Here is the pathetic response the Society gave to this issue:
*** w78 10/15 pp. 30-31 Questions from Readers ***
? Did the apostle Paul disagree with the first-century governing body about eating meat offered to idols, as some conclude from comparing Acts 15:28, 29 with 1 Corinthians chapter 8?
No, for the evidence proves that Paul was in full agreement with the decree of the apostles and elders.
In the year 49, Paul and Barnabas brought to the Jerusalem body of elders and apostles the question of whether Gentile converts must get circumcised. Based on the Scriptures and God?s dealings, and guided by the holy spirit, the council determined that converts did not need to keep the Law. But, among other things, they did have to "keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols."?Acts 15:1-29.
About 55, Paul wrote to the Corinthians about eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. He said that an idol is really nothing. So a Christian could eat meat that had been sacrificed to an idol, and that later as surplus was taken out and sold in a meat market or in a public restaurant connected with the temple. If, however, someone who previously worshiped the idol would stumble at the Christian?s eating such meat, Paul advised that it would be best to avoid doing so in order that the other person?s faith would not be damaged.?1 Cor. 8:7-13; 10:25-33; Rom. 14:1-4, 19-23.
In view of this, some Bible commentators have contended that Paul was refusing to go along with the council?s decree or that there was a continuing division on the matter. For example, Professor E. Blaiklock says: "In 1 Cor. viii. 4 Paul himself publicly adopts a more liberal attitude than that which the decree lays down." Heinrich A. Meyer writes about Paul?s supposed "self-subsistent position?wholly independent of the authority of all the other apostles." And Dr. Meyer comments that in First Corinthians chapter 8 Paul "makes no reference to the decree of the apostles either here or elsewhere, which is in keeping with his consciousness of his own direct and independent apostolic dignity. . . . Moreover, this very chapter, along with chap. x., shows plainly that, in virtue of his independent position as an apostle, he had early enough shaken himself clear of all applications of the temporary agreement come to at Jerusalem."
Such reasoning is insidious, dangerous and contrary to God?s inspired Word. It reflects the idea that Bible books present personal and contradictory human opinions and are not all inspired and beneficial. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) And, at least in some cases, it reflects a desire to label the decree of Acts 15:28, 29 as temporary and now unnecessary. This, though, conflicts with the Bible and with the historical evidence that Christians in the second century and beyond recognized the decree as binding.
What actually was Paul?s position on the matter of "abstaining from things sacrificed to idols"?
Far from taking exception to that decree, Paul and Barnabas participated in the council that reached that decision. Then they publicized the decision, as Acts 16:4 reports: "Now as they traveled on through the cities they would deliver to those there for observance the decrees that had been decided upon by the apostles and older men who were in Jerusalem." This built up the congregations.
Did Paul change his stand by the time he wrote First Corinthians (c. 55) or Romans (c. 56)? Not at all. In fact, it was after writing both of those letters that he went to Jerusalem the last time. (1 Cor. 16:8; Acts 19:1; Rom. 15:25) While there, he met with James and the older men, who referred back to the decree of Acts 15:28, 29 as still valid and binding on Christians. Paul did not disagree.?Acts 21:17-26.
Hence, we have good reason to expect that any seeming conflict between the council?s decree and what Paul wrote can be resolved. And that certainly is so.
What the decree in Acts 15:28, 29 forbade was a Christian?s being part of a formal, religious ceremony or his committing an act of idolatry. Those who sacrificed an animal to an idol got some of the meat to eat. Their doing so was clearly a religious act; it was considered sharing in a meal with the pagan god. (Ex. 34:15; Deut. 32:17; 1 Cor. 10:18-21) Christians absolutely could not do that. The decree of the Christian governing body had forbidden it, and Paul was in full agreement. He wrote: "Therefore, my beloved ones, flee from idolatry."?1 Cor. 10:14; 1 Thess. 1:9.
So, in writing what he did in 1 Corinthians 8 and 10 and Romans 14, Paul was not granting permission to share in an idolatrous act or feast in honor of an idol, as the Israelites had done and incurred God?s wrath. (Num. 25:1-4; Rev. 2:14) Rather, he was dealing with simply eating, as a customary meal, meat from an idol temple that had been sold to the public in general. Such meat was not unclean or defiled simply because of its background.
Lots of supposition and false arguments. The conflict between Paul and the Jewish-Christians after the supposed meeting in AD 49 is apparent in Galatians, Matthew, James, and in later Jewish-Christian works. For instance, Paul himself in Galatians relates about the explosive conflict between himself and "certain men from James" in Antioch, which took place after the meeting in Jerusalem. The Society presumes that there could not have been any real conflict between writers of the NT, and insinuates that viewing Paul realistically is "insidious" and "dangerous". The whole argument, btw, is a red herring because it presumes that Paul was only talking about eating "meat from an idol temple that had been sold to the public in general" and "as surplus was taken out and sold in a meat market". That's not what the text says. In 1 Corinthians 8:10, Paul says: "For if anyone should see you, the one having knowledge, reclining at a meal in an idol temple, will not the conscience of that one who is weak be built up to the point of eating foods offered to idols?" (NWT). The reference to "knowledge" is to the knowledge that "idols are nothing" (v. 4) and it is this knowledge that gives a Christian "freedom" (v. 9) to "eat things sacrified to idols," as long as the Christian knows that idols are not real and thus does not practice idolatry. Very plainly, Paul alludes to the "freedom" that Christians have in eating sacrifices inside temples -- but admonishes these people to be careful not to stumble other brothers by doing this. Thus, the Society's "argument" is a non-argument.
The funny thing is that they don't think the issue through as it pertains to their Blood Doctrine. Even if Paul allowed the eating of meat sold at pagan "meat markets," how is that "abstaining from blood"? The pagan Greeks did not show concern for draining blood from meat. Paul did not object to eating such meat out of principle. For that matter, why do Witnesses today not prepare their meat kosher if they truly want to respect a total ban on "abstaining from blood". How many Witnesses enjoy a nice, rare steak?