Peter and the “shellfish” argument

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As the Episcopal Church and other denominations have taken positions of that support the full inclusion of LGBT Christians and marriage equality, those in support of that position point out that the ritual law of the Old Testament was suspended after the resurrection, and arguing that Levitical prohibitions are still in force for some things and not others doesn’t make a lot of sense.


Conservative voices in the larger church call this the “shellfish argument” and generally dismiss it. Al Mohler, the leading voice in the Southern Baptist convention characterizes the argument this way:

“Look,” we are told, “the Bible condemns eating shellfish, wearing mixed fabrics and any number of other things. Why do you ignore those things and insist that the Bible must be obeyed when it comes to sex?”

Mohler goes on to dismiss the argument saying that the explicit removal of ritual purity laws in Peter’s vision in the 10th chapter of Acts only refers to things, not people.

Fred Clark, writing on his blog Slacktivist takes strong exception with Mohler’s reasoning.

“But while popular, this view utterly contradicts Peter’s own interpretation of his vision. If Mohler is right, then Peter was wrong. If Peter was right, then Mohler is wrong.

For Peter, his rooftop vision wasn’t about kosher dietary laws — it was about people. He says this explicitly: ‘God has shown me that I should not call anyone profane or unclean.’

That’s a very different conclusion from the one Mohler draws. Mohler says this story — this scripture — is about purity laws. Peter says this story is about God’s commandment that no people should be excluded as impure.

I’m going to have to side with Peter on this one. Peter was right. Mohler is wrong.”

Go check out the full argument and Clark’s reasoning. God does seem to be less worried about how we feed ourselves than how we treat one another.

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tgflux
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tgflux

"how we conduct ourselves personally"

Is that all a human relationship is to you, Nicole? Mere "conduct"?

Try taking ALL PeterP's advice, inc. "Ask about their lives" and "Remain curious and not certain".

If I may amend the last step, I would say "ASK God for more wisdom, and more compassion, and see what happens." And then repeat, ad eternum! 🙂

JC Fisher

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Nicole Porter
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Nicole Porter

"I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean."-Romans 14:14

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Nicole Porter
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Nicole Porter

I agree with Mohler. It's a very poor argument to make when that passage was clearly about dietary laws, not how we conduct ourselves personally. My parish has GLBT members. I also know some gay and lesbian clergy. My beliefs remain intact regardless as I'm sure many others do as well.

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Peter Pearson
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Peter Pearson

We go round and round about this and get nowhere. No amount of logic or intentional argument seems to change anything on either side and that's because it's the wrong strategy to utilize. Human relationship (inspired by God's love) is the only thing that will change hearts; that's really what needs changing here.

Get to know some GLBT folks.

Ask about their lives.

Remain curious and not certain.

See what God does with that opportunity.

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John
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John

Glad to see you linking to "Slacktivist." It's a must-read for me.

John Banks

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