Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Christian Intolerance

I was listening to a Christian radio station a couple of days ago and once again found myself discouraged at the lack of compassion and tolerance the host showed when talking with callers.  The subject was, well it could have been anything, but it was one of the hot topics of the day.  I will say that it was not dealing with sexual orientation but it could have been and he would still have given the same message.

The bottom line is that the caller (a couple of them in fact) did not agree with his stance simply because they interpreted the very same Scriptures from a different point of view.  It could have been experience, culture, education or any other real life reality that causes us all to look at the world through our own particular lens.  They were polite and said they respected his view, they just didn’t agree.  The host grew more and more intolerant with their perspective interpretations and continued to claim they did not believe the Bible.  Yep, just because they had a different interpretation of that particular Scripture they did not “believe God’s Word.”

It just so happened that the subject dealt with an area that could easily (in fact I do which may be why I was so irritated at the host) been interpreted symbolically when traditionally conservative thought has viewed it as literal.  But what I heard was that if I did not agree with his particular reading then I might as well throw my Bible away because I didn’t really believe what it said anyway.  That might just lead to his questioning my salvation experience, or my desire to follow to the best of my ability the calling I have received.  I beg your pardon!

This was just an example of the intolerance and narrow mindedness that has driven many of our younger generations away. Paul pleaded  in his first letter to the Corinthians (1:10) saying “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all you agree with one another in what you say and there be do divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 

Did the great preacher/missionary of the early church desire for all of us to be robots, each looking and speaking and believing the exact same way?  I don’t think so.  There is no question that he and Peter (another great preacher/missionary) and he and Mark (possibly the first writer to the story of Jesus to pen) had differences and some of them major.  But what they all had in common was the Lordship of Jesus Christ was paramount to everything else.  They the could agree on and when they talked about that there was no division.

Until we in the church, those who represent the Christian faith begin to understand that the Lord expressed compassion and not doctrinal correctness or interpretive singularity we will continue to push folks away.  And once again Jesus will weep!

Oh, and BTW I will give anyone a literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 if they will give me a literal interpretation of the Song of Solomon.

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