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Why Do Christians Eat Pork?

The consumption of pork has been an issue of contention for some because of the Old Testament command in the Bible, and it gives rise to the question of why Christians eat pork while other people of faith don't. 

So are Christians allowed to eat pork? And does God approve of eating pork?

Let's take a quick look at where Christians should stand regarding the consumption of pork.

Historical prohibition

God, in the Old Testament, gave a detailed list of things the Jews were allowed and not allowed to do. The list included certain food prohibitions, and one of the food items considered banned from consumption is – you guessed it – the meat in question, pork.

"And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you." (Leviticus 11:7-8)

Some consider eating pork as an abomination to God. After all, He did express His anger on those "Who eat swine's flesh, and the broth of unclean meat is in their pots" (see Isaiah 65:4).

God certainly showed in the Old Testament that He didn't want His people to eat pork, which is popularly found in many food items today. So does that mean Christians aren't allowed to eat pork? Keep reading.

Breaking the mold

The Bible tells us that Christ, the Son of God, is the Word made flesh (see John 1:14). He came to do nothing but the will of the Father (see John 4:34, 6:38). He did not come to abolish the Law God gave in the Old Testament, but rather He came to fulfill it (see Matthew 5:17). He had no sin in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21), and thus did not break God's commandments.

Did Christ prohibit the consumption of food?

"He said to them, "Are you so without understanding also? Do you not know that anything from the outside that enters a man cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart, but into his stomach, and goes out into the sewer, thus purifying all foods?" And He said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man."" (see Mark 7:18-23)

What about Jesus' disciple Peter's vision?

"In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, "Get up, Peter; kill and eat them." "No, Lord," Peter declared. "I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean." But the voice spoke again: "Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean." The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven." (see Acts 10:12-16)

What about Paul, the man who told believers to imitate him as he imitated Christ (see 1 Corinthians 11:1)? What did he say about the consumption of pork?

"Now the Spirit clearly says that in the last times some will depart from the faith and pay attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils ... commanding to abstain from foods, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and not to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." (see 1 Timothy 4:1-5)

Living free

Under the Old Covenant, God sure became angry with His people for eating pork. This is not simply because of the pork, but rather because they kept disobeying His commands. It wasn't simply about the pork; it was about the condition of their hearts.

That is the very same thing Christ addressed in the passage above. Christians can eat pork because they know Christ has saved them and freed them from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13). Christians can eat pork because Christ said it is not unclean. Christians can eat pork because all that God created is good and is to be received with thanksgiving.

Of course, Christians know their bodies are the temples of God's Holy Spirit, and so they should take good care of them and avoid unhealthy food (see 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). For health reasons, some Christians are discouraged from eating pork, but not for doctrinal reasons. Christians can eat pork because of the freedom Christ has purchased for them.

 

 

 

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