The Intolerance of Tolerance
DA Carson (IVP, 2012, 186 pages)
Christians are increasingly being branded as intolerant by a secular world. How are we to respond? Carson shows how society's definition of tolerance has changed; from accepting that others hold views different to yourself (without accepting that their views are right), to accepting another position and 'believing that position to be true, or at least as true as your own'.
This societal shift has huge implications for our ability to make truth claims, for our freedom to define (and so resist) evil and for our relationship to democratic government and majoritarianism in our land. After summarising the current situation and giving a 'history of tolerance', Carson deals with these issues, concluding with a chapter entitled 'Ways Ahead'.
This book demands concentration and commitment but is well worth the effort. Carson's research is broad and he draws from many sources; some sections require re-reading in order to grasp all that he says. However, the great strength of this book is that it repeatedly shows the inconsistency and unsustainability of the 'new definition' of tolerance and gives concrete advice as to how we can respond as Christians.
Andrew McKelvey is a junior doctor in Northern Ireland.