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    TOLERANCE

    Allan Bloom writes: "Openness - and the relativism that makes it the only plausible stance in the face of various claims to truth and various ways of life and kinds of human beings -- is the great insight of our times. The true believer is the real danger. The study of history and of culture teaches that all the world was mad in the past; men always thought they were right, and that led to wars, persecutions, slavery, xenophobia, racism and chauvinism. The point is not to correct the mistakes and really be right; rather it is not to think you are right at all."

    Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 84.


    As Dorothy Sayers observed, "In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die."

    Charles Colson, Against the Night, p. 93.


    Let us be on our guard against this feeling. it is only too near the surface of all our hearts. Let us study to realize that liberal tolerant spirit which Jesus here recommends and be thankful for good works wheresoever and by whomsoever done. Let us beware of the slightest inclination to stop and check others meekly because they do not choose to adopt our plans or work by our side. We may think our fellow-Christians mistaken in some points. We may fancy that more would be done for Christ if they would join us and if all worked in the same way. We may see many evils arising from religious dissensions and divisions. But all this must not prevent us rejoicing if the works of the devil are destroyed and souls saved. Is our neighbor warring against Satan? Is he really trying to labor for Christ? This is the grand question. Better a thousand times that the work should be done by other hands than not done at all. Happy is he who knows something of the spirit of Moses, when he said, "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets," and of Paul, when he says, "If Christ is preached, I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice" (Num 11:29; Phil 1:18). 

    J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, St Mark, Cambridge: James Clarke, 1973, p. 190-91.


    Gibbon...said that in Roman society all religions were to the people equally true, to the philosophers equally false, and to the government equally useful. It would be difficult to deny that this is true of some of today's "developed" societies...Tolerance with respect to what is not important is easy. 

    Lesslie Newbigin, Foolishness to the Greeks.


    According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man's feet and gave him food and drink. The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, "Don't you worship God?"

    The old traveler replied, "I worship fire only and reverence no other god."

    When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his his tent into the cold night air.

    When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, "I forced him out because he did not worship you."

    God answered, "I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonors me. Could you not endure him one night?"

    Thomas Lindberg.


    Tolerance can be exercised only by those who have well-grounded convictions...Those who have no such convictions, but who espouse polite doubt, agnosticism, skepticism, or downright nihilism, can only be indifferent, not tolerant. The two are by no means the same, and history has demonstrated the intolerance of those who clam that truth either does not exist or is humanly unattainable. 

    Evangelical Newsletter, Oct 30, 1981, v.8, #22, from the "Portland Declaration".