Safeguard Against False Doctrine

Point three of Ryle’s “Warning to the churches”:

3. THE BIBLE IS THE BEST SAFEGUARD AGAINST FALSE DOCTRINE

“Does any one ask me, What is the best safeguard against false doctrine? – I answer in one word, ‘The Bible: the Bible regularly read, regularly prayed over, regularly studied.’ We must go back to the old prescription of our Master: ‘Search the Scriptures.’ (John 5:39) If we want a weapon to wield against the devices of Satan, there is nothing like ‘the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.’ But to wield it successfully, we must read it habitually, diligently, intelligently, and prayerfully. This is a point on which, I fear, many fail. In an age of hurry and bustle, few read their Bibles as much as they should. More books perhaps are read than ever, but less of the one Book which makes man wise unto salvation. Rome and neology could never have made such havoc in the Church in the last fifty years, if there had not been a most superficial knowledge of the Scriptures throughout the land. A Bible-reading laity is the strength of a Church.”

Whatever Ryle bids me to observe that accords with Scripture, that I will observe and do (e.g., read, study, meditate on my Bible more, etc.). But I will not do after Ryle’s works. For he says, and does not. One salient example of not safeguarding against false doctrine is Ryle’s spiritual fornication with a notorious God-hater by the name of John Wesley. Of course, Ryle doesn’t need to succumb to speaking peace to a God-hater (cf. 2 John 9-11) to be convicted of not safeguarding since he is heretical enough all by himself.

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