All one need do to ferret out the myth of ‘tolerance’ is to disagree with a proponent of ‘tolerance’ in our world today. If and when one does dare to disagree – honestly, seriously, vulnerably, publicly; one gets a very quick and revealing and valuable lesson. ‘Tolerance’ isn’t, so much …
Just dare to say that God is holy and that there are implications of God’s holiness for all people, each of whom is created in the very image of this holy God, and we find out in fairly short-order that ‘tolerance’ is not so highly valued among the ‘tolerance’ crowd – at least, not as highly valued for all people and all viewpoints as they would want us to think.
Just dare to say that God’s Word is eternally true – as embodied perfectly in the Person of Jesus Christ, as further revealed by the Holy Spirit and written down by persons so moved by Him in the Bible, and as the Holy Spirit continues to give us understanding today; and we find out in fairly short-order that ‘tolerance’ is not so highly prized among the ‘tolerance’ crowd – at least, not as highly prized for all people and all viewpoints as they would have us to believe.
Just dare to say that God’s Love does not require a violation of God’s Truth but an exposition and proclamation of it – in our preaching, in our teaching, in our ministry practice, and in our living; and we find out in fairly short-order that ‘tolerance’ is not so consistently practiced by the ‘tolerance’ crowd – at least, not as consistently practiced as they would convince their falsely righteous selves.
A fascist-like orthodoxy is developing and has developed around this ‘tolerance’ myth. Priests and purveyers in the temple of ‘tolerance’ now seek to impose upon our people and inculcate in our culture a new kind of state religion that is dangerous. And those who will not submit to their tenets of ‘tolerance’ are met, immediately, with a remarkably vehement form of religious intolerance.
All too often and all too quickly, the ‘tolerance’ crowd points out the many alleged hypocrisies of Biblical-Christians, even while they are quite intolerantly railing against Biblical-Christians for honest and transparent attempts – in word and in deed – to live our lives in a way that is consistent with the plain standard of the Bible and for encouraging others to do the same.
Let’s be brutally honest at this point: We Christians have given them, and we continue to give them, plenty of fodder for such charges! We also have many false ‘Christian’ people and false ‘Christian’ churches to contend with and in whose lot we are readily cast. In any case, pointing out our inconsistencies is fairly easy for anyone to do. But it isn’t so easy because we’re Christians.
It’s easy for anyone to do because we’re human, and we’re not yet perfect, as our Heavenly Father is perfect. I would further suggest that living inconsistently is not so much hypocrisy; it is merely human – in our fallen state – to live inconsistently. That’s an observation not an excuse.
Hypocrisy, however, is a technical term that comes from the world of drama, of acting, and it literally means ‘two-faced’ or ‘masked,’ describing one who hides his or her true identity behind a mask or a facade of some sort.
Hypocrites, literally, are those who live one way but seek to present a wholly other impression. For example, a hypocrite might be one who trumpets the cause of ‘tolerance,’ while doing his or her best to shout down and slander and silence anyone who dares to disagree with them ….
This is not to say tolerating others is not a good, necesary, even Biblical thing to do; it is all three of those things and more – that is, if what we mean by ‘tolerating others’ is to treat those who differ from us with respect, with kindness, with honesty, and with compassion.
I find it both interesting and revealing that neither the word ‘tolerance’ nor the concept show up in the Bible. Hmmm …. But if by ‘tolerance’ we mean respect for others, kindness toward others, dealing with others in honesty and integrity, and treating all with compassion, then this is a Biblical mandate for living the Biblical-Christian life.
But in our world and in our day, this is not at all what the priests and purveyors in the temple of ‘tolerance’ mean – at least, not most of them. And this is not at all what most members of the ‘tolerance’ crowd practice, when it comes to those who disagree with them.
In spreading this myth of ‘tolerance,’ the ‘tolerance’ crowd most often seems to be attempting to canonize their desire and demand for approval from their neighbors and consequent legal protections from the state to do whatever they please – wherever, whenever, however, and with whomever they please.
We in North America hail such a state of affairs as ‘freedom!,’ but the Bible calls it bondage – to sin, to self, to the world, even to the devil himself – in whatever forms it takes. I often hear well-meaning but naive folks say, “Well, we can’t legislate morality!“
But answer me this: Can you think of one law that does not have clear moral implications? All laws legislate someone’s version of morality ….
If you read my last post, or read the Winnipeg Free Press, you will know by now that I wrote a letter to the editor last week concerning Free Press coverage of the local “Pride parade” of the previous weekend. I wrote about the coverage of the “Pride parade” not the “Pride parade” itself.
I did so, because the ‘coverage’ was blatant advocacy of a ‘news’ event. At least one glaringly obvious example was a total misrepresentation of what went on at the event, though I wasn’t there.
A heavily edited version of my letter was published in the Winnipeg Free Press yesterday, Monday, June 13th, as “The Letter of the Day” and under the title, “Advocacy over accuracy.”
Sadly, the editor chose to edit, substantially, my letter in such a way as to alter its content and its tone. (See my last post “Homosexuality, pluralism, and living the Biblical-Christian life” for the full text of the actual letter that I submitted.)
This is the risk one takes, I suppose, when attempting to engage in the marketplace of ideas, on a sensitive topic, and without the privilege of controlling the way one’s own words are framed, added to or deleted, then published.
Indeed, it might tempt one to give-up such attempts as futile and even harmful. Who needs the trouble, right? But I don’t think living the authentic, Biblical-Christian life allows us the luxury of going (or remaining) silent on matters that matter to us and our families and that the Scriptures speak to clearly and univocally – homosexuality, for one example, or even the coverage of an event that affirms homosexuality, for another example.
There is a compelling argument that can be made that the increasing silence of Biblical-Christians over the last few decades on such matters has contributed to the increasingly secularized culture around us and that is increasingly hostile and disimissive to those who would live the Biblical-Christian life and conduct an honest, Biblical-Christian ministry.
OUR INCREASING SILENCE HAS CONTRIBUTED TO AN INCREASING HOSTILITY TO THE CHRISTIAN GOSPEL AND CHRISTIAN LIFE. What an irony!
I’ll write more in part 2 soon ….
God’s peace and love to you and yours from me and mine!