Friday, August 19, 2016

Packer on Ryle

Bishop J. C. Ryle was The Puritan Bishop, that is the Puritan Bishop par excellence, said Dr. James I Packer, Professor of Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, speaking in Liverpool on 9 September at a meeting chaired by the present Bishop of that city. His subject was “J. C. Ryle, the Puritan Bishop”. Dr. Packer asked, “What is a Puritan?”
His answer was that a Puritan was a type of Evangelical believer, British and Anglican, whose time of greatness was the 16th century. Because of the Great Ejection we think of the Puritans as nonconformists but they were not and did not want to be. Dr. Packer said that the standard Evangelical between about 1600 and 1900 was Anglican, adding that, “The Church of England will never be healthy, save as this type of Evangelical is found in its fellowship once more. Recovery of the Puritan type of Evangelical I maintain is necessary for our church’s health” Ryle’s Achievements Ryle was the last outstanding representative of this type of Evangelical. He had the three marks of a great man; (1) Achievement, notably the remarkable way he took over an area without institutions and turned it into a diocese. Also, his undisputed leadership of evangelicalism in the second half of the last century; (2) Impact, much of it through his brilliant, forceful, vigorous writings and (3) Universality, as proved by the blessing he has brought to subsequent generations, seeming to be speaking directly to us today. Dr. Packer discussed the characteristics of Victorian society and the terrible wound and humiliation that his father’s sudden bankruptcy inflicted on John at the age of 25. Ryle’s Five Features of Evangelicalism Dr. Packer reminded his audience of the five leading features of Evangelical religion as proposed by Ryle;
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