A Question I Was Asked:

How Can Eating Certain Foods in Front of Weaker Christians be Viewed as a Sin. Why Would it be Considered a Sin?

I wanted to ask about what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10 and Romans 14. I don't really understand how eating certain foods in front of weaker christians can be viewed as a sin. Why would it be considered a sin?

UK Apologetics Reply:

Because - believe it or not - there are some Christians out there who have a 'big thing' about food and righteousness, they are of a weaker understanding because the kingdom of God is not about meat and drink:

17. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18. because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. (Romans 14:17-18).

Yet Paul says don't offend these people. Back then, certain of the meat on sale had been sacrificed to idols before being slaughtered. Certain Christians would be offended by this meat being eaten. For Paul it was obviously no big deal except that we should avoid offending those of weaker understanding. Paul says quite a lot on this topic in 1 Corinthians 10. In this chapter Paul states this:

18. Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19. Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20. No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons. 22. Are we trying to arouse the Lord's jealousy? Are we stronger than he? (1 Corinthians 10:18-22).

Yet after making this valid theological point, Paul the Apostle goes on to state this,

23. "I have the right to do anything," you say - but not everything is beneficial. "I have the right to do anything" - but not everything is constructive. 24. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 25. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26. for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." 27. If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28. But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29. I am referring to the other person's conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another's conscience? 30. If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31. So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God - 33. even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. (verses 22-33, NIV throughout).

So Paul's overall approach is don't offend Christians who may be newer in the Faith and of weaker understanding, or even anybody else who might be offended. The truth is: there is no problem with eating meat which had been 'sacrificed to idols,' because there is only one God and those idols don't even exist. Ask a blessing over it and eat it, but if this approach will cause weaker brothers and sisters to stumble don't eat it in their presence.

Robin A. Brace. March 29th, 2016.