In a widely-viewed TikTok video, progressive LGBT activist preacher Brandan Robertson interpreted a deeply meaningful exchange Jesus had with a Canaanite woman to mean that Jesus held racial biases that demanded rebuke.
Lifting the account of Mark 7 from context, Robertson accused Jesus of racially slandering the woman as a "dog," praising her for not backing down to Christ's bullying. Employing a favorite progressive phrase, the activist says the woman "speaks truth to power," causing Jesus to "repent of His racism."
"Did you know that there's a part of the Gospel of Mark where Jesus uses a racial slur?
In Mark chapter 7 there's the account of the Syrophoenician woman. A woman who is Syrian and Greek, both of which there were strong biases against within the Jewish community.
And she comes to ask Jesus to heal her daughter who is possessed by a demon. And what is Jesus' response? He says it's not good for me to give the children's food – meaning the children of Israel's food – to dogs. He calls her a dog.
What's amazing about this account is that the woman doesn't back down. She speaks truth to power, she confronts Jesus and says, ‘Well you can think that about me but even dogs deserve the crumbs from the table.'
Her boldness and bravery to speak truth to power actually changes Jesus' mind. Jesus repents of His racism and extends healing to this woman's daughter.
I love this story because it's a reminder that Jesus is human. He had prejudices and bias. And when confronted with it, He was willing to do His work. And this woman was willing to stand up and speak truth."
The provocative interpretation of Scripture is not uncommon in progressive church circles. The late feminist and religious author Rachel Held Evans popularized this same interpretation that is widely discredited by biblical scholars.
Author Rod Dreher pointed out that accepting Robertson's view would undermine the entirety of the Christian faith.