J. C. Ryle notes that the church no longer has the men and the message of previous centuries. No wonder if we do not see the same results. What sort of man do you expect to see in the pulpit this morning? Will the message you hear be true to God’s Word? Give us the likes of Whitefield and Edwards, of Nettleton and Spurgeon and a truth inspired message, and I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit would grant us similar results. Why do our present churchmen fall short of their great predecessors? Bishop J. C. Ryle seeks to answer this question:
They fall short in doctrine. They are neither so full nor so distinct, nor so bold, nor so uncompromising. They are afraid of strong statements. They are too ready to fence, and guard, and qualify all of their teaching, as if Christ’s gospel was a little baby, and could not be trusted to walk alone.
They fall short as preachers. They have neither the fervor, nor fire, nor thought, nor illustration, nor directness, nor holy boldness, nor grand simplicity of language which characterized the last century.
Above all, they fall short in life. They are not men of one thing, separate from the world, unmistakable men of God, ministers of Christ everywhere, indifferent to man’s opinions, regardless of who is offended, if they only preach truth, always about their Father’s business. (Christian Leaders of The 18th Century)
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