by J.C. Ryle

Guest Book Reviewer Patrick


“May we never forget that without fighting there can be no holiness while we live, and no crown of glory when we die!” —- J. C. Ryle“

True Christianity is a fight,” wrote J. C. Ryle in 1877. He argued that from the day of their conversion until the day they die, Christians are called to be soldiers for Christ in a war for their holiness. This inspiring call to action written more than 100 years ago continues to be a source of great encouragement and inspiration for believers today. In this addition to the Crossway Short Classics series, Ryle explains why the fight for holiness is one of absolute necessity for Christians. Identifying the three main enemies of every believer–the world, the flesh, and the devil–he emboldens them to “either fight or be lost” in their daily battle and offers biblical and historical examples of notable Christian “soldiers.” Fighting for Holiness is a bold reminder for believers to daily put on the whole armor of God and train their eyes on Christ. (Taken from Goodreads page)


What I like about Crossway Short Classics is that they provide context to the author and the setting in which the writing occurred. If you never understood when Calvin wrote the Institutes or he was in his 20s when he wrote it. Picking Andrew Atherstone to talk about Ryle and when he was writing provides a great insight into what Ryle was responding to. A movement had come through that said at salvation the end of anything of Christian fighting and conforming one to the image of Christ was passive – only to be undertaken by God on someone. Taken from Ryle’s “Holiness: Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots”

Series Goal

As for the series from Crossway, their intent is to provide a short snippet from a greater work (like Ryle’s “Holiness”). In a world where we start sweating when someone suggests a 300-page book that changed many hearts and minds throughout the span of its publication, these short classics offer a good entry point that points to the greater work.

Fighting For The Faith

What works best about this volume is that it really shows why Ryle was writing against passive “Christianity”. His undertaking to show that the Christian life is one of fighting and it’s a three-prong enemy – against self/the flesh, the world, and the devil. It’s interesting to see where Christianity currently comes from a direct result of this type of passive thinking. “Let go and let God” comes from this era. But the Christian life is about fighting against the devil (clearly) and the world that attempts to draw one in and thus away from God. The sanctification process as clearly expressed in Scripture occurs right after justification and the collapse of the two into one comes from Roman Catholic understanding and is opposed to biblical teaching. The pruning (positive) and chastening (negative) that comes with growing and conforming to the heart of Christ is a struggle and thus a fight. To never be growing in that way is clear signs of a dead faith. Ryle makes this point clearly and concisely. This gives him a route to talk about the proper role of faith (aka trust in God) in the Christian life – where it begins at salvation it’s a necessary and pleasing virtue that drives a Christian forward.

So having this for a new Christian or one feeling like they’re stagnant in their walk would get a lot of value out of this book. However, and this is the only negative I could levy against Ryle, is that if you already know this you’ll agree with it but it’s kind of standard Christian teaching. The intended target is not directly you. But again, that’s not to say that hearing the Gospel for those of us saved is ever a bad thing; so too, hearing about the call to arms and the struggles we face should always keep our feet moving to God’s throne.

Final Grade


We would like to thank Patrick who is part of the team Patrick and Tony who are called Cave To The Cross Apologetics and have a website by that same name. If you ever need to get a better understanding of God’s word Cave  To  The  Cross  Apologetics will help you along the way. Make sure to stop by and visit you never know what you might find!

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