Digesting Contradictions

Beware of this deceptive Bible method often used to contradict New Testament freedom.

In this series, we're discussing 3 methods of false teachers.

Deception #1: Denying the Obvious 

Deception #2: Denying the Overall Message

Deception #3: Contradicting the Passage

For example:

In Acts 10 God wants Peter to understand that Christ fulfilled Old Testament sacrificial, cleansing, and dietary laws when He shed His blood for our sins (1 John 1:7; Hebrews 10:19-22; Matthew 5:17; Matthew 15:11; Colossians 2:16-17).

Three times God tells Peter to “kill and eat” animals considered “unclean” in the Old Testament. When Peter objects, God says, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” 

God used Peter's hunger (verse 10) to make an important point that included food, but went far beyond food. For the Jew, "the idea of unkosher food was closely connected to the idea of unkosher people," and God was preparing Peter to minister in a Gentile home (source).

However, there's a growing movement in Christianity that teaches that Acts 10 has nothing to do with food and Christians must continue to obey Old Testament dietary laws.(1)

Dear Christians, if we can't trust God's direct commands, we can't trust anything in Scripture. Beware of any teaching that denies, adds to, or contradicts the meaning of a passage of Scripture!

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Notes: You will notice that in Leviticus 11, God forbids eating and touching certain dead animals. He says these animals/foods make a person "unclean until evening," meaning they cannot participate in worship until they again become "clean." This symbolized the fact that we are born sinners and we live in a fallen world. We are unclean before God. In the Old Testament, God used external laws to prove this point.

Hebrews 10:19-22 explains why these foods no longer matter: "Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water."

And Jesus confirmed this truth very specifically: "What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them" (Matthew 15:11).

For more on this false teaching, please see All or Nothing: Christ's Fulfillment of the Law.

(1) The Hebrew Roots Movement is deceiving 200,000 to 300,000 persons worldwide, having grown dramatically in the last 15 years. I have three friends who began in legitimate Christian churches who are now a part of this movement. Because there are an increasing number of HRM people spreading their errors on social media, it's important for Christians to understand their false teachings. I read the Hebrew Roots Movement's explanation for Acts 10, and they deny the clear meaning of this passage by claiming there are complex contradictions in the wording that are not discernible to average readers. Their explanations directly contradict the teaching of legitimate Bible scholars throughout history. They have turned this passage into a riddle that only someone trained in their doctrine can explain. 


Beware of this deceptive Bible method often used to contradict New Testament freedom.

Bible Love Notes

9 comments:

  1. If your understanding of Acts 10 is correct and if Matthew 15 is talking about any food being ok (the passage seems to be talking about washing) how come Peter wasn't following the new rules there and then so that he needed more instruction in Acts and don't you think the vision should have been more clearer if God really meant for us not to eat certain things? (We have to keep our bodies as a human sacrifice). Also how do you explain Acts 15:19-20 where it was decided to write to the gentiles and tell them to abstain from food polluted by idols, sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood, the last two meaning using the Halal method of killing isn't it to make sure the blood is drained and not eating black pudding? These rules were for the gentiles so there was still rules about food in the N.T and who worries about these last two points? I am not a HRM believer by the way.

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    1. Dear Welshlady,

      Bless your heart! You and I have exchanged so many comments over the last few years with you sharing your teachings about dietary laws. I understand that HRM is not the only designation for groups following Old Testament dietary laws but it seems to be the most prominent.

      First let me say that in all of our exchanges I do not remember you getting rude or questioning my faith or my motives as some people do when they disagree. So thank you for interacting with me as a fellow believer. I appreciate it.

      So let me address each of your statements in this comment:

      1. You said the context of Matthew 15 is washing, not food.

      This passage in Matthew 15 begins with the Pharisees being offended that Jesus doesn't wash his hands before eating, and then Jesus shifts the discussion to honoring parents as an illustration of the way the Pharisees think that external rules are more important that obeying the spirit of the law. Then he says that the Pharisees honor God with their lips not their hearts. The context is not washing. The context is outward godliness versus inward godliness.
      Regarding the specific verse about what enters a person's mouth: I'm not aware of any Old Testament rules about washing a person's mouth, so I cannot see how it could apply to washing. Jesus was making another reference to external laws: being careful about diet but not careful with the words they spoke. What do people put in their mouths? He wasn't talking about fingers or cigarettes. He was talking about food. There really is no other explanation.

      2. You ask why Peter wasn't following the new rules:

      Peter is an interesting example of someone who had a problem giving up the Old Testament laws. Paul had to publicly rebuke him for refusing to eat with Gentiles in Galatians 2:11-13, and this was after the Acts 10 incident.

      3. You ask: "Don't you think the vision should have been more clearer if God really meant for us not to eat certain things?"
      Yes. I agree. If the vision was about dietary laws or health and nutrition, it should have been clearer. But it wasn't about those things.
      God wasn't giving Peter dietary laws. He was ending them.
      He wasn't discussing nutrition and health. He was confirming Christ's words in Matthew 15 and letting Peter know that the dietary laws were fulfilled in Christ.

      And God knew He would have to make this crystal clear so he repeated it three times.

      4. You ask about Acts 15:19-20 where the church leaders said “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood."

      This shows us that many Jewish Christians had the same attitude as Peter. They had a terrible time giving up Old Testament dietary and cleansing laws, and this passage is the church leaders' attempt to reconcile some of those differences by having both sides give a little. The focus of this passage is the Gentile converts and how they can fellowship in harmony with the Jewish Christians. This is discussed thoroughly in the post on Got Questions, if you want to copy this url: https://www.gotquestions.org/Jerusalem-Council.html

      However, let's say you are right, and God wanted these particular dietary laws put in place permanently: There are only two: not eating food sacrificed to idols and not eating meat strangled. There are no unclean animals discussed. And the whole context of the passage is to avoid giving the Gentile Christians unnecessary rules.

      It wouldn't be honest, logical, nor scholarly to assume that following the phrase "we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles," the Jewish leaders would require that the Gentile converts follow scores of dietary laws from the Old Testament.

      more in the next comment...

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  2. Blogger limits the number of characters in a comment, so let me finish here:

    And your last question:
    5. Who worries about these last two points?

    One of the points: meat offered to idols is not relevant to most of us, but Scripture clarifies that teaching in 1 Corinthians 8 where Paul explains that "food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do." However, he says that if eating food sacrificed to idols offends our Christian brothers, we shouldn't eat meat sacrificed to idols. This fits perfectly with my explanation of Acts 15. 1 Corinthians 10 also adds details to this teaching. It says we should avoid eating meat sacrificed to idols if it involves participating in their demon worship, but we need not worry about meat sold in the market even if it's been sacrificed to idols. We always must look at the full counsel of God – the complete message of Scripture about a subject – before coming to a conclusion.

    And I disagree with you that no one is concerned with this rule. I wouldn't eat anything offered to an idol if I was aware it had been, nor would I participate in pagan sacrifice. And I would be very surprised if other genuine believers would. However, as I stated, in the U.S. and much of the civilized world, this is not an issue for Christians.

    The other point about strangled animals is the hardest to understand: I've never had blood pudding and don't have any desire to have it. Scripture says, "food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do." But this is included in a list that mentions the obvious sin of sexual immorality and we don’t have other Scripture passages to clarify its meaning as we have with food sacrificed to idols.
    Bible scholars disagree about this point, some believe it's a permanent prohibition and others believe it was a temporary concession to promote harmony with the Jewish Christians. I admit I can’t be absolutely certain of the meaning. But I think I would err on the safe side and avoid meat strangled or blood pudding, realizing that I would not be sinning if I had these things accidentally (1 Cor. 10:25-26).

    However, even if we accept these 2 rules in Acts 15, they clearly do not include dietary laws beyond these two. The other passages about diet clearly explain that God has declared unclean animals to be clean for New Testament believers. If we believe we must follow Old Testament dietary laws we are defying God's commands in Acts 10 as well as disregarding the other passages that say food does not make us unclean.

    There is nothing wrong with following Old Testament dietary laws if one does so for purposes of health or preference. But it is not biblical to claim that New Testament Christians should be following dietary laws for spiritual or moral purposes.


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  3. Well said Gail. Thank- you for all your time and spirit filled insight. Keep up the great work😁

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  4. I have to strongly disagree with you re clean and unclean meats. God showed Peter that vision, not that everyone could now eat unclean foods, but that they were to accept the Gentiles into the fellowship of the church. Acts 10:15 it reads "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy." (NASB) Then when he was asked to visit Cornelius, Peter finally understood the vision b/c in verse 28 he says, "...God has shown me that I should not call any man unholy or unclean."

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    1. Hi drm,
      You don't "strongly disagree" with me. You strongly disagree with God's Word.

      As I said in the devotion, your explanation contradicts the clear and obvious meaning of the passage and it means that God communicates in opposites, saying one thing and meaning another.

      Did you read the full devotion?

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  5. thankyou for this :) what about the sabbath? are Christians keep the sabbath command?

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    1. Hi Jodi,
      The Sabbath command is the only one of the 10 Commandments not re-commanded in the New Testament.

      Instead, we are commanded not to neglect gathering together (Hebrews 10:25). And in Hebrews 4 we are told that Christians have entered our Sabbath rest. That means everyday is a Sabbath for the Christian. Everyday is the Lord's Day.

      Most Christians worship on Sunday and some on Saturday, but there is not New Testament law in this regard. This should be a matter of conscience.

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