Glen T. Winstein





  The writings about them provide a warning for us not to be like them.  None
of the things that tempted them are too hard to resist.

  As Christians can bond together as one body in the beliefs about partaking in
the Lord's supper--the wine as Christ's blood and the bread as Christ's body--
so can Israelites who share their beliefs about partaking of the food of sacri-
fices made at the altar or idolaters who share their beliefs about partaking of
the meat of animals sacrificed at an idol altar.

  In comparison with those participating (RSV,NIV) sharing (NWT) in the blood
and body of Christ (Luke 22:19,20) as believers, see 1 Cor.11:17-34: some ap-
proached them selfishly and irreverently, each just eating and getting drunk and
not waiting to partake with the others.  Paul can't call that properly having
the Lord's supper, and wondered if they considered it no better than just hav-
ing a meal at home or even despise the congregation of God and want to shame
those of it who have nothing.  They weren't discerning the intended meaning of
it or bonding with the faithful, thereby bringing God's negative judgement in-
stead of his blessing onto themselves.

  For the Israelites bonding in their belief in the meaning of partaking of
food from sacrifices made at the altar, in worship and for the blessing of the
Lord (RSV,NIV)/Jehovah (NWT), see Lev. 17:8,9; Deut.12:6,7; 14:22,23, and many

  At 1 Cor.10:19, etc., Paul teaches that the food per se offered to idols is
of no special significance to Christians, just as the idol of an idolater isn't
another true God for a Christian to believe in but a false one.  A Christian
can't be in good standing with God while believing in false Gods, so wouldn't
want to encourage another to believe in a false one.

  A Christian can eat anything sold at the market (again, most meat in Corinth
came from animals sacrificed to idols and wasn't koshered of blood; it could
even have the higher degree of blood that would be left after the sort of
slaughter that cuts the animal's throat).  A Christian knows that God provided
all food.  A Christian can eat anything an unbeliever serves at a meal.  If
they want a Christian to eat the food with the understanding that it was of-
fered to an idol, a Christian shouldn't eat it because a Christian doesn't want
to encourage them to worship except to be helpful and upbuilding in encouraging
them to worship the one true God.

  If a Christian makes clear they partake with thanks to the one true God, they
can't be faulted.

  A Christian should emulate Paul in being diplomatic, sometimes giving up
things to be to another's advantage to bring them to (the Christian) God.  For
example, a Christian should abstain from eating things offered to idols if to
do otherwise meant leaving the impression of encouraging idolatry, and not eat
foods when eating them would cause a Jewish person to be offended and consider
them as unclean for even minimal socialization.  A Christian doesn't have to of-
fend a Greek person by refusing to eat with them, or offend a Jewish person or
the Christian church.  The main thing isn't to be selfish but to bring people to


  A couple of important points to take from the above concerns to bring to bear
on the JWs leaders' rules that make blanket bans on certain things with idola-
trous (or more broadly, pagan, see the coverage of worldliness on p.6) connota-
tions, or idolatrous connotations when near an idol temple, the idea used for
the JWs leaders' allowance of minor blood fractions as not carrying the connota-
tion of whole blood (p.35):

  - Christians aren't to worry about the imagined pagan connotations of things
since they thank God for everything.  If you worship God, eating in proximity
to an idol temple no more makes you an idolator than it makes someone a worship-
per of God if they're an atheist and eat at the Lord's Supper.  Whether or not
you only worship God is the important thing in either situation.

  - A circumstantial exception to the above freedom is that a Christian could
abstain if eating around another left the mistaken impression of encouraging
idol worship.  A Christian would give up their freedom in that circumstance
since gaining the other to Jesus is more important.  (I think this leaves the
possibility open that a hungry Christian could just explain their faith to them
and only have to abstain if that wasn't possible.)

  Another point to take from the above concerns is that Paul explains the diplo-
macy intended by the common view of the rules of the Council of Jerusalem.  He
didn't explain the JWs leaders' blanket ban of foods because he didn't have any.

  By the JWs leaders' stance, their stance on the degree of blood removal would
be implied since most meat in Corinth wasn't koshered of blood.  But it's anoth-
er case of a good opportunity to explain the JWs leaders' blanket ban of foods
that Paul handles as if he didn't have any.