These blogs are part of our Text Your Topic series, and todays blog comes from Tim Thorn, Next Generation Pastor. Your question today was on the topic of Modern Tolerance vs Biblical Tolerance.
14 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.
You might be labeled as a freely accepting person who welcomes all perspectives or maybe you have been labeled as a narrow-minded bigot. Sadly, Christians are often labeled as picketing protestors, known more for what we are against rather than what we are for. Just think about how many times you have heard someone say, “Don’t judge me.” Which raises the question, what should we biblically judge or tolerate compared to what the world judges or tolerates?
God is very explicit in Scripture about things relevant to the gospel. He is very clear that everyone has sinned, we are all in need of a Savior, and redemption is made possible through Jesus Christ. But there are also things that we encounter in life today that God does not explicitly address. For example, since the word, “internet” is found no where in Scripture, we have to take a 30,000-foot view of God’s message if we want to know how God feels about our use of the internet. But even in those areas of “openness,” we each have our own personal perspectives and beliefs.
So for things that we find contradictory to Scripture, we should not be tolerant. God is the Creator of all things and any contradictory statement should not be tolerated. However, it would be foolish to expect someone who does not believe the Bible to hold the same convictions as those who do believe it. Sinners will act sinfully. To expect non-believers to fall in line with God’s law without Christ is like telling a lost person to stop being lost. We must be gracious and charitable in our approach toward the lostness of the world while standing firm in what God deems as essential truth. The world should know that we are Christians by our love (John 13:35).
In the words of Thomas Campbell, “Speak Where the Bible Speaks; Be Silent Where the Bible is Silent.” If something is not explicitly addressed or mentioned in Scripture, then we should be slow to judge and wise in our tolerance. As a rule of thumb, always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters… Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls… So then each of us will give an account of himself to God… So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God.”
Romans 14:1, 4, 12, 22