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Are Christians Permitted to Eat Unclean Animals?

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  • Are Christians Permitted to Eat Unclean Animals?

    Hello, I was having a conversation with Sparko on FB about the thread topic and he suggested that I bring it here. Everyone is welcome to comment, though I will copy a few posts for reference:

    Acts 10:14-15 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

    It should be noted that Peter did not just object by saying that he had never eaten anything that was unclean, but also added that he had never eaten anything that was common. Furthermore, God only rebuked Peter for his use of the word "common" and not for his use of the word "unclean". In other words, Peter had correctly identified the unclean animals as unclean and had correctly declined to eat them in obedience to God's commands in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, but he had incorrectly identified the clean animals as common and had incorrectly declined to eat them in disobedience to God's command to kill and eat. So Peter's vision had nothing to do with a change in the status is unclean animals, but rather he interpreted his vision three times as being in regard to incorrectly identifying Gentiles.

    Originally posted by Sparko
    God was showing Peter that none of the animals were unclean. You are reading into the vision something that is not there and assigning thoughts to Peter that he didn't have. The animals represented Jewish and Gentile believers. God was telling Peter it was OK to allow Gentiles (unclean) into the church of Jesus Christ by showing him that there are no unclean animals (people). And you are being overly legalistic with regards to the Law. You yourself said above that you are not held to the civil punishments in the Law or the laws of the Temple. Yet you in the next breath say that we are to obey the whole law and that the whole law is moral law.

    You can't have it both ways. Also if you insist on following the Law you are going to be held to the Law. And nobody can keep the Law. Instead we are to follow the heart of the Law, to love God and one another and to follow Christ. If we do that, we will keep what the Law is intended to teach us while avoiding the consequences of obeying the letter of the Law and failing. Romans 2 and 3 prove your legalistic beliefs false.
    Perhaps you would be right if Peter has just said that he had never eaten anything that was unclean or if God had told Peter not to call unclean what he had made clean, but Peter added that he had also never eaten anything that was common, and God only rebuked him for referring to something that was clean as being common. Yet you are ignoring what God actually rebuked him for doing and applying it to something else in order to do away with what God has commanded even though Peter interpreted his vision three times without even hinting at unclean animals now being permissible to eat.

    Please either agree that it is immoral to disobey God or cite an example where disobedience to God was considered to be moral. When the Israelites were in exile in Babylon, the condition for their return to the Law was to first return to obedience to God's Law, which required them to have access to a temple that they didn't have access to while they were in exile, so if there is a law that has conditions that aren't met, then it is not disobeying God to refrain from obeying what it instructs and is thus not immoral, but we should nevertheless be faithful to obey as much as we can obey.

    In Deuteronomy 30:11-20, God said that it is not too difficult to obey His Law and that obedience brings life and a blessing while disobedience brings death and a curse, so choose life! If someone is not acting in accordance with what the Law instructs, then they can't be said to be be following the heart of the Law. In Matthew 22:36-40, Jesus summarized the Law as being about how to love God and our neighbor, so all of the other laws hang on the greatest two because they are all examples of what it looks like to correctly obey them.

    In Romans 2:13, Paul said only the doers of the Law will be justified. In Romans 2:26, the way to recognize that a Gentile has a circumcised heart is by observing their obedience to God's Law, which is the same way to tell for a Jew (Deuteronomy 10:12-16). In Romans 3:31, our faith does not do away without need to obey God's Law, but rather our faith upholds it.

    In 1 Peter 1:16, we are told to have a holy conduct for God is holy and part of God's instructions for how to do that is to refrain from eating unclean animals (Leviticus 11:44-45).
    "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

  • #2
    It is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean...
    That's what
    - She

    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
    - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
    Stephen R. Donaldson

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
      It is not what goes into a man that makes him unclean...
      Do you think that the correct way to interpret that verse is that Jesus was saying that we should rebel against what the Father has commanded? Did he not consider Leviticus and Deuteronomy to be Scripture?
      Last edited by Soyeong; 07-09-2019, 12:18 PM.
      "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Soyeong View Post
        Perhaps you would be right if Peter has just said that he had never eaten anything that was unclean or if God had told Peter not to call unclean what he had made clean, but Peter added that he had also never eaten anything that was common, and God only rebuked him for referring to something that was clean as being common. Yet you are ignoring what God actually rebuked him for doing and applying it to something else in order to do away with what God has commanded even though Peter interpreted his vision three times without even hinting at unclean animals now being permissible to eat.
        You are cherry picking the verse to ignore what God was telling Peter. Why were there both clean and unclean animals on the sheet if God was only talking about the "common" ones?
        14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”
        15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again.
        Notice God doesn't just say "common" -- he talks about cleansing. You only cleans something that is UNCLEAN.

        And again, while he was showing that no animals were unclean, because he had cleansed them, he was talking about the Gentiles becoming part of the church:

        28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 29 Therefore I came without objection as soon as I was sent for. I ask, then, for what reason have you sent for me?”

        and Paul himself goes to great lengths to tell us not to let legalism overtake us. In Romans 2 and 3 he tells us that the law was given to show how sinful we are because we cannot keep it. But that through Jesus we have a righteousness that is not by the law but by grace. Jesus fulfilled the law so that we don't have to. Because we can't.

        Also Paul tells us that
        Colossians 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

        13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

        16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has [l]not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.

        20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
        (NKJV)








        Please either agree that it is immoral to disobey God or cite an example where disobedience to God was considered to be moral. When the Israelites were in exile in Babylon, the condition for their return to the Law was to first return to obedience to God's Law, which required them to have access to a temple that they didn't have access to while they were in exile, so if there is a law that has conditions that aren't met, then it is not disobeying God to refrain from obeying what it instructs and is thus not immoral, but we should nevertheless be faithful to obey as much as we can obey.
        Where does God ever tell Gentiles they have to obey the dietary laws given to the Israelites?

        And in Acts the Jerusalem council debated what parts of the Law the Gentiles should be subjected to and came up with this:

        Act 15:23
        To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:

        Greetings.

        24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul— 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.

        Farewell.
        Last edited by Sparko; 07-09-2019, 12:47 PM.

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        • #5
          Soyeong, do you keep all of the Law? If not why not?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Soyeong View Post
            Do you think that the correct way to interpret that verse is that Jesus was saying that we should rebel against what the Father has commanded? Did he not consider Leviticus and Deuteronomy to be Scripture?
            It would seem that Acts 15:23-29's failure to mention abstention from unclean animals means that the entire church leadership 'rebelled' according to your interpretation. In light of that, your argument does not appear to be sustainable.

            No idea where Sparko got Acts 2 from.
            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

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            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

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            • #7
              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
              It would seem that Acts 15:23-29's failure to mention abstention from unclean animals means that the entire church leadership 'rebelled' according to your interpretation. In light of that, your argument does not appear to be sustainable.

              No idea where Sparko got Acts 2 from.
              15. fixed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Was Peter's vision showing that he can now eat Gentiles?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes, we are permitted to eat unclean animals. Even if there wasn't a single verse in the New Testament that speaks about the law on eating unclean animals we would still be permitted to eat unclean animals, for the simple reason that the law regarding consumtion of unclean animals belongs to the old covenant, and is not binding on anyone that is not a member of that covenant. And Christians, whether gentile or Jewish, are not members of the old covenant.
                  ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chrawnus View Post
                    Yes, we are permitted to eat unclean animals. Even if there wasn't a single verse in the New Testament that speaks about the law on eating unclean animals we would still be permitted to eat unclean animals, for the simple reason that the law regarding consumtion of unclean animals belongs to the old covenant, and is not binding on anyone that is not a member of that covenant. And Christians, whether gentile or Jewish, are not members of the old covenant.
                    The way to do what is righteous or to avoid doing what is sinful is base on God's righteousness, not on a particular covenant, and God's righteousness is eternal, so any instructions that God has ever given for how to do what is righteous or to avoid doing what is sinful are eternally valid. Sin was in the world before the Law was given (Romans 5:13), so there was nothing that became righteous or sinful when the Mosaic Covenant was made or that ceased to be righteous or sinful after it has become obsolete. The existence of sin requires there to be a standard of what is and is not sin and that standard is God's Law, so Gentiles are either under God's Law and are obligated to refrain from sin, or are not under God's Law and have had no obligation to refrain from sin, have had no need for grace, and have had no need for Jesus to have given himself to redeem them from all Lawlessness.

                    However, God is sovereign, so we are all under God's Law and obligated to refrain from sin, even those who aren't in a covenant relationship with Him, such as when God judged the world with the Flood for their sin or when He judged Sodom and Gomorrah for their Lawless deeds (2 Peter 2:6-8). The choice that we get to make is not whether or not we are under God's Law, but whether or not we are going to heed the Gospel message, repent of our sin, and obey God's Law.

                    Even if God had never made any covenants with man, there there would still exist a way to walk in God's ways and express His character traits in accordance with His nature, which we should still follow. Likewise, even if God had made any covenants with man, followers of Christ should still seek by faith to follow the Law that he followed and spent his ministry teaching his followers how to obey by word and by example.
                    "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                      It would seem that Acts 15:23-29's failure to mention abstention from unclean animals means that the entire church leadership 'rebelled' according to your interpretation. In light of that, your argument does not appear to be sustainable.

                      No idea where Sparko got Acts 2 from.
                      Either the four laws listed in Acts 15:19-21 are an exhaustive list of everything that would ever be required for a mature Gentile believer or they are not. There are 1,050 commandments in the NT, so if they were an exhaustive list, then that would exclude over 99% of the commandments in the NT, including those expounded upon by Jesus. Clearly, they are not an exhaustive list for mature believers, but rather as stated, they were a list intended not to make things too difficult for new believers coming to faith, which they excused on verse 21 by saying that they would continue to learn about how to obey Moses by hearing him taught every Sabbath in the synagogues. In other words, then you have a bunch of Gentiles coming out of paganism who are unfamiliar with Christianity, then in order to avoid overwhelming them them it becomes important to be on the same page about which things are important to teach them right away and which things can be taught over time as they mature in their faith.

                      The Jerusalem Council were not enemies of God, so they shouldn't be interpreted as speaking against obeying what He has commanded. They did not have more authority than God, so they had no authority to countermand him or to tell Gentiles not to obey any of His commands even if they had wanted to do that. The bottom line is that we must obey God rather than man, so even if they had been speaking against Gentiles obeying what God has commanded, then we should be quicker to disregard what they said than to disregard what God has commanded, however, there is no need to do that because they never spoke against anyone obeying any of God's Laws. In 1 John 5:3, to love God is to obey His commandments, which are not burdensome, so telling Gentiles not to obey them would essentially be telling Gentiles not to love God.
                      "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Soyeong View Post
                        The way to do what is righteous or to avoid doing what is sinful is base on God's righteousness, not on a particular covenant, and God's righteousness is eternal, so any instructions that God has ever given for how to do what is righteous or to avoid doing what is sinful are eternally valid. Sin was in the world before the Law was given (Romans 5:13), so there was nothing that became righteous or sinful when the Mosaic Covenant was made or that ceased to be righteous or sinful after it has become obsolete. The existence of sin requires there to be a standard of what is and is not sin and that standard is God's Law, so Gentiles are either under God's Law and are obligated to refrain from sin, or are not under God's Law and have had no obligation to refrain from sin, have had no need for grace, and have had no need for Jesus to have given himself to redeem them from all Lawlessness.

                        However, God is sovereign, so we are all under God's Law and obligated to refrain from sin, even those who aren't in a covenant relationship with Him, such as when God judged the world with the Flood for their sin or when He judged Sodom and Gomorrah for their Lawless deeds (2 Peter 2:6-8). The choice that we get to make is not whether or not we are under God's Law, but whether or not we are going to heed the Gospel message, repent of our sin, and obey God's Law.

                        Even if God had never made any covenants with man, there there would still exist a way to walk in God's ways and express His character traits in accordance with His nature, which we should still follow. Likewise, even if God had made any covenants with man, followers of Christ should still seek by faith to follow the Law that he followed and spent his ministry teaching his followers how to obey by word and by example.
                        You're operating under the mistaken assumption that every law in the old covenant was given for moral reasons, or to reflect the moral law.
                        ~Formerly known as Chrawnus~

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In Romans 14, Paul showed that people weak in faith would be okay clinging to some things of the Jewish law. The things that the 'weak' were apparently concerned about were the holidays, meat and drinks.

                          Paul, in part notes,
                          Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

                          No one was to be judged for doing these things to the Lord or for not being concerned about these things.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mikewhitney View Post
                            In Romans 14, Paul showed that people weak in faith would be okay clinging to some things of the Jewish law. The things that the 'weak' were apparently concerned about were the holidays, meat and drinks.

                            Paul, in part notes,
                            Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

                            No one was to be judged for doing these things to the Lord or for not being concerned about these things.
                            If there was a king who gave laws to govern the conduct of his citizens and someone was going around teaching people to rebel against what the king had commanded, then would this person be a servant of the king or an enemy of the king?

                            Paul was a servant of God, not His enemy, so you should not interpret him as speaking against what God has commanded, especially when he said in Romans 3:31 that our faith upholds God's Law. The topic stated in the first verse is in regard to how to handle disputable matters of opinion, not in regard to whether followers of God should follow God, so nothing in the chapter should be interpreted as speaking against obeying what God has commanded.

                            In Deuteronomy 4:2, it is a sin to add to or subtract from God's Law, so if you think that Paul did that, then you should be quicker to think that he needed to repent of his sin than to follow what he said. Likewise, in Deuteronomy 13:4-5, the way that God instructed His people to determine whether someone was a false prophet who was not speaking for Him was if they taught against obeying His Law, so God did not leave any room for us to follow someone who does that.
                            "Faith is nothing less than the will to keep one's mind fixed precisely on what reason has discovered to it." - Edward Feser

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Another verse that is help is again in Romans

                              Rom 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

                              Paul's argument was to show that the Law of Moses, having been given to Jews under the Mosaic covenant, were the ones to whom the Law applied. Gentiles in Christ were never brought into the Mosaic covenant. As for Jews, note what Chrawnus mentioned.

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