About being narrow-minded…

About being narrow-minded or broad-minded taken from The Total Blessing # 11 by Richard Wurmbrand

Narrow-mindedness is the object of much scorn……When we pass from jokes to reality, narrow-mindedness becomes a virtue. In fact, the Bible endorses it. Paul was so convinced that the gospel he preached was sacrosanct that he wrote: ‘Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel to you than that which we preached unto you, let him be accursed’ (Gal 1.8). He would not have joined ecumenical councils with those who thought differently in theological matters. He would consider them ‘accursed’. Today, believers are far removed from this narrow thinking. Most consider broad-mindedness a virtue to be praised.

John the Evangelist knew he had the doctrine, besides which there was no other. Therefore he wrote, ‘ If there come any unto you and bring not this doctrine [of Christ], receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed’ (2 John 10). He even adds (v 11), ‘He that bids him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds’. He left little room for an ecumenical council. It is told that Cerinthus, a heretic, once entered the house where John was bathing, and the latter left his bath naked and fled, not wishing to be under one roof with a man of another doctrine.

Luther warned, ‘The peacock has the garb of an angel and the song of a devil. He is the true picture of a heretic. All heretics look pious, even angelic’. He was so narrow-minded that he refused to shake hands with Zwingli, with whom he differed about the real presence of Christ in holy communion.

God is all-embracing, but his messengers have always been one-sided. Rarely have they been capable of teamwork. It could scarcely be otherwise, because they have stood alone. Steel columns need no wooden props. God’s messengers are pillars in his Church, supporting but unsupported. They can afford to be narrow-minded because they need no one’s approval.

Narrow-mindedness does have its negative side, however. Christians are taught to be hospitable. We should be hospitable toward ideas, too, not only toward people, because truth can never be the possession of a single individual. The Church embraces all kinds of individuals, with all sorts of experiences, in many diverse cultures, throughout the centuries. It is obvious they cannot all think alike in every detail.

But we proceed at our peril if we avoid narrow-mindedness when we seek to pass through a strait gate and walk on a narrow way. On the other hand, narrow-mindedness can also hurt the truth.

It is wrong to be narrow-minded and also wrong to be broad-minded. The ‘I’ that asserts itself should not be. I have to deny myself, denying also the ‘I’ that denies. As a person embraced by their beloved is no longer conscious of an ‘I’ and a ‘you’, so the being embraced by God is neither narrow nor broad-minded. We lose our ‘mindedness’ in the holy embrace in which the Eternal and the believer have become one. Here all distinctions between broad and narrow-mindedness lose their significance, along with the distinction between selfishness and unselfishness.

Why should we not be selfish when our self is God? Why should we not be unselfish when nothing remains of our former self, so that we have nothing to lose?

The one true doctrine, the one true gospel on which Paul and John insisted was this doctrine of oneness with God. Away with the speculations of righteous men about a God outside themselves!These speculations, of narrow-minded bigot or broad-minded liberal, will be false if there is no union with God, in whom problems and divergences disappear.

Therefore don’t be narrow-minded, and don’t be broad-minded either. Don’t be! Blessed is the person whose epitaph is like that of a saint of old: ‘Hic jacet nemo’. (Here lies no one.) Christ is all.

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