“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” — Acts 4:12
J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
I dare be sure these consequences sound very unpleasant to the minds of some who may read them. But I tell you of them advisedly and deliberately. I say calmly that a religion without Christ, a religion that takes away from Christ, a religion that adds anything to Christ, a religion that puts sincerity in the place of Christ,—all are dangerous: all are to be avoided, and all are alike contrary to the doctrine of our text.
You may not like this: I am sorry for it. You think me uncharitable, illiberal, narrow-minded, bigoted, and so forth: be it so. But you will not tell me my doctrine is not that of the Word of God, and of the Church of England whose minister I am. That doctrine is, salvation in Christ to the very uttermost,—but out of Christ no salvation at all.
I feel it a duty to bear my solemn testimony against the spirit of the day you live in; to warn you against its infection. It is not Atheism I fear so much, in the present times, as Pantheism. It is not the system which says nothing is true, so much as the system which says everything is true; it is not the system which says there is no Saviour, so much as the system which says there are many saviours and many ways to peace. It is the system which is so liberal that it dares not say anything is false; it is the system which is so charitable that it will allow everything to be true; it is the system which seems ready to honour others as well as our Lord Jesus Christ, class them all together, and hope well of all. Confucius and Zoroaster, Socrates and Mahomet, the Indian Brahmins and the African devilworshippers, Arius and Pelagius, Ignatius Loyola and Socinus,—all are to be treated respectfully: none are to be condemned. It is the system which bids us smile complacently on all creeds and systems of religion: the Bible and the Koran, the Hindu Vedus and the Persian Zendavesta, the old wives’ fables of Rabbinical writers and the rubbish of Patristic traditions, the Racovian catechism and the thirty-nine Articles, the revelations of Emanuel Swedenborg and the book of Mormon of Joseph Smith,—all are to be listened to: none are to be denounced as lies. It is the system which is so scrupulous about the feelings of others, that we are never to say they are wrong; it is the system which is so liberal that it calls a man a bigot if he dares to say, “I know my views are right.” This is the system, this is the tone of feeling which I fear in this day. This is the system which I desire emphatically to testify against and denounce.
What is it but a bowing down before a great idol specially called liberality? What is it all but a sacrificing of truth upon the altar of a caricature of charity? Beware of it, reader, beware that the rushing stream of public opinion does not carry you away. Beware of it, if you believe the Bible…Has the Lord God spoken to us in the Bible, or has He not? Has He shown us the way of salvation plainly in that Bible, or has He not? Has He declared to us the dangerous state of all out of that way, or has He not? Gird up the loins of your mind, and look these questions fairly in the face, and give them an honest answer. Tell us that there is some other inspired book beside the Bible, and then we shall know what you mean; tell us that the whole Bible is not inspired, and then we shall know where to meet you: but grant for a moment that the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is God’s truth., and then I know not in what way you can escape the doctrine of the text. From the liberality which says everybody is right, from the charity which forbids you to say anybody is wrong, from the peace which is bought at the expense of truth,—may the good Lord deliver you! (excerpted from: Only One Way of Salvation, in Knots untied: Being Plain Statements On Disputed Points In Religion From the Standpoint of An Evangelical Churchman, J.C. Ryle)