Should Christians be tolerant?

chickenlovetoleranceOK so there’s an interesting debate taking place on whether Christians should be tolerant.

In some ways we should, of course, but there are other areas of our faith where we cannot be, simply because it goes against the mandate we have to win souls and make disciples, and also because there is a revealed code of conduct for disciples of Christ which means that some things we are asked to tolerate could conflict with our lifestyle.

Mark Driscoll gives some interesting insights into what we should or should not tolerate as believers.

Should Christians Be Tolerant?

“But I have this against you, that you tolerate . . .” –Jesus Christ, in Revelation 2:20

We live in a culture that loves tolerance. We’re told that we should equally value value and affirm all lifestyles. That is, of course, except for those who are deemed intolerant. You can’t possibly be expected to tolerate them.

And more often than not, as Christians, because we believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and the source of all moral truth. When we preach the Bible faithfully, we’re deemed intolerant, which is the ultimate cultural sin.

As people who love Jesus and love others, the question becomes: How can we faithfully preach Jesus and the Bible in a culture that values tolerance more than truth? As the church, can we and should we be tolerant?

The short answer is yes. But, as with anything, the issue is more complicated than a simple yes.

So let’s talk about Christian tolerance. What is it? What is it not?

1. Christians Should Practice Legal Tolerance in Society

Should we have legal tolerance of other views, other religions, other ideologies, and other perspectives? Yes.

As Christians, we should support people’s legal rights. Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Buddhists, Bahá’ís, atheists, agnostics, and more—they’re welcome to their belief. We don’t agree with it, but we’ll tolerate it.

Christianity is not a religion that should be imposed on anyone. It’s about loving Jesus, and you can’t simply pass a law to accomplish this. It doesn’t work like that. To love Jesus, your heart must change.

So, rather than impose Christian faith on anyone, we propose it to everyone.

2. Christians Should Practice Social Tolerance in Community

If you have a family member, a friend, a coworker, or a neighbor that disagrees with you about the Christian faith, should you tolerate them socially and personally? Totally.

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor. He doesn’t say agree with them. As such, we should love, serve, be good friends with, and be good neighbors to people of other beliefs, ideologies, religions, and perspectives.

This doesn’t mean we won’t share our beliefs and propose Christianity to them, but it does mean that if they choose not to believe what we believe, we won’t write them off or be done with them. We will love them with the hope that Jesus will turn their hearts to him.

3. Christians Should Practice Theological Tolerance in the Church

Before you blow your heretic whistle, I’m talking here about theological tolerance within the bookends of orthodoxy.

For instance, at Mars Hill Church there are some who believe in the rapture and some who don’t, some who speak in tongues and some who don’t. There are all kinds of secondary issues that we tolerate as a community. We talk about it, but we’re not going to declare war over it. They are distinctions, not divisions.

This is also why we partner with churches that disagree with us on certain secondary issues. For instance, our church has male pastors but we work with churches that have female pastors. Why? Because they really do love Jesus, believe the Bible, are family, and we’ll be with them in the kingdom of God. So, for the sake of evangelism, we partner together so that people might meet Jesus. We also lovingly have discussions about some of the things we disagree about. But that’s not war. That’s just dialogue between brothers and sisters as in every family there are scuffles but not shootouts.

4. Christians Should Not Have Heretical Tolerance in the Church

In the church, there are certain beliefs that are national borders and others that are state borders. The Bible is God’s Word. There is one God in three persons. Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus lived without sin, died on the cross in our place, and rose as our Savior. The Bible is the Word of God. Those are national borders.

Then, there are state boundaries: Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, Four Square, Reformed, Arminian, etc.? State borders. We should get along across the state borders, but we must protect national borders.

So, if somebody teaches heresy, crosses a national boarder, while claiming to be a Christian, we say, “No, we don’t tolerate that.”

5. Christians Should Not Have Immoral Tolerance in the Church

Should we as a church tolerate, from those who are professing Christians, immorality? No.

To be clear, I’m not talking about non-Christians. The problems and divisions in the church are not because of the non-Christians but rather because of those who say they’re Christians but live like unbelievers.

Christianity begins with tolerance and moves to repentance. Meaning, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, and what you’ve done, you can come to Jesus just like you are. But, Christianity is also about change. Jesus will change you as you follow him.

So while we welcome all people, if they confess Christ, we also expect them to change—just as we have changed and are changing by the grace of God.

Against the tide
Tolerance is a well used word in post-modern politically correct circles because it implies being at liberty to appreciate and accept without condemnation or prejudice the beliefs, culture, aspirations and desires of other people, which, in a secular sense, is something we should all do, and many of us are legally obliged to enact within our workplace.

However, for a Christian this is difficult because there are certain things we are recruited by Christ to perform which involve change, not just in ourselves, but a change of heart, desire, direction and belief for everyone we meet, as we introduce them to the Kingdom of God.

We are here to evangelise, and that means persuading people who are entrenched in some kind of human ideology to have such a change of heart that they are converted, not to another ideology, but to a whole new way of living, thinking and being as a Christian.

So, whilst we are tolerant in the sense of not forcing our will and desires on others, we have an anomaly, because we are indeed engaged in bringing about a revolution of thought and practice to a world which is going in the wrong direction on the broad way to destruction.

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”
1 Corinthians 6:14-18


72 thoughts on “Should Christians be tolerant?

  1. Should we tolerate flippant facebook comments which denigrate parts of the Christian community :

    Exodus International, a worldwide ministry aimed at helping those struggling with homosexuality, says a recent Facebook comment by megachurch Pastor Mark Driscoll fuels the perception of many that Christians are homophobic.

    In a Facebook post on his page from this week that was later removed, Driscoll asked, “So, what story do you have about the most effeminate anatomically male worship leader you’ve ever personally witnessed?”

    Should we tolerate pastors who question the expressed Christian faith of their President?

    As Obama prepared to be sworn into office for the beginning of his second term as president, Driscoll posted on his Twitter page: “Praying for our president, who today will place his hands on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”

    Should we tolerate a Pastor who blamed Ted Haggard’s troubles on his wife :

    It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

    Should we tolerate a Pastor who thinks stay-at-home dads are worse than unbelievers?

    Should we tolerate being lectured about intolerance from a bigot?

  2. It’s perfectly okay for churches to have their own rules and standards and it’s also normal for people to state their beliefs.

    We just need to be careful how we say things.

    As for what are secondary issues – well that comes back to what people believe. Driscoll’s secondary issues are another man’s big deal – and the things he considers a big deal are secondary issues to others.

    It’s no great feat to be tolerant of something if you don’t care either way about it.

    The last scripture reference is difficult for me. I’ll admit that I don’t really know what the right practical application of “not being unequally yoked with unbelievers” means.

    So I’m all ears.

  3. Just read your post Wazza. Good points. But, it must be remembered that Driscoll later took back the Haggard statement.

    But he still has a point there. Some wives/husbands could make things easier for their partners.

    Well, that’s what my friends say anyway …..

  4. Will God put up with the world forever?
    It’s really hard to tolerate a woman who’s only reason for getting married is so that she can justify her own stay at home lazy ass attitude and have free rein with the hubbies credit card.
    Marrying for money, fame and popularity, power and the like, is just the same as prostitution to me.
    And, could someone please tell me what percentage of the world’s population is considered poor or living in poverty???

  5. ” 1 Timothy 5:8 (AMP)8 If anyone fails to provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his own family, he has disowned the faith [by failing to accompany it with fruits] and is worse than an unbeliever [who performs his obligation in these matters]. ”

    Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
    Did that sinner on the cross next to Jesus, Fail to provide for those of his own family?
    Answer is NO! He has provided for the family of believers (Through his testimony) from that day henceforth.
    Still the world prefers money than God’s undeserved favor.

  6. Tolerance connotes an acquiescence to circumstance – a kind of “OH, I guess they will grow out of it, get over it, yada, yada, yada.” Like we should tolerate sin and or stupidity cos we are all stupid sinners. Jesus, Paul, Peter, Jude, John, James – they all got stuck in to anyone who was pretentious and they did not spare The Rod.

    Paul wrote that he was the prime example of God’s saving grace, he also famously wrote that the love of money is the root of all evil. He said that the Pharisees imply adored money.

    Now, as to the scripture you quoted Eyes, I is about to tell you that it was done so out of context – you guys should get yourselves an Aramaic translation – it would stop you being taken in by those King James Masonic Bible shysters and their conditional salvation and condemnatory practices. Read through this text and try and spot the scripture you quoted. Read in context it has nothing whatsoever to do with a man not working to support his family – it is about widows and women priests and not being hostile or a gossip….

    1. Do not yell at a priest, except treat him like a father, and the young boys like your brothers.
    2. And treat the women priests like your mothers, and the young girls like your sisters with all purity.
    3. Respect the widows, those who are truly widows.*
    4. And if a widow has children or grandchildren, they should learn before everything else that children should observe their home as holy, and they should pay homage to their parents, for this is acceptable before God.
    5. This then when she is truly a widow and Christ’s missionary, this is the hope for God and her affirmation in kneeling and praying by night and day.
    6. If, however, she is disloyal, she is dead while living.
    7. This then you should instruct them with, so as they should not be hostile.
    8. And if a human being is in such a situation — and furthermore to those who are the children of the household brings no benefit — they are blaspheming the faith, and much more so than those who are unbelievers.
    9. Thus choose such a widow,* someone who is no less than sixty years old, who was the wife of one man,
    10. And she possesses the testimony as to good works, whether she raised children, took in strangers, washed the feet of the saints, uplifted the spirit of the persecuted or strove to perform every good deed.
    11. Leave those widows who are young alone, however, for they will let go of Christ and will want to marry men,
    12. And their fate* shall be that they will be oppressed by their former faith.
    13. They shall then also learn to gossip, as they go about from house to house, and not only that, but they will talk too much and end up blabbering and saying unnecessary things.
    14. Therefore, I would rather that the young ones should marry and give birth to children and conduct their homes and give “the enemy” no reason to gloat.
    15. For as things are now some people have begun to follow Satan.
    16. If a human being is faithful and if the widows have children that they must care for,* you should satisfy their needs, so as they may not affect the church, so as those widows who are truly widows have the opportunity [to serve as priests.]*
    17. The priests* who take good care [of their families,*] deserve warm regard, especially those who are blessed by the Manifestation and the knowledge.
    18. For Scripture says,

    “Do not ride the threshing ox,”
    and, “Laborers deserve their pay.”

    *5:3 Widowed as a result of persecution of Christians.
    *5:9 Requirements for women priests and deacons.
    *5:12 Lit. Ar. idiomatic figure of speech: “Judgment.”
    *5:16.1 Lit. Ar. idiomatic expression: “Be faithful to.”
    *5:16.2 The instruction implies accommodating widows, who qualify for priesthood, to be relieved of certain family responsibilities, such as providing food and shelter for their children.
    *5:17.1 In Aramaic, plural nouns don’t necessarily have feminine or masculine genders. They’re determined by context. In this passage both men and women priests are being referred to.
    *5:17.2 Lit. Ar. id.: Or: flock.

  7. Now of course it pays to go back a chapter just to make sure that Paul was not talking about getting a good job and feeding the family, but maybe was talking about weightier matters of provision….

    12. And let no human being get you old [and rob you of] your youthfulness, except be an example for the believers through the Manifestation, and through dogged concern, love, faithfulness and purity.
    13. Until I come, strive in the calling, in prayer and teaching.
    14. And do not allow the endowment vouchsafed you to become old, that which was given to you through prophesy and the ordination of priesthood.
    15. Analyze these things and live by them, so that these qualities will become a known fact before every human being, that you are who you are.
    16. And be cognizant about yourself and your teachings and become learned in them, as you perform your duties accordingly, Living yourself and [proffering the Life] to those who listen to you.

    Now verse 14 fascinated me – thanks guys for making me look. Way back in the ’80’s, God showed me a vision of the Church (not the Body of Christ, but The Church – they are different like the tree and the life of the tree are different) as being like a great big Oak tree. The trunk was Catholicism, the branches the various denominations and offshoots of protesting Catholics, (the Pope knows that you are really his flock – so we are all flocked as far as he is concerned) and right at the top was a solitary shoot searching for the sun – striving toward the light – and He said to me, “This is you, stay green and growing and never let yourself become wooden nor set in your ways.”

    Many years later, about 2000’ish, He showed me the same tree again, except this time it came into bloom and it was a riot of the most beautiful flowers, a bit like magnolias, gorgeous white flowers of the most compelling color – sort of white but like pearls – and I heard a shout from heaven and the great family tree of churchianity convulsed and gave froth its spore (this was the word I heard) and each spore was a human soul and I saw them faces glowing with glory and anticipation and joy at being caught up to the air to be with the Lord. Then I heard, “Look again at the tree” and it was dead, lifeless, leafless – a withered mass of twisted bows against a background of utter abandonment and lifelessness.

    The thing I love about this forum is that I learn so much from just reading what you guys are putting down – keep it up. 0(:->)

  8. Oops – froth? Forth of course – but I am sure some are frothing at the going forth of my doctrine…

    The other “Spore” vision I experienced came when asking how everything began and I was shown something likened unto a great puffball fungi – the nearest thing I can liken it to – but it was a ball of life – and it exploded into billions upon billions of spore and it began to expand and expand at the speed of light and then after much time it began to coalesce and come back to One, and then finally it was complete. It was as if God had divided Himself into a myriad of spores, each one as a unique person.

    For we were created in Christ from before the foundations of the worlds, we were created as works of grace that we should walk thereby. We should walk, work and love as works of grace, and especially should not take scripture out of context, especially when we are simply parroting what we have been taught by others who were also ignorant and blind leaders of the blind. Been there, done that, and still have the scars to prove it…

    Should Christians be tolerant? Simply look at what Jesus was tolerant of, and what is more the point, was and is intolerant of.

    I have felt His intolerance – aka indignation – and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. Maybe I just needed Him to get right up in my face and sort me out some… and gee if I only be saved with such difficulty, what will become of those who reject the Lord? Imagine the hell they will go through!

    Fear Him who has the power to destroy both the body and soul in Gehenna – for every man’s works shall be tried – wood, hay stubble; or gold, silver, precious gems… and if what your soul has been exchanged for is of this world, it will be consumed, yet your spirit shall be saved, so as by fire.

    Its simple – you came into the world with a body and a spirit and a deposit, or gifting, endowment – and when you go whatever your gift was parlayed into will be tested to see of what is made and how much of a return God gets on His investment.

    Modern churches are more like spiritual Ponzi schemes these days, if not also like Amway. What is the true purpose of Church but to connect people to the source? With oversight it is more about keeping the wolves from the flocks – trouble is there are far too many wolves in sheep’s clothing in oversight positions.

  9. ““Bones, so the idea is to start with learning how to tolerate other Christians?”

    I think that’s impossible.”

    Oh ye of little faith….

    @Ian “spiritual Ponzi scheme” 🙂

    btw, what is the longest you’ve gone without seeing a vision?

  10. Interesting. I can’t seem to find any scripture which points to tolerating either Christians or unbelievers.

    Loving, forgiving, preferring and provoking to good works, bearing one another’s burdens, but not tolerating.

    Tolerance speaks of a person who knows the truth but withholds it for fear of offending.

    Tolerance avoids confrontation at all costs.

    Long-suffering doesn’t deny a person the truth, but allows them to know what it is they can do to discover eternal life for themselves.

    It doesn’t pull back from revealing Christ even when faced with persecution.

    Long-suffering speaks truth at any cost.

    Mercy says there is a way to truth through a cost paid by another.

    Grace welcomes everyone in unconditionally through their own faith for change, but it never holds back from revealing why it is grace.

    Love reveals truth because without truth there is no love.

  11. Of course everyone thinks their version of truth is the only one and YOU MUST believe MY truth or go to hellhadesgehennatartorus.

    They’d even kill u for it.

  12. Is that the best you can do, Bones?

    Accuse people of having a version of truth which is personal and not to be taken into account by others.

    That is rubbish, and a very low form of argument.

    The entire concept of tolerance is absent from the Bible. If it were not you would have already provided it, but you are unable because it is not present.

    The Trinity, as a concept, is present in the Bible but not actually referred to as the Trinity. Yes we can find it and demonstrate it through other scripture even though the word is not present. I prefer Godhead, but understand what Trinity means.

    But tolerance, as you are promoting it to be, is not present as a concept or as a word.

    The closest the scripture comes to it is, as I have said, long-suffering, mercy, grace and love. But none of these comes close to the kind of tolerance you are advocating.

  13. Okay, i just looked up the dictionary so at the risk of sounding like a mega-church preacher trying to show that he’s really undergone intensive study for the message……

    “Tolerance or toleration a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one’s own; freedom from bigotry.”

    And my sourse is of course Wikipedia – my one stop shop.

    I think Steve that while you stated that tolerance isn’t in the Bible, you are tolerant. Not sure about the “permissive” attitude.

    I’m not tolerant of certain behavior of my kids, but don’t have the authority to make rules for other people. Churches and all organizations have rules that reflect their values.
    The vegetarian society probably won’t tolerate the vice-chairman eating Big Macs during meetings, and I wouldn’t mind having a vegetarian stand in the street and tell meat-eaters they are murdering animals if that’s what they believe.

    As long as they don’t beat me up or follow me into Macdonalds.

    But the original verse in Revelations – of course there are things in churches that shouldn’t be tolerated. But you deal with people depending on where they are. There are people who don’t know what’s right or acceptable, and there are other people who are obstinate and rebellious.
    Some people need to be shown the door.
    But you can even do that politely.

  14. Bones,
    I cant find anything in my bible about windows vista but i’m sure it exists and i tolerate it.

    Did someone say that tolerance doesn’t exist? I didn’t. Did anyone else?

    I said it wasn’t present as a Biblical concept. In fact, the Bible very much tells us to sin not, even under the New Testament. If it says we should not sin, then it is not tolerating sin.

    That should be simple to understand even for you.

    The tolerance you are advocating permits people to sin at their own leisure. It admits the sin into the Body of Christ. It caresses the sin and tells it it is OK. It promotes the sin by allowing it to remain in the Body.

    Now the world can sin all it wants, but the Bible says that, if it continues in sin, it will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Plenty of scripture for that. I’m sure you’re aware of it.

    1 Corinthians 6
    9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
    10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
    11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
    12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

    So we can tolerate people who are in sin, and continue to live the life before them o righteousness and faith in God, hoping that they will turn to Christ and be saved. We can be nice and friendly and supportive of them, but we cannot engage in their sin. We are told to resist sin. We are told to be separate from their sin, even though we continue to relate to them.

    But we cannot tolerate sin in the Church. There has to be a place where the conduct of the disciple is taught and upheld. That is not to say that we do not welcome sinners in, but they should discover at some point that believers are admonished to live a life of godliness and righteousness.

    Consider:

    1 Corinthians 5
    1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles–that a man has his father’s wife!
    2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
    3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
    4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
    5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
    6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
    7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.
    8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
    9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
    10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
    11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person.
    12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
    13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

  15. Just like the word “mysoginy” has been hijacked by the left, and dictionaries fall over themselves to change the definitions of certain words so as to apease the professionally agrieved, the word “‘tolerance” has also had it’s definition altered to suit ideology. The word used to mean “indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.” By definition, to tolerate someone implies that you do not agree with his views, you’re simply willing to indulge them, or put up with them. Now it means “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with”. A subtle difference, but one that now hands the lefty hand wringers ammunition to shout down and demonise anyone who’s opinion differs from theirs. The sad thing is that the irony of this is completely lost in their self-righteous flagellation

  16. Bones, you do realise, don’t you, that Jesus was sent into the world because it was falling short of the glory of God?

    If God tolerated sin he would not have sent Jesus, there would have been no necessity for the cross, the whipping, the scourging, the crown of thorns, the piercing of the spear, Jesus’ death, the grave, or the resurrection.

    There would have been no wages for sin.

    God would simply have allowed everyone to get on with it.

  17. The difference is of course we live in a secular society which has gone through the sectarian nonsense of catholics v protestant, christian v everyone else.

    Being a white protestant isnt the pinnacle of our society.

  18. No, Bones, you don’t get away with it that easily.

    You are saying you have no way of showing where your concept of tolerance is present in the scripture. it isn’t, so you resort to accusations and obfuscation.

    I am not giving you my interpretation, or that of a ‘white protestant’, whatever that means.

    I am showing you from the Bible that God will not tolerate sin in the Church, and that, ultimately, all sin will be judged.

    That is why we need a Saviour, a Redeemer, a Deliverer.

    That is why Jesus was sent.

    That is why you need the cross and the resurrection.

    You are saying what you are saying because you have nowhere to go with this. You know that sin is not, ultimately, tolerated, either in the Church, or at the end of time.

    So tolerance, as you portray it, is not a Biblical concept.

  19. It’s simple: as God tolerates, so should those who follow God. No need for lengthy discussions for those who understand what that means.

  20. Hey Francis – are you the Catholic dude?
    Long time no see. Hope you are well. Missed your comments here. You add a needed voice here. 🙂

  21. ” Now, as to the scripture you quoted Eyes, I is about to tell you that it was done so out of context ”

    Ian,
    Hebrews 11:6
    6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

    So those who do not have faith, exactly what they have (which is works of vanity, that produce worldly wealth) will be found intolerant before God, and taken from them.

    ” Interesting. I can’t seem to find any scripture which points to tolerating either Christians or unbelievers. ”

    Steve,
    Perhaps you should have said, ” I can’t find any scripture “.
    The word ‘ tolerance ‘ can be used as a substitute for the word ‘ bear ‘ .
    I think that you will find quite a few scriptures implying tolerance.
    Here is one,
    Galatians 6:2
    2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

  22. I think you confuse long-suffering and mercy for tolerance, Francis, on which I have written much.

    Eyes, how is bearing one another’s burdens tolerance?

  23. Steve,
    http://ewonago.wordpress.com/2009/05/20/etymology-of-tolerate-tolerance/

    Etymology of tolerate, tolerance

    Posted by Johannes on 20 May 2009

    Etymology of tolerate, tolerance

    The verb tolerate comes from the Latin tolero (tolerate, bear, endure, raise), which derives from the Greek verb talao – tlo (tolerate, bear, endure, raise; τλάω -ώ).

    From the same root.
    English: tolerate, tolerable, tolerant, tolerance, toleration
    French: tolerer, tolerable, tolerence, tolerant
    Italian: tollerare, tollerabile, tolleranza, tollerante
    Spanish: tolerar, tolerable, tolerancia, tolerantismo
    German: tolerieren, Toleranz, tolerant, dulden, Duldung , Geduld

    In modern Greek (Romeika).
    a) tolmi: daring, boldness, audacity [τόλμη]
    b) tolmo: dare [τολμώ]
    c) tolmiros: daring, bold [τολμηρός]
    d) talas: one who suffers, patient, enduring [τάλας]

    Το ρήμα tolerate (ανέχομαι) προέρχεται από το Λατινικό tolero (ανέχομαι, υπομένω, καρτερώ), το οποίο προέρχεται από το Ελληνικό ρήμα τλάω -ώ (ανέχομαι, υπομένω, τολμώ να πράξω κάτι).

    Post 94.

    In blogger: http://ewonago.blogspot.com/

  24. For what it’s worth, I’d be disappointed if the Pastor of my church tweeted concerning the spiritual state of the President.

  25. Speaking of tolerance and getting along – did anyone here ever read the blog of Internet Monk? Really interesting blog. A reformed Baptist but his wife became a Roman Catholic.

    And Bones is probably more tolerant than he is given credit for. He’s said before that he attends a Charismatic church, and he probably doesn’t argue with his wife much about Joyce Meyers – unless he wants to sleep on the couch….

  26. Thinking about you guys today – as I often do.
    And was thinking about how amazing it is that people who love the same God, read the same book, live in the same country can have such different ideas about just about everything.

    You should all be made to live together and hold services each day and do a reality TV show.
    (but without the voting off stuff). Now that would be fun to watch.

  27. Does anyone remember decades ago when the Charismatic Movement was seen by many to be the great vehicle for the Body of Christ coming together? Catholics, people from mainline denominations, getting together etc.

    I guess it was just a movement that had it’s day? Are there any of you who were involved in it and looking back see the good in it? Or are most of you ex-charismatics who see it as something you wished you never got involved in?

    I assume most of the people who were “into it” eventually left and joined full on charismatic churches. And others stayed and had nothing to do with it.

    Seems to me the one great legacy or influence has been the introduction and pretty widespread adoption of contemporary style worship. I went to a big interdenominational missionary conference recently and the singing was all contemporary and the speakers were mostly pentecostal. Pretty amazed.

  28. ” Does anyone remember decades ago when the Charismatic Movement was seen by many to be the great vehicle for the Body of Christ coming together? Catholics, people from mainline denominations, getting together etc ”

    Denominations is the leading to the great ‘ apostasy ‘ .

  29. New International Version (©1984)
    I will crush the Assyrian in my land; on my mountains I will trample him down. His yoke will be taken from my people, and his burden removed from their shoulders.”

  30. q, i miss the simplicity of leading worship in a little intimate anglican church where people were encouraged to worship and pray freely.

    The big pentecostal churches are too slick by halves. You need to audition, attend weekly practices, be scrutinised in your worship style and apearance. I didnt enjoy t anymore when people started telling me how to worship to be like hillsong.. And songs have to be playeed perfectly withcareful cboreography into worship time.

    My pastor berated some new people in our church for prayingfor some people. You had to b part of the team. He was very angry.

    I thought at the time it seemed a similar response from traditional anglican clergy. The grass isnt greener on the other side.

    I spend less time now in private worship tbh but that might have to do with kids.

  31. What i’ve definitely learned is bigger is not better. In fact you can do more in a little anglican church which is crying out for servants than having to serve a twelve month course in a pentecstal church to see if your good enough to be an usher.

    Worship is fom your heart not the latest gadgets or songs.

  32. Something ive been thiking ofanyone interested in a signpost internet church service. Maybe have prayers, readings, rflections not discussions. No offerings.

    just a one off.

  33. Eyes,
    FYI: if you use more than one link WordPress will automatically place your comment in moderation, which is why your comment had to wait until I was able to approve it.

  34. Eyes,

    The meaning of the English word,tolerate, is: ‘allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one dislikes or disagrees with) without interference’.

    The passage you quoted doesn’t use the Greek word you produced, talao. It uses bastazo, ‘to take up in order to carry or bear, to put upon one’s self’, which is not the same as tolerance in the sense Bones and Greg are inserting.

    They are saying we should allow people to get on with whatever lifestyle they deem fit for themselves without any kind of interference.

    This is fine for the world. Of course, let them do what they want. If they want to ignore God, the opportunity for salvation, redemption and deliverance, that is their choice.

    And God is long-suffering towards them. he is forbearing, but not so that he allows sin in the ultimate scheme of things.

    We have been set apart to let people know hey need to repent. Of what? Sin. So the gospel is not tolerant of sin. It provides a way out of sin through faith in Jesus Christ.

    Set apart. From what? The world. Sin. Separate. Holiness at its base means different. Different to the world. We cannot tolerate sn within our own ranks. We forgive it. Yes. We are cleansed from it. Yes. But we do not tolerate it. We do not put up with it as a consistent lifestyle.

    So God accepts sinners, sent Jesus to die for sinners, gave His Son for sinners, went to the cross for sinners, was raised for sinners, saved sinners whilst they were still sinners, but he will not tolerate sin, or allow it in His presence, and, whilst we receive sinners into our midst just as they are, neither should we tolerate sin amongst disciples in the Church, which is exactly what Paul tells us.

    1 Corinthians 5
    9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
    10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
    11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person.
    12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?

  35. Steve you make a great point about tolerance – tolerance is not bearing one another’s weaknesses, nor is it even praying on behalf of all men (who do not know how to pray, which is why we are to pray FOR them).

    Their are two primary imperatives as far as I can see, the one being to keep yourself from the world and to pull others from the fire and the second to recognize when they are not done yet.

    The reason why we are not to interfere in the salvation process, becoming “Rescuers” (yech!) is that it is between the man and God – we are co-labourers ready to do our Lord’s bidding when the time is right – when the supplicant is ready for the NOWNESS of salvation – when they are ripe and ready to be reaped.

    Eyes – yes I concur, without faith it is impossible to please God, but what is it that pleases God most? God takes pleasure in our fulfillment in and by Him – our ‘shalom’ completion – His JOY is our strength – that He strengthens us – His joy is to be fulfilled in us and we in Him – the prepared place or heart whereby “My Father and I may come and dwell with you”. Jesus wants to bring us to the level of maturity whereby HE may introduce us to HIS Father. You become fit company for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

    Faith came to me when I encountered God and He revealed Himself to me – how could I not believe having seen? But Jesus said blessed are they who have not seen and believed – who trusted the witness of their own heart to the Truth of God in Jesus. No matter what, the initial SEED OF FAITH comes from God and is eternal, immutable and in you from the beginning – this is what witnesses with the Word heard.

    Some of us are more stubborn than others but the calling and gifting are without recalcitrance, God will not renege.

    To what degree we receive the ingrafted Word which is able to save our souls is determined by how hard our stony hearts are and how much they need to be broken to make fertile ground. How much we offer to God is the measure of “our” faith – the degree of our commitment to the covenant – how seriously we take God and how much we are yet leavened by our own conditionality and carnality. But in effect we are giving back to God and glorifying Him by our offering and herein is the rub – we are to minister back to God, especially through helping others, the very gift He endowed us with – He alone is the source – the Potter and the Power. What can you give the God who already has everything? Your miserable carcass?

    Who comes to God must believe that HE IS, and that HE IS the rewarder, the revelator, the Father of all the living (so let the dead bury the dead).

    I just love this translation – it is to me the most Godly I have the joy to encounter and so witnesses with the Truth in me.

    1. Faith, then, allows what is anticipated by the Hope [of the Kingdom,] He who was given to them through oaths and by the Revelation of the Invisible.
    2. And through this is the testimony over the priests.
    3. For it is through faith that we learn how to win eternal lives by the Manifestation of God, and [how to discern] those things that are visible from what is Invisible.
    4. It was through faith that Abel offered the sacrifice to God that was more acceptable than Cain’s, and because of it he was regarded as righteous, and it was God who testified regarding his offering, and because of that as Abel was on his deathbed, he was still speaking of it.
    5. Through faith Enoch passed on and did not taste death, and he was not to be found, because God had moved him away. For before he had passed on, there had been the testimony, that he had glorified God.
    6. Without faith, then, no human being can glorify God. For a person is responsible for what is offered to God, that is an indication of faith and a proof that those who love Him, He repays. 0(:->)

  36. And of course someone will say that the fields are already white to harvest, and that NOW is the time of salvation, NOW is the acceptable time.

    The answer to this is simple – what time is it in the kingdom right now? NOW of course.

    The “time” when you know that your heart has been WON, is ‘NOW’.

  37. Are you saying you’re clueless, Greg?

    I can help you with that. Here’s a clue – believe what the Bible says and you will discover the truth.

  38. “the fu.ny thing about signpost is it is a reality show of sorts where people vote themselves off.”

    That’s hilarious and true!

    I like what you said about small churches. Which is why their is hope for everyone. I can’t see us ever getting back to one unified church, so the reality is that there are thousands of denominations and churches. So…. the should be a church where anyone can feel part of – and if you can’t then, maybe you have to look at yourself. (I include myself).

    I think there are lots of small churches out there that are crying out for people to serve in.

    ONe of the unfortunate things about some modern churches is that they are so into marketing. Some churches are clear that they want to attract young people. So, a person might be Godly, skilled, devoted etc etc but not be on the music team because the pastor wants to show that it’s young people that get to minister.

    I personally think that’s wrong and a shame – but probably not sin…so none of my business anyway. So, there are small churches who need people. Not to mention small churches in other countries who would love to have a missionary. So, there are places everywhere for people to minister if they really want to.

    btw – people in Aust and the US need to be aware that there are hundreds of churches in Asia that would love to have a western Christian come and work with them.

    Bones, don’t be too hard on your pastor. Maybe if you were running a church you wouldn’t be happy with some people praying for others either. Sometimes I think being the senior pastor of a big church is like being the PM or President. We all have our opinions but once you’re in the job you see things differently.

  39. @Ian. There are very few original thinkers like you. I can count the ones I know on one hand and you’re one of them.

    Great post about time and the Kingdom.

    love it.

  40. Tolerance:
    Perplexing that so many are against a mosque being built at Ground Zero. I think it should be the goal of every American to be tolerant. Thus the Mosque should be allowed, in an effort to promote tolerance.

    That is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the clubs, “The Turban Cowboy”, which would be gay, and the other a topless bar called “You Mecca Me Hot.”

    Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbeque pork restaurant, called ” Iraq o’Ribs.”

    Across the street there could be a lingerie store called “Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret”, with sexy mannequins in the window modeling the goods. Next door to the lingerie shop, a liquor store called “Morehammered.”

    All of this would encourage the Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us, so the mosque problem would be solved. If you agree with promoting tolerance, and you think this is a good plan, please pass it on…For the sake of tolerance!

  41. @EYES

    I think your post above should be copied and pasted across the entire internet! It’s priceless!

  42. I’m not sure how to go about flooding the WWW with this joke.
    It seems as though plenty of people have already used it.
    I’m sure that you could come up with something […] .
    LOL ROUNDY.

  43. Yeah, Eyes, good letter. It’s doing the rounds. If they put C3 or Hillsong in there too everyone would go there for the holy music and discover the sound good news doctrine and become Pentecostals, except, perhaps, the militants, who would join Bones in the tear queue.

  44. Stick the muzzies with em. They can all compete on whos the nuttiest. i can see some penties being attracted to the gay bar.

  45. Christian Church or Controversial Cult?

    There are those that are former members who liken the experience to the fairytale The Emperor’s New Clothes.

    And then there are those passionate members who feel they have found freedom and eternal life.

    If you’re considering attending Hillsong be sure to read all you can before getting caught up in the emotion and hype.

  46. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2013/01/holding-our-distinctives-more-lightly-pentecostalism-as-a-case-study/

    Holding Our Distinctives More Lightly (Pentecostalism As a Case Study)
    January 19, 2013 By rogereolson 44 Comments
    My recent post was about how my spiritual life has been enriched by the distinctive beliefs and practices of many different Christian traditions. Without taking anything I said there back, now I want to talk about how distinctive Christian traditions hold their distinctives, how they treat them and other Christians who do not (or no longer) believe in them.
    I’m going to use Pentecostalism as my case study because I’m so familiar with it. And was expelled from the movement because I questioned a distinctive that is not central to the gospel or Christian orthodoxy. And it is a distinctive that I think, like many held by particular Christian traditions, ought to be held more loosely.
    Let me begin with a rather simplistic delineation of Christian beliefs in three categories. I have used this rubric in several of my books and many people have told me they find it helpful.
    I think most Christians recognize that, among the beliefs they hold, there are three levels of importance. First, there are “dogmas.” (I am not using these category labels in a dictionary way; they are simply my chosen labels for these categories.) Second, there are “doctrines.” (Of course, “doctrine” has many meanings. Here I’m using it in my own way–to label this category.) Third, there are “opinions.”
    The category I am labeling “dogmas” includes those beliefs a person holds to be essential to authentic Christianity. (Not necessarily to being “saved.” That’s a whole other subject–whether and to what extent “Christian” and “saved” are identical or overlapping categories. Let’s set that aside for now.) A “dogma,” then, is a belief that cannot be denied by someone who is authentically Christian. (I’m not talking about children or imbeciles. We make exceptions for people who can’t know or understand.) An example that most Christians would agree on is “the deity of Jesus Christ.” The World Council of Churches has, at least in the past, required member denominations to affirm that “Jesus Christ is God and Savior.” Several denominations that want to join the WCC have not been allowed to because they do not affirm that belief as true.
    The category I am labeling “doctrine” includes beliefs a person thinks are important but not essential. These are denominational distinctives that, unless they are elevated to the status of dogmas in practice, do not normally interfere with fellowship with other Christians. For example, MOST (not all) Christian denominations would say that views of the millennium and Christ’s return in relation to it are matters of, at most, doctrine and not dogma. Many evangelical denominations have doctrines about Christ’s return in relation to the millennium. Other doctrines have to do with the sacraments, election/predestination, church polity, etc.
    Of course, what beliefs belong in which category can differ a great deal. But we TEND to think that, for example, elevating premillennialism to the status of dogma (as some fundamentalists have done) is wrong. When Baptist fundamentalist leader William Bell Riley, for example, elevated premillennialism to a “fundamental of the faith,” that signaled a major shift in fundamentalism–from militant defense of Christian orthodoxy to (as Fuller president Carnell called it) “orthodoxy gone cultic.” It meant, for example, that fundamentalist theologian and leader J. Gresham Machen was not orthodox and maybe not a Christian!
    “Opinions” is the label I give to the category of beliefs that may be interesting to debate and advocate but should not be tests of fellowship in any sense–not even within a denomination or individual congregation or Christian organization. Most Christians intuitively put into this category beliefs about such things as how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. (That was a serious subject of debate in the middle ages because it had to do with the nature of angels and whether they occupy space or not.)
    A major point of division among Christians, including evangelicals, is what beliefs properly belong in the “opinion” category and what ones properly belong in the “doctrine” category. Many denominations have doctrines other people think should be held as opinions. I could express that the other way around: Many denominations relegate to the status of opinion beliefs other Christians think should be held as doctrines.
    I don’t want to portray these as static categories; the closer you look at them the more “space” there seems to be between them. For example, what happens to “the deity of Jesus Christ” when you ask about whether that is compatible with belief in the Son of God’s self-emptying for the sake of true humanity (i.e., “kenosis” as held by “kenotic Christology”)? Does someone who insists strongly on the deity of Christ as dogma allow someone who believes that, due to kenosis, Jesus was not omniscient or omnipotent during his earthly life? Some Christians would pack a lot more into “the deity of Jesus Christ” than others. Things can get very complicated very quickly. There’s no space or time for that here….
    My point is simply that, however, complicated the rubric is when examined closely, MOST Christians recognize that their own and others’ beliefs fall into three general categories of importance. Someone who denies what I consider a dogma and who is educated enough to understand it is not a Christian. Someone who denies what I consider a doctrine may be a Christian but probably should not be a member or at least not a minister of my denomination. Someone who denies what I consider an opinion may be a Christian and a member in good standing (even a minister) of my denomination but, given the right circumstances, I will want to convince him or her of the truth of my belief.
    So what about Pentecostalism? I consider it a good case study in how what should be considered opinion has been wrongly elevated to doctrine (and in the case of some Oneness Pentecostals to dogma).
    I can’t help but begin with my own story. Hopefully the many years since these events happened have softened my perspective so I’m able now to look at things a bit more objectively (i.e., without emotion).
    I grew up in “the thick” of Pentecostalism. But we were “evangelical Pentecostals.” The denomination I grew up in was a member of the National Association of Evangelicals. We were trinitarian Pentecostals (some aren’t). I was taught, as virtually all Pentecostals (what we called “Full Gospel” folks) were then, that a Christian could not be “filled with the Holy Spirit,” “baptized with the Holy Spirit,” “endued with power,” “possess the ‘second blessing’,” unless they spoke in tongues. Speaking in unintelligible (to the person speaking) language as enabled by the Holy Spirit was considered the only “initial, physical evidence” of the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” which every Christian needs to live a fulfilled, empowered Christian life of witness and service. Non-Spirit filled Christians maybe saved, but they are not completed (I was taught). We were given all kinds of cliches to express this. For example: “In salvation the Holy Spirit becomes resident but in Spirit baptism the Holy Spirit becomes president.”
    Now some other evangelical Christians, especially in the “Holiness movement,” believe as Pentecostals do that Spirit baptism is subsequent to conversion–even if only by a few seconds, but ONLY Pentecostals believe AS DOCTRINE, not mere opinion, that speaking in tongues is the necessary evidence of being Spirit filled or baptized in the Holy Spirit. And some non-Pentecostals believe in and practice tongues speaking. For example, some Vineyard people speak in tongues, but the Vineyard isn’t Pentecostal in the technical sense because they do not teach as doctrine that speaking in tongues is the “initial, physical evidence” of Spirit baptism.
    So, the distinctive doctrine that sets Pentecostalism apart from everything else is speaking in tongues as the necessary initial, physical evidence of the second blessing (subsequence) of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Everything else Pentecostals believe they share with some other Christian groups.
    I accepted this doctrine without doubt or question until my third year in a Pentecostal college. It was then that I began to have doubts about it. I asked my Bible and theology professors about this and, for the most part, they brushed me off. It was not acceptable then and there to ask question; for the most part we were only to listen and learn. But, having an inquiring mind, I pressed the issue–much to my professors’ and college administrators’ dismay. And to the dismay of many of my family members who were Pentecostal missionaries or pastors or evangelists or administrators. My uncle was president of our denomination for twenty-five years.
    What I finally asked was “Where is it clearly stated in Scripture that a person must speak in tongues in order to be baptized in the Holy Spirit?” Of course, I was shown what I already knew–that in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles people spoke in tongues four out of five times when Spirit baptism is mentioned specifically. But what I wanted to know what about that exception. What I pressed on was not whether speaking in tongues is “for today” (I wasn’t tempted toward cessationism) but whether it is an iron clad rule that a person cannot be Spirit filled without speaking tongues.
    As I thought about the issue more, I came to the conclusion that basing a doctrine, as opposed to an opinion, on historical events without supporting didactic teaching to nail it down is fallacious. I realized at some point this distinctive Pentecostal doctrine was dividing us from other evangelicals. Not that we couldn’t have fellowship, but many evangelicals didn’t want to have fellowship with us because we were saying they were not Spirit filled and we were actively proselytizing their “sheep.”
    During my college years I had many encounters with non-Pentecostal evangelicals. I attended the Tri-State Youth for Christ “rally” in Evanston, Indiana in 1971. There were thousands of Christian young people there, many of them newly minted Christians who called themselves “Jesus Freaks.” Larry Norman sang “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” and there were other well-known bands associated with the early days of the Jesus People Movement (e.g., Crimson Bridge). A church in the city where I lived and attended college became the center of the local Jesus People Movement and it wasn’t Pentecostal. The charismatic movement was really taking off and many Pentecostals (including my father) were becoming involved in it. Many charismatics were non-Pentecostals who believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit but did not necessarily speak in tongues and most of them did not think speaking in tongues was the “initial, physical evidence” of some “second blessing.” They considered it a “prayer language.” My head was beginning to spin because here were manifestly spiritual men and women of God engaging in powerful ministries who did not speak in tongues.
    Then Billy Graham’s book The Holy Spirit was published. I don’t know the exact time of its first publication, but it was around the time that I was struggling with this issue. I bought it and read it, looking especially for any mention of speaking in tongues. The only thing I found was his denial of ever having spoken in tongues. He didn’t dismiss it as unimportant. That is, he didn’t take the cessationist line. But he clearly denied ever having spoken in tongues. I had been taught for years that Billy Graham MUST have spoken in tongues and just didn’t want to admit it. How else could he have such a powerful ministry?
    Two things happened during my final year of college. A loving professor who I admired very much and who was gentle with me (unlike most) invited the president of our Pentecostal denomination to speak to his class about this subject. The man was not my uncle. My uncle had taken a brief hiatus from serving as president. This man was a major Pentecostal leader who was instrumental in the founding of the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America. And he was a very close friend of my parents. I went to class eagerly thinking “Surely he has the answer to my questions. Surely he’ll settle my doubts.” He preached for forty-five minutes on why speaking in tongues is the only, necessary, initial, physical evidence of Spirit baptism. When he finished he asked for questions. My hand shot up. I pointed out that he hadn’t shown us any passage of Scripture that clearly stated the doctrine; he had only shown us what we all already knew–the so-called “pattern” in Acts. He glowered down at me and said with eyes ablaze and jaw clenched “If we didn’t believe it, we wouldn’t be Pentecostals, would we?” My heart sank.
    Later I made an appointment with the man which I could do because he was such a close friend of the family. I asked him about Billy Graham and pointed out that Billy Graham said he had never spoken in tongues. His first answer was that maybe he had and didn’t remember it. But I think he realized the absurdity of that as he said it. Finally he said “Well, Billy Graham is the exception.” I was stunned because I had been taught there cannot be “exceptions.” This is a doctrine that admitted no exceptions. I asked him if I could be ordained in the denomination and believe there are exceptions to the doctrine. He didn’t give me a straight answer. So I asked him if someday I could teach at a Pentecostal college such as ours and teach that there are exceptions. He said no. I was shocked, dismayed and disappointed at the lameness of the man’s handling of my questions and concerns.
    Eventually, of course, I was “invited” to leave the denomination of my family in which I had had many wonderful experiences. It was like a divorce. I knew my family believed I was backsliding and was praying for me. Years later, as a Baptist, I went to teach theology at Oral Roberts University. That confused my family and their Pentecostal friends! What they didn’t realize was that by then Oral Roberts did not believe speaking in tongues is the initial, physical evidence of Spirit Baptism. And he did not require speaking in tongues for faculty members. He was then a “charismatic United Methodist.” But the faculty represented most denominations including Roman Catholic (the dean of the School of Arts and Science) and Eastern Orthodox (a theology professor).
    I came to believe that, lacking clear Scriptural support in the didactic portions of the New Testament, and lacking support in Christian tradition (before 1901), the key Pentecostal doctrine should not be “doctrine” at all but should be, at most, opinion. I had no problem with people who held it as opinion. My problem was with holding onto it as a doctrine–and especially as more and more Pentecostals, including ordained ministers, stopped believing in it. I have met literally scores of ordained Pentecostals over the years who admit to me they do not believe that doctrine but “go along in order to get along.” Some of them are required to sign a card annually re-affirming their belief in the doctrine. They cross their fingers and sign it because they have nowhere else to go and their Pentecostal denomination is their home. I left home rather than pretend.
    I believe to this day that Pentecostalism has been a great renewing movement of God’s Spirit. However, it needs to give up its distinctive doctrine and reduce that to opinion. Some Pentecostal denominations are on that path, but most have a long way to go yet.
    What I wish is that all denominations held their distinctive doctrines more lightly–especially when they have no or little biblical support or support from Christian tradition. And especially if leaders of those denominations are willing to admit “exceptions” to them (when they are worded so as to exclude exceptions). And perhaps especially when a large number of leading pastors no longer believe in them.
    It is not my intention to pick on Pentecostals. I still have dear friends and family members in that movement. I only use it as a case study. Most denominations have something like the Pentecostal distinctive doctrine–a doctrinal belief that isn’t clearly taught in Scripture, or is at least open to other interpretations by Bible-believing Christians, and that tends to divide from other even evangelical Christians. I would put premillennialism and especially pre-trib rapturism in that category. These may not so much cause division from other Christians as force good, faithful members out when they no longer believe in them. I happen to be premillennial, but I don’t think it should have “doctrine” status. I attend a church were it does not. (In fact, I might be the only premillennialist in the entire church!)
    I call on all denominations to go through their doctrines and weed out those that 1) have no clear biblical foundation and 2) are historically peculiar in terms of evangelical tradition, and 3) do not really serve any important purpose in terms of strengthening spiritual life. Demote these to opinion status. It doesn’t mean they can’t be taught by pastors and others, but they should not be tests of fellowship.

  47. Eyes – interesting article. I think you’ll find there are lots of people in pentecostal churches these days who don’t speak in tongues.

    And I liked the mosque suggestion.

  48. Wrong, Bones. I know Catholic dogma is wrong.

    How long would you like the list to be?

    Transubstantiation, worship of dead people’s images in icons and statues, purgatory, veneration of saints, denial of the sainthood of ordinary believers, elevation of Mary to mediatrix, calling Christ down into the wafer at communion, new birth through christening, papal infallibility, Apostolic succession, immaculate conception, Mary as mother of God, healing through last rites, worship of relics…

  49. Roundhouse,
    About the tolerance joke, i wouldn’t suggest turning it into a You Tube video.If you know what i mean. Just a thought!

  50. Tolerate this,
    Matthew 24
    Amplified Bible
    8 All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the [c]birth pangs [of the [d]intolerable anguish].

    Esther 3:8
    Then Haman said to King Ahasuerus, There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your kingdom; their laws are different from every other people, neither do they keep the king’s laws. Therefore it is not for the king’s profit to tolerate them.
    Esther 3:7-9 (in Context) Esther 3 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    Psalm 101:5
    Whoso privily slanders his neighbor, him will I cut off [from me]; he who has a haughty look and a proud and arrogant heart I cannot and I will not tolerate.
    Psalm 101:4-6 (in Context) Psalm 101 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    Jeremiah 10:19
    Woe is me because of my hurt! [says Jeremiah, speaking for the nation.] My wound is grievous and incurable. But I said, Surely this sickness and suffering and grief are mine, and I must endure, tolerate, and bear them.
    Jeremiah 10:18-20 (in Context) Jeremiah 10 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    Romans 9:22
    What if God, although fully intending to show [the awfulness of] His wrath and to make known His power and authority, has tolerated with much patience the vessels (objects) of [His] anger which are ripe for destruction?
    Romans 9:21-23 (in Context) Romans 9 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    2 Corinthians 11:4
    For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough!
    2 Corinthians 11:3-5 (in Context) 2 Corinthians 11 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    2 Timothy 4:3
    For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold,
    2 Timothy 4:2-4 (in Context) 2 Timothy 4 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    Revelation 2:2
    I know your industry and activities, laborious toil and trouble, and your patient endurance, and how you cannot tolerate wicked [men] and have tested and critically appraised those who call [themselves] apostles (special messengers of Christ) and yet are not, and have found them to be impostors and liars.
    Revelation 2:1-3 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    Revelation 2:20
    But I have this against you: that you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess [claiming to be inspired], and who is teaching and leading astray my servants and beguiling them into practicing sexual vice and eating food sacrificed to idols.
    Revelation 2:19-21 (in Context) Revelation 2 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
    Result pages:
    http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=tolerate&version1=AMP&searchtype=all

  51. Greg the Deplorer,
    There is no such thing as a Pentecostal sound good news doctrine Steve, sorry about that.

    Says the man who cites Mormon doctrine as fact!

    Why would anyone take any notice of what you say after that?

    I noticed you didn’t take part in the tolerance debate except to be rude to people. Is this a coincidence? You don’t seem overly tolerant towards anyone who disagrees with you.

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