How tolerant was Jesus?
Does the Church need a Reformation?
Tolerance has found a home there, because of the compromised position with regards to Holy Scripture.
The current battleground is over sexuality. It’s an interesting one particularly as it involves both fronts that Biblical Christianity is fighting against; secular humanism and neo-paganism. The former gives us the climate of tolerance, as exemplified by one of the great fathers of rationality, Voltaire:
“Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.”
“What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.”
But the latter comes in through the back door, as a study of general religious history will show that sexuality, particularly feminism, has a clear spiritual source and that neo-paganism is the current expression of it.
We are compelled by society to be tolerant to all and that includes matters of sexuality, matters that a generation ago were frowned upon and swept under the carpet at best. Yet the issues based around the LGBT community have moved to the forefront of society, even the Church as the above headlines demonstrate. It’s very much a current agenda and these days one must tread carefully unless one is seen to be “intolerant”.
This is not the place to debate homosexuality and its variations from a Biblical perspective. In terms of God’s view of our World there are many issues that He has with us, it is grossly unfair to dwell on this single matter. Instead we must hold onto the Biblical imperative of being in the World and not of the World (John 17:16) and our primary issue is to get our house in order, something that the second set of headlines above indicates is very much a problem.
As Christians we must always remember that we belong not to this World, but the Kingdom of God. Our clear mandate is to rescue those from the World, not to rescue the World itself. We get into trouble commenting on lifestyles where they are contrary to the best God has for us, but what we should be really concerned with is if the Church itself is becoming polluted through its engagement with the World. It’s nothing new. Many problems in the mainstream Church can be placed firmly at the feet of those Gentile Church Fathers from the 2nd Century and onwards, such as Justin Martyr, who made compromises over the received Biblical faith by allowing Platonism to enter the mix. (More of this in my book, How the Church lost the Way).
It’s the Church that needs a reformation, not society. The Church, as we always need to remind ourselves, is at its heart the Ekklesia, a group of called-out individuals, not an institution or organisation. Our connections are invisible and are to each other spiritually, as the Body of Christ, not a hierarchical organisational structure. If the inherited Established Church, (whether the C of E, or the Methodists, or the Baptists or Pentecostals or even the Hillsongs or the Kingdom Faiths or New Wines) is failing in its primary objective regarding the Great Commission, then it’s up to us as individuals to grasp the baton and “be Church” with other Christians of like mind that the Holy Spirit has caused to cross our path. In this way, Foundations is the Church that I belong to, no building, no structure, just a group of people who meet up a few times a year and support each other in prayer and in other ways. There, of course, would be other similar groups dotted up and down the country.
Persecution is going to come. One possible scenario is a clampdown on all religions, particularly “fundamentalists” as a way of dealing with Islamic terrorism in a politically correct way. So punitive laws may restrict the activities of some Muslims, but they will also apply to Biblical Christians, as if open-air prayer meetings are as detrimental to society as Islamic rallies proclaiming hatred for the infidels! But there’s our tolerant society for you, fairness for all.
It may well be that the true Church will be forced underground, as in China and (probably) Russia. Christian history will have run full circle. Arguably the purest expressions of Western Christianity was when it was a persecuted minority, meeting in secret, physically weak yet spiritually powerful. Perhaps that needs to come for Christians in the UK to finally wake up and take their faith seriously and not just as a Sunday morning hobby?
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp