Why Christians eat pork

Leviticus ch. 11 is all about clean and unclean animals and what the Israelites in Old Testament times could and couldn’t eat.

Therefore, every time someone hunted, ate a meal, went to a petting zoo, or came across roadkill, they had to ask themselves, “Is this clean or unclean?”

Land animals. Sea animals. Insects. Clean or unclean?

You shall not make yourselves detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you shall not defile yourselves with them, and become unclean through them. For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.  For I am the Lord who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:43-45)

Ch. 12 is all about childbirth and how that made one unclean.

Ch. 13 is all about skin diseases and mould on clothes and how that made one unclean.

Ch. 14 is all about skin diseases and mildew in houses and how that made one unclean.

Ch. 15 is all about different bodily discharges and how that made one unclean.

What was the point of all these rules?

The point of the rules was not personal hygiene, but a picture or symbol of sin.

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Why we can’t approach God on our own terms

We are familiar with the concept of mediators.  Someone who represents us or goes in our place.

I can’t argue my case at the Constitutional Court.  I need an advocate, with the necessary qualifications, who will represent me.

The Springbok rugby team represents South Africa when they play rugby. We all say, “We won the game!”, but we didn’t even touch the ball.  The Springboks represented us.

The book of Leviticus answers the question: How can a Holy God dwell in the midst of sinful people?

How can we, with all our failings, sin, brokenness and rebellion, be in a relationship with the Holy God of the Bible?

Ch. 1-7 is about the sacrifices. A holy God demands that sin deserves death, but an animal dies and the sinner gets to live.

Ch. 8-10 is about the ordination of the priests, Aaron and his sons, who will manage the sacrifices, mediate between the Israelites and God, and represent the Israelites before God.

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Homosexuality (still) isn’t the new black

The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa voted in 2015 to permit those in same-sex relationships to serve as ministers.  The synod also voted to permit same-sex unions to be blessed in Dutch Reformed churches. That decision was then appealed in 2016.

At present the DRC is experiencing huge turmoil as the issue of sexuality continues to be debated.1

Many of those who were pleased with the synod’s original  decision to permit same-sex marriage equate discrimination towards those who practice homosexuality as essentially the same as the discrimination towards black people under apartheid.

For them, the 2015 synod’s decision was a great moment of liberation to be celebrated.2

However, homosexuality is not the new black.

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4 unpopular truths about gender and sexuality

Many years ago, there were relatively very few issues around sexuality and gender.

It was largely accepted that there were only two genders and you were either one or the other.

It was largely accepted that males’ anatomy was designed for sexual intimacy with females, vice versa.

It was largely accepted that the best, safest, and most secure place for sexual intimacy was marriage.

It was largely accepted that marriage was between one woman and one man.

Today, these concepts are no longer widely accepted.

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Learning from Leviticus

God is holy.

The Bible describes God as a consuming fire residing in unapproachable light.

To approach God our own way is like approaching the surface of the sun – we will simply be extinguished.

God’s radiant holiness will kill us as sin-full and sin-prone people.

However, in the Old Testament book of Leviticus we see God making a way for sin to be forgiven.

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What is the mission of the church (part 2)

In the previous installment, I argued that Jesus has tasked his church to take the verbal message of repentance and forgiveness of sins to the nations.

The central mission of the church, therefore, is to take God’s Word to God’s world.

The church’s chief task is to bear witness to Jesus, so that people may be saved from hell for heaven forever by repenting and believing the gospel.

We see this priority throughout the New Testament.

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Making sense of our suffering

What has been your most difficult trial in the last couple of years?

Sickness, strained relationships, persecution, isolation, financial difficulties, family problems?

Today, as all through the ages, people have different responses to trials, suffering and hardship.

They may think, “God obviously doesn’t care about me.”

Or, “God has deserted and abandoned me.”

Or, “I must have done something wrong and God is punishing me.”

Or, “Christianity is just a farce.  If God really did love me this would not be happening.”

The Christians, to whom the Apostle Peter wrote the letter we know as “1 Peter”, were also suffering and facing many trials.

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