OK, maybe not a “kind” title, but I got your attention!
Sometimes dishonesty and neglect in dealing with real problems has a way to come back and bite you. Here is a case in point:
Back when I was a board member at a church that was fundamentalist in name only1, a fellow board member and I came under fire for using materials from C.R. Stam and Les Feldick in our Bible studies. Never mind the allowance of other using materials from Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore, Mark Dever, Andy Stanley, Andrew Copeland, etc., in their studies. These people had the “Big Eva” seal of approval. God forbid we question them!
When we came under fire, the fellow board member, George, defended some of Les Feldick’s teaching in bringing up Matthew 15:24, where the Lord Jesus Himself said that He was “not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. George relayed to me that the pastor said very plainly, “He never said that”. While not there at that exchange, I did deal with a similar situation. I told them my thoughts on Pentecost and that Peter was telling his Israelite audience that they needed to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and that this was not the gospel that any of us teach today, at least I hope not. They asked me if I believed Peter meant that. I replied that it was what he said2. They defended the Pentecostal beginning of the church age (not in scripture, not one bit of it) with the “many other things” in Acts 2:40 to say that Peter did indeed preach the exact same gospel in Acts 2 that the Lord later gave Paul to teach. We were done, no matter what the Bible said.
Back to Matthew 15. The Lord indeed did say that He was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Look it up in your Bible.
Matthew 15:24 — “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Now I have been trying to stay away from some of these subjects for some time because I believe it more important to teach the truths of the Pauline revelation than it is to teach the difference of the Pauline revelation.
There is now a video circulating of a “Bible teacher” — or pastor or something — teaching about how the Lord3 had to repent of His racism and preference after the “real hero” of the exchange, the Syro-Phoenician woman, spoke “truth to power” in calling the Lord out on saying that He was “not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”. This clergyman said that her response was that even the dogs “deserve” the crumbs, which is not what she said. I am sure many of you have seen this nonsense or some commentary on it from an endless supply of online commentators. Rather, this Syro-Phoenician woman (this Gentile “dog”) worshiped Him and begged Him to help her daughter.
Suddenly, so many had to resort to at least a crude form of — “gulp” — dispensationalism. I say a crude form, because they have had to come to terms with the FACT that the Lord’s ministry was indeed to Israelites, as my former Pastor and fellow board members would not. I have not yet heard anyone come to terms with the fact that the apostles’ ministry after the Lord’s resurrection and ascension was also to the Israelites according to the covenant:
Acts 3:25–26 — “Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”
From the Answer in Genesis website:
“Robertson has taken this passage out of context and totally distorted it. In Matthew 15:21–28 and the parallel passage in Mark 7:24–30, Jesus is both teaching his disciples and testing the faith of the Syrophoenician woman. Jesus makes it clear that his ministry was to the Jew first. (They rejected him, and in the book of Acts we see the church progressively shift from reaching just the Jews to reaching the world with the gospel message.) It wouldn’t have been right for Jesus to take the “children’s food” and give it to their pets (contrary to what Robertson claims, the word Jesus used wasn’t a racial slur—it was the word for “pet dog” in Greek).
“In her response, the woman shows her incredible faith in acknowledging the nature of Jesus’ ministry but asking that the “crumbs” be given to her. He honors her faith and heals her child.“
There are some things that are spot on in this. First, let me say that I am very thankful for AIG and their stand on the Bible as it is written, from the very first verse. To say that the Lord was just testing her though misses the point. He was not just testing her, He was telling her the way it is. The Lord’s ministry was indeed to Israel and Gentiles were absolutely excluded from any claim on Him. And to get back to our “pastor” friend, no one deserves any help from the Lord. To take this further, no one deserves grace, even now. That is what defines grace.
Romans 9:15 — “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
This episode in Matthew is an illustration of exactly what Paul later said in Romans:
Romans 15:8–9 — “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.”
In response to other issues raised here, speaking about the Greek word for dog helps very little. If you don’t believe me, refer to your wife as a dog, and when she gets mad tell her that you meant a pet dog and see if it helps.
It is much better to confront this kind of nonsense with the truth of God’s word:
- God’s mercy is His own. He is free to exercise it on who He chooses to, because it is His. He does not owe anyone anything.
- God dealt with Israel as His special and privileged nation. And He has every right to do that. He is God. See Exodus 19:5 & 6.
- God’s will and prophetic plan was for the Gentile nations to be blessed through Israel. See Genesis 12:1–3. This is the dogs eating the crumbs from the children’s table, whether pet dogs or wild. No one thinks that little animals under their table deserve food scraps. We give them to be kind.
- In the present dispensation, we, as Gentile believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are not eating scraps from Israel’s table. We are fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel. (Ephesians 3:6). Far too many think and teach that we are still begging for and eating those scraps.
- Don’t listen to people who change the words of the Bible. If someone changes the words of the Bible to conform it to his doctrine he has a problem. He should rather conform his doctrine to the very words of Scripture.
- Reject totally with extreme prejudice anyone who accuses the Lord of Glory of sin. You can pre-judge (the definition of prejudice) that there is nothing further of anything this person is saying that is worthy of your consideration if he does this.
So, for what it is worth, that is my “two cents” on this. I do hope that many who have dismissed the importance of rightly dividing the Word of truth will begin to see how vital it is that we do so. I do also hope that this “woke pastor” will see the error of his teaching and that he is the one that needs to repent. I hope that he will see that he is not more righteous than God4, and that he would believe the Bible and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who died for his sins and be saved.
- This was, and may still be, an IFCA (Independent Fundamental Churches of America) church. They were at one time considering leaving that fellowship and joining the Southern Baptists, and may have done so. They were leaning more that way in doctrine anyway.
- How dare anyone use what the Bible says as an argument! Actually, we should never discuss what the Bible means before we can accurately say what it says.
- This “pastor” continuously refers to the Lord as simply “Jesus”. I will not refer to the Lord of glory by only His common name.
- Romans 3:23 — “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” If you would like to discuss “equality”, lets start here.
Husband, father, engineer...Enjoys fishing, archery, guitar, running, and lifting, but most of all reading and studying God's Word.