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Eat the Meat, Spit Out the Bones
September 9, 2008
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
866-295-4143,
fbns@wayoflife.org
There are a lot of clever-sounding sayings that make the rounds among Christians, and one of these is “eat the meat, and spit out the bones.” Many have written to exhort me to do this, and they mean that I shouldn’t worry so much about exposing error. They wonder why I can’t just “eat the meat, and spit out the bones.”

There is a bit of truth to this saying, in that God’s people are always to exercise biblical discernment when hearing sermons or reading Christian books. We are to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

But the Bible also twice warns that “a little leaven leaventh the whole lump” (1 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 5:9) and exhorts us to mark and avoid those who teach doctrine contrary to that which we have learned in Scripture (Rom. 16:17). There is great danger in eating the wrong spiritual meat!

What if the meat is rotten or poisoned or hasn’t been cooked or properly stored? The U.S. government regulates how restaurants must cook meat, because undercooked meat is dangerous. When I worked in a restaurant in my youth, I was taught to handle the meat very carefully and to store it properly, because it spoils easily. If you eat meat that is spoiled or poisoned or undercooked, even if you spit out the bones, you will be in trouble. The writings of men like Brian McLaren and Richard Foster and Chuck Colson and Rick Warren and C. S. Lewis contain plenty of rotten meat. Those who advise God’s people to “eat the meat, and spit out the bones,” must explain to us how they know that this “meat” is safe.

Also, what if the bones have splinters or what if you get a bone stuck in your throat? When I was growing up in Florida, I went fishing often with my dad and granddad, and they were careful about which fish they kept and which they threw away, because some had too many bones to eat safely. And Mom was very careful to keep an eye on us when we were eating fish because of the ever-present danger of getting a bone stuck in our throats. This happened from time to time anyway, and it was a very unpleasant thing and, in fact, can be fatal. Likewise, very few Christians are able to wade through sermons or books by compromising preachers on their own and expertly spit out all of the “bones” of error. One of the reasons why so many fundamental Baptists are becoming New Evangelical is because they are reading New Evangelical books and blogs and listening to New Evangelical sermons.

And what if you don’t know the difference between meat and bones? A toddler doesn’t know the difference, and if it tries to eat meat and spit out bones, it will quickly be in trouble. Likewise, the average Christian today is far too biblically ignorant and carnal to distinguish properly between truth and cleverly presented error.

My friends, beware of clever sayings that aren’t supported by Scripture.

We live in a shallow, apostate, carnal age, and it behooves us to study the Bible diligently and to think biblically!!!!

One pastor who read this article replied:

“The problem I have with this statement is that sometimes the truth is hard to swallow, so it is spit out and called ‘bones.’ The ‘eat the meat, spit out the bones’ mentality is pretty much the same as Burger King’s ‘Have it your way’ mentality. Sinful man is always prone to create a hybrid Christianity that suits his tastes and preconceived notions about what he wants God to be.”


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