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The common word on the streets today is “tolerance.” That idea, however, is wrong – very wrong… dead wrong! There’s no such thing as tolerance. No one is tolerant. Tolerance is a myth; indeed, it is a dangerous myth. Anyone who claims to stand for tolerance, anyone who says he is tolerant – whether he’s aware of it or not – is lying.

“Wait a minute. I disagree. I’m tolerant, no matter what you say. And, furthermore, I resent being called a liar.”

You’re a liar!

“Now, hold on. How can you say that? You don’t even know me. How can you call me a liar?”

Because you’re lying — that’s what liars do.

“It simply isn’t right of you to pre-judge me, your reader, when you have never met me.”

Oh? Why not? You seem to be agitated over a simple statement that I made out there in the blue. I didn’t ask you to chime in. You put yourself in the category of liars.

“I can’t have people going around calling others liars without challenging them. After all, by implication, since I’m a tolerant person, you included me.”

If you are truly tolerant of differing points of view you wouldn’t go about challenging those who say something that disagrees with yours. If you’re truly tolerant, then why don’t you cheerfully agree that I have every right to go about telling your friends and relatives that you’re a liar?

“That wouldn’t be right. I don’t like people to make unfounded judgments. And, besides it would be a nasty thing to do.”

Are you saying that you’re intolerant of such a claim? Or of anyone who makes it?

“No. I’m tolerant of views that differ from mine.”

Then, you wouldn’t mind if I talk to your friends — right?


What makes it wrong to do so?

“The fact that it’s simply untrue.”

But I say that it is true.

“Let’s stop this bickering right now. Would you be satisfied if I conceded that you have the right to be wrong?”

Ah! So, you’re so tolerant that you are ready to tolerate “error “to make it go away?

“That isn’t so. I accept only those things that are true.”

So you don’t tolerate error? It doesn’t matter to you whether others are in error or not so long as you are right? Does that mean you are tolerant of error in others and, therefore, of what you call my lies and my position of intolerance?

“I want others to know the truth too.”

Then, why don’t you accept the truth that you’re a liar?

“Because it’s not true.”




“Prove it”

You claim that you’re tolerant when we know that it’s not true. So you say/deny that you tolerate error in yourself/others.

“There you go – calling me a liar again! And, I certainly don’t know that it’s true.”

All this discussion and you haven’t yet gotten the point? I say you’re a liar simply because you’ve already demonstrated that you are. You claim to accept truth alone, yet you won’t admit that you’re a liar or that you’re intolerant. That’s two lies right there. 

“You’re impossible!”

That’s number three.

“OK, there’s one thing I can’t tolerate – you! You’re intolerable.”

Good. First thing you’ve said that’s right so far. You’re coming along. But since it’s true, that too proves you’re a liar. You said that you are tolerant, but let me ask you, are you intolerant not only of my intolerance but of intolerance in general? Seems that a tolerant person would have to be in order to be consistent.


See, that’s the reason why anyone who claims to be tolerant isn’t. You said that you resented being called a liar. That sounds like an intolerant attitude to me. You can’t tolerate intolerance or you’re tolerating what you claim to abhor. Put it the other way: you claim to abhor what you ought to tolerate – if you were truly tolerant. That position is contradictory in itself. To be intolerant of intolerance is contradictory. You can’t have it both ways. Of course, you can lie about it. Let’s move on. Why do you think that intolerance is dangerous?

“Don’t think that it is.”

Every Christian does. Are you a Christian?


Jesus said that He was the way to the Father (if you remember) and that nobody can come to the Father but by Him. The apostle also said that there is no other Name under the sky by which a person may be saved—but only by Jesus’ Name.

“Yes, but . . .”

No ‘buts’ about it, so far as the Bible is concerned. No one can be saved except by Jesus Christ. All other ways are erroneous, indeed, nothing but lies. So they are dangerous, leading people astray, away from the only true way to God. Right?

“But I tolerate other people’s views.”

Why? That’s dangerous. It’s dangerous to them. The idea again is that you can tolerate error in others, but not in yourself, right? It doesn’t matter what happens to them – just so you can be tolerant. Is that it?

“That’s not fair.”

Who’s talking about fairness? By what standard do you determine whether or not something is fair? But, let’s go on rather than getting into a round of that. Do you believe in Christian missions?

“Of course.”

Then you believe in intolerance. The whole concept of missions is based on a doctrine of intolerance—intolerance of the evil religions of men that lead them to eternal damnation. Moreover, and of greater importance, these false religions dishonor the true God. Missionaries believe that false beliefs must be destroyed before they destroy those who hold them. God doesn’t tolerate false belief or unbelief. Read Romans 1.

“I have read it. But we can be polite.”

Of course, often we can. But who’s talking about politeness? And by the way, tell me, did Jesus tolerate the Pharisees and the Sadducees?

“Well . . .”

Do you remember some of the things He said to them and about them?


Was Jesus always polite when he did? Why are you tolerant when Jesus wasn’t? You’re a Christian. Follow Him!

“I give up. You’re hopeless!”

You mean intolerant?

Dr. Jay Adams (1929-2020) was the father of modern biblical counseling and authored more than 100 books. This is from his blog which can be found at This first appeared in the March 2009 issue.

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Jay Adams, father of modern biblical counseling movement, dies

Dr. Jay Edward Adams (1929-2020) died on Nov. 14 at the age of 91. For those who don’t already know his name, Adams could be described as the “Martin Luther of biblical counseling” for the reformation he started in that movement. In 1963, as a new instructor at Westminster Theological Seminary, one of his assigned courses involved a component on pastoral counseling. With only limited counseling experience himself, he ended up teaching the unit using the notes left him by the previous instructor. But as Donn Arms writes: He found no theological substance in what he had been handed and determined to study and do better before he would have to teach the course again the next year. As he studied, however, he found nothing to help him. He pored over everything he could find written from a Christian perspective and found only Freudian and Rogerian dogma. What Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers, B.F. Skinner and other secular psychologists were doing was based on their ideas of what Man's nature amounted to. But their ideas about who we are, and what we are really like, didn’t line up with the fallen, yet accountable image-bearer of God that we are described as in Scripture. What Adams discovered is that while some Christians were trying to integrate these secular theories with the Bible, what they were doing was little more than sprinkling biblical texts on top of deeply unbiblical ideas. One example was the self-love movement – still big today but even more so in the 70s and 80s – that proposed one of Man’s biggest problems was low self-esteem. Christian counselors took hold of this idea, and then “baptized” it with Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31). After integrating the two they concluded Jesus wants us to focus on loving ourselves, because how else can we love our neighbor as ourselves? In his book The Biblical View of Self-Esteem, Self-Love, and Self-Image, Adams pointed out that this turned Jesus’ command on its head, from being outward-focused to now focusing on the self. The problem, he argued was that even when Christian counselors were consulting God’s Word, it was only after they’d relied on secular counseling theories to set the course. So Adams called Christians pastors and counselors back to the Bible because it is there we find out who we are, and what our biggest problem is, and what God has done for us to fix that problem. Adams had his Christian critics, including those who critiqued his insights by testing them against God’s Word. But, significantly, it was because of Adams’ pioneering, reforming work that such a group – Christians testing counseling ideas against God’s Word – even existed. He had a leading role in the creation of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (, the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (, and the Institute for Nouthetic Studies ( God used Adams as the spark to start this particular reformation, and like Luther before him, Adams’ key insights were then tested, refined, and built upon by the next generation. Counselors like Ed Welch, Heath Lambert, Wayne Mack, Paul Tripp, and David Powlison all stand on Adams' shoulders. ***** While the Church has lost a giant, God has so arranged things that in recent years most of Adams' 100+ books have been put back in print. We can still benefit from this man's godly wisdom via his written output, available at Amazon and While his best-known book is his first, Competent to Counsel, his three most accessible have to be Greg Dawson and the Psychology Class, Together for Good, and The Case of the “Hopeless Marriage.” At roughly 150 pages each, they are short, and what makes them so intriguing is they are counseling textbooks disguised as novels. Adams wrote these as fiction so he could use protagonist/pastor/counselor Greg Dawson to “show rather than tell” what biblical counseling is all about. The one to start with would be Greg Dawson and the Psychology Class, where the pastor meets students from a Christian university who are taking an essentially secular psychology course. Their conversations give Adams the opportunity to compare and contrast his approach with that of Christian counselors' “baptized” secular counseling. In addition to these three, Adams has a wonderful devotional, Day by Day Along the Way. Among his 100+ titles, he also tackles aging (which my father-in-law appreciated), eschatology, and even how to listen to a sermon. My personal favorite is his commentary on Proverbs, which, is just recently back in print. Pictures are courtesy of Donn Arms...