It’s been brought to my attention that some people in our churches point to Jesus’ exhortation in Matthew 7:6 to not “cast your pearls before swine” to justify withholding the gospel from some groups of people. Particularly in a climate with heightened concerns about terrorism, some it seems make the argument that Matthew 7:6 precludes sharing the gospel with Muslims.
That is not only a wrong interpretation of Matthew 7:6, it’s a wicked one. Let me give three reasons why.
- Jesus shed His blood to redeem some from every people group on the planet
We must interpret particular biblical passages in light of the whole Bible, and we should interpret difficult passages in light of passages that are easier to understand. Revelation 5:9 makes it clear that Jesus spilt His blood to redeem people from every people group on the planet, including groups that are majority Muslim, so Matthew 7:6 can’t mean that the gospel is not for Muslims.
- Jesus says later in Matthew that the gospel will be shared with all peoples
Jesus says later in in this same gospel, “this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matt 24:14). So, Matthew 7:6 can’t mean that there are certain groups with whom we shouldn’t share the gospel because Jesus says it will be shared with all peoples.
- Don’t have preconceived ideas about a person’s willingness to accept the gospel
Third, it seems to me that what Jesus says in Matthew 7:6 is akin to what he tells his disciples as he sends them out in Luke 9:5. He says “wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” Jesus is not saying that there are groups of people with whom you don’t share. He is saying that there may be individuals who doggedly oppose your witness that you move on from and with whom you don’t indefinitely continue sharing the gospel. But, don’t miss this, these are people with whom you have already lovingly shared the gospel and been opposed. These are not people with whom you have a preconceived idea about their willingness to accept and refuse to ever share.