Meat issues – part one

Should we read books like Harry Potter, with its references to witchcraft, magic and the “Dark Lord”? How about watching mainstream movies, knowing the common themes are ones such as sex and violence, knowing love is often portrayed in a way that is inconsistent with what the Bible says about love? Should Christians buy novels from Christian bookstores only? How about religious and non-religious art? Pop music? Can we sing these songs at karaoke? Is dancing sinful? Should Christians drink alcohol at all? Visit a bar, club or attend a party? Can Christians date? What is, and isn’t appropriate to do on a date?

Hymns or contemporary tunes? Do we have to raise up our arms during song worship? Is it okay to open our eyes during prayer? Is it more “correct” to attend church on Saturday rather than Sunday, given the Old Testament Sabbath was on a Saturday? Why do denominations differ on how baptism should be performed? Can we visit temples and mosques? What if it is part of our guided tour on a holiday? For a truly meat issue that I came across recently – can Christians eat Halal meat given a prayer has been made to Allah beforehand? How about when you’re invited to a feast at Chinese New Year, knowing the plates have been offered to Taoist gods beforehand?

None of these examples are hypothetical! Over the years, many of these questions have come up in discussion, mainly with other Christians. I refer to these as “meat issues” given in the New Testament, key passages about disputable matters specifically addresses the issue of meat which is offered to idols. The answers to the above questions would vary greatly between churches, and even amongst individuals of a particular church. You could even contend that what I’ve listed as disputable, is disputable at all. How do we approach questions about daily living or contemporary issues that are not explicitly stated in the Bible? Why do Christians disagree on these matters? If we do disagree, how are we to do so biblically? The passages I’ll be mainly looking at are: Romans chapter 14, 1 Corinthians 8:4-13 and 1 Corinthians 1:14-33.

As a background to Romans, the letter was addressed to both Jews and Gentiles, the grafted and natural branches of the olive tree Paul describes earlier in the book. Given the prevalence of pagan worship, meat sold in the marketplace may have been sacrificed to idols prior. The issue amongst the believers was whether this was okay to eat. Perhaps it was the Gentiles who had previously been involved in idol worship who objected to this meat. Perhaps Jews too, having had strict traditions of clean and unclean foods, considered this meat unclean.

To be continued. This is getting rather lengthy for one reading…!

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3 Comments

  1. Ha, sister, as you suggested, this time I chose the Bible writing. The first part is short,yet it is a good introduction. Many questions have been used to address the key point which named as “meat issue”, arising my interesting for further reading. Now I am excited to read the second part of this great trilogy. It must be another wonderful argumentation :)

    吃肉的问题(1)

    《哈利波特》的内容涉及巫术,魔法和“黑暗领主”,我们可以读这样的书吗?主流电影的主题充斥着色情和暴力,所描述的爱情也和圣经的教训不符,这样的电影我们是否可以看?我们基督徒是否只能到基督教的书店买小说?对宗教和非宗教的艺术又有什么看法?那流行音乐呢?我们可以到KTV唱歌吗?跳舞是否犯罪?基督徒真的应该滴酒不沾吗?那去酒吧,俱乐部或参加宴会呢?基督徒可以约会吗?在约会中什么是可以做的什么又是不能做的?

    唱赞美诗或当代歌曲哪个好?在用歌声敬拜神时我们必须举起我们的手吗?我们在祷告时可以睁眼吗?在旧约时代安息日是在周六,那么周六去教会是否比周天去教会更加“正确”?我们可以去参观寺庙和清真寺吗?如果这些是假日旅游行程的一个环节呢?最近我遇到了一个真正关于吃肉的问题——基督徒可以吃预备献给安拉的清真肉吗?当你被邀请去一个中国新年的宴会,得知盘中的食物都是事先用来献给道教的神仙的,你该如何是好?

    这些列子都是真实存在的!在过去这些年里,我主要和其他基督徒讨论和很多这方面的问题。我将这些问题叫做“吃肉问题”。这个说法来自新约圣经。新约圣经特别提到”拜祭偶像的肉是否可吃“这个充满争议的话题。以上这些问题的答案在不同的教会,甚至在同一个教会的不同的会友间都会有很大的不同。对于圣经没有明确说明的问题,不论是日常的还是暂时的,我们应该如何处理?为什么基督徒反对这些问题?你甚至会争辩我所列的争议性的话题根本就不争议。(“content…disputable, is disputable at all”??? no idea, help *_*)如果我们反对,怎样做才符合圣经?我会重点查考以下经文:罗马书14章,哥林多前书8:4-13和哥林多前书1:14-33。

    根据罗马书的背景,这封信针对的是犹太人和外邦人,就是保罗在这本书的开头描述的的葡萄树的嫁接枝子和自然枝子。在当时盛行的外邦神的敬拜中,市场上卖的肉可能是之前献给偶像的祭物。因此在信徒中就有这种肉可不可以吃的问题。也许之前参与偶像崇拜的外邦人反对吃这种肉。也许对于洁净和不洁净食物有着严格传统的犹太人也认为这种肉不洁净。

    未完待续。一篇文章写不完那么多的内容哦。。。!

    Reply

    1. Thank you for the translation again. It’s always interesting to read what I wrote all over again! I asked lots of questions and didn’t give many answer haha. I think your translation of the dispute of the disputable contents okay…? As far as I can understand.

      Reply

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