Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
In light of the way in which tolerance and intolerance are understood today, and in light of how any perceived notion of intolerance, as understood and defined by the one, is responded to today, it is good to be reminded of what each term means, not just in definition, but also in practice.
In an editorial from a few years ago in Themelios, D. A. Carson clears up the fog: “Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me
Tolerance used to be understood to be the stance which, while disagreeing with another’s views, guarded the right of those views to be heard. The new tolerance insists that disagreeing with another’s views, saying they are wrong, is intrinsically intolerant. But frankly, that notion of intolerance is incoherent. The Labour Party doesn’t agree with the Conservatives; Marxists don’t agree with Capitalists; Muslims don’t agree with Christians. Each pair may acknowledge some commonalities, but on many fronts, they differ. Yet each tolerates the other if each insists that the other has equal right to speak and convince others of their position. Intolerance is introduced, not when one says another party is wrong, but only when the views of others are quelled by force or corruption.
According to this understanding, in today’s culture many of those claiming to be tolerant are some of the most intolerant.
A few questions: