By Irvin Himmel
“You are the most narrow-minded person I ever met,” said one who scarcely knows an apostle from an epistle, speaking to a friend who has strong convictions. Enamored with the idea of broad-mindedness, some people are so liberal in their thinking that they try to believe anything and everything and end up believing nothing.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). If this statement has any meaning at all, it conveys the thought that Jesus Christ is man’s only access to the Father. Any attempt to reach God apart from the mediatorship of Jesus ignores God’s plan of approach. Was Jesus narrow-minded in presenting this teaching?
John wrote, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4). According to John, all who profess to know the Lord but do not keep his commandments are liars. Only the people who are faithful in keeping his commandments really know the Lord. Was John narrow-minded in making such a statement?
Paul taught, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are 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” (Eph. 4:4,5). Today, there are many bodies, numerous faiths, and it is openly declared that one church is as good as another. Was the apostle Paul narrow-minded?
Jude emphatically stated that the faith was “once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Some modern religions are based on the doctrine of progressive revelation. Their proponents tell us to be broad-minded and accept what has been delivered to the saints through latter-day “prophets.” Was Jude narrow-minded?
Peter wrote that “baptism doth also now save us” (1 Pet. 3:21). He urged sinners to “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). People tell me that I am bigoted if I think one must be baptized to be saved. Was Peter narrowminded?
James wrote, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” Most denominations say justification is by faith only. When I say the denominations are wrong on this point and quote James 2:24, people tell me that I am narrow and intolerant. Was James narrow-minded?
Matthew records that Jesus was born of a virgin in fulfillment of prophecy (Matt. 1:18-23). Modern theologians tell us in pious tones that we should be liberal-minded and not argue that Jesus was actually virgin-born. Was the apostle Matthew narrow-minded?
The Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). No other explanation is offered for the origin of the universe. Now men tell us we should be open-minded and put human theories on equality with, or even above, the creationist view. Is the Bible narrow?
If it be admitted that such persons as Peter, James, John, Paul, Jude, Matthew, and even Jesus Christ our Lord were narrow, I am in good company when I am charged with being narrow-minded for teaching what they taught. If it be acknowledged that the Bible is narrow, I plead guilty to the same narrowness, for I believe the Bible!
Anyone who restricts his way of life by following rules and laws will be considered narrow-minded by all who dislike such rules and laws. Anyone who insists upon accuracy and exactness, whether in reasoning or in work, will be viewed as narrow-minded by all who are loose and careless. Anyone who thinks, studies, and forms definite conclusions will be labeled narrow-minded by all who in ignorance and indecision vacillate from one state of mind to another. Any who practice moral restraint are considered narrow-minded by people who desire unrestrained carnal indulgence. One who attempts to closely follow a standard will be charged with narrow-mindedness by others who wish to deviate from that standard. A conservative is always narrow-minded to a liberal. A Christian is narrow-minded to the worldly individual and to the unbeliever.
Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the way to heaven is “narrow.” Open your Bible and read Matt. 7:13, 14.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:22, p. 2
April 4, 1974