01 July 2012

The State of the 'Almost Christian'

From J.C. Ryle Quotes:
There are many whom I must call “almost Christians,” for I know no other expression in the Bible, which so exactly describes their state. They have many things about them which are right, good and praiseworthy in the sight of God. They are regular and moral in their lives. They are free from glaring outward sins. They keep up many decent and proper habits. They appear to love the preaching of the Gospel. They are not offended at the truth as it is in Jesus, however plainly it may be spoken. They have no objection to religious company, religious books, and religious talk. They agree to all you say when you speak to them about their souls. And all this is well.
But still there is no movement in the hearts of these people that even a microscope can detect. They are like those who stand still. Weeks after weeks, years after years roll over their heads, and they are just where they were. They sit under our pulpits. They approve of our sermons. And yet, like Pharaoh’s lean cows, they are nothing the better, apparently, for all they receive. There is always the same regularity about them—the same constant attendance on means of grace—the same wishing and hoping—the same way of talking about religion—but there is nothing more. There is no going forward in their Christianity. There is no life, and heart, and reality in it. Their souls seem to be at a deadlock. And all this is sadly wrong.
~ J.C. Ryle
Tract: Where Are You?

9 comments:

  1. My dear sister,
    I hope and I pray that running this blog (which primarily searches for and criticizes Christian groups or Christian related groups, which does not meet your requirements ((or those you deem fit as of your observation of the bible)) ) does not make you a Pharisee instead. As you have mentioned in your About section, God has turned your life around and brought you to your knees, I hope and pray that your observations do not turn into an obsession of criticism.

    Always remember that the world has 7billion people living in it, and we all might differ from our methods of worshipping the same God (I attended an international church with members from over 40 countries for about 3 years), but the bible says that God looks at&for the heart.

    God bless you and thanks for your occasionally interesting and refreshing input :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Romans 3:4 puts it:
      "Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar.
      It doesn't matter if ALL 7 billion people on this planet agreed on who/what/where/how about God, if it contradicts what the written revelation of God says in the Bible then THEY ARE ALL WRONG.

      It is not her requirements that she keeps comparing to, but God's requirements in Scripture.

      Delete
    2. Weeks,

      I thank you for sharing your not-so-subtle backhanded compliment. I am not sure what within this J.C. Ryle quote caused your feathers to ruffle, but the truth does have a tendency to elicit such types of bristled responses.

      You have claimed that this blog "primarily searches for and criticizes Christian groups or Christian related groups, which does not meet your requirements ((or those you deem fit as of your observation of the bible))". Indeed, there are occasional times when I offer my opinion on certain things. I certainly make every effort to make clear when it is opinion being expressed.

      However, as Bill has graciously pointed out, when I write and offer criticism, it is done in light of the Word of God. I do not hold these teachings to my personal standards, but to the standards set forth in Scripture by our Lord. If this concerns you or makes you uneasy, then I suggest you take your apprehension before the Lord.

      I would close this with a smiley face, but somehow it just doesn't seem appropriate.

      In Christ's service,
      EBenz

      Delete
    3. I am grateful for this blog and the work that Ebenz does. I am a ministry leader at my church and I can tell you that so many are being deceived by false teachers of a false gospel. Ebenz always drives her readers back to Scripture. It is God's Word that is the standard for all of us and she makes that clear on this blog. I find her posts very helpful in addressing the questions I get from members of our church who genuinely want to know God's truth and I also thank her for her contribution to my own spiritual growth. Read her posts carefully and you will see that like the Bereans, she tests against Scripture and calls her readers to do the same.

      Delete
    4. "we all might differ from our methods of worshipping the same God (I attended an international church with members from over 40 countries for about 3 years)"

      Weeks, I wonder how wide and international your God truly is... Would He also be Roman Catholic God? Or perhaps a unitarian God? Excuse me if those questions are misaddressed and misplaced but I hope you see that they are not based on methodologies only but on underlying truth of Scriptures as so is everything differentiating true Gospel from its corruption as EBenz observes and warns others about.

      Delete
  2. Wow, Weeks, where's the love? Help me if I'm wrong about this, but I thought you ecumenical types were all about loving everybody and accepting all comers and above all there must be a spirit of unity within your groups no matter what someone may believe, right??? There is some bad news here, Weeks, and please do not think that I am slamming you with this statement, but the God of the Bible doesn't give a hoot about meetings with people from forty countries or just how it is that you express yourself in what you consider to be worship. Actually, I would rather think that He could be quite disgusted with your "worship" since it doubtless does not focus on Jesus Christ (by your own words: "we all might differ in our methods of worshipping the same god ((you'll forgive me for using a small 'g' to describe you "god")) ). You see, the REAL GOD, not the one your imagination has conjured up, requires that we come to Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. If one refuses to seek GOD through the Lord Jesus Christ, then that same GOD will not accept the worship you think you are offering to Him. You must worship Him His way not your's. All of the gods that man has invented are false gods, dead false gods, whether their name is allah, or buddha, or whatever name they go by, they are all dead false gods.

    Ebenz has actually done you a great favor by quoting from the writings of J C Ryle. It is no accident that you have read this blog, maybe just maybe the real GOD is calling you to repent and believe on His Son, Jesus Christ.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If I could put a face to my comment, it would be shaking it's head with eyes looking to the ground......tragic response from Weeks, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Weeks said "Always remember that the world has 7billion people living in it, and we all might differ from our methods of worshipping the same God (I attended an international church with members from over 40 countries for about 3 years), but the bible says that God looks at&for the heart.""

    Weeks maybe this will help you out. I would ask you with all sincerity, have you earnestly looked, understood and perused the Old Testament? Different methods, and different ways of worshiping God is NOT biblical -it is NOT what God's word teaches--it's not there....


    The advantage about knowing the law of God in the Old Testament is it tells us a lot about (the character and nature of God.) You get to know the kind of God you’re dealing with by understanding the way he dealt with and interacted with Israel.

    Example: the fact that God set up the temple system and told Moses (specifically) how to construct the tabernacle in the wilderness, what pieces of furniture had to be in the tabernacle, when the Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and what type of blood had to be with the Priest and how he had to sprinkle the blood and what clothing the priest had to wear ---all of those (details tell us something very important about God. It tells us God cannot be approached any old way you or I want to approach HIM.7 billion people CANNOT go to GOD 7billion ways nor even 2 ways and worship HIM any old way they please--there's only ONE WAY to worship God and only ONE way to approach HIM! Jesus made it very clear that "true worshipers worship the Father in SPIRIT and in TRUTH"-John 4:23

    We don’t just burst into God’s presence saying “here I am God” any way -(7 billion ways nor even 2 ways) to worship GOD and think that God’s going to say “Oh good the very fact that you chose to come to me and worship me is acceptable to me. NO it's not!! God is very specific in how we approach him and worship him and the Word of God teaches this throughout the Old Testament on into the New Testament -- and bear in mind -God does not change-Mal.3:6.

    God has the right to say how we approach him, when we approach him, how we worship him, what the method of approach is, what kind of sacrifice HE accepts and what kind of mediator HE accepts between sinful man and himself.

    ~ All of that is wrapped up in the law and carried over into the New Testament to the degree that we understand that (God has the right to say how we approach him and worship HIM -ONE WAY.) So, if GOD says that the ONLY way to approach him, to please him is through his Son, then Jesus Christ is the ONLY approach to God. That’s why Christ could say “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one comes to the Father but by ME”—Jn14:6. God is specific and he has that right. It’s his choice His way or no way.

    Hope this helps not hinders you

    ReplyDelete
  5. Such a convicting thought! May God spur us all, not just toward zeal, but toward a zeal that provokes us to Godly action that edifies our own soul as well as others.


    In Christ,
    Dakota - A Look at Life from a Deerstand

    ReplyDelete

Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.