The ambiguity and obscurity of statements from religious leaders today often confuse ordinary Christians. J.C. Ryle’s writings were of a different character. His outspoken comments can still help us towards clear Bible-based convictions.
The church’s doctrine and practice are in constant danger of being corrupted from their original divinely-given character. Seeing this, Ryle felt compelled to utter a warning, however controversial this might prove. As he observes, ‘There are times when controversy is…a benefit. Give me the mighty thunderstorm rather than the pestilential malaria. The one walks in darkness and poisons us in silence…The other frightens and alarms us for a little season. But it is soon over, and it clears the air’.
Strong convictions and clarity of expression always mark Ryle’s writings. Nowhere is this more evident than in the addresses and articles brought together as Warnings to the Churches.
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.