THE UNIQUENESS AND
INTOLERANCE OF CHRIST
by Maurice M. Johnson
"The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him." —John 5:22-23.
"Jesus saith unto him: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." —John 14:6.
We are hearing on every hand today that all who believe in God must get together. Recently, the papers carried announcements and accounts of large gatherings that were described as "The Fellowship of Faiths," where men that were introduced as "Christian," Jew, Hindu, Moslem, Buddhist, Mazdaznan, etc. came together on the basis of religious brotherhood. You Bible students know that in Revelation 17, we have a vivid picture of just this sort of thing for the closing of this age.
I attended the recent meeting here in Los Angeles of "The World Fellowship of Faiths," so-called. Besides a Buddhist, a Hindu, and a Jew, there were two prominent "protestant" preachers, Dr. Roy L. Smith, pastor of the First M. E. Church here in Los Angeles, (in which supposedly Christian "church" this anti-Christ conclave was held) and the pastor of the First Mexican Baptist Church of Los Angeles. I was very much interested to note the size and authority of the "christ" of these two professing "Christian" preachers. And sure enough, they had no Lord Christ. In fact, they did not acknowledge that Jesus was the Christ at all. Not once in the address of either was the name, Christ, mentioned, nor was the title, Lord, once mentioned. They referred to "Jesus" and once mentioned, "the Master of Nazareth." Thus did they succeed in stripping the Lord Jesus Christ of His uniqueness, His claim that He was, even during His days of humiliation, none other than Immanuel, which, being interpreted, is "God with us."
First, let me assure you that I have nothing to sell, nor am I going to ask for your money. And I have nothing for you to join. It is my delightful privilege to be known merely as a saved sinner, a Christian (not Campbellite), not a member of some new sect that may take the name, Christian, or Church of Christ, or Church of God, or any other Bible phrase. By the miracle of re-creation, I am a child of God and, as such, the Lord Jesus Christ baptized me with the Holy Spirit into "the church which is Christ's body." I Cor. 12:13. If you have ever sincerely called on the name of the crucified, buried, and risen Lord, you too, were born from above and baptized with the Holy Spirit into this church, and you and I are, therefore fellow members of the body of Christ. I sincerely greet all Christians as such. If any sectarian wall is built to separate us you must build it. I seek to destroy all such denials of "the Spirit."
In the 11th verse of Amos 8, we are told that an unprecedented famine is coming," . . . not a famine of bread . . . but of hearing the Words of God." Note well that the prophet does not say there is to be a famine of Bibles but of hearing the Word of God. I can think of no surer proof that the famine is now upon us than the fact that preachers go unquestioned and, indeed, highly paid and complimented for telling their congregations how tolerant Jesus was of other people's opinions and religions. I used to believe that such preachers were merely ignorant of the Bible's inspired picture of Christ and were more or less honestly giving what they had been taught in the seminaries and had read in books about Christ and the Bible. But I can't so excuse them any more, and be honest before God. I now believe they are Satan's most effective tools for denaturing and thus destroying the Christ of the Bible; this is, destroying Christ in the minds and affections of the masses of denominational "church members." Of course, none of us who have been redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and who know that we have passed from death unto life, that we now have eternal life in and through Christ—I say none of us Christians are excited or at all fearful lest these little clerical squirt guns are actually going to succeed in putting out the sun. We are concerned about the fact that they are effectively getting their mist into millions of people's eyes.
CHRIST'S SPLENDID INTOLERANCE
The Christ of the Bible is the most intolerant Being that man has ever known or had the privilege of knowing. Hear Him speaking to the religious leaders of the corrupt Judaism of His earthly day. Let us read together John 8:12-59-
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the Light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto Him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also. These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come. Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. Then said the Jews, will he kill himself ? because he saith, whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am ye shall die in your sins.
. . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father . . . Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but He sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and ye do dishonor me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, He shall never see death. Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself ? Jesus answered, . . . Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."
Do you not see how utterly impossible it is for any honest person to read the eighth chapter of John and then say that Christ was tolerant of other men's religious opinions? As a great English preacher said years ago, "Jesus of Nazareth was God or He was insane." Just hear Him: "I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life . . . You neither know me, nor my Father: if you had known me you should have known my Father also . . . I go my way and you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am, you shall die in your sins." Do you call that religious tolerance, for Christ to say to those religious Jews who believed in the "universal Fatherhood of God," "If you believe not that I am (in other words, if you Jews will not believe that I, Jesus of Nazareth, am the Eternal "I AM" that appeared to Moses, you are utterly without hope), you shall die in your sins" ? The mind of man cannot conceive of anything more intolerant than these statements of Christ.
But, my dear friends, it is the proper intolerance of truth and light and life. Isn't absolute truth intolerant of a lie? Of all kinds of lies? Isn't light intolerant of darkness? "What fellowship has light with darkness ?" Are life and death friends or foes? "What agreement has the temple of God with idols?" According to these modern union religious movements, these "Fellowships of faiths," —there are no such things anymore as idols. They are telling us that modern man has discovered that all of the idols are true gods, and that somehow or other all of these little gods are rapidly being fashioned into the one great, good, granddaddy god who loves everybody in the universe except these Christians who consistently contend for the Christ of the virgin birth, the sinless life, the perfect, substitutionary death, and the bodily resurrection. For once, these modern god-makers are about right. Their great big evolutionary, jelly-fish god will love all of his human and demon creators but will hate with hellish fury the true Christ and the true Christians. Let us open our eyes to these fast approaching facts. Let us be ready to do and dare for our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. These are, indeed, days in which there is going to be increasing need for the martyr spirit, the martyr kind of life, and, if need be, Christian martyrdom, and I trust I will not be so spinelessly silent that I will shun everything in the way of persecution for the sake of our Lord Jesus Who is being so whittled down by these modern truth trimmers.
Christ's splendid intolerance is the result or characteristic of His uniqueness. We cannot compare Christ with other prophets and supposed saviours. We may only contrast Him with them. He was not different in degree from others. He was, and is, different in kind. He said: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly, I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep." Jn. 10:7-12. These modern tolerance peddlers must believe their listeners read the funnies instead of the Bible, or they would expect their audiences to laugh them to scorn when they talk about Christ being tolerant. "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers . . ." Can't you see that that is the simple statement of fact, or it is the egotistical lie of a mad man? Again, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber . . . I am the door." Jn.10:1,9.
CHRIST ENLIGHTENS AND DRAWS ALL MEN
Doubtless, some of you are saying: "But what about the millions and millions who have never heard or had an opportunity to hear about Christ? Could God be just and fair to allow them to die in their sins simply because they have not believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the Great ' I AM,' Jehovah" ? Listen carefully, please, as I answer that question with the unforced Word of God. "In the beginning was the Word (capital W), and the Word was with God, .. . In Him was life; and the life was the light of men . . . That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world . . ." Jn.1 :1-9. In other words, there is no such thing as a man who has never been lighted by Christ. He is the Light that "lighteth every man that cometh into the world." "But," you say, "doesn't the Bible say that without the shedding of blood there is no remission, no forgiveness of sins? And surely not all the heathen countries have heard the story of Christ's cross and resurrection." Let Christ answer that question: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This He said, signifying what death He should die." Jn.12:32- 33. There we see that on the cross the Lord Jesus Christ drew the heart and conscience of every human being since Adam. That is why all men, regardless of their state of barbarism, have been found to be religious. They have been drawn to look out of and away from, themselves toward the true God; but have stopped, in millions of cases, to make their own god.
This is clearly taught in Romans I, where we read that after God revealed Himself to the peoples of the earth so that they knew of His eternal power and Godhead, "they glorified Him not as God but became vain in their imaginations" and made some gods of their own. Romans 1:16-32.
The Apostle Paul quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures when he says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom. 10:13-Joel 2:32). The Apostle then asks the question, "How then shall they call upon him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher ?" (Rom. 10:14). The Apostle then proceeds to answer those very questions by further quoting from the Hebrew Scriptures—"But I say, have they not heard? YES VERILY, 'The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.'" (Rom. 10:18—Ps. 19:1-4). In other words every man has had an opportunity to hear and see the wonderful message about the creator Christ, and his goodness, and mercy and wrath, and can call upon him for salvation. The one "in whom we live and move and have our being" is available to all and thusly not limited to one language or people or culture.
In addition no one need doubt that as God sent Philip down into the desert to preach Christ to the Ethiopian eunuch who was obeying the light he had, will also send men today to any spot on the face of the earth to further "shew Himself strong on the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him." (II Chron. 16:9). "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after rightousness: for they shall be filled." Again, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine." (Matt. 5:6; John 7:17).
On the other hand, we read in 2 Peter of those religionists who "willingly are ignorant." They are "escaped convicts." They have run from the convincing power of the plain truth of the Word of God. Personally, I'll take my hat off to the convicts that murder their guards and escape, before I'll intentionally or knowingly link arms with these men who took solemn ordination vows that they would preach the Word of God as it is and would do all in their power to banish false and heretical doctrine, but are now crawling out of the golden chains of love that would bind them to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christ Who is described in I Tim. 6:15-16 as "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto." Let me repeat with all the fervor of my God-fearing soul that the most dangerous, escaped convicts are not the fellows with striped clothes but those with long-tailed coats and robes.
REJECTING CHRIST IS DEADLY
Let us never forget that there is only ONE Saviour. And He is the Man of sorrows, the nail-pierced "scapegoat" of Golgotha Who shocked all heaven with His anguishing cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" That cry and that death were utterly unlike any other cry and any other death in all human history. Buddha never claimed to be a Godforsaken substitute for all men—for all lost sinners. Confucius never made such a claim, nor Mahomet, nor Zoroaster. They were mere teachers who sought to set an example for others to follow. Christ didn't come into this world merely to live and say something. He came primarily to die and do something. He said: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must (note that "must"), even so must, the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God . . . He that believeth on the Son of God has everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him." Jn. 3:14-18.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me . . . for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." May our thrice Holy Heavenly Father blot out of our minds all these puny little pussy-footing "christs" that are being banqueted today in our denatured Christendom, and may our hearts be fired from on High with true knowledge of and warm devotion to the Christ of glory, our Lord Jesus Christ.
BELIEVING ON CHRIST BRINGS SALVATION
To you who are not saved, who have never with true repentance caused by "the goodness of God" in giving His Own Well Beloved Son to suffer for your sins and conquer your last enemy, death—to you—I direct this word. "Why will ye die in your sins" ? "Today, if you will harden not your hearts" but will call on the name of the Lord you "Shall be saved." God said it. Is He not the final One ? "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
O, won't you just now bow your stubborn heart by faith at the foot of the cross where God placed your sinful blame and guilt on His sinless Son, and won't you receive Christ, by faith, as your own sin-bearer, Saviour and Risen Lord?
Almighty God said this (Rom. 10:8-10). Will you gratefully step out on it as God's Bridge leading you from sin to heart purity in His sight, from death to life: from Satan to Christ? You need no priest or church building. Just where you are and just as you are God, for Christ's sake will instantly save your soul as you honestly believe the gospel of Christ—the Bible story of how Christ has perfectly taken your place as a sinner before God's bar of just judgment and has risen to give you new life.
How I hope and pray some of you will write us, at least a card, telling us that you have definitely received Christ as your personal Savior. Also, those who believe this study worth while will rejoice us by telling us.
"Upon a life I did not live,
Upon a death I did not die;
Another's life, another's death,
I stake my whole eternity."
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