Now, Religion in the News—a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the medial. This week’s item is from The Calvary Contender, under the headline “Evangelism a Hate Crime?—President Clinton’s press secretary was asked at a December 16, 1999, press briefing about a Southern Baptist campaign to pray for and share the gospel with Hindus, Jews, and Muslims. He said, “I think the president has made it very clear, his views on religious tolerance, and how one of the greatest challenges going into the next century is dealing with intolerance and religious hatred. So I think he’s been very clear in his opposition to whatever organization, including the Southern Baptists, that perpetuates ancient religious hatred.”
Tom: Dave, this issue of intolerance and religious hatred, it’s growing and growing and growing. I remember recently there was a congressman who wrote to the Southern Baptists about their interest in praying for and witnessing to Hindus, and his office in particular had a connection with India and with some Hindu organizations. But what’s that do to us? I mean, what are we going to do? Just fold up and say, “Okay, we’re supposed to witness, but maybe we’re being intolerant.”
Dave: We’ve got a little bit of confusion about the meaning of words, the understanding of things today. Hatred? If I love someone, I want to correct them. So if I really believe that Hindus are lost, which they are—I mean that’s not my words; Jesus has said it. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.”
Now at least give me credit for believing that, and if I sincerely believe that, then I want people to know that Jesus Christ is the only way. And if they have some religion that is trusting in some idol, that is trusting in some altered state of consciousness, is trusting in reincarnation—whatever it is that they’re trusting in that the Bible says is wrong, then as a person who loves them, who is concerned about Hindus or Buddhists or Muslims, or whoever they are, at least give me the right to try to present to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. That doesn’t mean I hate them. That means I love them!
And this idea that you hate, or you’re intolerant, now what that does is, as you said, “What are we going to do? We’re just going to back off. I can’t give them the gospel anymore.”
Tom: We can’t do what Jesus instructed us to do.
Dave: Right. He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
Tom: That we be His witnesses. We can’t be His witnesses if this develops the way it seems to be going.
Dave: Right. So, it’s a confusion of an understanding of what it means to love or to hate or to be tolerant. I’m not intolerant if I allow them—they can have their own ideas; they can say and think and do what they want to, so long as it is within the law—but it ought to be within the law for me to give them an alternative.
It’s like what we have in school concerning evolution. Somehow they’ve got it so that evolution is scientific and you can’t confuse religion with science. But you can bring in the culture of the American Indian. That’s their religion, but that’s okay! But I can’t bring in the biblical declaration that God created the universe and brought…and created man, because that opposes what they want to do.
Tom: So they’re being intolerant.
Dave: They are the intolerant ones! And in the name of tolerance, they are the intolerant. They are tolerant of anything that doesn’t challenge them. So, “We’ll be tolerant of…let’s all get together; you have your religion, I’ve got mine. Do what you want…” and so forth.
But, Tom, it doesn’t work in science. Just imagine, scientists get together—physicists—and they say, “Well, you’ve got your theories, and…you know, any theory will go!”
Or mathematicians get together: “Well, 2 + 2 isn’t 4; it could be 5 sometimes. Or maybe on Thursdays, it could be even 10! Let’s not be intolerant of one another.”
That’s just absolutely ludicrous! Is there such a thing as truth, or isn’t there? Now, we know that that’s the way it is in every area of life. I mean, I try to get aboard a United Airlines jet from Los Angeles to New York and I’m holding a ticket to the Matterhorn at Disneyland down in Anaheim. And I say, “They’re so intolerant! They won’t let me aboard.”
Now, this is stupid; it doesn’t work in any area of life. But when it comes to God and man’s eternal destiny, and does God have any standards or not? And are we going to go by what He says? Well then, “Oh, it doesn’t matter. God doesn’t care.”
I think He does! God is the one who put these physical laws in place, and surely He must be just as concerned and just as precise when it comes to “how are you going to get to heaven?” And, Tom, it’s a matter of justice, and the penalty has to be paid.
So, you know, this whole idea, it’s a smokescreen to prevent us from preaching the gospel!
Tom: Yeah, but on the other hand, Dave, there is a hatred that’s involved. Jesus said, “Do you hate me because I tell you the truth?” So Christians have to be tolerant in this sense: they have to be loving, they have to present and witness with a loving spirit. You’re presenting something. You can’t coerce; you can’t force. But on the other hand, they’d better get for the reaction. The reaction can be that they’re hated for the very thing that they’re doing. And that’s what we’re seeing.
Dave: But they will accuse us of hating them.
Tom:And Dave, sadly, that’s what we’re seeing today, and I think it’s going to continue to grow and grow and grow. But he have to hang—you know, hang in there with what Jesus told us to do.