Saturday, September 19, 2015

Gospel Of Intolerance

One thing I've learned about my relationship with God is that you can't have spiritual growth unless you are willing to move out of your comfort zone.  And moving out of your comfort zone usually involves confronting something that's a lot more comfortable to ignore.  Why am I saying this?  Because I see more and more people going out of their way to defend Muslims simply because they are Muslim. Does that mean I am racist and prejudice?  No, it does not, it simply means that I want to bring some of my brothers and sisters in Christ out of their comfort zone and remind everyone that Jesus was intolerant and exclusive.  Don't believe me?  Read the Bible, it's all there in black and white.
I am also saying this because I want to introduce those who follow the "love your neighbor" Jesus, to the real Jesus of the Bible.  The Jesus of the Bible is hardcore.  The Jesus of the Bible is radical.  The Jesus of the Bible ain't playing around.  The Jesus of the Bible said things like, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)  That's pretty exclusive.  The Jesus of the Bible said, "If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter eternal life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out." (Mark 9:43)  That's pretty intolerant.

As a Christian, I can love a Muslim and be friends with a Muslim and reciprocate kindness and compassion, but I don't have to go out of my way to tolerate their religion.  As a matter of fact, if I go out of my way to tolerate any religion that is not centered upon Christ, I am in essence, telling them that their religion is okay.  Why would I tell someone their religion without Christ is okay?  When Christ Himself said He is the only way?  Unless I consider Christ to be a liar?  The extremely uncomfortable truth about Christianity is that, according to Jesus Christ, no other religion on the face of the planet is okay.  That doesn't mean we are to discriminate against someone's freedom to practice their religion, but that does mean that we don't have to go out of our way to be tolerant of it.  What if the Apostle Paul had been tolerant of the pagan religions of the gentiles of the Roman empire?  What if he had just traveled around telling them that it was okay?  No!  It was BECAUSE Paul was intolerant of their pagan religion that he shared the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!   The world has caused too many people to confuse intolerance with discrimination.  The world has caused too many people to associate intolerance with violence or oppression.   
The definition of "tolerate" is:  to allow the existence, occurrence or practice of something that a person does not necessarily like or agree with without interference.
The definition of "discriminate" is:  to unfairly treat a person or group differently from other people or groups
If Jesus says He is the only way to heaven, that doesn't mean He is discriminatory.  That means He is intolerant of any other way.  That also means that anyone who has not chosen Jesus, ain't gonna be where Jesus lives.  And "ain't where Jesus lives", happens to be that ugly place we don't like to talk about, but a place which Jesus referred to quite frequently.  Over 40 times to be exact.  I don't want anyone to end up in "ain't where Jesus lives", so for that very reason I am intolerant. 
Besides, as Christians, we should all be intolerant of other religions that don't include Christ.  Why?  Because Christians are expected to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the whole world:

---"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." (Mark 16:15)
---"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;" (Matt 28:19)
---"..repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47)
---"and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
---"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." (Matt 24:14)

Because we are expected to share the Gospel with other people, we necessarily have to interfere with "the existence, occurrence, or practice" of other people's religion.  Therefore, by definition, that makes us intolerant.  But being intolerant does not make a person prejudice, racist or discriminatory.  I can love my neighbor but be intolerant of them driving across my lawn or letting their dog poop in my yard.  For all intents and purposes, a person can be intolerant if only for the simple fact that they know a better way.  "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) 

Despite what the world would have us think, Jesus didn't preach tolerance, He preached salvation.

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