A Review of Faithful and Holiness: The Witness of J. C. Ryle

By Byron Snapp
September 10, 2002

Packer writes this volume in appreciation for Ryle's ministry to so many during Ryle's lifetime and to a much wider audience through the legacy of his writings which continue to be reprinted a century later.

The author approaches Ryle's life from a topical format. He examines Ryle as "A Great Man," "A Great Sufferer," "A Great Puritan," and "A Great Preacher," just to mention a few of the many topics covered. He closes this section of his work by listing Ryle's writings under five categories and by mentioning a number of available biographies of this faithful, evangelical Anglican.

The latter part of the volume contains a reprint of the original volume of Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots which first appeared in 1877. The initial edition contained seven chapters. It was enlarged in the 1879 edition.

Ryle wrote this book to answer Biblically the tenets of those who held that Christians could be fully holy in this life and thus sinless. This wise author aptly began this classic work with a chapter on "Sin." Subsequent chapters cover topics such as "Sanctification," "The Fight," and "The Cost". Readers will find that Ryle writes charitably, but without compromise.

A helpful general index and a Scripture index conclude this book.

Packer writes not only with a deep appreciation for Ryle, but also with great depth of knowledge of his subject's writings. He weaves a number of fitting quotations throughout the text. This allows the reader an opportunity to become acquainted with Ryle's writings as well as with Ryle. These citations should whet the reader's appetite to feast on other writings by Ryle. Packer and Ryle share a passion to know God better and to communicate this desire to their readers. Their desire is ably helped by a clear, concise and practical writing style.

This volume is a well-written work. Here is an opportunity to be introduced to Ryle and see how God worked and shaped his life for God's glory in the midst of happy and sad providences throughout his days on earth.

Topics: Theology

Byron Snapp

Byron Snapp is a graduate of King College (B.A.) and Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He was Associate Pastor at Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church, Hampton, Virginia, from 1994 until his retirement in December 2014. He is a native of Marion, Virginia.  He has had pastorates in Leakesville, Mississippi, and Gaffney, South Carolina.  He served as Assistant Pastor in Cedar Bluff, Virginia prior to his ministry at Calvary Reformed. He has served as editor of the Presbyterian Witness and was a contributor to A Comprehensive Faith and Election Day Sermons. He is currently a member of Westminster Presbytery in the PCA. He and his wife Janey have 3 children and several grandchildren. 

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