Monday, October 27, 2008

Tolerance

Yesterday, our pastor preached on John 2:12-25. You know the story. Jesus comes to the temple and is outraged to find that God's house had been taken over by money changers and marketeers. The temple that was supposed to be consecrated to God had become nothing more than a business and a marketing scam. I can just hear the money changers and evil entrepreneurs advertising their services now, "Get your doves, Get your cattle, Get your sheep.....Come see US for all your sacrificing needs". Jesus, who was and is always about His Father's business, didn't waste any time braiding cords into a whip and chasing out the dove salesmen and money changers.

I believe there is a great lesson for us to learn from Jesus' example in this story. See, Jesus didn't just throw His Holy hands up to the sky in disgust, He did something. He didn't stand by and allow evil to take over God's temple, He drove evil out. Jesus is not tolerant of sin, He takes action in the face of evil. When He met the woman at the well, did He look over her sin? No, He exposed it and told her to go and sin no more. Jesus doesn't overlook sin, He faces it head on and deals with it! Today, our society want believers to overlook the sins that are dragging America into the pit. Tolerance is the buzz word of they day. Unfortunatly, Christians have become wishy-washy and timid in the name of tolerance.

Our forefathers came to America so that they could escape religious tyranny and worship God as they pleased. Atheists would have us believe that our country was not founded on Biblical principals and that the first Americans came here to escape religion entirely. If that were so, then John Adams would have never said "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." And our first President, George Washington, would not have said, "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible". Our forefathers were willing to take a stand for what they believed and they stood on the side of a Holy God.

Yesterday in his sermon, my pastor made the statement, "As goes the church, so goes the nation". History proves that statement to be true. When the church was willing to BOLDLY stand up for what is right in the eyes of God, non-Christians were not so quick to oppose her. When the church becomes tolerant and quiet, the world sees her as a doormat and satan takes over. Our problem is that the church has become tolerant and complacent at the same time.....tolerance and complacence are a deadly combination in this world. (Tolerance + Complacence = A Silent Church and a silent church is an open invitation for satan to work). We are quick to blame satan for America's problem, but it might be time to look in the mirror and realize that we share some of the blame.....the silent church is also a contributor to the downfall of our society.

I am sick and tired of hearing about tolerance. Tolerance is the root of America's problem. Even in the church (especially the emerging church) we hear people say that it is wrong to denounce homosexuality. What ever happened to hating the sin and loving the sinner? We can speak out against what God calls an abomination and still love and restore those who are involved in that lifestyle. Christians should be speaking against such things, we should even be speaking against the idea of 'tolerance at any cost', but instead we are buying into the lie that tolerance is of God.

John 2 proves that Jesus had no tolerance for blatant sin......He drove evil out of the temple. Today we live by the motto "live and let live". It's as if we have bought into the tolerance idea so much that we feel guilty sharing our faith and our convictions. As Christians, we should not be tolerant of sin and sinful lifestyles, we should be preaching "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand". What greater way to show love for sinners (which we all are) than to tell them the Jsus loves them and help them turn from their sin and accept Jesus so they can go to heaven?

John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, "I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater" didn't sit back and sugar coat sin, He called sin what it is and called people to repentance. Where on earth did we ever get the idea that tolerance is God's idea???? God's idea is for His people to repent, pray, seek Him, and tell others about Him --- Can we tell others about God without telling them that He hates sin??? Maybe we have become so complacent that we have forgotten the fact that God never changes so He still hates sin (not the sinner, but the sin that separates His children from Himself).

The church has allowed liberalism to invade and we have come to the point in our society where a pastor has to reign in his tongue when preaching the truth (especially when it comes to political issues.....it is only a matter of time before pastors will not be able to openly speak out against homosexuality, abortion, gay marriage, etc). Today, if a preacher endorses a particular candidate for president, their church will lose tax exempt status (well, preachers except for Jeremiah Wright, Jessee Jackson, and Al Sharpton). If the church takes a stand against abortion, then they are accused of setting back women's rights (because babies apparently have no rights). If the church voices her opinion on gay marriage, then we are portrayed as backwoods bigots whose message is no longer relevant in a society such as ours.

Have I mentioned that I am tired of hearing about tolerance? Have I also mentioned that Christians have NOT been called to be tolerant of sin? Jesus tells us to love one another (and yes, that means even the vilest of sinners because we are all sinners). He never said to sit down and allow satan to take over and silence His church.

Is it wrong for a Christian to take a stand for Jesus? No, it is what we are commanded to do even when our stance is unpopular by the world's standards (Aren't we told that we will be hated because of our love for Jesus? Popular or not, we have a duty to stand up for what is right in the sight of God). Is it wrong for a Christian to stand up against the killing of unborn babies? No. Is it wrong for a Christian to say that marriage should be between one man and one woman? No. Is it wrong for a Christian to say that a vote for Obama is a vote for abortion, gay marriage, and the forced acceptance of homosexuality? No. A Christian's goal IS NOT to get a certain political candidate elected, but to spread God's word and speak truth whether the rest of the world wants to hear it or not. The truth is a vote for any liberal Democrat these days (regardless of who it is) is a vote in support of the sin that God hates.

Why is it that when Christians take a moral stand, they are labeled as hate-filled, psychotic, brain-washed, idiots?

The truth will stand when the world is on fire and it's time that Christians STOP APOLOGIZING for our Biblical world view and start speaking out (in love) against the sin that the world loves so much. The devil knows his time is short, so he is hard at work, we need to work even harder.

17 comments:

LynnSC said...

Well said Bethanne!! I am so blessed to go to a church where the Pastor and his staff stand on God's Word. He is the first one to be called when our local newspaper wants to stir up trouble. They know that they can count on him for the unpopular answer. And I say... so be it.

Thanks so much for your stand on the truth. I followed some of your videos to U-TUBE the other day... I had a field day!! Loved them!!
Lynn

Mari said...

Preach it sister! You are so right and I am so sick of tolerance too! I can't figure out how any Christians can justify voting for Obama.

nothingcanseparateme said...

You go Bethanne!!!

I am with Mari--how can a person who proclaims to be a christian even consider voting for someone who is for...abortion, gay marriage, etc....I just don't understand how those issues can be "set aside".

As the title of your blog says...Waiting for the Shout!!

blessings,
Kim

Mommyluann said...

Praise the Lord for pastors who still take a stand...the true message isn't always a popular one is it?

I like your pastor , Bethanne!

Eddie said...

I love the passion and I love the truth. Well said. AMEN and AMEN

jcdisciple said...

I believe part of the problem is our distorted definition of "love"! I mean which is more loving? To "tolerate" you and the sin that is going to send you to eternal damnation OR to risk being ridiculed, insulted, thrown in prison, beaten, (which we haven't experienced in America...but WE WILL...that is if WE ever start taking a stand again) to save your soul from HELL!! I believe that "tolerance" is in fact the most selfish thing someone can do...and I'm ashamed to say that I have been guilty of it myself. When we get to heaven, how many people will be crying from the pits of Hell and asking us, "Why did you "tolerate" my sin and hold back the truth from me? I thought you were suppose to "love" me? How could you??" Oh, I don't want to hear that, but I might! It is my aim now to "finish" well and try to eliminate the possibility of having that happen from here on out. It's not with hatred toward the sinner that I denounce homosexuality, divorce, pre-marital sex, abortion, lying, stealing, murder, gossip, and all the other sins of comimmsion and omission, IT'S BECAUSE OF THE GREAT LOVE GOD HAS PUT IN MY HEART FOR THE LOST!! I'm so glad that the people who lead me to Jesus did not "tolerate" me, but "loved" me enough to tell me the TRUTH!!

OKAY...I PREACHED A SERMON!!

Love you,

Amanda Bowers

Fran said...

When the church becomes tolerant and quiet, the world sees her as a doormat and satan takes over.

That sentence and the whole paragraph made me want to scream something.

Couldn't agree more. Couldn't agree more.

Stephanie said...

C'mon!!

Bring it sister.

The Brady's said...
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alliekat said...

WOOOO! You were on such a roll I was even reading fast! We had a conversation very similar in Sunday School yesterday. My husband and you are definitely on the same track this week. You are right that we are told to hate the sin but love the sinner. That can be difficult. I think we are definitely going to be put to the test with this in the very near future with our "New America".

Alana said...

I hate the way Christians are portrayed for taking a stand. Everyone can take a stand, but us. It's hogwash! ;-)

BethAnne said...
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alliekat said...
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Rebecca Jo said...

I agree with you, but I think we have a very fine line as Christians - we have to be tolerate to let people know we love them - but hate the sin....if you are constantly yelling what you hate - people will not feel the love - but there is a way to do it in Christian love - that's the fine line we have to walk.

I do love your example of Jesus not putting up with it - he finally had enough & got angry!!! That's great for us to see - even Jesus gets angry at situations that he didnt agree with - we are allowed to get angry as well!

Good post!

The Brady's said...
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Eddie said...

Tolerance is not what this world needs. Tolerance doesn't change anything. To say your going to be tolerent of something or someone doesn't help something or someone see Jesus. In fact, I beleive this to be correct that Jesus never was just tolerant. As Beth clearly stated, Everything about Jesus was contriversial. Even some of His disciples betrayed Him. Jesus was a lover of souls. He had that capacity to love the individual and separate them from their sin which He hated so much that He died for sins. (Yours and mine) I guess my only thought is am I really loving in that way. I can pretty well guess that I'm not so I continually need God's presence in my life to draw me closer to where Jesus is and in so doing, I will learn that love is more, so much more than tolerance. So true, when the world is on fire, when all is said and done, God's Word will stand and always be the truth. Very good post Bethanne, great comment Lisa about God has not appointed the president. He knows what would be best for us, but He also knows what we will do. That does not always equate to His will.

ocean mommy said...

Um....my girls are looking at me like I'm possessed! I just realized I'm talking back to you..."that's right...oh yea..."

This was AWESOME!!!