WHAT IS TRUE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY?

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J.C. Ryle was a pastor and bishop in the Anglican Church during the second half of the 19th century. He served during a time when that church as a whole had lost sight of the gospel and was falling into widespread liberalism.

Ryle was determined to keep the gospel as his central focus, but sadly much of the church around him not only didn’t care – they ridiculed him and called his beliefs “dangerous”. How blind his critics were, for the greatest danger in life is to deny or ignore the gospel truths he sought to keep clear!

As he tirelessly fought the religious trends around him, Ryle identified what he called the “5 leading features of evangelical Christianity”.

1.  The absolute supremacy of Holy Scripture as the only rule of faith and practice.

2.  The depth and prominence it assigns to the doctrine of human sinfulness and corruption.

3.  The paramount importance it attaches to the work and office of the Lord Jesus Christ.

4.  The high place it assigns to the inward work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of man.

5.  The importance it attaches to the outward and visible work of the Holy Spirit in the life of man. True grace will always make itself manifest in conduct.

The title of “Evangelical Christian” is used broadly in the church today, but in many cases the implications of this title are watered down so much it becomes meaningless.

The church in every generation needs to seriously ponder and aggressively protect what it means to be a true biblical / gospel-centered Christian! This means Ryle’s ‘5 signs’ remain valuable reminders and guides to us.

 

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