Caution! Dirty Words
Dear Members and Friends at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church,
I’m going to use some dirty words here and I hope you don’t get offended. Are you ready? Here they are: submit, intolerance, objective truth, moral judgement, pro-life, all lives matter. Wow, I hope that wasn’t too much for you. I know, I know you’re thinking, “Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to talk like that, Pastor.”
I can’t help it. Sometimes those words just pop out of my mouth when I least expect them. I would do much better if the Bible didn’t encourage me to use those dirty words. So, don’t blame me! Blame the Bible!
Let’s focus down on just one of those offensive, rotten, no good, dirty words – “intolerance.” Of course, you know by now my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek. Intolerance is an important concept that we need to exercise. Intolerance is a virtue not a vice when we are intolerant of that which should not be tolerated (E.G.: husband beating his wife or vice-versa, drug abuse).
So say it loud and say it proud, “I am intolerant!” Oh by the way, under different circumstances we are also tolerant. It is not one or the other. Growing in maturity in Christ we are able to make distinctions. Sometimes we are intolerant, and we should be. Sometimes we are tolerant, and we should be.
Luther showed a great deal of intolerance and often he was right in doing so. He was intolerant of false gospels. Luther would not give one inch, nay, 1/16th of an inch to anything that would substitute for the saving work of Christ. The Apostle Paul was no different. In Galatians he shows his complete intolerance of perverters of the Gospel, their false preaching, and lying tongues:
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Gal 1:8-9).
Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door he wasn’t merely calling for
public, scholarly debate. He was
being intolerant of wicked church practices and a false gospel. It was utterly necessary to be
intolerant because only the true Gospel can save a sinner from the wrath of God. Peter preached to the Jewish religious powers
“[Jesus] is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12).
Growing in maturity in Christ we are able to make distinctions. Sometimes we are intolerant, and we should be. Sometimes we are tolerant, and we should be. We ought to be intolerant of false gospels within the church. Don’t be afraid of being intolerant in the right situations. You will be in good company like Luther, Paul, Peter, even Jesus Himself.