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 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!