Society has a strong tendency to label anyone who believes a conservative viewpoint as “narrow-minded.” This is especially true in matters of religion. The definition of being “narrow-minded” is “lacking tolerance or breadth of view.”
Is it narrow-minded to believe that Christians only will be saved? Is there no hope for those in other religions? Many believe that God’s love is so large that He will accept anything from a sincere heart. In order for mankind to see the importance of living in harmony with the truth, it is necessary for them to realize that the Bible is “narrow-minded” in its applications of truth.
If it is indeed narrow-minded to believe that Christians only will be saved, then Jesus Christ was a narrow-minded person. In Matthew 7:13-14, Christ taught, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” In vv. 21-23 of the same chapter, Christ said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
Although Jesus is often pictured by some people as being so “broad-minded” that He will accept any and every sort of response which a human being may make to His instructions, the above-quoted words show that this is not so. Only those who obey God will be saved. Furthermore, you can’t be narrow-minded (and therefore wrong) if you follow what the Lord taught. The basic premise that everyone will be saved strikes at the very heart of the Lord’s teaching.
People want to stamp “narrow-minded” on those who think that some will be condemned. These are the same people who are willing to let people into heaven if they have thought about Jesus Christ one time in their lives. If anyone honestly studies the Bible, they will see that the Lord put narrow restrictions on those who enter heaven. Peter and John preached, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Furthermore, Paul wrote, “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” The way to heaven is much more constrained than most think.
Regarding the matter of hope, it is more appropriate to ask if those who are not doing the will of God have any hope. If you are not right with God, do you have hope? Other religions that pretend to obey God but don’t — do they have any hope? We have an obligation and privilege of being like Him. He lived to show us how to live. We are to follow in His steps (Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 2:21). May God help us to have the faith, knowledge, courage, and conviction to remain “narrow-minded” — just like God wants.