Wednesday, April 1, 2020


By Jeff Arnette

    We live in a world where it is an unforgivable sin to be intolerant of others. Those same people who are quick to point out that someone is “intolerant” are themselves incredibly intolerant of others. They seem to be tolerant of almost anything except Christian values. As soon as someone says they are a Christian or they attend church, there instantly labeled as intolerant.
    I think we need to define this word "tolerance." The worldly definition of tolerance seems to be “accepting all views as true.” [1] Whereas, Oxford’s dictionary says “showing tolerance (of a plant, animal, or machine), able to endure specified conditions or treatment.” [2]
    Is tolerance really about just accepting their views as correct? Does God really expect me to just accept someone’s view as true, just because it’s someone’s view? Truthfully, I can hold to all kinds of ideas about all kinds of things, but just because they are my views does not make them right. Obviously if I hold a certain view I believe it to be right, but am I really correct?
    I think this gets to the real problem most have with tolerance. We live in a world that does not want anyone to tell them they are wrong. Friends, the Bible I read says that I cannot just accept everything as true. God expects His followers to question all things (1 Thess. 5:21) and hold to the good. The very words good and bad imply that something’s are right and others wrong. To make matters worse, the world’s use of tolerance violates a simple law of logic. The law states that if we have two contradictory statements there are only three viable options. One is right and the other is wrong or both statements are wrong. We cannot have all contradictory views being correct. If Jesus is not the only way to heaven (John 14:6) then what is the right way?
    So are you intolerant of another's belief simply because they differ from yours? Excuse me but I thought we lived in a country where having an opinion was OK or even desirable. The Bible is very clear on this. I must differentiate between what is good and what is bad. But in the process I cannot forget that the same Bible tells me to treat people fairly, to love them, and to try to help them find the truth about God and salvation.
    True tolerance does not require you to be ignorant and blind to the truth.

[1] Ted Cabal, Chad Owen Brand, E. Ray Clendenen, Paul
Copan, J.P. Moreland and Doug Powell, The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight
Answers, Stronger Faith (Nashville, TN:
Holman Bible Publishers, 2007). 1882.
[2] Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson, Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 11th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

- Jeff Arnette preaches for the Central Haywood church of Christ, Clyde, NC.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: 

No comments:

Post a Comment