Andrew Fuller Fridays: Fuller on Passages That Seem Contradictory (1 Cor. 8:8-13 & 1 Cor. 10:20-21)


“But meat commendeth us not to God,” &c.—1 Cor. 8:8–13.

“The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God, and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and of the table of devils.”—1 Cor. 10:20, 21.

In the former of these passages the apostle presses the discontinuance of eating meats offered to idols as merely inexpedient; in the latter as absolutely unlawful. To account for this, it may be proper to observe that eating part of the sacrifices of the city, which might be provided at the public expense, had been the custom in all former times; and it was probably thought a hardship to be forbidden it. Some of the members of the church at Corinth proceeded so far as to resume their old stations at these public feasts; and justified themselves on the ground that they were not so ignorant as not to be able to distinguish between idolatry and good eating and drinking; they did not mean by it to do any honour to the idol, but merely to partake of the repast. Yet by their example many weaker brethren, who still retained the prejudices of their heathen education, were actually drawn into a superstitious veneration of the idol.—The thing also was in itself wrong, as it was having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

To remedy this evil, the apostle first reasons with them on their own principles. Be it so, as if he had said, that there is no evil in it, and that you by your superior knowledge (thus satirizing their vain pretences) can walk over these coals without being burnt; yet that is more than your weaker brethren can do. You make them sin, though you be sinless yourselves.—In this view he allows their conduct, for argument sake, to be lawful, but denies it to be expedient. But having thus proved the impropriety of their conduct, even upon their own principles, he proceeds to evince its utter unlawfulness; calling it “idolatry” chap. 10:14, and proving it to be so on this general principle—that he who voluntarily associates with others in any act is a partaker of that act. On this ground, says he, it is that in the Lord’s supper we hold professed communion with Christ; that those who among the Jews ate of the sacrifices partook of the altar; and, upon this ground, you cannot eat and drink things offered to idols without having fellowship with demons.

Fuller, A. G. (1988). The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Memoirs, Sermons, Etc. (J. Belcher, Ed.) (Vol. 1, pp. 667–684). Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications.

By |June 17th, 2016|Categories: Andrew Fuller Friday, Blog|

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