Aspiring to Tolerance and Inclusivity or Full of Grace and Truth?


October 14, 2021

Judges 6:29-32 (NIV)

29 They asked each other, “Who did this?”

When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”

30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”


They asked each other, “Who did this?”

“Bring out your son. He must die,”

Could it be the ancient precursor to “cancel culture”?

That’s what a culture built on an ideology of inclusivity invariably and ironically creates. Everyone is included. Every god, ideology, practice, group, teaching, except the one which holds any semblance of an exclusive claim. And the one who begins to order their life according to the requirements and commandments of a God who makes exclusive claims is headed for rough seas. 

One would think Gideon would have been in the most trouble with his Father, but it doesn’t seem so from the text. Joash didn’t believe in Baal. Something tells me his maintenance of the altar to Baal was an accommodation to the surrounding culture; bowing to the spirit of the age if you will. Look what he says:

If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”

Not exactly an affirmation of faith, right? Joash neither believed Baal nor believed in him. He accommodated the spirit of the age. He did the “acceptable” thing in the eyes of the culture. Look what’s happening here. The minute an exclusive God comes onto the scene of an inclusive pantheon, everything blows up. The culture and ideology of inclusivity can tolerate anything and everything under the sun except an exclusive God.

And isn’t it amazing how much oppression a culture will tolerate and even propagate as long as every god, every ideology, every practice, every so-called “truth” gets a seat at the table? 

Let’s remember, though, awakening does not begin with attacks on the surrounding culture. It begins with reform at the home office. Though there was a public interest here, this was Joash’s altar after all. And reform at the home office begins with our coming to grips with the exclusive claims to ownership of the one true God over our heart and our home. 

The God of the Bible demands an exclusive relationship with his people. He will not tolerate other gods, idols and false ideologies. Why? Because he loves us with a love that will not allow us to be diminished. A divided heart leads to a divided life which is unstable, unfruitful, and ultimately unsustainable. A divided heart is a confused heart and a confused heart becomes a darkened heart and a darkened heart becomes a dead heart. Competing loyalties inexorably become confused loyalties and lead to chaotic lives. 

Here’s the most interesting part. Though a culture built on the ideology of inclusivity can tolerate everything except an exclusive God, an exclusive God and his people can not only tolerate the people of a hostile culture we can embrace them. We can embrace those who disagree with us and resist us and even oppose us, because we know who we are and whose we are. Because Jesus Christ is Lord we don’t cancel our enemies. We embrace them. 

Here’s the encouragement. We would be well served to stop bashing the surrounding culture. We need to let judgment begin with our hearts and homes and houses of worship. In the end those who stand on the claim, “Jesus is Lord,” do not strive to be tolerant and inclusive. We aspire to become gracious and truthful. They are very different realities. 


Father, help me understand what is being said here and what is not being said. Help me respond rather than react. Give me grace to begin with myself. Come Holy Spirit and pierce the veil of the spirit of the age in which we live. We need clarity of vision and keenness of insight. I do not want to accommodate things that are not true in the interest of affirming everyone’s truth. I do not want to accommodate false gods and falsehoods in the spirit of being tolerant and inclusive. I want to be like Jesus, full of grace and truth and abounding in steadfast love. In Jesus name, Amen. 


Do you believe Jesus Christ is Lord? Then why are you accommodating other gods? Will you examine your heart?  


OK preachers and pastors and candlestick makers in our midst—If you haven’t gotten your plans for Advent together yet, I’ve got a deal for you. Check it out here. The preaching workshop is later this morning. It will be recorded. But sign up now. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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