The Issue of Mindsets

The Issue of Mindsets

Both believers and non-believers are affected by their mindsets. In the 55 years our ministry has existed, we have found that the mindset of people on both sides of issues is the source of conflict between atheists and believers, evolutionists and creationists. Dr. Katherine Beals, an education expert, wrote an excellent article on the issue of mindsets. She distinguishes between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

The fixed mindset leads to the following ways of thinking: I know best – This is good enough – I’ll never be that smart – I want to avoid making mistakes – I give up. As you read those five statements, consider what you hear from older people in established congregations today. They reject any proposal to do things differently even though there is no scriptural reason for not using another method. The same problem exists with evolutionists who are so fixed in their mindset that they refuse to listen to any attempt to harmonize belief in God with their evolutionary theories.

On the other hand, the growth mindset leads to these ways of thinking: Is this my best work? – Mistakes help me learn – Feedback is valuable – I improve with practice – I won’t give up. Jesus commonly used the phrase, “What do you think?” The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 is full of admonitions to the people of His day to think with a growth mindset.

Interestingly, Jesus Christ ran into the issue of mindsets as He dealt with people in matters of faith. The Pharisees and Sadducees had fixed mindsets, and they crucified Jesus because He didn’t fit their mindset. At the same time, gentiles had a growth mindset, wanting to know more and being willing to change. For example, the story of Cornelius in Acts 10 shows that he had a growth mindset and was willing to change. In Paul’s missionary journies, he found that Jews had a fixed mindset while the Gentiles had a growth mindset.

The Church today is struggling with the issue of mindsets. Young people have a growth mindset, and the older congregations have a fixed mindset. This is manifested in many ways. The real problem is that congregations with a fixed mindset will eventually die out. From the beginning, Christianity, with its growth mindset, grew and is still growing. Fixed-mindset congregations will die when the fixed-mindset members die, but the Lord’s Chuch will continue to grow and expand. Our ministry is about growth and learning. Won’t you join us?

— John N. Clayton © 2024

Reference: Skeptical Inquirer for July/August 2024, pages 49-51