Don’t Make Your Preacher A Pope

J.C. Ryle “Warnings to the churches,” point four:


“Your minister may be a man of God indeed, and worthy of all honor for his preaching and practice; but do not make a pope of him. Do not place his word side by side with the Word of God. Do not spoil him by flattery. Do not let him suppose he can make no mistakes. Do not lean your whole weight on his opinion, or you may find to your cost that he can err. It is written of Joash, King of Judah, that he ‘did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest.’ (2 Chronicles 24:2) Jehoiada died, and then died the religion of Joash. Just so your minister may die, and then your religion may die too; – may change, and your religion may change; – may go away, and your religion may go. Oh, be not satisfied with a religion built upon man! Be not content with saying, ‘I have hope, because my own minister has told me such and such things.’ Seek to be able to say, ‘I have hope, because I find it thus and thus written in the Word of God.’ If your peace is to be solid, you must go yourself to the fountain of all truth. If your comforts are to be lasting, you must visit the well of life yourself, and draw fresh water for your own soul. Ministers may depart from the faith. The visible Church may be broken up. But he who has the Word of God written in his heart, has a foundation beneath his feet which will never fail him. Honor your minister as a faithful ambassador of Christ. Esteem him very highly in love for his work’s sake. But never forget that infallibility is not to be found in godly ministers, but in the Bible.”

Bishop Ryle was an Anglican, correct? Huh. I’d argue correctly that many a Calvinist treat the “good Bishop” like a Pope.