An Open Mind

One of the things most promoted and praised in our society of tolerance is an “open mind.” In academic circles, it may mean being open to new ideas and cultures, often the idea that other cultures are superior to ours. An “open mind” can be advocated on moral issues; be open to different lifestyles, usually homosexual or other deviant behaviors. The definition of an “open mind” in the world of religion is to realize you do not necessarily understand God’s will and others probably do. Another way of putting all of this is, we are in search of the truth, ever grasping for it, but never sure that we have it. Thus, we must have an “open mind.” In morals and religion, this is contrary to God’s word.

God is clear about moral matters. Sodomites and lesbians are condemned (1 Cor. 6:9-10; Rom. 1:26-32). Adulterers and fornicators will be judged by God and found wanting (Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8). Uncleanness and lewdness, which include immodesty and dancing, will keep one from going to heaven, which means one will go to hell (Gal. 5:19-21). Some in society, even among “religious” circles, are trying to tell us we should have an “open mind” about these matters. We should be tolerant of another “lifestyle.” If we do not approve of them, or at least remain silent about them, then we are “closed-minded” and intolerant (the worst crime of which we can be accused). In spite of all of this, God says we are not to have an “open mind” about these matters.

Moreover, God has revealed the truth on doctrinal matters. Baptism is for salvation, the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16). The church is the body and there is only one (Eph. 1:22-23; 4:4). We are reconciled to God in that one body, where we find peace (Eph. 2:16; Col. 3:15). Singing is the prescribed musical worship for the church (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). The name given to believers is Christian (Acts 11:26; 1 Pet. 4:16). For years the denominational world has told us to have an “open mind” about all of these subjects. We are not to be dogmatic and intolerant of the way others understand the Bible and practice “their” religion. Again, they want us to remain silent at the very least. However, God says we are to have “no other mind” when it comes to the doctrine of Christ (Gal. 1:10).

It is sad, but some brethren have been so infected with the “open mind” mentality that their sense and good judgment have escaped. They seem to have a view that we are still seeking and searching for the truth, that we have yet to arrive at it and should be tolerant of differing views on significant doctrinal points (i.e. divorce and remarriage, fellowship, creation). The fact is, God has revealed His will in a way we can understand, and He expects us to keep and defend it (Jn. 8:32; Eph. 3:3-4; 1 Thess. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:15; 2 Cor. 10:3-5). When it comes to the truth, we are to be “single-minded.”

This is not to say that we are to shun an open investigation. Truth has nothing to hide or fear. In fact, an open debate about a point of truth is desirable (Matt. 22; Acts 15, 17). Yet, when the truth is established we are obligated to accept and promote it.

The drive behind having an “open mind” is to tolerate brethren who have gone off into, and are promoting, error. It is the same tactic used by the denominational world. Don’t fall for it.

Steven F. Deaton