September 9, 2020
Charles Haddon Spurgeon lived from 1834 - 1892. He became known as the "Prince of Preachers." Coming out of the Reformed Baptist tradition, he was a vocal opponent of the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies of his day. As a result, many in the larger Christian church spoke out against him. As a side note, Spurgeon spoke out early, often, and forcefully against slavery, which cost him dearly in support among American Baptists. Biblical truth was of utmost importance.
Answering criticism of Spurgeon, the evangelical Anglican bishop of Liverpool, J.C. Ryle said this:
Dislike of dogma is an epidemic which is just now doing great harm, and specifically among young people. It produces what I must venture to call a "jellyfish" Christianity in the land: that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.
While written over a century ago, Ryle's observation reminds me of the cliché, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." That is the exact point of the book, "Jesus and Gin," by Barry Hankins, which compares our cultural/political/religious landscape today with what was happening 100 years ago. Different players…same dynamics. Through it all, devoted followers of Jesus Christ hold the solid ground upon which they stand.
Back to Ryle and "jellyfish" Christians:
Jellyfish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation. Alas! It is a vivi