Author: Zach Goodrow
In the rising tide of tolerance and acceptance, many of our brothers and sisters have been swept away by the tsunami of worldly love. In fairness, much of the present rhetoric about being more tolerant and accepting came from a reaction to a period of intense legalism. We ignored Paul’s words to “live at peace with everyone”, and chose to prop up a scarecrow of Christianity that required everyone, Christian or not, to stand at the ready to defend a faith that wasn’t theirs. And the love they claim to manufacture and cherish is no love at all.
But the world has taken our vocabulary and now many of us can no longer even bark.
This scarecrow had no brain. Which meant that when the culture began to hijack Christian vocabulary in order to further their agenda, many in the church were left with their tongue tied to their teeth as their words were stolen by the world and twisted to its own nefarious purposes. As Christians, we are not to bite our enemies, we are to pray for them. But the world has taken our vocabulary and now many of us can no longer even bark.
To be perfectly clear, Paul said “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). Which means that Christians should do everything in our power to live at peace, or coexist, with the world around us. However, what makes it not “possible” to coexist anymore is the hijacking or language as mentioned above. When acceptance and tolerance became “I agree, accept, and idolize all parts of you, especially the parts which God forbids”, Christians can no longer “coexist” with others.
We can, and are commanded to, love our neighbor
We can, and are commanded to, love our neighbor. What we cannot do, if we are to call ourselves lovers of God, is say that all paths and ways lead to God as long as no one is harmed. Because it is not us self-righteous Christians who say that not all roads lead to God. It is the one after whom our beautiful religion is named who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes through the Father except through me.”
Christ spoke on hell more than anyone else in the New Testament. The same Jesus who said “Come to me all who are heavy laden”, was the same Jesus who said that we should “pick up [our] cross and follow” him. The road to eternal life was paved by Christ’s death on the cross, and there is no other route humanity can take. What this means is that we cannot “Coexist” in any real sense because we are not of the same nature anymore.
Any Christian who believes in hell, who truly believes in it, cannot adopt the mindset of live and let live. We cannot say that all religions are equal when all religions but our own lead to destruction. If we believe that we can be winsome in our actions but not our words, we damn our neighbors because of our unwillingness to be intolerant.
The worst thing we can do is “tolerate” them to hell.
Speak the truth in love. That is a command, not a request. But the truth is our neighbors, if they are not Christians, are on the road to eternal torment and the only way they get off that road is by hearing the gospel (Romans 10). This means we cannot pretend our Muslim, Buddhist, atheist, and followers of Churchianity are on a righteous road when they are not. The most loving thing we could do is share with them the amazing power of Christ. The worst thing we can do is “tolerate” them to hell. It is shameful for our neighbors to go to hell thinking that we are good people.
“If possible, as long as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). What depends on you is how you love your neighbor. What depends on them is what they do with Jesus. And “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Romans 10:14). So love the members of the Coexist religion, and preach the gospel to them.