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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Intolerance

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is a word chiefly used in reference to those persons, churches, or societies who do not allow men to think for themselves, but impose on them articles, creeds, ceremonies, etc., of their own devising. (See TOLERATION).

Nothing is more abhorrent from the genius of the Christian religion than an intolerant spirit or an intolerant church. "It has inspired its votaries with a savage ferocity; has plunged the fatal dagger into innocent blood; depopulated towns and kingdoms; overthrown states and empires, and brought down the righteous vengeance of heaven upon a guilty world. The pretence of superior knowledge, sanctity, and authority for its support is the disgrace of reason, the grief of wisdom, and the paroxysm of folly. To fetter the conscience is injustice; to ensnare it is an act of sacrilege; but to torture it by an attempt to force its feelings is horrible intolerance: it is the most abandoned violation of all the maxims of religion and morality. Jesus Christ formed a kingdom purely spiritual: the apostles exercised only a spiritual authority under the direction of Jesus Christi particular churches were united only by faith and love in all civil affairs they submitted to civil magistracy; and in religious concerns they were governed by the reasoning, advice, and exhortations of their own officers: their censures were only honest reproofs; and their excommunications were only declarations that such offenders, being incorrigible, were no longer accounted members of their communities."

Let it ever be remembered, therefore, that no man or men have any authority whatever from Christ over the consciences of others, or to persecute the persons of any whose religious principles agree not with their own. See Lowell's Sermons; Robinson's Claude, 2, 227, 229; Saurin's Sermons, vol. 3, Preface; Locke, Government and Toleration; Memoir of Roger Williams. (See JUDGMENT, PRIVATE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Intolerance'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/i/intolerance.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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