Vol.I No.XI Pg.8
November 1964

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

I like brown shoes, and wear them most of the time. However, if you insist upon wearing black shoes I will not argue the point. Go right ahead! I'm a very tolerant man with respect to shoes.

But some of my friends tell me I am intolerant in religious matters. They just can't understand why a kind-hearted, tolerant fellow like me would say that they MUST obey God's commands, and practice in religion ONLY that which God has authorized. (Well, maybe that is the way they put it.) Sometimes they find it difficult to tolerate my intolerance.

Some "intolerance" is born of egotism --- the product of self-centered individuals who think they are the center of the universe, hence their ways must be accepted by all. This is very bad. (Jas. 4:11-12)

And there is an "intolerance" of sort, which is born of love. I love my granddaughter, and insist that she not eat the shoe polish. (The brown, that is.) I can't bring myself to be unconcerned about this matter. And there is an "intolerance" born of respect for authority, and deep concern for those who fail to respect the divine will. Paul contended with the Israelites frequently because (a) he loved them, and (b) he knew they could not be saved while they followed their own erroneous ways. Paul's convictions, and his concern for men, made him seem intolerant. (Rom.10:1-f)

People who really believe something --- strongly enough to work for it, teach it, practice it-- are often called "narrow" or "bigoted." Meanwhile, the shallow-thinking, crowd-following, spineless fellow is likely to mistake his own lack of conviction for "broadmindness" and congratulate himself for being such a wonderful person.

It is well and good to be tolerant in matters of indifference --- where the rights of men are equal. But to "tolerate" sin and transgression of God's law is to assume the right to "judge" that law; (Jas. 2:9-f) or to relegate divine matters to the category of black and brown shoes.

In the final analysis, "tolerance" is often a disguise for the lack of conviction and concern. That fellow And there is an "intolerance" born wouldn't wear any shoes at all if he of respect for authority, and deep had "spunk" enough to buck criticism.