Christian Dietary Laws?

Hey all-

I was hoping that someone with some background in Christian doctrine (Protestant especially) might be able to tell me whether there still exist any dietary laws for Christians, and if so, give me a clue as to the scriptural justification for it.

Some back-story:

My stepson’s dad is a member of a small Fundamentalist Baptist church, and the children attend that church when they are with him (his mom is Wiccan, and I am a lapsed Catholic atheist).

One of the points of doctrine in this church is a prohibition against eating pork and shellfish. I am familiar with these as fixtures of Jewish Kosher laws, but had no idea that they carried over into New Testament theology. In fact, I recall specific passages that state that these laws are no longer in effect for Christians.

So, is there any Biblical basis for this practice? I’m not going to get into a debate with either my son or his dad over it, I was just curious. Though I am aware that many fundamentalist churches use a lot more OT material than I’ve had in my own experience.

Well, if you read Acts of the Apostles, you’ll find that, while the earliest Christians were all Jews (and continued to observe Mosaic law, just as Jesus always did), this began to change when Paul began converting large numbers of Gentiles.

This led to much debate within the Church. Jewish Christians insisted that, in order to become Christians, Gentiles had to be circumcised and become Jews first. Paul argued that, while there was great value in Mosaic law and Jewish tradition, those things were no longer essential, and that a Gentile could achieve salvation through faith in Jesus alone.

Ultimately, the Church fathers sided more-or-less with Paul. They urged Gentile Christians to avoid consuming blood or any food that had been sacrificed to idols, but didn’t try to enforce Mosaic law on them. Before long, the Church consisted primarily of non-Jews, and Mosaic law was abandoned almost completely. Today, VERY few Christian churches pay much attention to Mosaic law.
Most CHristian Churches have NO dietary restrictions, while others (like the Catholic Church) only make followers adhere to a few simple dietary restrictions a few times a year.

However, over time, some fundamentalist sects have gone back to the Old Testament, and have started to re-embrace some of the older traditions. Jehovah’s Witnesses (and a few other sects) have gone back to observing Saturday as the Sabbath, just as Jews always did. And a few have gone back to observing other ancient Jewish practices, including kosher laws.

Now, VERY few of these fundamentalists are observing the kosher laws as strictly as an Orthodox Jew would (I’d be amazed if any stick to meat slaughtered by a shohet, for instance)… but it’s not THAT unusual to find some who try hard to avoid animal blood, and who shun shellfish and pork.

In the Orthodox Church, there are no explicit dietary prohibitions, although the Book of Acts prohibits eating (drinking?) the blood of an animal. Now, we do have fasts, during which all animal products are prohibited. Likewise, depending upon local custom either olive oil or all extracted fats and wine or all alcoholic beverages are prohibited. On Saturdays, Sundays, and festal days during fasts, shellfish, oils, and wine/alchohol are permitted. However, some people will adhere to the letter while violating the spirit. Allegedly, a priest who was once regaled with a luxurious lobster dinner at a church function during a fast remarked that simple hamburgers would have better served the spirit of the fast.

Seventh-Day Adventists are often vegetarians. Those who are not, do not eat pork and shellfish. This according to SDA cousins of mine, at least.

Matthew 15:10 – Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’”

Most Christians interpret this as rescension of the Mosaic dietary laws. Of course, as with most things religious, there are different interpretations.

From this forum - - here’s what appears to be an informative post:

It was a sin under the Old Law, but under the new covenant it is not.

Read the whole chapter of Leviticus 11 to learn the old law’s instruction concerning what foods were clean and unclean. Anything that lived in water had to have fins and scales before it could be eaten (Lev. 11:9-12).

The Old Testament is written for our learning (Rom. 15:4), and our example (1 Cor. 10:6, 11). However, we are no longer under bondage to it (Gal. 5:1).

Consider these points and passages:

Christ is the mediator of the N.T. (Heb. 9:15-17)
We are able ministers of the N.T. (2 Cor. 3:6)
Old law done away (2 Cor. 3:11)
O.T. ordinances blotted out, taken out of the way, nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14-16)
Took away the first to establish the second (Heb. 10:9)
If you demand one O.T. law, must keep them all (Gal. 5:3)
If justified by the O.T., fall from grace (Gal. 5:4)

Also read Ac. 10:9-16.

I hope this helps.