When it Comes to Truth, Tolerance is a Travesty
- Hank Hanegraaff The Bible Answerman
- 2003 28 May
Q: Why are Christians so judgmental and unloving?
A: Because we live in an age of tolerance where almost anything goes, openly questioning or criticizing other people's belief systems can quickly get you labeled as judgmental, narrow-minded, bigoted, hateful, and even ignorant. With regard to Christianity, Matthew 7:1 is often quoted (or should I say "misquoted") as discouraging Christians from putting other religious teachings and practices to the test: "Judge not, that ye be not judged."
This interpretation of Scripture, however, is simply mistaken. The Bible clearly speaks out not against passing judgment in general, but against rendering inaccurate and unfair judgments (John 7:24). In 1 Corinthians 2:15 Paul tells us that Christians are called to make "judgments about all things." Our judgment, though, should not be based on what God has not revealed; but rather, on what He has revealed (v. 13).
God's revealed Word, the Bible, tells us that Jesus Christ is the only way we can possibly reach God and that there's no alternate route (Acts 4:12). It stands to reason, therefore, that other beliefs offering alleged alternate pathways to God only lead to dead-ends. And if we as Christians really want to follow our Lord's teaching to love our neighbors, we can't escape our responsibility to warn them about spiritually destructive roads paved by non-Christian belief systems (Prov. 14:12). True love and compassion should move believers to sound warning cries, even in the face of opposition, to avert countless lives from heading toward eternal separation from God.
Let's realize that when we call teachings into question, it's only because we're concerned about the eternal destinies of people. Let's also keep in mind that Scripture doesn't command us to simply rail against false teachings; rather, it encourages us to offer biblical reasons with gentleness and respect (1 Pet. 3:15). Always remember that when it comes to personal relationships, tolerance is a virtue; but when it comes to truth, tolerance is a travesty.