Simplicity in Preaching
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By J. C. Ryle | Edited and Introduced by Bennett W. Rogers | Foreword by Steven J. Lawson
The early preaching ministry of J. C. Ryle, one of the most powerful preachers of the Victorian era, was an unmitigated disaster. He struggled to keep the attention of his rural congregation, and so he embarked on a series of failed “pulpit experiments.” Through this process of trial and error, Ryle learned to “crucify” his style and win the attention of his parishioners. Once he found his voice, popularity soon followed. He filled his churches to suffocation and became a sought after platform speaker. He was repeatedly chosen to be the select preacher for Oxford and Cambridge, and continued to draw large crowds well into his eighties as the Bishop of Liverpool. In Simplicity in Preaching, J. C. Ryle presents the fruit of a lifelong quest to attain a simplicity in preaching for his fellow ministers.
“J. C. Ryle’s Simplicity in Preaching began as an address to a group of clergy at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London in the latter part of the 19th century. I do not hesitate to say that I count this short volume is one of the most helpful books ever published for evangelical preachers. I have been teaching preaching to seminary students for 14-years and every semester I commend Ryle’s wisdom and quote to my students from Simplicity in Preaching. This reprint from H&E has the added benefit of an outstanding introductory chapter on Ryle’s crucified style of preaching and an appendix comparing the sermonic approaches of John Henry Newman, C.H. Spurgeon, and Ryle from sermons on John 11:1–44. Get this book, read it, apply, and re-read it again and again.”
—David E. Prince, Pastor, Ashland Avenue Baptist Church, Lexington, KY; Assistant Professor of Christian Preaching, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
“There is something delightful about simplicity. While I enjoy a well-written, erudite, multifaceted sermon now and again, I greatly appreciate a clear, simple, faithful sermon that explains a text of Scripture. According to J.C. Ryle, many of our churchgoers do as well. His short treatment on Simplicity in Preaching is a must-read classic. Furthermore, the introduction and conclusion offered by Bennett Rogers are invaluable, and give us a window into the mind and methods of Ryle as a preacher. Altogether, this little volume ought to be a companion for every preacher, encouraging and guiding them along in their task to make the Word of God accessible to the people of God.”
—Nate Pickowicz, Writer; Pastor, Harvest Bible Church, Gilmanton Iron Works, New Hampshire
“This is a ‘must read’ for preachers. “Simplicity in language and style” is a necessity for ministers who would faithfully feed the sheep. J. C. Ryle, whose sermons and writings are models of clarity and simplicity, is a sure-footed guide for all who would proclaim the Scriptures in such a way as to be understood. May God give this booklet a wide readership.”
—Carl Muller, senior Pastor at Trinity Baptist Church, Burlington, ON; Lecturer in Homiletics, Toronto Baptist Seminary and Bible College
“J.C. Ryle’s Book Simplicity in Preaching is short in length, but long in wisdom. All Ministers who preach should read this gem. I plan to give it to all my ministry Interns, and have it as one of the required books when I teach preaching.”
—The Rev’d Canon George Sinclair, Rector, Church of the Messiah; Principal of Ryle Seminary, Ottawa; Council Member, The Gospel Coalition Canada
“The church needs a recovery in preaching. J. C. Ryle’s short meditation offers a scalable model that pastors will find immediately useful in their own sermon preparation. In addition to this classic work, Bennett Rogers has helpful chapters on Ryle’s sermon structure and ‘crucified’ style. This new edition is highly recommended for preachers young and old.”
—Clint Humfrey, Senior Pastor, Calvary Grace Church, Calgary, Alberta; Council Member, The Gospel Coalition Canada