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Paula
09-05-2016, 06:16 PM
This ethical question came up recently and I wondered if anyone else has thought about it.

My family had a celebration that featured lamb. The recipe had us roasting it until it was medium rare. So we let it sit for several minutes and then the blood* from it visibly collected on the serving plate. The meat itself was still a bit bloody. I tried to drain mine a bit more but it still had quite a bit of juices in it.

I was speaking with another Christian and the impression I got is that they avoid rare meat because of the blood. I had also thought about the blood when sitting down to dinner. Now, I know eating blood was forbidden for Jews but is it forbidden for Christians and if it is why?

[*Now further research I did indicated that modern store bought meat has very little, if any, actual blood in it, that the red juices in meats is actually water and the protein myoglobin (I am pretty sure on this one, but if I am wrong please do post about it). Okay, that is good to know, but I think this question is still relevant because some food products (like blood sausage and blood pudding) are made with blood.]

There are two verses that seem to be relevant to this question:

18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) (Mark 7:18-19, NASB, emphasis mine).

Well, that seems pretty clear. The Lord Jesus says all food is clean to eat, for it isn't food that defiles (and later in the passage He indicates its the heart that defiles), but in Acts James says...

19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. (Acts 15:19-20, NASB, emphasis mine).

Hmm, not really sure how to come to a judgement on this. The Lord was pretty clear that food doesn't defile (but rather the heart does), but James seems to indicate that Gentile Christians (and presumably all Christians) shouldn't eat food (doesn't actually mention food, but that seems to be the implication of the passage) that has come from an animal strangled or that has blood in it. So...

Is it a sin to eat food with blood in it or is it not a sin to eat food with blood in it? And in either case, how do we explain these passages?

Catholicity
09-05-2016, 06:51 PM
I like Blood Sausage....:shrug: maybe it was a cultural thing?

Cow Poke
09-05-2016, 07:03 PM
It's been a long time since I studied this, but, as I recall, this was a compromise, of sorts, because the door of the Church had just been opened to Gentiles. Paul was trying to bring Gentiles in without (as some seemed to want to do) making them become Jews first. Peter, Paul and James, then, were working out the manner in which the Gentiles could be admitted to the Church (so to speak) without insulting or offending Jewish Christians. James had explained that the OT had prophesied that Gentiles would be added, and Peter had recounted the conversion of the Gentile Cornelius.

Some theologians link the word "blood" with the word "strangled", because an animal that has been strangled instead of butchered would still have a lot of blood in it. So I think the matter of blood referred to the excess blood that remained when an animal was strangled instead of butchered (or kosher slaughtered - shehitah). Drinking blood would obviously be forbidden, but eating meat with the amount of blood that naturally remains when properly slaughtered wouldn't be a problem.

NorrinRadd
09-06-2016, 06:13 AM
This ethical question came up recently and I wondered if anyone else has thought about it.

My family had a celebration that featured lamb. The recipe had us roasting it until it was medium rare. So we let it sit for several minutes and then the blood* from it visibly collected on the serving plate. The meat itself was still a bit bloody. I tried to drain mine a bit more but it still had quite a bit of juices in it.

I was speaking with another Christian and the impression I got is that they avoid rare meat because of the blood. I had also thought about the blood when sitting down to dinner. Now, I know eating blood was forbidden for Jews but is it forbidden for Christians and if it is why?

[*Now further research I did indicated that modern store bought meat has very little, if any, actual blood in it, that the red juices in meats is actually water and the protein myoglobin (I am pretty sure on this one, but if I am wrong please do post about it). Okay, that is good to know, but I think this question is still relevant because some food products (like blood sausage and blood pudding) are made with blood.]

There are two verses that seem to be relevant to this question:

18 And He said to them, “Are you so lacking in understanding also? Do you not understand that whatever goes into the man from outside cannot defile him, 19 because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?” (Thus He declared all foods clean.) (Mark 7:18-19, NASB, emphasis mine).

Well, that seems pretty clear. The Lord Jesus says all food is clean to eat, for it isn't food that defiles (and later in the passage He indicates its the heart that defiles), but in Acts James says...

19 Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. (Acts 15:19-20, NASB, emphasis mine).

Hmm, not really sure how to come to a judgement on this. The Lord was pretty clear that food doesn't defile (but rather the heart does), but James seems to indicate that Gentile Christians (and presumably all Christians) shouldn't eat food (doesn't actually mention food, but that seems to be the implication of the passage) that has come from an animal strangled or that has blood in it. So...

Is it a sin to eat food with blood in it or is it not a sin to eat food with blood in it? And in either case, how do we explain these passages?

Keener (IVP Bible Background Commentary) on that bit of Acts 15:


"The few requirements James suggests they impose are representative of the handful of laws Jewish tradition declared that God gave Noah. According to the more lenient Jewish position, any righteous Gentiles who kept those basic laws would have a share in the world to come. Because even stricter Pharisees had to get along with the majority of more lenient people, these teachers did not try to invalidate other teachers’ rulings if they had majority consent."

I don't worry about it. In fact, someday I'd like to try things like blood pudding and the "actual" bloody Mary (featuring a bit of pig's blood, IIRC) that Andrew Zimmern sampled on one of his shows.

I'm quite content that in addition to the above words by Jesus in Mark 7, things like Paul's words in Col. 2:20-21 and 1 Tim. 4:3-4 grant liberty here, even if one claims his repeated declarations that the Law has been abolished do not suffice because the supposed Noachic laws preceded the Law.

KingsGambit
09-07-2016, 04:11 AM
Technically speaking, meat still has some blood in it even after it's been cooked but I don't think the church leaders in Acts were thinking quite that literally.

I'm not sure what I think exactly but I'm hesitant to write off what they say in Acts as just a compromise because that part also bans sexual immorality (which is of course always wrong too).

Sparko
09-07-2016, 04:43 AM
Posting the verses here for reference: (NIV)

Acts 15:20
Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.

Acts 15:29
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.

Acts 21:25
As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.”

NorrinRadd
09-07-2016, 12:07 PM
Technically speaking, meat still has some blood in it even after it's been cooked but I don't think the church leaders in Acts were thinking quite that literally.

I'm not sure what I think exactly but I'm hesitant to write off what they say in Acts as just a compromise because that part also bans sexual immorality (which is of course always wrong too).

The same passages forbid eating food devoted to idols, but in 1 Cor. 8-10, Paul grants liberty in regard to that specific prohibition: Believers are free to partake, as long as their doing so would not be interpreted as idol-worship.

Cow Poke
09-07-2016, 12:12 PM
The same passages forbid eating food devoted to idols, but in 1 Cor. 8-10, Paul grants liberty in regard to that specific prohibition: Believers are free to partake, as long as their doing so would not be interpreted as idol-worship.

Well, it goes a little beyond that -- that you don't do it if it offends your brother who believes it's wrong to do. (read through the end of the chapter)

NorrinRadd
09-07-2016, 03:30 PM
Well, it goes a little beyond that -- that you don't do it if it offends your brother who believes it's wrong to do. (read through the end of the chapter)

Please be more specific. That doesn't show up in a way I can recognize in the translation I'm using.

robrecht
09-07-2016, 06:54 PM
The Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking. Period.

KingsGambit
09-07-2016, 07:07 PM
The Kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking. Period.

But at the same time, no aspect of life is therefore irrelevant to it.

robrecht
09-07-2016, 07:24 PM
... I'm not sure what I think exactly ...When you decide, we can discuss. I look forward to it.

Paula
09-07-2016, 09:59 PM
Technically speaking, meat still has some blood in it even after it's been cooked but I don't think the church leaders in Acts were thinking quite that literally.

I'm not sure what I think exactly but I'm hesitant to write off what they say in Acts as just a compromise because that part also bans sexual immorality (which is of course always wrong too).

That is probably the one aspect of the quote that stops me from dismissing it solely as a cultural consideration--that it includes sexual immorality.

Cow Poke
09-08-2016, 04:41 AM
Technically speaking, meat still has some blood in it even after it's been cooked but I don't think the church leaders in Acts were thinking quite that literally.

Yes, which is why I think it's actually linking the "blood" with "strangling"... cause animals killed by strangling instead of slaughter will contain far more blood.


I'm not sure what I think exactly but I'm hesitant to write off what they say in Acts as just a compromise because that part also bans sexual immorality (which is of course always wrong too).

Perhaps I wasn't clear... the "compromise" is - let's narrow it down to some basic tenets, and not "the whole Jewish law" thing.