The phrase “the end justifies the means” has been bouncing around in my head a lot lately, especially as related to being open-minded toward scriptural and doctrinal issues. Do the ends justify the means? What constitutes the “ends” and “means” is a very broad topic, and I don’t intend to go into it in depth here, though it is an increasingly important issue in regards to evangelism, worship, theology, doctrine, etc.
I lean heavily toward what the world (and some evangelicals) would call a “close-minded” approach, though Allan Bloom in The Closing of the American Mind argued that the form of open-mindedness (relativism) espoused by many postmoderns and liberals is really a closing of the mind by: making all endeavors of discovery of equal value stunts a desire for learning; holding to a waffling philosophy promotes ignorance; and causing them to be close-minded toward those who actually hold to solid beliefs as truth.
Over at the Ligonier Ministries Blog, Burk Parsons has a brief but blistering critique of open-mindedness as it relates to pluralism, salvation, and the Christian faith. Please read it by clicking here. He argues that perhaps Satan’s greatest triumph is persuading believers that open-mindedness is a good thing. Religious pluralism is gaining steam as the accepted worldview of the day, but Christians must hold to Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation.
Parsons says that though many evangelicals have become “precarious evanjellyfish,” many have not yet fallen prey to religious pluralism – though it is on the horizon. Like Parsons, by God’s grace I strive to be “close-minded” to anything not scriptural (though I so often sin and fall short). If I am labeled close-minded for the sake of the gospel, I welcome that title with open arms. Parsons also cites John Calvin in saying that apart from Christ, all theology and doctrine is useless, vain, confused, and deceitful. Philosophers, politicians, and world religious leaders might have some nice things to say, but ultimately “they have nothing but what is short-lived, and even are mixed up with wicked and erroneous sentiments.” [sic]