John Charles Ryle


Leader of evangelicals in the Church of England
Born in Cheshire into a nominally Christian home, Ryle was sent to Eton College and then to Christ Church, Oxford. He proved to be a good athlete and an able scholar. Toward the end of his period at Oxford he experienced an evangelical conversion. He worked in his father’s bank from 1838 to 1841 and intended to enter Parliament. After the failure of the bank, he decided to become a clergyman and began with a poorly paid curacy in the diocese of Winchester.
He began his significant work in 1844 when he moved to East Anglia. Here he was at Helmingham (1844–1861) and Stradbroke (1861–1880). With the arrival of the railway system he was able to travel and develop his gifts as a public speaker. In the quiet of the countryside he was able to write many powerful tracts and booklets on basic evangelical topics. Also he wrote his influential Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. By 1875 he was a leader of the evangelical party in the Church of England. So it is not surprising that, in 1880, he was first offered the deanery of a cathedral and then the bishopric of the new diocese of Liverpool. He chose to go to Liverpool, where he had to organize the work of the churches in this great port and industrial area. Estimates vary as to his effectiveness. He had various problems—whether to build a new cathedral, how to treat the Anglo–Catholic priests, and how to relate to the poverty of the city. What is clear is that he set before his clergy and laity the ideal of preaching Christ and doing good to all men. He died in East Anglia but was buried in Liverpool. Among his descendants are Sir Martin Ryle, the astronomer royal, and Gilbert Ryle, the philosopher. P.Toon

This Biographical Sketch comes from…

Who’s Who in Christian History

Who's Who in Christian HistoryAuthor: Douglas, J. D.; Comfort, Philip Wesley.; Mitchell, Donald
Publisher: Tyndale House |
Publication Date: 1997, c1992.

With over 1,500 biographical entries, this bibliographical dictionary is a comprehensive resource, spanning the first through the twentieth centuries-from Jesus and the apostles to Billy Graham and Mother Teresa. Any reader will be fascinated and inspired by the lives of men and women-well known and obscure-who were influential in Christian history. This one volume biographical dictionary is also a perfect resource for pastors, Bible teachers, Sunday school teachers, Bible students, and seminarians.

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