July 21, 2007

“The universal religion of Western culture is now tolerance.  Its adherents have one stated precept: that all beliefs are valid, and they recognize just one sin: the belief in a singular truth.

To be tolerant, one must refrain from criticizing or judging another person’s beliefs or behaviors.  If a personal value impugns values that are more universally held, then it should remain unspoken.

It is no secret that those held most guilty of intolerance are evangelical Christians.  To believe that the Bible is the unadulterated Word of God – and to believe that this matters – is untenable among the proponents of tolerance.

Christians are labeled intolerant for one reason: Jesus.  The secularists cannot stand His fame, His name, or His claims. To suggest that there is only one way to find peace, and one way to eternal rest, flies in the face of universalism.

Since intolerance is equated with being uneducated, prejudiced, unfair, mean-spirited, hard-hearted, and bigoted, it is not surprising that Christians are some times tempted to be tolerant of sinful behaviors and beliefs.

But God hates sin.  He is perfect and He is righteous, and as such, He has clearly shown the difference between righteousness and sin in His Word.  There remains no acceptable sin in His eyes.  God sent His only Son to die to atone for our sins, providing abundant grace and the power to defeat our sin.

God expects that those who love Him will also hate sin.  He wants us to turn from our wicked ways and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with others.  This Good News includes the fact that we can have power over the things that entrap us.  So part of our message should be to proclaim freedom to those who cling to sin and the sorrow that it brings.

Yet while God hates sin, He loves sinners so much so that He sent His Son to save us.  Paul wrote, “Christ died for the ungodly… God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6,8). Likewise, we are to love those who reject the absolutes of God’s Word, even if they rejects us.

To show our love and His, we must pray for those who are in error. We must speak the truth and be bold witnesses to the truth that we know. We must refuse to repay evil for evil. If we are maligned, slandered, or mistreated for standing strong for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must continue to stand in peace and refuse to seek retaliation.  Paul wrote, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is writtenL ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).

When you are called ‘intolerant’ because of your faith, remember that the Gospel is for everyone – regardless of age, gender, nationality, culture or race.  The gift of the Gospel is a treasure of great worth – it is a promise of eternal life to all who believe.”

Dr. Michael Youssef

Leading The Way