These posts come from several sources. The blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. I am slowly blogging through Steele's Answers, posting each Q & A in the order in which they appear (whether I personally agree with the answer or not). I also post particularly eloquent passages from Dr. Steele's other writings. Occasionally I post "guest blogs" from other holiness writers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"What Shall I Do, Lord?"

Paul's first recorded prayer, Acts 22:10, "What shall I do, Lord?" is the keynote of his whole Christian life-activity and not a selfish quietism. It indicates that he did not have that conception of the new birth in which the sinner is passive or rather, passive in fulfilling its conditions. That form of piety in which the Christian devotes himself exclusively to coddling himself, to constant morbid introspections of frames and feelings, will not be found in the writings of St. Paul. We are not so much inclined to this error as were many medieval Christians, who were taught that a soul which desires supreme good must remove, not only all sensual pleasures, but also all material things, silence every impulse of its mind and will, and be concentrated and absorbed in God; and that the monastery was most favorable for this result. Self-surrender to God is requisite to the stature of the fullness of Christ; but it must always be accompanied by perfect self-sacrifice for the salvation of our fellow-men. Love must be made perfect in both its Godward and manward aspects. It is a good omen when people are converted with the idea that salvation means vigorous, ceaseless work for others, and joining the church is enlisting in an army in front of an appalling rebellion.

Half-Hours with St. Paul and Other Bible Readings Chapter 3.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Five Thousand Converts?

QUESTION: Explain Acts 4:4, "And the number of the men was about 5,000."

ANSWER: The Am. Revision has, "came to be about 5,000." This has been understood as the sum total of adult male believers up to that date, for the Greek word for men excludes women and children. The 20th Century version reads thus: "The number of men alone mounted up to some five thousand." But there are very eminent scholars  who  say that there was on that day a fresh accession of 5,000 men exclusively. This view is held by such as Chrysostom, Jerome, and. Augustine. The Greek verb, "came to be," instead of "was," seems to be against this interpretation.

—  Steele's Answers p. 140, 141.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Church Fairs and Auctions

QUESTION: Is it right to support the church of Christ by fairs, entertainments and auction sales?

ANSWER: No. It is derogatory to the Gospel by making the impression on the world that it is not of itself alone worth supporting. The lack of money requisite to the maintenance of Christian worship arises from three causes: (1) Little or no love of Christ. (2) Pride prompting the building of edifices too costly for the people to pay for and to maintain. (3) Selfishness requiring the entire services of a preacher and unwilling to be part of a circuit as in olden times in America and as in England now. (4) Often questionable devices are used in fairs to get money. The Scotch preacher intimates this in his pulpit notice: "We very much need more 'siller' (silver) and have tried hard to get it honestly and have failed; so we have decided to hold a fair."

Steele's Answers p. 140.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Should People Be Compelled to Do Right?

QUESTION: Is  it in accord with a sanctified life to compel people in a public place to do right, when they are not willing to do right otherwise?

ANSWER: True virtue must be free; it cannot be compelled. But decent behavior in a public meeting may be righteously required by calling on the police in the last resort, and both the preacher and the police who collars the disturber may be entirely sanctified.

Steele's Answers p. 139, 140.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sin as a State or Condition

QUESTION: Give Scripture references where sin is used to designate a state or condition and not an act.

ANSWER: Rom. 3:9, "they are all under sin," as explained in verses 10-18. Verses 10-13 inclusive denote a state, as also verse 18. Rom. 6:1, "continue in sin." Here the verb implies a state. The next verse, "we who died to sin, how can we any longer live therein?" The words "live therein" must relate to a state of sin rather than an act. Sin is sometimes used to denote the source whence the evil acts proceed; hence II Thess. 2:3, "man of sin," a man in such a condition that he seems unable to live without sin; also Rom. 5:21, 6:12, "Sin reigned." Here Paul is thinking of sin as a state which he personifies, as he does in Rom. 7:23 and 8:2, "law of sin." The same is true of Rom. 6:6, "in bondage to sin." Christ conceives of sin as a condition in John 8:34, "the bond servant (Greek, slave) of sin."

Steele's Answers p. 139.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Is Baptism Necessary to Salvation?

QUESTION: Does this verse teach that water baptism is necessary to salvation, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"?

ANSWER: The rest of the verse (Mark 16:16), "but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned," makes unbelief the sole cause of condemnation. Water baptism is not saving, but contempt of it is damning. An involuntary absence of it, as in the case of the thief converted on the cross, cannot be the ground of condemnation.

Steele's Answers pp 138, 139.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Why Do Pastors Stand to Pray?

QUESTION: Why is it that so many preachers stand when they pray?

ANSWER: Some are of "the standing order," having been educated to pray in that posture, as were the ancient Jews and the modern Calvinists. It is said that the Puritans caught cold on Plymouth Rock and it settled in their knees. But this does not account for the stiff-kneed Methodist preachers. Some of them stand because, Zaccheus like, they are too short to be seen by the people, if they kneel behind the pulpit; others are embarrassed by having to stoop down to adjust the kneeling stool, and others think the pos­ture of the body is indifferent so long as they tell God that they come to him on the bended knees of their souls, "as though souls have knees!"

Steele's Answers p. 138.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Should a Preacher Wear a Ring?

QUESTION: Is it right for a minister of the Gospel to wear a ring on his finger?

ANSWER: It is certainly not in good taste, nor does it seem to be Pauline for a man if it is forbidden to a woman. If it is a superfluity for a lady it is a super-superfluity for a gentleman, especially while pleading for money to feed the starving or to evangelize the heathen. It would not be right for me to be flourishing rings in the pulpit. The Lord has not "appointed me to be judge of my brother's conscience in this matter.

Steele's Answers p. 138.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Sorry Set of Christians

QUESTION: Explain I Cor. 14:40, "Let all things be done decently and in order."

ANSWER: "I should loth to minister to such a sorry set of Christians as were the Corinthians. Wrangling about Paul, Apollos and Cephas, full of envying and strife, running after false teachers, harboring an incestuous person without discipline, degrading the Lord's supper into a drunken banquet, giving to Paul constant sorrow, these Corinthians needed miracles to give them respectable title to the Christian name; and they so abused miraculous gifts by jealousy and contention that they turned their Sabbath assemblies into cabals of men and women, shouting, singing, praying, prophesying, pell-mell, without decency or order." These words of Dr. Joseph P. Thompson show why Paul gave this precept about becoming behavior in public worship.

Steele's Answers p 137.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fit for Heaven?

QUESTION: If inbred sin is merely a hereditary tendency to sin, is the soul that is regenerated but without the experience of entire sanctification fit for heaven?

ANSWER; The new birth entitles to the adoption of sons and to life everlasting. "If children, then heirs of God," etc. Heirship gives the title, but does not give the complete fitness. This must be sought by the believer. If while seeking completed holiness he sud­denly dies, he is saved by virtue of the new covenant in which God promises to save all who perseveringly trust in him. The truth is, everyone who loves God in the first degree desires what John calls perfect love initiated by entire sanctification, and that this state of grace is the heritage of every infant cut off in infancy and of every soul born of God and called to Christ. This is an inference from all the promises made by a covenant-keeping God, and not a special revelation found in the Holy Scriptures which would almost certainly have been abused.

Steele's Answers pp. 136,137.