Sunday, June 20, 2010

Halal Food (2)

Meat that is halal killed meat has been offered to idols. The Bible teaches that, while offering meat to false gods is wrong, it is not wrong for Christians to eat this meat if it is available for sale in supermarkets. The clearest statement is in 1 Corinthians 10:25:

Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience,
for the earth is the Lord’s, and everything it.
This statement is very clear. Christians can eat any meat that it available in their supermarket, regardless of where it comes from. Christianity is not an external religion, where we get closer to God by doing or not doing things. We are saved by faith and get close to God by having a pure heart. (Islam is an external religion, which places an emphasis on external actions like going to Mecca). The only reason for not eating meat would be to avoid offending the conscience of another Christian and causing them to stumble. We must have the right heart-attitude to our brethren.

The same message is repeated in 1Corinthians 8. There is one God and one Lord in whom we live. We cannot be contaminated just by eating meat.
Food does not bring us near to God.We are no worse if we do not eat,
and no better if we do (v.8).
Food cannot separate us from God, if our heart is right.

Paul warns believers to be careful about how they exercise this freedom.
Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge (1Cor 8:9-11).
They should not eat meat in an idol’s temple, if this will be a stumbling block to someone with a weaker conscience. Building up another Christian is more important than exercising our freedom.

These clear statements that eating meat offered to idols is not wrong raise the issue of the meaning of scriptures that appear to contradict them. I will discuss these in the next few posts.

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