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Ryle on what evangelical religion is, part three

May 22, 2018

Here is another thought from Ryle on what evangelical religion is:

) The third leading feature of Evangelical Religion is the paramount importance it attaches to the work and office of our Lord Jesus Christ , and to the nature of the salvation which He has wrought out for man.

Its theory is that the eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ, has by His life, death, and resurrection, as our Representative and Substitute, obtained a complete salvation for sinners, and a redemption from the guilt, power, and consequences of sin, and that all who believe on Him are, even while they live, completely forgiven and justified from all things,—are reckoned completely righteous before God,—are interested in Christ and all His benefits.

We hold that nothing whatever is needed between the soul of man the sinner and Christ the Saviour, but simple, childlike faith, and that all means, helps, ministers, and ordinances are useful just so far as they help this faith, but no further;—but that rested in and relied on as ends and not as means, they become downright poison to the soul.

We hold that an experimental knowledge of Christ crucified and interceding, is the very essence of Christianity, and that in teaching men the Christian religion we can never dwell too much on Christ Himself, and can never speak too strongly of the fulness, freeness, presentness, and simplicity of the salvation there is in Him for every one that believes.

Not least, we hold most firmly that the true doctrine about Christ is precisely that which the natural heart most dislikes. The religion which man craves after is one of sight and sense, and not of faith. An external religion, of which the essence is “doing something,”—and not an inward and spiritual one, of which the essence is “believing,” this is the religion that man naturally loves. Hence we maintain that people ought to be continually warned not to make a Christ of the Church, or of the ministry, or of the forms of worship, or of baptism, or of the Lord’s Supper. We say that life eternal is to know Christ, believe in Christ, abide in Christ, have daily heart communion with Christ, by simple personal faith,—and that everything in religion is useful so far as it helps forward that life of faith, but no further.

Ryle might say that we must worship Christ, not the ordinances or the institutions themselves.

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Ryle on what evangelical religion is, part two

May 21, 2018

Here is the next thought from Bishop Ryle on what evangelical religion is:

) The second leading feature in Evangelical Religion is the depth and prominence it assigns to the doctrine of human sinfulness and corruption . Its theory is that in consequence of Adam’s fall, all men are as far as possible gone from original righteousness, and are of their own natures inclined to evil. They are not only in a miserable, pitiable, and bankrupt condition, but in a state of guilt, imminent danger, and condemnation before God. They are not only at enmity with their Maker, and have no title to heaven, but they have no will to serve their Maker, no love to their Maker, and no meetness for heaven.

We hold that a mighty spiritual disease like this requires a mighty spiritual medicine for its cure. We dread giving the slightest countenance to any religious system of dealing with man’s soul, which even seems to encourage the notion that his deadly wound can be easily healed. We dread fostering man’s favourite notion that a little church-going and sacrament-receiving,—a little patching, and mending, and whitewashing, and gilding, and polishing, and varnishing, and painting the outside,—is all that his case requires. Hence we protest with all our heart against formalism, sacramentalism, and every species of mere external or vicarious Christianity. We maintain that all such religion is founded on an inadequate view of man’s spiritual need. It requires far more than this to save, or satisfy, or sanctify, a soul. It requires nothing less than the blood of God the Son applied to the conscience, and the grace of God the Holy Ghost entirely renewing the heart. Man is radically diseased, and man needs a radical cure. I believe that ignorance of the extent of the fall, and of the whole doctrine of original sin, is one grand reason why many can neither understand, appreciate, nor receive Evangelical Religion. Next to the Bible, as its foundation, it is based on a clear view of original sin.

And the doctrine of original sin is certainly one that has been neglected in our day.

J.C. Ryle on what Evangelical Religion is

May 20, 2018

I wanted to repost this passage from J.C. Ryle’s Evangelical Religion tract, because he had some very good thoughts on what evangelical religion truly is.  Indeed, he had a five-fold answer to that question, and here is the first of his five points:

To the question “what Evangelical Religion is? ” the simplest answer I can give is to point out what appear to be its leading features. These I consider to be five in number.

) The first leading feature in Evangelical Religion is the absolute supremacy it assigns to Holy Scripture , as the only rule of faith and practice, the only test of truth, the only judge of controversy.

Its theory is that man is required to believe nothing, as necessary to salvation, which is not read in God’s Word written, or can be proved thereby. It totally denies that there is any other guide for man’s soul, coequal or co-ordinate with the Bible. It refuses to listen to such arguments as “the Church says so,”—“the Fathers say so,”—“primitive antiquity says so,”—“Catholic tradition says so,”—“the Councils say so,”—“the ancient liturgies say so,”—“the Prayer-book says so,”—“the universal conscience of mankind says so,”—“the verifying light within says so,”—unless it can be shown that what is said is in harmony with Scripture.

The supreme authority of the Bible, in one word, is one of the cornerstones of our system. Show us anything plainly written in that Book, and, however trying to flesh and blood, we will receive it, believe it, and submit to it. Show us anything, as religion, which is contrary to that Book, and, however specious, plausible, beautiful, and apparently desirable, we will not have it at any price. It may come before us endorsed by Fathers, schoolmen, and catholic writers; it may be commended by reason, philosophy, science, the inner light, the verifying faculty, the universal conscience of mankind. It signifies nothing. Give us rather a few plain texts. If the thing is not in the Bible, deducible from the Bible, or in manifest harmony with the Bible, we will have none of it. Like the forbidden fruit, we dare not touch it, lest we die. Our faith can find no resting-place except in the Bible, or in Bible arguments. Here is rock: all else is sand.

I’ll post another one of his five points tomorrow.

Mark Steyn on “The Dog Days of Free Speech” and other things

May 17, 2018

This is a video where Mark Steyn is reading mail from viewers and answering their questions; he has some interesting thoughts about the politicization of everything and the straitjackets of identity politics.

The Rev. William Taylor: “Infectious Worship” (1 Peter 1:22-2:10)

May 15, 2018

The Rev. William Taylor of St. Helen’s Bishopsgate Church in London has been preaching a good series of sermons on “Revolutionary Worship”. The fourth and last of these is “Infectious Worship”, based on 1 Peter 1:22-2:10.

Something Different: G. F. Händel’s Largo from Xerxes

May 14, 2018

I really liked this performance of Xerxes by Handel, performed by a quartet of three cellos and a piano.  The group is from Hungary and the arrangement is by Adam Scheck.

From “Anglican Unscripted”: an interview with David Ould

May 13, 2018

I wanted to mention this interview by Kevin Kallsen of David Ould, as David gives a report on recent events in New Zealand and Australia.  In particular they talk about the General Synod vote in New Zealand and the naming of a new bishop in Australia.

An interesting new book: “Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present”

May 12, 2018

For anyone who is interested in the liturgies of the Reformation and what we can learn from them in our day, here is a new book, Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present.  You can hear more about it at the 9Marks “Pastors’ Talk” podcast, where Dr. Jonathan Gibson is interviewed about the book.  And if you want to see a preview, a PDF is available at New Growth Press.

(Hat tip: Anglican Church League)

The Rev. David Holloway: “The Christian’s Living Hope” (1 Peter 1: 1-12)

May 11, 2018

Here is a sermon that is the first in a series on the First Epistle of Peter, by the Rev. David Holloway of Jesmond Parish Church in the United Kingdom.  Their notes say “Do you feel like an outsider? Are you hoping for something better? Find out how true hope based on the facts of the resurrection can change your outlook on everything.”

Two interesting podcasts: “40 Minutes in the Old Testament” and “30 Minutes in the New Testament”

May 9, 2018

Today I came across two interesting podcasts, available at Christ Hold Fast: “40 Minutes in the Old Testament” and “30 Minutes in the New Testament”.  These both look at the Scriptures from what I would call a Lutheran position.  In “40 Minutes in the Old Testament”, Chad Bird and Daniel Emery Price move chapter by chapter through the Old testament, diving into scripture and talking about the sinner and saint aspects of God’s Word. In “30 Minutes in the New Testament”, Daniel Emery Price and Erick Sorensen walk through the pages of the New Testament highlighting Christ, His work, His cross and His grace.

If you are looking for what amounts to a weekly Bible study, these podcasts might be worth checking out.