Posted by: Jerad File | June 7, 2009

No Salvation Outside the Church

“No Salvation Outside the Church.” This quotation from Cyprian usually causes me to think of Roman Catholicism. In this sense, it would be interpreted to mean “no salvation outside of the institutional Roman Catholic Church.” Of course, any Protestant should have a problem with this understanding of the expression. However, there is something quite true about Cyprian’s statement that should be embraced by Baptists. John Gill is one who recognized that ecclesiology and soteriology are interrelated. Timothy George recognized fact about Gill when he stated, “John Gill was a theologian of the church and his theology of grace must be seen in the light of his ecclesiology.” (Timothy George, “The Ecclesiology of John Gill,” in The Life and Thought of John Gill (1697-1771): A Tercentennial Appreciation, Michael A. G. Haykin, ed. New York: Brill, 1997, 226.) This became clearer to me when I read the following quotation from his Body of Practical Doctrinal and Practical Divinity. Speaking of the “invisible church” Gill sates,

 “As a general assembly, called, The general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, Heb. Xii. 23. and which include all the elect of God, that have been, are, or shall be in the world; and who will form the pure, holy and undefiled Jerusalem-church-state, in which none will be but those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life; and this consists of the redeemed of the Lamb, and is the church which Christ has purchased with his blood; and who make up his spouse, the church he has loved, and given himself for, to wash, and cleanse, and present to himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle; this is the body, the church of which Christ is the head; and in which he is the sole officer, being Prophet, Priest, and King of it; it being, not the seat of human government, as a particular church is: and this church is but one, though particular churches are many: to this may be applied the words of Christ; My dove, my undefiled, is but one, Cant. Vi. 9. And this is what is sometimes called by divines, the invisible church.

It’s quite evident to me that from this quotation Gill’s doctrine of the church is directly related to election as well as particular redemption. The Church is all those who Christ died for and none but the elect.



  1. If you are interested in understanding what is meant be the statement “there is no salvation outside the Church,” I am doing a detailed discussion at my blog
    While the blog is focusing on the Catholic teaching, I nevertheless begin with Scripture, and look at the teaching in the early fathers of the Church as well.

  2. Of course there is no salvation outside the Church. As you have said, the Church is the the Body and Bride of Christ. Christ asked the Father that the Church would be one even as He and the Father are one, and then promised us that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. “If they were of us, they would not have departed from us.” The Church has prevailed, and even if a minute remnant were all that were left it would continue to prevail. The Church is the Ark of our Salvation. When Metroplitan Cyprianos made this statement, His Eminence was simply reiterating what the Church has stated for over a thousand years; that there is but one Body of Christ, and those outside that Body are cut off from the Uncreated Energies of God.

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