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Open-Minded or Gullible?

Christians are often depicted as closed-minded, superstitious, uneducated, and backwards in their ways.  This image is portrayed in television, movies, newspapers, and popular media.  It is a false, prejudicial stereotype that has been created by those who despise Christianity and resent that its teachings make them accountable for their own sins.  Nevertheless, they have been effective in propagating this image and changing the perception of Christianity.

Because of this perception, there is a temptation for Christians to make efforts to change this impression.  No one wants to be regarded as foolish and backwards, so Christians naturally want to emerge from this negative stereotype.  To do this, some Christians have attempted to become more sophisticated and educated in the ways of the world so that they become legitimized in the eyes of the world.  They want to be open-minded and progressive in their thinking so that others will see them positively.

This can create a dangerous situation in which a Christian can be duped into accepting a popular belief that is false and contrary to the faith.  Paul warned Timothy of this situation in 1Timothy 6:20-21 – “O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ – which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith.”  Paul’s admonition to guard the treasure of the Christian faith implies that it stands in danger of attack by false arguments raised against it.  If we open ourselves up to these arguments in the name of open-mindedness, then we let our guard down and put our faith in danger.

Therefore, let us firmly stand on the foundation of truth, and let us not be moved from it.  When considering someone else’s belief or opinion, set some rules to keep yourself anchored lest you drift away from the truth.  Consider these rules:

  • Be willing to listen to someone’s argument, but only if it is well-reasoned from the Scriptures, which was the noble-minded approach of the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11).  Do not accept a belief based on other’s opinions or the writings of men without Scriptural evidence regardless of how convincing they may be.
  • Do not accept an argument’s conclusions as truth just because you do not know how to argue against it.  Many false teachers attempt to influence others by stumping them with unanswerable, hypothetical questions, so do not fall into their trap.  Consult your Bible and study the subject carefully.  Consult your fellow Christians who may have the answers you need.  If the argument is true, then it will be confirmed by the Bible.
  • Do not be intimidated by the worldly acclaim or the popularity of those espousing a belief.  Even if the world embraces a teacher with his doctrine, this does not mean that he is right.  Even if you do not have the worldly credentials that others esteem, you have as much right to a well-reasoned belief as anyone else.  Remember that Jesus and His apostles were not educated or endorsed by the religious authorities of their day, but they preached the truth.  “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
  • Recognize the difference between faith and fact.  Fact is an undeniable truth that has been confirmed by measurement or eye-witness testimony.  Faith is belief in something that cannot be seen or otherwise experienced with the senses.  Teachings are sometimes presented as being based on facts when they are actually based on faith.  This is done to discourage anyone from arguing against the teachings.  For example, the theory of evolution is now taught as a fact of science even though no one has ever been able to prove it by the scientific method.  Do not accept such specious teachings as facts, but instead challenge their teachers to present evidence to support their faith.

These are not all of the rules that a Christian should follow as a good defender of the faith, but these make for a good start.  In any case, consider that the best defense of the faith is a good offense.  Therefore, defend the faith (1Pet. 3:14-15) by wielding the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph. 6:17).  Use the Word of God to destroy “speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God” (2Cor. 10:5).  Do not be gullible to false, worldly teaching, “carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).  And finally, keep in mind that it really does not matter how the world chooses to perceive you as long as you are right in the sight of God.

Stacey E. Durham




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