Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Danger of “Open Doors”

You are lonely.  You passionately pray for God to bring a companion.  The next day you meet this absolutely amazing person of the opposite sex.  Everything seems perfect.  God has “finally opened up this door”.  Yeah, he’s not a believer, but you are confident that because God has perfectly aligned the stars this person will certainly become a believer soon enough.  It’s the will of God.  It has to be. 

I’ve counseled a good number of people with this very mindset (not just teenagers, either).  Things are lining up into place so this MUST be the will of God.  After all doesn’t God give peace?  Isn’t it true that God isn’t the author of confusion? 

Russell Moore in his new book Tempted and Tried offers wise counsel on “open-door theology”:

The foolish son in Proverbs 7 received step-by-step what he wanted.  Everything, from the adulteress’s desire for him to her husband’s coincidental out-of-town journey, all fell into place.  It must have felt like serendipity.

Sometimes Christians make decisions based on seeing opportunities come open.  In our spiritual lingo we often talk about “open doors” and “closed doors” and “seeing where God is at work” in circumstances, as evidence of God’s leading us to do something or other.  There’s a sense in which that’s wisdom, observing the situation around us in order to make a decision.  But sometimes people will assume the “open doors” in their lives are all signals to go forward.  How could it not be right when everything just seems to be fitting together perfectly? But what if something wicked is just ahead of you, opening those doors for you, right down to the chambers of hell?  (Russell Moore, Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ, 48-49)

Just because “everything works out” doesn’t necessarily mean it is “God’s will”.  In fact it is never wise to assume that something is God’s will whenever it is directly contrary to Scripture.  Just because it is an “open door” doesn’t mean that it now has more authority than Scripture. 

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