As the new movie God’s Not Dead Part 2 hits the theaters the usual chorus of discord can be heard from all sides of the religious spectrum as well as that of the unbelievers. People of faith over the last few years have been introduced to a kinder gentler vocabulary which can be misleading. Two words stand out to me in this battle for the very soul of the faith, “Inclusiveness and Tolerance.” I admit I am a layman and while I hold no office or committee posts in the church, I read, study and most importantly listen to those like me sitting in the pews. I have already written about inclusiveness in an earlier blog, as to tolerance, here is my view from the pew.
I’m sure most folks understand reasonably well the meaning of this word. I choose to not quote a lot of scripture, just keep this simple and to the point. Here is Webster’s definition of the word “tolerance”.
- 2a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own
b : the act of allowing something : toleration
I consider the very “soul” of the faith to be the word of God given to the prophets of the Old Testament, carried into the New Testament as spoken by his son Jesus Christ and the good news that the Apostles took to the world, which the believers embraced with their hearts, minds and in some instances their lives. Having said this, I believe that God has spoken to his people as to those things which by belief or practice are in conflict with his will. To be even more direct I find no justification for Christian tolerance or sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with the word and will of God. Now here is where it becomes hard to be a Christian of the “faith” and defend the faith which has in the past been known to exclude and judge others harshly. Jesus said to love your brother as yourself and in Jesus’ ministry we see him time after time include all people in his mission. Now some would say that this is the very definition of “inclusiveness” and truth is you can’t argue with that. So what is my problem? Tolerance is a different matter altogether. Yes, Jesus did love all people but he did not tolerate those things which marginalized his father’s will for his people and disrespected the sanctity of his house and personage. We only have to look at the temple full of money changers and vendors to see his intolerance to such in his father’s house.
To sum up, our church is divided in many areas of our doctrine of faith. We should love and welcome all to God’s family but never allowing those things which God found unacceptable to be tolerated to the point of inclusion in the “Faith”. One last hard thing for all of us to grasp is that we are called to, whoa…. the word is commanded to love all. Judgement belongs to God.