The historic meaning of tolerance is actually a reflection of the teaching of Jesus himself, and this is how we ought to approach others and the worldviews they hold.

The Call of Jesus  

This leads us, finally, to the call of Jesus.  John 1:17 states, "The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."  One of the implications of this verse is simply that grace and truth must be held together when evaluating different worldviews, and when relating to the people that hold them.

If we hold onto truth without grace, we beat people up with our words and we fail to follow the Jesus who was called "the friend of sinners" and who humbled himself even to the point of death on a cross.  If we hold onto grace without truth, we find ourselves no longer in touch with reality, but rather blinded by a pretend world that doesn't match the real world as it actually is.

The Apostle Peter shows the need for both when he says in 1 Peter 3:15, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have [referring to truth].  But do this with gentleness and respect [referring to grace]." 

May it be so with each of us.

Rev. Chris Daniel is the Executive Director of the Richmond Center for Christian Study.  This article is based on the first of five sessions of an apologetics course that Chris originally presented at Virginia Commonwealth University March 24 - April 21, 2010.  Details and audio recordings can be found here.

For further discussion with Chris and others on this topic, visit


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