In a recent edition of Biola Magazine, Kenneth Samples, who is an adjunct professor in Biola University’s Christian Apologetics program, told of being interviewed on a Canadian Christian Television program for broadcast in Canada. Before they went on the air, the interviewer (who is a Christian, broadcasting on a Christian channel) warned him not to speak to the fact that Christianity is the only way to God. When he expressed his surprise at this warning, the host told him that the executives of the station were concerned that in Canada, statements of exclusive truth are considered “intolerant” to other faiths and could result in legal reprisals against the station.
While I am not aware of the laws in Canada regarding this issue, we certainly see a drift toward this kind of religious censorship right here in the U.S. as well. So the question arises, “How ought we to respond when challenged regarding the claim of intolerance?” Professor Samples has some guidance…
1.We ought to point out that absolute truth exists, and that it really matters that it exists.
Tolerance should never go so far as to deny truth. The idea that states that all truth is relative is self-defeating because it is a claim of ultimate truth in and of itself.
2.We ought to point out that contradictory religious claims cannot be simultaneously true.
It is simple logic to see that if ideas are in conflict they cannot be equally true. Christianity claims that Jesus is God incarnate. That claim is denied in both Islam and Judaism. Reason and logic demand that all of these points of view cannot be true.
3.We ought to follow the example of the biblical writers and preach the truth while we speak against what is false.
The Apostle Paul made a strong case for the truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a polytheistic context, ( 1 Cor. 15:3-8) and the Apostle John was vocal against Docetism, a heresy that claimed that Jesus did not really take on flesh ( 1 John 4: 1-3). Likewise, we must preach and teach what we know to be true while pointing out error.
4.We ought to admit that while Christianity is true, Christians are not perfect.
There have been examples of persecution and bigotry within cultures that were influenced by Christianity that are true. We do not and should not claim perfection. There is also the blessing that Christianity has brought to Western Civilization and this also should be a noticeable part of the historical discussion.
5.We ought to use both words and lifestyle to proclaim the Gospel.
We must tell the Good News of Jesus in words, but it also must be seen as good news in the way that we live. The world needs to see the example of lives that are shaped by the Word of God and love for Jesus. That means caring for others the way that Jesus did, while we teach and preach the Gospel.
Bottom line-the Christian faith is no more politically correct today than it was in the ancient Roman Empire 2,000 years ago, but in that age “they turned the world upside down” with teaching of Jesus. May we do the same.