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Not Your Mother's Kind of Tolerance


Views that advocate same-sex marriage are free to exist, but they are wrong.

Now, stop. Read the above sentence again. Are you okay with it?

Chances are how you feel about that statement indicates your understanding (or misunderstanding) of tolerance. D. A. Carson, in his book, The Intolerance of Tolerance, explains that Western culture isn't exactly firing on all cylinders when it comes to knowing what tolerance is. He distinguishes two different concepts of this word: old tolerance and new tolerance.

Old tolerance — that is, before the onslaught of postmodernism — defines the concept as to "accept the existence of different views." New tolerance, however, defines tolerance as to "accept different views." More than just accepting a view's existence, new tolerance adds that you'd better not say it's wrong either. New tolerance demands that we consider every opinion to be equally valid. The only wrong is to say that everything's not right. Just wait, it gets more complicated.

This new tolerance can only occur when folks deny objective truth, which of course, it all talk and no muscle. So it's no surprise that the whole concept of "new tolerance" is contradictory.

First, it refuses to tolerate anything that doesn't agree to its understanding of tolerance. You see, "new tolerance" has a right and wrong, too, it's just that what's wrong is to say there's such a thing as right and wrong. Capisce?

Second, "new tolerance" considers views directly opposed to one another to be equally valid. But, really? Jesus either rose from the dead or he didn't. To be sure, he didn't do both, which means: somebody gets this wrong. Not like "sorta, kinda, maybe" wrong. But dead wrong.

Be all this as it may, "new tolerance" has become a god in our society, the Most High of moral virtues, such that "the supreme sin is intolerance" (Carson, 12). Said another way, Western culture's anti-god is to speak from absolutes, to be so dog-on dogmatic, to say "this is right, that is wrong." So you see, Dan Cathy's support for traditional marriage isn't really what makes folks mad, it's that he has publicly refused to bow down to their god. Rome called them Christians, America calls them bigots. And for sure, this ain't your mother's kind of tolerance.


Recent posts from Jonathan Parnell:


Behind the Blog: Olympic Edition

In today's episode of Behind the Blog we talk olympics, spanking, and the Book of Psalms, including some upcoming posts and events in Minneapolis.

You can also listen here.

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How to Attend a Conference

Speaking of our upcoming National Conference, John Piper explains,

What we're really after is to know God better, and love him more, and serve him more fully, not just to get away and hear some more talk.

To this end, he offers four ways to maximize the effectiveness of a conference in your life:

Four ways to maximize the effectiveness of a conference:

  1. Read the Bible and other books related to the conference theme, then form questions.
  2. Ask God to help you see new things and feel new affections.
  3. Fellowship with other conference attenders.
  4. Nurture a message's impact by having a time of quiet solitude.

Recent posts related to our National Conference:


In a World-Induced Haze? Breathe Some Pure Kingdom Oxygen


If you mainly breathe the world’s air—the atmosphere controlled by the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2)—it’s like breathing pot smoke. It alters your mind and mood. It produces everything from a false sense of well being to paranoia, or even hallucinations. It’s seductive, addicting, and distorting.

You know you’re breathing too much of it when God and his priorities feel trivial or uninteresting or unreal to you.

So here’s a drug test. First, read the following paragraph:

Everything in redemptive history has been God acting for his glory, therefore everything in your life is to join him in that purpose. The reason you’re on the planet is to join God in making much of God. Every human being that you’ll ever meet, anywhere in the world, in any culture, according to Romans 5, is disobedient and rebellious and needs to be justified by faith alone. They’ve all stopped glorifying God for who he really is and we go to call them back to glorify God. 1

Now, how does it hit you? Does it excite you or does it feel hum-drum? How do you think it would it hit your family or church or Sunday School or small group or Bible study members?

When we are intoxicated and not thinking or feeling straight, we need to breathe the pure oxygen of God’s kingdom. We need our heads cleared. We need to stick our faces in the Bible and in God-saturated books and sermons and inhale deeply.

A Holy Ambition is a tank of kingdom air. It’s a collection of 12 invigorating messages by John Piper steeped in God-drenched Scripture. Reading it reminds me what’s really real and helps wake me up out of a world-induced haze. It re-stokes my passion for God’s glory and his global purposes.

So we want to help you get some of these kingdom air tanks and hand them out. You can get:

  • 68 copies of A Holy Ambition,
  • For $99 ($1.45 ea.), and
  • We’ll ship it to you FREE in the continental United States.
  • Just call us at 1.888.346.4700.

Join us in helping others escape the noxious, hallucinogenic air of a godless planet and breathe the oxygen of God’s kingdom.


20 Quotes From The Hole In Our Holiness


What follows is a collection of 20 quotes that caught my attention as I read Kevin DeYoung's forthcoming book The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap Between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness (Crossway; August 31, 2012):

“Not only is holiness the goal of your redemption, it is necessary for your redemption. Now before you sound the legalist alarm, tie me up by my own moral bootstraps, and feed my carcass to the Galatians, we should see what Scripture has to say. . . . It’s the consistent and frequent teaching of the Bible that those whose lives are marked by habitual ungodliness will not go to heaven. To find acquittal from God on the last day there must be evidence flowing out of us that grace has flowed into us.” (26)

“On the last day, God will not acquit us because our good works were good enough, but he will look for evidence that our good confession was not phony. It’s in this sense that we must be holy.” (29)

“It’s all too easy to turn the fight of faith into sanctification-by-checklist. Take care of a few bad habits, develop a couple good ones, and you’re set. But a moral checklist doesn’t take into consideration the idols of the hearts. It may not even have the gospel as part of the equation. And inevitably, checklist spirituality is highly selective. So you end up feeling successful at sanctification because you stayed away from drugs, lost weight, served at the soup kitchen, and renounced Styrofoam. But you’ve ignored gentleness, humility, joy, and sexual purity.” (34)

“The world provides no cheerleaders on the pathway to godliness.” (38)

“How awful it would be to inhabit this world, have some idea that there is a God, and yet not know what he desires from us. Divine statutes are a gift to us. God gives us law because he loves.” (50)

“Expecting perfection from ourselves or others is not what holiness is about.” (66)

“We can think it’s a mark of spiritual sensitivity to consider everything we do as morally suspect. But this is not the way the Bible thinks about righteousness. . . . For those who have been made right with God by grace alone through faith alone and therefore have been adopted into God’s family, many of our righteous deeds are not only not filthy in God’s eyes, they are exceedingly sweet, precious, and pleasing to him.” (69–70)

“One of the main motivations for obedience is the pleasure of God. If we, in a well-intentioned effort to celebrate the unimpeachable nature of our justification, make it sound as though God no longer concerns himself with our sins, we’ll put a choke on our full-throttle drive to holiness. God is our heavenly Father. He has adopted us by his grace. He will always love his true children. But if we are his true children we will also love to please him. It will be our delight to delight in him and know that he is delighting in us.” (74)

“Of all the crazy things Paul said, 1 Corinthians 4:4 may be the most jolting. Here’s the apostle Paul — Mr. Wretched Man That I Am, Mr. There Is No One Good, No Not One — and he tells the Corinthians, ‘I am not aware of anything against myself.’ Seriously?! You can’t think of anything, Paul? Not a single idol buried somewhere under ten layers of your subconscious? Now let’s not miss the next line: “but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” So Paul isn’t claiming to be okay just because he feels okay. But he is saying he has a clear conscience. He obeys God and sticks close to his Word. This doesn’t mean he’s perfect. No doubt, he’s bringing his sins daily before the Lord to be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8–9; Matthew 6:12). But he’s not walking around feeling like a spiritual loser. He’s not burdened with constant low-level guilt because he’s not doing enough or because he detected a modicum of pride over lunch.” (75–76)

“Sanctification is not by surrender, but by divinely enabled toil and effort.” (90)

“Some Christians are stalled out in their sanctification for simple lack of effort. They need to know about the Spirit’s power. They need to be rooted in gospel grace. They need to believe in the promises of God. And they need to fight, strive, and make every effort to work out all that God is working in them. Let us say with Paul, ‘I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me’ (1 Corinthians 15:10). Without this biblical emphasis, we’ll be confused, wondering why sanctification isn’t automatically flowing from a heartfelt commitment to gospel-drenched justification. We’ll be waiting around for enough faith to really ‘get the gospel’ when God wants us to get up and get to work (Philippians 2:12–13). Because when it comes to growth in godliness, trusting does not put an end to trying.” (90–91)

“The Bible is realistic about holiness. Don’t think that all this glorious talk about dying to sin and living to God [Romans 6] means there is no struggle anymore or that sin will never show up in the believer’s life. The Christian life still entails obedience. It still involves a fight. But it’s a fight we will win. You have the Spirit of Christ in your corner, rubbing your shoulders, holding the bucket, putting his arm around you and saying before the next round with sin, ‘You’re going to knock him out, kid.’ Sin may get in some good jabs. It may clean your clock once in a while. It may bring you to your knees. But if you are in Christ it will never knock you out. You are no longer a slave, but free. Sin has no dominion over you. It can’t. It won’t. A new King sits on the throne. You serve a different Master. You salute a different Lord.” (105)

“I’ve written this book to make you hopeful about holiness, not make you hang your head.” (107)

“Union with Christ means God’s power for us working in and through us.” (112)

“To run hard after holiness is another way of running hard after God.” (123)

“Which brings us to one of the most important axioms about holiness: when it comes to sanctification, it’s more important where you’re going than where you are.” (138)

“You shouldn’t take your spiritual temperature every day. You need to look for progress over months and years, not by minutes and hours.” (138)

“Sincere biblical repentance is as much a work of grace as not sinning in the first place. To err is human, to make progress is divine.” (144)

“A dying world needs you to be with God more than it needs you to be ‘with it.’ That’s true for me as a pastor and true for you as a mother, father, brother, sister, child, grandparent, friend, Bible study leader, computer programmer, bank teller, barista, or CEO. Your friends and family, your colleagues and kids — they don’t need you to do miracles or transform civilization. They need you to be holy.” (144–145)

“Holiness is the sum of a million little things — the avoidance of little evils and little foibles, the setting aside of little bits of worldliness and little acts of compromise, the putting to death of little inconsistencies and little indiscretions, the attention to little duties and little dealings, the hard work of little self-denials and little self-restraints, the cultivation of little benevolences and little forbearances.” (145)

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