Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 22, 1962

The Intolerance Of Christianity

James H. Childress

This is an age which toleration is extolled as a virtue. To say that a man is "broad-minded," "liberal," or "not dogmatic" is considered a handsome compliment.

If you mean that the "broad-minded" man is willing to weigh judiciously and to consider carefully and impartially all that may be said from any standpoint on any question, I strive to be broad-minded. If you mean that the "liberal" man grants every fellow being a right equal to his awn in arriving at conclusions, I greatly desire to be liberal. Furthermore, I do not want to be "dogmatic," if that means that I consider my ipse dixit of more value than my neighbor's. But if being broadminded, liberal, and undogmatic means that I am willing to admit that there is more than one way to reach heaven, I certainly am narrow-minded, liberal, and dogmatic.

Watch the workings of this false spirit of toleration! It crops out in our half-digressive members who want the evangelist to soft-pedal on such passages as "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." Some of our preachers so yearn for the complimentary title of "being tolerant" that they call on denominational preachers (who hate the truth with all their heart) to lead in prayer, and justify themselves on the ground of courtesy. If it were not serious, it would be laughable to consider calling on a sinner for the sake of courtesy to lead the saints of God in their heaven-directed petitions. Our transgressive brethren bewail their losses in many communities, failing to realize that tolerance toward sectarianism emasculates their plea for restoration.

Going a step further, we see what tolerance has done in another field. Fifty years ago most of the popular churches held fast to the inspiration of the Bible, the virgin birth of Christ, and the bodily resurrection of our Lord from the tomb. But those holding to these fundamentals tolerated the mild modernism of their day, and today we see their modernistic pastors exchanging pulpits with Jewish rabbis, holding conferences with Buddhists and other representatives of heathendom, and having immense salaries to disparage what those who established their churches devoutly believed.

We see people on every hand in different stages of the disease brought about by this virus of toleration! An Episcopalian lady told me last year that she "deplored all attempts to proselyte;" ten days ago a sister in the church knew that a certain Methodist pastor was a child of God, even though he had not obeyed the gospel, because he was so kind to his neighbors, and the same sister further stated that she had rather see her boys "good Methodists or Baptists" than "out in the world"; and nearly every week some would-be friend suggests that "your church would make such wonderful strides if you would only join the others in their union efforts to save the lost."

Christianity began by proselyting those of other faiths and will continue to do so. The sinner's chances of heaven are not bettered by entering a human institution, and his opposition to the truth is likely to become active instead of passive by such a step. To make those outside the kingdom of God feel that you indorse their course of conduct by uniting with them in any effort may result in their damnation. In the words of a prominent Texas preacher, may I not say that "I have not one cent of money and not one bit of influence to lend to denominationalism?" To succor the enemy is to be traitorous to Christ.

We have no king but Christ, and he tolerates no rivals. Christianity being true, all other religions are false and dangerous and devil-inspired.

I hear a great deal about "speaking the truth in love." I try to do that, but I make a distinction between unbridled, soothing-syrup emotionalism and love. My mother gave me bitter medicine because she loved me.

I am trying to preach the gospel as it "is written." If Acts 2:38 and the great commission are "dogmatic," then, as Patrick Henry said, "make the most of it."