“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
—Isaiah 5:20 (nkjv)
When Dr. D. James Kennedy was alive, every once in a while we would have all sorts of protesters surround the church with signs against him. I remember one of those times when I said to him, “Oh, look. Here come the ‘shock troops of’ again.”
One of the first protests was at our inaugural Reclaiming America for Christ conference. More than a thousand people surrounded the church, calling Dr. Kennedy various names. What were they protesting? Dr. Kennedy’s outspoken belief that homosexuals can be freed from their sin by the power of the Gospel—something he saw happen on many occasions throughout the course of his ministry.
With all these protesters as the backdrop, I did a brief interview with an elderly man who had come to the conference. I’ve never forgotten what he said for our TV audience: “I’ve been attending conferences for 50 years. I’ve never been to one where we drew this kind of attention. That’s why I believe Dr. Kennedy’s doing the right thing—because they’re here in force. … My heart just bleeds for them. I love them. How can we win those people?”
Have you ever noticed how some of the most intolerant men and women are those who clamor the loudest for tolerance? Their view of free speech seems to be that you can have complete free speech rights—provided you toe the line and agree with their opinions. Woe to you if you dare say, for example, that Jesus is the only way to God, or anything else that is politically incorrect.
Christianity gave birth to tolerance—the good type of tolerance—as summarized in Christ’s Golden Rule: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 nkjv). This implies respect for others—even if they are different.
But today’s version of “tolerance” is, in reality, anything but broad-minded. Look at the recent protests against Chick-fil-A. The “tolerant left” has spoken out against them because their president said he believes in traditional marriage and they have supported some organizations that promote what the Bible says about marriage.
For that they get accused of hate?
The Bible says, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil.” We could add: You should not call hate love and love hate. Yet the protesters of Chick-fil-A sometimes declare, “It tastes like hate.” I’m thankful I could join thousands of other Christians in showing my support to help the fast food giant.
About ten years ago in Madison, Wisconsin, there was a protest against a church’s open support for traditional marriage. One of the protesters yelled out at the top of her lungs:
“Bring back the lions! Bring back the lions!” Others around her clearly approved her message—that it’s time for Christians to again be thrown to the lions.
Bill Federer, author of the book, Backfired, once said, in regard to the subject of tolerance:
Tolerance was an American Christian contribution to the world. Just as you drop a pebble in the pond, the ripples go out, there was tolerance first for Puritans and then Protestants, then Catholics, then liberal Christians, and then it went out completely to Jews. Then in the early 1900s, tolerance went out to anybody of any faith—monotheist or polytheist. Finally, within the last generation, tolerance went out to the atheist, the secular humanist, and the anti-religious. And the last ones in the boat decided it was too crowded and decided to push the first ones out. So now we have a unique situation in America, where everybody’s tolerated except the ones that came up with the idea. So when people say Christians are intolerant, we really need to correct them and say, “No, we’re the ones that came up with the idea of tolerance.”
True tolerance is a Christian ideal. We should not let others steal this noble, loving concept.