How to Start a Heresy

“It is a most unsound method of reasoning to take one or two expressions out of a book which has been written as one great whole, place a certain meaning upon those expressions, and then refuse to inquire whether that meaning can be reconciled with the general spirit of the rest of the book. The beginning of every heresy and erroneous tenet in religion may be traced up to this kind of reasoning, and to unfair and partial quotations.

This is precisely the Roman Catholic’s argument, when he wants to prove the doctrine f transubstantiation. ‘I read,’ he says, ‘these plain words, “This is my body, this is my blood.” I want no more. I have nothing to do with your explanations and quotations from other parts of the Bible. Here is quite enough for me. The Lord Jesus Christ says, “This is my body.” This settles the question.’

This again is precisely the Arian’s argument, when he wants to prove that the Lord Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father. ‘I read,’ he says, ‘ these plain words, “My Father is greater than I.”‘ It is in vain you tell him that there other text which show the Son to be equal with the Father, and give a different meaning to the one he has quoted. It matters not. He rests on the one single text that he has chosen to rest on, and he will hear nothing further.”

– J.C. Ryle, Regeneration, p.74-75

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s