It can be difficult to tell the difference between someone with an honest objection to the faith and someone who’s just throwing out smoke, especially in the blogosphere. I obviously engage in a good bit of apologetics online and off, but a lot of times it quickly becomes apparent that I’m wasting my time. There are other times when I’m relatively certain I shouldn’t even waste my effort, but not always.
Jesus warned us:
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6
Briefly explained, Jesus is talking about two classes of reprobates, dogs and swine. At face value, they’re not much different. Perhaps it’s a matter of degree. The Bible also tells this parable:
“The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” 2 Peter 2:22
Both dogs and swine return to the filth they’re accustomed to, but swine completely immerse themselves in it. Washing a pig doesn’t change it into a sheep and consequentally its nature remains unchanged.
Part 1: Common Traits of Dogs
When Jesus warned not to give that which is holy to dogs, He was making an allusion to the meat sacrificed at the altar. A dog doesn’t care whether the meat came from the Temple or the garbage heap! They don’t recognize the value of what they’re being given. It’s all the same to them.
This reminds me of liberal Christians and religious pluralists, the fellows who think all religion contains some truth. As a result of their commitment to what they feel is a broad-minded religious pluralism, they fail to recognize that Christian truth is head and shoulders above the rest, being absolute and complete. Along the same vein, we see folks who have a sort of fuzzy acknowledgement of God and may even call themselves Christian, but who’s mantra is “Everybody has a right to their own opinion,” without also noting that not everybody’s opinion is right and that our final standard needs to be God’s revealed Word, the Bible.
More generally, we have those who believe in “God,” but not necessarily the God of the Bible, even if the “God” in their mind is somewhat Christianized. These fellows believe in the Golden Rule and sometimes even in the Ten Commandments, but they presume God should let them into Heaven without the whole inconvenience of conversion.
Lastly and most importantly, we have fellows who suppose the Bible is the work of men and may be critiqued [and criticized!] and dissected as if it were any other book. Presuming it was written by fallible men without the supernatural direction of a perfect God, they further presume that it must be full of errors. Compounding this error, they then cherrypick the portions of the Bible they wish to believe and reject the parts they don’t like, but God’s Word was never meant to be taken ala cart. Wrong assumptions always lead to wrong conclusions! Some of those who hold this attitude toward the Bible call themselves Christians and occupy positions as professors of religion! And they cannot see the difference between the holy and profane!
Sadly, dogs always return to the things they were spewing to begin with, so engaging them is pointless especially where it concerns the Bible. This portion about a dog returning to its own vomit is important. It implies that these people had these beliefs to begin with and then returned to those beliefs instead of submitting to God’s perfect will and wisdom. They don’t really believe most of the Bible. Thus, Christian orthodoxy is their compromise with their truest and actual beliefs. And since no man can serve two masters [authorities], they must reject one when the two differ on some point. Sadly, the authority they reject is the only infallible rule. They simply refuse to see the Revealed Word as it truly is: complete, holy, perfect, inspired, inerrant, infallible, God-breathed. When confronted with the command to rightly divide the Word of Truth, they trump the plain interpretation of Scripture with the notions of 19th century German “higher” criticism, 21st century science and modern mores. In matters of morality, as when the Bible plainly states the sinfulness of homosexuality, they’ll say “That’s just your interpretation,” as if there is no correct interpretation of Scripture. Of course, they do believe there is a correct interpretation: one that denies the plain meaning of the text! Thus, they engage in logical gymnastics, situational ethics and Scriptorture to arrive at the meaning they wish rather than the one that is evident. What they’re really saying is that 2ist century mores must determine the meaning of the text! Another obvious example concerns the Genesis revelation. There are even Christians who claim we must re-interpret Genesis’ Creation Week, upon which the 4th Commandment is based, to mean long ages, or to allegorize special Creation as really meaning blind chance evolution. What they’re saying here is that the Bible cannot be understood properly – and never could! – until 21st century labcoats came along to set us straight!
This kind of thinking undermines the doctrine of the perpecuity [“clearness”] of Scripture. The Westminster Confession of Faith sums it up nicely:
“[T]he infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and, therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.”
Scripture is meant to be plainly understood [though the reader may reject its certain truth].
Dogs then are usually opponents from within the sphere of the observable church, though I doubt most of them are of the true Church. It’s fair to say they are religious opponents.
In the next portion of this discussion, we will discuss how one deals with dogs. Then we will move on to identifying and dealing with swine.
-Rev Tony Breeden