Sufficency of Scripture

April 21, 2010

Matthew 7:5-13 tells us of a time the Pharisees confronted Jesus about his disciples’ non-washed hands before they would partake of a meal.  Jesus responded to them about their own traditions where they were dishonoring the word of God through what they thought to be wisdom.  In other words, they did not rely on the sufficiency of the Scripture.  The Pharisees said they believed the Scripture but developed numerous rules to keep the Scriptures and these rules ended up being used to violate the Scripture they said they believed.  These, over 600, rules used to keep the Ten Commandments could be said to be the wisdom of man in determining how to follow the Scripture.  This example of affirming one’s belief of Scriptural authority raises a question; “If the Scriptures are sufficient to guide my life, why does my wisdom keep me from engaging in an action the Scripture affirms?

The word sufficient means; “enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end.”  This definition applied to Scripture is the belief that the Scriptures are sufficient to meet ones needs concerning any principles advanced from its authority.  An example is found in the issue the Pharisees asked Jesus about in the above reference.  Jesus proceeded to point out to the Pharisees His disciples may be violating the Pharisaical rules, but Pharisees were using the rule of Corban to violate “honor father and mother”.  It was as if God could not look after his own temple so the Pharisees were allowing pledges of family fortunes to be pledged to the temple. Those making such pledges were allowing their father and mother to live in poverty explaining their funds to look after their parents were dedicated to God.  Thus, we see that man’s wisdom was placed on a rule that violated the very law they were supposed to be following.  This brings me to a debate that appears to use the same logic of “wisdom” to violate a principle of Scripture–moderation of beverage alcohol.

In all of Scripture one can find only a few places that the Bible speaks positively about using beverage alcohol.  However, one would be very hard pressed to advocate the alcoholic beverage of the scripture is the same alcoholic beverages today.  As a matter of study, I would encourage one to research the alcoholic beverages the Scriptures encourages us “not to look upon” and one will find they are the beverages being encouraged to be used  in moderation today.

I remember being on a mission trip to Romania where we partnered with an evangelical group of German students.  Our team stayed in a different location from the German group.  I remember the German group would openly go to the bar and drink beer during their times of relaxation.  When we did our various outreach projects the German group did not experience the same level of reception to the Gospel as we did.  To their amazement the reason their outreach efforts were not as well received had to do more with their witness concerning alcohol. The German group failed to understand that the people working in the bar were living in the same neighborhoods we were doing our outreach events.  Also, the German group would leave the bar and go to the outreach event and would begin to perspire and you could smell the remnants of alcohol on their person.  I will tell you this German Evangelical group believed the Scripture allowed for alcohol to be used in moderation.  If one believes scripture teaches something, then one should respond according to their understanding of Scripture’s teaching, regardless of the outcome of one’s culture.  However, regardless of the culture, the German group came to realize that beverage alcohol was a stumbling block to those that do not know Christ.

Let us now focus on the two positions of beverage alcohol for the Christian. The Christian will be confronted that either the Scripture teaches moderation in the use of alcohol or it teaches abstinence.  For me personally I affirm the Scriptures teach abstinence and that one should abstain from any social use of beverage alcohol.  For one that believes abstinence is the position of Scripture he/she will avoid the appearance of imbibing in beverage alcohol at social events.  One who believes in abstinence is not going to avoid restaurants that serve alcohol neither will they avoid social events because alcohol is being served.  One will not avoid these areas of life because that could lead to legalism  The one that affirms abstinence is taught by Scripture is not legalistic.  The charge of legalism against one that believes Scripture teaches abstinence is just as absurd as saying churches who require Baptism by immersion to become members are legalistic.

Another argument inside of the abstinence position is the ‘wisdom of abstinence’.  All abstainers do not believe Scripture advocates abstinence.  There appears to be two positions wrapped up in this one position.  First, There are some who believe Scripture advocates moderation but teach abstaining from beverage alcohol based on the scripture’s teaching of causing a brother to stumble.  Thus, one that takes this position would do so based on a conviction of scriptural authority. This position is not part of the wisdom argument, but is an argument based on Scripture.  Second, there are others who believe the scriptures teach moderation but abstain because they believe it is wise to do so due to the documented problems that come from alcohol addiction.  Of course no one is going to argue it is wise to allow oneself to become addicted so this position appears to be very strong in a debate.  These two positions have recently been posited as one argument in favor of a scriptural teaching of moderation of beverage alcohol.  Placing the scriptural teaching of causing someone to stumble in a “wisdom argument” allows one using a moderationist position to gain a hearing with those that hold to abstaining.  One who holds a wisdom moderationist view of Scripture, but abstains, will say to those that hold to a scriptural view of abstaining things like; “we end up at the same position we only get there from different places.”  The wisdom position sounds as if it is wise and one must confess that it appears to be a valid position unless one advocates scriptural authority for one’s life.

Scriptural authority says that scripture is the rule of one’s life.  Principles found in Scripture may not be something one feels is best because of circumstances, but one submits to that principle because one believes Scripture is above individual wisdom.  When one changes one’s position of a scriptural principle based on a circumstantial event, the doctrine of scriptural inerrancy is diluted.  For example, I have friends who take the moderationist position concerning beverage alcohol.  They do not drink around me because they know I take an abstinence position.  One went as far as to ask me if I would be offended for them to order some wine in a restaurant and I responded I would.  Let’s say that I told that person it would not offend me and they ordered a glass.  I would then have chosen the practice of cultural unity over my belief that partaking in beverage alcohol is taught by scripture to be sin.  Was I offended that I was asked that question?  No!  That person and I are still great friends.  I admire that person because she believed at the time that moderation was taught by scripture (she has changed her position to one of abstaining since that incident) and she practiced her scriptural understanding.  If one advocates inerrancy of Scripture and believes that the Scripture teaches moderation then for Scriptural authority to prevail one should freely drink beverage alcohol in a moderate sense.  If one states that Scripture teaches a moderation use of beverage alcohol but for wisdom purposes does not partake of beverage alcohol, then one has trumped Scriptural authority with personal wisdom.  Allow me to remind the readers that abstaining due to a belief it causes a weaker brother to stumble is a scriptural view not a wisdom view.

One’s perspective concerning wisdom versus Scriptural authority seems to rest more with individual wisdom than it does with Scripture.   If one believes Scripture allows for moderation and uses beverage alcohol in moderation then he/she holds more to the sufficiency of Scripture than the one that advocates a moderation view but does not imbibe because of wisdom.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available

Tom Parker

Tim Rogers:

The subject of alcohol is quite divisive even among believers. Can you not find something positive in all the pages of the Bible to rally born again believers around in these difficult days? The position of abstinence is once again used by those of your mind set to exclude fellow Christians from service in the SBC and to label them as MODERATES. You can strain to make your position of abstinence but it is just not there in BLACK AND WHITE in the Bible.

Tweets that mention Sufficency of Scripture :: SBC Today -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by SBC Today. SBC Today said: Sufficency of Scripture – Matthew 7:5-13 tells us of a time the Pharisees confronted Jesus about his disciples’ non… http://ow.ly/177YGC […]

Tim Rogers

Brother Tom,

Problem you have is that you are not speaking out against me in your pro-alcohol moderation use position. You are speaking against 40,000 churches that were represented by those churches that met in 2006 and adopted a resolution that says:

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of “our freedom in Christ”;
RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.
RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.

You see, Brother Tom, I have not advocated the exclusion of people from leadership that promote moderation in the use of beverage alcohol, it was the convention meeting in session, that voted to exclude. Thus, it appears there are 40,000 churches that would be those of my “mind set”.

Now, if you would like to debate any of the arguments I put forth be my guest. But to come on here and begin the comments by accusing me of trying to be negative will not further suffice as debate.

Blessings,
Tim

David Worley

“Negative” and “bad” = “saying things that I dont like;” “things that I really dont want to hear”

Chris Johnson

Tim,

“If the Scriptures are sufficient to guide my life, why does my wisdom keep me from engaging in an action the Scripture affirms?”

It may very well be your wisdom.

Because ,…dishonoring your father and mother is sin whatever way it is justified….since sin is inherent in the selfishness and pride of the flesh (fallen souls in Adam). I guess if one equates a soulless object as capable of the same as human sin in Adam….then you will find that person asking us to believe something different than what the scriptures teach concerning the consumption of wine.

The wisdom given by God is the wisdom that leads us to remain drunk in the Spirit (not be drunk with wine). The logic you have thrust upon the principle of scripture is difficult to imagine, because you are dealing with a soul verses non-soul.

So the wisdom given by God, can lead one to not consume wine and/or to remain drunk in the Spirit while consuming wine. There is clear biblical evidence that leads to the conclusion that remaining drunk in the Spirit is how the Spirit edifies and matures the believer.

I like how you have stated this…..

“If one believes Scripture allows for moderation and uses beverage alcohol in moderation then he/she holds more to the sufficiency of Scripture than the one that advocates a moderation view but does not imbibe because of wisdom.”

It is from ignorance to teach that a sufficient scripture makes partaking of wine a sin. Many people abstain because it tastes nasty…not because of wisdom however you may describe.

Blessings,
Chris

Tim Rogers

Brother Chris,

Here is the difficulty I have with the wisdom view. If Scripture allows for moderation and the wisdom I use to say ‘it is more wise to abstain’ comes from God, then God has just contradicted Himself. If God has said it is good then I can freely partake, unless he has said someplace for me not to partake. He has certainly stated that there is such a drink that we are not to partake. That same drink is the drink that is being advocated today that can be consumed in moderation.

Allow me to slightly rephrase that statement that you like.

If one believes Scripture allows for moderation and uses beverage alcohol in moderation then he/she holds more to the sufficiency of Scripture than the one that advocates a moderation view but does not imbibe because of wisdom.

That statement would explain better my position if stated;

If one believes Scripture allows for moderation and uses beverage alcohol in moderation then he/she holds more to their belief concerning sufficiency of Scripture than the one that advocates a moderation view but does not imbibe because of wisdom.

See, Brother Chris, many who hold to the wisdom view advocate inerrancy. Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture. Thus, for me, to advocate the scripture teaches moderation but not imbibe insinuates a dysfunctional aspect of God’s family. The only scriptural reason for not imbibing if someone believes the Scripture teaches moderation, is to guard against causing a brother to stumble. Once you move to say, Italy or Germany or some other culture where alcohol is a part of the meals this particular scriptural imperative is taken away. Once the stumbling argument is removed I do not see how one can appeal to “their wisdom” to refuse to do something they believe the Bible advocates.

Blessings,
Tim

Bill MacKinnon

Tim: Interesting take. I myself hold the moderationist view but do not partake because I don’t like the taste of alchoholic beverages.

Speaking of “wisdom” abstainers, are you speaking of total abstainers or those who abstain “situationally”?

You seem to be saying that which scripture affirms is near to being mandatory, rather than simply allowable. Am I misreading?

However, you say

“Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture.”

I would really like to see some type of support for this statement.

Thanks,

Bill

Christiane

Hi BILL McKINNON,

Tim wrote: ““Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture.”

I was also noticing those words and was wondering about the thinking behind them. Those words sort of ‘jump out at you’ a bit, don’t they?

Andrew Wencl

Tim,

(Take this as coming from a moderationist who likes the taste of some forms of alcoholic beverages yet abstains for the sake of the brothers… and the code of conduct at my seminary ;-).

Just because Scripture “permits” the drinking of alcoholic beverages doesn’t mean it mandates it. In a similar way, remarriage for widows was also permitted, but by no means mandated.

When it comes to alcohol, I think it is better to think in terms of 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”—but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

This does require wisdom. Not wisdom that contradicts or goes beyond Scripture, but wisdom that seeks to apply Scripture appropriately to every situation.

Robert

Tim,
I do not drink. I think th Bible is clear in many areas that it is unwise to drink, for oneself and how it might effect others who look to you as an example. Plus I agree it tastes nasty. The people that frustrate me ae the ones who try to manipulate scripture to say that the wine in the Bible wasn’t even alcoholic. I think it’s possible to make a case for abstaining without twisting scripture and ignoring historical context.

If a Christian wishes to drink, and they can deal with the scriptures that say it is unwise and causing a brother to fall, then more power to them. Even if I enjoyed drinking that would be hard for me to do.

Tim Rogers

Brother Bill,

You seem to be saying that which scripture affirms is near to being mandatory, rather than simply allowable. Am I misreading?

That is the rub for me in my position. No, I do not want to say that though it does appear that is what I am advocating. I know the Apostle Paul advocated the eating of meat offered to idols was ok, and it appears he went against the Jerusalem council on that. However, I also look at the garden setting when our Father told Adam and Eve they cold eat freely of every tree in the garden, except one. Proverbs 23:31 says that we are not to look at strong drink. I imagine if I am not supposed to look at then I should not touch it. However, this is a place that we are told “not to”. Just as Adam and Eve were told they could freely partake of any tree in the garden except one, we are given close to the same instructions.

“Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture.”

I would really like to see some type of support for this statement.

See Nancy Ammerman in Baptist Battles p. 107.

Blessings,
Tim

Louis

I, too, do not believe that the Bible mandates abstaining from alcohol consumption. There are many factors involved in applying wisdom.

I, also, would hope that abstaining from alcohol would not be a an issue that takes up a lot of attention in SBC life. I don’t want cultural practices to be the defining points of SBC life, even though I recogninze that most of the Soutern Baptists whom I know abstain from alcohol consumption.

I can take the very same arguments that have been made from wisdom and apply them to playing cards, mixed bathing (swimming), watching television, going to movies and other cultural practices. In fact, our forefathers did that very thing. Many independent baptists left the SBC and focused on issues like this. The independent movement, in many cases, became known more for what it was against that what it was for. There are books, pamphlets and thousands of sermons on these cultural practices.

Helping Christians negotiate cultural issues is part of discipleship; hence, the instructions of women and head coverings. But it is really easy to go further than scripture goes, and it is even easier to develop an unhealthy obsession with these type of issues.

I don’t want the SBC to go down that road.

But I am glad you have written the post and I have enjoyed the discussion.

Bob Cleveland

Paul said in 1 Corinthians: “Everything is permissible for me .. but I will not be mastered by anything”. It looks as if wisdom leads him not to do certain things, as he does not want to be enslaved to them.

He seems to be acknowledging that there are, indeed, things that are OK to do (scripturally), but he chooses not to do them .. not because they’re of themselves wrong, but that he himself shouldn’t. Because he is wise not to engage that behavior.

That is as much holding to scripture .. all of it, not just those parts that mention alcohol .. including the admonitions to seek wisdom .. as the one who abstains because he sees a scriptural admonition demanding that.

Tom Parker

Tim Rogers:

You said:”“Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture.”

Proof please.

Tim Rogers

Brother Andrew,

Just because Scripture “permits” the drinking of alcoholic beverages doesn’t mean it mandates it.

As I told Brother Bill, that is the rub in my OP for me. I agree the Bible’s permission is not the Bible’s mandate. However, tried as I may, I could not find something else that was permissible that would lead to the destructive behavior that beverage alcohol leads one. Also, would you agree or disagree that beverage alcohol today is not the same as the beverage alcohol that is ‘permitted’ in the scriptures?

One other thing. If the Bible advocates moderation is it permissible to serve to our children for a meal?

Brother Louis,

I, too, do not believe that the Bible mandates abstaining from alcohol consumption.

Allow me to make clear a definition. “Abstaining from alcohol consumption”=social drinking such as wine with a meal, martini’s at a social gathering, a beer while playing a round of golf, a drink after work, a cold beer after yard work, etc. etc. etc. I think I will disagree with you Brother Louis, I do believe the Bible mandates abstaining from alcohol consumption.

I don’t want cultural practices to be the defining points of SBC life, even though I recogninze that most of the Soutern Baptists whom I know abstain from alcohol consumption.

So, Brother Louis, would you say that our Missionaries in Italy and other cultures like that should be allowed to enjoy the moderate use of alcohol? Also, who would determine when moderation has ceased and drunkeness would begin? If you leave it to the individual studies indicate that after one drink the senses are altered.

Brother Bob,

Help me find another “permissible behavior” in scripture that can lead to the destruction of one’s family, other’s family, and to oneself,

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother Tom Parker,

Did you just not desire to read the comment thread? Are you so bent of finding fault in me that you just pull something out and do not give others credit to think for themselves? Your question was asked by Brother Bill MacKinnon, of course he asked with much more civility. If you will read my answer to him in comment #11 you will find that I used a self avowed Moderate author and her research as my “proof”. Contrary to your belief about me, I do have facts for my statements.

Blessings,
Tim

David R. Brumbelow

Tim,
I think I mainly agree with you. My thoughts:

First, I believe the Bible directly condemns intoxicating wine (Proverbs 20; 23; 1 Peter 5:8; etc.).
Second, it can be historically shown that the words for wine in ancient times were used of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic wine. They could and did preserve both fermented, and unfermented wine. The meaning is determined by the context.
Third, whether a person agrees with the above or not, biblical principles condemn the recreational use of alcohol.
Fourth, common sense would lead one to abstain from a drug that is so dangerous and brings such heartache.

I would like for everyone to agree with what I’ve outlined above. But if a person abstains from alcohol for whatever reason, I admire that choice. They have made the right and wise decision.

It seems to me the only way a person would deny the sufficiency of Scripture is if the Bible directly commanded them to drink intoxicating wine and they refused to do so. That, the Bible does not do. Or, if the Bible said nothing directly or indirectly about this issue, and we claimed it did.
David R. Brumbelow

Chris Johnson

Tim,

The biblical evidence of Israel drinking wine in the scriptures is very plain and evident. Some made an effort to become drunk on the wine,…others did not…thus the reason why the scriptures are sufficient for teaching us. Scripture is clear (and sufficiently so) that drinking wine is not a sin, yet being controlled by wine where the Spirit is not in control… is sin. And as some have already said in this string,…the same can be applied to many other substances where self control (Spiritually effected) is not applied.

The question is …. Can one be wise and drink wine? The biblical answer is unequivocally yes. The Baptist answer (at various points in history) is yes and no, or is not important enough to write a policy until now. The biblical answer is unchanging…the Baptist answer is somewhat politically driven.

Blessings,
Chris

Tim Rogers

Brother Chris,

So you are taking the admonition “do not be drunk with wine” to mean it is ok to drink beverage alcohol?

Blessings,
Tim

Andrew Wencl

Tim, here’re my responses.

Tim, you said: I could not find something else that was permissible that would lead to the destructive behavior that beverage alcohol leads one.

Perhaps your weaknesses in permissible things are limited to alcoholic beverages, or perhaps you find the results of alcoholism to be more despicable than other sins. I can think of many. Having the internet is permissible. Having Cable or Dish TV is permissible. But if either of those things cause you or your family members to sin by viewing pornography and feeding lust, or just the time investment causes neglected or broken relationships, those are not beneficial. Befriending “sinners” is permissible, but if you are tempted to engage in their sin, those friendships are likewise not beneficial.

Tim, you said, Also, would you agree or disagree that beverage alcohol today is not the same as the beverage alcohol that is ‘permitted’ in the scriptures?

Alcohol is alcohol. Whether you drink a beer, martini, or margarita, you are still consuming alcohol. Did the Romans of Paul’s day have margaritas? Probably not. Their drinks were probably different (indeed, we have quite a range of drinks available to us), but their sinful actions would be the same: intoxicating themselves and becoming alcoholics on what they were drinking. Blaming intoxication or alcoholism on the proof (alcohol content, not verification) and not the person is the same as saying “The devil made me do it.” It’s an excuse and ignores the heart of the issue, namely our heart.

One other thing. If the Bible advocates moderation is it permissible to serve to our children for a meal?

Certainly both physical and emotional maturity should go into a parent’s decision on that matter. I do believe the Scripture that says, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” A child who is spanked will not necessarily be physically abusive as an adult. A child who is taught moderation will not necessarily get intoxicated or be an alcoholic as an adult. We need to make sure that our example and training reinforce good habits, of which self control is one of them (and, ironically, was my anti-spam word).

Feel free to engage.

Michael McGirt

Bro. Tim,

Good post, enjoyed reading. I believe as you do in abstinence but do believe others can believe in moderation. I personally abstain because it nearly wrecked my life in high school and college. I teach our people that abstinence is the best alternative. I do have 2 questions though:

1. The 2006 resolution states, “That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.” What does that mean? Total abstinence? An beer every now and then? Just curious about that.

2. You spoke of the woman that asked you if it was ok to order a glass of wine and you said you would be offended. I totally respect your position, but as a Pastor myself, would you say it is wrong to sit at a table at a wedding reception where others are drinking wine and I am not? I usually join them in their celebration, just without consuming alcohol. I was just wondering your thoughts on this.

Thanks

John

I would have to disagree with you that total abstinence from alcohol is a Biblical mandate. Historically, Baptists have even used wine in the Lord’s Supper. If you feel that this is against your conscience from your understanding of Scripture, then you should not do it. And as far as not causing a brother to stumble, I believe that was concerned with eating meat offered to idols which might cause weaker brothers to go back to idol worship. I have still to find any reference to abstinence from alcohol at any time in church history prior to about 100 years ago. I may be wrong on this, but I haven’t found any.

Bill MacKinnon

“One other thing. If the Bible advocates moderation is it permissible to serve to our children for a meal?”

Christians all over the world have been doing this for millennia.

Were the Israelites teetotalers? Obviously not. Nor were they commanded to be.

Paul clearly states that we are to let no one judge us in food or drink. How can that not be more plain?

Abstentionism is much like dispensationalism. A fairly recent and distinctly American product.

But we’re wandering from the topic. I would say personally that both camps could affirm the sufficiency of scripture. I think where abstentionists move away from sufficiency is when they start quoting modern statistics regarding alcohol abuse to shore up their arguments. Likewise if moderationists start touting studies showing the health benefits of alcohol as a mandate for their position.

Bob Cleveland

Tim:

Food.

Seems to me overweight is a lot bigger problem among baptists, than booze.

Then there’s always sex. I believe Tiger Woods could testify to that.

I once met a man who said “You call yourself a Christian and you go to BASEBALL GAMES?!?! Seems he was once so addicted to baseball .. following all the teams .. keeping all the statistics .. that he saw it coming between himself and his family, and God. So he swore off baseball.

I’m sure there are others.

Louis

Tim:

I have no problem whatsoever with the IMB mandating an employment policy regarding abstinence. That is a wise employment policy, and as you have noted, is an easily enforceable bright line.

But just because I believe that’s a good employment policy for employees does not mean that I find biblical support mandating abstaining from the consumption of alcohol.

And I don’t think that having an employment policy is inconsistent with my concern that alcohol consumption become a major item on the SBC agenda. I realize that historically, it has been. Personally, I just don’t find that much attention given to it in scripture, and I would much rather the SBC be seen and known for what we are for and not obsessed with being cultural scolds.

It seems that in your re-definition for me (i.e. “Social drinking” as you have defined it), you leave open the concept that consuming alcohol is not biblically forbidden, but it’s the context. If alcoholic beverages were forbidden because it is wrong to consume them due to their nature, then it is wrong.

If whether to consume alcohol depends on circumstances and context (i.e. amount, purpose, % of alcoholic content), then abstience is not being taught, but moderate or wise use.

I believe that Islam, for example, sees alcohol as a forbidden substance. Consumption, by it’s nature, is an wrong act. (I am surmising here, and do not consider myself an expert on the subject). Much like the consumption of pork. It’s just wrong, period. Perhaps even to the point of starvation.

I believe that Christian teaching is different than that in its very nature. If we were dying of thirst and found a can of beer or bottle of wine, I would have no problem whatsoever consuming it. Or, if I were in a foreign country, and my choices were contaminated water or an alcoholic beverage, I would chose the alcoholic beverage.

These examples are extreme, but for me they test the extent of our position of abstaining from alcohol. I believe they show that alcohol is not evil and is not unclean by its very nature. (Note: I can’t remember, but I don’t seem to recall an OT prohibition on alcohol now that I think of it).

All of these issues, and most importantly, the text of scripture, cause me to conclude that the scripture does not forbid alcohol consumption. But scripture promotes wise behavior and forbids being drunk. So, I have no problem with a person concluding that putting all that together means that they are to abstain. But it’s the application of all those principles and the consideration of context that drives this. There is not a ceremonial condemnation of all fermented beverages.

And if it boils down to the application of principles and context, then that may vary in different situations.

I think that is why Jesus did not create a religion with lots of do’s and don’ts, and I think that is one of the many appealing aspects of the Christian life.

Scott

I am of the mindset that drinking alcohol is fine as long as it is done in moderation. Now, I also do not drink in another person’s home nor do I drink in public, but I will have the occasional beverage in the comfort of my home.

I’m also of the mindset that all this talk of caring for the “Temple of Christ” (our own bodies) coming from pastors and leaders who clearly need to be introduced to either a treadmill or just an outdoor hobby is and will continue to fall on deaf ears. The age of “Do as I say and not as I do” is long past.

I’m surprised that there isn’t a movement to curb obesity in the church since the bible clearly states anything done to excess is sinful and that does include doughnuts and cheeseburgers.

Chris Johnson

Tim,

“do not be drunk with wine” as you know is… “methusko? oinos” representing an intoxicating purpose in drinking of this wine. Paul is contrasting living in the Spirit when compared to intoxication, i.e…. not being able to live in the Spirit. Obviously this wine that Paul is discussing is well known and common to his readers and will result in intoxication where the Spirit is quenched. The point of the passage is to what Paul is accomplishing through the contrast,… he does not put a moratorium on the wine itself; that would be antithetical to his teaching. He is exhorting those at Ephesus in a very clear manner as to the danger of excess “aso?tia” which is the passion for riotous living, which is not of the Spirit. So to understand the will of the Lord, one must not be drunk.

Ephesians 5:17-18 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (18) And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

The wisdom you allude to…may be better known as “understanding” when put into Paul’s context. If we understand the will of the Lord, we are able to control our passions, pride, and sinful indulgences, …as it is well known that those passions can be induced by the quantity of the substance that we partake.

So, I do not disagree with the Apostle Paul… “Do not get drunk with wine”. “Beverage alcohol” …is a red herring which is better described as “more thoroughly distilled” drink in most cases. Because we live in a doctrinally shallow Christian culture, the “offending our brother” guilt association is very effective, but not necessarily in a positive or biblical way. When the church matures in its understanding of the scriptures and the doctrines that emerge from that understanding, our brothers and sisters are less offended, even as they abstain from beverages (wine included) that may contain traces or higher volumes of alcohol. I believe scripture is sufficient to teach us to follow the admonition of the Apostle with great joy!

Blessings,
Chris

Scott Slayton

Some may accuse me of changing the subject, but when are we going to start addressing the issue of gluttony in the SBC? The number of SBC pastors who are sinfully overweight far outweighs (no pun intended) the number of pastors who advocate the moderate use of alcohol. I think that this is a real blind spot for us as we strain out a gnat on one issue and swallow a camel (and much more) on another issue.

Tim Rogers

To all,

Just got back in and have to make certain I am prepared for tonight by looking over my text and outlines again, then head right back out. I only have time to respond to one comment right now but will engage the others later tonight.

Brother Louis,

There is not a ceremonial condemnation of all fermented beverages.

I agree with your statement here and that is partly my point I want to make in the OP. The beverage alcohol we consume today is not the same fermented beverages freely imbibed in OT and NT times. The beverage alcohol we have today is the beverages Proverbs 23:31 told us not to look upon.

Blessings,
Tim

Chris Johnson

Scott,

Obesity is fastly becoming the Spirit quencher of choice, especially in America…so therefore, there will be less political upheaval on that subject when compared to the consumption of wine.

What you bring forward is the same consistent teaching that the Apostle brings out in Ephesians and as the Prophet Haggai has used to explain the attitude of quenching the Spirit.

Haggai 1:6-10 “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.” (7) Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Consider your ways! (8) “Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified,” says the LORD. (9) “You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?” declares the LORD of hosts, “Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house. (10) “Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce.

Obesity is offensive, yet tolerated….because the lack of self control in that area of life is much more accepted in the culture, but as you have stated,…it does carry the same admonition as being drunk none the less.

The scriptures are sufficient to address both extremes of drinking and eating….and we should be careful to obey the scriptures in all things. Many Pastors unfortunately sluff it off though as a lesser of two evils (gluttony on food and being drunk with wine) and try to justify the behavior.

Blessings,
Chris

Tim Rogers

Brother Scott,

Name the pastors involved in gluttony. You need to do a study of the sin of gluttony before you charge someone that is overweight with gluttony. They had vomitoriums in the Greek temples where they would gorge themselves then vomit their stomach contents in order to go and eat more food. I do not know of any pastors that are involved in that practice. Thus, your weighing in (pun intended) with the charge of SBC pastors being gluttons just doesn’t hold water.

Blessings,
Tim

Robert

Well, put me on the list. I am a glutton. Especially when it involves mexican food, Italian food, who am I kidding- every kind of food.

David R. Brumbelow

John,
You mention that the church has only been for abstinence for about 100 years. It would probably be more accurate to say about 200 years. A strong move toward abstinence began as early as the late 1700s and continued to gain ground throughout the 1800s. Southern Baptists have been on record as opposing beverage alcohol since at least the 1880s. Some have likened this issue to slavery; the church was pretty much wrong on this issue until the 1700s and 1800s.

You mention that you know of no abstainers before then. Jerome would probably fit into that class. There were some ascetic groups, more or less orthodox, in the early centuries AD that were known for their abstinence. Others could be found. Timothy believed in total abstinence. I think Paul and Peter did since they emphasized the importance of being sober.

Michael,
You ask what this line in the SBC resolution means, “That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.”

I know you asked Tim. But my thought would be that they were referring to anyone who drank alcohol as a beverage. The term, “alcoholic beverages” is important. That is to permit the possibility of its medicinal use, but not as a beverage. So yes, they meant total abstinence.
David R. Brumbelow

Louis

Tim and all:

Thanks for a good discussion.

I am just not getting to the point of either finding total abstinence of beverage alcohol or distinguishing alcoholic beverages in Bible times vs. today. That’s actually just an argument for weaker beer or making mixed drinks less alcolic by adding more water.

In Nashville, they have a contest in a local newspaper called “You’re so Nashville if…” Readers fill in the blanks. It’s fun contest that usually picks on the music industry and the redneck culture of Tennessee.

One year a runner up was this – “You’re so Nashville if you believe every word of the Bible is absolutely true in every way and is to be taken literally – except the word “wine” which actually means grape juice.”

John

David,

I not sure that Paul and Peter were teetotalers, but they definitely were against excess. I know there were specific people who were not to drink wine, like the Nazarites, but I don’t see that as a prohibition for everyone.

David R. Brumbelow

Paul said bishops were to be sober, and not given to wine. Peter spoke of the importance of being sober. I think neither one would have violated those statements.

Timothy was such an abstainer that Paul had to convince him to take a “little” wine for his stomach, for medicine. Even that wine could have been nonalcoholic. A number of classical writers spoke of un-intoxicating wine.
David R. Brumbelow

Ryan Abernathy

I do not want to be drawn into this debate but some statements have to be addressed. Tim says, “Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture. ” Tim, my name is Ryan and I am a moderationist who holds to a non-caveated view of inerrancy. In fact, my position on inerrancy is the REASON I am a moderationist. To do the kinds of mental gymnastics you have done here is completely untrue to the text. Are you an inerrantist? (kidding, Tim, I know you are, but to say that most moderationists are not is a GROSS exaggeration)

Second, David Brumbelow, I have never come across you here before sir. I hope you are not seriously suggesting that Paul would give Timothy advice concerning wine that totally contradicted his (Paul’s) own personal convictions. That would not be consistent with the character of Paul as we know it from Scripture.

Third, 40,000 churches did not endorse the 2006 motion on alcohol. There were not 40,000 churches at that convention AND those motions are non-binding. They are simply the opinions of those who have the money and the time to get to a meeting. That motion does not speak for everyone.

Finally, I am surprised none of you have brought up both the reputation and the practice of our Savior. He was called a “glutton and a wine-bibber” because he came “eating and drinking.” Further, He kept the Jewish holy days most of which, including Passover, included drinking wine. In fact, at the Last Supper the cup representing Jesus’ blood shed on the cross was filled with wine, not Welch’s.

I say all of this and I know it will change no one’s mind on either side. What would really be nice is if the abstentionists would follow the command of inerrant scripture in Romans 14 and stop focusing on “disputable matters” and live at “peace” and in “mutual edification.” I pray that day comes soon so we can work together to reach the people ALL of us on both sides of the debate know we are called to reach.

One Salient Oversight

1. There is no verse in the Bible which says “Do not drink alcohol at all”.

2. You point out that the more verses in the Bible refers to alcohol in a negative way. If you apply the same logic to sex, it also does so in an overwhelmingly negative way. More is said about the sin of adultery than is said about the gift of sex between a husband and wife. Should we abandon sex in the same way as we abandon alcohol.

3. The example of the German evangelicals in Romania is not a great example. The “receptiveness” of the Romanians may have depended upon many different factors, such as the history of Germany and Romania during the Second World War.

John

David,

You said “Paul said bishops were to be sober, and not given to wine.” If you were using 1 Tim 2:8, it says “not addicted to much wine” in the ESV and “not indulging in much wine” in the NIV. Although I have never heard of non alcoholic wine, maybe there is such a thing, but where I come from, we call it grape juice.

“A number of classical writers spoke of un-intoxicating wine.” I will admit ignorance here. If you could give me a few names, I would appreciate it. I’m over 50, but never too old to learn!

John Fariss

Ryan,

Well said sir! Unfortunantly, you may find your credentials questioned because of your stances in this posting. But be that as it may, I salute your consistent exegesis.

John Fariss

David R. Brumbelow

Ryan,
There is no contradiction at all. Paul surely abstained because of his counsel for bishops to be sober and not be given to wine (AA can explain what sober means, no drinking at all). Wine, like “drink, cider, liquor, punch,” in our language, could mean a drink that is either intoxicating or non-intoxicating.

Paul then counsels Timothy, an abstainer, to take a little wine for medicinal reasons. It is open to interpretation whether that wine was fermented or unfermented. Baptists, however, have never, to my knowledge, condemned alcohol for strictly medicinal use.

Yes, Jesus came eating and drinking. To say you saw a pastor drinking does not mean he was drinking alcohol. You can interpret drinking either way. The Bible never says Jesus drank alcoholic wine.

Jesus’ enemies called Him a wine-bibber. That was no more true than when they accused Him of having a demon.

OSO,
Many see Proverbs 20; 23; and the NT admonitions to be sober as teaching, or saying, no beverage alcohol at all.
David R. Brumbelow

David R. Brumbelow

John,
You asked for examples of classical writers who spoke of un-intoxicating wine. This is not to deny alcoholic wine, just to point out nonalcoholic wine was also common.

A Greek Poet and physician of the 2nd century BC wrote: “Says Nicander: And Cenus having squeezed the juice of the grapes, into hollow cups, called it wine (oinos).”

Aristotle wrote, “that sweet wine [oinos] would not intoxicate.”

Roman writer Cato (c. 170 BC) said, “ If you would keep must [new unfermented wine] for a year, pour it into an amphora and seal the cork with pitch. Immerse the amphora in cold water for thirty days. Then remove it and the must will be preserved for one year” (De Agri Cultura).
Cato points out only one of several ways to keep wine from fermenting.

Yayin – “what is pressed out, grape juice.” -Dr. Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Eerdmans, 1970.

Oinos – “wine, grape juice.” -Dr. Robert Young, Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Eerdmans, 1970.

This is just a sample; many more quotes speak to this (Pliny, Plutarch, Columella, etc.). By the way, the Bible speaks of wine just pressed from grapes as wine; it even calls vinegar wine.

Another point. You said where I come from they call it grape juice. Proper biblical interpretation, however, is not so concerned with what we call it now, as what they called it in Bible times. It was very common in the ancient world to use “wine” to refer to unfermented wine, fermented wine, and vinegar. This was true in several ancient languages.
David R. Brumbelow

Ryan Abernathy

David-
Are you saying that the wine used in the Passover was non-alcoholic?
Ryan

Fletcher Law

Why the clinging to alcohol as what keeps evangelism being denied to non-Christians. Why is it hard to give up? Is alcohol a problem in society anywhere? Would drinking ever hinder one’s witness?
Yes these questions are so simple they confound great minds.

Is the distilled whisky, beer, chaser shoots advertised in the media
when seen in public -with preachers participating-going to make the unchurched say cool I got to go to that guy’s church.

There are plenty of denominations that do not have any barriers to alcohol consumption. After ragging out Baptists check these other “bottems up” denominations and their evangelism record and how they are preceived.
Alcohol will not help your witness and only hurt it.
I think I heard a sermon talk about it not being nesecarily a sin but a weight to your ministry.
Used to be a United Methodist-on their on going votes on homosexuality- the pro group always wanted to “Keep the conversation open” -why? Wear down and win! Like women pastors and women deacons-you can’t put the Genie back in the bottle- or in this case you can not put the cork back in the bottle.
Drinking will never help anybody’s ministry so why would this be an issue in a denomination known for abstinance?

Fletcher Law

Tom Parker

Ryan:

You said”I say all of this and I know it will change no one’s mind on either side. What would really be nice is if the abstentionists would follow the command of inerrant scripture in Romans 14 and stop focusing on “disputable matters” and live at “peace” and in “mutual edification.” I pray that day comes soon so we can work together to reach the people ALL of us on both sides of the debate know we are called to reach.”

I’m not sure some of these guys are capable of not keeping endless disputes alive and well.

They are right and all others who do not hold 100% to their view are wrong and excludable.

One Salient Oversight

David Brumbelow:

Proverbs 20:23 (English Standard Version)

Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.

One Salient Oversight

OSO,

Many see Proverbs 20; 23; and the NT admonitions to be sober as teaching, or saying, no beverage alcohol at all.

David R. Brumbelow

——————-

I know. They’re wrong.

One Salient Oversight

Yes, Jesus came eating and drinking. To say you saw a pastor drinking does not mean he was drinking alcohol. You can interpret drinking either way. The Bible never says Jesus drank alcoholic wine.

—————-

Matthew 11.18-19

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”

In other words, Jesus “eating and drinking” referred to Jesus eating food and drinking alcohol, because they specifically use the word drunkard.

So.

Jesus ate.
Jesus drank.
Jesus befriended tax collectors.
Jesus befriended sinners.

Of those four, which did Jesus “actually” do? He did all four… and those who complained about him said that he was a glutton a drunkard and a keeper of bad company.

The fact that they complained about Jesus drinking and thus labelling him as a drunkard means that they believed Jesus drank alcohol.

The fact that Jesus turned water in wine and used wine when he instituted the Lord’s supper is pretty obvious too.

Tom Parker

OSO:

So much talk by some about the sufficiency of the Scriptures yet they twist and turn these same Sciptures to support their view, not the Biblical view.

Matthew 11.18-19 is very clear.

Something is very wrong with how these folks use the Bible.

Fletcher Law

Yes Jesus probably had a tad bit more crediblility than most preachers today.
Wine then was commen and weak.
The alcohol today is stronger and marketed for indulgance.
I remember my frat days at Ole Miss when we talked about great moral questions at keg partys with shots to go along-oh no i forgot we were bing drinking.
Jesus also wore a robe daily and ate fish for breakfast-am I wrong in not following this?. Will not wearing a robe and fish for breakfast disqualify one for SBC leadership?

Fletcher Law

One Salient Oversight

David R. Brumbelow

the quote you give from Cato comes from Marci Catonis De Re Rustica 120: “Mustum si voles totum annum habere, in amphoram mustum indito et corticem oppicato, demittito in piscinam. Post dies XXX eximito. Totum annum mustum erit.”

which, translated into English, says “If you wish to keep grape juice through the whole year, put the grape juice in an amphora, seal the stopper with pitch, and sink in the pond. Take it out after thirty days; it will remain sweet the whole year.”

The word Mustum is different from the word Vinum, which Cato uses throughout to refer to Wine.

To exegete Latin texts like this, we need to remember that Vinum = wine while Mustum = grape juice. They were two different beverages.

So what about the Latin Vulgate?

John 2.9 “ut autem gustavit architriclinus aquam vinum factam et non sciebat unde esset ministri autem sciebant qui haurierant aquam vocat sponsum architriclinus” (And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water: the chief steward calleth the bridegroom)

Notice the Vinum? No Mustum (Grape Juice) seen there.

So obviously the ancient translators who translated the Greek NT into the Latin Vulgate saw it as fermented wine.

One Salient Oversight

The alcohol today is stronger and marketed for indulgance.

—————

The alcohol of ages past was just as alcoholic and caused just as much drunken behaviour. There is no difference between the experience of the Biblical writers who saw drunken behaviour and our own indulgent situation.

And yet they did not prohibit drinking. They just told people to not get drunk.

Bill

Were the Israelites teetotalers? Were the Israelites commanded to be teetotalers? The Law is painstakingly comprehensive, down to the last jot and tittle. Is there any command in the law that requires the Israelites to be teetotalers?

Fletcher Law

Concerning alcohol-Marketing, proof, easy access have changed in the last 2,000 years.
Preachers have to do a whole lot more bar hopping to be with it these days. They would horrible not to be relavant.
Just kidding but I am simple, alcohol will help not help anybodys ministry. A good new post might be How Public Drinking Changed my Ministry.

Fletcher

Ryan Abernathy

I think the real problem here is fear. There is a fear that alcohol could be abused, so therefore let’s forbid it. As has been pointed out, sex, food, internet, cell phones, et al can be abused as well. Drunkenness causes horrible car accidents. So does texting while driving. Do we need to stop using cell phones because we might be tempted to text while driving? Of course not. We are expected to exercise SELF CONTROL and not do something that could hurt someone else. Is it ok to text while setting at a restaurant or in one’s home? Of course, there is no danger there. Same goes for alcohol. You can have one or two drinks and stop OR you can drink to excess. I do not drink to excess because I love Jesus and want to obey Him.

I believe it was Martin Luther who said “Man can go wrong with wine and women. Should we abolish women?” (OSO I bet you can correct me if that’s a wrong attribution.)

Further, Fletcher seems to think some of us are connecting having a drink with “connecting with lost people” or “witnessing.” The two are not connected. I enjoy a beer because I enjoy beer. I do not drink a beer to “be cool” or to “fit in.” Have I had incredibly significant witnessing experiences in pubs with people who were genuinely curious about my faith. You bet. Why? Because I talk about Jesus all the time with everyone I meet. He is my favorite subject. The fact that I am having a beer or a Dr. Pepper never enters the conversation.

John Farris-
Thanks for the encouragement. Thankfully I am not worried about what anyone thinks of my credentials. I am accountable to my God, my wife, my elders, my church, and my accountability partners. I am confident in their ability to examine my life and to call me out when I need it. What some dude on a blog thinks is not a concern to me. The community I serve needs people who know Jesus not extra-biblical rules and regs. I serve in the heart of the Bible belt where goofy religious legalism trumped the Bible a long time ago. That’s probably what provoked me to comment, since this type of thinking is common in my neck of the woods and I have had to deal with the question from “good Baptist folk” on more than one occasion. BTW I always enjoy your take John. You seem like a sharp guy.

I’ll close with one last appeal from inerrant scripture: For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:13-15

One Salient Oversight

Aristotle wrote, “that sweet wine [oinos] would not intoxicate.”

————

That quote from Aristotle is from a lost work of his named “A treatise on drinking”.

The full quote is:

“If the wine be moderately boiled, then when it is drunk, it is less apt to
intoxicate ; for, as some of its power has been boiled away, it has become weaker.”

So it is not “would not intoxicate”, but “less likely to”, meaning it had a low alcohol content but was still alcoholic.

Assuming Aristotle wrote it of course, which we can’t determine since the work is lost.

One Salient Oversight

Were the Israelites teetotalers? Were the Israelites commanded to be teetotalers? The Law is painstakingly comprehensive, down to the last jot and tittle. Is there any command in the law that requires the Israelites to be teetotalers?

———–

Numbers 6.1-4

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When either a man or a woman makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, he shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried. All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, not even the seeds or the skins.

Nazirites were specifically ordered to NOT drink alcohol. This implies VERY STRONGLY that Israelites DID drink alcohol. If a Nazirite was specifically told to abstain from alcohol then logically that was because Israelites who were not Nazirites COULD drink alcohol.

But notice that a Nazirite vow was a temporary one – verse 13 speaks of the “separation” being completed. This naturally means that they could drink alcohol again (verse 20 “And after that the Nazirite may drink wine.”), as well as cut their hair.

David R. Brumbelow

Proverbs 20; 23 is a reference to chapters, not chapter and verse.
A few more quotes:

“Surrentine wine does not affect the head” -Pliny

Tarentine wine is taken as “the pattern for wines of deep southern Italy: they are all ‘simple,’ not intoxicating, not forceful, pleasant, easy on the stomach. Horace, Odes 2.6.19-20; Pliny NH 14.69; Statius, Silvae 2.2.111; Martial 13.125; Juvenal 6.297; Athenaeus E 27c.” -Andrew Dalby, Food in the Ancient Word From A to Z, Routledge, London & New York; 2003.

“It is also interesting that the Akkadian word for ‘wine,’ though not related to yayin, was used in a similar manner: both for fermented wine and for ‘must’ (grape juice).” -Dr. Robert Teachout, Doctoral Dissertation, DTS.

“Cider is an English word that can mean alcoholic or non-alcoholic juice. “Wine” as translated in most English versions could refer to fermented or non-fermented liquid. There is biblical evidence that the ancients drank non-alcoholic “wine” or what we would call “grape juice.” In Deuteronomy 32:14, Moses said the Israelites drank the “blood of the grape,” not an alcoholic beverage. Perhaps the greatest example of grape juice use is found in Genesis 40:11. Here grapes are pressed into a cup and given to Pharaoh to drink. This “pure blood of the grape” could not have been alcoholic.” -Dr. Jim Richards, Southern Baptist Texan, July 31, 2006.

Proverbs 3:9-10 refers to fresh, unfermented wine just harvested. The Hebrew word is tirosh. The scholars of the Septuagint in about 200 BC translated the word tirosh into the Greek word oinos. So they used oinos to refer to unfermented wine. This verse is translated into English with the word “wine,” or “new wine,” even though it is a definite reference to unfermented wine. So even the modern day English versions use the word “wine” to refer to non-alcoholic wine.
David R. Brumbelow

One Salient Oversight

Preachers have to do a whole lot more bar hopping to be with it these days. They would horrible not to be relavant.
Just kidding but I am simple, alcohol will help not help anybodys ministry. A good new post might be How Public Drinking Changed my Ministry.

—————–

This indicates an error of logic. Notice the common belief:

“If I drink alcohol publicly, it will hurt my witness”

This view is held genuinely by those who believe that Christians should not drink. But when faced with Christians who disagree with them, it turns into this:

“These people are saying that if they drink alcohol publicly, then it will help them witness better”.

Not so. I drink alcohol. I never get drunk, but I have imbibed alcohol with unbelievers. At no point do I somehow think that my drinking with them is somehow a trendy form of evangelism to show how hip and with it Christians are. I have also driven a car with unbelievers present – but I don’t see my car driving as a somehow trendy and hip activity to lead people to Christ. I also support sporting teams and discuss results with unbelievers, but I don’t do this as a hip, trendy way of evangelising them.

How I drink is a witness though. If I remain sober and self controlled, then I do not compromise my witness. How I drive a car is a witness too – if I drive safely and within the rules then I do not compromise my witness. How I support my sporting team is a witness too – and I could go on.

The issue is not whether drinking with unbelievers will magically improve my witness, it is whether I add abstinence to alcohol as part of the gospel message and/or the Christian life, and thus harm my witness.

For us who preach and practice moderation, our thinking is this:

“If I choose to drink I should not get drunk, because that will harm my witness”.

Another line of wrong thinking involves another appeal to the polar opposite – “Christians who oppose abstinence teach that Christians MUST drink alcohol”. This is ridiculous. Christians who teach moderation do not teach mandatory alcohol drinking – that’s just the opposite of those who teach that abstinence is mandatory.

Those of us who practice and preach moderation believe this:

1. The Bible allows us to drink alcohol.
2. The Bible teaches us that drunkenness is sin.
3. Christians therefore have two options: a) Drink responsibly, or b) Abstain from alcohol.

Just to reiterate: Abstaining from alcohol is not a sin, but teaching that abstinence is the only Christian response to alcohol is sinful, because it adds to scripture.

Tom Parker

OSO:

You said:”Just to reiterate: Abstaining from alcohol is not a sin, but teaching that abstinence is the only Christian response to alcohol is sinful, because it adds to scripture.”

Precisely. because they are attempting to say the Bible says one thing when it says another.

One Salient Oversight

Proverbs 3:9-10 refers to fresh, unfermented wine just harvested.

————-

That’s right. Their winevats are full of new wine. What happens to the grapes once they have been pressed? They then ferment them. They don’t drink the wine straight away. Verse 10 says that their “barns will be filled with plenty” but they are obviously not eating it all right then but storing them.

Grapes got harvested, then pressed, then stored and fermented so they would have wine to drink later on, just in the same way as grain was harvested and stored so they would have food to drink later on.

One Salient Oversight

“so they would have food to drink later on.”

I mean food to EAT later on. Argg

John

Fletcher,

I can honestly say that alcohol has never come up when I share the good news of Jesus. I explain that we are all sinners and faith in Jesus is the only way to make us right with God. In fact, no one has ever brought up anything about Christians who are obese, speeders, Republicans, Democrats, or anything else really. The focus is on Jesus. The only questions I ever get about people’s perceptions of Christians are either about hypocritical or judgmental people. I explain that none of us are perfect and that I assume they, like us, are a work in progress. The only time I ever hear anyone talk about alcohol use is when I read these type blogs or see what the SBC did this year. It’s obviously a top subject in those circles. I can only pray we spend as much time and effort on evangelism and discipleship as we do on this.

Tim Rogers

Brother Ryan,

Re: Comment #37

Tim says, “Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture. ” Tim, my name is Ryan and I am a moderationist who holds to a non-caveated view of inerrancy.

Thanks for the encouragement that you are an inerrantist. However, I do not believe that I said; “most” but “everyone”.

40,000 churches did not endorse the 2006 motion on alcohol. There were not 40,000 churches at that convention AND those motions are non-binding.

You probably need to become better educated on SBC polity.

Finally, I am surprised none of you have brought up both the reputation and the practice of our Savior. He was called a “glutton and a wine-bibber” because he came “eating and drinking.” Further, He kept the Jewish holy days most of which, including Passover, included drinking wine. In fact, at the Last Supper the cup representing Jesus’ blood shed on the cross was filled with wine, not Welch’s.

First, are you now accusing Jesus of being a glutton? For Jesus to be accused of being a drunkard means he was seen being drunk. For him to be accused of being a glutton means he was overweight. Is that you are are saying the Scripture teach? Second, are you telling me that The Lord’s supper advocated bread without yeast but allows for fruit of the vine that contains yeast?

Re: Comment #55

There is a fear that alcohol could be abused, so therefore let’s forbid it. As has been pointed out, sex, food, internet, cell phones, et al can be abused as well.

First, the fear factor is not what we are concerned with. It is correct that anything can be abused. Anytime one imbibes with one drink of beverage alcohol it affects their senses. Please tell me how sex affects your senses in a negative way. Or help me understand how one call on the cell phone affects my response time when I am driving down the road? So to place all of this out here in relation to alcohol is a red herring.

I enjoy a beer because I enjoy beer. I do not drink a beer to “be cool” or to “fit in.”

I must admit that you certainly fit the thesis I presented. You are one that believes the Scripture teaches moderation and you imbibe, thus, you are certainly practicing your understanding of the sufficiency of Scripture.

Brother David B.,

Keep up the great insight.

Brother OSO,

Your observation is unique stuff.

Blessings,
Tim

One Salient Oversight

Tim,

You said

First, are you now accusing Jesus of being a glutton? For Jesus to be accused of being a drunkard means he was seen being drunk. For him to be accused of being a glutton means he was overweight. Is that you are are saying the Scripture teach?

———-

The passage in question is Matthew 11, specifically verse 19. You might want to change your stance on that particular comment of yours.

Fletcher Law

My main point is why hang on to drinking when it should be easy to let go of if it will better your ministry. I find it incredible that drinking would never come up sometime when your drinking and talking about Christ. Again-how can it help your ministry? Small surrender.
It will not hinder anyone at all not drinking in their witness or where they go.
Good night all.

Fletcher

One Salient Oversight

It will not hinder anyone at all not drinking in their witness or where they go.

————-

I agree. I also agree that it will not hinder anyone at all in their witness if they do drink.

Tim Rogers

Brother OSO,

Re: Comment #61
You can find the following quote here. I have followed this person and they give some great insight into 1st Century customs.

Wagonloads of grapes were taken from the vineyards to a winepress – literally a hollowed rock. Family members would stomp the grapes (remember I love Lucy) until all the skins were broken. The yeast producing the fermentation was naturally present on the outside of the grape skins. Within three days, the grape juice was already fermenting and had a alcohol content of 3-4%. After fermentation, the wine was stored in amphorae, ceramic heartshaped containers with handles that held around six gallons. The tops were sealed with wood stoppers and pitch, to keep the wine from being exposed to air and spoiling.

Re: Comment #65

My point is that if you use that verse to prove Jesus drank, then you have to use that verse to say he was a glutton. The practice is what that verse references. However, you fail to do proper exegesis. The verse is actually Jesus using sarcasm to refute their claims. IOW, Jesus is telling them that he does not have practices that make him guilty of charges of being a drunkard nor being a glutton. But, when you and other use that verse as a proof text that Jesus drank beverage alcohol, you have to use it to also use it to prove Jesus was one that would eat until he vomited and then eat some more. Or, if you are going to say that overweight people are gluttons, then you are going to have to say that Jesus was overweight, because he said he was charged with being a glutton.

Blessings,
Tim

Andrew Wencl

Tim said, “My point is that if you use that verse to prove Jesus drank, then you have to use that verse to say he was a glutton.”

Not true. Jesus came “eating and drinking.” He is comparing his diet with that of John the Baptist, who did not eat the types of food most people were eating, and indeed, probably fasted. Jesus is also indicating that John either abstained, or at least, he didn’t drink socially. Then comes the contrast. Jesus did eat. Jesus did drink. And like many legalistic people today that I’ve met, they argued that since Jesus was hanging out with “rabble,” and drinking wine with them, he must have been a drunk with them as well. Perhaps they did abstain. They used Jesus’ drinking alcohol as an opportunity to (falsly) judge him. Merely drinking alcohol does not make one a drunkard any more than eating food (even fattening food) makes someone a glutton.

Also, you seem to be arguing that gluttony is merely hyper-bolemia, and no morbidly obese person is guilty of the practice. I’ve heard the same argument in reference to homosexuality. They say homosexuality as part of a pagan worship practice is what the Bible condemns, not committed homosexual loving relationships. I don’t buy the argument about homosexuality and I don’t buy the argument about gluttony either.

Bill MacKinnon

Can anyone provide support that the Jews drank grape juice during the Passover? The Law specifically forbids leaven in the bread. It says nothing of the wine. Why extrapolate from one to the other? There is no reason to suppose the Jews drank grape juice during the Passover unless the Jews were strict (or commanded to be) teetotalers. But no one, in all the alcohol conversations we’ve had over numerous blogs over numerous years, has ever suggested or provided support for the idea that the Jews were teetotalers.

Jesus was a first century Jew. If first century Jews drank wine as part of their everyday lives and in their worship, because they were never commanded to abstain, then so did He.

Tom Parker

Bill MacKinnon:

You said–“Jesus was a first century Jew. If first century Jews drank wine as part of their everyday lives and in their worship, because they were never commanded to abstain, then so did He.”

The really troubling part is when Tim Rogers and others attempt to twist the scriptures to back up their legalistic views. They do not others twisting scriptures, yet they do it. Where is the consistency?

Surely, Jesus drank wine which included alcohol.

John

Tim,

You said ‘My point is that if you use that verse to prove Jesus drank, then you have to use that verse to say he was a glutton. ‘

The verse says:
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”
Matthew 11:19 (NIV)

I think the point he was trying to make is that Jesus said that He did come drinking and eating, but that others said that because He was doing it, He obviously was a glutton and drunkard. To me it seems He is saying that just because you eat and drink, it doesn’t mean you are either one. It looks to me His opponents were trying to ‘spin’ the facts to suit their purposes.

John

David R. Brumbelow

A coupl have mentioned fresh, sweet, unfermented wine (like Proverbs 3:9-10). Your point has been that is not valid to call this unfermented wine because in a few hours or days it would ferment and turn to alcoholic wine.

The ancient people were not that simple and ignorant. It is also true that if they killed a cow, in a few hours or days it would rot. But they were not clueless about how to process and preserve it.

When a farmer kills a cow or pig today, they don’t just drag it in the barn and eat on it until it rots. The slaughter of a cow, or the harvest of a crop is only the beginning of the process. Often what comes next is the most labor intensive.

Just because you do not know how they processed wine, meat, etc., doesn’t mean they did not know. We take our ignorance, project it on the people of the Bible, and think we are doing a great exegesis of the Bible.

Ancient people knew at least a half dozen ways to preserve unfermented wine. (Yes, they could also make fermented wine.)

Preserving unfermented wine was actually an easier process than preserving intoxicating wine. The fermentation process is fairly complicated, and it then has to be protected from further ferment into acetic acid or vinegar.

Way to preserve un-intoxicating wine included: 1. The grape crop lasted for months and these could be freshly pressed into wine (see Genesis 40:11). 2. The right kind of fresh grapes could be properly stored in a cellar and remain good and fresh for a year. 3. Fresh wine was commonly boiled down to a thick consistency. It would keep this way without fermenting or spoiling. When ready to drink, it was mixed with water. 4. See the Cato quote above. 5. Grapes were dried and the raisins were pressed, or re-hydrated and pressed into sweet, unfermented wine. 6. Chemicals were used to retard fermentation. Salt and sulfur, still used as preservatives today, were well known and used in ancient times. 7. Alcoholic wine could be dealcoholized simply by boiling it. (A more detailed article may be published soon in the “Biblical Evangelist;” subscribe today :-))
I’m sure I’ve left out other ways to preserve unfermented wine.

But the fact remains that the obviously unfermented wine in Proverbs 3:9-10; etc. is, in fact, called “wine” by the OT, Septuagint, and modern English Bible translations. “Wine” was, and to a lesser degree still is, used in a generic sense to refer to all kinds of wine, fermented, unfermented, vinegar, etc.
David R. Brumbelow

One Salient Oversight

What Andrew Wencl said (69)

One Salient Oversight

David R. Brumbelow,

Are you saying that unfermented, non-alcoholic wine is a mocker? (Proverbs 20:1)

Tim Rogers

To All,

I have to go out now and make some visits. I promise that when I return I will respond to Comments 69, 70, & 71.

Meanwhile, I posted some breaking news about Dr. Jimmy Jackson announcing that he will allow his name to come before the convention for President. Please do not comment here on that news.

Blessings,
Tim

David R. Brumbelow

One Salient Oversight,
No, I’m saying intoxicating wine is a mocker (Proverbs 20:1).

Unintoxicating wine is not a mocker. It does not take away a person’s good judgment, and make him do things he would never do in his right mind.

That is why sometimes the Bible condemns wine, and sometimes it commends wine. It depends on the kind of wine.
David R. Brumbelow

David R. Brumbelow

Were the Jews of NT times teetotalers? Well, that depends. Paul and Timothy were. Remember also, as demonstrated above, the word “wine” was used generically.

They certainly had unfermented wine widely available throughout the year. Some writings say ancients (I’m sure not all) preferred sweet wine. This indicates the unfermented wine, since fermentation takes away the sugar or sweetness.

Another point to consider is that many in that day, just as in ours, prefer not to drink. We go to the store and have a choice of buying an alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverage; they had the same choice. Also remember classical writers considered drinking neat (undiluted) wine as barbaric.

Some, who believe all Bible wine was alcoholic, then say they had to drink it because the water was bad. Can you imagine how drunk they would constantly be if they only drank alcoholic wine?

Some say the common wine was slightly alcoholic. Moderationists say that proves their point. But not so fast. Did you know that most all fruit juice today has a slight alcoholic content? A nonalcoholic wine maker advertises their wine as having less alcohol than orange juice. I’ve never heard of anyone getting drunk on orange juice. To argue that one molecule of alcohol makes it intoxicating, is a ridiculous argument. By the way, the law today is for a wine to be called nonalcoholic, it has to have less than one half of one percent alcohol.

So some say the “common” wine had a slight amount of alcohol, others say none. Either way, you could say those who drank it were abstainers, unless you want to forbid orange juice to abstainers today. You may pretty well be assured that Welch’s grape juice and other nonalcoholic fruit drinks have a slight amount of alcohol. If you drink them that does not mean you are a moderate drinker.

“He was accustomed to drink wine, as was common, almost universal – those light and pure wines which abounded in that country, and which, taken in moderate quantity, and mixed with a double quantity of water according to custom, would stimulate about as much as our tea and coffee.” -Dr. John A. Broadus, president, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; Commentary on Matthew.

“Fermented wine was the least common [drink in Bible times] and the percentage of alcohol was small. New wines were wholly without alcohol and were easily preserved in this condition for several months. There were also wines in which, by boiling or by drugs, the process of fermentation was prevented and alcohol excluded. These were mixed with water and constituted the most common drink of the land.” -Dr. Lyman Abbott (1835-1922), Dictionary of Religious Knowledge, p. 973.
Abbott was a Congregational minister, scholar, editor, and author.

“It should never be forgotten that when reading the Bible and the classic pagan writers of ‘Wine,’ we are seldom dealing with the strongly intoxicating and loaded liquids to which that name is alone attached in the English language, but usually with beverages such as above described. They were as harmless and sober as our own Teas, Coffees, and Cocoas. Had they not been so, the ancient populations would have been perpetually in a more or less state of drunkenness…These facts should never be forgotten when we read of ‘Wine’ there, – for it was simple fruit syrup, except where especially stated to be of the intoxicating kinds.” -Ferrar Fenton of England, The Bible and Wine.

For more information see Alcohol Today by Peter Lumpkins; Bible Wines by William Patton; etc.
David R. Brumbelow

Michael McGirt

Tim,

Thanks, could you please respond to my questions when you get time? Thank you!!

Bill MacKinnon

Paul was a teetotaler? Where do we find that?

Look. The fact that some people abstain has no bearing on the issue. The idea that juice could be preserved unfermented has no bearing on the issue. The question is whether the Jews as a people were commanded to abstain from fermented drink. The OT Law prescribed nearly every activity in the life of the Jews, from what they could eat to what kinds of fabric they could wear. If the Jews were forbidden from consuming alcohol, surely one could find it somewhere in the Pentateuch. If OT Jews, as a people, were not teetotalers, then NT Jews surely were not.

Both sides can quote theologians and supply their own studies until the cows come home. But this is a post about the sufficiency of scripture.

Bill MacKinnon

By the way, the word sober in the NT does not mean “not drunk”. That is a modern definition.

David R. Brumbelow

Bill,
Do you think a person can be both drunk and sober at the same time? If the Bible says to be sober, that pretty well excludes beverage alcohol. Sober would cover other things, but you can’t be sober and drink.

Where do I get that Paul abstained? As mentioned above, in his qualifications to pastors he said they should be 1. sober; 2. not given to wine (in Timothy & Titus).
Therefore, I do not think Paul was a drinker of intoxicating wine.
David R. Brumbelow

Andrew Wencl

David Brumbelow said, “Unintoxicating wine is not a mocker. It does not take away a person’s good judgment, and make him do things he would never do in his right mind.

That is why sometimes the Bible condemns wine, and sometimes it commends wine. It depends on the kind of wine.

It is unverifiable and a twisting of hermeneutical principles to argue that oinos means “unfermented juice” when spoken of positively and “alcoholic beverage” when spoken of negatively. It doesn’t depend on the “type of wine,” but rather, what is done with the wine (namely, intoxicating oneself with it).

Haven’t you heard people say “Homosexuality, when spoken of negatively, means male prostitution. As long as it isn’t prostitution it’s okay?” That is the same kind of argument based on a faulty hermeneutical principle. It doesn’t depend on the type of gay sex, but rather what is done with the sexual act (namely, engaging in it with someone of the same gender).

Louis

I really do appreciate all the thoughts here. Ryan, I am an inerrantist, too. I believe that your position is correct.

One Salient Oversight and David: remind me not to get into a discussion with you guys on ancient history and references. I was an ancient history major, but graduated in 1983 and have not kept up. It appears that you guys have these references close at hand.

Ryan, you are correct about Resolutions. The governnance of the SBC is set out in the Consitution and the Bylaws (I think those are the correct names). Resolutions are serious, but with respect to who serves as trustees and such, the qualifications are set out in the Bylaws. A Resolution is a statement of that particular convention, but I do not believe that resolutions can be used to amend bylaws.

There are certainly places where drinking alcohol would hurt one’s witness. In some areas of this country, for example, Christians and non-Christians, alike, assume that any alcohol consumption indicates that a person is not godly. However, in other parts of the country, abstention together with the position that is the biblical option is also harmful of one’s witness. People, both Christian and non-Christian see that as adding to the Bible or twisting the Bible, which they believe faithful Christians should not do.

I, too, find the absence of any clear direction on this topic to be instructive. If the OT can delve into the detail that it does and yet never make any clear declaration on the consumption of alcohol, that is significant. The same can be said of the NT.

I am not faulting people who have looked at it and decided that the command to be sober means no alcohol, and despite my joke, am not going to fuss at people for making the grape juice argument. I don’t find either of these arguments to be persuasive, but I understand that they are trying to interpret the Bible sincerely and that they are serious about this issue, which we should be.

The SBC has a strong history of promoting abstaining. You can read the history of the Christian Life Commission and you will find that the alcohol issue has historically been one of their primary issues, especially in the early part of the 20th Century.

So, I think those who believe, as I do, that the Scripture does not contain an outright ban on alcohol consumption should proceed cautiously and with respect. Some reform efforts on this front, in my opinion, have lacked an element of respect.

And I am not really out to change Southern Baptists minds on this. I just think it should remain a minor issue. There are many faithful people in Baptist churches all across this country who drink alcohol and who do so with care. There are pastors who do. There are trustees who do. If we keep this issue in discussion forums, but off the front burners of our cooperative efforts, we will be better off.

Tom Parker

Louis:

I here you. But people like Tim Rogers would like to use the abstinence position to exclude people from service in the SBC. That is what I have a great concern about. This issue keeps being brought up by some–Why? For what purpose?

Bill MacKinnon

David: First, Paul wasn’t a pastor. Second, as I said, sober does not mean not drunk. It certainly does not mean, “have no traces of alcohol in your system.” You can claim that no one can be sober with alcohol in their system, but that is your definition, not one which any linguist or scholar would recognize (reputable ones, anyway). It isn’t the english definition of the word, nor is it the greek definition.

Bill MacKinnon

Here’s a question regarding the history of the teetotaler movement within the SBC. As has been mentioned, the SBC has held an absentionist view for many years. It has always been my impression, until recently, that the foundation of its abstentionist view has been the wisdom position articulated (but not endorsed) by Tim here, and not the view that scripture unequivocally bans all alcohol consumption. That seems to be a more recent development.

Can someone speak to that?

Andrew Wencl

Bill,

You keep saying, “sober does not mean not drunk.” I think what you mean is that sober does mean not drunk. I doesn’t mean “no alcohol whatsoever.”

Dave Woodbury

Tim,

If I’m understanding your OP correctly, this is not simply about indulging in beverage alcohol, but about the reasons one would give for not indulging themselves when they feel there is no biblical prohibition against it. I want to make sure I’m hearing what you’re saying so that I can respond correctly. You seem to be saying that if someone sees no Scriptural prohibition, they should drink, or at least not use any argument based on “wisdom” as an excuse not to. To do so, in your opinion, undermines the sufficiency of Scripture and places the determination of behavior in each person’s subjective judgment. Do I have that right?

If so, let me go on to say this. First, I am impressed that someone from the abstentionist position was willing to come out and say that drinking wine is a sin. Most would say that we shouldn’t do it or that it is unwise, yet they stop short of calling it sin. I disagree with your conclusion, but it was refreshing to see someone take a bold stand and say something other than “Scripture speaks against it and it is unwise, but I can’t call it sin.” Kudos to you for being willing to take that stand.

As I mentioned, I am not of the same mind as you regarding moderate, responsible beverage alcohol consumption. I don’t think Scripture forbids it and I have made that position known to my church and anyone else who cares to ask. I don’t encourage people to drink, nor do I teach them to drink. I teach them what I believe Scripture teaches: that it is allowable if done responsibly and in moderation, with the well-being of the church in mind. At the same time, I do not drink. With that in mind, and with your OP in mind, I was hoping you could tell me if you think I am somehow undermining the sufficiency of Scripture in the reasons I don’t drink. There are three: 1)I don’t like the taste, 2)it is expensive, 3)in my ministry context in rural Texas, it would be a hindrance to my ministry. I make that judgment based on wisdom. I am willing to remove any obstacle (even obstacles, like alcohol, which, in my opinion, are not forbidden by Scripture) for the sake of the Gospel. How do I determine that? Wisdom.

Even your allowance for the use of the “weaker brother” argument seems to hinge on wisdom, though you try to dismiss it later. I’m assuming, by using the “weaker brother” argument, that you are referring to Paul’s discussion on eating meat sacrificed to idols in 1 Corinthians. Interestingly, he does not use to weaker brother argument to issue a blanket prohibition of eating said meat. He says that he personally will not eat meat to keep a weaker brother from stumbling, but he seems to leave it to each person’s conscience and the situation at hand. In fact, he indicates that there are times to eat and times not to eat. How do we tell the difference? Wisdom and discernment. Is Paul saying that Scripture is insufficient here because he personally does not eat, but indicates that there are situations where it is not only allowable, but preferable?

Obviously you don’t feel that we should take ANYTHING that might cause a brother to stumble and force a blanket prohibition on all believers, do you? For some, watching television is a stumbling point. For others, sending children to public schools causes them to stumble. Others are offended by the use of birth control. So because it might cause a brother to stumble, are all Christians to throw out their televisions and homeschool their children and not use birth control? If not, how do we make those determinations? Wisdom.

I think that to say the weaker brother argument is Scriptural, but using the wisdom argument is a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture is inconsistent. Show me where I’m misunderstanding you.

Tim Rogers

Brother Micheal,

Good to hear from you. Sorry that I missed your question, I am playing catch-up this week.

1. The 2006 resolution states, “That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.” What does that mean? Total abstinence? An beer every now and then? Just curious about that.

2. You spoke of the woman that asked you if it was ok to order a glass of wine and you said you would be offended. I totally respect your position, but as a Pastor myself, would you say it is wrong to sit at a table at a wedding reception where others are drinking wine and I am not? I usually join them in their celebration, just without consuming alcohol. I was just wondering your thoughts on this.

1.) From the arguments I remember on the floor, it means total abstinence. Are you hearing that amendment did not mean total abstinence?

2.) I personally will not do a wedding where alcohol is served during the reception afterward. I ask the Bride and Groom and tell them I will not participate in any such activity. If they want me to do the wedding, then fine, but they need to understand the reason I am absent from the reception. I remember one rehersal dinner was held at a restaurant and some of the wedding party ordered adult beverages with their meals once. I made certain that I moved from their table and sat at a different table. Isn’t it amazing that the first act as husband and wife is to raise a snake in celebration of their vows they made before God?

Blessings,
Tim

Jim Shaver

Little footnote from Baptist History

Rev. Elijah Craig was a Baptist preacher in Kentucky in the 1700’s.

Wonder where Elijah Craig Bourbon Whiskey got it’s name?

Some say corn whiskey in his barn stored in oak barrels when the barn caught on fire. The resulting change in taste of the corn whiskey caused by the charred barrels gave civilization the first bourbon.

Cause of the fire?

Many say: An act of God!

John

David,

Why does ‘sober’ mean ‘sober’, but ‘wine’ doesn’t mean ‘wine’?

I would submit that those who advocate total abstenence are viewing scripture through their own cultral lens rather than correct exegesis of scripture. I have been a member of various SBC churches for over 40 years and I can say without a doubt that the things that are always at the top of the list of no-nos are alcohol, dancing, and card playing. That is what Southern Baptists are known for outside of our circle, at least in my experience. No one I have met sees the things we are for, like missions, evangelism, baptisms, or Biblical faithfulness. If you have to go to all the trouble and mental gymnastics to prove a point that is not plainly states in Scripture, you might want to look at the culture you were brought up in and honestly ask if your belief on a matter is from Scripture or culture. I see our emphasis on what you are not to do as a much bigger stumbling block to sharing the Gospel than emphasizing the soverignty and love of God through our Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah.

Bill MacKinnon

Andrew: No, I mean sober does not mean not drunk. They are not opposites. I know it’s a twisted sentence, but what I’m pointing out is that people are forcing the traditional English definition on a word that doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with alcohol at all. It is in response to the view that Paul’s use of the word sober means that Pastors can’t drink. I’m saying the word has nothing to do with drink. It means serious, not frivolous, self-controlled. Now obviously someone who is drunk cannot also be sober but there are lots of people who are not sober in ways that have nothing to do with alcohol. So if sober does not mean “not drunk” it most certainly does not mean “teetotaler.”

Tim Rogers

Brother Tom Parker,

I here you. But people like Tim Rogers would like to use the abstinence position to exclude people from service in the SBC.

Once again stop trying to paint me into the corner of exclusion by myself. In 2006 the SBC voted on and passed a resolution that came from the resolution committee. A committee, I believe Dr. Frank Page served on that year. However, Dr. Jim Richards, Executive Director of SBTC, amended the resolution, with no objection from the committee to state what has been stated above. Then the convention passed the resolution as amended. Thus, your efforts to paint me as excluding others because they are moderationist when it comes to imbibing in beverage alcohol does not stand. You are excluded by the 40,000 churches that make up the convention. They voted to exclude it is not something I pulled out of the air.

Brother Louis,

The governnance of the SBC is set out in the Consitution and the Bylaws (I think those are the correct names). Resolutions are serious, but with respect to who serves as trustees and such, the qualifications are set out in the Bylaws. A Resolution is a statement of that particular convention, but I do not believe that resolutions can be used to amend bylaws.

Tell you what Louis, call one of the entities and ask them if this resolution makes any difference with them. Also, contact the Committee on Nominations and tell them you want to nominate a person who imbibes moderately in beverage alcohol and see what they tell you about that nominee.

Brother Dave Woodberry,

Thank you for interacting with the post. It is refreshing to read the questions you have asked. I do not have time to answer them all right now. However I will address your last statement.

I think that to say the weaker brother argument is Scriptural, but using the wisdom argument is a denial of the sufficiency of Scripture is inconsistent. Show me where I’m misunderstanding you.

You are correct in your assessment of my OP. I am saying it is sin because I believe the Bible teaches abstinence. I am saying this in the context of alcohol beverages being consumed in moderation. I am not saying that the Bible condemns alcohol. As you have seen from this comment stream everyone is trying to form an argument that paints me into a corner saying that the Bible condemns all uses of alcohol. Neither do I believe that there was no alcohol content within the “fruit of the vine” the Bible translators call “wine”. What I do advocate is the fermentation process of the 1st century and the 21st century are as different as night and day. Also the use of the wine was different. Scholars agree that the biblical wine was watered down to about 60% water and 40% wine. During the 1st century wine was pressed down in the wine press. The grape hulls had a natural yeast on them and if one only pressed the grapes and took the juice out within 3 days that juice would have and alcohol content of approximately 3%. What the 1st century Jews would do is then add more yeast to make the fermentation process continue in order to preserve the juice. It would be in the second step of the fermentation process they would water down the wine. Some believe it was done for two reasons. First to make it last longer. Second to make it less thick. It is the juice that was fresh that I believe was used during the passover. Why? They used unleavened bread, it certainly does not make any sense at all for them to use a drink that had leaven in it.

As to the wisdom argument not adhering to Scripture. I agree that God has granted us wisdom. However, what I do not understand is the admonishment to use wisdom not to do something that one says they believe the Bible allows. I understand the scripture verse that says; “let all things be done in moderation”. However, as Dr. Adrian Rogers would say; Moderation is not the cure for the alcohol problem, moderation is the cause of the alcohol problem.

Blessings,
Tim

Michael McGirt

Bro. Tim,

Thanks for your answers. On the resolution, I wasn’t sure because it said a “user of alcoholic beverages.” I guess you could drink one every one and then and not be considered a “user.” But I agree with the resolution and for abstinence for trustees, etc. I used to refuse to do weddings that included alcohol with the reception as well, but I guess after reading the wedding at Cana closely and understanding Jesus hung out with those that were drinking wine and probably did Himself, I just figured I would let them celebrate and my wife and I would chug our diet coke together!

Michael McGirt

Bro. Tim,

Sorry should have read, “now” not “one.”

Scott

I don’t know why I would have expected anyone to take the idea of gluttony and over-eating as serious as the use and abuse of alcohol.

After all, both in excess lead to dangerous side-effects.

Of course, it’s easier to condemn alcohol rather than condemn grandma’s fried chicken.

To me, it’s the same when we’re so quick to attack the sin of homosexuality but wink at our church leaders who view porn or engage in extramarital affairs. These are all sins of sexual immorality which carry with them the same inherent consequences.

You can mouth off and tell me to go study the sin of gluttony but there is a sin in the excess that is just as much applicable to that little extra helping you just ate as to that second glass of wine you just poured yourself.

Then again, we’re all Southern Baptists and we all have our pet sins…

Louis

Tim:

I was speaking about the legal nature of the governing documents (Constitution and Bylaws)vs. Resolutions. I believe I was correct in what I said. Ryan had some question about it, so I answered.

The BFM, also, does not mention this issue. I believe that the BFM is the confessional statement of our denomination.

I am not aware that the Nominations Committee asks nominees whether they drink alcohol. I know people who have been interviewed, and have served and they were not asked this question.

My belief and hope is that the Nominations Committee verifies that potential nominees qualify under the Constitution and Bylaws and that they support BFM etc.

I really don’t believe that the Nominations Committee tries to make sure that potential nominees comply with all of the resolutions that have been passed at various conventions. Again, it is my knowledge that there are people serving now who do not have an abstinence position and who do not abstain.

Tim, if you want potential nominees’ positions on alcohol and whether they abstain to be asked of potential nominees and a criteria for service, my suggestion is to amend the Constitution and Bylaws or the BFM. The committee is not doing that now. That will be the only way I know to see that is done.

Louis

I have tried posting this and for some reason, it won’t work. Let me try again.

Tim:

I was speaking about the legal nature of the governing documents (Constitution and Bylaws)vs. Resolutions. I believe I was correct in what I said. Ryan had some question about it, so I answered.

The BFM, also, does not mention this issue. I believe that the BFM is the confessional statement of our denomination.

I am not aware that the Nominations Committee asks nominees whether they drink alcohol. I know people who have been interviewed, and have served and they were not asked this question.

My belief and hope is that the Nominations Committee verifies that potential nominees qualify under the Constitution and Bylaws and that they support BFM etc.

I really don’t believe that the Nominations Committee tries to make sure that potential nominees comply with all of the resolutions that have been passed at various conventions. Again, it is my knowledge that there are people serving now who do not have an abstinence position and who do not abstain.

Tim, if you want potential nominees’ positions on alcohol and whether they abstain to be asked of potential nominees and a criteria for service, my suggestion is to amend the Constitution and Bylaws or the BFM. The committee is not doing that now. That will be the only way I know to see that is done.

Dave Woodbury

Tim,

The point I was attempting to make was that the type of situation you presented is exactly the kind of situation in which Godly wisdom would be necessary. Just because Scripture allows for something does not mean that I must encourage it or practice it myself. If a behavior is allowable, it means I should use Godly wisdom and discernment to determine if I should engage. I guess I disagree that this type of discernment undermines the sufficiency of Scripture.

I believe a pastor is Scripturally allowed to wear jeans when he preaches on a Sunday morning. I don’t. Why? Wisdom tells me that wearing jeans would be a distraction and a hindrance to the gospel in my context. I have not denied the sufficiency of Scripture in coming to this conclusion. I am not subjecting Scripture to my whims. I am not denying that there is objective truth. I have simply used wisdom to determine if it would be best for me to do something that Scripture allows, but does not command. This seems to go right along with the weaker brother argument. You seem to see a deep divide between the two.

Am I still missing your point?

Tim Rogers

Brother Scott,

Let me say it this way. I believe you would have a harder time explaining to our Lord why you are stumbling into Heaven than I would explaining why I was waddling into Heaven. :)

Brother Louis,

Tim, if you want potential nominees’ positions on alcohol and whether they abstain to be asked of potential nominees and a criteria for service, my suggestion is to amend the Constitution and Bylaws or the BFM. The committee is not doing that now. That will be the only way I know to see that is done.

What a great idea. It doesn’t take an amendment to the BF&M just a mere motion that calls for the Nomination Committees to ask the question. If you remember a motion I made that the Nomination Committee report the answers to the question of the BF&M was referred to the EC and they disposed of it because the nominees were asked about the BF&M. Thus their determination was that the answers given in affirmative of the BF&M were enough. I can make a motion based on the 2006 resolution and it should pass. Thanks for the suggestion.

Brother Dave,

Your argument would be great if there were someplace in Scripture that said something about the dress of the preacher. All of the arguments given as red herrings sound good, but are really not making the grade. Here is the issue. We have the scripture advocating a positive influence of beverage alcohol and a negative influence. Thus, how does one deal with it? However, nothing else given in this comment stream has any bearings in scripture as being used like beverage alcohol. But, there is one principle that we have in scripture that no one has brought up. Either we are too afraid to bring it up, or we just have not thought of it. Slavery is spoken of in scripture in both the positive and the negative. However, we have taken the stand, and the right one I might add, that Slavery is against scripture. We have gone as far to say that slavery is a sin. However, we have a book written in the NT and the Apostle Paul send Onesimus, a slave, back to his slave owner, Philemon. Certainly, we would say that slavery is a sin and we would even argue that the slavery of the 1st century was not the same as the slavery of the 21st century. So, we have a problem. You are using the same argument for the avocation of moderation in alcohol that those in the 19th century used to advocate the right of people to own slaves.

To all,

I have thoroughly enjoyed this comment stream. Most everyone has employed proper civility and given some great points that I thought were exhausted. I look forward to the next time we cross swords on the alcohol issue. As for me, I think we have said all that we need to say at this time as we have not changed each other’s minds. If I see you guys at the convention we will have a drink, non-alcoholic, together. :)

Blessings,
Tim

cb scott

I was never asked to give an answer as to my position on the use of beverage alcohol when being nominated to serve in the SBC, various state conventions or any local association.

volfan007

Scott,

You really do need to study what gluttony really is. Gluttony is not wearing a 3XL shirt, nor is it going back for seconds of grandma’s fried chicken. Study on the word…from the Greek. It’s not about being overweight, or having a pot belly. So, I really dont see why so many people are jumping on the “SB Pastors ignore the sin of gluttony…yuck, yuck, yuck” bandwagon.

For the record, gluttony…true, real gluttony…is a sin against God.

So, is getting high on alcohol.

David

Louis

Tim:

Your original post was fine, and I complimented you on it.

Your last 2 comments to me have an angry tone.

I enjoyed your earlier comments, but you do not need to be so defensive to prove your position.

Fletcher Law

I now realize some posters are not sbc and do not understand the no alcohol standard most sbc churches historicaly have followed.
It hit me wrong at the time-
like hearing complaining about rice being served in a Chinese reteraunt, like hearing their are too may head kicks on Walker Texas Ranger and like how Tebow would not- could not ever be a first round NFL pick at QB.

In Christ Alone!

Fletcher Law

One Salient Oversight

Fletch,

If I can help the SBC to obey the Bible, it will help the church universal.

Tim Rogers

Brother Louis,

My anti-spam word was “love”. I honestly did not mean anything derogatory in my last two comments. In the one of these comments you referenced that ByLaws were what held weight in the SBC not the Resolutions. I can tell you these entity trustees, while not mandated by the resolutions, follow them because they see it as more than ‘that year’s messengers’ sending a message. My “tell you what” line was satire that I see was misunderstood by you and I am sorry for that. I honestly did not mean anything harsh toward you. Also, my comment about the recommendation was a serious comment. I am seriously considering a motion that would call for this question to be presented to the trustee candidates. I honestly do not see anything in that response that could be mistaken so I do not know what to apologize for there. I can say I do not mean for you to take that in a negative manner because I certainly do not mean it as such.

Brother CB,

The reason you were not asked this question was there wasn’t a need. Even though Moderates were more likely to approve of moderation they know SB did not agree. Isn’t it amazing that we win the battle for the Bible and lose the battle over the bottle? :) I can also tell you some of the strongest conviction I have ever seen concerning alcohol have come from Moderates. Their convictions were based on the families and lives they saw this viper destroy. Thus, when it came time to oppose liquor on the local level I would lock arms with my Moderate brothers/sisters and fight this devil.

Blessings,
Tim

cb scott

Tim,

Wise answer grasshopper. :-)

You are right. There was not a need. It seems that up until recent years, the position in the SBC on the use of beverage alcohol was universal. The SBC as a whole stood against the use of beverage alcohol. There would have been no need to ask such a question.

Jake Barker

CB,
You are so full of it ;-) In Oklahoma there was a joke, a true observation but couched as a joke nevertheless, “you know why liquor stores have backdoors?” “for the baptists”.
Tim,
How can you say that liquor causes problems and endorse the legal sale of firearms? You do endorse the legal sale of firearms, don’t you? The relation is the same….some use firearms in a responsible manner, some don’t….we call those criminals. The same holds true for alcoholic beverages.

Louis

Tim:

Thanks for the kind response. I really appreciate it.

Your motion, if it is not ruled out of order (I think it would be, but that’s my guess), would probably pass. But I am not sure if its implementation would be successful. But who knows.

I am not trying to disparage resolutions. They play an important role.

David Worley

Jake,

No where in the Bible do we find a command to not buy a gun. There are passages in the Bible that talk about the foolishness of drinking fermented wine, and the sin of getting high, or drunk, on it….where it affects your emotions and thinking.

You see, Jake, it’s all about the Bible, and what God’s Word teaches to Tim and CB and me. It’s not about what you think, nor what I think, nor what Tim thinks, nor what the govt. says about something. It’s all about what does God think.

David

Jake Barker

Biff,
I do know what God thinks of wine. He endorses it. Jesus made wine at a wedding & he shared it with his disciples. The Bible says it, I believe it and that settles it!

cb scott

You know Jake,

I had not planned to get into this. I was just responding to Tim about SBC board and entity nominations. But I tell you what. Let’s rock & roll.

You run a liquor store. You may have run it for a long time, so you have had a lot of experience in selling liquor to those “Backdoor Liquor Store Baptists.” And, Jake, I realize there have been and are many of them. And, I am sure you have sold many of them a lot of liquor on a regular basis. You know why I know than Jake?

Because I have spent many years helping clean up the messes those “Backdoor Liquor Store Baptists” have made of their lives and those of their children and grandchildren as a direct result of their regular visits to “your backdoor.”

Your business stinks of rot Jake. It is the stink of men’s lives, hearts and souls being destroyed by the poison you sell them. And the stink of your business goes before you into the presence of Almighty God.

You think about that Jake. You think about that long and hard the next time you open that backdoor of yours for another Baptist.

Jake Barker

My my CB,
Touchy are we this morning. I have a back door….it is one way…out only…for the garbage. As per Oklahoma law. And I’ve seen the many messes that guns, knives, clubs and fists have caused…many to innocent people. Yet I know that it is NOT the product that causes the problem it is the fallen nature of mankind. Cain may very well have been a teetotaler for all I know, yet he had murder in his heart. Your anger and written voice reeks of the very same rot CB. You think about it also.

Tom Parker

Jake Barker:

I can not understand for the live of me why CB and the others think their anger and vitrol are going to carry the day in winning people to Christ. It is their way or no way and then they have to condemn and belittle those that do not go their way.

I believe it is a real big turn off to Christians and non-Christians.

Jake Barker

Tom,
At the risk of being called a moderate or even (horrors) a “liberal” ;-) I do agree with you….they are like a pack of pit bull dogs. My mother begged me never to go to a baptist church…she, in her wisdom, knew that if they can’t find someone outside their church to fight with they turn on their own.
I posit that the SBC would join with their muslim brothers to institute “sharia” on us all.

Chris Johnson

Brother Tim,

From personal experience, I have never been drunk in my life. That comes not from abstinence, but from parents that taught me the scriptures and a deep love for Christ. I have had wine in communion and have tasted wine outside of communion a few times. As I said earlier,…. I really do not like the taste of wine, and I really don’t even like the smell of beer (not really interested in the taste). But, no matter the taste, no matter the smell, no matter the effects,… it is training and self-control that win the day when we look at the sufficiency of scripture.

Anyone can have wine (“fermenting wine” – for those waiting for the yeast on the skins of the grape to kick into gear) without getting drunk. It is just that simple. It has benefited me to utilize self-control. And it will benefit others as well. I determine not to be drunk with wine….and the Holy Spirit guides me and holds me….whom or what shall I fear?

This was a good attempt at psuedo-legalism …at the expense of those that abstain for the “perceived” wrong reason. The scripture is sufficient though to shine light on your reasoning and expose the error of using the law wrongly, when it is holy and has been replaced by the work of Christ. Self-control is what triumphs my friend!

It is possible to abstain and know, live, and practice the sufficiency of scripture maintained by the Spirits gift of self-control. That is the power of Christ in us!

Blessings,
Chris

Bill MacKinnon

Gluttony may sometimes mean more than just habitual overeating, but habitual overeating certainly falls under the category of gluttony. (of which I am certainly guilty)

This link is a good resource.

http://www.internetdynamics.com/home/spadkins/god/virtue/gluttony.html

David Worley

Tom,

Jesus turned off a lot of people by talking straight and plain and truthful. Would you say to Him what you’re saying to us? This passage is from John’s Gospel, chapter 6…”61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

A lot more passages talk about people being offended at the words of Jesus, or getting mad at what Jesus said, and they walked away. So, if our speaking truth makes people…Christians and non-Christians alike…to turn away; then, the same thing happened to our Lord, the Prophets, the Apostles, and other Christians down thru the years.

David

Tim Rogers

Brother Jake,

Allow me just a bit of personal preference here. First, I have been known to fight at the drop of a hat and have been known to drop the hat. My brother and I were regulars at a bar before I got saved. It was there on many occasions that I dropped the hat. One person, whom I had a low level of respect, made an off the wall comment at one of the “lady’s” in the bar. That was all I needed and I told him if brains was dynamite he would not have enough to blow his nose. Needless to say it was on. We broke billiard sticks and threw billiard balls all across that bar. Do you know that a billiard ball acts like a rubber ball when it hits concrete? Of course when the ball splits open you can use it as a sharp instrument to also inflict some serious injury. I tell you all of this to let you know that it was in that bar that I would walk and ask the owner; “What’s going on?” He would reply; “Ah, lordy, Rogers, this world and one more then the fireworks.” Little did I know as a lost person what he was speaking about. It sounded good and I just began using it. I gave my heart to Jesus in 1988 at the age of 29. About three weeks after my salvation I received two different visits. One was the owner of Shukers Oyster Bar in Wake Forest. Shuckers is where I would go after work every day. I would sit and suck down raw oysters and chase it with long-neck Budwiesers until I was buzzing good. The owner of that place came to visit me and tell me he was missing me and wanted to make certain I wasn’t sick. The other visit was of the same nature. However it was the owner of the bar I spoke about with the billiard tables. When he came to visit me I expressed the reason I wasn’t coming and would probably never come back. Would you believe the expressed to me he was a Christian and that there was nothing wrong with me visiting his bar? That he ran a Christian establishment and I was judging him for not coming back. You see, Jake, I was a lost person and I can tell you what goes on in those places. I saw the “lady’s” he had in that place and would leave with him. I know the marriages that were broken up because of that place. I know the homes that were wrecked because mama or daddy found a boyfriend or girlfriend at that bar. I will never forget the face of a child I saw in the car because mama had left with a man and would be right back.

One other story Jake and I will leave it to you. I was being interviewed by a church in Ok. One of the questions they asked me was my position on beverage alcohol. I expressed to them what the Bible taught and why I took that position. Their response? It is refreshing to find a preacher that does not play games with the moderate use of alcohol. I am not saying that is the way it is in OK, I am saying that is what that church told me.

To All,

One more problem with the moderation view about alcohol. Those who say that moderation is taught by scripture but maintain an abstinence view because of wisdom, come across as hypocritical. Why, you are taking a stand against something you say the scripture teaches.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother Jake,

I will not approve a comment that you take a shot at someone in. We will not have you calling people gluttons just because you do not like how they look.

Brother Bill,

Thank you for your kind reply to Jake but because I have not approved his comment, I must do the same with yours because you only responded to that comment. Your other comments will stand. Just wanted you to know why I placed your comment in moderation.

Blessings,
Tim

David Worley

In the Unger’s Bible Dictionary, we learn that “glutton” means, “(Hebrew from zalal, “to shake,” hence to “be loose” morally).

Another definition for “glutton” comes from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, which says, in part, “zalel, “to be lavish; … To shake or pour out, … to be lavish, a squanderer.”

A third definition of “glutton” is from the Holman Bible Dictionary. “…greedy and voracious eating… Associated with stubbornness, rebellion, disobedience, drunkenness, and wastefulness.

Gluttony means a lazy, loose living, alchol drinking, eating to excess, debaucherous lifestyle. That’s what gluttony means. Gluttony is not about what size you are, nor is about eating 2 cheeseburgers instead of one.

It’s about a lazy, good for nothing, drinking, feasting person, who is living a morally loose life.

I hope that clears it all up.

Gluttony is sin against God.

David

Tim Rogers

Brother Chris,

Anyone can have wine (“fermenting wine” – for those waiting for the yeast on the skins of the grape to kick into gear) without getting drunk. It is just that simple.

“Fermenting wine” as you well point out begins at the time the grapes are crushed. The yeast from the grape hulls begins preserving the sugar. However, if one does nothing else that fermenting process ends and another process must begin to get the 11-17% alcohol content of most of today’s wines. Fortified Wine has a alcohol content of 17%. In order to get to this content more has to be done. Wine spoken of in the Bible had an average content of less than 10%. Even then it was watered down to where the alcohol content was less than 5%.

My point? Your enjoying a glass of wine today is not the same wine Jesus would drink with his meal.

Blessings,
Tim

Chris Johnson

Brother Tim,

As is well documented, the sugar content reveals the level of fermentation….and I agree with you completely that there are drinks today and even wines today that have been fortified / enhanced to increased levels of alcohol.

Your point though, is a good one…. One can enjoy the same wine as Jesus enjoyed …and yes it would have (and can be proven to have) less alcohol content than most of what is in the Package Stores today. I also personally believe that the “recreational or social drinker” who chooses to consume enhanced or fortified drinks may do so for an entirely new and different motive than still other individuals that do drink what Jesus drank…. compared with how Jesus celebrated within his culture. We do know,… that when Jesus drank wine, he never became drunk, even as he was tempted and scorned by those that new the difference.

The life He lived was evidence of the self-control available to those made new in the Spirit. Again, Christ living in us.

Blessings,
Chris

volfan007

I just want to echo what Tim said about drinking…from personal experience. I, too, was a partier before I got saved. I drank often. Right now, I wish that it was okay to still drink alcohol, although it never did me any good. There’s times when I would fit in with the crowd. There’s times when alcohol would calm my nerves, or relieve stress, or whatever. But, I know that it’s not wise for me to drink the stuff. It’s not what’s best for me. The Scriptures teach that wine makes a mockery out of you, and a fool drinks the fermented stuff that will make you high, or drunk. So, I dont drink it anymore. I, also, dont smoke weed anymore; like I used to do.

I feel that it’s of the utmost importance that I dont drink alcohol in order to be obedient to my LORD.

David

Bill MacKinnon

Zalal is also translated as riotous eater in Pr. 23.

According to Strongs, the Greek word phagos (translated as glutton) means “a voracious man, a glutton”.

Like English words, Hebrew and Greek words have different meanings based upon context.

The bible frequently uses the words for glutton in conjunction with the words for drunkenness. The clear meaning is the excess of food on the one hand and drink on the other. The context is pretty clear.

The generic meaning may be moral laxity or excess, but the context narrows it down to moral laxity or excess in terms of eating.

Drunkenness is a sin. So is habitual overeating.

Jake Barker

excerpt from Martin Luther:
“If you are a preacher of Grace, then preach a true, not a fictitious grace; if grace is true, you must bear a true and not a fictitious sin. God does not save people who are only fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly. For he is victorious over sin, death, and the world. As long as we are here we have to sin. This life in not the dwelling place of righteousness but, as Peter says, we look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. . . . Pray boldly-you too are a mighty sinner.”

cb scott

Jake Barker,

Why is it that you say I am angry? You made a comment in #109 about the joke about Baptists using beverage alcohol. In my comment, I agreed with you that there are many Backdoor Liquor Store Baptists in comment #110.

Then I call your attention to the effects of the use of beverage alcohol in the lives of so very many of those liquor using Baptists and the fact that you sell it to them.

What you said about Baptists buying beverage alcohol was true and what I said about the effects of it was just as true.

Jake, why is it that your comment is to be taken as without anger and you consider me to be angry? Jake, the truth is that I am not angry. You made a truthful statement. I responded with a truthful statement. Nothing more, nothing less.

It seems Jake, you told the truth and I accepted it. Then I respond with the truth and you say I am angry.

There is no anger at you Jake. I am just telling the truth. You just can’t handle it. Or, rather you don’t want to handle it, because you know it is the truth.

cb scott

Jake,

Let’s talk about guns and edged weapons since you bring them up.

A firearm or a knife is a tool. It is as good or as bad as the man using it.

But even a good man mixing guns, knives and beverage alcohol can do very stupid or bad things.

Jake a firearm or a knife is a tool.

Beverage alcohol is a poisonous drug.

Guns, knives and alcohol don’t mix well with any man, good or bad.

As a matter of fact Jake, beverage alcohol and any kind of a tool don’t mix well if you think about it.

So think about it Jake. You sell a destructive, poisonous drug for a living. Men buy your drug. They mix your drug with guns, knives and various other tools. When they do, stupid or bad things often happen.

cb scott

BTW Jake,

The reason I was so long getting back to this little set-to is because I have been away from the office, trying to help a man who has pretty much destroyed his life on liquor.

Because God is a loving and gracious God who makes new and living creatures of the dead and the destroyed, there is a glorious hope for this man’s soul and what is left of his life. And even though God’s grace is absolutely sufficient to save his soul and renew his mind, he will have struggles that others who have not been destroyed by the effects of beverage alcohol do not experience.

So think about that also while you are ringing up that next sell on a bottle of Johnny Walker Red.

Dave Woodbury

Tim,

It seems in your last response to me you went back to defending your position on alcohol consumption rather than the issue at hand, which is the use of wisdom to determine whether or not to indulge.

I’m not interested in the back on forth on alcohol. You are not going to change my mind, I am not going to change yours. You are not accounatble to me, nor must I answer to you. To me, such bickering is profitless.

What I still don’t understand is your separation of the weaker brother argument from the wisdom argument. Isn’t the crux of the weaker brother argument that there are things that are not forbidden by Scripture that we should, in certain instances, lay aside our right to, for the sake of the conscience of the weaker brother? If that is the case, how do we determine when we should yield, if not by the use of wisdom?

I also don’t understand to whom you are referring who use the wisdom argument? Are you talking about those who personally refrain because it is unwise for them, or those who would issue a blanket prohibition based on wisdom rather than a Scriptural prohibition? I fall itno the first category. I do not fall into the second. If that makes me hypocritical, I am willing to wear that badge in order to remain faithful to the teaching of Scripture. If that makes me unfit as a pastor, I’m sure my church will let me know. If it makes me unfit for convention service, maybe I’ll find that out someday.

God Bless.

David Worley

Bill,

The Greek word “phagos” means “slow bellies; idle gluttons.” The word clearly means more than just overeating food. It’s about laziness and overeating and excessive, loose living.

I will say that the Bible does say that it’s foolish to overeat in Proverbs 23:2. I’ve been foolish in my life many times…in terms of overeating. I’m paying for that foolishness everyday dealing with my weight. I’ve been far more disciplined in my eating for the past 3 years, but I’m still a pretty big fella. I’ve confessed to God my lack of discipline in this area. But, homosexuality and drinking fermented wine to get high are still sins.

Also, being fat is not a sin, nor is it the evidence of sinful living. Eating the foods that we eat in the South can make you fat, without gluttony, or overeating being involved. Being short can cause you to look fat, or can cause you to deal with looking fat… more than a tall person has to deal with it. Genetics can also be a factor. I had a friend in college, who ate far more than me…all the time…he was skinny. I gained wieght.

Oh well, the main point is that some people seem to think that being a chubby preacher is some sort of sin. That’s not only ridiculous, it’s stupid. Nowhere do you find in the requirements of being an Elder/Pastor that a person must be thin, or as skinny as ?

David

Jake Barker

CB,
Take a look , if you will, although I am pretty sure you won’t at your remarks in post 113 paragraph 4 & 5. Is there not anger in your voice? If not, then I certainly appologize.
I will agree with you that many a man & woman has destroyed their life with…..alcohol…guns….violence in its many forms…green leafy substances, white powders….marital infidelity etc. Do you deny that marital infidelity causes murders?

Jake Barker

“Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.” -Martin Luther

cb scott

Jake,

Tell me why I would be angry with you? I’m not. I am telling the truth and you know I am telling the truth. We have both lived long enough to know I am truthful in what I have said here, just I know you are being truthful about Baptists who sneak in the “backdoor” so to speak to buy beverage alcohol.

My goal with you, here today, is that you take accountability for your willful part in the destructive effects of beverage alcohol in the lives of people who use it.

Jake, I would be the last person on earth you would have to convince that guns used wrongly have destroyed a lot of innocent people. But you must also admit, guns used by the right people have freed, and protected the innocent and maintained the peace for far more.

But Jake, beverage alcohol is a poisonous drug, no matter whose “hands” are using it, good or bad.

In reality Jake, the comparison between weapons and alcohol is to compare “apples to oranges.”

One is a poisonous drug, the other is a tool.

Oh and BTW, I don’t really care what Luther says here. He never was much of a gunfighter anyway, if I rightly recall. :-)

Jake Barker

CB,
You are a believer in “works” no matter how much you deny it. I know it, you know it and the American public knows it. You and others of your ideological ilk profess “grace” but are stuck in “works(legalism)”….gotta be good, can’t dip, smoke or chew or go with girls that do. Manup CB, admit it….say it…”I am a legalist”.

cb scott

Jake,

I am about to head out to a Birmingham Barons game, but let me say this last thing tonight:

I am not of legalistic or antinomian blood. But I am of the Blood of Christ. I am a benefactor of His marvelous grace. Therefore, I seek to honor Him with my life. I fail constantly. Therefore I praise Him for His grace even greater. Yet, I do know enough to stay from a poisonous drug like beverage alcohol. For, if I did use it, my failures would be of a far greater magnitude than my dreadfully, sinful failures presently are without its destructive influence in my life.

Think about that also Jake.

Tom Parker

CB:

Jake Barker said to you:”Manup CB, admit it….say it…”I am a legalist”.

Amen, Jake. CB and others have a real problem with the Holy Spirit guiding us instead of preachers beating us over the head telling us not to do 600 different things and above all follow their example.

It is a recipe for failure in the lives of the leader and followers.

One Salient Oversight

Tim,

So is it okay to drink alcohol with less then 10% alcohol content in it?

Colt 45 malt Liquor has an alcohol content of between 5-9% (depending upon whether you are in the US or in Canada)

Most Beers in the US have an alcohol content of less than 5%

So if Jesus was drinking low-alcohol wine, he would’ve been drinking the alcoholic equivalent of a Colt 45.

Tom Parker

OSO:

Tim Rogers just cannot conceive that the wine that Jesus drank contained alcohol. Maybe it really was grape juice like we use today, Tim?

Bill

David: I don’t really disagree with what you say in your last comment. However you are saying something slightly different than Tim. In all the times I have been in alcohol discussions with you on various blogs, you are always careful to call drinking alcohol foolish, instead of sinful. You always relegate the word sinful to drunkenness. While I may disagree with the former and agree with the latter, I am closer to your view than to Tim’s view, ie: that the recreational consumption of anything containing alcohol is sinful. That view, in my opinion, is not properly derived from scripture.

I know I have shared this before, but I have been a virtual teetotaler my entire life. I probably have not had a gallon’s worth of alcohol in my life. For most of my Christian life I was also an abstentionist. I believed all the arguments I’ve seen laid out by abstentionists over the past few years I’ve been following the SBC blogosphere. (none of it is new, by the way) But ultimately I could not reconcile my position with scripture and I reluctantly moved into the moderationist camp. I don’t drink, and I know full well what the abuse of alcohol can do, but I cannot and will not seek to forbid that which God does not.

Tim Rogers

Brother OSO,

Keep trying but you just do not seem to be able to justify your position with Scripture. If you were not convicted by the Holy Spirit you wouldn’t be arguing so hard to get me and others to see your point of view.

Brother Tom Parker,

It is hard to accept that the bible teaches something when it comes from someone who does not believe the bible.

Blessings,
Tim

John

“If you were not convicted by the Holy Spirit you wouldn’t be arguing
so hard to get me and others to see your point of view.”

I thought that was what both sides were doing, arguing so hard. So everyone who argues a point is being convicted by the Spirit?

“It is hard to accept that the bible teaches something when it comes from someone who does not believe the bible.”

I’m guessing you must know Tom personally to be able to say that. But if the reason you say he doesn’t believe the Bible is because he disagrees with you, I’m pretty sure that’s not true. Believe it or not, not all Christians believe the same as you do.

One Salient Oversight

Thanks Tim. Attack the person, don’t address the point of argument I’m raising, which is this:

You said (123) “Wine spoken of in the Bible had an average content of less than 10%. Even then it was watered down to where the alcohol content was less than 5%.”

I then countered (139) “So is it okay to drink alcohol with less then 10% alcohol content in it? Colt 45 malt Liquor has an alcohol content of between 5-9% (depending upon whether you are in the US or in Canada) Most Beers in the US have an alcohol content of less than 5%. So if Jesus was drinking low-alcohol wine, he would’ve been drinking the alcoholic equivalent of a Colt 45.”

You then respond (142) “Keep trying but you just do not seem to be able to justify your position with Scripture. If you were not convicted by the Holy Spirit you wouldn’t be arguing so hard to get me and others to see your point of view.”

And that is known amongst everyone who analyses arguments (especially on the internet) as “Ad Hominem”.

So let me ask you, was your point in 123 correct or not? If it was correct then we can drink alcohol. If it is not correct then you were wrong in your assertion, leading us to doubt your knowledge on the subject. Which is it?

Tim Rogers

Brother John,

Believe it or not, not all Christians believe the same as you do.

Are you sure? Man, what a disappointment.

Now, allow me to explain to you and Brother OSO as to the reason for the statement. If you will notice, OSO is from Australia. In Australia the Baptist polity is more akin to Episcopalian and even Presbyterian. In the downuder the Baptist Union is liberal and even removes the ordination papers from their pastors. I know of one pastor that has come under attack from the liberal there because of his biblical stands. Thus, OSO would not have the openness to disagree with the Baptist there, that he has here. So, what does he do? He takes advantage of the openness we have in Baptist polity here. He is free to agree or disagree with me on any issue he desires. However, his over active disagreement with me here makes me wonder why he so actively opposes our stand.

One other thing, John. I would encourage you to read Peter Lumpkins scholarly work on this issue, Alcohol Today

Blessings,
Tim

Bob Cleveland

The question too frequently seems to be “How much like the world can I live and still be “in Christ”” .. rather than “How much like Christ can I live and still be “in the world””. I’m not a preacher, just a sometimes Sunday School teacher, but you’d be amazed at how many questions I’v been asked; different versions of that first one.

I don’t know why people haven’t been getting the message.

Tom Parker

Bob Cleveland:

Do you believe the Bible says it is a sin to drink any alcohol at all?
If you do which verse in the Bible would you direct me to.

Bob Cleveland

Tom Parker:

Go argue with somebody else.

David R. Brumbelow

Tim (Comment #120),
Great comments and insight.

Could it be that when we glorify Martin Luther and other old time Christians for their drinking, that we are glorifying their weaknesses and not their strengths?

A lot of great old time Christians also believed in slavery; that is certainly not what made them great. (By the way, there is not a direct prohibition against slavery in the Bible, but the Bible certainly teaches against it.)

Martin Luther was also prejudiced against the Jews; that is not what made him a Christian leader; and certainly not something with which we can point to him with pride.

Another point about Luther‘s comments above about sinning (#127 & 134): “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” -Romans 6:1-2

On guns and alcohol. There are legitimate reasons for guns. There are no legitimate reasons for drinking a recreational mind altering drug; a drug that takes away your reason and good judgment.

As has been mentioned, even the SBC moderates used to oppose alcohol. One of the prominent moderates was Foy Valentine, executive director of the Christian Life Commission (now Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; erlc.com).

“Alcohol’s drugging, depressing effect reduces mental capacity and thereby deadens moral sensitivity.” -Foy Valentine; Baptist Press (bpnews.net), July 24, 2006.
David R. Brumbelow

Tim Rogers

Brother Tom Parker,

That was your last straw. I am not afraid to ban you, and I will.

For those that do not know why let me recap. The following quotes are from him in this comment stream. Not one deals with the content of the post. Every one is about trying to bait someone or making harsh accusations towards someone. I warned him, but he doesn’t listen.

Comment #1

The subject of alcohol is quite divisive even among believers. Can you not find something positive in all the pages of the Bible to rally born again believers around in these difficult days? The position of abstinence is once again used by those of your mind set to exclude fellow Christians from service in the SBC and to label them as MODERATES. You can strain to make your position of abstinence but it is just not there in BLACK AND WHITE in the Bible.

Comment # 14

Tim Rogers:

You said:”“Most who hold to the moderation view and partake do not consider themselves to be inerrantist when it comes to scripture.”

Proof please.

I provided him with Nancy Amermman’s book

Comment #45

Ryan:

You said”I say all of this and I know it will change no one’s mind on either side. What would really be nice is if the abstentionists would follow the command of inerrant scripture in Romans 14 and stop focusing on “disputable matters” and live at “peace” and in “mutual edification.” I pray that day comes soon so we can work together to reach the people ALL of us on both sides of the debate know we are called to reach.”

I’m not sure some of these guys are capable of not keeping endless disputes alive and well.

They are right and all others who do not hold 100% to their view are wrong and excludable.

Comment#49

OSO:

So much talk by some about the sufficiency of the Scriptures yet they twist and turn these same Sciptures to support their view, not the Biblical view.

Matthew 11.18-19 is very clear.

Something is very wrong with how these folks use the Bible

Comment #60

OSO:

You said:”Just to reiterate: Abstaining from alcohol is not a sin, but teaching that abstinence is the only Christian response to alcohol is sinful, because it adds to scripture.”

Precisely. because they are attempting to say the Bible says one thing when it says another.

Comment #71

Bill MacKinnon:

You said–”Jesus was a first century Jew. If first century Jews drank wine as part of their everyday lives and in their worship, because they were never commanded to abstain, then so did He.”

The really troubling part is when Tim Rogers and others attempt to twist the scriptures to back up their legalistic views. They do not others twisting scriptures, yet they do it. Where is the consistency?

Surely, Jesus drank wine which included alcohol.

Comment #85

Louis:

I here you. But people like Tim Rogers would like to use the abstinence position to exclude people from service in the SBC. That is what I have a great concern about. This issue keeps being brought up by some–Why? For what purpose?

Comment #115

Jake Barker:

I can not understand for the live of me why CB and the others think their anger and vitrol are going to carry the day in winning people to Christ. It is their way or no way and then they have to condemn and belittle those that do not go their way.

I believe it is a real big turn off to Christians and non-Christians.

Comment #138

CB:

Jake Barker said to you:”Manup CB, admit it….say it…”I am a legalist”.

Amen, Jake. CB and others have a real problem with the Holy Spirit guiding us instead of preachers beating us over the head telling us not to do 600 different things and above all follow their example.

It is a recipe for failure in the lives of the leader and followers.

Comment #140

OSO:

Tim Rogers just cannot conceive that the wine that Jesus drank contained alcohol. Maybe it really was grape juice like we use today, Tim?

Comment #147

Bob Cleveland:

Do you believe the Bible says it is a sin to drink any alcohol at all?
If you do which verse in the Bible would you direct me to.

Out of 147 comments you posted 11 comments. Only one comment dealt with the issue and I gave you the answer you were asking about my statement. You never responded and proceeded to be like an annoying mosquito. The icing on the cake came for me when one that has the same position as you told you to argue with someone else. He is correct, you are doing nothing but causing all of the disruption you can on this post. You may appeal to Brother Wes, Scott, or David if you would like to by email. But until further notice, you are banned. Bye, Bye!

Blessings,
Tim

Ryan Abernathy

Since people are recommending Peter’s book can I recommend one? Also a scholarly work: God Gave Wine by Kenneth Gentry. Mr. Gentry is a teetotaler who advocates the moderation position. He might by a hypocrite in Tim’s eyes, but his scholarship beats the dog out of Alcohol Today.

For those who do not want to read Peter’s book, he traces the history of abstention all the way back to Prohibition and attempts to paint that position as the historical Christian position. He conveniently overlooks the positions of moderation of the Puritans, John Wesley, Calvin, Luther, etc.

I would recommend everyone on both sides of the issue check out Gentry’s book and Peter’s book and then make a more informed decision based on the biblical scholarship in both.

Mark

Hey Bob,

Great loaded questions(?) for this discussion! :) OK, not really. It could actually be that people are asking in this discussion – How does Christ, as revealed in Scripture, expect one to handle alcohol (or any issue)?

——
In the original post Tim said

If one believes Scripture allows for moderation and uses beverage alcohol in moderation then he/she holds more to the sufficiency of Scripture than the one that advocates a moderation view but does not imbibe because of wisdom.

Wouldn’t Paul fall into the view in bold in 1 Cor. 8:13 Therefore,if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.? It seems Paul personally thought eating meat was okay, but was willing to not eat for the sake of others.

Ryan Abernathy

Interesting quite from John Chrysostom one of the early church father, commenting on the moderate use of alcohol as understood from Paul:

The passage before us is useful also against heretics, who speak evil of God’s creatures; for if it had been among the number of things forbidden, Paul would not have permitted it, nor would have said it was to be used. And not only against the heretics, but against the simple ones among our brethren, who when they see any persons disgracing themselves from drunkenness, instead of reproving such, blame the fruit given them by God, and say, “Let there be no wine.” We should say then in answer to such, “Let there be no drunkenness; for wine is the work of God, but drunkenness is the work of the devil. Wine maketh not drunkenness; but intemperance produceth it. Do not accuse that which is the workmanship of God, but accuse the madness of a fellow mortal. But thou, while omitting to reprove and correct the sinner, treatest thy Benefactor with contempt!”- (Homily 1 Paragraph 11)

Just more food for thought.

Fletcher Law

Pro drinkers. Again as a question dodged by pro drinkers. How will drinking help your ministry? No pogo stick jumping to some where somebody else past experience. How will drinking help your ministry and Christian witness?

Ryan Abernathy

Fletcher-
I am not sure if ANY answer will satisfy you, but I will give you some examples from my own ministry where my position on alcohol has been beneficial.

First, I do not ever drink to excess. One or two beers is plenty. When I am hanging out with people who are not believers and they ask why I am not having another it’s a perfect opportunity to open up the word and discuss a Scriptural principle that God makes real in the lives of those He has saved.

Second, I don’t drink cheap beer. Cheap beer tastes bad and is not enjoyable to drink. My beer of choice is Guinness which has an amazing story behind its creation and distribution that links to its founder Arthur Guinness, a believer from Ireland. My love of Guinness opens all kinds of doors to conversations about Christ, especially given the history of Guinness. Another favorite of mind is Chimay Red, which has been brewed by Trappist monks since the 1500’s. It’s amazing what this kind of knowledge can do to open up people who would generally be hostile or apathetic about the Gospel or church in general.

Third, (and I’m sure this is going to open up Pandora’s box), for the past year my church has had a group meeting in a bar in OKC for drinks and discussion of topics of interest to the community. We call the ministry Midrash. You would not believe the number of people who will not darken the door of a church, but will show up for a couple of hours to talk current events, issues, and THEOLOGY in a bar. I have seen people led to Christ through association with this ministry and have seen people return to their faith as well.

I realize, Fletcher, that you can immediately reply “You could do all that without drinking.” Maybe so. Maybe not. Would be my response. The real issue is YOU can’t prove a negative. I have no idea if these things would or would not have happened if I was an abstentionist and neither do you.

I would simply say to you, don’t have a drink if that’s your conviction. My understanding of Scripture is that it is allowable. I did not arrive at that position lightly, in fact I held the position expressed by Tim, CB, and yourself for many years. My conviction that scripture was to be taken literally and that there needs to be a separation between what scripture teaches and what tradition teaches led to a change in my position on this issue and others.

I continue to think that real issue here is fear. Some people are afraid of freedom. Some are not. Some people think if ANYTHING can be proved to be harmful it should be considered sinful. That was where positions on not playing cards, not seeing movies, mixed bathing, etc came from. I will tell you that there is a generation coming into the church that is not interested in tradition or fear but they are deadly serious about Jesus and the Bible. They would not be satisfied with any of the arguments laid out here for the abstentionist position. It would be dismissed out if hand for a lack of Biblical evidence. If you guys want this position to stand up in the next 50 years, you are going to have to add to the Bible. I doubt that part will be inerrant. :) Have a good evening gentlemen. I am off to study for tomorrow’s sermon (which is ironically on the importance of unity in the Body of Christ for the purpose of spurring one another on to good works) and then to watch the Thunder try to beat the Lakers again. I hope you guys that are preaching tomorrow morning see God’s grace and glory in your congregations! Despite our petty differences…may His Kingdom advance!

John

Fletcher,

Ryan said it a lot better than I can, but I would also add one thing. The biggest barrier I have seen to the Gospel is adding on legal requirements for the Christian that are not spoken of in Scripture. I have a VERY high view of God’s Word and find it more than suficient for knowing everything God wants us to know. There are quite a few things that God strictly forbids, and I can see no reason to add to it. We are made right with God by Grace through Faith. I seek to conform my life to Scripture, no looking for ‘loopholes’ to just do what I want to do. My life now belongs to Christ, and I seek to please Him, not out of a sense of duty or obligation, but because I love Him. I don’t want to see anyone seperated for eternity from Him. And I will not add a stumbling block of added ‘legal requirements’ or false feelings of guilt for anyone. God convicts people; we can only teach the truth and trust Him to do the rest.

I know we’ll probably never agree on this, but as I was writing I was thinking about the words of Paul in Titus:

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Titus 3:8-11

I will always stand up for the Bible and what it teaches, but hopefully not stir up division. And thanks for all the comments.

John

Tim Rogers

Brothers All,

Let me say thank you for your last comments. I know that some of you disagree with my position. That’s ok. I still count you as Brothers. I want you all to know I respect your position but I disagree with it.

Brother Mark,

Wouldn’t you agree that Paul was following the mandates of the Jerusalem Council? Also, I may have missed it some place, but could you help me find a place where Paul presents beverage alcohol in a positive light?

Blessings,
Tim

One Salient Oversight

Fletcher.

* Drinking alcohol has never enhanced any gospel conversation I have had. I don’t drink alcohol in order to tell people about the gospel. I drink alcohol because it tastes nice.

* Not drinking alcohol has never enhanced any gospel conversation I have had.

* I have never been drunk. Despite that, I would feel very strongly that being drunk would noticeably hinder any gospel conversation I would have.

* I have never advocated an abstinence only position (ie drinking alcohol is sinful). If I did, it WOULD noticeably hinder any gospel conversation I would have.

Colossians 2.20-23

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations — “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

The “worldly regulations” Paul talks about here are aesthetic practices, and would include the belief that drinking alcohol is sinful.

That’s right – I see enforcing abstinence from alcohol to be worldly, to have an appearance of wisdom and to promote self-made religion.

(And to reiterate what I have said before, choosing not to drink alcohol is fine, but the line gets crossed into worldliness and man-made religion when you begin teaching that drinking alcohol is sinful)

Tim Rogers

Brother OSO,

(And to reiterate what I have said before, choosing not to drink alcohol is fine, but the line gets crossed into worldliness and man-made religion when you begin teaching that drinking alcohol is sinful)

Romans 14:23 If you believe it is not sin then it is not sin. If you have one iota of doubt, then it is sin.

Blessings,
Tim

Louis

Ryan:

Great comment.

Tim:

Great response. I agree with your sentiment about the folks on here all being brothers in Christ. I affirm that totally and have learned much from this discussion.

One Salient Oversight

Tim,

Romans 14, especially 1-3, backs up everything I have said:

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.”

So, who am I? Do I “despise the one who abstains?” No. Of course not. If you abstain then that is fine.

But what about you? Do you “pass judgement on the one who (drinks alcohol)”? Yes you do. You’re saying it is sin.

It is time to stop being a weaker brother. It is time to accept that Christians are allowed to drink alcohol.

I’m not stopping you abstaining (as per Romans 14.1) but you’re passing judgement upon those who do drink (which Paul prohibits in Romans 14.3).

Brother Tim, from this comments thread I know your own personal history of drinking alcohol was a bad one. I accept that. If I were to fellowship with you personally I would not drink alcohol in your presence because I know that would be bad. But also take into account my personal experience of alcohol – teetotal until the age of 23 for no other reason than simply not wanting to drink alcohol and, since the age of 23, occasionally drinking wine, beer or spirits. I have no experience of excessive alcohol consumption and have consequently never been drunk. I sometimes drink alcohol in front of my children and have given them a sip now and then. I model for them a responsible drinking manner so that when they get to adulthood they are unlikely to get drunk. On average I have a drink every 3-4 weeks so very little of my income goes towards drinking. I very rarely visit bars or pubs, so much of my drinking occurs either at home or at the homes of others. The church I go to has no proscription against alcohol, though our pastor once believed drinking alcohol was sinful many years ago but has since changed his opinion because he was convinced by the Bible that such a proscription was wrong – yet both he and his wife remain completely teetotal. While my church does not proscribe alcohol it doesn’t encourage it either – we don’t see drinking alcohol as some way to reach out to unbelievers.

For those of us who take the moderationist position, we see those who enforce abstinence as adding to the Bible – it is teaching a code of behaviour that is not to be found in scripture. For those of us who adhere to Sola Scriptura (which is part of your original post) it is very troubling whenever Christians teach things contrary to scripture. So whenever some Christians get together and say “Homosexuality is not a sin”, we Christians who believe the bible say “Homosexuality IS a sin!”.

Christians once taught that owning and driving a car was sinful. How many of these Christians remain today (excepting those who live in closed communities like the Amish)?

I am a great admirer of the 1996 Cambridge Declaration, especially this section:

“We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation,which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.”

I, along with all moderationists who hold onto sola scriptura, will argue very strongly that the abstinence position is not to be found in scripture and those who teach it are using a non-biblical teaching to bind the consciences of people.

And why do they do it? Do I believe that you and others on this thread who teach abstinence are doing so for ulterior, evil motives? No I don’t. I think you honestly believe that yours is the biblical position while I and others are in the wrong.

I cannot speak for others in this thread, but my motives for defending my position are not ulterior. I’m not a shill for the alcohol industry and nor am I am trying to destroy the church for my own twisted means. I am writing this simply because I believe I am right.

So it comes down to one thing and one thing only: which position is best represented in scripture?

The moderationist position is this:

1. Alcohol is a blessing from God (Psalm 104.14-15)
2. Drunkenness is a sin.
3. Abstaining from alcohol is not a sin.
4. A Christian therefore has two non-sinful choices: either drink without getting drunk or don’t drink at all.

One Salient Oversight

BTW – one more story.

When I was 18 I went with a couple of Christian friends to a pub. (In Australia, 18 is the minimum drinking age so I was not breaking the law). This was during my teetotal years and, while my two friends ordered a beer, I drank either some orange juice or some lemonade.

One of my Christian friends began to grill me about my choice not to drink. He asked me if I believed drinking alcohol was wrong. I answered by saying no I didn’t, I just didn’t want to drink alcohol. He then went into a tirade about how important it is for us to relate to the world around us and that if I don’t drink alcohol then I was compromising my witness. He was essentially saying that I MUST drink alcohol to be an effective Christian.

Naturally I disagreed with him. I said that he was wrong and that Christians can choose to drink or not and that my choice to not drink would have no effect upon my witness to unbelievers.

David R. Brumbelow

To those of you arguing that drinking in moderation is alright and even biblical; the fact is that beverage alcohol is a recreational, mind-altering drug.

You are arguing for taking a drug for no medicinal reason, just recreation and pleasure.

This also opens wide the door for marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs.

You may say, but the Bible says we are to obey the laws of the land, and there are laws against marijuana and cocaine. Yes, there are laws against them today in America, but that may change. And there are countries today that allow them.

So are you for the free, although moderate, use of marijuana and cocaine and other mind altering drugs? If not, why not?

Why is beverage alcohol acceptable, but these other drugs are not?

Is it acceptable for an American Christian to go on vacation to a country where these drugs are legal and moderately enjoy them?
David R. Brumbelow

Bill

David: This post is about the sufficiency of scripture, but your argument is not scriptural, but cultural. Marijuana and cocaine are irrelevant. The question at hand is whether the scripture forbids the consumption of beverages containing ethanol. In other words, is it, unequivocally, a sin to consume an alcoholic beverage? You can cite statistics, call it foolish, invoke the slippery slope, the weaker brother, and the “hurt your witness” claim, until the cows come home. But is it, a sin? In my opinion, careful exegesis of the relevant passages cannot provide an answer in the affirmative. Others may disagree, but my conscience is not bound by what others think.

Leave a Comment:

All fields with “*” are required

 characters available