Daniel Steele

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Daniel Steele (1824-1914) was a noteworthy Bible scholar and theologian associated with the Methodist Holiness movement.  His writings have an emphasis on Biblical interpretation.  He was an apologetic defender of Wesley and Fletcher.

Pastoral & Academic Life

Daniel Steele was born October 5, 1824 in Windham, New York.  He graduated from Wesleyan University, with a B.A. in 1848, a M.A. in 1851, and a D.D. in 1868.  He served as a tutor for two years in that school.  He joined the New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1849, and served in pastoral work until 1862.

In 1862, he was elected Professor of Ancient Languages and Literature in Genesee College in Lima, New York.  From 1869-1871, he served as acting President at Genesee College.  In 1871, he was appointed the Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy in the College of Syracuse University.  In this year, Genesee College also merged with Syracuse University.  He was also selected to be the Vice President of the College of the University which, in the school's earliest stage, also made him the University's first acting Chancellor.

In 1879, he retired from the university, and returned to pastoral work in the New England Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.  It was in this period of time that Steele began to publish his theological books and writings that would establish him as a prominent figure in the Holiness movement.

In 1886, Steele became the Professor of Doctrinal Theology at Boston University.  He continued to write well into his final years.  His last published essay was published in 1911, just a few years before his death on December 2, 1914.

Brethren Connection

From Ironside's "Historical Sketch of the Brethren Movement" (see Sources): "Another American leader whom Mr. Darby met was Dr. Daniel Steele, the great Methodist divine, and advocate of Wesleyan perfectionism.  He was at first greatly delighted with Mr. Darby's downright earnestness of purpose and vast knowledge of the Word and attended many of his readings in Boston.  But he could not accept the doctrines of grace and considered Mr. Darby's teaching on the two natures and the believer's eternal security utterly false.

One day when Mr. Darby was expounding 1 John 1:7 showing that the subject dwelt on there is "where you walk, not how," Dr. Steele interrupted with the question, "But, Brother Darby, suppose a real Christian turned his back on the light, what then?"  "Then," replied Mr. Darby, "the light would shine upon his back!"  Later Dr. Steele wrote a book against the Brethren, called "Antinomianism Revived, or Plymouth Brethrenism Exposed".  This was ably answered by F.W. Grant in "Christian Holiness: Its Roots and Fruits", which is now out of print."

This anti-Brethren book, as Ironside suggests, along with many other books and papers by Dr. Steele can be freely found on Craig L. Adams's website.  It is also located at  GospelTruth.net, based in Tustin, California, a tribute site to Charles Finney, maintained by a Bro. Dennis.