Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some idols and installed one of his sons as his priest. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit. (Judges 17:5-6)

The Tolerant Ones Aren’t Really So Tolerant After All

There can be little doubt that we are living in an age of tolerance. And with the relentless indoctrination into secular humanism that we’ve all been going through for years now here in America, it is perfectly understandable that this would eventually have an effect on each one of us. In his book What If America Was A Christian Nation Again? Christian statesman Dr. D. James Kennedy, recovering from a recent heart attack, writes:

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. Every once and awhile militant homosexuals, and others come out and surround my church to protest something I said or did on one of my broadcasts.

During such time Jerry Newcombe quips: “Here come the shock troops of tolerance again.” 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 is that you have complete free speech rights if you agree with their views and toe their line. “Woe to you, if you dare say, for example, that homosexuality is wrong”…

[Biblical] Christianity gave birth to the good kind 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, chapter 7, verse 12. This implies respect for others – even if they’re different. But today’s version of so-called tolerance – in reality -is anything but broadminded. If America is ever to become a Christian nation again it’s time to get back to the traditional definition of tolerance – and to promote it. Its also time for us to discern once again between good and evil.

Is Your Mind Open?

Men and women, let’s not let Satan fool us any longer. O yes, our culture is tolerant – tolerant, all right, tolerant of almost any view except the historic Christian faith! And you also need to know, as for this idea of religious tolerance, it really isn’t a new idea at all. In fact, in the middle 1800’s the great evangelist D.L. Moody put it quite well when he said:

A great many people say, you must hear both sides; but if a man should write me a most slanderous letter about my wife, I don’t think I would have to read it; I would tear it up and throw it to the winds. Have I to take up a book that is a slander on my Lord and Master, who has redeemed me with His blood? Ten thousands times no! I will not touch it.

Nick Harrison comments on this further – “It’s one of Satan’s lies that we must be ‘open-minded’ about our spiritual beliefs. But no, a Christian whose faith is founded on solid rock has no reason to test out the sand around him. Don’t open yourself to the influence of evil in any form. Jesus stood firm against every strategy of the enemy. So must we (365 WWJD?, p.120).

What I’d like to ask you to do is to think about this for a moment. No doubt we have all heard of someone is said to be “open-minded.” Well, let me ask you a question: What is another way to refer to people like this? We would say that such a person is “broad-minded”; would we not? Now remember what Jesus said about being broad-minded – Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it – Matthew 7:13.

This is why the discerning Christian, anxious to do only what the Bible says, sees that the root problem within our overly tolerant society–and in the whole seeker sensitive Church Growth Movement–is a denial of this principle taught by our Lord. And in our eagerness to be “tolerant” of our fellowman, we have instead lost the fear of God, which has then brought us to the truth of this Scripture – Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint – Proverbs 29:18.

And so, in an effort to undue this kind of misunderstanding about tolerance and fairness I have been using a kind of reverse technique. Through Apprising Ministries we mount an attempt to counteract the effect of relentless indoctrination of these aberrant views into our culture since the early 1920’s when the insidious Cult of Liberal Theology reared it’s satanic head. What I have been led of the Lord to do is to take the approach of reinforcing from the very start of this work in Christ–by repetition–what our goal as Christians must be as this apostasy grows.

The Fields Are Ready For Harvest

Jesus would like His true followers to make a bold stand upon His Word–and that no matter what it looks like at any given time. Our King wants us to completely live out His biblical principles in whatever area He happens to place you. This Upper Valley area of New Hampshire where I am located–to a very large degree–contains many a people living lifestyles almost the complete opposite of what the Bible teaches. This is most likely the same where you are as well. So I ask you: What better place, and what better time, for God to show His glory?

What the Lord is asking us to do is impossible! Let me share with you something I asked Connecticut River Baptist Church recently: Guess Who will get the glory when this “little church that wouldn’t go away” starts to grow–and even in the face of this opposition and adversity? That’s right, Jesus will! And what better way for the Lord to show His true “power, power, wonder working power” than if we each do something–wherever God has planted you–that makes absolutely no sense to the natural mind? Why what is going to end up happening is that we will live up to the bold faith of the New Testament Christians.

Tozer tells of a small country church he came across where the pastor had placed a little sign in the window – “This Church Is Either Going Have A Funeral–Or A Revival.” And let me say this loudly, just in case the Devil has a hearing problem, our Lord Jesus is not measuring His glorious Church for a casket here in America! Oh no, He is busy making a way for us to have what we need to take care of the souls the Master is about to harvest using us as His tools! That is His plan for the true Body of Christ in this sin-weary pagan culture. We are to be an example to this sorry generation of Laodicean compromisers.

God wants you and me to be a model of what will happen when His children turn their backs on so-called “conventional” methods of church growth–like the Purpose Driven Life and its counter(feit) part the Emergent Church–with their sinner-sensitive methods which really aren’t working anyway.

Beloved, Jesus is calling to Himself a remnant of people who will boldly stand upon His Word–steadfastly refusing to compromise with the world in any way, shape or form. For the Bible tells us – “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24. And Holy Scripture further encourages us with these most pertinent questions – What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? – Romans 8:31.

Sharpening Our Swords

What I’m doing here at AM is teaching God’s Word to sharpen up our Sword of the Spirit as we fine-tune our approach to sharing the Gospel with others around us. And I pray that we all realize the only way we are going to have any impact on this “One Nation Under Delusion” is if we become more bold in sharing our faith. Even Chuck Colson–who’s hardly a paragon of discernment–could see it in an article he wrote with Anne Morse in Christianity (Astray) Today:

Evangelicals must never be content with a tepid Christianity that embraces only evangelization and the “feel good” church while alien philosophies hostile to the created order hijack our culture. Look at the issues before us: gay “marriage”—an oxymoron that will undermine the foundational institutions of society; the creation of life in man’s image (cloning); abortion; terrorism driven by religious extremists; and defining just war in the age of terror, to name a few. Christians must boldly and confidently recommit to engaging contemporary culture with a fresh vision of hope. [So don’t] tell me you don’t want to get your hands dirty in the grimy world of politics and cultural debate.

Too bad Chuck doesn’t listen more closely to himself. That aside–and keeping in balance that our primary role as Christians is to win people to Christ–Colson and Morse are correct when they say – “If Christians do not seize this moment and act on the cultural commission, there soon will be no culture left to save. But when we do our duty, we can change the world. Look at Christians like William Wilberforce, who spent most of his life fighting—and winning—the war against British slavery. Christians at their post, doing their duty, have brought about the greatest social reforms of modern times.”

This truth is confirmed in What If America Was A Christian Nation Again? as Kennedy will be proved prophetic when he says – “Jesus confronted sinners, and we are to do it as well. But the day is coming when we might suffer persecution for doing so. For far too long Christians have been afraid to state their faith for fear of offending somebody. It’s time for Christians to get out of the bleachers and on to the playing field and get involved, or laws may be passed with consequences that will roost right in our homes and families.”

The Lesson Of The Frogs

And finally, back when I was still coaching high school football I received this great sermon illustration from Grady Vigneau–who is the director of the All-Star Football Camp in Burlington, VT. Grady gives no indication of being interested in spiritual things, so I don’t believe he had any real idea of the truth he was speaking. During a short lecture on making good choices in life, Grady asked the players a great question using a riddle:

“There were 5 frogs sitting on a log. And suddenly 4 of them decided to jump off that log. How many frogs are left on that log?” Then he pointed out – “The answer is all 5. You see making a decision to do something, is not the same as doing that something. Because to actually accomplish something requires an effort.”

Now here is that illustration applied to the spiritual life; making a decision to follow Christ, is not the same as actually following him. Making the decision to be born again is not the same as being born again. And if you haven’t seen your life change since you made your “decision,” then you have every reason to question whether you simply made a decision, or whether you actually made the effort to place your life into Christ’s hands. For it is written – Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test? – 2 Corinthians 13:5.

I close now with these oft-quoted words from A.W. Tozer. However, I ask you to pray and ponder, if you will, while considering the fact that Tozer is preaching this sermon in the mid-50’s. I’d also like to ask you to carefully think about something else as well as you read. Do you really think that the universal Church of our Lord Jesus Christ here in America is stronger now than it was then? Do you think that we are seeing the radically changed lives of God’s true people we read about in the Bible, and have seen down through the ages in Church history? And are we turning the world upside down like we see in the New Testament?

The truth is that Tozer put his finger right on the problem when he said:

The old cross [killed] men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the [old] cross; before that cross it bows and toward that cross it points with carefully staged histrionics – but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear.

I well know how many smooth arguments can be marshaled in support of the new cross. Does not the new cross win converts and make many followers and so carry the advantage of numerical success? Should we not adjust ourselves to the changing times? Have we not heard the slogan “New days, new ways?” And who but someone very old and very conservative would insist upon death as the appointed way to life?

And who today is interested in a gloomy mysticism that would sentence its flesh to a cross and recommend self-effacing humility as a virtue actually to be practiced by [so-called] modern Christians? These are the arguments, along with many more flippant still, which are brought forward to give an appearance of wisdom to the hollow and meaningless cross of popular Christianity (Tozer On Christian Leadership,July 22).

But in the end men and women, what are we to make of these Words spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth – Then He said to them all: “If anyone would come after Me, He must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). Today, shall we pray – My Lord and my God, please help me today to deny myself, take up my cross and to follow You. No matter what; to the end…