CHEAP, INOFFENSIVE AND WORTHLESS CHRISTIANITY
“There is a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough – a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice – which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.” So said J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), the first Anglican Bishop of Liverpool England, a graduate of Oxford University and author of numerous books that are still popular and read with profit today. A contemporary and friend of men like Charles H. Spurgeon, Ryle was deeply concerned about the apostate Christianity he saw emerging in England during the 19th century.
The “common, worldly kind of Christianity” — the “cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice, which costs nothing, and is worth nothing,” that Ryle lamented — was becoming more and more noticeable in his day. It was a day recognized by historians as perhaps the greatest day the English-speaking world has ever known in terms of vibrant Christianity, great preachers, churches, and global missionary work. But, Ryle recognized the creeping apostasy and its seed-germ of worldliness in his day.
Ryle was saddened and alarmed by the existence of the kind of Christianity described above and spoke out courageously against it. Today in England and all across America, this kind of Christianity is not only evident, but all but completely dominates the thinking and practice of professed Christianity. And, it seems that though there are some, there are very, very few who notice or care that this is the case. Certainly there seems to be few who warn against the apostasy represented by “a common, worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have . . . a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice – which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.”