23 November, 2005

God loves a few Prelates

Jokingly my wife has said to me that the two greatest influences in her life have been a Baptist (Spurgeon) and a Prelate (Ryle). They are both fantastic preachers despite their views on church government, the millennium, and baptism.

I too love Ryle and Spurgeon. May it be duly noted for the sake of my ecumenical spirit.

The latter end of the nineteenth century was a time when preaching was still fantastic in England, but Confessionalism was not. Below is a quote from Ryle on the exalted state of preaching. Any comments?

"A preaching ministry is absolutely essential to the health and prosperity of a visible church. The pulpit is the place where the chief victories of the Gospel have always been won, and no Church has ever done much for the advancement of true religion in which the pulpit has been neglected. Would we know whether a minister is a truly apostolical man? If he is, he will give the best of his attention to his sermons. The minister who exalts the sacraments, or forms of the church, above preaching, may be a zealous earnest, conscientious, and respectable minister, but his zeal is not according to knowledge."


Nate said...

Starting with Edwards and other revival preachers the care for ecclesiology began a huge downward in the US and abroad.

I love Ryle, but this quote is a product of that mentality.

shawn said...

I think what youre saying is, a lack of care for the doctrine of Ecclesiology caused a elevation og the lowest common denominator (not even the Creeds) but the Gospel, Oh the sweet Gospel... which is... Jesus saves, without qualification. [The more reformed would say, Jesus Saves, with qualifications, but those qualifications are not issues of Salvation, and won't help you enter the Kingdom of Christ]

Tony and I were talking last night, and came to a reserved conclusion. If we wanted to study any issue of Reformed Theology, we would pretty much avoid New England and that which flows from it.

In other words, there is very little American Theologians have to offer us. Interesting thought eh? I mean I might read a couple articles here and there, and that's about it.

The reservations, or qualifications I have are,
1) some help contemporize the Truth, speaking to a contemporary audience.

2) And still others can be teaching the very truth of the Reformers, and so we follow them as they follow Christ.

Finally, here is an exercise. Think of a theological topic. Now what teacher would you go to so you could learn the depths of this truth?

I'm curious who you would come up with. Even many pastors today piont you to some work, or book.

Nate said...

I love to read New England Theology but I too see the same problem. A lowered common denominator which is the Gospel.
Of course this lowered denominator is actually a VERY HIGH place that current evangelicals are no where near.

I hope others come in on this discussion, I think that it is a good one....of course, its my blog...and all!