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Knots Untied (Ryle)

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Knots Untied is J. C. Ryle’s leading work in defence of the evangelicalism of the Church of England. When first published in 1874 it proved immensely popular, and by 1885 it was reprinted in a tenth edition. Knots Untied is a classic volume in which Ryle covers the then current disputes about various points of religion within the Church of England, advocating and defending the evangelical position at every turn. 

Knots Untied is unashamedly written from the ‘standpoint of an Evangelical Churchman’. Ryle’s presentation of the evangelical position is simply outstanding, ‘not because it differs substantially from what other evangelicals might say, but because’, according to J. I. Packer, ‘he sets it forth so clearly, so brilliantly, and so compellingly – in a word, so very, very well. … In this, as in so much else, his work retains benchmark status; for surely in principle his evangelicalism is neither more nor less than New Testament Christianity.’

‘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…Here is rock: all else is sand.’ J. C. Ryle on the Bible as the only rule of faith and practice.

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Table of Contents:

Preface to the Tenth Edition (1885)

Preface (1877)

1. Evangelical Religion

2. Only One Way of Salvation

3. Private Judgment

4. The Thirty-nine Articles

5. Baptism

6. Regeneration

7. Prayer-book Statements about Regeneration

8. The Lord’s Supper

9. The Real Presence

10. The Church

11. The Priest

12. Confession

13. Worship

14. The Sabbath

15. Pharisees and Sadducees

16. Divers and Strange Doctrines

17. The Fallibility of Ministers

18. Apostolic Fears

19. Idolatry



J.C. Ryle (1816-1900) was appointed the first Bishop of Liverpool in 1880 and was the leader of the Evangelical party in the Church of England for more than half a century. He is highly regarded for his plain and lively writings on practical and spiritual themes, and their usefulness and impact have been consistently recognized and remain as wise and relevant today as when he first wrote them.