About Tolerance and Faithfulness
- Monday, July 30, 2007
Try this flawed philosophy on other areas. All sciences are good since they have elements in common. All physics are sound. All forms of mathematics are equally valid. All techniques of surgery are successful. All cooking methods produce great food. All teaching styles are ideal for children.
Only in the area of religious faith do we take out our brain and suspend our judgment and come to such foolish, fallacious conclusions that they're all the same, they're all equally good, and all are to be respected and honored.
Tell that to the young maiden about to be sacrified to the Incan gods in the river below. Tell it to the child being offered to the fire god of the Old Testament, Moloch. Tell it to the primitives of remote tribes even today whose god is a rag on a stick or the belch of the volcano or the polluted river flowing past their village. Tell that to the families of the victims of the terrorists of 9-11.
Respect people who practice other religions? Absolutely. Treasure these people.
Then go one step further: Give them the truth.
Jesus Christ said, "You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free." (John 8:32) Now, it might be news to editors around the land who often choose this line for their masthead, but Jesus was not talking about the latest news on Paris Hilton or even the latest doings of Congress from Washington, D.C.
He was talking about Himself.
"I am the way, the truth, and the life," Jesus said. (John 14:6)
Admittedly, that's narrow. Worse, it's exclusive, because of the article "the," which would indicate He's the only way, the only truth, the only life.
As if to leave no doubt on that subject, Jesus' next words were: "No one comes to the Father except by me."
If that's intolerant, then so be it. But I don't think so. The truth is the truth is the truth. It is in every field of endeavor in the universe, including this one. No matter what political correctness calls for or demands from us, since Bible-believing Christians believe we must tell others the news about Jesus Christ.
To be sure, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about sharing the Gospel, a word literally meaning "good news." Our goal should always be to practice the very Christlikeness we so admire in the Lord Jesus Himself, whose words were gracious, whose deeds were wonderful, and whose love was on display before the world.
I'm indebted to my friend Barry for lessons in tolerance and respect for those different from us. I am committed to never again tell a minority person a joke about his people.
But we must not let this stop us from sharing the message of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That message is the truth, and people all over the planet are desperately in need of it.
Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. Visit him at joemckeever.com/mt.
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