To Ponder: we

Jellyfish Christianity

Eighteen centuries ago the apostle Paul forewarned us, “The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear!” 2 Timothy 4:3. The natural man hates the Gospel and all its distinctive doctrines, and delights in any vain excuse for refusing it. The plain truth is, that the root of the whole evil lies in the fallen nature of man, and his deeply-seated unbelief in God’s infallible Word. I suspect we have no idea how little saving faith there is on earth, and how few people entirely believe Bible truths. One man is proud–he dislikes the distinctive doctrines of Christianity, because they leave him no room to boast. Another is lazy and indolent–he dislikes distinctive doctrine, because it summons him to troublesome thought, and self-inquiry, and mental self-exertion. Another is grossly ignorant–he imagines that all distinctive doctrine is a mere matter of words and names, and that it does not matter a jot what we believe. Another is thoroughly worldly–he shrinks from distinctive doctrine, because it condemns his darling world. But in one form or another, I am satisfied that “original sin” is the cause of all the mischief. And the whole result is, that vast numbers of men greedily swallow down the seemingly new idea that doctrine is of no great importance. It supplies a convenient excuse for their sins. The consequences of this widespread dislike to doctrine are very serious in the present day. Whether we like to allow it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a jellyfish Christianity in the churches–that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power. (J.C. Ryle, “The Importance of Dogma” 1900)

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