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Nov 22, 2010

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Ron Hale

Peter,

The liquor industry is going to hate Peter Lumpkins. The wine and cheese theologians will despise you forever. You will be misunderstood by your own kind; but keep beating this drum. The Church [more than ever] needs this material.

I'm almost finished reading Alcohol Today ... and I think of it would be a great "stocking stuffer" for every serious minded Christian.

Your material on the Wedding at Cana ... is the best I've read!

David R. Brumbelow

Peter,
Thanks for letting us know about this. Your book will have eternal consequences for good.

Every parent, pastor, youth worker needs “Alcohol Today.” I agree with Ron, it makes a great Christmas gift.

The liquor forces are making their greatest advances since Prohibition. We can help stem the tide with wide distribution of this book.
David R. Brumbelow

peter

Ron & David,

Thank you brothers. Our Lord is gracious and kind.

I trust you both have a blessed Thanksgiving season...

With that, I am...
Peter

Timotheos Patterson

Hello Peter,

It's been quite some time since I last commented on your blog, though I often (if sometimes regretfully) visit your little plot of cyberspace :^). And my conscience is only slightly bothered by the fact that this rare comment arose from a mildly perturbed reaction to your humorously self-congratulatory, goad-of-a-post promoting your abstentionist screed (yes, I bought a copy...no, I haven't read all of it...yet). I know, I know, you're probably just taking the shortest path to increased blog traffic, and favored whipping boys are certain crowd-pleasers, but still...

Self-congratulations and anecdotal honors notwithstanding, and with genuine sympathy for the emotional, psychological hatred you have for the bitter, destructive fruit of drunkenness, it nevertheless seems likely to me that holders of the parochial view your book champions will end up (ironically, I think) where you hope those dratted Dortians end up - gnashing their teeth (as it were) out on the dark, but ultimately irrelevant, periphery of Christendom (or better yet, in some sort of protestant purgatory) - and for substantially the same reasons. Now wouldn't that be a disappointment? But then again, in the words of my often spot-on wife, I could be completely mistaken.

This is just my opinion, of course, and in view of the intractable positions that have been staked out, I'm not under any delusion that some sort of rapprochement is either possible or desirable over this issue, and so I realize further discussion would no doubt yield little new or helpful light. I'm just trying to do my part to bump up the traffic on SBC Tomorrow and liven up this comment stream. You can thank me later :^), though I may not comment again anytime soon (unless you parochialists threaten me bodily harm or threaten to revoke my salvation).

Timotheos

peter

Hi Timothy,

I must be honest and say, I do not recall our acquaintance. Even so, I appreciate your logging on.

May our Lord grace you and your Mrs.--indeed your entire family--with a blessed Thanksgiving season.

With that, I am...
Peter

Timotheos Patterson

Ha, that's just as well you don't remember me. In the days when Volfan007 and others were around, I posted as Timotheos, and we had many words over a variety of issues, not the least of which were issues pertaining to "beverage alcohol." Your memory no doubt functions more and more like mine in these latter years - less efficiently, heh heh. You enjoy your Thanksgiving as well, brother.

Timotheos

Wes Widner

Since we are into anecdotal evidence.

It was through the use of alcohol that I was able to witness to a man the other day. We were at an after-conference party which had an open bar. I had a beer early on in the night, which (and this was attested to later by one of the members of the group I wound up with) made me appear "normal". When I went back and got a 7-up (I'm not a champion of drinking beer) I received some flack from the group. Well when they went back again (thats 3 trips for 3 glasses of wine by the other 3 members of the group), I opted for another beer. And it was after that trip that one of the members of the group, a VP at Morgan Stanley, started talking with me about more weightier matters. First libertarian politics and then on to the existence of God (intelligent design) and then on to the nature of the deity (free will vs predestination, with him driving the conversation), and finally to the nature of Jesus. This man is an avowed Agnostic who considers David Hume's work to be "excellent". And I can confidently say that 1. he had never been witnessed to before in any effective capacity (his words) and 2. alcohol played a key rile in gaining the opportunity to speak with him for over 2 hours, 3000 miles from both of our homes (he's from Brooklyn, NY).

So while you are busy advocating a tee-total abstinence-only position. You might want to consider the impact that has on removing bright and God-fearing men from the spheres of influence they are needed in the most.

peter lumpkins

Wes,

Please return when you have something morally convincing to contribute.

Have a nice Thanksgiving.

With that, I am...
Peter

Tim Rogers

Wes,

What was the outcome of your conversation? Did the man accept Christ?, agree to further the dialog later?, or leave and never to be in contact with you again?

Blessings,

Tim

Tim Rogers

Wes,

One other thing. You say;

I had a beer early on in the night, which (and this was attested to later by one of the members of the group I wound up with) made me appear "normal".
What would you have done if these men would have contacted an escort service for a "lap dance"? You certainly would have appeared abnormal to them. Besides lap dances are not prohibited in scriptures. Even Jesus hung out with prostitutes.

Blessings,
Tim

selahV

Timotheos, I remember you well if you are the one who added much to my vocabulary list. don't like it when others spell your name wrong as I recall.

May I suggest your distaste for Peter's gratefulness to the LORD for the impact of his book, is sadly misguided. He wrote a book. He wrote a book he felt the Lord led him to write. From that book, the impact and results he left to the Lord. The Lord blessed the writing and all Peter did is report the impact and praise the Lord for what HE, The LORD has done. Don't really get your problem with that. Personally, I'm tickled pink to hear of the impact it has had on some lives. When I write devotionals, I am always grateful that the readers are encouraged, motivated, inspired, convicted, comforted, etc. When the Lord sends a person my way who voices such to me, I am ever so grateful. At times I want to shout for joy and share with the world what the Lord has done. It's because of statements like yours to Peter that many writers never let others know what God is doing with their works.

Glad the apostles didn't feel that way about their preaching and were led to tell us how when they preached the gospel of Christ that the Lord added to the church. They wanted us to know so much that they wrote an account of what happened. Amazing.

Hope things are well with you and your ministry is adding to the kingdom this day. selahV

Timotheos Patterson

Dear SelahV,

Your memory of me evidently serves you better than Peter's, at least on this occasion. I appreciate your kind suggestion to me. I have thought, and will continue to think, about its veracity. I would not want to be misguided (sadly or otherwise) in my thoughts and perceptions. If I am sadly misguided in my perception that Peter's post here is not a little self-serving, or if it seems to me a bit perturbing (if not humorous) that Peter would equate a few "amens" from the choir as, in fact, God pursuing His purposes - (and that in connection with what one drinks!), then perhaps I am simply a hopeless case...though it's conceivable I'm not as misguided as you suppose. Time has a way of telling.

As regards your other comments to me, I think it improbable that Peter would be dissuaded from "let[ing] others know what God is doing with [his] works" by such a lowly opinion as mine - that's clear enough from his blog. I tend to think simple self-awareness of what God actually does do with ones work would be satisfaction enough, apart from our own or other's public endorsements. Of course, you would expect such a pat statement from someone like me, who has never had the privilege of publishing a book. No doubt I would change my tune if I had a book out there fervently looking for some attention. :-)

And I can't for the life of me see how you might (as your last paragraph seems to indicate) equate Peter publishing his parochial convictions about drinking, with the apostle's preaching of the gospel of Christ. I have to confess, such an equation seems to me a bit, well...misguided (I hope you will forgive the re-use of your own word).

Peace,

Timotheos

Wes Widner

Peter,

The aim of my post was to provide ancendotal evidence. Which is exactly what you were doing above. I'm not sure what exactly you are expecting, though. All I wanted to do is point out that alcohol can aid in an effort to reach the lost.

Tim,

The conclusion of our conversation was that he wanted to know more, he had never heard anyone provide a reasoned defense of the faith before. My guess is because most people who are able to provide a defense of the faith don't travel in his circles and/or are not willing to go where he is at. As for the "did He convert?" question. Well no, but I reject the premise of that question at the outset. Evangelism takes years, but it has to begin somewhere. And if we project ourselves as legalistic prudes who are hell bent on projecting our legalistic views on others, it shouldn't surprise us that no one wants to talk with us and, moreover, people run from us if we aren't careful with our approach. For example, I never told this particular man I am a Christian, he figured that out on his own based on the content of our discussion.

As for your question regarding escort services and lap dances. You are mixing categories. Sexual sin (like lust) is not the same as the supposed sin of drinking beverage alcohol. However I would say that while I wouldn't participate in receiving a lapdance if they had ordered one. If they were willing and able to have a productive conversation while they were getting one, I would certainly have stuck around.

I simply don't see any reason to jettison opportunities for productive dialog simply because we don't like the circumstances in which those conversations may be held.

Further, if something like having a beer with an unbeliever helps break the ice and lower defenses, then I see absolutely no reason not to join them where they are at.

To me that just sounds like good fishing technique.

peter lumpkins

Wes,

Please.  Do you really think I was making an argument or offering a “case” which required the presence of “evidence”?  Get real man.  I was expressing gratitude to our Lord, not offering “ancendotal [sic] evidence” for your or others consideration, much less providing a forum for you to paste what you believe is a counter-point—“alcohol can aid in an effort to reach the lost.”  Yet I get back from a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family to see this crass nonsense posted. 

Now, as for your assertion that alcohol “can aid in an effort to reach the lost” yes, and so can a gun held to someone’s head forcing a hearing of the gospel.  While the person at gunpoint may not accept the gospel message then, he or she will at least know it so later it can genuinely be considered.  If he or she happens to genuinely consider the merits of the gospel, then it follows the gun to the head "aided" in an effort to reach the lost.

Hence, your example is not “ancendotal [sic] evidence” to demonstrate how “alcohol can aid in an effort to reach the lost” but “ancendotal [sic] evidence” of how morally lethargic one can become who attempts to rationalize sinful habits. Your point sounds strangely similar to Paul’s opponent as the Apostle queried, “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?”

Nor did Tim “mix categories” as you assert.  He simply pointed out a similar situation where supposedly there exists no explicit moral injunction in the Bible against it.  Rather you ignored his point. Tim wrote:

What would you have done if these men would have contacted an escort service for a "lap dance"? You certainly would have appeared abnormal to them. Besides lap dances are not prohibited in scriptures. Even Jesus hung out with prostitutes (embolden mine)

You said you “had a beer” which caused you to ‘appear "normal”’ and, later, due to “flack” from the group, you got yet another beer which presumably was the open door to evangelize, since “it was after that trip [for your second beer] that one… started talking with me about more weightier matters.” Tim’s point focused on “appearing abnormal” if one didn’t order a lap dance in the same sense as you contrarily appeared “normal” because you ordered a beer. You ignored his point, Wes.

Further, Tim's point was--similar to your assumption that recreational use of intoxicating beverages is not explicitly prohibited in Scripture--neither are lap dances. Nor is it a sufficient answer to accuse Tim of “mixing categories” because lust is tied up with sexual acts.  While it may be true that lust and sexual acts normally go together, so far as I know there are no texts which insist that sex and lust are intrinsically interconnected.

Hence, if one may drink without getting drunk, it’s at least possible for one to look without getting lustful.  Perhaps one could use the “moderationist” model--Look but don’t lust.

Or, similar to the imbiber's old standby--"one may use not abuse intoxicating beverage"--one could reason, one may use (for evangelistic purposes) lap dances but one may not abuse (for lustful purposes) lap dances. How does that sound?

Even so, why would a guy who is there to evangelize be lusting during lap dances anymore than a guy who is there to evangelize over a beer be drinking to get drunk?   He’s supposedly there to win the men to Christ; to offer a positive witness to the gospel—even if it takes years--is he not? Hence, your point lacks credibility, Wes.

What's more, you admit you'd stay with the other guys during their lap dances and witness to the gospel. How is sitting beside a guy having a lap dance any less tempting circumstances leading to lust than a dancer standing two feet over in front of you? How incredibly and morally more insipid a statement can be I'm left without answer .

Therefore, in your own words, Wes,

“I simply don't see any reason to jettison opportunities for productive dialog simply because we don't like the circumstances in which those conversations may be held. To me that just sounds like good fishing technique.”

The fact remains, Wes, virtually anything can be viewed as “opportunities for productive dialog” if we mold it just right.

Your explanation is a perfect example of why I said to return when you had something to contribute which was morally convincing.  I suggest you take a break from the bars and attempt to learn something substantial about moral reasoning.

With that, I am…

Peter

peter lumpkins

Timothy,

Yes I do remember you now. Of course! I trust you've been well. As for a self-serving post, you may be right. Sometimes we cannot understand our own hearts so well. Anyways, you are free to think as you wish.

I continue to be both amazed and gratified, as best as I consciously know how, that our Lord uses anything I do for His good purpose.

With that, I am...
Peter

Wes Widner

"The fact remains, Wes, virtually anything can be viewed as 'opportunities for productive dialog' if we mold it just right."

Peter, I think you sum it up quite well here.

Yes, I naively think that "virtually anything can be viewed as 'opportunities for productive dialog' if we mold it just right." I can't think of a reason why we should not think this way, especially when the eternal station of others is what is at stake.

As for my charge of your post being anecdotal. I think you miss where I simply do not accept the premise that alcohol is in any way inherently evil. So when you use stories like the furtherance of illogical (and arguably gospel-hindering) blue laws, I believe my anecdotal story of alcohol helping to lubricate a fruitful conversation fits and serves as a counter example of how alcohol can be used both responsibly and for the spread of the gospel.

Now the category shift here comes in when you conflate a sexual sin, which has much by way of Biblical support, with "the use of alcohol" which not only has no support from Scripture (for a tee-total position anyway) but actually has a lot of evidence to the contrary (that Jesus provided strong alcoholic drink at a wedding celebration after the guests should have been inebriated.

One thing I want to point out is that if you shun "the bars" (my story took place at a tech conference btw), it should not surprise you when you fail to reach people who hang out there. The man I spoke with has the means motivation and resources to avoid evangelical Christians. And until the other night he apparently successfully had for many years.

Now if whole groups of people are being passed over because of our legalism, shouldn't that concern us at least a little?

As I've said elsewhere. If the SBC doesn't abandon legalistic positions like tee-total alcohol abstinence, its slide into obsolesce will only accelerate.

peter lumpkins

Wes,

First, to “think this way” as you put it is sheer biblical nonsense, Wes.  When Scripture gives moral injunctions for acceptable behavior, then we have no moral authority to usurp such injunctions even when it comes to saving the lost.  After all is said, we are mere messengers who cannot ultimately affect the reception or rejection of the gospel.  Hence, to have a fill-in-the-blank approach as you appear to project makes little, if any biblical sense.

Second, apparently to you, everything must be about “premises” and “conclusions” and “evidence” and “reason.”  Fine. But I don’t and most people I know don’t think this way. Hence, I will say this one last time, so don’t bring it back up:  I’m telling you flat-out I was making no argument. None.  Nothing.  I was simply offering thanksgiving to our Lord. That’s all. So don’t bring back into this conversation anything else about my reflection, Wes.  I don’t give jack squat why you posted as you did.  What you’ve done is cheapen and exploit a heart-felt reflection I posted.  Don’t ever come back here again and do such.  Got it?

Third, to the contrary, nothing is “conflated” Wes, as I showed  in my comment above which you ignored the same as you ignored Tim’s point.  And until you actually study this question out I have little to discuss with you about the issue. The “evidence” you offer is predictable surface slush that comes from most who have not thought deeply about it. Your comical comment about John 2 demonstrates my point nicely.

Finally, I am not a moral legalist nor do I agree with moral legalism. But neither do I agree with moral libertarianism.

With that, I am…

Peter

P.S. I meant what I said Wes.  Don’t bring my thanksgiving reflection back into this exchange.  It will not be posted.

Timotheos

Well, Peter, I certainly can "amen" your observation about God using us. It is truly a wonder that any of us can be found usefully "employed" in His vineyard (as the parable goes). He is truly a gracious Husbandman.

Grace to you,
Timotheos

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