Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Matt 4

As I start my review of Chapter 4 to see if Christianity demands absolute tolerance as many seem to think it does, I wanted to explain a little what I mean by absolute tolerance.  I am all for tolerance which compels us to respect all people.  I am also all for tolerance which compels us to be kind to all people.  But in this context, absolute tolerance would mean that we must treat all beliefs and behaviors as perfectly acceptable in the eyes of God.  This seems to me to be what many advocates of various causes claim that Christianity demands.  And it is quite frequent that I see evidence that what many seem to want is an anything goes version of Christianity which I think is in complete opposition to what Christ actually taught.

Chapter 4 is no exception.  In chapter 4 we have Christ beginning His ministry, by fasting for 40 days, and being tempted by the devil.  The key to me in this study is that these temptations were firmly resisted.  It provides evidence that temptation itself is not a sin, but also provides evidence that temptation must be resisted firmly.  This is much different from embracing, and even self-identifying with ones’ temptations.

Verse 17 has a brief statement summarizing Christ’s teachings, where he began to preach, ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’.  Here again, the savior preaches that mankind must change, turn to God, and follow His path rather than to follow their own temptations.

So yet again, we have a gospel of repentance and resistance of temptation as the core of Christ’s early teachings.  Much different from the tolerance for sin many claim Christianity demands.

2 Responses to “Christianity, Unconditional Love, and Absolute Tolerance: Matt 4”

  1. 1 Sean July 16, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Elder Oaks addressed this rather pointedly last year at a BYU Idaho devotional.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson July 16, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks for the link. I am not making stuff up here. Just simply reviewing the first few chapters of the New Testament.

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