When I met Charles Ryrie, I had to shoulder my way through the throng of undergraduates just to shake his hand. He had just delivered a lecture during chapel at my little Bible college, and immediately following his closing prayer, the seats emptied and students surrounded him. Ryrie—who was already elderly and had to deliver his talk while seated in a wingback chair—graciously endured the onslaught. When I reached the front of the crowd I realized students weren’t simply shaking the hand of this patriarch of dispensational theology—many were asking him to sign their Bibles.
Specifically, they held out their copies of the Ryrie Study Bible. Some of us joked that, in these students’ eyes, Ryrie literally wrote the Bible. I wonder what this man who prized God’s Word above his own and who, by all accounts, was humble and self-effacing, thought of these students’ requests. He obliged them of course (how could he not?), but his life and legacy confirms that he sought to make much of his savior, not himself.
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Charles Ryrie died this week. The long-time Dallas Theological Seminary professor did more to popularize dispensational theology in the twentieth century than perhaps any other. Though he may be most remembered for that contribution, those who sat under his teaching—as many of my own professors did—remember him for his uncanny ability to bring complex theological ideas down to earth.
In celebration of his life and legacy, here are a few choice quotes from Charles Ryrie. Commemorate the life of this influential theologian by sharing your favorites with friends and family. (Hover over each image to reveal sharing options.)
“The Bible is the greatest of all books; to study it is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.”—Charles Ryrie
“The solution to the problems of the church today lies in solving the problems of individual Christians, and the remedy is a person—the Holy Spirit.”
The Holy Spirit
“Theology is for everyone. Indeed, everyone needs to be a theologian. In reality, everyone is a theologian—of one sort or another. And therein lies the problem. There is nothing wrong with being an amateur theologian or a professional theologian, but there is everything wrong about being an ignorant or a sloppy theologian. Therefore, every Christian should read theology. Theology simply means thinking about God and expressing those thoughts in some way.”
Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth
“The use of possessions shows us up for what we actually are.” Balancing the Christian Life
“Unproductive faith cannot save because it is not genuine faith.” So Great Salvation.
For more tributes to great Christians, check out Take Flight—an interactive journey through the Christian story.