here is strongly hinted to the Greek reader in the context by the use of the present tense, denoting continuance: "My sheep are hearing my voice and they are following me." Such persevering believers have eternal life. Says Bishop Westcott: "If any man falls in his spiritual life, it is not from want of divine grace, nor from the overwhelming power of adversaries, but from his neglect to use that which he may or may not use. We cannot be protected against ourselves in spite of ourselves. The difficulty in this case is only one form of the difficulty involved in the relation of an infinite to a finite being. The sense of the divine protection is at any moment sufficient to inspire confidence, but not to render effort unnecessary." So long as obedient faith continues, the spiritual life continues, but when faith lapses, the life, which might have been everlasting, also lapses. This is impressively taught in the parable of the vine in John 15:1-7. Fruitless branches of the true vine are burned. There is no other rational exegesis.

Steele's Answers pp. 100, 101.