Monday, February 26, 2007

J.C. Ryle on the Church's Power

In his collection of diverse essays published under the title The Upper Room (Banner of Truth), J.C. Ryle, bishop of Liverpool from 1880-1900, writes that in the upper room, where the disciples gathered after the Ascension of our Lord, lies the church's true power.

"This little upper room was the starting point of a movement which shook the Roman Empire, emptied the heathen temples, stopped gladiatorial combats, raised women to their true position, checked infanticide, created a new standard of morality, confounded the old Greek and Roman philosophers, and turned the world upside down. And what was the secret of this power? The unity, the soundness in the faith, the holiness, and the prayers and intercessions of the first professing Christians. Where these things are wanting, the grandest architecture and the most ornate ceremonial will do nothing to mend the world. It is the presence of Christ and the Holy Ghost which alone gives power" (p.22).

"I challenge those who sneer at dogma to show us a more excellent way, to show us anything that does more good in the world than the old, old story of Christ dying for our sins, and rising again for our justification" (p.23).


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