What Laws Should We Add to the Gospel?

Acts 15:29 contains a prohibition on the eating of meat sacrificed to idols, meat from strangled animals, and blood, as well as a prohibition on sexual immorality.

Interestingly this prohibition is a part of a letter explicitly freeing gentile followers of the Messiah from the obligation of following the Torah.  (Read all of Acts 15)

So what's up?

I thought we Christians were not under law?  Am I guilty of sin for enjoying a rare steak?

Why would they, in one breath offer absolution from the ceremonial law of the Jews, and in the next breath, require adherence to a few obscure points of that same ceremonial law?

The simple answer is... context.


This was the early churches exhortation to the gentile believers, 'don't conform to the pattern of this world,' don't participate in your culture simply because its your culture.  Don't go with the flow; thoughtfully engage in counter-cultural subversion of the status quo.  Not by picking up a sword or a spear, nor even by moving out into the desert in isolation, but by living right in the middle of the Empire, engaging in all of the same relationships and social interactions, but do so with Christian intentionality.  Live a different, otherworldly, heavenly culture, right in the middle of this one.  Do it in quiet but obvious rebellion.  Refuse to eat these things, and watch your culture quickly come to frustration and confusion at the question, 'who are these people, and why do they live the way they do?'

So how do we apply this today?

I think its okay to eat blood sausage, if thats your thing.  For us to really apply this passage to our lives, we need to contextualize it.  What are the cultural forces at work today that 'it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us' to confront and subvert?

Here's my list:

"You are to abstain from purchasing any item that is not used or handmade; from eating or driving alone; from recreating behind your house instead of in front of it; and from sexual immorality."

What's yours?

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