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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

30 August 2005

Forbidden Foods

Q: God told the Jews not to eat certain animals. Yet in a vision to St. Peter, God cleansed all animals and made them fit and lawful for human consumption. If this is the case, then why don’t Christians eat dogs, rats, vultures, or skunks?

LobsterA: God never placed Gentiles under the Law he gave Israel. All people are under His Moral Law, and have it written in their hearts, but since the time of Noah, mankind was given to eat all that moved on the earth, so long as its lifeblood was drained from it.

The Gentiles were not bound to the rules of the old Covenant. This is seen not only in diet, but in keeping Sabbath and in circumcision, to name but two more examples. Since the time of Christ and the fulfillment of Israel in His person, even the restrictions on Israel were changed, as we see from the the call of the Lord for Peter to go and proclaim the Good News to Cornelius (see Acts 10).

As for why Christians don’t eat certain animals, some of these you mention are not the most tasty or healthy things to eat. This is especially true for scavengers like vultures and skunks, whose diet may be all or in great part diseased and decaying. However, there are people, Christians included, who eat these animals in certain parts of the world. A number of oriental Christians regularly eat dog. We in the West don’t, because we think of them as pets. A lot of it is in how we are raised.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


Blogger esheppy said...

I think I am becoming addicted to your blog. I like a blog with a purpose (totally unlike mine) and the purpose that it serves interests me a great deal.

I guess this answer brings up another question. Why does God bind Jews to laws that gentiles are not bound to follow?

We are all God's people and always have been.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to answer my question.

Keep up the good work.

31 August, 2005 06:45  

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