Should a Christian be a vegetarian

courtesy www.gotquestions.org



Question: "Was Jesus a vegetarian? Should a Christian be a vegetarian (or vegan)?"

Answer: Jesus was not a vegetarian. The Bible records Jesus eating fish (Luke 24:42-43) and lamb (Luke 22:8-15). Jesus miraculously fed the crowds fish and bread, a strange thing for Him to do if He was a vegetarian (Matthew 14:17-21). In a vision to the apostle Peter, Jesus declared all foods to be clean, including animals (Acts 10:10-15). After the flood in Noah's time, God gave humanity permission to eat meat (Genesis 9:2-3). God has never rescinded this permission.

With that said, there is nothing wrong with a Christian being a vegetarian. The Bible does not command us to eat meat. There is nothing wrong with abstaining from eating meat. What the Bible does say is that we should not force our convictions about this issue on other people or judge them by what they eat or do not eat. Romans 14:2-3 tells us, “One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.”

Again, God gave humanity permission to eat meat after the flood (Genesis 9:3). In the Old Testament law, the nation of Israel was commanded not to eat certain foods (Leviticus 11:1-47), but there was never a command against eating meat. Jesus declared all foods, including all kinds of meat, to be clean (Mark 7:19). As with anything, each Christian should pray for guidance as to what God would have him/her eat. Whatever we decide to eat is acceptable to God as long as we thank Him for providing it (1 Thessalonians 5:18). “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

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Should a Christian be a vegetarian

(...take 2)

 

By Hannah

 

The twelfth chapter of the book of Exodus, verses one thru eleven, records the institution of the Passover. God instructed Israel to take a lamb without blemish (defect), a male of the first year from the sheep or goats. The lamb was to be killed and its flesh consumed. The end of verse eleven reads, "...it is the Lord's passover". Any of today's Christian vegetarians can ask themselves what it would have been like for them had they been a member of Israel during the passover. Would they have refused the passover saying, "Lord, I can't partake of your passover; I'm vegetarian."

The scripture of 1 Timothy 4:1-3 says, "now the Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith; speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats...."

 

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Should a Christian be a vegetarian

(...take 3)

 

by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D

 

 

Mark 14:12-14 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” [13] So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. [14] Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ "

Jesus ate the Passover lamb. It is beyond dispute that the Lord Himself was a meat eater. And His twelve apostles ate the lamb with him.

That to me personally is sufficient reason, without need of further proof, that it is entirely appropriate for Christians to eat meat.

Jesus was quite well aware that eating meat of necessity involved the killing of animals. Nevertheless He continued to eat meat with no indicated hesitation. Those who encourage Christians not to eat meat out of compassion for the animals are adopting for themselves moral scruples that were evidently not shared by the Son of God Himself on this issue.

Luke 24:42-43 They gave [Jesus] a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

John 21:9-10, 12-13 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. [10] Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught... [12] Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine. And none of the disciples durst ask him, Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. [13] Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise.

We have already seen that Jesus ate meat. Here we see that Jesus also ate fish, and He gave fish also to His disciples to eat.

The eating of fish was given further approval by Jesus in His miraculous feeding of the 5,000 (Luke 9:13-17) and the 4,000 (Mark 8:6-9) with bread and fish.

Acts 11:5-9 “I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision. I saw something like a large sheet being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to where I was. [6] I looked into it and saw four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, reptiles, and birds of the air. [7] Then I heard a voice telling me, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ [8] “I replied, ‘Surely not, Lord! Nothing impure or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ [9] “The voice spoke from heaven a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.’

It was the very voice of God from heaven telling Peter to “kill and eat” from among the occupants of the sheet in the vision. Among those occupants that Peter was instructed by God to kill and eat were “four-footed animals”.

God, of course, was making the important spiritual point that Gentile humans were no longer to be considered “unclean”. To make that point, God instructed Peter to kill and eat some of the animals that God was obviously now approving as food. Peter was commanded by God to eat meat.

Mark 7:18-19 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? [19] For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body. (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean”.)”

This settles the matter, because “Jesus declared all foods ‘clean’.” Any religious “cleanness” issues pertaining to certain foods under the Mosaic Law were canceled by Jesus, who declared all foods to be “clean” for believers to eat. There is no obligation for the New Testament believer to follow dietary codes that God, in His sovereignty, imposed upon Israel for a finite space of time (that is, the time of the Law).

Romans 14:1-2, 14 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. [2] One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables... [14] As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

The apostle Paul confirmed Jesus’ declaration that there is no remaining “uncleanness” in foods. In fact, Paul goes even farther by declaring that, from the religious perspective, it is the vegetarian or vegan whose “faith is weak”!

However, in closing, let’s be receptive to the apostle’s counsel concerning “accept[ing] him whose faith is weak” in this matter. It is not our place to impose a meat or fish-based diet on anyone, including a Christian brother who has scruples on this subject.

My desire in this Bible study has simply been to give you some New Testament validation for the perfectly appropriate practice of eating meat and fish, as well as to establish that vegetarianism is not the recommended choice for Christian believers from the standpoint of the Bible.