This post was originally published in March 2019. –ed.
Today it’s considered noble for someone to say they have an open mind. But is it really virtuous to leave our thinking so exposed? We have doors in our homes to keep some things out and other things in, and we open the doors at our discretion to make that distinction. A wise man guards his mind in the same way—only a fool would leave his mind open to anything and everything.
That’s why God’s Word places so much importance on discernment. Scripture takes the naïve, inexperienced, immature, uninformed, ignorant person whose mind is an open door and teaches him when to shut it.
The apostle Paul had that goal in mind when he instructed Timothy to “have nothing to do with worldly fables” (1 Timothy 4:7). “Fables” is a translation of the Greek word muthos, from which we transliterate the English word myth. Second Timothy 4:4 says that some “will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” So Paul considered truth and myths (or fables) as opposites. The Christian should gain spiritual nourishment from the truth and shun that which opposes it.
The identification of fables as “fit only for old women” (1 Timothy 4:7) has a cultural meaning. Philosophers used the phrase as a sarcastic epithet when they wanted to heap disdain on a particular viewpoint. It conveyed the picture of an old lady with aging faculties telling a fairy tale to a child. The expression also generally referred to things that lacked credibility.
The mind is a precious thing. God wants those who serve as spiritual leaders to have pure minds saturated with the truth of God’s Word. There’s no place for worldly fables or unholy contradictions to the truth. Yet somehow contemporary society would rather follow any of those than biblical truth.
The mark of theological scholarship in some circles is no longer how well a man knows the Bible but how well he understands the speculations of the secular, academic establishment.
When I was considering completing a doctoral degree in theology, the representative of the graduate program looked over my transcripts and concluded I had had too much Bible and theology in my undergraduate work. So he gave me a list of two hundred books I was to read before the school would admit me into its program. I ran the list by someone familiar with the titles and learned that the whole list contained nothing but liberal theology and humanistic philosophy—it was full of worldly fables passed off as scholarship! The graduate school also required me to take a course called Jesus and the Cinema. That involved watching contemporary movies and evaluating whether each was antagonistic to or supportive of what they termed “the Jesus ethic.” That course had reduced the divine Jesus to an ambiguous ethic. I met with the representative again and said, “I just want to let you know that I have spent all my life to this point learning the truth, and I can’t see any value in spending the next couple of years learning error.” I put the materials down on his desk and walked away.
Conversely, a friend of mine who lacked firm truth convictions went to a liberal seminary to prepare for ministry. He came out a bartender. The confusion of liberalism had destroyed his motivation to serve God.
I’m grateful to God that from the beginning of my training right on through to today, He has allowed me to fill my mind with His truth. My mind is not a battleground of indecision about what is true and what is false, over things “which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:4). I can speak with conviction because there’s no equivocation in my mind. I have conscientiously avoided the plethora of supposed intellectuals and scholars who disagree with biblical truth.
Your mind is precious, and it needs to be kept clear from satanic lies. The faithful shepherd maintains his biblical convictions and clarity of mind by exposing himself continually to the Word of God.
(Adapted from The Master's Plan for the Church and Final Word)