The Intolerance of Tolerance

By Warren Coe

Dr. D. A. Carson serves on the Faculty of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.  He has written a book titled The Intolerance of Tolerance.  You have already guessed what it is about.  A blogger by the name of Greg Koukl built on Dr. Carson’s observations. Namely, how do we talk in a culture that declares itself tolerant of all views and beliefs when, in fact, our culture is very intolerant, especially towards Christianity?  Here is Greg Koukl’s advice.

“If you’re placed in a situation where you suspect your convictions will be labeled intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded, and judgmental, turn the tables. When someone asks for your personal views about a moral issue—homosexuality, for example—preface your remarks with a question.

You say: “You know, this is actually a very personal question you’re asking, and I’d be glad to answer. But before I do, I want to know if you consider yourself a tolerant person or an intolerant person. Is it safe to give my opinion, or are you going to judge me for my point of view? Do you respect diverse ideas, or do you condemn others for convictions that differ from yours?”

Let them answer. If they say they’re tolerant (which they probably will), then when you give your point of view it’s going to be very difficult for them to call you intolerant or judgmental without looking guilty, too.

This response capitalizes on the fact that there’s no morally neutral ground. Everybody has a point of view they think is right and everybody judges at some point or another. The Christian gets pigeon-holed as the judgmental one, but everyone else is judging, too. It’s an inescapable consequence of believing in any kind of morality.”

As we are with family and friends this Christmas and New Year there will be conversations in which opinions will be diverse and maybe divisive.  Let me suggest Mr. Koukl’s advice.  You just might see doors otherwise closed by prejudice and ignorance stay open.  You may have an opportunity to share the glory and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

God’s Blessing and Happy New Year.

The Intolerance of Tolerance

‘Silent Night’ Has Been Silenced

By Warren Coe

Sometime ago The Wall Street Journal published an interesting article by Paul Tice.  He titled the article ‘Silent Night’ has been Silenced.  “There’s no room for religion at school ‘winter concert.’”  He observed the cultural war on Christmas.  We are not talking about Christmas lights or trees.  There is no war on gift giving or mistletoe.  Tice sees an all-out effort to eradicate the message of Christmas.  Here is what Tice wrote.

Christmas Denial

“Over the past 20 years as my children have progressed through the local New Jersey public-school system, my wife and I have attended our share of such concerts.  We’ve watched as these performances have slowly declined, arriving at the current phase: denial.  “It has now been several years since the word “Christmas” has even been spoken, let alone sung, at any of these school events.  Gradually, the balanced approach gave way to frivolity. A greater emphasis was placed on the commercial and materialistic side of Christmas and the other holidays, with Santa, Rudolph and Frosty receiving top billing. Sacred Christmas music was still allowed, but only if sung in a dead foreign language (such as Latin or French Creole), with the meaning of the words safely obscured.”

‘Gagging of God’

As I read the WSJ article my mind wandered to a quote I read a long time ago from Gagging of God by D. A. Carson.  In a different realm, the same dark dynamic has removed the meaning of Christmas from…well, Christmas, Dr. Carson tells us what happened.

“In the moral realm, there is very little consensus left in Western countries over the proper basis of moral behavior. And because of the power of the media, for millions of men and women the only venue where moral questions are discussed and weighed is the talk show, where more often than not the primary aim is to entertain, even shock, not to think. When Geraldo and Oprah become the arbiters of public morality, when the opinion of the latest media personality is sought on everything from abortion to transvestites, when banality is mistaken for profundity because [it’s] uttered by a movie star or a basketball player, it is not surprising that there is less thought than hype. Oprah shapes more of the nation’s grasp of right and wrong than most of the pulpits in the land. Personal and social ethics have been removed from the realms of truth and structures of thoughts; they have not only been relativized, but they have been democratized and trivialized.”

The Gospel Light in Darkness

In spite of pc morality or pc “holiday,” never does the Gospel shine brighter than in spiritual darkness.  Rome could not extinguish the gospel in the first century, though they tried with all their might.  Mao imprisoned and killed countless Christians but the gospel spread like wildfire.  Not to sound like a glass half full kind-of-guy but great days are ahead for pastors, churches and people who boldly proclaim the gospel and willingly suffer for it.  I’m all in with Paul.  “I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation.” (Romans 1:16)

Merry Christmas!

‘Silent Night’ Has Been Silenced

Great Commission Multiplication

Exponential Multiplication Graph

Village Schools of the Bible is committed to Great Commission multiplication.

The world around us is darkening spiritually. Therefore let’s remember the Gospel is our first priority (1 Cor 15:3-4). It’s God’s love language to the Lost (John 3:16). The Great Commission, fueled by the Great Commandments, is God’s vehicle for reaching, redeeming and growing His church (Romans 10:15; Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). For this reason, the Great Commission is the most important mission for the church. It’s how people come to know — and grow — in Jesus, the Light of the world (John 8:12).

Each One Reach One

Multiplication drives exponential growth. The graph above shows how long it could take to reach and disciple everyone on the planet. This assumes we start with just one disciple of Jesus, who disciples one other disciple each year to be a disciple maker, and those new disciples do the same each year. The number of disciples multiplies annually. At this rate, 10 billion people could be discipled within a generation, or 34 years, starting with just one follower of Jesus.

Obviously, this is not easy or straightforward. The church that the Holy Spirit gave birth to in the Book of Acts was a rapidly multiplying, expansive people movement during a time of intense persecution that cost countless lives. Yet, starting with Jesus and the twelve disciples, this explosive gospel movement turned the Roman Empire upside down and went on to become a worldwide movement. Today this kind of momentum has largely waned in the Western world, although the rapid expansion of Christianity continues elsewhere (e.g. Asia, where persecution is intense). Just 4% of North American churches are multiplying rapidly. Regrettably, 80% have plateaued or are in decline (even though, ironically, there’s little persecution to speak of).  So let’s return to the kind of church that the Holy Spirit gave birth to in the Book of Acts – a fearless and explosive, multiplying, gospel movement!

What would happen if we recovered the multiplication DNA of the Great Commission? Let’s take a closer look.

To the Ends of the Earth

This table shows the effectiveness of discipling by multiplication. The numbers start small but the impact over the long haul is extraordinary. The “Years time” column shows how long it would take to disciple the entire world starting with a given number of disciples. So if you  are aged 30 today and became a committed disciple multiplier, in principle you could start a movement that would disciple everyone in the world by the time you were 64. If we assume that 260 million evangelical Christians in the world today could be mobilized for intentional Great Commission multiplication, it would take just 6 years to disciple the rest of the world!

And that’s just at the rate of each disciple multiplying once per year. Now imagine the accelerated impact if not only each disciple, but each small group and church multiplied each year as well, not in their silos, but in synergistic partnership with others, as in the Book of Acts. Sound impossible? Around 4% of North American churches are doing just that. It’s a small number of churches, but they’re starting to make a bigger and bigger impact each year through synergistic exponential multiplication.

Our goal at Village Schools of the Bible is not just to make disciples (addition), it’s to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples (multiplication) in partnership with others.  We see this multiplication principle in 2 Timothy 2:2.

[W]hat you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Multiplication is the embedded DNA of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20): Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… The most effective way to disciple all nations is through multiplication in partnership with others.

Furthermore, the Great Commissions entails teaching disciples to observe all that I have commanded you. All God has commanded is recorded in the Bible.

Ultimately, only God can disciple His people, and He does so by the Spirit through His Word. That’s why the Word of God is the only sure foundation for discipling — and that’s what Village Schools is all about: Teaching God’s Word and Transforming Lives.

Hungry Beggars Sharing Bread

As you think about the significance of Christmas, consider how you can be a part of this disciple-making movement. Invite others in your network of relationships to take a Cover-to-Cover Bible Survey class. Simply ask them to come and see. Let them be discipled through, and ignited by, God’s Word. Cover-to-Cover is not just for ourselves  – it’s also a great opportunity to share the Bread of Life! (John 6:35) That’s what the Great Commission is all about: intentionally multiplying to help others know and grow in Jesus, the Light of the World!

Multiply — Let’s join with Jesus in His redemptive mission for the world!


The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;  therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:37-38)

Lord Jesus, thank you for redeeming your beloved bride from every nation, tribe, people, and language. You bought us with your life and death — yet we’re not just the bride waiting for your return, but workers called to the harvest. The price you paid for us makes our work for others a joy!

Jesus, we bow before you as the Lord of the harvest — send us purposefully and intentionally into our everyday mission field — the people we rub shoulders with each day. What other story would we choose for the rest of our days than to join your mission of gathering your bride from the nations, for a future beyond imagining? Forgive us, focus us, and free us to serve for the harvest. We pray in your loving and triumphant Name. Amen.


  1. Ferguson, D. and Bird, W. Hero Maker: Five Essential Practices for Leaders to Multiply Leaders. Zondervan, 2018.
  2. Greear, J.D. Gaining by Losing: Why the Future belongs to Churches that Send. Zondervan, 1975.
  3. Smith, Scotty. Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith. Baker, 2011.

This article was written by Warwick Alcock, Director of Strategic Operations, Village Schools of the Bible.


Great Commission Multiplication