Thursday, February 23, 2012

Open Minded?

I was speaking to a brother tonight over the phone. We spoke of a few things, but we always tend to discuss the topic of the surging popularity concerning the disregarding of scripture. Is it for fear of being labeled as a religious bigot? Whatever it is, it isn't from God. We know he is not the author of confusion.

In my debates with Universalists online, they often seek to persuade me to "open my mind". My question is, why? I've read the scriptures. If I know the truth, why give thought to a lie? What they would consider "open minded", is in reality a willingness to harden your heart to truth.

The brother I was speaking with tonight made a great example of this when Satan tempted Eve to eat from tree that God had told her not to. She knew the truth already, yet Satan wanted her to open up a bit and, shall we say, "think outside the box".

"Did God really say...?" Maybe he didn't really mean what he said. Maybe you should explore other interpretations, Eve. Let's dissect his words a bit and find out what God was really trying to show you. The truth that was so simple, was it really meant to be so simple? Or was it a ploy to get you to eat from the tree and gain knowledge?

This is the way Satan works. He clouds clarity, and where there is assurance, he seeks to create doubt.


Bino M. said...

Matthew, your post made me think. You are right, it has become a "cool" thing to disregard Scripture these days.

While, I do not necessarily reject all the "What If" questions people are asking (which is far better than not asking any questions at all), I would flat out reject if someone come up to me and say Jesus is not THE way, but just one way.

Rather, most of the people in the FB community are not necessarily rejecting Jesus as a means for salvation, but they are questioning the institutional church's teachings about hell.

I think it is a healthy thing to question such things, don't you think?

We all started this journey of grace with questioning what the traditions of men taught us for years.

But, I agree that we should stick with what the Scripture for what teaches clearly.

I don't see how they can establish a theory for Universalism, without tossing out a lot of Scriptures.

But one thing which kind of fascinates me is that Apostle Paul didn't give any emphasis to the issue of Hell in any of his teachings. What do you think about that?

Matthew said...

I initially had the same thoughts, Bino. That is, that these people were/are simply going to the scriptures for themselves after possibly years of eating whatever their pastor decided to feed them.

However, I see no reason to question Hell or what Hell is as scripture is extremely clear that it is wrath for those who do not know God.

Jesus spoke of fire, weeping, grinding of teeth, and darkness. The books of Jude, Revelation and Hebrews also allude to fire and darkness and being separated from God forever.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans definitely gave reference to hell and wrath for the unbeliever as well. He did so briefly in other epistles, also.

However, I think for Paul, he desired most to teach the Good News concerning Jesus and the cross. I wouldn't think he went around talking primarily of Hell.

Especially in his letters to Church's.

Why bring up the topic of hell to the saved? I would liken Paul's method of teaching to that of how Andrew Farley or Joel tend to teach. They do not deny Hell's existence, but nor do they have an alternative view of what hell may be. Their focus is teaching the true grace of God.

Bino M. said...


Your post encouraged me to write a post on the issue of universalism.

Joel Brueseke said...

"My question is, why? I've read the scriptures. If I know the truth, why give thought to a lie? What they would consider 'open minded', is in reality a willingness to harden your heart to truth."

Matthew, you are wise beyond your years!

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the very act of repenting (changing ones mind) imply an openness to an idea that is the antithesis of something you currently believe?

Matthew said...

I take that as a huge compliment, Joel! Thanks!

Matthew said...

Hi Anonymous,

I doubt anyone here would say that having an open mind is wrong. That's kinda how we came into this grace stuff. ;)

But what should we be open-minded to doctrines that contradict God's words?

It's not wrong discern truth from error. We're commanded to.

Joel Brueseke said...

Yeah, you said it well, Matthew. Nothing inherently wrong with having an open mind. It's just that, as you said in this post, what's wrong is when they want us to have a mind that is open to what is contrary to the truth in the scriptures.

A while back I had a real life universalist friend, who I've known since the mid 90's, post some universalist thoughts in a comment on a note I wrote on facebook.

When I responded that I didn't believe such things, she responded with, "I'm disappointed in you, Joel." (She's the only one in my entire life who has ever said that to me, BTW).

If I recall correctly, I didn't respond back. What was I to say? "I'm sorry that I don't have the same open mind that you have"? :)

Which gets to the point here. We have indeed learned many great things about God's love and grace through having our minds changed, and we will continue to learn. But that doesn't mean that we accept everything people say, and reject all that we've previously believed, all in the name of "open mindedness." And it doesn't mean that we don't have "open minds" when we do stick with what we already believe to be true.

Matthew said...

Couldn't have said it better, Joel. You always seem to write things out much clearer than myself. :)

Dave said...

Great article bro, and great posts that followed!

I also loved what you shared in the end:

"This is the way Satan works. He clouds clarity, and where there is assurance, he seeks to create doubt."

We don't have to eat of the forbidden fruit to "become enlightened". We don't have to rely upon our own understanding, but simply humbly acknowledge Him and believe His Word, and His grace will be sufficient to lead and guide us in the paths of righteousness for His Name's Sake.

Thanks again! Great blog!
You are loved!