Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 8, 2013

Chew the Meat and Spit Out The Bones? by Irene Shokan

Hat-Tip to Shawnice Powell of ExperiencingWordofFaith

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Chew the Meat and Spit Out The Bones? by Irene Shokan

Are we really instructed to ‘chew the meat and spit out the bones’?

When I first heard this phrase I thought the person was being sarcastic. In fact this statement is quoted with all seriousness and is used to reassure people that they are doing the right thing, by continuing to go to a church that teaches and practises error. It is used to justify ignoring things that are not quite right or what are unequivocally and outright wrong. “Well ‘I’d just chew the meat and spit out the bones”. I’ve never used this statement before but I certainly had that attitude, that’s why I stayed in a church like this for seven years. Every little bit of truth they gave me no matter how much error accompanied it would keep me going for a little bit longer. A little truth acted as the bait and they continued to reel me in, for seven years!

So what does this statement mean? It is often used to emphasise that no church or pastor is perfect. Of course they may teach things that are slightly off or may practise things that raise a few eyebrows. People who have this ‘bone spitting’ attitude claim that they choose to ignore the error and only receive the truth. They expertly dissect the bad parts and embrace the truth that is offered by the pastor. Well that’s all very well and good but is that what the bible  instructs us to do with error. Do we base our decisions on the word or on manmade phrases and ideologies? Do we make up things such as ‘bone spitting’ to ignore what God is really instructing us to do in these situations?

So, let us rightly divide the word of truth  (Not rightly divide the error from the truth to justify the error).

What should our response be when a pastor or minister of some sort is teaching error and mishandling the word of God? First of all, instead of saying no pastor is perfect, what we should really be concerned about is whether our pastor fulfils the qualifications for overseers, laid out in 1 Tim 3:1-7. That is the real question.  A false prophet is anyone that prophesises falsely. When someone claims to have a word from the Lord they are prophesising. This does not just refer to people who have the title prophet, it refers to anyone who presents them self as a minister of God’s word, whether that be a pastor, teacher, evangelist or someone who simply claims to have a word from the Lord. The bible is God’s word so when a person teaches from it they are claiming to be teaching or sharing God’s word. If the teaching of God’s word is mishandled or accompanied with error, they are not giving a true representation of what God is saying.  This is how false doctrines are created and how people become deceived.

Matthew 7:13-19 states:13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because[a] narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

So, “by their fruits you will know them”. A pastor who bears good fruit will demonstrate the qualifications stated in 1 Tim 3:1-7. A pastor who bears bad fruit will demonstrate whatever goes against these qualifications. For example bad fruit includes: being ‘greedy for money’, having a bad reputation due to some scandal or indiscretion, not displaying gentleness, being prideful or unable to rule their own home. Do we dismiss this bad fruit with the argument that no one is perfect?  That is not what we are instructed to do by the word of God.

In the New King James Version, Matthew Chapter 7 is divided under sub-headings. However the original text was a continuous letter. So it helps to put the whole passage into context when it is read as a whole. Matthew 7: 13-19  makes it clear that we should beware of false prophets and reading it as a whole  makes it clear that this is required in order to enter in by the narrow gate. The narrow way and broad way does not simply mean that Christians are on the narrow way and the world is on the broad way. These scriptures were written for the saints not for unbelievers. So the narrow and broad way is within the church. Amongst all that call themselves Christians there are those who are on the narrow way and those who are on the broad path. If you are not convinced then all you have to do is read further to verse 21:

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

This was directed towards people that claimed to know Jesus and did ‘great’ things in His name. This was directed at people who called themselves Christians and followers of Christ. However, they were still turned away and even referred to as those that practiced lawlessness.   This shows us that it is possible to be on the wrong path even if we go to church and do all these wonderful things in the name of the Lord. These people were obviously deceived at some point and thought they were doing God’s work, when in fact they were practising lawlessness.  How does this happen?

The warnings about false prophets are not light-hearted.  They are very strong warnings and not simply heeded to as a matter of preference. They are a matter of life and death. Sometimes when I discuss this issue with other Christians they can be so blasé about it.  They look at me as if I’m overreacting. They dismiss me with phrases such as “chewing the meat and spitting out the bones” or with “there is no perfect church or pastor”, totally missing the point.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

This is a serious warning that makes it clear that a false prophet will not have false prophet stamped on his or her forehead. They will present themselves as a sheep but they are in fact a wolf in disguise. So of course they will give you a little bit of truth. Of course they are going to be seen before men doing all these wonderful exploits and charitable deeds. They’re not going to tell you that they want to take your money and make merchandise out of you (2 Peter 2:3). That’s why they come in sheep’s clothing. So it doesn’t make sense to say you will concentrate on the good things they teach and ignore the error or as some put it, ‘the bones’.  If the meat is contaminated with poison it doesn’t matter how many bones you spit out. You will still be chewing the poisonous meat! Furthermore, we are not instructed to do that, we are instructed to beware of them, that means if you see them coming you avoid them at all costs and have nothing to do with them. It doesn’t mean you eat the meat that they give you. Every time we sit down in these services when they are teaching and practising nonsense we are condoning what they are doing. You are not standing up for the truth when you are sat there every week (at least), you are actually encouraging them and giving them a reason to continue to do what they do. We really have to be honest with ourselves and examine ourselves in relation to these matters.

Itching ears The bible talks about us heaping up false prophets that tell us what our itching ears want to hear. 2

Tim 4:3-4 says:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.I encourage you to examine yourself and ask God to show you if this is what you are doing, to reveal what is in your heart and grant you repentance (2 Tim:2:25).  This is not to tell you to leave your church but to encourage you to get to the point where you admit that enough is enough and seek God for direction in regards to these matters. It is to encourage people to stop taking this blasé, head in the sand attitude and to take this issue as seriously as God takes it. Only then will we make the right decisions and face up to the reality of the times we are living in.  We should be like the Bereans that Paul ministered to:

Acts 17:10-1110 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. When you are studying and find out that what your pastor preached doesn’t line up with scripture we shouldn’t simply ignore it and hope for the best. I’m not encouraging nitpicking as many would accuse me of, but these are major topics where there really is no ambiguity. There are many examples of churches choosing to put their traditions before the word of God and have no intention of stopping the practice of something that has been a tradition for years even if it is unbiblical. (Mark 7 1-13)

Law and grace

Tithing is a good example of this. This was practised under the law (Matt 23:23) and today’s version of it isn’t even that which was done in Old Testament times. It is a manmade version of it. The consequences of practising the law when we are now under grace are very serious and many people in today’s churches are burdened with maintaining these practices, when Christ has freed us from them.

Galatians 3:10-14 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in ALL things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.”[e] 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”[f] 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”[g] 13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”[h]), 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 

This is saying that we bring a curse on ourselves if we practise the law but do not do ALL of it. We say we are under grace but we try to practise some of the law such as tithing or the Sabbath.  This is what false teachers do, they put you under bondage. After escaping the snare of the world we once again find ourselves under bondage as a result of following these false teachers.

2 Peter 2:18-2218 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped[d] from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,”[e] and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

Enjoy the liberty that is in Christ Jesus. Don’t let a pastor tell you that your salvation is dependent on attending a church (as many will have you believe). Pastors that teach that want you to rely on them instead of Christ. I was in church seven days a week at one stage (Monday: choir practice, Tuesday: bible school, Wednesday: mid-week service, Thursday: bible school, Friday: prayer meeting, Saturday: evangelism, Sunday; church service).  I experienced what they call ‘spiritual burnout’, when this was actually exhaustion from serving the institution.  It’s funny how I have not experienced this since leaving my church. This is because I’m serving Christ whose burden is easy and whose yoke is light. (Matt 11:30) I am no longer serving the institution who continues to make demands on your time and money, all under the guise of ‘ministry’. The bible says the blind shall lead the blind and BOTH shall fall into a ditch.  (Matthew 15:13)

Ask God to direct you on these matters and give you a love for the truth (2 Thes 2:10) before it is too late.

2 Cor 6:17-18:17 Therefore “ Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”18 “ I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, aays the LORD Almighty.”

Trust God that he will teach you, the Holy Spirit is your teacher not a man.

1 John 2:2727 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will[a] abide in Him.

Irene Shokan is a free lance writer and teacher living in the U.K.


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