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The Intolerance of Tolerance

By D. A. Carson

William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2012, 186 pp., $24

Carson, a professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, outlines and discusses changes in the nature of tolerance from pre-Christian Greece to modern Western societies. He demonstrates that every culture combines tolerance and intoler­ance, but notes that few have made toler­ance such a central part of the cultural ethos as contemporary democracies.

Carson demonstrates that our current insistence on tolerance often prevents people from acting on their beliefs. The result of this insistence is a form of intolerance that permeates many arenas including education, the media, and politics. And he sees this intolerance as most frequently attacking Christians. So what does a faithful Christian do? How can you be faithful to the Bible without being sanctioned for intolerance? Carson ends with, “Ways Ahead: Ten Words”, the tenth of which is “Delight in and Trust God”.

While Carson’s examples of intoler­ance will ring true for most readers, his book would be strengthened by the use of some data and critical analysis in addition to the many anecdotes and extensive use of quotations.

Jennilou Grotevant
Wilmington, Ohio