What do you think when someone says to you “You should have an open mind?” That would probably depend on what worldview you have adopted. In one worldview, one should always have an open mind because there is no such thing as “absolute truth” (ironically, an absolute statement in itself). But in their thinking, any moral, any philosophy, any “truth” is relative to the situation or the person. Thus, we should keep an “open mind” to be able to accept and tolerate any lifestyle, moral construct, or theory.
On the other hand, there are those for whom there does exist absolutes; absolute morals, absolute “rights and wrongs”, and absolute and inviolable truths. So when someone asks them to “keep on open mind” it is interpreted as saying, “Look, loosen up. If you would just keep an open mind about these things, you’ll be able to come around to our way of thinking. You will ‘progress’ in your life. You will become more urban, erudite, and sophisticated in your thinking.” To “absolutists”, keeping an open mind about these things is to succumb to ideas and philosophies that are blatantly “wrong”. Therefore, keeping an open mind, to them, is like treason.
Generally speaking, those of us who are of a historically orthodox Christian persuasion, are not fans of “keeping an open mind”. There are things about which we do not want to keep an open mind. We don’t want to keep and “open mind” about the virgin birth, resurrection, or inspiration of Scripture. To do so would be to entertain doubts and undermine the authority of the Word. We don’t want to keep an “open mind” concerning the prevailing sexual revolution that overthrows what the Bible clearly teaches about human sexuality, moral purity, and theories of existence. “We have a very satisfying and clearly annotated biblical grid by which to operate, thank you very much!”, they would say.
So, is there any time or circumstance in which a solidly Bible believing Christian needs to have our mind opened? Yes, there is!
In Luke 24:36-49 Jesus appears to his disciples on the evening of the resurrection. Some have in a tongue and cheek way called this “the first Sunday evening service” of the church. Others, less tongue and cheek have used this to “prove” that each church should have a Sunday evening service. But Jesus appears to them and it scared the be-jabbers out of them. Jesus tries to calm them by showing them his hands and feet and encourages them to touch him to the end that they would realize that he was not some kind of apparition. Following this, an interesting phrase is used of the disciples; “And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling” (v. 41 ESV). I don’t think this means that they were still sinfully unbelieving at this point because the proof was standing right before them. I think this is more akin to us, in a moment of great joy, saying to ourselves, “I don’t believe it…I don’t believe it”. I think that is the sense of “disbelieved for joy”.
After Jesus ate a bite of food, further proving his physical reality, he puts on his old teacher’s hat and says, “these are my words I spoke to you while I was still with you” (v. 44). What were these words? They were the words of Moses, the OT prophets, and the Psalms concerning him that were fulfilled in his death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus takes them right to the Scriptures (the OT being the only Scriptures then extant) and says, “According to the Scriptures, all this had to happen. Those scriptures all talk about me”. And then the text says something both revealing and delightful; “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (v. 45). He was opening their understanding of the Scriptures to realize that the entire OT was a prelude to what they were now witnessing in his death, burial, and resurrection. He was helping them understand that the writers of the OT were writing about him. He was helping them understand that he is the focus of all the Scripture. He was opening their minds to the idea of Jesus Christ in all of Scripture.
Still today, we need some mind opening among Bible believing people. Some, sadly, have adopted a view of the OT that relegates it to a non-necessity. It has some good stories in it. It teaches some good moralisms. There are some good principles to follow. But really, we need to concentrate on the NT because that is where Jesus is to be found; that is where Jesus comes onto the scene.” As Jesus teaches his disciples here, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s all about him. It is all prelude to what the disciples were now witnessing.
Oh how we need our “minds opened” to understand this. Jesus began to do this during the “first Sunday night service”. He is still doing it via the Holy Spirit in the hearts and minds of those who have eyes to see him in the pages of the OT. We cannot have a correct view of the OT as a “Christian book” until we do. God help us to see that the whole Bible is about Jesus. That was the first message Jesus preached to his disciples on that first Sunday night.