The Sin of Tolerance

The late Billy Graham from a 1959 issue of Christianity Today. 1959!!

One of the pet words of this age is “tolerance.” It is a good word, but we have tried to stretch it over too great an area of life. We have applied it too often where it does not belong. The word “tolerant” means “liberal,” “broad-minded,” “willing to put up with beliefs opposed to one’s convictions,” and “the allowance of something not wholly approved.”

Tolerance, in one sense, implies the compromise of one’s convictions, a yielding of ground upon important issues. Hence, over-tolerance in moral issues has made us soft, flabby and devoid of conviction.

We have become tolerant about divorce; we have become tolerant about the use of alcohol; we have become tolerant about delinquency; we have become tolerant about wickedness in high places; we have become tolerant about immorality; we have become tolerant about crime and we have become tolerant about godlessness. We have become tolerant of unbelief.

Graham explained the sort of intolerance that characterized Jesus: “His was the intolerance of a pilot who maneuvers his plane through the storm, realizing that a single error, just one flash of broad-mindedness, might bring disaster to all those passengers on the plane.”

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  • Lark62

    Thank you for this quote. Graham worked to appear transparent and ecumenical. It is good to be reminded he was just as crappy as modern evangelicals.

  • Joe Jach

    Lark62, appreciate you clarifying the ‘crappy’ part. Thank you

  • Joe Jach

    My apologies: would please CLARIFY ‘crappy.’

  • Donalbain

    We have become tolerant of the worship of false gods. We have become tolerant of women teaching. We have become tolerant of wearing linen and wool mixes!