JC Ryle, a synergist?

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Freshman
Hey all, I just started reading JC on the gospel of John. He appears to make a lot of commentary that is synergistic. Or, is it that he is more Lutheran monergistic? Granted I am not very far into the book and this is really my first exposure to him outside of sermons. I know he is an Anglican, but many reformed folks recommend him. And good pointers or things I should know about his thelogy before diving deep?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Hey all, I just started reading JC on the gospel of John. He appears to make a lot of commentary that is synergistic. Or, is it that he is more Lutheran monergistic? Granted I am not very far into the book and this is really my first exposure to him outside of sermons. I know he is an Anglican, but many reformed folks recommend him. And good pointers or things I should know about his thelogy before diving deep?
J. C. Ryle was a hypothetical universalist in the school of John Davenant et al. The reason that many cage-stagers get upset when they read Bishop Ryle is that they have an overly simplistic view of the five points. When one matures, however, they can appreciate Ryle as representing one branch of Reformed theology without necessarily agreeing with him.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Freshman
J. C. Ryle was a hypothetical universalist in the school of John Davenant et al. The reason that many cage-stagers get upset when they read Bishop Ryle is that they have an overly simplistic view of the five points. When one matures, however, they can appreciate Ryle as representing one branch of Reformed theology without necessarily agreeing with him.
Thank you for the response.
 

W.C. Dean

Puritan Board Freshman
From what I have benefitted from Bishop Ryle the most are his works on practical religion. Not just 'Practical Religion' but any work in a similar vein.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Freshman
Exactly what is he saying that is synergist?
From his commentary on the gospel of John, specifically for John 5:

"The plain truth is that the chief seat of unbelief is the heart. Many do not wish to believe and therefore remain unbelievers."

-I suppose if compatibilism is considered, the fallen nature of man, and this could be to an unbelieving audience as well, this isn't necessarily synergistic.

"These words are a golden sentence, which ought to be engraved in our memories and treasured up in our minds. It is lack of will to come to Christ for salvation that will be found, at last, to have shut the many out of heaven. It is not any limit in Christ’s work of redemption. He has paid a price sufficient for all mankind. It is something far more than this. It is man’s own innate unwillingness to come to Christ, repent, and believe. Either from pride, or laziness, or love of sin, or love of the world, the many have no mind, or wish, or heart, or desire to seek life in Christ. “God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). But men stand still and will not stir hand or foot to get life. And this is the whole reason why many of the lost are not saved."

-There is some content here again that could be explained through compatibilism, but the part about the will and seemingly universal atonement type language seems to be synergistic. This could again be though due to my current newish understanding of reformed theology. Upon reading this again though, I am actually thinking it is possible this is not synergistic at all. All of this is true if man's nature remains fallen without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
From his commentary on the gospel of John, specifically for John 5:

"The plain truth is that the chief seat of unbelief is the heart. Many do not wish to believe and therefore remain unbelievers."

-I suppose if compatibilism is considered, the fallen nature of man, and this could be to an unbelieving audience as well, this isn't necessarily synergistic.

"These words are a golden sentence, which ought to be engraved in our memories and treasured up in our minds. It is lack of will to come to Christ for salvation that will be found, at last, to have shut the many out of heaven. It is not any limit in Christ’s work of redemption. He has paid a price sufficient for all mankind. It is something far more than this. It is man’s own innate unwillingness to come to Christ, repent, and believe. Either from pride, or laziness, or love of sin, or love of the world, the many have no mind, or wish, or heart, or desire to seek life in Christ. “God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11). But men stand still and will not stir hand or foot to get life. And this is the whole reason why many of the lost are not saved."

-There is some content here again that could be explained through compatibilism, but the part about the will and seemingly universal atonement type language seems to be synergistic. This could again be though due to my current newish understanding of reformed theology. Upon reading this again though, I am actually thinking it is possible this is not synergistic at all. All of this is true if man's nature remains fallen without the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.
Ryle doesn't seem to be saying anything other than standard Reformed theology. Regarding the atonement comment, he seems to me to be parroting the Canons of Dort:

The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.​
Canons of Dort, Second Head, Article 3​

Regarding his comments on the will, no Reformed theologian, as far as I am aware, would ever deny that what is stopping any unbeliever from coming to Christ is their own rebel will. Of course, this is not at all to deny God's choosing not to extend regenerating grace to some. But make no mistake, the reason an unbeliever doesn't repent and turn to Christ is because he will not. On that final day, they will not be able to say, "It is because God did not regenerate me," since their sin that blinded and hardened them is their own fault.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Freshman
Ryle doesn't seem to be saying anything other than standard Reformed theology. Regarding the atonement comment, he seems to me to be parroting the Canons of Dort:

The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world.​
Canons of Dort, Second Head, Article 3​

Regarding his comments on the will, no Reformed theologian, as far as I am aware, would ever deny that what is stopping any unbeliever from coming to Christ is their own rebel will. Of course, this is not at all to deny God's choosing not to extend regenerating grace to some. But make no mistake, the reason an unbeliever doesn't repent and turn to Christ is because he will not. On that final day, they will not be able to say, "It is because God did not regenerate me," since their sin that blinded and hardened them is their own fault.
Right, I would agree. Reading the second time and the comments here have course corrected my thinking. I'm so used to seeing "will" associated with libertarian free will that I made a snap judgment.
 

Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
Right, I would agree. Reading the second time and the comments here have course corrected my thinking. I'm so used to seeing "will" associated with libertarian free will that I made a snap judgment.
Good to hear. Just as a side tip, don't let anyone ever tell you that the Reformed do not believe in free will. We most certainly do, just "free will" defined rightly. :)
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Freshman
That's standard early Reformed orthodoxy. Sufficiency isn't the same thing as efficiency. Christ's satisfactio is sufficient for all; not efficient.
That makes sense. I think one of the issues for me is that a similar (far less nuanced) argument is used by synergists nowadays. They do not make the distinction between sufficient and efficient in the same way.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Amanuensis
This is how I was taught limited atonement. I believe it to be simplified but I would agree it is within orthodoxy.
It is orthodoxy. When men started speaking more of "atonement" than "satisfactio," then we started speaking more of limited vs. unlimited. Richard Muller's interview with Scott Clark documents some of the issues involved.
 
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