Attention Word Slingers readers: Beginning December 11, 2019, all posts will be available at Thank you for reading Word Slingers!

In a world where social change hinges around the word “tolerance,” it’s easy to get swept away by a cultural misunderstanding of the word.  Although tolerance and respect are things to be admired, a cultural misinterpretation of the word may lead Christians astray from the gospel. To quote Mary Jo Sharp from Why Do You Believe That?, there are two definitions of tolerance:

Actual definition: The ability or willingness to permit something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.

Cultural definition: Accepting all ideas and opinions as equally true.

Although it seems unbelievably cruel to say that only Christianity leads to Heaven, especially in our all-inclusive society, it’s a Biblical truth. Jesus even said it himself:

“I am the way, the truth, and life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6

I’ve seen Christians preach a very different gospel, however, choosing instead to believe that there are multiple ways to Heaven to accommodate religious differences. According to 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is God-breathed” and therefore to be taken as truth. We cannot cut and paste what we please from the Bible to shelter non-Christians from scriptural truth, no matter how difficult it may be to process. If we as Christians truly believe in a singular path to Heaven, then is it not cruel to accept the false doctrines of others simply for the sake of avoiding controversy? Risking their eternity to dodge an uncomfortable debate?

“Love thy neighbor as thyself. There is no greater commandment than these.”

Mark 12: 31

Notice that we are called to love others, not to agree with them. When we confuse the meaning of tolerance and agreement, we risk throwing Biblical principles into question and turning people away from Christ. Instead, we should be ready to defend our faith when the situation calls for it and humble enough to respect the opinion of others when it does not.

If you witnessed a driver going the wrong direction down a one-way street, you wouldn’t simply stand by with a smile on your face until they crashed, right? You wouldn’t stand by to support and agree with their decision, knowing the inevitable danger of the situation at hand. No, you would do everything in your power to see them turn around and head the right direction.

Why should tolerance and salvation be any different?