A vocational missionary in an Eastern country asks whether the Bible forbids Christians to eat blood. The Jerusalem conference in Acts 15 prohibited it, he notes, but other New Testament texts say that no food is unclean. “This is especially a problem,” he writes, “in countries where blood is eaten and then American teachers say it is forbidden.”
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The issue in Acts 15 was whether Gentile believers in Jesus also had to become Jewish proselytes and keep the Law of Moses in order to experience salvation. The answer was a decisive “No.” Gentiles are saved by grace, the Spirit-guided conference concluded, as are Jews who accept Jesus as Messiah (Acts 15:10-11). But a very practical problem still remained. That problem involved the fact that messianic Jews were being asked to receive into personal fellowship Gentiles who believed in Jesus but who did not fully conform to Jewish standards of ritual holiness.
The conference settled the fellowship question by borrowing several basic rules of purity believed to have come from the time of Noah, long before the Law of Moses. Jews had traditionally considered it proper to mingle with Gentiles who kept these “Noahide” commands. The Jerusalem conference did not impose these as salvation rules. Rather, these prohibitions (including the prohibition against eating blood or meat of unbled creatures) were practical accommodations in the interest of fellowship, at a time when traditional Jewish and newly-converted Gentile believers still met and worshipped together.
Clearly, Christians are not bound by Old Testament laws concerning “clean” and “unclean” foods as such (Mark 7:19; 1 Tim. 2:4:1-5). However, because God has prohibited consuming blood in all ages of the world — before Moses (Gen. 9:4), under Moses (Lev. 17:10) and since (Acts 15:28-29) — I personally abstain from eating meat of unbled creatures or products such as Blutwurst (blood sausage). For me to eat such would be personally repugnant, probably unhealthy and, in my own conviction, contrary to the ageless will of God.