Showing the state of our nation in the light of God’s Holy Word

Charity

by J. C. Ryle


The charity of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s conduct. Here is another very common delusion! Thousands pride themselves on never condemning others, or calling them wrong, whatever they may do. They convert the precept of our Lord, “Judge not,” into an excuse for having no unfavourable opinion at all of anybody. They pervert His prohibition of rash and censorious judgments into a prohibition of all judgments whatsoever. Your neighbour may be a drunkard, a liar, a Sabbath- breaker, a passionate man. Never mind! “It is not charity,” they tell you, “to pronounce him wrong.” You are to believe he has a good heart at bottom! This idea of charity is, unhappily, a very common one. It is full of mischief. To throw a veil over sin, and to refuse to call things by their right names – to talk of “hearts” being good when lives are flatly wrong—to shut our eyes against wickedness, and say smooth things of immorality—this is not Scriptural charity

The charity of the Bible does not consist in never disapproving anybody’s religious opinions. Here is another most serious and growing delusion. There are many who pride themselves on never pronouncing others mistaken, whatever views they may hold. Your neighbour, forsooth, may be an Arian, or a Socinian, a Roman Catholic, or a Mormon, a Deist or Skeptic, a mere Formalist or a thorough Antinomian, but the “charity” of many says that you have no right to think him wrong! If he is sincere, it is “uncharitable” to think unfavourably of his spiritual condition! From such charity may I ever be delivered!

At this rate the Apostles were wrong in going out to preach to the Gentiles! At this rate there is no use in missions! At this rate we had better close our Bibles and shut up our churches! Everybody is right and nobody is wrong! Everybody is going to heaven and nobody is going to hell! Such charity is a monstrous caricature. To say that all are equally right in their opinions, though their opinions flatly contradict one another— to say that all are equally in the way to heaven, though their doctrinal sentiments are as opposite as black and white—this is not Scriptural charity.

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