What Evangelical Religion is not

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

I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not undervalue the English Prayer-book. It is not true to say that we do. We honour that excellent book as a matchless form of public worship, and one most admirably adapted to the wants of human nature. We use it with pleasure in our public ministrations, and should grieve to see the day when its use is forbidden.

But we do not presume to say there can be no acceptable worship of God without the Prayer-book. It does not possess the same authority as the Bible. We steadily refuse to give to the Prayer-book the honour which is only due to the Holy Scriptures, or to regard it as forming, together with the Bible, the rule of faith for the Church of England. We deny that it contains one single truth of religion, besides, over and above what is contained in God’s Word. And we hold that to say the Bible and Prayer-book together are “the Church’s Creed,” is foolish and absurd.

Ryle is speaking of the 1662 book, of course;  the words ‘matchless’ and ‘admirably’ would no doubt be replaced by something a bit less enthusiastic by Evangelicals if referring to the current book, but the general trend of Ryle’s remarks remains true.

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