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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

‘We Must Accept Everyone and Everything’

Mar 11, 2020

Here are some things I will not tolerate:

How often have you heard Christians claim that we should just love everybody, not disagree with anyone, and just get along? They have the mistaken notion that Christianity is all about tolerance and acceptance – and by that I mean the world’s notions of tolerance and acceptance. But biblical Christianity has never taught that we must embrace everything, tolerate every behaviour, accept every belief, and run with every worldview.

There are plenty of things we are called to reject, to want nothing to do with, and to even hate. Hate? You betcha? Let me start with just one crystal clear passage that too many believers have forgotten about – or have rejected. Romans 12:9 says this: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

‘Whoa, that’s a bit much God. You are actually commanding us to hate certain things?’ Yes he most certainly is. And while we are at it, there are numerous things the Scriptures say we should hate. Here are just a few more of them:

Psalm 97:10a Let those who love the LORD hate evil

Psalm 119:128 and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path.

Psalm 119:163 I hate and abhor falsehood but I love your law.

Proverbs 13:5 The righteous hate what is false,
    but the wicked make themselves a stench
    and bring shame on themselves.

Revelation 2:6, 15-16 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate…Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

Christians are not to accept and tolerate everything. Sure, we are to be tolerant of people, but not of their bad ideas or false beliefs or evil practices. As Fulton J. Sheen once said, “Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.”

There are plenty of things we as Christians are to say no to. We are not just to love everyone and everything indiscriminately. We are to be wise, discerning and careful in what we embrace. There is a time to embrace – but also a time to release, reject and rebuke.

I have of course written often on faulty notions of tolerance. See here for example: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/11/10/the-sin-of-tolerance/

And on love and hate: billmuehlenberg.com/2010/05/26/love-and-hate-biblically-speaking/

And on the ‘nice’ Jesus: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/04/08/no-more-mr-nice-guy/

Let me explain this further by sharing something I recently posted on the social media. I mentioned one thing that I would not tolerate on my page. And then I mentioned another. And another. I was on a bit of a roll there! There are certain limitations on what I will allow. So let me share the three that I posted there, and then add three more, just for good measure.

One. I have over the years had to unfriend various folks from my social media pages because they are clearly anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers. There are some people I will NOT tolerate on my pages, and this group is certainly one of them. They are a blight on real Christianity and on any civilised society. Take it elsewhere thanks.

Two. Although somewhat less problematic, I also have little time for all the heresy hunters and hyper-critics who are out there. They so readily attack so many others for often not holding to all the secondary doctrines that they do. They constantly pick fights with other believers, and are usually all rather fleshly as they do it.

And they so often use carnal, bogus and fallacious weaponry: they seem to be experts in running with guilt by association, pulling things out of context, straining at gnats while swallowing camels, and not actually doing proper research but relying on some second-rate YouTube video, etc. They are way too often arrogant, unteachable, harsh and pharisaic.

As I have said so often now, some of these ‘discernment’ ministries can cause as much damage as actual heresies and heretics can. They are self-appointed judges and executioners, going around attacking far too many Christians who do not deserve such attacks. But see more on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2014/04/09/on-heresy-hunters/

Three. Another group I also have little tolerance for are all those who claim to be Christians but only come to my pages to argue, attack me, criticise what I say, and seek to pick fights. If they are acting like trolls, are lacking in humility and a teachable spirit, I will not long put up with them. Life is too short to let these fleshly, carnal folks try to destroy what God is seeking to do.

Indeed, I just had to do this again the other day. A person wanted to pick a fight on something I have said – something that I have repeatedly said is best left for other sites. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel and there are so many places where these sectarian battles can take place. So I dealt with a few of this guy’s objections, and said several times that we will leave it there thanks.

But did he show me a bit of Christian grace and respect my wishes? Nope, he kept coming back to argue even more. So I finally had to let him go. These people are so annoying. And their refusal to respect my wishes really does tell me what sort of people they are. They are not exactly my idea of social media friends, nor of fellow Christians. See this piece for more on this: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/12/02/dont-feed-the-trolls/

Four. Related to the last point is this matter: most of the things I write about and discuss are actually rather complex, nuanced and detailed matters, be they political, or theological, or what have you. That is why I have over 5000 articles on this site, and why they all tend to average around 1400 or 1500 words in length. And even then, often they are just brief, introductory pieces on these complex issues.

That is why I so easily get frustrated when folks want to come along on something like Facebook and start a big debate or fight over something. FB is hardly the ideal place for carrying on substantial and careful discussions or debates about anything. Certainly those tiny comment boxes are a pain to try to use for those purposes.

And that is why I refer folks to my own website where such debates can more easily be undertaken, and that is why I so often just link to articles of mine. No, I am not being lazy or escapist when I do that on the social media. Why should I restate what I have already carefully and prayerfully written about in some depth?

So many of these hot potato topics I have already commented on in some detail on my site, and there is no reason to just keep repeating myself, or reinventing the wheel. If folks do not like it when I link to these articles, that is their problem. I do not owe others anything in terms of answering all their questions or dealing with all their objections, especially when I have already covered all that ground elsewhere.

Five. Another thing that I have little patience with on my social media pages or on this website are the various nutter conspiracy theories and theorists. There are zillions of them out there, and so many of them are just not worth running with. These folks will often just run with foolish YouTube videos which someone has latched on to, without doing any real research or study.

Plenty of these come to mind, such as the flat earthers or the King James Only fanatics. See more on this here: billmuehlenberg.com/2019/07/30/no-that-is-not-research/

Six. A final item that I tend to frown upon is the use of foul language. I prefer that people do not come to my pages with posts or comments that contain swearing and profanities. If comments do contain such unwanted words, I tend not to like them, for that very reason. We can do better than running with bad language – especially if we are believers.

OK, so those are six things that I am either quite intolerant of or not too keen to see – at least on my pages. They are my pet peeves if you will. If folks want to run with these sorts of things, they are free to do so elsewhere. But I prefer not to have them appearing on my sites. So now you know – you have been forewarned!

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21 Responses to ‘We Must Accept Everyone and Everything’

  • Thank you, Bill,

    for sharing your “pet-hates” which are really just your basic “home rules” and quite easy to follow, as long as “newbies” and even regulars take their time, to respectfully do a little research among you huge array of excellent informative articles, you have so painstakingly penned in the past!

    It’s simply the basic courteous and behaviour you apply, with common sense and respect for others(:

    Cheers & Blessings

    Eric Hansen

  • Thank you, Bill, for enumerating what you will not tolerate. It is a shame a few professing Christians rely on unsound sources for what they think is Biblical truth and then try to disrupt your ministry as a Christian writer. Along with those who think Christians should accept everybody and everything under the guise of being “non-judgmental,” let me add those who constantly say, “That can be forgiven” whenever a certain evil or shortcoming is mentioned. I had two co-workers who were “big” on this philosophy, and it got to the point that they seemed to believe anything that “could be forgiven” was not WRONG in the first place.

    I finally lost patience with them and said, “Sin is still sin, but these people do not WANT to be forgiven because they do not believe they did anything wrong in the first place. YOU may want to be forgiven because you have a conscience, but these people DO NOT have a conscience. If they had had some standard of right and wrong and had a true faith in God, they would not have got into this trouble or sin in the first place.”

    Another thought similar to the “forgiveness” ethic is the idea that disagreeing with anybody or disapproving of what someone does is judgmental. My older daughter became quite upset when teachers in the public grade school tried to push this idea onto her. I remember the day she came home in tears because she was so upset and told me what she was being taught in school. I told her, “It is NOT being judgmental to know right from wrong or to acknowledge that certain acts are sinful and wrong and otherwise socially unacceptable. What the teachers are pushing is a philosophy of lawlessness because, according to their thinking, anything goes.” I advised my daughter not to voice her disagreements or disapproval at school because such teachers would become more stirred up and would try to “correct” her and would interfere in our home and family matters. We did not need another discussion on the topic as my daughter learned to tune out bad advice, and now my daughter’s high school years are something of the past.

  • Yes, this is part of Salt and Light, thank you brother Bill.

  • But Sheila, this is the problem: the silencing of all dissent. Perhaps it would be better for children to undertake counter argument training as early as possible because as sure as eggs it is will not get any easier once they leave school .
    And it will not stop at shutting down freedom of speech, people are already being tested for what they think, as happened recently with Police Constable Harry Miller.
    https://christianconcern.com/comment/ex-cop-sues-cops-over-hate-speech/
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCxQI9U_xHE

    Thinking that the thought police will leave you and your family alone if you just remain quiet is a fallacy. They will come up your garden path, ring on the door, demand to come in and find out what you are thinking.

    But by only one person standing up against the Gaystapo, this encourages others to take a stand. We need little children who are prepared to stand up and say ” The king as no clothes.” The good news with Harry Miller is that he is not a man to be intimidated and he took his case to the high court and won, sending a clear message to the police to get a brain.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Xb79vW5ysk.

    There is only one way to deal with these terrorists, metaphorically speaking, and that is brilliantly illustrated here;

  • Bill we were discussing your latest article in our 30 minute Skype prayer meeting that we have every morning at 9.00 am and this passage from Titus 1: 6-16 was quoted by the leader of the group.

    ‘ An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe[b] and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
    For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.’

  • Progressive Christianity within fellowship groups large and small. So disappointed to know even a pastor in our large church has never heard of it. Yes Satan will work to decry the virgin birth etc so as to rot the Christian church from the inside. This has been happening for years but sadly people, leaders either miss it or ignore it! There is a new released book out now “SAVING CHRISTIANITY” by Michael Youssef who has covered this so well.

    Also how many people miss out on blessing because people are not encouraged to read REV (whatever the reason). God’s word says we are blessed if we read it yet so few do. The people of John’s day would have no idea what some of it meant but we are exhorted to read it. Personally I read some every day not in any particular order yet THERE IS ALWAYS A BLESSING FOR & to praise God for what He says in it. The world today says forget bible &try to explain it away – not me. God is and will bring His purposes to pass. So great to live in a free country where I can read it & especially be blessed.

    Have just gotten to know how to use a mobile phone. So excited to read your scripts.

  • Civility is indeed fast disappearing in the arena of public discourse and debate. The disappearance is largely because the self-styled champions of tolerance themselves claim to have ascended a new, “higher moral ground” from which they already have too often refused to tolerate “old-school” values and those who tenaciously continue to advocate those ethical fundamentals… When the demons of the past generations are now hailed as bright angels and their dark passions seen as today’s “cutting-edge” golden virtues, it is no surprise that red lights and alarm bells are triggered in not a few alert minds and consciences.

  • Thank you Bill for sharing your pet peeves. Thank you for all your hard work and prayerful articles on nuanced topics. Since finding your gold mine site, I have carefully read through many books (and the bible) to investigate for myself the myriad of claims out there. You are no doubt erudite in such matters you raise and certainly provide a well balanced, biblically supported arguments and refutations. Cheers. Love your work!

  • Sheila they teach a do what is right in your own eyes type morality. Bishop Sheen’s tolerance quote sound similar to love the sinner hate the sin. One big problem especially with the LGBTQ+ crowd is so many see themselves AS their sin. So to them if you hate their sin you hate them. If you TRULY love them you MUST lover their sin too. It is the only choice they can offer as they can’t separate themselves from their sin i.e. a homosexual IS homosexuality so you can only love or hate both. First thing is to return to the true dictionary not the world’s ever changing one. There IS an absolute truth words have defined meanings until we get back to that we can never change anything. God doesn’t care about your feelings. He doesn’t care about you having high self-esteem. There have been way to many sinners with high self-esteem and quite a few saints with low to mid level esteem. God often seems to do more with less. The less you have naturally the more God supplies supernaturally. There is a poem on the statue of liberty, added after being out up, part of it goes “give me your tired, your poor, your hungry…”, I think the kingdom has that sign too.

  • I actually like the KJV translation of Romans 9:12:-

    “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

    The term that is translated “hate” or “abhor” is Apostygountes ( https://biblehub.com/text/romans/12-9.htm ).

    People forget the “apo” bit which speaks of moving away from something. Just as “apostasis” (apostasy) means to move away from a doctrine so “apostygountes” means that we should be moving away from the hated things.

    So it’s not just a matter of hating sin; it is also a matter of keeping sin away from yourself, your family and your church.

  • While I am NOT a KJV only person I do prefer it and think the best translations are word for word mainly because I am skeptical as to on the thought for thought if your thought, the person translating the bible, is the same thought as the authors. I think most have a problem with KJV because of the old english style they see thee and thou and shalt and think this is unreadable or have been told that but never bothered to actually read the text. I do sometimes consult other bibles when the meaning is elusive because of modern word usage a more modern translation can give a boost to understanding. even better is a modern language commentary.

    One thing I like is you put the version you are using next to the passage. that is sometimes annoying to me when people put quotes in their work but don’t tell you which version it is. (obviously when it is KJV it isn’t as big a issue but with many of the more modern ones it can be hard for someone not familiar with them to know which one is being used.

    Above I mentioned the LGBTQ+ people seeing themselves AS there sin and with Identity politic you see something similar in disabled and blind while it is a sin to be blind or disabled they have it become there identity such that they don’t want a cure to be found because they are blindness and if you take that away who are they?? they are autism if you take that away who are they?? I think they would shout Jesus away if he were he today “don’t you come near me don’t you dare cure me” I thing that too goes to the raising of a couple generations to believe how SPECIAL they are that “you are special because you are you”. YOUR feelings are all that matter, what YOU want is all that is important, what YOU think is always profound wisdom, YOU are God’s greatest gift to humanity! We ended up creating narcissists who basically see themselves almost as gods, little emperors in china although that has to do with the one child policy there is a lot of cross over, and thus is it any surprise they do what they feel is right and only listen to themselves and those who think EXACTLY like them. After all they are right and everyone else is wrong mommy and daddy said so! We need to get back not only to Biblically sound parenting but also biblically sound education. many time it is the educators encouraging rebellion against christian parents and any parents who don’t tow the new orthodox line. you know things your parents don’t know. people of that generation when homophobic/transphobic/whateverphobic or -ist so you can ignore them and listen to us.

    History does seem to be cyclical though so I think we should be prepared for dark times ahead. we have failed to learn from history so it is repeating.

    Two quotes for you: one is form a version of a song I have only heard on a TV show (the episode was about the Nazis prior to the rise to power the 1993 series the untouchable episode Stadt) “the darkness spreads like fear with lies no-one can hear all sense is twisted”. The other is from Babylon 5: “we are surrounded by signs and portents and I feel a darkness pressing at our backs”.

  • I agree Paul Wilson and do not think you exaggerate when you say homosexuals do identify themselves by their queer thoughts, feelings and behaviour, no matter how much “Christian homosexuals” like Sam Allberry deny this who said at the 2017 Anglicann Synod, “I am same-sex attracted and have been my entire life. By that I mean that I have sexual, romantic and deep emotional attractions to people of the same sex. I choose to describe myself this way because sexuality is not a matter of identity for me, and that has become good news. My primary sense of worth and fulfilment as a human being is not contingent on being romantically or sexually fulfilled, and this is liberating. The most fully human and complete person who ever lived was Jesus Christ. He never married, He was never in a romantic relationship and never had sex. If we say these things are intrinsic to human fulfilment, we are calling our saviour sub-human?”

    The only problem with this is that the ministry of Jesus was not spent entirely talking about his sexual attractions and how he managed to live a single life in spite of them – as does Allberry and other “virtuous Christian homosexuals” who abstain from sex. Allberry identifies as disabled, as a victim of circumstances on the one hand but then a hero on the other because of what he has achieved in spite of having to endure the sticks and arrows of a perceived homophobia within the church,. At the end of his addresses in churches throughout the World he is almost given a standing ovation. He hotly resists reparative therapy or any notion he could or should change because as you seem to suggest, he would lose a great deal of cachet. And no one is interested in someone who says “once I was gay but no more . Once I was in bondage, but now I am free.”

    David Skinner UK

  • “And no one is interested in someone who says “once I was gay but no more . Once I was in bondage, but now I am free.””

    True David you could add I was a sinner but I found salvation. These are 3 things you won’t hear in today’s church. Reminds me of the line from the old classic, which sounds great on bagpipe, Amazing Grace “I once was lost but now am found was blind but now I see” (if you are Radar O’Reilly add the word lovely.)

  • Hi Bill. Thanks again for your work. I love reading your blog. I totally agree that we are not to tolerate evil. I also realize that we are all sinners and lately I’ve been wondering about the difference between Jesus telling us to not judge others when we ourselves are sinners and actually telling someone that what they are doing is sinful. We are to forgive people that sin against us, and love our enemies, I understand that. But sin is evil. I asked because lately in our church group, a lady said she was really upset with her daughter as she went back to her homosexual lifestyle but this lady said she was trying not to judge. And I wondered about that and what you thought. Thanks

  • Thanks Anne. But your statement is a bit incorrect: “Jesus telling us to not judge others when we ourselves are sinners”. He did not say we should not judge others because we are sinners. If he said that, we could never judge and condemn a rapist, a murderer, Hitler, or anyone else because we are all sinners of course.

    What he did say in Matthew 7:1-5 was that we should not judge others hypocritically. That is quite different. If I condemn someone for the sin of gluttony while I am being a glutton, that would be hypocritical judging, and that is what Jesus warns against. And the very next verse (v. 6) says this: “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” We must first assess or judge what is holy, who are the dogs, etc, before we can carry out that command.

    And just a few verses later (verses 15-20) Jesus again commands us to judge – this time we are to judge the false prophets and we are to judge/assess them by their fruit. Thus we are to judge. The Bible speaks to this repeatedly. See here for example: http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2008/10/08/thou-shalt-judge/

  • Thanks Bill, that makes sense. I know your answer is completely biblical but I didn’t quite know how to understand it in my mind. Hypocrisy is point I was missing.

  • Hi Bill
    I read the link you included in your last reply and I had another question I wanted to get your thoughts on. It was your blog on Thou Shalt Not Judge. You wrote about publicly rebuking sin. My question is about Galatians 6:1 asking the spiritual Christians to restore anyone caught in transgression in a spirit of gentleness. When should you rebuke publicly vs in gentleness. There must be a difference in the kind of sin? Because Paul also talked about how he told Peter publicly in Galatians 2: 11-14 that he was wrong.

  • Thanks again Anne. The basic principle is this: private sin, private rebuke; public sin, public rebuke. I explain this in some detail here: http://billmuehlenberg.com/2013/08/16/on-public-rebuke/

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