Sounds good, doesn’t it? It’s just so very tolerant of us – and we all know that tolerance is the #1 virtue in our world today.
Indeed, it would be just fine if the differences had to do with open-to-debate issues such as identifying the Nephilim or the Antichrist, or more subjective topics such as musical styles or hats and hair length.
But that's not where it ends. We disagree over foundational issues. And when we begin taking those issues off the table, we really have very little left in common. In fact, it seems that the only thing that everyone agrees on is that Jesus’ death is related in some way to paying the penalty for sin.
But that’s about it. Within the professing church, there’s no agreement about how much of the world’s sin He paid for, or whose sin He paid for, or how one goes about availing oneself of whatever payment might be available.
In short, today’s church is so unified in its appreciation of theological diversity that we are not even able, with one voice, to tell a seeker how he or she can be assured of eternity in heaven. Even though it's spelled out clearly in the Bible.
According to the ultra-tolerant “all viewpoints welcome” crowd, this is not a problem. Whatever works for you is fine; and for Pete’s sake, don’t argue about it. Don’t be distracted by this issue. Don’t be divisive. Don’t be like those dowdy legalists who object to makeup and hair dye.
One could refute this idea point by point. But I have done so at length in the past, and in the end, it’s a waste of time. Once a professing Christian is convinced that it doesn’t really matter why Jesus died, or whom He died for, he or she is free to welcome any and all ideas (except, apparently, for those held by fuddy-duddy fundamentalists).
Could this indifference to truth be what the apostle Paul was referring to in 2 Thessalonians 2, when he wrote: “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan … with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness …”
Is apathy towards truth part of the strong delusion? Is the “I’m okay, you’re okay” philosophy a sign of finding pleasure in the admiration of a world that worships at the altar of tolerance?
I am reminded of Pilate: “What is truth?” I am reminded of the serpent: “Hath God really said?” But I suppose that’s a divisive thing to say, so I won’t go there.
But there is one thing I wish the “anything goes” gang would think about. And that’s why, if tolerance is so crucial to the church’s success, has Christianity been crashing and burning in the west over the last 60 years, just as this movement has taken over our seminaries and pulpits?
Ironically, we can’t even agree that there’s a problem, can we? But you don’t have to look far for proof of this decline.
If you have a strong stomach, try googling a phrase such as “empty churches in the U.S.” or “empty churches in Europe.” Or spend some time reviewing the Religion News Service’s recent analysis, published here and summarized in the chart shown above.
Then please ‘splain why it’s such a good thing that the church can’t even agree on the gospel of Jesus Christ.