Are There Multiple Types of True Believers?

I found this quote from Holiness by J. C. Ryle to be a very concise answer to the question of whether there are different types of believers, meaning those who just believe and those who are disciples, a separation from conversion and consecration:

Is it wise to draw such a deep, wide, and distinct line of separation between conversion and consecration, or the higher life, so called, as many do draw in the present day?  Is this according to the proportion of God’s Word?  I doubt it.
There is, unquestionably, nothing new in this teaching.  It is well known that Romish writers often maintain that the church is divided into three classes—sinners, penitents, and saints.  The modern teachers of this day who tell us that professing Christians are of three sorts—the unconverted, the converted, and the partakers of the “higher life” of complete consecration—appear to me to occupy very much the same ground!  But whether the idea be old or new, Romish or English, I am utterly unable to see that it has any warrant of Scripture.  The Word of God always speaks of two great divisions of mankind, and two only.  It speaks of the living and the dead in sin—the believer and the unbeliever—the converted and the unconverted—the travelers in the narrow way and the travelers in the broad—the wise and the foolish—the children of God and the children of the devil.  Within each of these two great classes there are, doubtless, various measures of sin and of grace; but it is only the difference between the higher and lower enf of an inclined plane.  Between these two great classes there is an enormous gulf; they are as distinct as life and death, light and darkness, heaven and hell.  But of a division into three classes the Word of God says nothing at all!  I question the wisdom of making newfangled divisions which the Bible has not made, and I thoroughly dislike the notion of a second conversion.

Holiness, J.C. Ryle p. xxx-xxxi



  1. Hi, Nathan… I enjoyed this quote given that I was once a pentecostal and have since come to realize that there are indeed only two levels of people: saved and unsaved.

    God bless you for this quote. It’s a great one and I have posted it on my blog as well. I linked to your post here, of course.

    Sincerely in Christ,



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