Can Christians Eat Black Pudding?

In his book, In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life,  Sinclair Ferguson writes the following in chapter 37, “Eating Black Pudding.”

It was years ago now, but I still remember the discussion. I was making my way out of our church building some time after the morning service had ended, and was surprised to find a small group of people still engaged in vigorous conversation. One of them turned and said to me, “Can Christians eat black pudding?”

To the uninitiated in the mysteries of Scottish haute cuisine, it should perhaps be said that black pudding is not haggis! It is a sausage made of blood and suet, sometimes with flour or meal.

It seems a trivial question. Why the vigorous debate? Because, of course, of the Old Testament’s regulations about eating blood (Lev. 17:1Off).

Although (as far as I am aware) no theological dictionary contains an entry under B for “The Black Pudding Controversy,” this unusual discussion raised some most basic hermeneutical and theological issues:

  • How is the Old Testament related to the New?
  • How is the Law of Moses related to the gospel of Jesus Christ?
  • How should a Christian exercise freedom in Christ?

The Council of Jerusalem, described in Acts 15, sought to answer such practical questions faced by the early Christians as they wrestled with how to enjoy freedom from the Mosaic administration without becoming stumbling blocks to Jewish people.

These were questions to which Paul in particular gave a great deal of thought. He was, after all, one of those appointed by the Jerusalem Council to circulate and explain the letter that summarized the decisions of the apostles and elders (Acts 15:22ff; 16:4). Faced with similar issues in the church at Rome, he provided them with a series of principles that apply equally well to twenty-first-century Christians. His teaching in Romans 14:1-15:13 contains healthy (and very necessary) guidelines for the exercise of Christian liberty. (pp. 171-172). Kindle Edition.

Ferguson then gives four guiding principles from Scripture for Christian liberty. They include: a warning against flaunting one’s liberty, not neglecting fellowship with other Christians over issues of disagreement in liberty, not using one’s liberty to become a stumbling block for another, and seek to please others over ourselves.

What great instruction on Christian liberty about which to be mindful. I would add that the weaker brother does not necessarily stay in their weaker position. Rather, discipleship and growth may take place. Finally, Christians may do well to discern the difference between a weaker brother and a legalist when exercising their liberty.

Here I blog…


tagged as , , in books,Christianity,Church Issues,Gospel,morality,theology

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tjcxjonz155 August 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Define your meaning of the term “a legalist” please.

2 Here I Blog August 30, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I should give Micah a HT since he pointed this out earlier this week on FB.

3 JF August 31, 2013 at 10:07 am

Perhaps Genesis 9:4 be taken as a hint against eating blood since it kind of general, not Law-related.

4 tjcxjonz155 August 31, 2013 at 10:42 am

Knock knock. Define your term “a legalist” please and also a little prompt “Give to the one who asks you”. It may take a little of your time but I can borrow that. “and the one who wants to borrow from you do NOT turn him away. The command is like an order from headquarters, see?

5 Nick Kennicott January 31, 2015 at 10:55 pm

I literally just looked this up about 20 minutes ago to use some of it for Sunday school tomorrow! haha wow.

6 Mark Lamprecht February 1, 2015 at 8:20 am

Nick, that’s crazy!


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