This post was first published in September 2017. -ed.
The world has enshrined tolerance as perhaps the greatest of all virtues. This new zeitgeist suppresses all who would call anything wrong or sinful. Exclusive truth claims appear to be headed for rapid extinction in this new world order.
As Christians who worship “the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6, emphasis added), we find ourselves increasingly unwelcome in the age of tolerance. Some are surprised and disturbed by these developments. They think it is the church’s job to present a redefined Jesus—one who can be welcomed into the postmodern world as a way and a truth.
But as John MacArthur points out in his sermon “Why Biblical Christianity Is Intolerant in an Age of Tolerance,” that agenda is antithetical to Christian mission.
So what are we as Christians doing in the world and what is our responsibility? What is the commission? To go into all the world and preach the gospel and to tell people everything that Jesus commanded them. In other words, we carry on the confrontational ministry of Jesus that confronts people who love their sin and have developed systems of self-justification for that sin. We tell them that their thinking is evil and that their conduct is evil and that there is a horrible destiny in eternal hell awaiting them. That is the truth that we are called to tell them.
And yet, through all of church history there have always been people who somehow want to mitigate the message, soften the message, downplay the message, and make it less offensive. But through all church history there has never been a time when the church had spiritual impact that it didn’t confront the culture with the truth. . . . The only times the church has made any spiritual impact on the world is when the people of God have stood firmly and uncompromisingly and boldly for the truth. And proclaimed that truth right into the face of the world’s hostility.
That quote rightly points out that our Christian duty is to stand for God’s truth against the tide of cultural preferences. But fulfilling that responsibility can be both intimidating and frightening. “Why Biblical Christianity Is Intolerant in an Age of Tolerance” is a powerful tool to equip Christians to be salt and light in the face of secular derision.
John provides a biblical paradigm for believers in this age of tolerance. It is a paradigm built around six words that encapsulate the nature of God’s written revelation: objectivity, rationality, veracity, authority, incompatibility, and integrity.
The truth of God’s Word is objective truth apart from our own opinions, preferences, and perceptions. The Bible should therefore be interpreted rationally rather than emotionally. Objective facts interpreted rationally will always yield clear and indisputable truth—the veracity of Scripture. Consequently, God’s written revelation speaks with authority. The ultimate authority of God’s truth makes it incompatible with all other truth claims. And personal integrity demands our faithfulness to Scripture over and against the prevailing views of modern culture.
Our eyes need to gaze upon biblical truth—unswayed by the carnal clamor emanating from the world around us. To that end, “Why Biblical Christianity Is Intolerant in an Age of Tolerance” is a great encouragement and catalyst for boldness to those of us wearied by worldly opposition.
Used with permission from John MacArthur.