I am immersed in J. C. Ryle because I plan to give a biographical study of his life and thought at the Desiring God pastors’ conference next January. He was a 19th century, evangelical, Anglican bishop of Liverpool. One thing that gives him power as a writer is the density of biblical saturation.
Human opinions don’t get very far with me without explicit Bible foundation. So I like Ryle. He doesn’t take many steps without a Bible stone underneath his foot. I am riveted.
If you want to join me along the way, I am reading his classic Holiness which you can buy for $2.99 at the Kindle store.
Here’s an example of his clarity and Bible tethering:
Sanctification is the only sure mark of Gods’ election. . . . It is not given to us in this world to study the pages of the book of life, and see if our names are there. But if there is one thing clearly and plainly laid down about election, it is this — that elect men and women may be known and distinguished by holy lives.
“Peter . . . to those who are elect . . . in the sanctification of the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:1-2).
“Those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
“He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy” (Ephesians 1:4).
“We know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5).