You may have heard the old cliche, “Take the meat and spit the bones”. This is a common phrase used within Christianity. What this phrase means is to take the good things that people say and discard the rest. But as with everything, we must ask the question if this is something we should truly be doing??
On the surface, this phrase indicates two things:
1. Acknowledges that there is some sort of benefit to be gained, but also some level of disagreement.
2. With the parts of disagreement, we should look past them to focus on the things we can learn and apply to our lives.
The intent of “taking the meat and spitting the bones” is to show charity to those who we might not agree with fully. It gives the “benefit of the doubt” without having to believe exactly the same as someone else. This phrase gives room for disagreement, while simultaneously still believing we are on the “same team”, so-to-speak.
And although this phrase seems to be tolerant and accepting of those having differing beliefs and theology within Biblical Christianity, it also allows for the opportunity of embracing those who are false teachers or even non-believers to be given a place and to have their say.
Nowhere in the Bible does this phrase of “taking the meat and spitting the bones” exist. Scripture doesn’t even allude to allowing truth mixed with error. But what we find more often today are not disagreements over what are truly non-essentials of faith, but clear attacks against salvation and what it means to believe, live, and act with Christ as Lord and King.
So when I hear people use the phrase that we should simply, “Take the meat and spit the bones”, what they mean is to stop causing a ruckus and simply look for the positive.
It is important to stop and clarify that we will never find anyone we will agree with 100% on every issue. And even though that is the case, it is still not a reason to compromise and accept any “professing Christian” or some “expert” and to give them a platform to speak things that might happen to be a mixed with truth. Maybe a better question we should ask ourselves is how much false teaching and error should we or can we allow before it becomes a problem??
With the growing confusion over Christianity, where are those who are making a stand for Truth?? If our pastors and leaders aren’t making stands themselves, how can we expect others to do so as well??
I don’t know about you, but it gets very old when instead of calling things for what they are, people are given an opportunity to share their “insights” simply because we are told we need to “hear them out”. Is this how Jesus dealt with false teachers?? What about Paul or others in Scripture?? No, they rebuked them publicly and called them to repentance. They didn’t just tell people to take the things that are true and ditch the bad; but to seek after Truth alone.
Again, I’m not saying that we must distance ourselves from everyone who doesn’t believe exactly as we do on every theological point; because in doing so we would all end up alone. But what I am saying, is that when we clearly know or have been warned by others about the dangers of what people are proclaiming, we must take them seriously and not dismiss them or make excuses as to why they might have something “good” to say.
As I have said time and time again, not everyone or everything is beneficial. This notion of “taking the meat and spitting the bones” is a cliche that needs to be put to rest.
As true believers in Jesus, we shouldn’t have to wade through all the muck in order to try and find truth. We also shouldn’t force others to have discern these things for themselves when we are aware of the dangers ourselves. Our goal should be to read and study the Bible that we might know God more, apply what it says to our lives, and in turn that we might be able to discern the truth and share the great hope we have with others. All else is just a waste of time.
I always evaluate someone and their teaching by how much it takes to have to discern what they say against the Bible. If their beliefs are in any way a clear threat that might cause someone to drift away from the truth of the Lord and what is said in His Word, there is absolutely no shame in making it known. I don’t want anyone to have to hear someone speak, read a book, or anything else that might cause confusion over what is truth and what is error. We all deserve better than that.
Instead of lowering the bar and giving credibility to those that “turn to the right and to left” (Deuteronomy 28:14, Joshua 1:7, Proverbs 4:27), let us set our aim on surrounding ourselves with those that are humbly grounding themselves in the Word. We may not always agree on every theological issue, but we can at least agree on those things which can clearly be derived from the true context of Scripture or not. Truth cannot be mixed with error and still be truth. Therefore, it is only acceptable for each of us to continue to pursue the Truth and accept nothing less.