Monday, 27 May 2013

Robert Shaw quote on toleration and liberty of conscience

In today's politically correct society where all beliefs are considered to be equally valid, and toleration is presented as making no distinction between them but allowing all views, the following quote is of interest to the Christian. It is taken from the introductory essay in Robert Shaw's Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

'But there is a very prevalent and yet very false method of thinking, or pretending to think, respecting toleration and liberty of conscience. Many seem to be of the opinion that toleration consists in making no distinction between truth and error, but regarding them with equal favour. This opinion, if carefully analysed, would be found to be essentially of an infidel character. Many seem to think that by liberty of conscience is meant that every man should be at liberty to act in everything according to his own inclination, without regard to feelings, convictions and rights of other men. This would, indeed, be to convert liberty into lawlessness, and to make conscience of licentiousness. But the Confession proceeds upon the principle that truth can be distinguished from error, right from wrong; that though conscience cannot be compelled, it may be enlightened; and that when sinful, corrupt and prone to licentiousness, men may be lawfully restrained from the commission of such excesses as are offensive to public feeling, and injurious to the moral welfare of the community. If this be intolerance, it is a kind of intolerance of which none will complain but those who wish to be free from all restraint of law, human or divine.'

No comments:

Post a Comment