Today, SBC Tomorrow welcomes Texas pastor, David Brumbelow as guest contributor. His article entitled "Acts 29, Alcohol, and the Southern Baptist Convention was first published on his site and posted at SBC Tomorrow by permission.. Thanks to Pastor Brumbelow for allowing us to post his timely article >>>
SBC Tomorrow welcomes David Brumbelow as guest contributor*
Acts 29 keeps coming up in discussions of the SBC, alcohol, and Calvinism. As a general rule, it seems that those who favor social drinking and ending Southern Baptist’s long standing opposition to beverage alcohol are those who are connected with Calvinism, the Acts 29 organization, or both. Let me also add that many Calvinists believe the Bible teaches abstinence from alcohol. I assume there are also those in Acts 29 who believe the same. I pray many more will come to this conviction.
In case you missed it, four years ago Baptist Press had a fascinating article about this issue. A controversy developed among Missouri Baptists over The Journey Church that was apparently promoting beverage alcohol consumption and had a part of the church meeting at a brewery. Many a church has started in a bar, but with the alcohol bar closed during the service. This brewery, however, was serving beer to participants during the Bible Study. The Journey was a part of the SBC, Acts 29, and Missouri Baptists.1
A few quotes from the BP article are...
Last December, The Journey’s website included an invitation to “grab a brew, share your view” when attending the Theology at the Bottleworks meeting. A picture of people raising glasses of beer in an apparent toast appeared adjacent to an essay by [Pastor Darrin] Patrick on the church’s website. Patrick attributed the content to a secular website design company hired by the church. He told Baptist Press he had the alcohol-related verbiage and picture removed as soon as they came to his attention because “it does not reflect the values of our church.”
Still, the church’s unconventional means of reaching the lost might be shaping its internal culture as much as the church is shaping others. The bio of The Journey’s mission pastor, Jonathan MacIntosh, mentions that he enjoys drinks with his wife “at the almost secret bar beneath Brennan's in the Central West End.”
Patrick, who is vice president of Acts 29, an association of emergent churches, conceded that as a group, Acts 29 holds a “much more liberal view” of alcohol use than The Journey.
Some website material seems to support his conclusion.
The pastor of an Acts 29 church in San Diego (non-SBC), for example, claims on the Internet: “Beer is one of our core values. We enjoy it and like to drink it.” Although the statement appears meant for humor, it seems to show a casualness of attitude about alcohol consumption.
Another Acts 29 church (also non-SBC) -- the Seattle-area Damascus Road Church -- sponsors a men’s poker night for which gamblers are encouraged to bring beer. The website also states: “There is just something about having food on your plate and a drink in your hand that makes fellowship that much easier. Whether the food is healthy or fattening, or the drink is coffee or beer, we desire to follow Christ's example.”
The alcohol issue goes straight to the top at Acts 29, whose president, Mark Driscoll -- who is pastor of the Seattle-area Mars Hill Church -- wrote in his book, “Radical Reformission,” that abstinence from alcohol is a sin. In a chapter titled “The Sin of Light Beer,” Driscoll explains that he came to this conclusion while preparing a sermon on the Lord’s miracle at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine.2
According to information published on the church’s website, Mars Hill sponsored a New Year’s Eve party that included a champagne bar. Mars Hill’s website also advertises “beer-brewing lessons ... whenever a large group of (Mars Hill) men get together.”
Driscoll is controversial also for once having the reputation of the “cussing pastor.” However, as he recounted on his blog, he finally listened to a friend who helped him realize he was becoming known for “good theology, a bad temper, and a foul mouth,” and he repented, starting with a public apology. -bpnews.net
Read the entire Baptist Press article at the following link:
Alcohol, Acts 29 and the SBC
1For example, Charles H. Spurgeon was a Calvinist who was very opposed to alcohol. See Gulf Coast Pastor article on Spurgeon and Alcohol
2 For a clear answer on Jesus turning water to wine see the book, Alcohol Today by Peter Lumpkins, Hannibal Books. Available at your local bookstore or amazon.com
**For 19 years, David Brumbelow has served as pastor of the Northside Baptist Church in Highlands, Texas, a Gulf coastal city located on the banks of the San Jacinto River. He is a graduate of The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div) and author of The Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow (Hannibal, 2005). In addition, Pastor David has a new book due in Fall, 2011 entitled Ancient Wine and the Bible.