Evangelism ≠ Intolerance

Posted: February 27, 2014 by Matt Horan in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

By Matt Horan

If you’ve been watching the Olympics this time around, you may have seen the “Characters Unite” commercial:

There’s a lot to like in the commercial.  It resists racism, gender inequality, bullying, and other forms of hate and discrimination.  It would surely be a better world if we could get rid of any of those things.

That said, it’s important to say a word about their call to also resist “religious intolerance.”  Ever since John Lennon’s “Imagine,” celebrity icons of each successive generation have taken up the call to peace and harmony, envisioning a world where all dividing lines have become extinct–gender, class, race, religion, etc.  Again, plenty of good would come out of that.However, it’s important to distinguish between “religious intolerance” and God’s call to evangelism.  Religious intolerance means that a person should be granted a different set of rights and responsibilities in society based


on their religious affiliation.  Those that are a part of the preferred religion have a better access to betting things and a better life.  Those that are not must overcome restrictive social policies to live even the most meager of lives.  In some cases such an environment can lead to violence against the minority, or bitter rivalries leading to years and generations of escalating violence.  Religious intolerance is evil, and should never be endorsed by someone who is a disciple of Jesus Christ.

What disciples of Jesus Christ should endorse is the “Good News” of the love of God that was so great that he would send his only Son to serve us, to save us from sin, and to put us on the path that is best for us.  Of all the religious systems in the world, there is no expression of the love of God for humankind greater than the incarnation—God himself leaving behind the privileges of paradise to enter into this world—a world that would ridicule, reject, falsely accuse, imprison, torture, and execute him—to make it possible for us to become his intimate friends.

That is a message that can be shared without practicing religious intolerance.  There is no need to demean or downplay the value of someone else’s faith in order to convey the story of Jesus Christ and invite people to receive him and his grand and sweeping salvation.  We can tolerate the views of others—we absolutely should—but that does not mean reigning in our belief that Jesus Christ’s is a story worth hearing.  He changes lives, and is transforming this world.  Go ahead and say so.

  1. ryan85 says:

    Well said. This is a needed encouragement because it can sure be discouraging to be thought of as mean spirited when you felt compelled to share the gospel with someone. Thanks for writing it!


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