Jesus Declared All Foods Clean?

In Mark 7:18-19 Jesus said, "Are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?" (Thus He declared all foods clean.)

Now, what's with the parentheses? Cynics will say that modern translators have added this portion. The NIV, ESV, NASB, they all say, "Thus He declared all foods clean." But that's not in the King James. Therefore, it's a translation addition. It isn't in the original text!

Actually, yes it is. All of the earliest Greek manuscripts say this.

If you look in the New American Standard, you might notice the words "Thus He" are italicized. That's because a direct Greek-to-English translation would not include these words, but they are implied. So to make sense in English, the words "Thus He" are required in order to clarify the text.

Jesus' quote ends at ἐκπορεύεται ("goes out" or "expelled" in English), and then Mark, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, says that Jesus declared all foods clean. Origen in the third century and Chrysostom in the fourth century understood this passage the same way. It isn't a recent translator's invention.

"The completion of the ellipsis by making καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα grammatically dependent upon καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς in verse 18 is almost certainly correct. This interpretation was first proposed by the Greek Fathers (Origen, Chrysostom, Gregory Thaumaturgus) and has won almost universal support." The Gospel According to Mark by William L. Lane (Pg. 253).
Just look at the context. Jesus said, "Whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him." Even if you ignore the parenthetical reference, the message is still clear: nothing that goes into a person makes them unholy: not steak or fish, not pork or shellfish, even a Twinkie or a Lego!

What makes you unclean is your sinful heart, and only Christ can purify you. Ask forgiveness for your sins, and He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), when we understand the text.

Is Unlearn the Lies Biblical?

Unlearn the Lies is an online ministry that wants to correct many of the false assumptions people have learned about the Bible (kind of like another ministry we know!). While host Lex Meyer seems like a nice guy who just wants to honor God, that "honor" has to fit his Hebrew Roots framework.

Like most Hebrew Roots guys, Lex loves wandering into myth. He teaches that Elijah never ascended into heaven, the thief on the cross next to Jesus didn't go to heaven, and the idea that we go to heaven is pagan and might be the biggest lie we've ever been told.

Lex denies that when we die, we go to be with the Lord, but rather we enter a state of soul-sleep until the resurrection of the dead. He twists Jesus' own teaching on the afterlife, and says that if hell is a place of eternal torment, that would make God a sadist.

Jewish holidays and dietary laws are also favorite topics. Lex says Jesus never declared all foods clean, and the statement in Mark 7:19 was added by translators. But this isn't the only place we read all foods are clean. The Lord said it again in Acts 10, and Paul said in Romans 14 that he is convinced in the Lord Jesus no food is unclean unless a person thinks it's unclean.

Colossians 2:16 says, "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath." But "Unlearn the Lies" is constantly passing judgment on such things.

1 Timothy 4:1-3 says that "some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to the teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared... requiring abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who know the truth," when we understand the text.

Is Hebrew Roots Biblical?

The Hebrew Roots movement (not to be confused with the Black Hebrew Israelites) teaches that the church has been corrupted by Greek and Roman influences, and we need to get back to our Hebrew beginnings. After all, Jesus and His disciples were Jews, so to be a good Christian, you must be a good Jew.

Hebrew Roots adherents, also known as Messianic Christians, believe Christ's death on the cross did not fulfill the Mosaic covenant, but renewed and expanded it. Therefore, you must keep the Sabbath on Saturday, celebrate Jewish feasts and festivals, and observe the dietary laws.

Boy, if there aren't scores of passages that directly respond to this!

Jesus declared all foods clean in Mark 7:19, and said it again to Peter in Acts 10:15. In Romans 14, Paul said not to be divided over opinions about days and food. And in Colossians 2:16 he warned about Judaizers who pass judgment over dietary laws and Jewish holy days. These were shadows of things to come which were fulfilled in Christ.
"I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died." Romans 14:14-15

"Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ." Colossians 2:16-17

If you point to such verses, or the whole books of Galatians and Hebrews, you'll likely be told the New Testament you read is corrupt. Hebrew Roots teachers reject historical definitions of biblical doctrines. Their answers are often long-winded, full of myth and speculation, and quarreling over words. They make non-essential issues essential, and teach righteousness by keeping the law.

Not all are that extreme, but there are still serious problems with telling people to keep the Old covenant as if it were a higher path. The Bible says the glory of the Mosaic covenant has come to an end, but the glory of Christ is forever. We're to be "ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life," when we understand the text.
For further study, read Romans 1-3, 2 Corinthians 4, and 1 Timothy 1 and 4:1-4.

No Creed But Christ?

It's popular to say, "No creed but Christ," as if to say we don't need creeds, we just need Jesus. Ironically, that's a creed, and one in need of some clarity.

Creeds and confessions are formal statements of beliefs summarizing essential or important biblical doctrines. What does your church believe about Jesus? God? Mankind? Sin? Salvation? The resurrection of the dead? Such beliefs are summed up by confessions.

So if you were to say "No creed but Christ," which Christ? The Mormon Jesus? Of course not, you say. Ah, then there's more to your confession than, "No creed but Christ." And what about Jesus? Was He just a great teacher? No, He is the eternal Son of God who is worthy of our worship. Now you're being confessional. You might say, "Well, we believe what the Bible says." But even heretics say that. What Bible are you talking about? Is 2 Macabees in your Bible?

Some people are overly pious and like to think they're above it all: "You simpeltons may need confessions, but not me. I just need Jesus." Well, that's a confession. And if there's not more to your confession than that, you just let the oneness pentecostals in the door.

Through its history, the church has been marked by creeds and confessions, even in the New Testament. When Paul wrote, "The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance," that's a reference to a creed. 1 Timothy 3:16 says, "Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness," and what follows is a confession.

The Bible is a big book, and the study of it is vast. Creeds and confessions summarize and affirm what you and your church believe the Bible says. This is a biblical thing, when we understand the text.

Prophecy Pirates?

A pastor told his congregation to speak prophecy to one another. But his definition of prophecy included visions of sharks and pirate ships...
Matt Chandler: "'Lord, what would you want me to encourage [this brother] with?' And I'm quiet and trying to listen, and then automatically there's a picture of a ship, a pirate ship. And there's canons on the pirate ship, and there's a shark chasing the pirate ship."
Prophecy is not praying for people and then sharing whatever random stuff pops in your head. The Bible says if someone speaks in the name of the Lord and it doesn't come true, they've spoken presumptuously and it isn't from God (Deuteronomy 18:22).
Chandler: "What if we're only talking to ourselves? What if we're like, 'Okay, Lord, will you show me somebody that I might encourage,' and someone would pop in our head, and that's just us. So what? Oh no, you're going to encourage somebody. Why would that be this terrible thing? And then what if I'm wrong? Those are the two big things that just haunt. What if I get it wrong and they stone me to death? I already said, that's not the kind of prophecy we're making. So we hear, and by faith we approach, and if it sounds crazy, we've lost nothing."
So it's okay to lie to people and take the Lord's name in vain, as long as it's positive and encouraging? On the contrary, the Bible says to speak truth with your neighbor, and don't grieve the Holy Spirit of God.

What the pastor is arguing, unintentionally, is that Scripture isn't sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16). All the promises of God given in His word, through His Son Jesus, are not enough, and we need personal revelations of sharks and pirate ships in order to encourage someone. That's not prophetic. That's just pathetic. The Bible is the prophetic word fully confirmed (2 Peter 1:19), when we understand the text.

"And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19).