frgavin on February 14th, 2012

Bill Muehlenberg

A clear description of the culture we now live in would go something like this: a hatred of absolutes, a dismissal of universals, an abhorrence of truth, and a disdain of certainty. Instead, we find an all-encompassing embrace of relativism, subjectivism, and scepticism. Modern culture has eschewed black and white in favour of 99 shades of grey.

This explains why there is so much hostility and animus directed to those who have not bought into this postmodern delusion, and believe truth and absolutes do in fact exist, and can be boldly proclaimed and championed. A relativistic culture just can’t stand that sort of boldness, certainty, and confidence.

So even though so many will champion relativism in all its forms, they nonetheless act as if their own relativism is an absolute. They are absolutely sure there are no absolutes, and will argue their case till they are blue in the face. They brashly insist that they are right about insisting that we can never be right about anything.

Peter Kreeft has written about this mixed-up mindset: ‎“The simplest refutation of the tolerance argument is its very premise. It assumes that tolerance is really, objectively, universally, absolutely good. If the relativist replied that he is not presupposing the objective value of tolerance, then all he is doing is demanding the imposition of his subjective personal preference for tolerance. That is surely more intolerant than the appeal to an objective, universal, impersonal, moral law. If no moral values are absolute, neither is tolerance. The absolutist can take tolerance far more seriously than the relativist. It is absolutism, not relativism, that fosters tolerance.”

Indeed, as I keep on documenting here, the people I find to be the most intolerant are the ones who go on and on about how vital it is that we all be tolerant. They despise any idea that there might be universal rights and wrongs, and absolute truth. They hate our strong stance on any issue.

I often get critics saying I need to lighten up and stop seeing everything in terms of black and white. They make it clear they are just so upset with me for spurning their world of greys. They insist I must make room for “nuance”.  They want me to be just like them, and float around in a fetid pool of mental and moral relativism.

And I am not just speaking of the usual candidates here: the secular humanists and their fellow travellers. I am referring to all the limp-wristed Christians who long ago have abandoned truth, certainty and absolutes for the latest trendy PoMo pap.

They inform me that if I would just be more nuanced and tolerant I would not be getting all the flak that I do. They want me to just be nice and not offend anyone. They want me to never rock the boat. But I have news for these religious wimps: it ain’t gonna happen. If they don’t like what I am doing, they can just go elsewhere and throw their little hissy fits.

And they had better stop pretending they are in any way biblical Christians. They seem to be clueless as to the fact that the Bible is chock block full of strong absolutes, withering universals, and stark black and whites. It knows nothing of this namby-pamby, ‘I don’t want to offend anybody’ baloney.

Try a few of these out for size, all from someone who should know something about truth and its importance – Jesus:

“He who is not with me is against me.” Luke 11:23

“You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt 6:24

“You belong to your father, the devil.” John 8:44

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matt 10:34

“You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Mark 7:8

“For judgment I have come into this world so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” John 9:39

“You will indeed die in your sins.” John 8:24

“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matt 22:14

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Matt 23:33

“You hypocrites.” Luke 13:15

“He rebuked Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!’” Mark 8:33

Gee, those statements sure do not sound very nuanced. They seem all very black and white to me. No middle ground there. No nuance. No 99 shades of grey. No beating around the bush. No wimpy platitudes and jellyfish sentiments there. Just very strong, powerful and forceful absolutes. But our weak-kneed moral and epistemological relativists just can’t handle this. It is all too much for them.

Well, tough beans – how’s that for another black and whiter, without “nuance”. I really don’t give a rip what the wimps for Jesus care about. They will more than likely sell out Jesus and the gospel when any opposition or persecution comes up. Indeed, such wimps will probably never face any opposition or persecution – not as long as they bend over backwards to please men and seek to be liked by everyone.

No wonder that they get so angry at people who do take a stand, who do insist on truth, who do believe in absolutes. That just drives these guys into a tizzy. They have so bought into the tolerance baloney that they in fact become the most intolerant folks around.

We don’t need “nuance” when it comes to crystal clear issues like the sanctity of the unborn or the institution of marriage. Here we stand on the rock and shout, “I cannot be moved. I can do no other.” We stand on the solid ground of the Word of God, not the shifting sands of the relativists, postmodernists and secular lefties.

I am not ashamed of truth, and I am not ashamed of proclaiming black and white in an age of 99 shades of grey. John Piper had it right when he said, “It’s unpopular to take a strong stand on anything (these days) except tolerance.” As always, Tozer nailed it when he wrote, “The most fervent devotees of tolerance are invariably intolerant of everyone who speaks about God with certainty.”

At the end of the day these wimps channelling the tolerance mantra are really just cowards. Dorothy Sayers described all this perfectly: “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.”

BTW, for anyone thinking there is nothing all that wrong with being a bit wimpy or cowardly, let me refer you to just one passage – Rev. 21:8. Who is it that leads the list of those cast out and judged? Yep, the cowardly. In a time of war there is no place for cowards, wimps, and men-pleasers. We need soldiers who will go to battle and risk all for Christ and his Kingdom.

And it will be costly. As Leonard Ravenhill said, “It’s going to demand a lot of courage before too long – to really live and maintain the true Christian life according to the Word of the Living God.” Or as Tozer remarks, “Yes, if evangelical Christianity is to stay alive she must have men again, the right kind of men. She must repudiate the weaklings who dare not speak out, and she must seek in prayer and much humility the coming again of men of the stuff prophets and martyrs are made of.”

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