Metallic Pea

Frustrating People Since 1971.

Wrestling with Tolerance

with 5 comments

‘Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.’  ~ Deuteronomy 12:30-32


I have struggled mightily as I attempt to navigate our increasingly pagan culture while maintaining an apologetically Christian worldview.  The recent study of the Book of Daniel I undertook with some of the other men at church has helped to better put some things in focus but, let’s face it, striking the proper balance between an unabashed, uncompromising Christian weltanschauung and living within a culture that at best only pays lip service to the the true and living God has not been without its moments of frustration, anguish, and desperation.  (Did I mention anger?)

My continued studies of the Westminster Larger Catechism, while immensely edifying, constantly bring the dichotomy to the fore:

Q. 109  What are the sins forbidden in the Second Commandment?

A.  … tolerating a false religion …

There is very little wiggle room in said admonition.  The modern Zeitgeist prohibits intolerance (unless it is of the anti-Christian stripe, of course).  However, the root of the argument, as almost always, lies in the definition of terms.  The Post-Modern chattering classes militantly equate tolerance with acceptance.  That, as Paul would say, is flung dung.  As a Christian, I find the last of four definitions in the dictionary acceptable:

the act or capacity of enduring; endurance

This is an important distinction because, by this definition, God tolerates our idolatry and adultery–but He most certainly does not accept it.  The Second Commandment (and the one preceding it) declare without ambiguity that God does not accept the worship of idols nor equate false gods (as if there were any other than Himself) with Himself.  However, if He were not a merciful, long-suffering God, He would be within His power–and prerogative–to immediately obliterate every last mother’s son for that very transgression.

So how then are we, as Christians, to employ a godly toleration?  Because, as the Larger Catechism also points out so clearly from Scripture, unless it is specifically our calling to do so (see the answer to Question 108), we cannot–as much as we may enjoy the pursuit–make our way through the land tearing down the high places.  But I again stress, that is a far cry from accepting it.

As I learnt this past semester, Daniel did not view living in a pagan culture as a Zero Sum Game.  He did not deem it necessary to publicly and vociferously declare his disdain for the pagan king at every turn, yet he most certainly did not bow down to his idols.  To be sure, we cannot compromise with sin–but we can pick and choose our public battles while showing unwavering fidelity and obedience to God.

I don’t know how this works itself out for me in our society.  E-mail me if you’ve got it figured out.  I sure don’t.


‘Megachurch pastor Rick Warren attended a large Reform Jewish gathering last week to share tips on how to build a community.’ (Strangely, there is nothing here about Warren actually sharing the gospel with them.)




The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.’ ~ Verbal Kint, The Usual Suspects

If your child approached you with a request to allow them to study witchcraft, what would you say?  If you forbid it–would your answer be consistent?





‘[Ron] Paul’s youth volunteer project, called “Ron Paul’s Christmas Vacation” to entice students, was the brainchild of National Youth Coordinator Jeff Frazee, a low-key, twenty-four year old Texas A&M grad whose swept blond hairdo makes him look more likely to pull out a skateboard than your typical campaign functionary.’




At the risk of sounding like a broken record (they came before CD’s), get rid of your debt as fast as you canthe housing crash continues to drag down increasing portions of the aggregate economy.





‘Beginning Thursday, Destin United Methodist Church will offer “Hot Wings Bible Study” at the Hooter’s Restaurant in Destin.’




‘A burglary suspect planned to escape using a handcuff key his girlfriend would pass him during either a hug or a kiss in court, but he forgot one crucial factor, authorities say.’ 





‘…[L]ast year British meteorologists made headlines predicting that the buildup of greenhouse gases would help make 2007 the hottest year on record. At year’s end, however…”even though the British scientists reported the global temperature average was not a new record–it was actually lower than any year since 2001–the BBC confidently proclaimed, ‘2007 Data Confirms [sic] Warming Trend.”‘ 





‘Pragmatism and electability are flimsy stuff on which to build one’s statesmanship.’ 




This is not what I would call having a ‘high view of the glory of God.’




I had forgotten just how good this song is until I heard it again to-day at work.  Therefore: To-day’s 1980’s Moment is brought to you by White Lion


Written by ninepoundhammer

January 2, 2008 at 7:50 pm

5 Responses

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  1. this is a strange collection of musings and news bulletins. However…a few thoughts…

    You may find the Bible easier to understand if you read some modern English translations. There is nothing especially holy about the translation done for king James in the 17th century.

    As for living and voting in our society, well Jesus didn’t legislate anything, nor did any of the apostles. They just talked to people. Reasoned with people. And displayed the truth and power of Christ. You can’t legislate someone to love God. You can’t pass a low to change hearts and minds. All we can do from a governmental angle is preserve our freedoms so that as Christians we are free to speak and display what we know to be the truth without the police cracking down on us.

    that’s my take on it.


    January 2, 2008 at 8:11 pm

  2. madmax:
    I may not have been clear in my post. I was alluding to how we should live in a pagan culture, not the manners in which we should legislate. I agree that we cannot legislate a change in people–in fact, WE cannot do anything; it is a monergistic change begun and completed by God alone. We have nothing to offer Him.
    As for Bible translations, I am confused by your reference to the KJV. If you click the links I cite in my post, you’ll see that I use the English Standard Version. I agree with you that there is nothing especially holy about the KJV (though others will often insist it is the ONLY translation fit to use).
    My post had more to do with how I should behave–having clearly NOT been called to a position of ‘tearing down the high places’, etc. My tendency is to want to fashion a chord and run the money changers out of the temple at every turn. However, my study of Daniel has shown me that one can be faithful to God without making a public fuss every time something offends my Christian sensibilities.
    My struggle is with the best manner to do that–and with showing godly discernment in such situations. (There is a time for war and a time for peace, etc.)
    Thank you for your insights.


    January 3, 2008 at 8:58 am

  3. That was a really good article on Dr. Paul. Oh how I wish we didn’t just get CBS and The Early Show.


    January 3, 2008 at 2:03 pm

  4. i could even watch the Huckabee vid, as soon as he picked up the phone I knew where it was going, that was enough for me.


    January 5, 2008 at 12:03 am

  5. oops, that should say “couldn’t even”


    January 5, 2008 at 9:32 am

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