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Tolerance

By R. J. Rushdoony
March 06, 2007

California Farmer 252:3 (Feb. 2, 1980), p. 50.

When I moved some years ago into a major urban area, it took me a while to get used to street noises and night sounds. Because they were unfamiliar sounds, I heard them all. In a year’s time, I was so accustomed to them that I heard none of them.

Then, when I moved into this mountain area out in the country, I heard the coyotes howling night after night. Very soon, I ceased to hear them. Last summer, when our daughter-in-law remarked about the nightly serenade by coyotes, I realized that I had not heard them for a few years: it was too familiar a night noise for me to be conscious of, in the slightest degree.

Now this illustrates why we cannot use our feelings and experience as a test or standard. We readily develop a tolerance for many things. Our tolerance for pornography, national corruption, profanity, and sin in general has greatly increased in the past generation. Things once held to be intolerable are now hardly noticed. What was once shocking on television, for example, is now tame fare, and what once destroyed a politician’s career is today no problem.

In brief, our level of tolerance is a false standard. This is why Isaiah declares, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). We cannot use our thoughts and feelings as a standard: only God’s Word is the test. We ourselves readily develop a tolerance towards sin and evil: God’s Word remains the unceasingly clear and uncompromising Word.

The result of becoming tolerant towards sin is that we become intolerant towards God and His Word.


Topics: Biblical Law

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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