Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Are Christians intolerant? Absolutely!

In our society today, it seems that tolerance is the king of virtues.  Personally, I think we have gone from a tolerant society to a society that demands endorsement of other people's opinions.  For example, marriage is, first and foremost, a covenant made between two people before God.  As a Christian, I see marriage outlined in Scripture, and took that covenant with Ann before God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  The God who raised Christ from the dead.  On the side, I signed a little piece of paper to inform the State of Arkansas that I had made this covenant.  I entered this covenant, and continue to view this covenant, in light of God's redemptive work in my life. 

Now, however, the government and small groups of society are trying to tell the church what marriage is.  This is backwards.  Government recognizes marriage, because before there was government, and sometimes in spite of the government (one of the legends surrounding Valentine's Day is that Valentine was a preacher who would perform marriages that the government had unjustly forbid), the religious world has held marriage as a significant portion of life.  But, to stand against such government intrusion into religious life is labeled 'hate' and 'bigotry' to make sure people understand your great sin of intolerance.  But what is being demanded is that we not tolerate their views (what is it to me if homosexuals marry?  That is between them and God.), but that we endorse their views, that we teach our children that it is morally acceptable to live that way (for a Bible-believing Christian, it is not), that we open up 'marriage counseling' (which has been renamed 'couple's counseling' in many situations) to include homosexuals, and that we not stand against it, because that's 'hate.'   And many Christians and churches (and businesses that claim Christian heritage) are allowing themselves to be swayed by people calling them intolerant.  This is nothing new, and we must recognize that we are, if we are Biblical, intolerant.

Here's a word from Charles Spurgeon, who, according to people who talked to people who heard him, was one of the greatest preachers Baptist life has ever known.  He certainly wrote well, and left a challenging legacy.  (reposted without permission from the Spurgeon Archive, http://teampyro.blogspot.com)

Pastor Doug


"Neither is there salvation in any other."

id you ever notice the intolerance of God's religion? In olden times the heathen, who had different gods, all of them respected the gods of their neighbors.

For instance, the king of Egypt would confess that the gods of Nineveh were true and real gods, and the prince of Babylon would acknowledge that the gods of the Philistines were true and real gods: but Jehovah, the God of Israel, put this as one of his first commandments, "Thou shalt have none other gods besides me;" and he would not allow them to pay the slightest possible respect to the gods of any other nation: "Thou shalt hew them in pieces, thou shalt break down their temples, and cut down their groves."

All other nations were tolerant the one to the other, but the Jew could not be so. One part of his religion was, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is one God;" and as the consequence of his belief that there was but one God, and that that one God was Jehovah, he felt it his bounden duty to call all pretended gods by nicknames, to spit upon them, to treat them with contumely and contempt.

Now the Christian religion, you observe, is just as intolerant as this. If you apply to a Brahmin to know the way of salvation, he will very likely tell you at once, that all persons who follow out their sincere religious convictions will undoubtedly be saved. "There," says he, "are the Mohammedans; if they obey Mohammed, and sincerely believe what he has taught without doubt, Alla will glorify them at last." And the Brahmin turns round upon the Christian missionary, and says, "What is the use of your bringing your Christianity here to disturb us? I tell you our religion is quite capable of carrying us to heaven, if we are faithful to it."

Now just hear the text: how intolerant is the Christian religion! "Neither is there salvation in any other." The Brahmin may admit, that there is salvation in fifty religions besides his own; but we admit no such thing. There is no true salvation out of Jesus Christ.

The gods of the heathens may approach us with their mock charity, and tell us that every man may follow out his own conscientious conviction and be saved.

We reply—No such thing: there is no salvation in any other; "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Now, what do you suppose is the reason of this intolerance—if I may use the word again? I believe it is just because there is the truth both with the Jew and with the Christian. A thousand errors may live in peace with one another, but truth is the hammer that breaks them all in pieces. A hundred lying religions may sleep peaceably in one bed, but wherever the Christian religion goes as the truth, it is like a fire-brand, and it abideth nothing that is not more substantial than the wood, the hay, and the stubble of carnal error.

All the gods of the heathen, and all other religions are born of hell, and therefore, being children of the same father, it would seem amiss that they should fall out, and chide, and fight; but the religion of Christ is a thing of God's—its pedigree is from on high, and, therefore, when once it is thrust into the midst of an ungodly and gainsaying generation, it hath neither peace, nor parley, nor treaty with them, for it is truth, and cannot afford to be yoked with error: it stands upon its own rights, and gives to error its due, declaring that it hath no salvation, but that in the truth, and in the truth alone, is salvation to be found.

Again, it is because we have here the sanction of God. It would be improper in any man who had invented a creed of his own, to state that all others must be damned who do not believe it; that would be an overweening censoriousness and bigotry, at which we might afford to smile; but since this religion of Christ is revealed from heaven itself, God, who is the author of all truth, hath a right to append to this truth the dreadful condition, that who so rejecteth it shall perish without mercy; and in proclaiming that, apart from Christ, no man can be saved. We are not really intolerant, for we are but echoing the words of him that speaketh from heaven, and who declares, that cursed is the man who rejects this religion of Christ, seeing that there is no salvation out of him. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Now I hear one or two persons saying, "Do you imagine then, sir, that none are saved apart from Christ?"

I reply, I don't imagine it, but I have it here in my text plainly taught.

"Neither is there salvation in any other." A man may seek after it and labor after it in his own way, but there he cannot possibly find it, "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
C. H. Spurgeon

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