(J.C. Ryle, 1816-1900)
“Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!” Hebrews 13:9
Many things combine to make the present inroad of false doctrine peculiarly dangerous.
Because there is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error–and their ‘earnestness’ makes many think they must be right.
Also, there is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge. Quite a few imagine that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides.
Additionally, there is a general tendency to free thought in these latter days. Many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties.
But there also is a widespread desire to appear tolerant and liberal-minded. They seem half ashamed of saying that anybody can be in the wrong.
A number of half-truths…
taught by the modern false teachers are incessantly using Scriptural terms and phrases in an unscriptural sense.
There is a morbid craving in the public mind for the more sensational and showy. Men are impatient of inward, invisible heart-work.
Additionally is a silly readiness in every direction to believe everybody who talks cleverly and earnestly with a determination to forget that Satan is often “transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
There is a widespread ‘gullibility’ among professing Christians–every heretic who tells his story plausibly is sure to be believed. Anyone who questions him is called a bigot and a narrow-minded man.
All these things are peculiar symptoms of our times. Therefore I defy any observing man to deny them. They tend to make the assaults of false doctrine in our day peculiarly dangerous. Therefore they make it more than ever needful to cry aloud, “Do not be led astray by all kinds of strange teachings!”
An ignorant laity will always be the bane of a Church!
But a Bible-reading laity may save a Church from ruin.
So let us read the Bible regularly, daily, and with fervent prayer, and become familiar with its contents.
Therefore, let us receive nothing, believe nothing, follow nothing–which is not in the Bible, nor can be proved by the Bible.
Because our rule of faith, our touchstone of all teaching, must be the written Word of God!
Therefore, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this Word–it is because there is no light in them!” Isaiah 8:20
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