- Comment on Last Week’s Essay
- Essay: Does God Want Sacrifices? Part 2
The December-January Issue of Peaceable Table Is Online
This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
- Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
1. Comment on Last Week’s Essay
Aiden McDowell writes:
This is a very balanced view of the matter, and perhaps the most
intelligent defense that I've yet read or heard, that God doesn't really
take delight in the idea of animal sacrifice. There is strong scriptural
authority for the position; for example, Isaiah 1: 13-16. On the other
hand, Jesus seemed never to have made an issue of it, in fact stating
categorically that "what goes into a man does not defile a man . . ."
His contemporaries made routine animal sacrifices at the temple, which
must have been a veritable chamber of horrors. Surely he knew what was
going on. Of course, even the Jewish temple pales into insignificance
when compared with the factory farms (which didn't exist 2000 years
ago), from which our animal products come nowadays. These are quite
literally visions of hell. But what most disturbs me is that there are
few, if any, Christian denominations that ever raise the issue. When
I've questioned them about it, they offer a glib response, such as
"Jesus ate meat, so why can't we?" Or, "we live in an imperfect world .
. .," ignoring the strong exhortation of Jesus himself, that we must "be
perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect." Knowing what everyone
knows today (or ought to know) about how our food is produced, and
continuing to be a meat eater, is to live in denial. And it's hard for
me to understand how any viable spirituality, whatever you choose to
call it, can be compatible with, or based on, denial. Denial is, after
all, a lie to oneself.
Then there is the whole matter of the necessity of a "blood
sacrifice," which is emphasized in covenantal theology. And vegetables
don't bleed. The Calvinist church which I used to attend emphasized it,
and never once so much as raised the issue of the unspiritual effects
not only of meat eating, but of viewing animals as objects of sacrifice.
Christianity is obviously much in need of another reformation. But I
don't see anyone coming forward to accomplish it.
2. Essay: Does God Want Sacrifices? Part 2
This is the second essay in a series exploring the question of why
the Bible often describes animal sacrifices as activities with which God
evidently approves. Last week, I suggested that animal sacrifices were a
necessary step toward a world free of sacrificial violence. This week, I
will consider the theory, held by many Christians today, that God
approved of sacrifices but they are no longer necessary.
The biblical witness reflects a wide range of accounts, and I think
people can select passages to support virtually any position on any
ethical issue. Indeed, there are many passages in which God seems to
insist on animal sacrifices. Further, many passages describe Jesus’
death as a sacrifice, though Christians differ on the purpose of this
sacrifice. Many hold that the animal sacrifices of the Hebrew Scriptures
and Jesus’ sacrificial death were meant to atone for sin by “balance the
scales” of justice.
I find this theory problematic. It violates my fundamental sense of
justice that innocent beings – whether non-human animals or Jesus –
would be killed to atone for someone else’s sin. Indeed, I would not
want to worship a God who demanded such injustice. I might choose to
worship such a God out of fear of that God’s wrath, but I would not do
so out of respect.
Some argue that sacrifices, particularly Jesus’ sacrifice, were
necessary to atone not for specific sins but rather for innate human
sinfulness. I will consider that theory next week. Then, I will offer a
different theory for Jesus’ sacrifice which, perhaps, will lend insight
into the reasons for animal sacrifices in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
3. The December-January Issue of Peaceable Table Is Online
* A NewsNote describes recent experiments with rats showing that a
rat with freedom of movement will repeatedly work to free a caged
colleague, even when tempted away by chocolate chips. Afterwards,
rescuer and rescued have a celebratory romp!
* David Whiting, an English emigrant to France whom we will feature
as a Pioneer in the February, 2012 issue, offers his comments in a
Letter on the anti-vegetarian measures currently being enacted there.
* Angela Suarez' delicious Pear and Almost Tart would be one of the
first treats to disappear at a Christmas party, or be the perfect light
dessert for a family dinner.
* Our December-January Pioneer, Diana Dunningham Chapotin, originally
from New Zealand, describes the challenges she posed to her ovo-lacto
vegetarian parents in her childhood when she would disrupt dinners or
outings by pointing out the problems with consuming dairy and eggs. Now
a vegan and activist living in France, she comments with touches of dry
humor on the challenges she herself faces there.
To read this issue, go to
Good Will to All,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor
4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Our Unchanging God in a New Year
5. Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
1/12 FL Orlando Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular
1/13 FL Jacksonville Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular
1/14 FL Tampa Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular
1/14-15 AZ Phoenix Rage Music Festival 2012
1/15 GA Atlanta Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular
1/21 OK Yukon The Hoppers Gospel
1/26 MS Biloxi The Rock and Worship Show
1/27 AL Huntsville The Rock and Worship Road Show
1/27-28 FL Miami Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade
1/28 IN Indianapolis The Rock and Worship Road Show
1/29 MN St. Paul The Rock and Worship Road Show
2/2 IL Hoffman Estates The Rock and Worship Road Show
2/2-3 AZ Phoenix Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade
2/3 MI Ypsilanti The Rock and Worship Road Show
2/4 WI Madison The Rock and Worship Road Show
2/9 TX Corpus Christi The Rock and Worship Road Show
3/8-9 NC Charlotte Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade
4/28-29 CT Hartford TABLE Connecticut Vegetarian & Healthy Living
5/20 CA Van Nuys TABLE WorldFest 2012
1/29 CANADA Alberta Edmonton Third Day Christian Rock Concert
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