By Hank Hanegraaff

Today tolerance is being redefined to mean that all views are equally valid and all lifestyles equally appropriate. As such, the notion that Jesus is the only way to God is vilified as the epitome of intolerance. Rather than capitulating to culture, Christians must be equipped to expose the flaws of today’s tolerance, while simultaneously exemplifying true tolerance.

First, to say that all views are equally valid sounds tolerant, but in reality it is a contradiction in terms. If indeed all views are equally valid, then the Christian view must be valid. The Christian view, however, holds that not all views are equally valid. Thus, the redefinition of tolerance in our culture is a self-refuting proposition. Moreover, we do not tolerate people with whom we agree; we tolerate people with whom we dis- agree. If all views were equally valid, there would be no need for tolerance.

Furthermore, today’s redefinition of tolerance leaves no room for objective moral judgments. A modern terrorist could be deemed as virtuous as Mother Teresa. With no enduring reference point, societal norms are being reduced to mere matters of preference. As such, the moral basis for resolving international disputes and condemning such practices as genocide, oppression of women, and child prostitution—that we know intuitively are evil—is being seriously compromised.

Finally, in light of its philosophically fatal features, Christians must reject today’s tolerance and revive true tolerance. True tolerance demands that, despite our differences, we treat every person we meet with the dignity and respect due them as one created in the image of God. True tolerance does not preclude proclaiming the truth, but it does mandate that we do so with gentleness and respect (cf. 1 Peter 3:15–16). In a world that is increasingly intolerant of Christianity, Christians must exemplify tolerance without sacrificing truth. Indeed, tolerance when it comes to personal relationships is a virtue, but tolerance when it comes to truth is a travesty.

Have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

Jude vv. 22–23 NASB

For further study, see Paul Copan, “True for You, But Not for Me”: Deflating the Slogans That Leave Christians Speechless (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1998).

**Note the preceding text is adapted from a new Revised and Updated version of The Complete Bible Answer Book that is forthcoming. When available we will update this page with corresponding information. Until then you can still purchase or receive for your partnering gift the current version by clicking here for purchase or here for partnering gift. ***