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Sep 18, 2014

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pam knight

Thanks for the article. Stay on them Peter.....Theo & I totally agree with you and we agree with the Bible on total abstinence
In Christ
Pam Knight

peter lumpkins

Thanks Pam. I intend to continue speaking out against what was a subtle move toward acceptance of the moderate consumption of intoxicating drink but has now shifted to a very vocal push toward dropping our institutional precedents of expecting our elected, appointed, and employed leadership to embrace total abstinence. Inserra's reported statement is telling: "Making alcohol abstinence a criteria for serving in leadership in the Convention is unacceptable."

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

Inserra's views on alcohol are common among lead pastors in the New Calvinist movement. While you and I believe that these "pastors" should not be taking a "lead" in this direction, they feel they must for their churches to be culturally relevant. If you are going to get 20s-40s back to church in the 21st century, they say the church must be open-minded about this issue and point to "gray areas in Scripture" to defend their position. If Southern Baptists don't stand on this we will fall for anything; we need to hold on to black and white as long as we can and not retreat to gray. In a nation which professes very few moral absolutes these days, the Church of the Living God should not be so open-minded that our spiritual brains fall out! This is not simply an old guy vs. young guy thing. The nightly news paints a picture of a rotting society - the church doesn't need to help it along.

Rightfully so, you point out that "pre-prohibition Calvinists were champions of total abstinence." The "Old" Calvinists within SBC ranks have long made this stand. Unfortunately, some of the old boys are now allowing wiggle room on this issue because they need growing numbers of young, restless and reformed "New" Calvinists to accomplish what they couldn't ... Calvinization of the Southern Baptist Convention.

There is no doubt in my mind that these folks have taken their "lead" from the Acts 29 movement and other New Calvinist networks. Tell-us-what-you-want-and-we-will-get-out-in-front-to-lead is not a good leadership model. The YRR are on a mission to change SBC parts they don't like (e.g., alcohol abstinence, sinner's prayer) while embracing the parts that meet their needs (e.g., church planting funds).

The YRR movement reminds me of the story of Rehoboam recorded in 1 Kings 12. A particular verse comes to mind right now: "But Rehoboam rejected the advice the elders gave him and consulted the young men who had grown up with him ..." I guarantee you that these folks will keep coming back until they get their way; they will rally sentiments and votes to assure that. It is not enough to note that former SBC leaders and SBC convention messengers have already made decisions and settled on resolutions pertaining to alcohol consumption ... period. Rehoboam's actions did not turn out well for Israel ... how will it turn out for SBC if such attitudes among our young leaders prevail?

Steven

Peter:

First let me say that I personally have a strict policy of abstinence. Furthermore, I think that it is wise for the denomination to have a policy of strict abstinence for its leaders. I think that alcohol consumption is a slippery slope both at the macro and micro levels. If a person needs alcohol to have a good time, or let down, or take the edge off a hard day, then what happens when things are really bad? How much is too much? Is "feeling it [the alcohol]" drinking to excess? I just don't know. At the macro level, as you point out, what about legalized marijuana? I just see too many practical reasons in support of both a personal and institutional policy in favor of abstinence.

That being said, I tend to agree with some of our more liberated brethren with regard to a strict Biblical prohibition: I just don't see alcohol consumption as expressly forbidden. I suspect you disagree with me on this point. If you are so willing, will you please share you Biblical bases for abstinence?

I am ready to be convinced and will be purchasing your book.

Best,

Steven

Mary

I think people like Inserra who is so proud of himself and what he considers his bold stand to go along with the current culture should also stand bravely and boldly proclaim their views on marijuana. Where is Acts 29's official words on marijuana use in those areas where it's been legalized. Alcohol is soooo yesterday.

peter lumpkins

Steven,

Thanks for your contribution. I think the difficulty lies particularly in what we demand the Scriptures to yield to us as we seek to be faithful in formulating a moral position on intoxicating substances (or on ethical positions in general for that matter). You're somewhat correct, Steven, when you say "I just don't see alcohol consumption as expressly forbidden." Granted. But like so many other ethical issues we might name, issues about which not only both of us would agree are morally suspect but also the overwhelming majority of SBs would cast their vote with us, there exists abundant biblical evidences which both reasonably imply and, in some cases, explicitly demand abstinence.

If I am correct--and I argue extensively in my book from both biblical exegesis and sound moral reasoning the case for abstinence from intoxicating substances for pleasurable purposes--then to suggest as is so common among those who're arguing against abstinence (not referring to you, Steven, since you openly concede you're among the unconvinced seeking to understand abstentionism) that alcohol consumption is just not expressly forbidden in the Bible, remains no real challenge to abstinence, at least no more challenging to Baptists than baptism being expressly commanded in Scriptures as baptism by immersion only for believing adults. After all, Presbyterians have classically argued, where in Scriptures is infant baptism expressly forbidden?

Hence, for my part, the objection to the absence of an explicit command--"you shall never take up an alcoholic beverage and consume it"--remains paper-thin morally and borders on reckless abandon of responsible interpretation exegetically. Even more, if intoxicating beverages are morally acceptable for pleasurable purposes among moderating adults, why are not un-beveraged intoxicating substances for pleasurable purposes not also morally acceptable amongst moderating adults (i.e. marijuana for example)? And, why just moderating adults? Where is the biblical prohibition against children moderately partaking of intoxicating substances? If moderation exists in Scripture as the guiding moral principle of consuming intoxicating substances as moderation advocates maintain, then surely children who could moderately consume alcohol would not be morally forbidden would they?

It's again a smooth sheet of moral veneer to retort, "Our legal age of consuming alcohol forbids minors from consuming. Therefore, since it's against the governmental authorities, it would be sinful (Rom.13)." If nothing else, time is running out for those who appeal to Rom.13 to solve that dilemma in the same way it's virtually run out for those who suggest marijuana is illegal.

So, Steven, if you're looking for the proverbial "thou shalt not" you may not find it--at least in the form moderationists insist.

With that, I am...
Peter

P.S. For those who think I may have been giving an advertisement for my book, drop me a line via email, Steven, and I'll send you a complimentary copy on me.

Max

Mary - Surprisingly, Driscoll (the former champion of Acts 29) does not appear to be a fan of marijuana use. In a Christian Post article after legalization of the drug in Washington State, he stated that "some things are neither illegal nor sinful, but they are unwise." http://www.christianpost.com/news/mark-driscoll-puff-or-pass-should-christians-smoke-pot-or-not-86225/

Interesting that he and Acts 29 don't have the same view about alcohol consumption given the steady stream of reports on the consequences of unwise alcohol use. Alcoholics always begin drinking in moderation. Unfortunately, some corners of the "church" are now setting that example for our children. I once overheard a conversation between the teenage son of a recovering alcoholic and an SBC-YRR church elder. The elder was defending his own alcohol use with the "no Scripture against it" argument, even though the young man's father had already used his life story to warn against it. In the absence of "thou shalt not" verses, perhaps church leaders should apply some common sense and preach "when in doubt, don't." But, how are you going to attract the Millennials to cool church with that kind of preaching?!

Mary

Max, I have a gimpy heart valve so I've frequently had opportunity to speak with cardiac specialists about the wisdom of drinking. The doctors have always been on the same page when I tell them "no I don't drink anything" (I've even had to give up caffeine) When I've asked about whether they ever advise patients who don't drink to drink wine in moderation since study's say blah blah ... their reply is often something like "we would never recommend that an alcoholic take that first drink and since there's no 'test' to tell us who the alcoholics will be we don't recommend those who are abstinent begin drinking for what is now disputed evidence of helping a heart" Alcoholics don't set out to be alcoholics.

My father was an alcoholic so I know first hand the effects of alcohol on families. Alcohol destroys lives. Mark Driscoll and Co do not get a pass on declaring marijuana somehow different from alcohol. It's not. Some "study's" show that marijuana is less dangerous and will be less damaging to society than alcohol. So if Driscoll now believes he can advise against marijuana then he must now admit he's been an idiot regarding alcohol. Of course we know Driscoll ain't about to change his attitude about anything. He may be learning to play a role, but he is still that same cussing, misogynistic, sex obsessed, pastor he's always been.

Steven

Peter:

Thanks for the offer but I'm not going to muzzle the ox when he treads out the grain (not that I am implying that you are an ox). I am going to gladly purchase the book and more gladly read the same. Thanks for the interaction here.

Best.

Steven

peter lumpkins

Thanks Steven. If you're into Kindle, it's only 2.99. a great savings over hard copy...

http://goo.gl/veyMqg

Lord bless...

Chris Gilliam

Steven, I appreciate your desire to learn more. I'll also recommend http://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Wine-Bible-Case-Abstinence/dp/0982656122/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_y . Peter knows this book too.

Peter, I was buried and missed this in my back yard. thanks for bring it to attention. I have been making it an issue of sanctification and spiritual growth and God convicts those whom are being saved out of the culture. I find interesting is that when I share the my abstinence position with some YRR, they mock. I then ask them if they are willing to do a deep historical and linguistic study on the issue and if either of us is convicted by the Holy spirit of need to change would they go with me. I get declined. Perhaps they are like Augustine when he said, " I want chastity but not yet."

Thanks for your diligence in the fight.

Mary

This link may be of interest. Within the body of this article is another link to an article at the Economist about the dangers of marijuana vs the dangers of alcohol. This site is an extreme left site so beware if you wander around reading other articles.

http://justsaynow.firedoglake.com/2014/09/18/young-people-know-marijuana-is-less-harmful-to-society-than-alcohol/

peter lumpkins

Thanks for the reminder, Chris. In fact, if one can only purchase one book on total abstinence, I suggest considering David's book over mine.

With that, I am...
Peter

Max

"Perhaps they are like Augustine when he said, " I want chastity but not yet.""

Chris, I had a discussion with an SBC-YRR church elder about using his favorite verse (Romans 8:1) to blur the boundaries of Christian liberty. In his ESV (the YRR sword of choice), that passage reads "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." I pointed out that my trusty old KJV presents that passage as "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." He looked back in his ESV and said "No, it's not there!" After walking him through the context of verse 1 in Romans 8:1-8 in his own ESV, he looked perplexed ... for that passage warns about walking in the flesh vs. the spirit. Verse 8 seemed to particularly hit him "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." But, he shook off my counsel choosing to adhere to his original interpretation of his "life verse" ... preferring to stretch Christian liberty to fit the desires of his flesh.

P.S. I am not a KJV-only guy. One can read most contemporary versions of the Bible, with the help of the Holy Spirit, and still get revelation ;^)

Max

Coming to a church near you? Calvinus beer: http://www.calvinus.ch/flash2/calvinus_site.html

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