August 05, 2012

Intolerance of the Tolerant Group and the Pride of the Intolerant Group

With the recent RH Bill debacle and the numerous laws being studied, reviewed and debated, you start to see two factions of people.

The so called “tolerant group” and the “intolerant group”

Please don’t get me wrong, both sides have their points. If the RH bill is passed, many people will be given aid. I am not anti RH Bill and I am also not Pro Rhbill and to be honest it doesn’t even matter since I am not voting – our lawmakers will.

Okay, stay with me here. For a minute, let us take out the issue of the RH Bill and look at the attitudes of both camps. One group is the tolerant (liberal) and other group is intolerant (legalistic) but if you start looking at it with honesty and an open mind you would see that both groups are INTOLERANT AND LEGALISTIC with their views.

The supposed to be loving church produces hate while the supposed to be free thinkers and more liberal are closed on the views of others especially of the more conservative views. In short, the other group is expected to show love but when you don’t agree with them, you are said to be a non-member of their sect. On the other hand, the other supposed to be tolerant group are being intolerant and legalistic with their liberal views.

So let me summarize the two groups and the problem:

  1. Moralism or Legalism (religion, intolerant)
  2. Relativism (irreligion and tolerant)

Moralism stresses truth without grace. Relativist stresses grace without truth.

but Jesus was full of grace and truth.

So is their a middle ground? Well there is no middle ground. You cannot be half tolerant and half intolerant. Why? Because those are just labels. Both are in all honesty working in the premise of legalism and pride. One takes pride in their moralistic ways while the other takes pride in their post modern and liberal ways. Both attitudes (not the #rhbill)  are anti-thesis of the gospel.

So what is the solution? It goes back to the gospel.  John Piper wrote about tolerance and makes a good point. The most tolerant of all is Jesus and here is why:

God is the most tolerant being ever. Not in terms of the “new tolerance,” but as Don Carson points out, according to the truest and best notions of tolerance. Think about God’s patience and forbearance. Carson explains that God has ordained a world in which “conflict, idolatry, confrontation, and wildly disparate systems of thought, even about God himself, persist” (Tolerance of Intolerance, 5).

In other words, God tolerates a world of bad ideas (among other things). He doesn’t have to do this. It’s his prerogative to shut the whole thing down anytime he wants. Yet he hasn’t. He endures it. He puts up with it in his perfect timing and patience. God forbears the foolishness and restrains his wrath. And a God that holy with a world this unholy requires more tolerance than we can quantify.

But why? Why does God do this? Here are two swings, one from Scripture and one as a good and necessary consequence.

For Our Sake

First, God is tolerant for our sake. The Bible is clear: God is patient so that we sinners would repent (2 Peter 3:9). He is kind and forbearing so that we would turn to him (Romans 2:4). We still have time to believe. And there are still many who will, God willing.

With the cross in view, God is able to righteously endure the sin of his unregenerate elect (and even the indwelling sin of the regenerate). Jesus absorbed the wrath we deserved so God could stop “passing over” the former sins of his people. Our sins were atoned for, God’s anger propitiated. Now, because of the cross, he is “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:24–27). He is tolerant now because he knows he doesn’t have to be tolerant forever. In the end, his wrath will be satisfied, either at the cross or in the lake of fire. Jesus died, God endures, we believe — he is tolerant for our sake.

For His Glory

Secondly, God is tolerant for his glory. He tolerates “wildly disparate systems of thought” because he is seen as great when he trumps the wisdom of man (1 Corinthians 1:20). This means that if God will trump worldly wisdom, he must forbear its existence. God tolerates man’s wisdom to show his foolishness is wiser; God tolerates man’s strength to show his weakness is stronger (1 Corinthians 1:25).

The point is the contrast. It’s one of the many ways God accommodates the knowledge of his worth to our little minds. He gets more glory in a world of differing ideas and disparate beliefs because against this background his beauty and worth is more clearly manifest. A creation full of almost innumerable ideas puts more money in the pot for that one “good idea” that outlasts the rest. And yes, there is one — one message of good news that gets God all the glory.

For our sake and his glory, no one is more truly tolerant than God.

Tomorrow, Ill blog about how both groups steal the power of the gospel.