Why Jesus is Not Down With the Swine

photo credit: Brett Arthur Donar (brettjessica.com) via photopin cc

I couldn't believe my ears. Or my eyes. An evangelical minister, Dr Michael Brown, said something that I would never have expected an evangelical minister to say. When asked for evidence that Jesus opposed Christianity he replied:
Jesus said that He came not to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. In other words, the Old Testament law, even in Jesus’ day, was still in force and Jesus accepted it. That is the same law that condemns homosexuality in the Book of Leviticus.*
In order to defend the traditional view of homosexuality, an evangelical minister is willing to concede that the Old Testament law is still valid. This law is also upheld when discussing tithe and other topics. However, when it comes to the Sabbath and dietary laws of clean and unclean meats, these same theologians deny its validity. But if the Sabbath was abolished by Christ, if the dietary laws of clean and unclean meats were done away with, what reason do we to say that homosexuality is still forbidden in the New Testament? Sure, we can quote a few texts here and there, but the truth is that once we deny the Old Testament laws on which the New Testament laws are built we have lost half the battle.

Below is are some excellent articles. One deals with health and the health benefits of avoiding the oink-oink. The other deals with the issue of the dietary laws and demonstrating how the New Testament never abolishes those laws in the same way it never abolished the sexual laws. Jesus wasn't down with swine back then, and he isn't down with swine today.


Enjoy!


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Comments

  1. This doesn't seem like good news to me..."demonstrating how the New Testament never abolishes those laws in the same way it never abolished the sexual laws."
    I keep the 10 commandments and don't eat pork and am definitely not gay, but I don't keep the other 600 and some odd OT laws. How am I supposed to know which ones to keep? How do others keep all 600 of them? This makes me very anxious. Help!!

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  2. Hi Anonymous! Thanks for the question. First of all, allow me to stress that this has nothing to do with salvation. When you say "this doesn't seem like good news to me" I get the impression you are suggesting that the continuity of certain laws makes salvation harder in some way. If that is the case, then your struggle is first and foremost a misunderstanding of the gospel. So allow me to affirm before I say anything else that we are saved by grace through faith and we retain the experience of salvation by grace through faith. The NT is clear, we do not enter life by observing rules but by faith in Jesus. Once we embrace this reality, exploring questions like this becomes easier because we can explore them without feeling insecure in our standing with God. For a more in depth exploration of this I invite you to read the following article series: http://www.pomopastor.com/search/label/personal%20testimony

    Now onto your question. In reality your entire question boils down to what can be referred to as a New Covenant vs Old Covenant debate. When it comes to this debate there are only 3 options a person can take. They are:

    A) New Covenant Christians have not been liberated from any of the OT laws. Even the ceremonial is still binding.
    B) New Covenant Christians have been liberated from the entire OT law (ceremonial, moral, hygenic, sexual, and health laws).
    C) New Covenant Christians have no need to obey the ceremonial law (shadow laws) but the moral, hygienic, sexual, and health laws still apply.

    Option A is obviously out. There is just no way you can support option A while reading the NT.

    If you go with option B you run into some big problems. For example, while many Evangelicals have historically supported option B they have had to back pedal in the last decade. The reason why is because pro-homosexual supporters argue that nowhere in the NT is a monogamous homosexual relationship declared sin. The only condemnation found against homosexuality in the NT, they say, is in the context of multiple sex partners. At this juncture, evangelical theologians appealed to Leviticus and the pro-homosexual camp replied with "we are no longer under the law" language. According to them, the death of Jesus undid all of those laws. When the Evangelicals saw that they had walked right into a trap they began to back pedal and argue for position C (as you can see in the above article).

    Now option C is not as simple as it first appears. Option C affirms that the ceremonial law no longer applies (the vast majority of those 600+ laws were all ceremonial). Option C also affirms that the non-Ceremonial laws are still valid. However, Option C does not flippantly and loosely claim that anything outside the Ceremonial Law is still valid. What Option C does is it leaves the door open for a proper study of all of those other laws. It does not ignorantly close the door on them. What we discover in Option C is that the moral law, the dietary (health) laws, the sexual laws, the tithe laws and the hygienic laws still apply in principle but are not necessarily followed in the same way that the OT Hebrews observed them. This is arrived at by an exploration of the context of many of those laws which I obviously cannot get into here. There are also laws that we have little knowledge of their context and meaning (such as not mixing materials when making or wearing garments, not cooking a goat in its mother milk etc.). These are all laws that are both odd and contextual and do not need to be observed today. For a more in depth study of this I invite you to read the following article:

    https://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Is%20Sabbath%20Part%20of%20new%20covenant.pdf

    I hope that helps a bit.

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  3. Thanks, but it still just seems so complicated. I can see why Jesus summarized the whole law with just 2 commands...
    With respect to your comment "no where in the NT is a monogamous homosexual relationship declared sin." seems Romans 1:26-7 is pretty clear in saying that it is.

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    1. Oh Anonymous, I completely agree. That is not my comment. That is an argument that the pro-Homosexual camp makes. According to them Romans 1 is contextually condemning homosexual fornication. But, they argue, there is no verse in the NT that explicitly condemns a committed monogamous homosexual relationship. The only passage for that is in Leviticus. Now I am not saying I agree with the argument, but that is the argument they make. And when Christians appeal to the OT many of them reply with "we are not under the law of the OT" which leaves those who argue for position B in a tight spot.

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  4. A lot of information in the Levitical Food Law article that I was not aware of. Thanks. I did have a question regarding this quote from the article..."From the fact that in the beginning a vegetarian diet is given to animals as well as to humans, and that in the future kingdom of God it will again be the same (Isa 11:7)." This is a tough sell to non-Adventists who will point out the obvious elephant in the room...Jesus himself (Creator of the Universe) was not a vegetarian either while he was on earth or in his resurrected, glorified body (Luke 24: 41-43). I can definitely see their point. Here we have evidence from the Bible that would contradict the idea that a resurrected body will be vegetarian.

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    1. Hey Anonymous. That is an excellent comment. I think Adventists need to be careful to not use the Bible as a defense for our personal convictions. Eating meat is not a sin or else Jesus would not have done it. He ate the best diet that was available to him. Our position is not that it is sinful to eat meat and therefore a resurrected body cannot consume it. Our position is that in the new earth there will no longer be any death so eating an animal seems to be out of the question. But hey, vegetarianism in my opinion, is not that big a deal. I think its great but the Bible nowhere commands it. So if someone doesn't agree with it, I'm not fussed, lol.

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    2. But what if that "someone" is EW...you know with all the "flesh meats" comments in Counsels on Diet like "It has been clearly presented to me that God's people are to take a firm stand against meat eating" (p383) Again, pretty tough sell. Plus it sure doesn't help her credibility in general when one has to try to decide between something she said and something else in the Bible. Sometimes I feel the water gets awfully muddy...

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    3. It only gets muddy when the conversation is applied to the wrong sphere. For example, when it comes to salvation and Biblical requirements such a statement cannot be maintained. But when it comes to the health of the human body and Biblical principles such a statement is in perfect harmony. Diet doesnt save anyone and Biblically speaking we are not forbidden from eating clean meats (even EGW continued to eat meat for years after receiving the health visions) but if we want to have a conversation about the Biblical principles of health and honoring God with our bodies we are well within Biblical bounds to promote a non-meat diet. SO long as we dont demand it or make it a test of salvation/ fellowship at which point we have certainly crossed the line.

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    4. "Biblical principles of health and honoring God with our bodies we are well within Biblical bounds to promote a non-meat diet." Hmm...if it's okay with Jesus to eat meat, it's okay with me. No one honors God more than He does. How can we say it is more honoring to God to promote a non-meat diet if Jesus didn't? Sry, am I missing something here???

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    5. I never said a non-meat diet is more honoring to God than a meat diet. I said its a relevant topic under the discussion of honoring God with our bodies. Meat nowadays is loaded with chemicals and hormones of all kinds. So nowadays it is relevant to discuss a non-meat diet in terms of our health / temple-bodies that may not have been relevant before. But this discussion obviously includes a lot more than meat. But again, if someone is not convinced and goes on eating meat, that doesnt mean they arent honoring God etc. Its a relevant topic not a salvific one.

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