Ryle on Increasing Unbelief

Very, very few Christian writers are being read widely 100 years after their death. J. C. Ryle, the first Bishop of Liverpool, died in 1900. He wrote the foreword to his book, Are You Ready for the End of Time?, in 1867. One of the reasons for his relevance today is that his work is Bible-saturated, careful, clear, and urgent.

Here is one of those paragraphs that rings clear and true like a bell in our time.

I believe that the widespread unbelief, indifference, formalism and wickedness, which are to be seen throughout Christendom, are only what we are taught to expect in God’s Word. Troublous times, departures from the faith, evil men waxing worse and worse, love waxing cold, are things distinctly predicted. So far from making me doubt the truth of Christianity, they help to confirm my faith. Melancholy and sorrowful as the sight is, if I did not see it I should think the Bible was not true.

Matthew 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

2 Timothy 3:1, 4, 13 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. . . . treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, . . . while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.