What Separates the Sheep from the Goats in Matthew 25:31-46?

26 November 2014 by Wes Bredenhof

Matthew 25:31-46 contains words that are often used to support general works of charity.  In this parable, the King is quoted as saying, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  So, the argument goes, when you feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit prisoners, you are doing good towards Christ himself.  But what if we’re getting this text all wrong?  If you’re open to considering a better explanation, I would urge you to carefully read an article by the New Testament professor at CRTS, Dr. Gerhard Visscher.  The article is entitled, “So What Does Separate the Sheep from the Goats? A Closer Look at a Misunderstood Parable (Matthew 25:31-46).”  It was published in the October 11, 2002 issue of Clarion and it can be found online here.  It begins on page 501.

This was Dr. Visscher’s inugural address when he became NT professor in 2002.  I remember hearing it and finding it quite persuasive.  I still do.