You have heard that it has been said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, do not fight with the man who wants to fight. Whoever hits you on the right side of the face, turn so he can hit the other side also. If any person takes you to court to get your shirt, give him your coat also. Whoever makes you walk a short way, go with him twice as far. Give to any person who asks you for something. Do not say no to the man who wants to use something of yours.” Mat 5:38-42
Collin’s Dictionary defines intolerance as “the unwillingness to let other people act in a different way or hold different opinions from you.” Religious intolerance occurs when a person or group specifically refuses to tolerate the religious convictions and practices of a religious group or individual. Christians today are accused of being intolerant even for the same views we have held for hundreds of years and were not a problem for anybody. Is anyone concerned about the growing intolerance today toward Christianity, even in a free country like America?
Sean McDowell wrote, “Those who accuse Christians of being intolerant have a distorted view of what tolerance really entails. Rather than accepting all views as equally valid, true tolerance involves recognizing and respecting others when we don’t approve of their values, beliefs, and practices. Only when people genuinely disagree does tolerance become necessary. Claiming that someone is wrong for holding a different viewpoint, then, isn’t itself intolerant; the attitude that accompanies the claim may, however, be intolerant. But charitably and kindly disagreeing can be an act of genuine tolerance.” Matthew Staver opines that “modern tolerance redefines words like ‘marriage,’ ‘discrimination,’ ‘equality,’ ‘morality,’ and even ‘absolutes.’ The word ‘tolerance’ as it is used today never includes opposing arguments or competing worldviews.” That is where things got messed up.
In the March 2021 issue of Christianity Today, under the article “Is Religious Tolerance Biblical?” the author wrote: “Christians should always be tolerant of other religious beliefs but not accept them as the truth. Instead, Christians should respect and love others in their beliefs, but show greater love in sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.” Dr. Michael J. Kruger also wrote, “those accusing us of being intolerant are actually more intolerant to us than we are to them. They claim to be open minded and tolerant, but their reaction to us is a display of intolerance”. Robin Schumacher sums up our Christian view: “Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error …”
Is Christianity tolerant? Yes! We love people, respect their views, and give them the freedom to decide to be Christians or not. Is Christianity intolerant? Yes! We uphold the truth as revealed in the Bible, and we cannot accept contrary views as equal, valid, and true as the Bible. We must obey God and not man.