PORK - To eat or not to eat
"I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that [there is] nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him [it is] unclean." Romans 14:14
For many people, no meal is complete unless there is pork somewhere in the mix. Ham and bacon were staples on Christmas dinner menus just recently. The jury is out, though, on whether this is a meat anyone, let alone Christians, should have on plates before them.
Deuteronomy 14:8 states: "And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: Ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase."
If the above verse is to be adhered to, should the meat be eaten, and are Christians actually defiling themselves by giving in to their craving?
Family and Religion got some feedback on the issue.
Pastor Ethon Johnson of Ministries International gives an emphatic seal of approval on Christians eating pork.
"God has put in place the allowance for us to thank Him for our food and our water and in return He will bless it to the use of our bodies. This is proven through the Scriptures in Romans 14:14 'I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean'," he said.
For Johnson, it is a matter of personal preference if one chooses to consume the meat, as it is a personal decision and not a religious commandment.
"First Corinthians 10:27-33 (KJV) says 'If any of them that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. But if any man say unto you, this is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?'".
'you must eat it!'
Pastor Johnson points out that as Christians whatever is placed before us we must eat, whether it be animals that have scales or no scales, chews the cud or doesn't chew the cud, shellfish, pork, rat or cat. If it is set before you to win that soul - you must eat it! This is done for completely unselfish reasons to show them the freedom that is in God. A freedom that is unhindered by a man's doctrine.
The blood of Christ cleanses all things."
Meanwhile, pastor of the Free Town Seventh-day Adventist Church, Horace Wilson stressed that the Bible prohibits the eating of pork.
"From the very beginning the eating of meat was not God's plan. However, after the flood God permitted the eating of meat at which point He specifically told them what they could eat. And the ones which he permitted them to eat were classified as 'clean unto you' whereas the ones which were prohibited classified as 'unclean unto you'".
Alluding to the verse which many use as permission to eat pork (Acts 10 vs 15) where Peter was told in a vision, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy", Wilson said Peter already had an understanding that some meats were clean or not clean.
"As you read the rest of the passage you will see the vision is referring to the Gentiles and not a case to eat pork."
Elder Joan Gumbs of 'How Ya Living Now' sees this whole issue of being "too caught up in the 'little things" while ignoring the bigger picture.
"The truth is, we can't see the bigger picture, which is why we can ignore it. Only God can see the bigger picture, and maybe those who He has allowed to see it with Him. Stop the 'isms' and 'schisms' and just do what He has commanded us to do: Love Him and love each other."
Pastor Wilson also shared that apart from biblical reasons for abstaining from pork there is also the health concern to consider.
"Science is catching up with the Bible. If you talk to persons about healthy living, a meat diet is not the best diet and pork is one of them that is not ranked high on the list."
Pastor Johnson said: "When prepared and cooked properly, pork is an excellent source of lean protein. It is also rich in Vitamin B (reduces risk of stroke), zinc (proper functioning of the immune system) and selenium (an antioxidant that protects cells from damage)."