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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Summer Edition 1998

Why Daniel Steele So Strongly Opposed Dispensationalism

One preacher wrote to me accusing me of "wasting my time" in what I am attempting to do in this ministry. He should have addressed his sentiments to the great nineteenth century Methodist theologian Dr. Daniel Steele, as well.

    Evidently Steele thought it was important enough to deal with the emerging influence of Darbyite dispensational theology on the Holiness Movement of his day that he took the time and effort to assemble a book of 350 pages directed to the matter—and that before the days of computers and desktop publishing!

    Daniel Steele was a man passionate about about Wesleyan Methodist theology. He clearly recognized in John Nelson Darby's novel hyper-Calvinistic/anti-Christian perfectionist dispensational theory the insidious head of vilifying antinomian heresy, and that it was his Christian duty, and in the best interest of the cause that he so dearly loved, to oppose it strenuously.

    Antinomianism we define as "election without obedience theology." It finds vivid expression in the popular state/standing teachings of the neo-Calvinistic majority branches of the evangelical movement of our day. Quite simply, this is the teaching that a believer may have an imputational standing in Christ (eternal security) that may divorced from his actual moral state, or condition (the sinning in thought, word, and deed every day mentality).

    Antinomianism not only permeates the theology of such major American denominations as the Southern Baptist, but far too much of the Wesleyan Holiness Movement as well, which, at the grassroots level, has accepted the antinomian theology of dispensational premillennialism, and, in its educated echelons, the antinomian ideology of the neo-orthodox existentialists.

    Though nearly universally UNRECOGNIZED--sadly--by the established denominational holiness ministries of our day, antinomianism is the number one killer stalking the contemporary Wesleyan Holiness movement going into the twenty-first century.

    Well, then, that we should return to a perusal of Daniel Steele's A Substitute for Holiness, or Antinomianism Revived: the Theology of the Plymouth Brethren Examined and Refuted, and to John Fletcher's famous Checks.

Related Article Links

Understanding Antinomianism
Antinomianism And The Future Of The Wesleyan Holiness Movement