Tolerance, Externalism and Holiness (book review)

Title: Tolerance, Externalism And Holiness
Author: Blair Adams with Howard Wheeler
Publisher: Colloquium Press
Date: 2009
Pages: 284

Tolerance, Externalism And Holiness (book review)

One of the common terms that is often heard in America is ‘tolerance’. People are told to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs, feelings and thoughts. This is often thrown at believers and is called a crime if one is not ‘tolerant’ of other’s beliefs and actions.

Blair takes a look at what tolerance means in both the world view and in the view of scripture. Using examples from history, both ancient and more modern, Scriptural and non-Scriptural, he points out how the world is demanding tolerance to the point of not having any standards. He uses sources that are both Christian based and secular based. It is shown how the church has chosen to become more like the world and be more tolerant of sin, than what Christ is.

Many will claim (both in the church and outside the church) that believers are being legalistic if they hold to any concrete standard and are not ‘tolerant’ of sinful practices. He takes a look at how scriptures set forth many standards to be holy and what that means to a believer.

One thing he is very quick to point out is that living by a holy standard is not legalistic if done out of love for God, His commands and love for others.

Throughout this book Blair looks at arguments that are often brought against setting rock solid foundations. The two primary areas he looks at are how one dresses and how one keeps his/her hair. There is also a look at sexual practices and beliefs and how those beliefs play into dress and hair.

Although this book is very hard hitting and writes at a higher level for most people, I highly recommend reading it. It will challenge your thinking and beliefs. It will cause you the question what you are seeing in the world today and how the church is currently responding.

2 Corinthians 13:8 Stand For The Truth

For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 2 Corinthians 13:8

Truth, for many throughout the world, is something that is considered relative. It depends upon the person, his beliefs, and the circumstances as to what is truth.

With this type of thinking, many are able to do things that are against the truth. There is a common refusal to believe that there is absolute truth and that one may know the absolute truth. As a result, those who believe in an absolute truth are ridiculed and put down.

Paul stated that he cannot do anything against the truth.

Standing for the truth is something that can be very difficult and costly at times. When the majority of those around a person is against the truth, it can hurt to go against the flow and stand for the truth.

One thing that makes a believer unique is that he is following Jesus, who claimed that He IS truth. Everything that Jesus and God has stated in the bible is full and complete truth. The bible has the answer of truth for every situation a person may face in this life.

The world is trying to pitch lies that there is no God, that one can have ‘fun’ and enjoy life without the restrictions God places upon man. Any believer who chooses to believe and follow the ways of the world is choosing the do something against the Truth–Jesus.

Each and every sin that a person may choose to do, is doing something against the truth. It is not living as God had intended one to live.

Although a believer may slip up and sin once in a while, it will not be his intended purpose to do so. He will strive to live as Jesus did and not do anything against Him. He will stand for The Truth.

Going through your life you have choices to make. God has revealed His truth to you in various ways. Now it is your choice as to whether you will live in that truth or live against it.

Knowing God’s word to you, ask yourself if what you are thinking, saying or doing is going against His truth or not.

Make it a conscious choice to not do anything against Jesus. Live your entire life in honor of Jesus because of what He did for you on the cross.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Lord and Savior; that you will know God’s truth in your life; that you will apply God’s truth to your life; and that you will never do anything against God’s truth.

1 Corinthians 8:9 Be Careful With Your Rights

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 1 Corinthians 8:9

Freedom to do what one wants, when he wants and how he wants is something that most people like or desire. Even in the most free nations of the world, there are still some regulations that control how much freedom a person really has.

It is commonly accepted that one is free, unless what he does causes harm to another person. Courts are often used to determine if that ‘harm’ was actually harmful or not.

After talking about eating meat that had been sacrificed to false idols, Paul tells the people to be careful on exercising their rights. He warns them to not allow their rights to become a stumbling block for others.

Although eating of meat sacrificed to idols is not a common problem in most of the world, there are other things that people do that can be of the same category.

One example may be with dancing. Some believers are strong against dancing for various reasons, other believers believe in dancing. Love and care should be taken by those who believe in dancing to not dance around those who are against it. To do so would be to cause the other person to stumble in his belief with God.

It may be better for a person to give up his rights, rather than cause confusion or stumbling. Some have walked away from God, because of all confusion of the different beliefs of what is right or wrong being shown to them.

Each and every believer must be willing to work out what he believes and why he believes it. Every belief must be held up in light of scripture. This will be a growth and learning process for each believer.

In your life there may be things that you believe are acceptable, that others do not agree with. Instead of demanding your way of belief upon others, let go of those things to build others up.

The base core of what one believes must be that one must believe in Jesus, repent of sins and follow God with all of his heart. Everything else may or may not be subjective and debatable.

Allow others to grow and learn, just as you are growing and learning in what it means to follow God with all of your life.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know how God wants you to live your life; that God will use you to build others up in His ways; that God will guide you in not being a stumbling block for others; and that your life will be an example of Jesus to others.

Acts 4:12 Only One Name That Works

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Driving down the road to a destination can often offer different ways to get to the desired location. Map programs will often change the route due to road construction, an accident or very congested traffic. The process of getting to the destination can be short or very long, depending upon which route the person takes.

It is commonly believed that destination to heaven is done in the same way, that there are multiple ways to get there.

After being arrested for preaching about Jesus, Peter was taken into prison. When confronted about it, he tells the leaders that there is only one name by which all mankind must be saved.

One of the common destinations of people around the world is what occurs after death. People are looking for heaven or eternal life.

All throughout the history of mankind, there have arisen many different beliefs as to how a person may get into heaven. Most rely upon what one does or does not do, being self-earned. Some rely upon pure chance and luck of the gods.

Regardless of how many different ‘ways’ there are in this world, there is in truth, only one way to get into heaven. That one way is by Jesus.

Jesus taught that He was the only way to the Father–to heaven. Either He was a fool, a liar, or else He was telling the truth. There is too much proof that Jesus spoke the truth, to believe that He is not the only way to be saved.

Every believer must be willing to tell the world that Jesus is the way to salvation. And every person must be willing to believe on Jesus in order to be saved.

You may or may not be a believer in Jesus. You may or may not be looking at the many different religions of this world.

Take time to read the Bible and see who Jesus really is. Realize that He is the only way to be saved and to gain eternal life in heaven. Choose today to believe in Him, and then proclaim that word to the rest of this world.

Without Jesus, you nor anyone else can be saved or get into heaven. He is the only way.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know what Jesus has done for you; that God will open your eyes to falsehood of other religions; that you will proclaim Jesus as salvation to the world; and that God will strengthen you to turn away from false beliefs.

Galatians 2:12 Changing To Please

For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. Galatians 2:12

Appearance plays an important part of the lives of many people. People will say and do things to appear to agree with those around them, even if it goes against their own personal beliefs.

This double-standard of living is being done to prevent losing of friends or acceptance. They want to please certain people, at all costs.

Paul talks of a man who had been willing to eat with uncircumcised believers until some circumcised believers came around. Then they changed their attitude towards the uncircumcised.

Many believers will claim and believe certain things while they are in church and among like believers. As soon as someone comes along of a different view, they will drop what they believe and act the new way. Instead of loving everyone and remaining the same, they change.

This type of double-standard is often seen in members of churches and it pushes many people away from the church. It is seen as hypocrisy. Jesus loved everyone, but never changed Himself to their level of living. He was holy and perfect, regardless of what others said or did.

Every believer must live their life as Jesus lived His life. They must be the same, regardless of whom they are around. Changes should never be made to just fit in and please some.

There will always be some people who will not agree with a way of living. When a person continues to change to be accepted, he will no longer live by any standard. He will neither be hot or cold towards God, and will be spit out by God.

As a believer, you will have times that there will be some who believe or act differently than you. Do not allow yourself to be persuaded to keep changing how you live for God.

Know what God has shown you in His scriptures and live that way. Do not become hypocritical and change your ways just to please others.

Live your life for God, not for man. Let God’s light shine in and through you to a dark world. Be among the world, but not of the world and its corrupt ways.

Today I pray that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will know how God wants you to live; that you will live for God among all people; that you will not change your ways just to please people; and that you will be witness of who Jesus is.