Ryle on the Nature of Christian Ministry

J. C. Ryle:

Christian ministers are not priests, nor mediators between God and man. They are not agents into whose hands men may commit their souls, and carry on their religion by deputy. They are witnesses. They are intended to bear testimony to God’s truth, and specially to the great truth that Christ is the only Savior and light of the world. This was Peter’s ministry on the day of Pentecost. “With many other words did he testify.” (Acts 2:40.) This was the whole tenor of Paul’s ministry. “He testified both to the Jews and Greeks repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21.) Unless a Christian minister bears a full testimony to Christ, he is not faithful to his office. So long as he does testify of Christ, he has done his part, and will receive his reward, although his hearers may not believe his testimony. Unless a minister’s hearers believe on that Christ of whom they are told, they receive no benefit from the ministry. They may be pleased and interested; but they are not profited until they believe. The great end of a minister’s testimony is “that through him, men may believe.”

On John 1.6-8 in Expository Thoughts on the Gospels

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2 Responses to Ryle on the Nature of Christian Ministry

  1. Greg Mayhew says:

    AMEN to that. Having been saved and coming out of the catholic church, I was always ill at ease with having to call a priest father, and going to him or praying to Mary. Even as a kid it caused confusion. I remember the priest telling us as kids, that if we ever went to another church, God would kill us with lightning. I thank my gracious Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for bringing me out of that and to a church and pastor that preach Christ, and Christ alone, men who rightly divide the word of God.

  2. Chrisanne says:

    Thank you for sharing this excerpt. I apologize in advance for bringing up a different subject, but I ask that we pray earnestly for those involved in standing up for the freedom to include prayer in their meetings:


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