Coexistence and Tolerance

Written by Samuel A. Lawrence

A friend of mine wrote an article on August 30, 2010, that I thought was well written and contained a message that is worth noting and discussing. In his blog article, Benji Merritt said this:

“I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “Coexist.” It was spelled with all types of different religious symbols. In the minds of most people, that is what is required to get along in the world. The teachings that “There is more than one way to get to heaven” is society’s new religion. To disagree automatically makes you close minded, bigoted or in the eyes of the world intolerant. God’s word says differently. As Christ follwers, we answer to God’s word and it’s truths. The Bible teaches us that “No one comes to the Father except through the Son.” That isn’t popular or politically correct, but it is the truth. God requires us to speak that to others (in love) no matter what the cost.”

“Coexistence” and “tolerance” are the “politically correct” speech of the days in which we live. These post modern values may be fashionable and may even make you more popular with the masses. The words themselves, void of “political correctness” seem innocuous and perhaps pleasant. However, in today’s politically correct, humanistic culture in which we live in America, these words take on somewhat of an insidious nature.

These words do not merely mean (As the Apostle Paul told the Roman church) to “Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18, NLT). Today, “coexist” and “tolerance” carry the additional weight of silencing Christians of their mission of evangelism and Biblical understanding of truth. For example, being “tolerant” of homosexuality in today’s culture does not mean you merely endure or peacefully coexist with such deviant and perverse lifestyles. No, to the homosexual community, the only way Christians can demonstrate “tolerance” is for them to affirm and/or embrace the sinful lifestyles of homosexuals. To “coexist,” in the mind of homosexuals, means for Christians to legitimize their debauchery. To preach against this lifestyle, or to share with these folks what God says about their sin will relegate the Christian to being branded “INTOLERANT.”

To the Muslim ( and those of other non-Christian faiths), Christians must show “tolerance.” This means we must not dare to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them or even imply that Jesus Christ is indeed God. For any Christian to play a part in the conversion of a Muslim, a Jew, a Hindu, a Buddist, or even an atheist, makes Christians “INTOLERANT” in this culture in which we live. To “coexist,” and show “tolerance” we must embrace and value the merits of others religious faiths and if we do not concede that “all roads lead to heaven,” then we are certainly expected to be “tolerant” enough to keep our opinions to ourselves. Otherwise Christians will again be branded “INTOLERANT.”

Now, followers of Christ know this is not our calling or our mission. Jesus gave his disciples his “Great Commission” in Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV) when he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This is the Christian’s “marching orders” from the Lord himself. It is not a suggestion, or option; it is indeed a commission. However, this sinful old world simply cannot stand the truths of God’s word, apart from the saving Grace of Christ.

So this “Great Commission” is a recipe for conflict. For Christ, his Apostles, many of the early church, and countless thousands who have been martyred for their faith in Christ, it is a commission worth dying for. It certainly is worth bearing the stigma of being called “INTOLERANT.” Jesus Christ said “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34, ESV). Christ knew the price… and He paid that price on the cross at Calvary. Acts 4:12 says “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV). So, Christians cannot biblically accept nor dare make the case to “Coexist” or be “tolerance” of all other religions being pathways to Heaven. And finally, Romans 3:4 say it best… “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”

So, the Christian who follows God’s Word must take God’s Word as THE Truth, the ultimate and ONLY Truth (John 1:1 & John 14:6). In matters of Faith, Christians are called to BE INTOLERANT.