The Danger of Tolerance and Its Cohort
In my first little essay on tolerance and its affect on the church of today, I was dealing primarily with the nature of tolerance as an internal problem for the church. Indeed, it is rotting us away from the inside and stealing our influence as a Godly people in the world. The difference in an earlier day when moral and spiritual purity was seen as a necessity and in the day in which we live when we tolerate just about anything in our midst was the basic topic.
Now, I want to move beyond the internal church problem and address the situation as it confronts us in society beyond the church walls. Tolerance is joined by another frame of mind which goes hand and hand with it as they skip down the halls of moral confusion and destruction. That frame of mind that is so friendly and necessary to tolerance is its cohort: diversity. The fact is that these two things are best friends. Diversity finds its strength is the willingness of one to be tolerant. The modern day church has become so tolerant and diverse that it is losing its ability to define what Godly living is suppose to include. The politically correct frame of mind has jumped the barrier and now not only defines the parameters of proper conduct in politics and social life, but it is also defining the way the church should think and react to things God has already spoken on. And, if she doesn’t conform herself to today’s way of politically correct thinking, she is deemed irrelevant, out of date and just plain old mean.
When God speaks on a subject, He only has to say something once to make it true forever. The reason for this is that He never changes His mind when He makes a declaration on a certain issue. When the church decides to be tolerant and exhibit diversity on something God has already spoken about, then they are saying that they are willing to operate outside the Word of God on an issue. They are comfortable deciding what action should be taken in order to make things fit a human reaction to a Divine statement. The church needs to be extremely careful at this point. No matter how much we may desire to help those locked into sin, we will never do so by adjusting our response to the sin so that we don’t offend those people. Too many denominations and churches today are more concerned with fitting into the politically correct system than they are about offending God. No matter how many denominational governing bodies decide that a compromising position should be taken, they have not changed what God has said on the issue. He is suppose to understand how things have changed and how we have to live in this environment. He should also understand that we give up our ability to converse with and help those caught in certain sins unless we adjust our own thoughts about it and deal with it in a more appropriate and acceptable way. So, the church puts itself into the box of trying to help someone with certain sinful problems but not really accurately identifying the problematic situations. When God’s people reinterpret, explain away and generally ignore God’s decree on a subject in order to get out of the tight spot of dealing with it, then they are casting themselves adrift in a sea of muck. They are adjusting themselves in order to try to be accepted and win but they are sealing their own doom thinking all the time that they are proving themselves to be great leaders.
God spoke definitively about homosexuality. He spoke definitively about adultery and killing and drunkenness and lying along with a multitude of other human proclivities. And now here come the twins of destruction down the road; tolerance and diversity. We learn to be diverse because we become tolerant. And, with human reasoning, diversity can take you anywhere with your eyes wide open thinking all along that you have found a way to co-exist with sin and please God at the same time. Sorry…can’t happen.
In recent days, the mayor of Houston, Texas has decided that the preachers of that city should turn over to her all of their sermons on homosexuality. That mayor doesn’t like the fact that these men of God have followed God’s Word and declared that lifestyle wrong. What the governing body of the city wants is for these men of God to cease preaching what He declared concerning this sin which is soundly condemned by God. The scary thing is that a large city government actually thinks they have the right to subpoena the sermons of these men. They are trying to intimidate God’s men into submission by this action. They know about the freedom of speech and they know about the separation of church and state that is inculcated into our legal system but they proceed with this action anyway. These people will employ the mantra “separation of church and state” when they want the church to quit criticizing a state action, but they overlook it when they are wanting to impinge upon the church. In other words, what’s “good for the goose is not good for the gander.” A major disturbing fact about this is that those people were bold enough to actually take this action. The one place in society that should be absolutely free to speak on issues is the very one that politicians, atheists and infidels want to silence: the pulpit. They know the power of the pulpit and they also know a populace that hears the truth is not easy to fool. These preachers in that particular state have no choice before God but to stand their ground and state what God states no matter the consequences. I think they will. But, we must all be forewarned. This kind of action is going to increase. Persecution is coming and indeed, is already here. That’s why so many are trying find a place to stand which has been measured off by tolerance and diversity.
While watching Fox News report the above event, Megan Kelly made a statement which ran right by everyone and it was a wrong statement. The influence of the liberals has touched her and it came out. She said that preachers can preach on moral and spiritual issues but they can’t preach on politics. That statement is not correct. The thing that preachers are intimidated not to do is to endorse a particular candidate for office. But, they can speak to political issues and should especially when they are grounded in a moral failure according to God’s Word. If Megan Kelly’s statement were true then all the liberals would have to do is to make any moral question a political one and the preachers would have to leave it alone. They have tried that on preachers many times but it won’t work. We are bound to speak when God’s Word is disobeyed and when people fall into a moral failure. The Government is actually holding preachers hostage for the sake of a few tax dollars. The ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State are guilty of extortion. They are extorting obedience from pastors and churches under threat of litigation the church probably can’t afford. But, it should be pointed out that the bullies have never won a case where this is concerned so the church should not fear them so much. Megan Kelly, while very good at her job, should go back and review what she said on the issue of preachers dealing with politics.
Another situation that is current and surprising, is that the Catholic Church is seeking to alter its approach to the same sin; homosexuality. The current Pope is more liberal than those before him. He seems to be more concerned with political correctness than other Popes have been. For the sake of dealing more gently with those choosing this lifestyle, they are considering some adjustments in their approach as if sticking with what is Godly, right and moral is a problem for them if they are going to be accepted. And they are right. If one desires to be accepted and liked in today’s world then they will of necessity have to adjust their take on all sin, not just this particular one. If they choose to hold hands with those twins of destruction, tolerance and diversity, then they will lose their ability to speak to any other sin with authority as well. Sorry, world, but God says homosexuality is a sin. But, He also identifies many other things as such as well. A person who says, “well, I am a Christian but I don’t plan to give up the sin I harbor in my life. God will just have to accept me as I am”, is a person who misunderstands the holiness of God. He doesn’t have to “understand” who they are. He knows who they are. And, He will not allow anyone intentionally harboring any sin to continue their action and be accepted by Him at the same time. But tolerance and diversity come calling and people put God’s position on the back burner. They try to reinterpret His Word to fit their situation and it won’t work. We are to adjust ourselves to His Word. His Word is not adjustable to us or else it is no longer what He said on the issue.
Tolerance says its all right to be diverse and the church of today is taking the bait. She is thinking that she will look good, intelligent and caring if she fixes the problem and changes the way she relates to what God has said. Sorry, but the problem isn’t fixed. The church and her influence has been compromised. People are beginning to look at the church as nothing more than a big building on a corner where people who don’t live by what they proclaim go to worship a God who doesn’t mind if they do so. When that is true then the church has lost all its power and privilege to preach to the people and have a Godly influence on society. I’m afraid that is where we are headed in our day. Understand this; the same society which rejects the church because she won’t compromise on sin, is the same group of people who will condemn the church if she does compromise. They will say that if we believed it then why didn’t we hold to it. They will label the church as a hypocrite and they will be right. Remember this: Acceptance with the world will, of necessity require that God’s people turn from Him and His Word. That’s too high a price to pay for acceptance. The destructive twins of Tolerance and Diversity will have struck again.
William F. Harrell