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Salvation by What?

By R. J. Rushdoony
March 29, 2006

CA Farmer 230:10 (May 17, 1969), p. 38.

One of the worst ideas begotten by the Renaissance and the Enlightenment was the belief that man can be saved by knowledge. This idea, which had it roots in the ancient Gnostic cults, holds that knowledge will save man and society and usher in a paradise on earth.

But it has not worked that way. The more knowledge people have without faith, the more gullible they are. There are more communists among college professors and intellectuals than among workers. More astrology books, a news distributor once told me, are sold near colleges than in poorer neighborhoods. Confidence men do better usually with intellectuals than with successful men of little schooling.

Something is thus clearly lacking. Knowledge is good, but it is not enough. Knowledge is an accumulation of facts; it is not the ability to use those facts, nor is it the moral judgment to act wisely on those facts.

Our schools and colleges are dedicated to the proposition that the world needs to be saved by knowledge, but perhaps one of the things we most need to be saved from these days is our schools and colleges.

St. Peter, in proclaiming “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” before the Sanhedrin, declared, “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).

This is the issue: is the world going to be saved by facts, or is it going to be saved by regeneration in and through Jesus Christ?

If salvation is by facts, by knowledge, then we are on the right course as a nation. The more we know about psychology, the moon, the love life of the earthworm, and all the other subjects we appropriate money for, the better off we are. Simply give people enough facts, and they will be changed from sinners to saints. But somehow all this is making us worse instead of better.

If salvation is, as Scripture declares, by Jesus Christ, then we had better act on that fact. Our personal and social life must then be conformed to God and His Word. Our institutions—church, state, school, and all others—had better reckon with God as the foundation. We will seek to be faithful to Christ at every point in every sphere of life, or we do not own Him as Lord.

Our choice is clear: salvation by knowledge, or salvation by Christ? Where do you stand? And what are you doing about it?


Topics: Education, Philosophy, Culture , Theology, New Testament History

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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