Saturday, June 27, 2009

Three Dirty Words

By Todd Friel

If you dare to proclaim that Jesus is the only name under Heaven whereby man must be saved, then brace yourself to be called some foul names. Here's how it works. You say, "Jesus is the only way to the Father." They say, "That is sooooo exclusive." You say, "God will condemn anyone who is not forgiven through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ." They say, "That is sooooo intolerant." You say, "If a person does not act like a Christian, then they aren't a Christian." They say, "That is sooooo judgmental." But hold the phone. Loaded in the claim that we are exclusive, intolerant and judgmental, is the premise that these things are intrinsically bad. Would it offend you if someone said, "You are such a baker"? Now you may or may not be a baker, but that is not the point. The question is whether or not it is bad to be a baker.


The Gospel is exclusive. Christians who say it is not, are not Christians. However, there is more to it than that. Society excludes people all the time. If a student does not get straight A's, he gets excluded from the Dean's list. You cannot walk into a restaurant and eat without paying. Why? The restaurant excludes non-payers. I can't show up at 3M and sit at a desk and use their computer. I don't work there. But when they throw me out on my ear I don't scream, "You are sooooo exclusive."


With unprecedented disdain, the pagan or liberal Christian (frequently the same thing) will drip, "You fundamentalists are sooooo judgmental." This should be no surprise coming from a post-modern generation that does not believe in objective truth. In their mind nobody is ever wrong about anything. The marvel of the postmodern is that your belief can be the complete opposite of theirs and they will not call you...I pause to type this word with fear and trembling...the "W" word. Wrong is simply not a word in the post-modern vocabulary. When you have the audacity to say someone is not correct, be prepared to be called judgmental. Once again we must ask, "Is being judgmental a bad thing?" Don't we judge all day? You judge which grocery store line to stand in. Is that wrong? Anything that shows a preference is a judgment. The next time you are called "judgmental," simply ask your post-modern friend which automobile is superior: Mercedes Benz or KIA? When they say Mercedes, then load up and fire away, "That is sooooo judgmental." Does that sound silly? It sure does.


This might be the mother of all accusations. These days, to be called intolerant is almost as bad as being called born again. We simply have to help our slanderous friend read a dictionary. At the core of tolerance is disagreement. In order for me to tolerate or not tolerate you, we must have a difference of opinion. Otherwise, we merely agree. Like-mindedness is not the question; it is how I choose to respond to you. If I disagree with you but live in harmony with you, then I am tolerant. If I punch you in the nose, then I am intolerant. By disagreeing with you without hurting you, I am practicing the virtue of tolerance, not intolerance.

How to Respond?

When someone calls you one of these filthy names, they are employing one of the emptiest debate tactics of all time: ad hominem. They don't have support for their accusation, so they call you a name instead. In this case though, the name they call you isn't bad. They simply say it like it is. Furthermore, when they call you any of "The Three Insufferables," they are doing the very thing they accuse you of. Nevertheless, even if we accept their contorted definitions of exclusivity, intolerance and arrogance, their point is ultimately irrelevant. Even if we are all of those supposedly horrible things, that does not change the validity of our claims. If you say that Jesus is the only means of salvation and they protest that you are being exclusionary, simply respond, "That may or may not be true, but why do you disagree with me?"

When you profess that only those who bear fruit in keeping with repentance are true followers of Jesus, they will insist you are intolerant. Say, "Even if I am intolerant, can you prove that I am wrong?"

The next time you claim that all roads don't lead to God and they spew that you are judgmental, calmly respond, "Yeah, so?"

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