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Nothing New Under the Sun

The following excerpt was written, or at least published, in approximately 1885, yet it so captures the spirit of this present age (emphases added):

I feel it a duty to bear my solemn testimony against the spirit of the day we live in; to warn men 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 honor others as well as our Lord Jesus Christ, to class them all together, and to think well of all….

It is the system which bids us smile complacently on all creeds and systems of religion.  The Bible and the Koran, the Hindu Vedas 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, 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, and this is the system  which I desire emphatically to testify against and denounce.

What is it all but a bowing down before a great idol, speciously called liberality?  What is it all but a sacrificing of truth upon the altar of a caricature of charity?  What is it all but the worship of a shadow, a phantom, and an unreality?  What can be more absurd than to profess ourselves content with “earnestness,” when we do not know what we are earnest about?  Let us take heed lest we are carried away by the delusion.

Thus writes John Charles Ryle (more commonly cited as J. C. Ryle) in his volume entitle Knots Untied:  Being plain statements on disputed points in religion from the standpoint of an evangelical churchman.  The first two paragraphs above could have been written today, they so accurately reflect the mindset of 21st century  liberals.  The last paragraph above points to the fallacy of this mindset we would do well to heed, especially those of us who name the name of Christ.  The fact is, objective reality exists and no one, not even these liberals, truly operates on the assumption that there is no objective truth, or that all “truths” are valid, when it comes to the practical living of their daily lives.  Otherwise, they would be paralyzed, for how would they even know the door to their bedroom exists, let alone the outside world?  And I would certainly not want them behind the wheel of any vehicle!

~~~

Who is J. C. Ryle?

A remarkable preacher, an effective evangelist, and a bold leader of the church in Victorian England, John Charles Ryle (1816-1900) drew untold thousands to deeper Christian holiness. His writings – many still in print – have drawn untold millions more.  (From the Hendrickson edition of J.C. Ryle’s Holiness, which includes a 20-page biographical sketch of Ryle’s life as a preface; page vii)

HT:  Eric Smith

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  1. 31 Mar 2010 at 2:11 PM

    YEOW! Thanks for giving me someone else to read. Good solid post.

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