There may not be a more acceptable state of mind than that of the “open mind”. The more I share the Gospel with the lost, the more I encounter this form of worldly righteousness.
The open mind has a veneer of humility and acceptance, and this is appealing to the world. Who doesn’t want to appear humble and accepting? Therefore in our culture, anyone who doesn’t have an open mind is seen as narrow, arrogant and downright ignorant.
But don’t let the open minded mentality fool you.
In Acts 17, Paul stood before the most open-minded people one could find. Luke says that the Athenians and the foreigners there spent time doing nothing but learning new things. Because Paul brought something new, they were excited for the opportunity to exercise their open-mindedness.
By the end of Paul’s sermon, we see the reaction of the “open mind” to the truth. The result is that as easy as things go in, they are just as easily dismissed, especially if what the thing being told suggests that they allow it to stay. Only the truth can assert such a demand.
What the gospel suggests and what the “open mind” can never tolerate is the notion that in reality, the open mind is nothing more than a blind mind.
Paul gives a visual aid to suggest the true state of the open mind. When Paul uses the Greek word “pselaphao” to describe how all men everywhere “feel their way” to God, it is only used once in all Greek literature. In Homer’s epic Poem “The Odyssey” this rare word is used to describe how the monster Cyclops groped around after Odysseus blinded him. With this picture, Paul suggested that they were not well-informed sophisticated Greeks who had the ability to discern things. They were as a brutish monster, conquered and blinded that goes about groping the ground for a scrap of meat.
But Paul adds a hopeful truth to that statement. In Acts 17:27 the entire verse reads “that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way to him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us”.
Why should open minded people settle on Jesus Christ as the answer to the hope they seek? How can we rest assured that we should follow Jesus only? Paul answers that in verse 31 “…and of this he has given assurance to us all by raising him from the dead”.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ ought to close the door to any other would-be teacher of righteousness.
So when an “open minded” person asks why you’re so sure that Jesus is the only true way, you can give them the same answer that Paul did: Jesus rose from the dead.
Now, before you get too excited that I just gave the silver bullet to the open mind, remember what I said before. The open minded person takes pride in the activity of leaving that door open. Without the Spirit of God shining the light of truth, they’ll toss truth aside like a blind man tosses a sack of gold aside because it feels like a bag of rocks.
The sad state of the open minded mentality is that it is also an unsubmissive mentality. It only submits to itself.
If you see yourself as an open minded person may I suggest that you exchange that mentality for something better? Instead of being a seeker of truth claims to grope and sniff and toss to the side having no real perspective, submit yourself to someone worthy of telling you what’s in your hand.
While you’re at it, consider Jesus as a guide. He called out “come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28). He died for the punishment of your sins and rose from the grave. Who could measure up to that?
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