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What the Bible says about Tolerating Evil
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Psalm 81:4-5

Asaph points out that God ordained the law of which he speaks. Law is inseparable from sovereignty. The god of any system can be identified by locating the source of its laws. From this principle, Herbert Armstrong concluded that the church is the only place on earth where the government of God operates.

In the beginning of the United States, our system of law and our standards of morality were lifted in principle—but sometimes almost verbatim—from the absolutes of the Bible. After the Civil War, the basis of our laws gradually switched from the absolutes of the Bible to human relativism, which claims there are no absolutes. It asserts that every system's values, indeed everyone's values, are as good as the next. This philosophy began as mere advice to be tolerant, but as it became more popular, its adherents urged people to be pragmatic, that is, to adapt, to make compromises in values, to do whatever needs to be done regardless of its conflict with others' values.

Concurrently, situation-ethics systems arose so that even churches eventually looked upon the Ten Commandments as mere suggestions. God was gradually erased from our public schools. Relativism has crept into every area of life so that it now dominates our moral and ethical thinking in education, religion, childrearing, marital relations, economics, agriculture, health care, social programs, etc.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The First Commandment

Hosea 5:10

In Hosea's time, landowners had a system of surveying in which they used stone pillars to mark out the boundaries of their farms. These princes of Judah came out at night—when nobody could see them—and move the pillars so that their properties would get a little bit larger.

We can apply the principle here to real life in relation to sin. The princes of Judah did what we call today "pushing the envelope," pushing the boundaries of what was considered to be safe, right, and within the law. A person will push repeatedly on the edges of what he considers to be acceptable and not sin until the conscience adjusts, and what he formerly would not be caught dead doing—because it would smite his conscience and he would feel terribly guilty—now he can accept as being not so bad

Are we keeping the Sabbath in the same way we kept it twenty years ago? Have we pushed the envelope so that what we would not be caught dead doing twenty years ago we will now do without even thinking about it?

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part Three)

1 Corinthians 5:1-6

The Corinthian church's coddling of this perversion gave the people of Corinth the appearance that God's people would allow this sin—a sin even unbelievers would never tolerate! Inside the church it gave the appearance that one could continue in sin and still remain part of the body. The apostle warns them that, just as a pinch of leaven will puff up a whole loaf of bread—or as one rotten apple will corrupt a whole barrel of them—so this sin, if allowed to continue, would ruin the entire church.

John O. Reid (1930-2016)
Abstaining From Evil

1 Corinthians 5:2

The Corinthian congregation had serious problems with sexual sins, but instead of feeling terrible, people were "glorying" in it. They did not comprehend the slavery imposed by profligate lifestyles: broken marriages, ruined health, and alienation from God and man. They did not realize true liberty is in keeping the law.

Staff
Holy Days: Unleavened Bread

Revelation 2:4-5

The Ephesian church did have a problem. It was not in holding false teachers at arm's length, but in tending to become lax, to "drift with the tide," as it were, and this made them an easy target for false teachers. In this way, their weakness was, in a way, connected to their strength. They approached matters somewhat lackadaisically when times were fairly good, but when times became bad, they seemed to be able to stand up for the truth.

At certain times, their devotion to God's way left a lot to be desired. Just before the apostle John died in about AD 100, this was very much the case, and he really had to rouse them to get them back. From what we know from church history, by this time the membership of the true church was small and concentrated mostly around John in the church at Ephesus and some of the nearby towns in Asia Minor that he directly pastored.

Jude recognized the beginning of this drifting when he wrote in the mid-60s. All the apostles wrote similar things in their epistles: that the members of the church needed to get on the stick because false doctrines and false teachers were already in evidence among them and beginning to cause problems. If they did not root them out quickly, destruction would follow. The brethren were far too tolerant of divergent beliefs and practices, and Jude, especially, makes this point rather bluntly. He basically yells at them. Those who know Greek intimately say his language is very terse and sharp, and with it he lays in to them for being too tolerant of untruth.

His brother, Jesus, is more circumspect in His wording in Revelation 2:5. To paraphrase, he says, "I would rather that you were strong all the time. You need to go back and do the first works and remain strong so that these false teachers do not get a foothold in the church in the first place."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude

Revelation 2:14-16

God knows all and sees all. He can read the intents of the heart and understands our frame (Psalm 103:13-17). These people were faithful and held fast His name under trying circumstances and great temptations, but they also tolerated evil. He instructs them to repent or face "the sword of My mouth" (Hebrews 4:12-13). To whom much is given much is required (Luke 12:48).

Staff
The Seven Churches: Pergamos


 




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