Luke 19, Psalm 26, Genesis 34
The universe is destined for destruction, eventually. The law of thermodynamics states that heat always looks for somewhere cooler to go, and naturally everything is in a state of decay.
The church has been in a similar predicament over time. Society calls it progress. But let’s call it what it is: compromise. The church as a whole is moving away from holiness and reaching for apostasy, intentionally or not. And we just let it happen, because it means more people are going to come to church. Whether or not they’re taught anything, let alone saved, is irrelevant.
When I say compromise, I’m not talking about gays coming to church. I’m not talking about Christians voting for Obama. I’m not talking about the type of music we play for worship services. So get that out of your head.
But we’ve let other things happen in church for the sake of social acceptance and personal gain. Re-investing tithe to build bigger buildings. Use of gimmicks or showmanship to draw people into church. Watered-down teachings. Omission of accountability. We’ve begun a trend of tolerance to make things better when they’ve only destroyed the sanctity of our faith; we’re called to be set apart, not diffused within.
Here are four reasons why tolerance is bad. Very bad.
1) It encourages disbelief. (Luke 19:39) Many scientific camps have set out to prove that God is mythical, but only with the foundation of skepticism. The reasons for skepticism are quite human, but begin with a lukewarm approach to God. When Jesus shows up in Jerusalem on a colt, He is embraced by an entire city, but is quickly met with criticism from the religious leaders for his followers getting too excited. The religious leaders are a type of skeptic, often running around giving Jesus a hard time for his activity because he doesn’t work with surrounding society. People like this decide that environment is king, and make Jesus (and Christianity) irrelevant. But that’s because we’ve done the same by watering Him down.
2) It makes us blind. (Luke 19:41-44) Not literally, of course. Psh. What happens when generation after generation decides to forego biblical truth for the sake of progress and politics? We end up being unable to perceive the truth. Jesus is pretty clear in the Bible how he’ll come back — it’ll be fast, and not very many people will be paying attention. Likewise, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day weren’t heeding the Word, and Jesus predicts the fall of Jerusalem. So, pay attention. Don’t be clouded by those that tell you to look elsewhere. Stick it out.
3) It encourages further compromise . (Luke 19:45-46) This might look like a slippery slope argument, but it’s no different than saying leaving dirty dishes in the sink will make the house smell. I left a pot of rice in the sink over a weekend once — huge mistake. I didn’t know mold became that color.
Jesus is furious when He shows up at the temple (His own Daddy’s house) and sees people carrying out miniature extortion plots everywhere. Jesus cleans house in response. The people had forgotten the sanctity of the temple, took advantage of those who forgot or lost their sacrifice along the journey, and resorted to making a few bucks off of them. We do the same: we say, “Well, God is gracious,” and put people on the worship team that aren’t committed to repentance or holiness outside of church. The example is set for the rest of the church. You get the idea.
4) It makes us vulnerable to sin. (Psalm 26:prettymuchallofit) Sin is a bad word in church because people that don’t go to church don’t like it. Well, too bad — sinful behavior is still not a good idea. And for Christians, associating with sinful behavior is also discouraged; you’re begging to be tempted to do something stupid (and you usually will do it). Come to God with clean hands. If you’re prone to get drunk, stop buying liquor or going to bars. If you’re prone to whack off to porn, don’t get on your computer when your wife is out. If you struggle with overspending, get rid of your credit cards. Ask someone to hold you accountable to your actions.
I was going to start on Genesis 34 as well, which is a nice case for the potential hazards of tolerance, but this is already getting long. In short, a foreigner rapes one of Jacob’s daughters and wants to marry her. Jacob’s kids are okay with it as long as all of the rapist’s country gets circumcised. Recognizing their weakened state, a couple of Jacob’s sons summon an army and slaughter the nation, much to Jacob’s dismay. You could go to town on the wrongness of this whole story. Do the homework, or don’t.
Hey, the Bible is pretty clear about a lot of things. Listen to what God is saying, and do it. Obedience demonstrates love for God. Grace is how He shows His love for us. Don’t twist it.