What Evangelical Religion is not

According to J. C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool 1880–1900

We protest against the idea that in baptism the use of water, in the name of the Trinity, is invariably and necessarily accompanied by regeneration.

Evangelical Religion does not undervalue the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper . It is not true to say that we do. We honour them as holy ordinances appointed by Christ Himself, and as blessed means of grace, which in all who use them rightly, worthily, and with faith, “have a wholesome effect or operation.”

But we steadily refuse to admit that Christ’s Sacraments convey grace ex opere operato, and that in every case where they are administered, good must of necessity be done. We refuse to admit that they are the grand media between Christ and the soul—above faith, above preaching, and above prayer. We protest against the idea that in baptism the use of water, in the name of the Trinity, is invariably and necessarily accompanied by regeneration. We protest against the practice of encouraging any one to come to the Lord’s Table unless he repents truly of sin, has a lively faith in Christ, and is in charity with all men. We protest against the theory that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice, as a theory alike contrary to the Bible, Articles, and Prayer-book. And above all, we protest against the notion of any corporal presence of Christ’s flesh and blood in the Lord’s Supper, under the forms of bread and wine, as an “idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians.”

Editor’s note: the quote at the end of Bishop Ryle’s remarks is from the 1662 Prayer Book, where this comment is added at the end of the Communion service:

Whereas  it  is  ordained  in  this  Office  for  the  Administration  of  the  Lord’s  Supper,  that  the Communicants should receive the same kneeling; (which order is well meant, for a signification of our  humble  and  grateful  acknowledgement  of  the  benefits  of  Christ  therein  given  to  all  worthy Receivers, and for the avoiding of such profanation and disorder in the holy Communion, as might otherwise ensue;) yet,  lest  the same kneeling should by any persons, either out of  ignorance and infirmity, or out of malice and obstinacy, be misconstrued and depraved; It is hereby declared, that thereby no adoration is intended, or ought to be done, either unto the Sacramental Bread or Wine there bodily  received, or unto any Corporal Presence of Christ’s natural Flesh and Blood. For the Sacramental Bread and Wine remain still  in  their very natural substances, and  therefore may not be adored;  (for  that were  Idolatry,  to be abhorred of all  faithful Christians;) and  the  natural Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ are  in Heaven, and not here;  it being against  the  truth of Christ’s natural Body to be at one time in more places than one.

Comments

Advertisements