Tuesday, September 9, 2008

What Can I Eat?

Several years ago someone sent me the following question:

Dear James,

I have a question to ask that has been a concern of mine for quite a long time. Deuteronomy 14:8 says,The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses.” Leviticus 11:10 says, “But all creatures in the seas or streams that do not have fins and scales-whether among all the swarming things or among all the other living creatures in the water-you are to detest."

I have attempted to find later teachings that would change these dietary sins, but I must have missed it somewhere. So my question is, why are Christians allowed to eat pork, crab, shrimp, lobster etc.? Where does the church stand on this issue? 

Please let me know your thoughts on this subject. I have stopped eating all pork products already, but the seafood is going to be a bit difficult to give up (my family loves it!), but so be it if our Lord requires this of us!

Thank you in advance for this information.

Here is the response I gave:

Our church does not have an "official position" on the questions you have raised. We simply search out what the Scriptures have to say on any particular subject and live accordingly. With that understood, here are some personal thoughts on the issues you have raised.

The Old Covenant established with the nation of Israel was rendered null and void by the New Covenant established through and by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 8:13; 9:10, 15; 10:9). As Christians we are not bound to the Old Covenant and its rules and regulations, including its dietary system (Colossians 2:16-17, 20-22).

A study of the passages I have listed below will be very helpful to you in understanding the differences between the Old Covenant established with the nation of Israel, and the New Covenant established through Christ to every person who will receive Him (John 1:12; 3:16). Some of the passages are short; others are longer. The entire book of Hebrews is written to make clear that the Old Covenant was set aside and rendered null and void through the New Covenant which Jesus established through his life, death, and resurrection from the grave. I cited a few verses from Hebrews above, but I would encourage you to study the entire book as it is the best place in Bible to explain the differences between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. 

And by the way, the Old Covenant is referred to as "Old" because it is no longer binding on Christians (i.e. it is old and no longer useful). The word "testament" is synonymous with the word "covenant." The Bible is divided into two parts: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Or – if you will – the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Another word that is used for "covenant" is "will." So as you read through the scriptures I have listed below, just keep an eye out for these three words and understand that they refer to the same thing.

Romans 14
1 Corinthians 9
2 Corinthians 3 & 4
Colossians 2:6-23

The bottom line is that in Christ you are free to eat whatever you like. However, you may want to take into consideration how some foods effect your health. It is generally accepted that eating meat is not always the most healthy diet. But spiritually speaking, there is nothing wrong with eating meat of any kind. The only sin we can commit through eating is what the Bible calls gluttony. And you can be a glutton with Jell-O!

I hope this helps.

Let me know your thoughts.

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