Let There Be Intolerance

(c) Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw, Th.D.

(From the blog of a friend)

Dear Ken,

The Church has stood uncompromisingly on the bodily resurrection of our Lord and on the literal, bodily, return of the King of kings. Some truths are non-negotiable, especially those in the three Creeds (Apostles’, Nicene, Athanasian). I don’t mean to be unkind toward the writer who had the question for you, but before I retired from the ministry I had a young man, married with one child, who wanted to join the REC parish where I was the pastor. As usual, after several visits I took them to lunch. Unknown to me, he had been reading preterist writings, and wanted to know if he could join with his family. I asked him what version of preterism did he hold, did he think the Second Coming took place in AD 70, that there was no future Second Coming? He said, Yes, that was his position, to which I respectively said, “I’m objectively closed minded to no Second Coming view because the Church has spoken in its three Creeds that there is yet a future Second Coming.” He was shocked. He said something like, “I thought this was a Reformation church, that you believed in sola scriptura.” I said, “Indeed, I do, which is why I’m not open to your view.” He looked puzzled. I said, “sola scriptura does not mean just the Bible and me, but the Bible as understood by the Creeds. In other words, the Bible is the only infallible standard of truth but not the only standard of truth.” I encouraged him to restudy the issue, which he did, repented, joined our church, and was a faithful member with his family. I also told him I would be glad to meet with him as he rethought the issue, saying that I could demonstrate the Church’s position from Holy Scripture, though I was not open to consider that the Church was wrong for 2,000 years. We MUST be intolerant on some truths.

There are some truths that are negotiable, such as one’s millennial view, though I’m postmill, like you, and I’m a committed Anglican, but Anglicanism did not die on the cross for my sins, Jesus did. At a Bible study once, we were going verse by verse through the Gospel of John (took three 1/2 years with notes, outlines, etc). In John 6 where predestination is strong, someone said, “This is very controversial, should we really be going through it?”  My response, “I should not be afraid to discuss any of God’s truths publicly, but more to your point, we must have controversy, especially today, for without polarization we don’t know where the boundaries of truth are. Otherwise, everything is fuzzy.”

We MUST stand for God’s written Word, especially at the points of controversy, so we can educate and challenge other Christians and our culture with the Gospel. If we don’t challenge our culture precisely at the points of controversy, how will our culture know what the Church—and the Gospel—stands for. Yet, we must do so with kindness, love, and tolerance in the good sense of that word, not by compromise, et. al.

Anyway, keep up the good work, brother, our culture really needs it. Ω AMEN.

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