1) Riches exclude one from heaven. In essence this is how McAfee interprets Matthew 19:20-24
"The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
McAfee says, "poverty or destitution is an additional requirement for acceptance into heaven." But is this the thrust of the passage? Of course not. Pretty much any Biblical commentary will tell you that. If the Bible teaches anything it teaches that we can only be saved by faith in Christ and not by works (Eph 2:6-8). If this man could earn his way into heaven by giving up all his possessions to the poor then he could be working for salvation. So then, what is Jesus really saying and what is the point of the passage?
- Worshipping God alone in spirit and truth is the requirement for salvation; for this man money was his god.
- In the context of this passage there is an implied contrast between the rich man and the disciples. Matthew is presenting a scene where a man who is outwardly righteous could miss out on salvation due to the idols in his heart but the true disciple of Jesus is one who is willing to give up all to follow him.
Therefore, poverty and/or destitution is not an additional requirement for acceptance into heaven. The requirement is always the same. A man must be willing to die to self and take up his cross daily to be a true disciple (Lk 9:23). Everyone's cross is different. For this man it was riches, for us it may be a job, for others it could be their dreams.
2) God condemns the eating of Shrimp & Shellfish. McAfee says on page 103,
“The Christian Bible is composed of the Old and New Testaments, yet the holy laws taught in Genesis and Leviticus are often downplayed and/or forgotten, when convenient, of course."
His criticism is that Christians pick and choose from the Old Testament what to obey and what to ignore. Is that a fair assessment? Certainly not!!! It was not the choice of Christians to deem some things no longer relevant; that was the command of God. In many New Testament letters we get instructions by the Apostles that certain aspects of the Law of Moses are no longer binding on Christians (Col 2:16-17; Gal 5:2-3; Acts 10:9-16, et al.) We could spend a whole series of blog posts on this topic but space at the present does not permit me to dive into this matter in detail. But I can make a few points. The Law of Moses was a covenant made with national Israel (Exodus 34:27). Therefore, we should expect it to contain some things specific to their nation which are not universal. Generally the Law of Moses can be divided into three categories.
- Ceremonial Law
- Judicial Law
- Moral Law
Now to get to David's critique. Obviously shellfish and shrimp have no intrinsic immorality to them. Oftentimes what we find in the law are cultural aspects that God uses to teach moral principles. For example God might tell the Israelites they were not allowed to eat a certain animal. In some cases the reason is that God wants to keep the Israelites from joining in the feasts or making covenants with the Canaanites. Imagine being invited to a party and being unable to eat any food they present. Imagine trying to enter into a business agreement with a person but not being able to make the covenant because you can't touch a certain animal. The point is not that God hates pork. The point is that God wanted to keep the Israelites separate and thus holy in preparation of the coming Messiah.
I only wish David McAfee would be sincere enough to investigate his supposed objections to Christianity. My invitation to debate him on any of these topics is always open. David?