Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Fosdick on Tolerance

Fosdick concluded his famous sermon entitled “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” with this.

The present world situation smells to heaven! And now, in the presence of colossal problems, which must be solved in Christ’s name and for Christ’s sake, the Fundamentalists propose to drive out from the Christian churches all the consecrated souls who do not agree with their theory of inspiration. What immeasurable folly!

Well, they are not going to do it; certainly not in this vicinity. I do not even know in this congregation whether anybody has been tempted to be a Fundamentalist. Never in this church have I caught one accent of intolerance. God keep us always so and ever increasing areas of the Christian fellowship; intellectually hospitable, open-minded, liberty-loving, fair, tolerant, not with the tolerance of indifference, as though we did not care about the faith, but because always our major emphasis is upon the weightier matters of the law.

It strikes me that Fosdick did not see the intolerance of his own position. He was certainly not tolerant of those who believed that truth was to be defended vigorously, even by separation.

Much of the call for tolerance in today’s world (and yesterday’s) spring from intolerance.

Intolerance isn’t a problem. The wrong kind of intolerance is a problem. And the wrong kind of tolerance is worse than the right kind of intolerance.

You see, no one has a problem with intolerance. It’s only when one person’s intolerance strikes at another person’s tolerance.

So let’s see through the cries against intolerance, and let’s foster a worldview that is intolerant of wrong things, and tolerant of right things.

Let’s quit pretending like everything’s okay. It’s not. Some things are wrong. And that is why people complain about intolerance. They recognize that some things are wrong. The question is, Have they rightly identified the things that are wrong? And are they working to stamp out wrong things?

No comments: