Food Sacrificed to Idols? Ok or Sin?


#1

I read this on another thread but I couldnt find the answer. It is regarding the decree in Acts 15 to the Gentiles saying that they cant eat food that was sacrificed to Idols. But then in 1Cor 8 Paul seems to say that eating food sacrificed to Idols is OK as long as a fellow Christian is not looking for risk of leading them astray.

So what does this mean and why would someone be eating at a pagan temple in the first place?


#2

In Paul’s time food offered to idols was often sold at a discount in the market place by the priests of that particular god.(idols not having life can’t consume food offerings and even when some was burnt some was left over.) Paul was wise enough to see that such food was perfectly good and a bargain, but at the same time told his followers not to eat such food if it might scandalize other believers in God. Jewish converts would most likely be easily scandalized in this manner while gentile converts would not.


#3

[quote=rwoehmke]In Paul’s time food offered to idols was often sold at a discount in the market place by the priests of that particular god.(idols not having life can’t consume food offerings and even when some was burnt some was left over.) Paul was wise enough to see that such food was perfectly good and a bargain, but at the same time told his followers not to eat such food if it might scandalize other believers in God. Jewish converts would most likely be easily scandalized in this manner while gentile converts would not.
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Is that what its about a good deal at the market place? I never got that impression. I just cant understand why Paul would say yes to eating meat sacrificed to idols.


#4

[quote=Catholic Dude]Is that what its about a good deal at the market place? I never got that impression. I just cant understand why Paul would say yes to eating meat sacrificed to idols.
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I’m with Paul on this. Better to feed an Apostle than feed an idol, right?:wink:

In all seriousness, the meat was not being used for a pagan purpose anymore. It was simply meat sold at a lower price.


#5

I think Paul was saying that it doesn’t matter. Meat is meat, no matter what you do to it. (Except for McDonald’s, that is definitely not meat.) If someone has a problem with it, then you shouldn’t make it worse for them. By yourself, however, it’s fine.


#6

[quote=PhilNeri]I think Paul was saying that it doesn’t matter. Meat is meat, no matter what you do to it. (Except for McDonald’s, that is definitely not meat.) If someone has a problem with it, then you shouldn’t make it worse for them. By yourself, however, it’s fine.
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That’s what I get out of it.

There is no such thing as an idol, so in reality there is no meat sacrificed to idols as far as Paul’s concerned. To him it’s all good.

It’s all good, but that’s only if you don’t get caught by Someone Who Cares About Such Things.

It’s kind of like you can’t sin by just thinking about something, but if you let thought police catch you, then it’s still Your Bad.

In other words, if you’re going to do something that you don’t find offensive or sinful, but others do, do it on the sly.

Same advice, I’d suppose, but a little bit sideways that if you are gay, for God’s sake shut up about it and you will not scandalize the Church. You may not think being active gay is wrong, and to you that may mean more than the Church’s teachings – but even if you think you’re smarter than other Catholics and are more “open minded” about the truth than they are, you still don’t go in there and make a fuss because it results in all sorts of unnecessary turmoil for other people so it is selfishness to flaunt your imagined “freedom” such that it offends others who do not share your “open” view.

Therefore, even if you truly believe the Church is objectively wrong about gay marriages, to go get a gay marriage and then parade around in Church like that violates the intent of this teaching, I’d say. Paul is completely free. For him all things are lawful, just not all are productive. If you wish to evangelize people into thinking gay marriage is OK, the way to do that is not to dress up like tinkerbell and get in their face, or you’re doing your own cause a disservice and you’re increasing their resolve to think of you as Not One Of Them – leading to such things as their longing to see you cut off from the Eucharist.

Alan


#7

But isn’t the prohibition of eating such meat one of the “canons” (if you will) from the first Council of Jerusalem? Wasn’t Paul at the Council?


#8

[quote=Timidity]But isn’t the prohibition of eating such meat one of the “canons” (if you will) from the first Council of Jerusalem? Wasn’t Paul at the Council?
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Good point. What about that?


#9

[quote=AlanFromWichita]Good point. What about that?
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In 1Cor8:1-13 it talks about how it is ok as long as someone wont get scandalized, but in 1Cor10:16-33 Paul makes it sound as if eating that food is something one should avoid.
So, Im still confused.


#10

[quote=Timidity]But isn’t the prohibition of eating such meat one of the “canons” (if you will) from the first Council of Jerusalem? Wasn’t Paul at the Council?
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I think that the prohibition against eating meat sacrificed to idols was a disciplinary requirement, not a dogmatic statement. The dogma defined at that council was that “we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will” (Acts 15:11). Disciplines can change.


#11

Upon rereading the Corrinthians passage, I’ve decided that people are misinterpreting the passage. Paul is not saying that it’s ok to eat such meat. In fact, he’s saying just the opposite. He’s saying the reason isn’t because of the idols, though, but because of scandal.

The chapter heading on the DRC bible seem to indicate this as well.


#12

[quote=Grace and Glory]I think that the prohibition against eating meat sacrificed to idols was a disciplinary requirement, not a dogmatic statement. The dogma defined at that council was that “we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will” (Acts 15:11). Disciplines can change.
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But not without another Council.

For example, the Latin Rite’s discipline on celibate clergy was defined by the Coucil of Elvira. Furthermore the Council of Trent said that this was a disciplinary matter rather than a dogmatic one, and that is could be changed (and, in fact, Vatican II changed it when it allowed for married deacons, which were forbidden by Elvira). That doesn’t mean my local Bishop can start ordaining married men to the priesthood, though.

Likewise, i would assume that Paul didn’t have the authority to go around changing things willy nilly after he and the Council agreed upon them.


#13

[quote=Timidity]Upon rereading the Corrinthians passage, I’ve decided that people are misinterpreting the passage. Paul is not saying that it’s ok to eat such meat. In fact, he’s saying just the opposite. He’s saying the reason isn’t because of the idols, though, but because of scandal.

The chapter heading on the DRC bible seem to indicate this as well.
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Here is CH8:
7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. 9 Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol’s temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12 Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.
Here is CH10:
19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he? 23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. 26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 27** If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.** 28 (But if some one says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then out of consideration for the man who informed you, and for conscience’ sake-- 29 I mean his conscience, not yours–do not eat it.) For why should my liberty be determined by another man’s scruples?
I looks to me like its ok as long as you do it in “secret”. Im confused on this.


#14

[quote=Catholic Dude]I looks to me like its ok as long as you do it in “secret”. Im confused on this.
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The NIV Study Bible has a foot note on verse 28 I think is helpful:
In eating meat that has publicly been declared to have been sacrificed to idols, you may offend “the other man’s conscience” (v. 29) by causing him to think it is all right to eat meat sacrificed to idols even though he has doubts about it. Or if he is an unbeliever, he may think that the Christian worships both God and the pagen idol.


#15

[quote=Timidity]But not without another Council…Likewise, i would assume that Paul didn’t have the authority to go around changing things willy nilly after he and the Council agreed upon them.
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What is the solution to this dilemma?

On the one hand you have the letter from the meeting in Jerusalem:You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood… You will do well to avoid these things. Acts 15:29

On the other hand, you have Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience. 1 Corinthians 10:25

What happened?

It seems to me there is a simple answer. Paul made a judgement call–on his own. His reasons for doing so are very well articulated in 1 Corinthians 8 & 10.

Yes, Jerusalem did send a letter in Acts 15, stating what “seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to them (verse 28)”.

It seemed good to those in Jerusalem that the Gentile Christians should “abstian from food sacraficed to idols (verse 29)”. Apparently, this did not seem good to Paul, for Paul wrote: 1 Corinthians 10:25-29.

Timidity, you are partially correct. Paul did not have authority to change things “willy nilly”. However, Paul did not change things “willy nilly”. He gave a thorough, and I think, very convincing explination for his actions. Do you disagree with Paul’s reasoning?

At this point, the Christian Church was operating under two different sets of assumptions:“But not everyone knows this. Some people (my comment) like those who wrote the Acts 15 letter (end my comment)] are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to and idol, and since ther conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.” 1 Corinthians 8:7-8.

Does this mean Christ’s Church was divided? No. It is still one Chruch.


#16

I think if one reads through Acts one will find a sort of running arguement between Paul and the Christian Church in Jerusalem. Jerusalem believed that to become a Christian one had to first subject ones self to the Mosiac law and become a Jew. The belief of the Pharisees was that one was saved by closely following the Law. Paul recognized early on that Christians are saved by Jesus Christ and not the Law, so the Law became obsolete after the death and resurrection of Jesus. This was not totally settled at the Council in Jerusalem, but worked itself out over time as the arguement continued for a number of years. Part of the Mosaic law forbad the eating of blood or meat sacrificed to idols, neither of which would have been Kosher…


#17

[quote=rwoehmke]I think if one reads through Acts one will find a sort of running arguement between Paul and the Christian Church in Jerusalem. Jerusalem believed that to become a Christian one had to first subject ones self to the Mosiac law and become a Jew.
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I don’t get the impression it was an “argument” as such. If it was an argument, it wasn’t Paul’s fault. As seen in this thread, Paul seemed eager to avoid conflict. Paul taught the Gentile Christians not to eat food sacrificed to idols around Jerusalem Christians. He taught this so as to not cause Jerusalem Christians to stumble, but it also avoided conflict.

Paul knew Jerusalem Christians thought eating food sacrificed to idols was sinful, but he knew it wasn’t. Paul didn’t make a fuss about it. He didn’t try to convince Jerusalem of his views. He didn’t think Jerusalem Christians were doing any harm by avoiding food sacrificed to idols, so he left them alone.

One subject there was conflict on was circumcision–described in Acts 15. Paul knew circumcision was not required in the New Covenant, but there were people in Judea that thought it was. I’m quite sure Paul would have avoided conflict in this situation if he could. Why make a fuss? Those in Judea weren’t doing any harm by practicing circumcision.

However, conflict came whether Paul wanted it or not. Men from Judea came and were telling the Gentile Christians they needed to be circumcised. Barnabas and Paul solved the conflict by going to Jerusalem. The rest is recorded in Acts 15.


#18

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