Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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The Intolerance of Toleration

ImageI recently came across an internet article listing the 5 most hated YouTube videos in internet history. This list was based upon the number of “thumbs down” designations given. Fifth on the list is the music video, “Baby”, by teen pop singer Justin Bieber. First on the list is a young lady who videotaped her opinion that the earthquake and resultant tsunami that devastated Japan was an answer to prayer, that God might convince the atheist of His existence. Interestingly, the girl later admitted that her video is a hoax, deliberately outrageous with the intent of provoking the ire of viewers.

Most germane to our premise is the number three video on the list. It is a recent political ad by Republican presidential candidate, and Texas governor, Rick Perry. The title of the video is “Strong”, and in the video, Perry reveals the following :

  • He is not ashamed to be a Christian.
  • The values of the country are wrong when gays can serve openly in the military, while children cannot celebrate Christmas or pray in the schools.
  • As president, he would “end Obama’s war on religion,” and he would fight against liberal attacks on the country’s religious heritage.
  • His opinion, “Faith made America strong, and it can make her strong again.”

The language of the ad is plain, but not hateful. It reveals an opposition to granting homosexuals rights based upon their sexual choices, and expresses a strong disagreement with the secularization of America. However, as it is critical of homosexuality, and the agenda to gain civil rights based upon sexual choice, it is considered to be intolerant vitriol, and Perry is considered by many a hatemonger. Consider the following paragraph from the article’s author, who considered the dislike shown toward Perry to be justified:

Rick Perry’s desperate grasp for attention as he’s flushed down the GOP nomination hole is worth hating. It confusingly disparages gays in the military, and draws some bizarre opposition to our country’s poor children, who allegedly are not allowed to openly celebrate Christmas. That last part is news to me. The hateful, insipid rambling is a black hole of loathing, currently sitting pretty at 435,000 dislikes after just three days.

Notice the inflammatory words used to describe the post: desperate, confusingly disparages, bizarre, hateful, insipid rambling, black hole of loathing. That’s quite a bit of vitriol in one short paragraph, and notably more inflammatory and intolerant than the video itself.

It is also not surprising that a person who holds such a view would be attacked for it; (never mind the logical contradiction of being intolerant of the intolerant). Our Lord came into the world to convict the world of sin, and save the sinner. He told His disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

We ask, “Is such vitriol toward Christ and His followers in any way legitimate?” The answer is no! In the same context, Jesus said, “He who hates Me hates my Father also” (vs. 23), and, “But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause’” (vs. 25).

So, why does said hatred exist? Jesus reveals this as well. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20).

A faithful Christian loves God, and keeps His commandments. He without reservation or apology defends the truth of God against any and all attacks. He recognizes the Devil to be man’s enemy, and remains vigilant in keeping himself pure, and exposing Satan’s evil tactics. He has a love for the souls of men that impels him to convict them of their sin, and share with them the means of escaping its consequences. Such “tough love” is not often appreciated or understood, but the true Christian remains courageous and steadfast in the face of opposition. When this brings the disdain and anger of the world, it is, as it was with the Lord, “without a cause.” This is the way it has always been, and will continue to be as long as the Lord tarries.