Why Some Portions of the Old Testament Are Binding on Christians and Others Are Not
A MUST READ post at The American Catholic from my friend, Don McClarey regarding the Council of Jerusalem and why some Old Testament proscriptions are still binding on Christians while others are not:
... It is a good question and sometimes confuses Catholics and non-Catholics. The answer to the question is in the very earliest history of the Church. After the ascension of Jesus, the apostles went about the great task of making “apostles of all the nations”, and Christianity began to spread among Jew and Gentile alike. The question quickly arose as to whether Gentile converts would have to be circumcised (the males only of course!) and follow all of the Jewish laws regarding ritual purity...My Comments:
Tensions over the issue of whether Gentile Christians should be required to follow all of the Jewish ritual purity laws, were settled doctrinally once and for all at the Council of Jerusalem in 49 AD which issued these decrees:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
The Gentiles were therefore not to be required to live like Jews. They were required to follow the ten commandments and the major teachings of the Old Testament, but the laws of ritual impurity were not to apply to Christians...
[Read the whole thing]
I don’t believe I have ever seen this issue explained more clearly and concisely. This should be a “must read” and a “must link” throughout St. Blog’s.
Save this one away in your favorites, folks. Keep it handy to access for whenever the topic inevitably rears its head. As Don says in the comments, "The Old Testament laws and their applicability to Christians is an issue that keeps coming up in current debates and Catholics need to know that the answer is a pretty simple one."