“Unity Obtained by the Sacrifice of Truth Is Worth Nothing” — J.C. Ryle (Quote of the Day)
Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity. They give occasion to the enemies of all godliness to blaspheme. But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching which is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin. It is easy to make sneering remarks about “itching ears,” and ” love of excitement”; but it is not so easy to convince a plain reader of the Bible that it is his duty to hear false doctrine every Sunday, when by a little exertion he can hear truth. The old saying must never be forgotten, “He is the schismatic who causes the schism.”
Unity, quiet, and order among professing Christians are mighty blessings. They give strength, beauty, and efficiency to the cause of Christ. But even gold may be bought too dear. Unity which is obtained by the sacrifice of truth is worth nothing. It is not the unity which pleases God. The Church of Rome boasts loudly of a unity which does not deserve the name. It is unity which is obtained by taking away the Bible from the people, by gagging private judgment, by encouraging ignorance, by forbidding men to think for themselves. Like the exterminating warriors of old, the Church of Rome “makes a solitude and calls it peace.” There is quiet and stillness enough in the grave, but it is not the quiet of health, but of death. It was the false prophets who cried “Peace,” when there was no peace.
Controversy in religion is a hateful thing. It is hard enough to fight the devil, the world, and the flesh, without private differences in our own camp. But there is one thing which is even worse than controversy, and that is false doctrine tolerated, allowed, and permitted without protest or molestation. It was controversy that won the battle of Protestant Reformation…There are times when controversy is not only a duty but a benefit. Give me the mighty thunder storm rather than the pestilential malaria. The one walks in darkness and poisons us in silence, and we are never safe. The other frightens and alarms for a little season. But it is soon over, and it clears the air. It is a plain Scriptural duty to ” contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
- J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
taken from: Knots Untied: Being Plain Statements on Disputed Points in Religion (1885), Chapter 17, The Fallibility of Ministers.