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Faithfulness and Holiness (Including the Full Text of the First Edition of Ryle's Classic Book, Holiness / Redesign): The Witness of J. C. Ryle Paperback – December 20, 2010
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About the Author
J. I. Packer (DPhil, Oxford University) serves as the Board of Governors’ Professor of Theology at Regent College. He is the author of numerous books, including the classic best-seller Knowing God. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version Bible and as theological editor for the ESV Study Bible.
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Top Customer Reviews
As the other reviewers have said, this is an appreciation and should be read sa such. Appreciation or no, Packer reaveals the facts and this makes Ryle enjoyable to read about. Ryle was a man among men in his day and would be a demi-god among men in our day, with so little doctrinal preaching in our midst. What caught me about Ryle was that he was widowed twice and he outlived his third wife, and yet still proclaimed the Word of God.
To be honest, his book holiness is not easy to read. BUt as John Piper said, "Raking is easy, but all you get is leaves. Digging is hard, but you might find diamonds." Ryle stands in the old Puritan tradition. Maybe tough to read, but extremely edifying to the saints when read. His view on Holiness stands in direct contrast with the view of Finney. But that is okay because the Bible stands in direct contrast with Finney. THis book should be read by all denominations: Anglican/Episcopal so that they may appreciate one of their own. Baptists, becasue he preaches like one. Charismatics--so that they might be rescued from their erring ways.
This is a good introduction to Ryle's life and hopefully will accomplish the task that Packer hopes, that one may read more of Ryle, along with the other puritans.
So Ryle's life is one of personal trials and professional testing, yet always remaining true to his convictions. He readily refers to the Puritans and their works, way of life and doctrinal standards, as those he clearly espouses and refuses to do away with. Dr Packer spends several valuable chapters in painting the 19th century on the canvas of Ryle's life.
The second portion is the well-known book, Holiness, which Ryle published in 1877. It is true of this modern classic that Ryle wished he 'might have chosen a subject more popular and pleasant...but I...could not have chosen one more seasonable and more profitable to our souls.' p 139 This is a favorite read. Not too theological, yet inspiring of great good that can be achieved by the hand of a holy God. Bishop JC Ryle's view of justification and sanctification stand in stark contrast to Bishop Moule, who stated that 'We are not to think of the giving of the Spirit as of an isolated deposit of what, once given, is now locally in possession'. Said Ryle: 'I fear it is sometimes forgotten that God has married together justification and sanctification. They are distinct and different things, beyond question, but one is never found without the other.' p 153 And in distinction to Rome who made salvation dependent upon sanctification, JC Ryle made it indispensable to a life of holiness: 'A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labour to have the mind that was in Him, and to be 'conformed to His image' (Rom 8:29).' p 140
'The Puritans taught that a 'regeneration' that leaves men without the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit and without the practice of holy living is not what is promised in Scripture.' Joel Beeke, Living For God's Glory p 292
He defended the doctrine of justification by faith in clear and supremely biblical terms, yet entirely in opposition to Rome: 'In justification our own works have no place at all, and simple faith in Christ is the one thing needful. In sanctification, our own works are of vast importance, and God bids us fight, watch and pray, and strive, and take pains, and labour. Justification admits of no growth or increase... sanctification is an imperfect work, and will never be perfected until we are in heaven.' p 134 He underlined the perseverance of the saints in bold print: 'Better suffer and obey God, than be at ease and in sin.' p 138
Bishop Ryle denied what many charismatic teachers preach as standard truth today: 'I do not for a moment say that holiness shuts out the presence of indwelling sin. No: far from it.' p 144 Even in his day perfectionist claims were disseminated amongst the common people as if it were biblical truth. 'In the 1800s, JC Ryle quoted extensively from Traill's little book, Justification Vindicated, using its clear distinctions between justification and sanctification to defend the church against the holiness movement led by Hannah Pearsall Smith.' Meet The Puritans, eds. Beeke & Pederson p 585 He retorted: 'I question the wisdom of making new-fangled divisions which the Bible has not made, and I thoroughly dislike the notion of a second conversion. Are they not, when they urge on believers the 'higher life' as a second conversion, underrating the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of that great first change which Scripture calls the new birth, the new creation, the spiritual resurrection?' p 101