Is Your Church Open-Minded?

Post Author: Bill Pratt 

Recently my wife and I were in Charleston, SC on a weekend getaway. If you’ve never been to Charleston, it is famous for its horse-drawn carriage rides around the historic downtown area of the city. We took one of these carriage rides and had a great time listening to our guide as we meandered through the sights of Charleston.

One thing the guide said to us, though, provoked me. He was commenting on the various churches in the city, and he mentioned that he preferred the more open-minded churches in the city and he recommended a couple of them to us if we wanted to attend a service Sunday morning.

My wife also caught his comments and we started talking later about what he meant. Given our extended conversations with him, it became clear that he was referring to the liberal Episcopal churches in Charleston as more open-minded, and the conservative Baptist churches as, well, not.

What I found interesting is that the guide assumed that a person’s first criterion for choosing a church is that it should be open-minded. That strikes me as so odd. My first criterion for choosing a church is the following: Are they teaching the truth about God? 

G. K. Chesterton once said, “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.” I am far more concerned with knowing what a church has shut its mind on than what it has opened it to.

Churches are supposed to teach us about ultimate reality, about God himself. They are supposed to addressed the most serious questions that human beings face in this life and the next. What churches teach have a tremendous impact on our morality, wisdom, and final destinies.

So why in the world would I want to attend a church that is open-minded about all those things? I want answers. I want the truth because I want my life to conform to the way the world really is. An open-minded church is a church that is failing to serve its congregation.

Is your church open-minded about God, sin, the afterlife, morality, and justice? If so, then get out of there as quick as you can. You have chosen badly.

  • Well said. I usually read “open minded” as “doesn’t like to take a stance on things.” Not a good quality in a church.

  • sean

    Not that this invaidates your general point, but there’s a possibility that he conflaited open-minded interpretation and liberal interpretation. Admittedly I was not there, but knowing a fair number of liberal Christians, I know they do this often. It’s not that they are saying the Bible is up to interpretation, just that the correct inerpretation is more ‘open-minded’ torwards, for example, gay people. I’m not saying I agree with him -I actually tend to side with more conservative Christians within the framework of the Bible- but I think that was where he was coming from, not an open disregard for the Biblical teachings.

  • You make a good point. One thing I have seen, though, is that the Bible-believing liberal Christian seems to inevitably slide toward a non-Bible-believing liberal Christian, and then towards a non-Christian.

    They become so enamored with their favorite liberal cause (e.g., gay marriage) that they are willing to openly disavow portions of the Bible that don’t support their viewpoint. Either that, or they come up with incredibly tortured interpretations of Bible passages that are a thousand miles away from the original intent of the biblical authors.