A Kentucky Baptist take on J. C. Ryle
A few nights ago, I was perusing century-old articles from the Western Recorder, the official state denominational paper of Southern Baptists in Kentucky, when I discovered a few gems regarding Bishop J. C. Ryle:
“One good Protestant is left among the Bishops of England who has not bowed the knee to the Baal of apism. Dr. Ryle, the Bishop of Liverpool, refused to license a curate unless he would pledge himself not to hear confessions.”
Western Recorder, January 13, 1898
Bishop Ryle, of Liverpool, is one of the few low churchmen which a succession of high church prime ministers have left in England. In a recent speech he said that the most painful symptom which marks the present age is the increasing indifference to all distinctive doctrines in every part of the land.
Western Recorder, January 27, 1898
A century ago, Baptist newspapers had a markedly different look than their modern-day counterparts. Published weekly, The Western Recorder featured five columns per page with small text. Doctrine and preaching received heavy emphasis and an entire page was regularly reserved for sermons from preaching stalwarts like Charles H. Spurgeon. Such publications were often the sole source of religious news from around the world for Southern Baptists. Kentucky’s Baptist paper, under the editorial leadership of T. T. Eaton, often spoke highly of the orthodox Christian champions from across the Atlantic. Many paper subscribers surely found such examples of Christian charity a welcome change of pace from the livid denominational controversy that predominated most of the other pages of the paper in 1898!