(Reprinted from A Word in Season, Vol. 3 [Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2011], 52)
According to the German historian, Ethelbert Stauffer, the religious principle of the Roman Empire, from the days of Augustus on, was salvation by Caesar: "Salvation is to be found in none other save Augustus, and there is no other name given to men in which they can be saved."
This helps us to understand the boldness of St. Peter, and the total power he declared rested in Christ, when he said of Jesus Christ, "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).
War between Christ and Caesar, the Christians and Rome, was thus inevitable. The state and its emperors claimed to offer salvation. The church declared only Christ does.
We are again in the age of Caesars, of political saviors. All over the world, politicians proclaim their plans of salvation, and the cornerstone of their building is man. Look unto me, these false saviors declare to the peoples, vote for me and be saved.
St. Peter faced a hostile nation whose hope of salvation was in freedom from Rome. Thus the Zealots, or revolutionists, had a large popular following. Salvation for them meant their own political order. For the Roman overlords and their followers, salvation meant Caesar's rule and plan.
St. Peter ruled out, not only all other religions, but all the political plans of salvation with his blunt words: "Neither is there salvation in any other." Christ is unique, and His salvation is exclusive. He is THE way, the ONLY way, Peter made emphatically clear, of salvation, "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." There are no alternate routes.
This means that false political saviors will give not salvation but ruin. False religious saviors will only give delusions. Truth is exclusive. We cannot say that two plus two can equal five, or can equal three, because three and five sound close to four. We cannot play games with truth.
Thus, as we are confronted by political and other saviors, we must stand with St. Peter and declare: None other name!