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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Was The Decree to "Abstain From Blood" Only a Temporary Requirement or Obligation to Christians?

The Book of Acts clearly shows that many years after the Jerusalem council issued that decree, Christians continued to comply with the "decision that they should keep themselves from what is sacrificed to idols as well as from blood and what is strangled and from fornication." (Acts 21:25) They demonstrated that the requirement to abstain from blood was not merely limited to one area or for just a brief period of time.

Historical evidence is clear and abundant concerning Christians abstaining from blood throughout the following centuries. Note what early Latin theologian Tertullian (c. 160-230 C.E.) stated:

"Let your unnatural ways blush before the Christians. We do not even have the blood of animals at our meals, for these consist of ordinary food. . . . At the trials of Christians you offer them sausages filled with blood. You are convinced, of course, that the very thing with which you try to make them deviate from the right way is unlawful for them. How is it that, when you are confident that they will shudder at the blood of an animal, you believe they will pant eagerly after human blood?" -Tertullian, Apologetical Works, and Minucius Felix, Octavius, translated by Rudolph Arbesmann (1950), p. 33.

And Minucius Felix, a Roman lawyer who lived until about 250 C.E. wrote:

"So much do we shrink from human blood, that we do not use the blood even of eatable animals in our food." - The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 192.

"The Primitive Christians scrupulously complied with the decree pronounced by the Apostles at Jerusalem, in abstaining from things strangled and from blood." -The Ecclesiastical History of the Second and Third Centuries (1845), by John Kaye, Bishop of Lincoln, p. 146

For more, see
God's View of Blood