Friday, March 7, 2008

Book(let) Review # 6: A Call to Prayer by J.C. Ryle

I said I would give a book review, but I didn't say how long the book was =:) This was a busy week, so I didn't have nearly the reading time I had planned or expected. Over the last two days, I went back to my shelf of books that I re-read to get my energy and passion refueled.

J.C. Ryle is one of those authors who does it for me. In 1880 Ryle was named the first Bishop of the newly constituted diocese of Liverpool. Throughout his ministry he became known and beloved as a defender of the evangelical reformed faith as expressed in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, of the Church of England.

His book Holiness is a must read. His writing style is direct and lovingly confrontational. His illustrations are based in human interaction, making them relevant regardless of the era in which they were written.

A Call to Prayer is typical Ryle. He starts off this books with " Do you pray?" and then for the rest of book outlining the necessity of prayer and the affects if it is lacking. Ryle also starts off by insisting that prayer is needful to salvation. " But that a man can have salvation without asking for it, I cannot see in the Bible."

Ryle continues to outline the marks of a true disciple by their willingness to pray. " I don not deny that a man may pray without heart and without sincerity. I do not for a moment pretend to say that the mere fact of a person's praying proves ever thing about his soul. As in every other part of religion, so also in this, there may be deception and hypocrisy. But I do say this, that not praying in a clear proof that a man is not yet a true Christian."

On of my favorite quotes is " Can we really believe that people are praying against sin night and day, when we see them plunging into it?"

Ryle is not for the faint of heart, and he will get you angry at times, but for all the right reasons. He will spur you on to know Christ. I love having a preacher with a thick accent preach God's word with power. This is the closest I get some times, imagining Ryle leaning over the top of the pulpit, pouring God's word over his people with a fire that is shut up in his bones.

A Call To Prayer is a good introduction to Ryle.