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(Updated) Responses to Harper: “My God is a Tolerant God”

ARPA Note: Readers comments are included below. Add your thoughts by emailing [email protected] Let us know if you want them to be made public with your name or anonymously.

Globe & Mail, Sept 8 2010: Prime Minister Stephen Harper has used his Christian faith to “unequivocally condemn” a Florida church that plans to burn 200 copies of the Muslim holy book. “I don’t speak very often about my own religion, but let me be very clear: My God and my Christ is a tolerant God, and that’s what we want to see in this world,” he said. Read more

Feedback letter # 1:

God is longsuffering, and does not wish the death of the sinner, but rather that the sinner turn from his sins and be saved.  God is also holy.  The Bible states that He will not let sin go unpunished (Proverbs 11:20, 21).  The word tolerant gives a whole different meaning–a meaning that removes the seriousness of offending God by our sins.

We must be very careful when we try not to offend others that we go so far as to offend God, and also to send others the wrong message.  We must love others, but always speak the truth, even when it is not what they want to hear.

Peter VanAssen, AB

Feedback letter # 2:

As a Biblical Christian, I will maintain a stance alongside PM Stephen Harper in his condemnation of the actions of Pastor Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Centre in Florida. The type of provocation Pastor Jones and his congregants are engaged in is clearly not what we are taught in the Scriptures.

We are commanded to make every effort, and do all we can, to live at peace with everyone. Heb. 12:14 says “make every effort to live at peace with all men and to be holy” as well, Paul states in Rom. 12:18 “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Peter says in 1Peter 3:9 “do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult…” To destroy the Koran by public burning does nothing to refute what the Koran teaches, it only serves to widen the chasm, or destroy whatever opportunity for communication many Christians have been involved in with people of the Muslim faith. God desires of us that we evangelize all peoples by speaking the truth about Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Saviour.

Does this mean that we are to accept and tolerate other beliefs and that our God does as well? Absolutely and unequivocally not! God is never tolerant of sin. In fact my God and my Christ is a holy God. And the first and foremost characteristic of his holiness is that He hates sin. He hates it so much that He condemned Adam and Eve, indeed all mankind to death because of it.

Scripture is full of God’s declarations against all sin. Allow one example from the New Testament. Shortly after Jesus had instituted the New Testament church, we read the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), we know the story well. God hates sin so incredibly much that he struck both of them dead when their sin was exposed. To be sure, such drastic action was taken to impress upon the new believers that theirs was a holy God who did not tolerate such open and intentional wickedness.

Today, in the 21st century we rarely, if ever, hear of God acting with such swift justice. But this is surely not to be interpreted as His toleration of sin and immoral behaviour. While those who despise His laws and decrees, exchanging the truth for a lie, continue on living, we should, instead of burning their books, be all the more motivated to expose the heresies that fill them. And present to them that there is only one way to escape God’s punishment of death; to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Saviour and live a life of obedience to Him.

PM Harper’s statement about God being tolerant is disturbing to be sure. What it does is provide some answers as to why he refuses to address the issues many Biblical Christians care about most; homosexuality and abortion. If God is tolerant of Muslims, then He must also tolerate homosexuals and those who murder unborn, defenseless children.

It is clear that our Prime Minister and many of the other Christian politicians in Ottawa have succumbed to a belief in a tolerant God. Because of this, there is no longer any motivation to tackle some of the difficult issues mentioned above, other than to appease a certain voter bloc when it is politically expedient to do so.

Mike Schouten – CHP Candidate, South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale

Feedback Letter # 3

Wrong to incite violence – inflammatory behavior by pastor in Florida  YET he has the right to do so.

Will increase harm to Christians in Muslim countries – not loving to increase their persecution

Yes, Islam will use it to incite violence and recruit new Taliban.

I don’t think this Pastor is being loving.  It seems like a media ploy to gain attention for his small church of 50 members.

Wrong understanding of the gospel.  He may have a constitutional right to do this but is it wise?  No.  What purpose does it serve except to prove that while Christians don’t riot when US military burns bibles in Iraq (from One news now report) therefore demonstrating their tolerance and Muslims do riot proving Islam as intolerant.

It’s an opportunity to say that state and church are separate yet give the wisdom of the church to the state.

Harper said his God is a tolerant God so don’t do it.  What does that mean?  Our God doesn’t care?  No our God is above such petty fights.

Just some thoughts.

Irma DeVries, Harriston ON – running for public school trustee.  Upper Grand District for Minto and Mapleton

 

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