You read that right. The Bible says, unarguably and undeniably, that God is perhaps the most closed-minded being that has ever existed. Don’t worry, I can prove it, and I can also prove that it’s a really, really, REALLY good thing.
First, let’s define what open-mindedness even looks like. Merriam-Webster nails it down as being “willing to consider different ideas or opinions.” On a quick Google search, I also saw that open-minded people accept other people’s views, recognize the possibility that they are wrong, and don’t think their views need to be held by everyone else.
On the surface, that sounds pretty good. I love chocolate ice cream and happen to think it’s the best. I do, however, accept my husband’s love of vanilla, recognize that it’s possible (though doubtful) that I’m wrong, and I don’t demand that everyone love chocolate ice cream as much as I do.
Open mindedness is great when we’re looking at opinions, but not so great when we’re talking about facts. And according to the Bible, when it comes to facts, God doesn’t allow any, “I’ll do my thing, you do yours,” “We’re all basically saying the same thing,” or, “You just do what’s right for you.”
Uh-uh. Nope. Here’s what Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). No one gets right with God except by faith in Jesus’s death and resurrection. No one, no way but Jesus.
In our culture today, words like that would be met with shock, disgust, and protest. Jesus would have heard (and Christians do hear) people railing against such closed-minded, intolerant thinking.
Are those railers right?
If you believe that God created the world, then you believe that God created the laws that govern the world (from gravity to generosity), right? That means, as the Creator and the perfect One, He is really the only who has any authority about what universe-governing laws exist.
Unfortunately, we broke those laws. The Bible tells us that, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), which we prove every day. I mean, flip through a Bible sometime and tell me one person you know who has done everything in it correctly. You can’t. Not only that, but James 2:10 says, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” Even if you only messed up one time, compared to God’s perfection, you are just as disgusting as if you had committed every single sin.
So what does our authority, God, say about the punishment deserved for those sins? “Death” (Romans 6:23). Eternal, spiritual death.
That’s why God sent Jesus. Like I mentioned before, Jesus is “the Way.” His death is the way to a clean and holy heart before God. And it’s simple. Jesus Himself said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” That’s it. That’s the way out. Faith in Jesus.
Yet we hear that and exclaim, “How closed-minded!”
Um, what? If your sister was drowning, about to die, and you saw that your brother held a rope, would you want him to throw it to her? Or would you think that it was too closed-minded to demand she take his way of salvation?
God shows us the way to be saved! And yes, it happens to be the only way, but He shows it to us! When the Bible says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12), that’s not out of closed-mindedness, that’s out of God’s love. He is telling us the facts so we can take action.
And with eternal consequences riding in the balance, shouldn’t we be glad He gave us clear directions?
Let’s bring this down to what it all means for us right here, right now. For those who have never accepted Jesus’s gift of salvation, it means it’s time to stop hurling accusations and to start digging into what Jesus Himself said. It’s time to see the love that prompts Him to hold fast to the truth.
For those of us who have already accepted that wonderful gift, it means we need to be seeing people as they are. We can’t leave those who aren’t Christians to be content with whatever path they have chosen, because we know where those paths lead. We have to remember that, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). We have the chance to point people to everlasting life instead of leaving them hopeless under God’s wrath. If we love people, we can’t be open-minded about salvation.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). That’s a pretty far cry from intolerance, don’t you think?