« Ascol on Garrett on Calvinism in The Alabama Baptist, Pt. 2 | Main | John L. Dagg: An Interview: Final part »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Well very good and interesting post Peter,
But please let me posit perhaps a third alternative (uh ohhh sounds like something from "the Outer Limits")
1Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Could it possibly be BOTH a universal atonement (in some sense) and a particular redemption (in he specific sense that He purchased for Himself a people for His own possession Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people (a special people HCSB,a people for his own possession ESV λαὸν περιούσιον), zealous of good works.

Whilst the atonement is iniversal in its extent it is particular in its application (now I sound like a diplomat saying it the way both sides want to hear it).


Perhaps there is something to this idea of the Jewish context of salvation. Christ is indeed the savior of all men, in the sense of being rescued from danger, or delivered into great blessing. It took me quite awhile to realize that "Salvation" in the Bible is not always in an everlasting context. And I think that idea, obviously, is key here. Christ is especially the savior of those who believe, not only temporally in this life but eternally in the next.

Richard Coords

Galatians 4:4-5: "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that ***He might redeem those who were under the Law***, that we might receive the adoption as sons."

When Paul said, "those who were under the Law," who did he have in mind?


Guten Abend, Peter!

If I didn't think better of you, my brother, I would be sorely tempted to the conclusion that you have written this three part post solely for the purpose of attracting more bugs to your street light (or is that a bug-zapper? "Don't follow the lights!") (;^o

I confess to not a little puzzlement over your eclectic citations in part three particularly, where you seem (at least from my poor vantage point) to turn exegetical questions - e.g. nature, intent and object of the atonement, all of which deal explicitly with such solidly exegetical concerns as the meaning and employment of biblical words and phrases, not to mention the theology which arises from such concerns - into so much speculative philosophizing. An extraordinary turn, to be sure, Peter!

I like very much your indictment of Dr. Ascol, though I can hardly think him as guilty as you suppose here: "Yet, from what I understand Dr. Ascol to be saying, theology precedes—perhaps even precludes— exegesis." From what I understand you to be repeatedly saying in post 3, you may very well hold that exegesis not only should precede theology, but preclude it as well. Though you surely would not own such a statement (and I would not put it upon your lips), your post easily favors such a conclusion, and here's why.

It is common knowledge that exegesis precedes theology, but perhaps more importantly, exegesis also produces (biblical) theology, and theology in turn informs ongoing exegesis. The tired dictum, for example, that "all means all and that's all all means" subjects exegesis to a reductionistic principle foreign to the biblical data. You wouldn't fault an exegete for his refusal to employ such an unsound tactic, would you?

That you would find curious the practice of resisting such reductionistic impulses in the pursuit of sound exegesis is, well...curious :-). But then again, bug that I am, here I am, circling your street light...again.

It's almost...irresistible.





Thank you, Bro, for the contribution. If I may, allow me to note that, while I think it's a smashing thought to offer a "third way" as a viable route out of the possible false dichotomy in embracing *Either* Limited Atonement *Or* Unlimited Atonement, I think you will run into far too many hurdles, Grosey. For by attempting to use the same categories only in different ways, it may prove much too confusing.

You probably know this, but others have checked out this highway. Warfield allegedly advocated a sort of a "General Reconciliation" but a "Particular Redemption." He wrote: "There is no antinomy, therefore, in saying that Christ died for His people and that Christ died for the world." (quoted in Robert D. Culver, Systematic Theology: Biblical & Historical, p.578).

Further, W.G.T. Shedd, made a unique distinction between "Atonement" on the one hand and "Redemption" on the other: "Atonement must be distinguished from redemption. The latter includes the application of the atonement." (Ibid, p.581). Thus, Shedd could conclude that Atonement is Universal but Redemption is definite and limited.

I think it was Professor Robert Lightner who, in his book, The Death Christ Died, wrote something like "Christ died to make possible the salvation of all men and to make certain the salvation of some men." That sounds like you can preach that, Grosey. :^)

Grace. With that, I am...




Gosh, brother. It has been much too long since last we conversed. How is the bug's life these days? Ah, but, you, Timotheus, being, as you are, my favorite bug of all, should have heeded the warning about following the light. Heck, man, we are a little less than atheists here, if you get my drift :^)

Seriously, thank you for the worthy corrective you offer toward my post. I wish I possessed a worthy rejoinder. Unfortunately, I do not. About the only defense I can offer is that of a bug. So, from one bug to another:

First, the Athens Head-lock with which I wrestled Dr. Ascol to the ground had not much to do with the "nature" or "intent" or "object" of Christ's death per se as you appear to rehearse. Recall I specifically mentioned "objective" vs "subjective" and "potential" vs. "actual." These, Timotheos, are air-mailed straight from Athens...Box 202, Greek philosophy. Do you find in the NT these concerns? I don't.

Of course, that's not to say one cannot pursue them. As I noted in my post: I kinda like to drift off into philosophy once in a while. But I cannot go far. I can get lost really fast out there.

Plus, you'll also recall I was more intrigued and amused than anything, given we NonCalvinists are often bushwhacked, beaten, choked, robbed and left for dead because we "philosophize" so much rather than deal with the straight-forward text of Scripture.

Now, you'll be glad to know that perhaps I may have overstated my case somewhat about our Dr. Ascol. I wrote: "Yet, from what I understand Dr. Ascol to be saying, theology precedes—perhaps even precludes—exegesis."

This I wrote in response to his statement: "citing the "all" texts as if they prove a general atonement is this: for that case to be made, the nature of the atonement *must be altered*, usually away from an *objective reality* to a *potential one*.”(emphasis mine).

Hey...Wait just a doggone minute here. I take that completely back. Why, after reading him again, I think I was not even strong enough. No way I could have overstated that. No sir...Un-Un. I maybe even understated it a bit!

First, Timotheos, how many "All and All Men" statements do you think there are in Scripture? Let's suppose there's 10 verses, which I think you will agree is a conservative figure. Dr. Ascol, from this hermeneutical principle he's just stated, is willing to forfeit consideration of 10 verses--which even other Calvinists concede are potent enough to overthrow his reading of the atonement--because for that case to be made, the nature of the atonement *must be altered.* From this bug's side of the leaf, that's pretty dad-burn bold, if you ask me.

Even for good measure, Dr. Ascol pitches in Thomas Aquinas: "usually away from an *objective reality* to a *potential one* I guess we could giggle a little here, because the categories Dr. Ascol employs are sorta jumbled. He should have said from "objective reality" to "subjective reality" not to "potential one." But don't tell him. Let's just keep this one between you and me, O.K.

The real stinger is, Dr. Ascol's approach appears very much like a textbook example of "begging the question." First we told to go to the Scripture to ask the "nature", "intent" and "object" of the atonement, looking for its subjectivity or objectivity and determining if its results are actual or potential.

But then upon going to the Scripture, we're told that interpreting them a certain way will alter the nature of the atonement, usually away from an *objective reality* to a *potential one*. This very much resembles assuming what one is attempting to demonstrate or, begging the question. In this case, the assumed answer is objective reality, so one looks for those elements that "prove" such.

Give my love to Betsy, Lady and June. Tell Bed if he sees my antennae anytime soon, I'll kill him.

Grace. With that, I am...



Pete, in short, it'll preach for this bug!
Tim, watch out for the swatter... I think richard is taking aim!
If he gets me there'll be a mighty big splatter... (doc told me this bug better lighten up on the greens).

Joe Stewart

Unfortunately and perhaps illogically I tend to land down under with Grosey and what I understand of Spurgeon. Still the wind blows where it wills. . . Blessings

peter lumpkins


Thanks for dropping by, my brother. Please know I do not consider your view illogical at all and surely not unfortunate. Spurgeon is a bright light. And, our Grosey is one cool Calvinist to hang with.

Grace ever, Joe. With that, I am...



Peter - I wonder sometimes if Cals and Non alike, are not both more susceptible, at times, to our "theology begging exegesis" rather than the more generic "question begging" faux pas. I feel the weight of "theology begging exegesis" in some treatments of a passage like II Peter 2:1, for instance. Cal and Non examples could be cited almost ad infinitum (ok, lots) in this regard. But that is not to poo-poo the effort, nor underplay the necessity, nor invalidate the reality, that theology actually does beg exegesis, and it begs indiscriminately at any table where crumbs are to be found. Of course, here's where the humongous caveat needs to sound: if one's theological dog is prone to maiming, the exegetical bird isn't going to make it to the plate. (How's that for an analogy?) I think I've seen enough maiming on all sides to make me want to hunt, um...circumspectly.

So, "actual" and "potential" - if they are Athenian intruders - are not, I think, therefore invalid exegetical concerns, but are rather necessitated by - if nothing else - exegetical and theological swordfights such as you address in these posts. I cannot fault an exegete/theologian for wondering if propitiation, for example, is accomplished or yet to be; realized or needing application; an atoning reality or possibility. How one understands "propitiation" surely should affect how one then interprets a certain passage where propitiation is found, as well as one's treatment of many other passages linked together in one's theological web. So now we are all theological spiders! Ha!

Grosey - Richard always wields the flyswatter deftly, if not sometimes a bit heavily. I'm sure he must tire of the effort at times, as those darn "Reformunda Insecta" keep zzzz-ing back.

Grace to all,


Geoff Baggett

Peter ... completely off subject. Sorry. :)

But did you get my e-mail?

If not, send me a note so I can backtrack a message to you.



Joe, good to see you joining the team, :)
Its strange how we change dance partners as the music rolls on, but I would to challenege the hypothesis of both Tim and Peter, who have brought the concept of theology determining exegesis to the barn dance.
Could it be that as we age (and some of us so very gracefully) and as we exposit more passages of scripture in our preaching ministries that we are determining more possible ways that a passage could be exegeted, and possibly determining more than face value meanings to the notes and passages with which we have long grappled on this dance floor?
Could it possibly be that as we age we are less concerned with the partners we dance with and more concerned with the music of the dance?


Ohhhh man!!!!
peter i am gonna get a badge made up
"The COOOOL CALVINIST!" to wear to our convention.
I am prepared for martyrdom!


GROSEY, are you really coming to the convention? Yeah, I think you ought to have a badge that says you are one coooool Calvinist!


umm ours tomorrow SelahV,
where we have a univsera;ist as preacher , and 2 adulterers as workshop convenors.
You know, if you guys don't defend the resurgence, you can become like us too :(


Grosey: what a wonderful thing to look forward to. do you think you are living in the last days over there? selahV


Grosey: you do know I'm being facetious. I just want to make sure others knew it too. Lands alive, if not for the grace of God, you'd go wacko. Is that why you like to hang out with us? selahV


the older pastors are good evangelicals, but there are very few conservative evangelical churches left in our convention (our General sec, a conservative himself reckons about a dozen out of 360). We look pretty much like the BCUSA. We are mainly emergent.
that's why I think you guys must preserve the things that remain, stand for the Word of God, don't give in to the liberal push, and don't get in a sweat over reformed vs non reformed. There are bigger forces of anarchy on the move, and they are vicious.
And yes, i get thoroughly demoralised, and find encouragement in the sounder SBC blogs.
We have alcoholic pastors ( they bought the lie that drinking makes you culturally able to witness),
we have pastors who have demolished theor marriages and families with adultery, who if they say they are sorry are immediately reinstated. And woe to you if you say a word agin them!
We have pastors who have been involved in pyramid scams, who are promoted to denominational positions!
If a conservative appears before our ordination committees he hasn't got much chance of being ordained! But full Barthians and women pastors are immediately unquestioningly ordained because they are not conservatives.
A conservative guy was publicly defrocked for being too heavy handed in discipline when his teenaged daughters were sleeping around.
Folks what would u do?
You are my main sanity in a crazy world!



You stated, "...We have alcoholic pastors ( they bought the lie that drinking makes you culturally able to witness)...".

This comment causes me concern.

I have no way of knowing the specifics of the situation you are referring to except by your comments. And, if that is truly the reasoning these unnamed pastors use for consuming alcohol, then I believe their argumentation is flawed. However, I do not believe that consuming alcohol is inherently sinful, short of the exception of drunkenness of course. And though "alcoholic" can technically mean "containing or using alcohol" according to dictionary.com (definition #2), it can also mean "suffering from alcoholism" (definition #4). If you intend definition #4, then I am forced to disagree.

Do you believe it is sinful for pastors to drink alcohol? I used to believe the same, and studying the Scriptures for myself cured me of that. I saw it for it was, Baptist traditionalism, and one of the SBC pillars of faith it seems, which I reject.


Sorry Byron I missed your reply due to th next post.
No I mean complete medical alcoholism. One pastorlost wife kids marriage and it took 18 months for the church to be able to force his resignation (he had removed congregational government).
He was drunken most hours of every day.
Alcoholism in Australia is rampant 1/3 of Australians in 2002 drank to a dangerous level each week, and that has increased this year to 1/2.
Pastors retreats are notorious for drunkeness here, where 85% of pastors take away on a 3 day retreat more alcohol than the average worker will drink in the same period.
Our anti-CR took place about 12 years ago, and has left most churches desolate.
I guess whether its sex or grog, Satan likes Baptist pastors to go to excess. It always brings the gospel into disrepute.
Look, I sympathise with your understanding of 1 Tim 5.. have a little whine, but so far as practicalities are concerned for the sake of the gospel there are some things I will not do.
There are some liberties I will not exercise.
I won't do anything that may minismise the gospel's impact. I'll never drive a brand new car!.. It would affect my ability to communicate the gospel to the common man here. I will not drink, as it will hurt the gospel in this country.
Another pastor friend who had a good evangelistic ministry hosted Saturday night church with a keg. He too became an alcoholic. All his prior work was ruined when he danced naked at a plush restaurant in front of the civic leaders of the town.
It only takes one flash and you're gone!
Booze, over use of prescription drugs, and non prescription drugs,
road rage, too much levity, ...
there are so many things that can
in one foolish moment wipe out a ministry and a career. Why take the risk with any one fo these?


First, I agree with you with everything you said against drunkenness.

However, the consumption of alcohol and drunkenness are not synonymous. Some people cannot partake of alcoholic beverages without falling into drunkenness, so they should not consume. Some have moral objections to personally drinking alcohol, and that's fine. They do not have to drink, but they should not infringe on Christian liberty for others. Having said that, I wouldn't knowingly drink in front of one who might be sorely tempted, or in front of a brother or sister who felt strongly against it, if for example, we were eating together in a restaurant or they were visiting my house. However, I would probably attempt to persuade them, not to drink, but that consuming alcohol is not inherently a sin.

Of course, 1 Timothy 5:23 is important, as it describes the medicinal use of alcohol for a health ailment. But such is not relevant to the context of what I am talking about. And I just supposed it would be a given (I suppose I should not suppose such things as I usually suppose, I suppose). :)

What I am specifically talking about are such instances as are described in Scripture, such as at the wedding feast in John 2:1-11, especially verse 9. Here Christ Himself performs a miracle and creates the alcoholic beverage of wine out of water. Now, the Scriptures do not indicate that Christ personally drank of such, but it explicitly states that the "master of the feast" (ESV) did, and implies that more people did. If drinking alcohol is inherently sinful, then Christ deliberately provided an avenue of sin to the people at the feast. Also, of course, there was alcoholic wine there before Christ's miracle, so what would He be doing there if drinking such was sinful?

I think I understand you correctly to indicate that drinking alcohol is a liberty and not a sin. Is this right? And, I wholeheartedly agree with the idea that you should follow the dictates of your conscience on this matter.

Romans 14:21-23 (ESV)
21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.
22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves.
23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

I'm not sure why you mention the idea of "risk."

I've heard people use the argument that goes something like this, "you should not risk becoming a drunk by consuming alcohol." In your words, you mention prescription drugs as well. Should I not take any prescription drugs, because I risk a "dependency" or "addiction" or "accidental overdose"? Should I not drive a car because I risk crashing? Should I not even get out of bed in the morning, because I risk injury or death? I'm being purposely silly to make a point: that line of reasoning is not valid.

I am good friends with a man who in his own words stated he was a drunk in his pre-conversion days. After God saved him, he's never (to my knowledge) had a problem with drunkenness. Yet he does not practice abstinence from alcohol either. We have the Spirit of God in us and the power to resist sin. Yes, there is some "risk" but there is both liberty in Christ and power to remain faithful and obedient.

You mentioned you would never take the liberty of owning a brand new car, as you state it would affect the ability to communicate the gospel to the common man where you are. That's very commendable, I think, and noble. But there's no Scriptural mandate to do so, and I don't believe all Christians should necessarily follow that restriction. But I believe the Holy Spirit can impress upon our hearts the specific will of God in our private lives concerning these matters. Of course, the Holy Spirit should be obeyed, and He doesn't discipline all believers in the same way. So it seems to me that you are following what the Holy Spirit has led you to do in your private life, and that's good.

But please understand where I'm coming from. I don't see a Scriptural exclusion for the consumption of alcohol. At the same time I don't see a requirement to drink, or even a recommendation (with the exception of 1 Tim. 5:23 of course). I see it as a Christian liberty.


yes Byron, as you grow older and discover the number of men who have made shipwreck of their lives and ministry through a lack of self control, in areas requiring self control, I guess you too will come to a total abstinence position (although I hope its not because of personal shipwreck or personal emabrrassment).
I hesitate to say that some who were most active within the reformed camp have been some who have so embarrassed me by their behaviour that I cringe here to be called "reformed".


We should strive to hold positions based on the Scriptures, not experience or tradition.


Grosey and Byroniac,

Proverbs 31:4-5 address this issue as related to kings. To me, I do not think that it would be a stretch to apply such to the office of pastor. Should we require more of kings than pastors? But the whole idea is that it leads to wholesale destruction just as has been portrayed here in ya'lls discussion.

What say ye?


That's a good Scripture, Luke, and I had forgotten about it. However, the simplest and most direct analogy would be between historic kings and present-day national rulers (such as our national President). It would be hard to make that link to modern-day pastors, I think. Of course, in the typical SBC ecclesiological structure, you often have a pastor functioning as "prophet, priest, and king" as it were. Still, I think that's too much of a stretch. (Standard disclaimer applies: I'm not a pastor or a "king" of any sort, so it doesn't apply to me, currently).

Proverbs 31:4-5 (ESV) states, "4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted."

The way I read that is, that it is not proper for the governmental head of authority over a nation to partake of any alcohol (being ruler of a country could require around-the-clock sobriety so that you are always in a capable frame of mind for commanding armies to defend your country against invaders, etc). It is also not fitting for rulers (underneath the "king") to partake of strong alcoholic drinks, because they might very well lose clarity of mind and soundness of judgment and forget (accidentally or deliberately) to uphold the laws imposed by the sovereign of the land. Perhaps I'm off on that, I'm not sure, but that's my interpretation. And certainly whatever Scripture says must be obeyed.

Just out of curiosity, what would you do with verses 6 and 7, which state, "6 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; 7 let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more."?


Apologies to you for going WAAAAAY off-topic on this thread, but this conversation is interesting to me. If you prefer, we'll move this to my blog and continue the conversation (though I sense we are probably finished or close to it). My blog certainly could stand the attention. ;)


I was hoping you'd overlook those but since we both know they are there now, I'll attempt a practical application.

The first is easy. To the one who is ready to perish, give strong drink. I see this the same as administering pain killers like morphine not to hasten death, but to provide physical relief from the death. They didn't have demerol or morphine as far as I know but they did use NyQuil(strong drink).

As pertaining to those that are in extreme bitterness/misery over their present condition, I believe, because of the word "GIVE"(bold mine) that here again, it was seen as medicinal in usage. The drink then was used to give temporary relief in a bad situation. This would probably be akin to giving a sedative to a person who has experienced trauma in order to give them a break from reality. This would not be an ongoing, everyday for the rest of your life deal though. Just to get you through the toughest spot.

I do see the word "give" though in a restrictive sense. It would indicate to me that others would be near during this time to protect the "inebriated" from themselves and from being abused by others.

How say ye?


Oh yeah, from my original comment to your response. While I readily agree that king to pastor is a leap, I think the case you presented could just as well be for anyone in authority. For those in authority, faculties of mind are necessary and sense strong drink would hinder wise thinking, it would be best for such in authority to refrain from strong drink. Pastors, whether by tradition or necessity do stand ready, at least most I know, to come to the aid of their congregants at moments notice thus requiring them to be in every sense, in complete mental preparedness. Thus, one who had been imbibing, while "feeling" no affects, may thus become incapable of the most sound thinking.

I appreciate the interaction here.


Luke, stop making sense. Please. You're forcing me to agree with you, and I hate it when you do that. :)

Let me just claim the "doesn't apply to me personally" exception to Proverbs 31 and move on.

I also want to add, that drinking alcohol does not necessarily lead to calamity in and of itself. Eating doesn't force gluttony. Handling money doesn't assure thievery. Puberty does not have to lead to fornication. Marriage doesn't have to end in adultery. And so on, and so forth. Do you see my point?



ABSOLUTELY!!! ROFL. It just struck me funny. I'm sorry. I was laughin' so hard I was cryin'. I'll try to be more disagreeable on some other issue.:)

I truly wish you a grace filled evening. I'm presently off to visit the dying.


Well, pardon me gentlemen I would like to barge in here to this interesting discussion. First let me say that you Grosey and Bryroniac do your reformed brethren proud with your spirit and willingness to "listen" and dialogue with those of us who think differently than you.

Now to alcohol. When working with youth and trying to consul them about what types of music, TV, and literature to put into their minds they would often come up with "There's absolutely nothing wrong with this book, that TV show or this band even though they're not Christian." our response would be "Yeah, but what's right about it." Being a Christian isn't always about getting away with the absolute most we can get away with and still be on the right of the sin line, but striving to honor God and glorify Him by our lives.

Now as the daughter of an alcoholic I admit that I may be somewhat biased in this matter, but I can't see why anyone would think their liberty to drink is much more important and worth risking their Christian witness or worth offending Christian brothers and sisters. Being genetically disposed to addiction I abosolutely cringe at those who think having Christ means that it's easy to not fall into traps such as alcoholism. Sorry, but to me this shows a certain naivte and lack of compassion for the many Christians who struggle every single day fighting addictions. I can tell you I would not be a member of a church that treats alcohol as a liberty. My children get the addiction gene from me I'm afraid and I'm not willing to risk them for someone else's liberty and trust "If they only have enough faith they can play with the fire which is alcohol and not get burned." No one actually intends to become an alcoholic do they? I'm teaching my children to be of this world but not in it. Hope I'm not coming across offensively to anybody because I certainly don't mean to. Just some my thoughts.


Good comments there Mary,
I had a similar talk with my daughters a few years back when they were served alcohol at a family reunion.
I reminded them of their grandmothers (one a schizophrenic and one an alcoholic) Iasked them which one they would like to turn out like, given the genetic predispositions that travel from father to son, mother to daughter.
they wisely said,
and put it all away!

Byron, living with the misery that is alcoholism on a daily basis,
makes you ask why anyone would start on that road in the first place.
Bye the bye.. the reason for not doing a Biblical presentation on the matter from my perspective is that the scriptural concerns are pretty obvious to anyone giving a fair reading to scripture.
Luke you did a great job on the Proverbs passage!
As CB Scott said, its just dumb to drink. As Bill Newman said "Just stop it!"



I'm sorry, but Scripture in my reading simply does not make the absolute prohibition that you are insisting upon.

I'll be the first (well, too late for that I realize, but for the sake of getting to use the phrase, I'll say it) to admit that abstinence is the safest position. If you are trying to convince me of that, then you are preaching to the choir. And I can accept both the "abstinence from alcohol is the safest position" and "I choose personally not to drink." Both are fine by me. It's when people start saying, because this is not right for me, therefore it is not right for anyone, or, no one should have liberty in this area, that I am forced to disagree. Then a solid Scriptural argument becomes necessary, which, with all due respect, both Steve and Mary and failed to supply.

Arguing on the basis of experience and tradition will not convince me. I have experience and tradition that will counter yours, and in a world of moral relativism, I have as much right (according to the world) to have my opinion as you do yours. Ultimately, only Scripture matters. And it amazes me that on some issues, what should be the Baptist's first resort is often the last, if at all, most often taking a back seat to experience and tradition.


I meant to say at the end of the second paragraph, "have failed to supply." Oh well. To Err is human, but computers certainly help!


Well Byroniac, as a Christian who does not use the Bible as a last resort for anything but tries diligently to filter every single thing in my life through the Word I don't think I'm too far off teaching my children and any other children who come under my influence - Alcohol destroys lives, no debate left about that fact, therefore something that has caused so much harm, pain, and suffering is not something that's good for any Christian. If I'm wrong then I'm only accountable to God and I think on this issue, better to error on the side of caution.


Pro 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Sorry mate.. I guess all we are saying is summarised by Solomon's words.. sometimes these words become so much a aprt of life, we just think that every one gets on board.
And yes, there is the brilliant material by Vines et al, but frankly, when all the arguing is done (and has been done for many months now on the issue aroudn the blogs) all that's left to say is : Drinking booze is dumb!
Oh, maybe I should say "what Solomon said."


OK. Hopefully these will be my last comments on this.

Mary, you said, "...better to error on the side of caution." I simply can't argue with you there. Of course, I disagree with most of the rest of your post, but I'll try to do so as agreeably as I can. :)

Steve: I was wondering when you were going to whip that out and slap me upside the head with that. Thanks! (I think.) I needed it. I must pay attention to the WHOLE of Scripture (but even there, I do not believe the context requires total abstinence from alcohol, but indeed from drunkenness or any kind of improper consumption. The real warning here is to the nature of alcohol's effect on the person who consumes too much. And it reads metaphorically, speaking truth in poetic form.) But in this spirit (no pun intended), here's another:

Psalm 104:15 and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man's heart.

I've read Dr. Vines piece. I'm sure he speaks for many, many Baptists in the SBC, and I'm sure many people greatly admire and respect him. I do not. But that is only because I do not know him from Adam (which is to my personal loss, I believe, as I probably would greatly benefit to know him). With all due respect to him, after reading his piece I remain unconvinced and not very impressed with his argument, and for many of the same reasons I've expressed here.

But for now I'm giving up. I'm throwing in the towel. I will freely admit I'd rather see my brothers and sisters in the Lord never so much as touch a drop of alcohol their entire lives than to become drunk even a single time, in which is much sin and disgrace. I believe we can heartily amen to that, at the very least.

Blessings and Grace to all.


Thanks Byron for your kind gracious and humerous and even at times containing pathos replies :)
its great talking with you, and though we may differ, its probably not on much.
Viens and Adrian rogers would be the summa supremo of preachers world wide this last half century.
Well worth getting their tapes etc.


Brother Grosey,

You said, "Drinking booze is dumb!" I wonder in my wondering if your assertion is a variation on a theme sounded many, many years ago: "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified by her children."

So here's the semi tongue-in-cheek question, my brother - "Was Jesus doing something dumb?" I am confident you (and I!) would heartily answer in the negative...which is just to say, that perhaps we ought not to think (or speak) "beyond what is written..."

Now I have a smile on my face (do you see it?), with no intention of re-igniting past and lengthy blog firestorms, nor advocating for this view or that. I thought your unqualified assertion might benefit from a bit of "incarnational wisdom."

Grace and peace,

Timotheos (receding back into the cyber-shadows...)


Now there is an interesting question. Was Jesus a wine bibber?
That was the charge by the Pharisees, but was it a valid charge?
Do you make the same charge against the Lord of Glory that the Pharisees made, O Timo,
that He was a drunk?
I hope you too feel that that charge was a false charge meant to make Him look as bad as say Paige Patterson is made to look these days.
Was He a user or strong drink?
Well John the Baptist certainly was not: Luke1:15.. who drank "neither wine (I guess it was non or very low alcoholic due to the next words)nor STRONG DRINK."
It would appear likely that the Lord was of the same Nazarite vows as John (perhaps why He was called a Nazarene.. Matt 2:23, a town probably named for the group). Hence His bearded depictions in art.


Hey Grosey,

It surely is safe to say Jesus was neither a winebibber nor a drunk. The point, I think, of Jesus' rebuke was that he - unlike John - did, in fact, come "eating and drinking," and the context makes clear what Jesus was drinking, not merely what He was accused of drinking.

My point (which I stress again was not made antagonistically), was simply that Jesus actually did something that you declared in your comment to be "dumb." Although I am not completely unsympathetic to your assertion, I think it over-reached God's own view of the issue.

Sometimes in discussions of this kind, we can end up saying things that God Himself has neither said nor endorsed. I don't want to teach less than God desires, but neither do I want to teach more. Both excesses give an inaccurate portrait of Yahweh, which, of course, He does not view disinterestedly.

Grace to you,



"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

Phil 4:4

"Everything is permissible for me - but not everything is beneficial" - but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me" but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Cor 6:12

What is pure and noble about alcohol? What is the benefit exactly? Is the benefit "I want to do it and I can!" Again it's not about what's wrong with alcohol, what exactly is right about it?

Is the right to drink aclcohol so important that it's worth the risk of influencing a fellow Christian that "The Bible only says don't get drunk and if you have enough faith to exercise self control that's not a problem." to influence a person who is physiologically prone to addiction to go down the path of alcoholism because hey "we had liberty in Christ the Bible didn't actually say don't drink."

Argue Bible verses til the cows come home there's no getting round the fact that alcohol destroys lives and the whole Bible is an apologetic for staying away from that which Satan uses to destroy lives. 'Stay away from that which is unclean' 'Let not there be a hint of iniquity'


Mary! Amen and amen, girl! Luke posted a Truth or Consequences post today at http://notindarkness.blogspot.com that could very well be applied here. I'm with the sobriety of society. The only reason it's legal is so we can tax it. selahV


Well, brethren, because much, much ink has already been "spilt" over the so-called "beverage use of alcohol" and Christian freedom/bondage with regard to same, and because this post was originally aimed in another direction, I will refrain from any further comments, save this final (for my part) one: it is, I think, a very sad and dangerous posture for anyone to assume which, even in the remotest sense, understands: 1. Jesus to ever have acted dumbly; 2. Jesus to have ever behaved in an "unclean" manner; or 3. Jesus to have somehow behaved in a way "hinting of iniquity."

No one that I know of on this blog would overtly countenance such a posture, and yet, Jesus "coming eating and drinking" as the gospels record His behavior, has been indirectly characterized in precisely these three ways in this comment section...and all because our perspective on one particular issue is more shaped by cultural sensibilities and anecdotes than the actual biblical record. Amazing...

And lest you be tempted to remind me of select portions of the biblical record on this topic, don't worry - I am fully aware of, and completely embrace, all the warnings and wisdom given by God concerning the "fruit of the vine."

Nevertheless, I think we would do well to give pause, lest the same indictment leveled against Job's friends for misrepresenting the character of Yahweh be found alive and well here. No doubt I will be excoriated for such words as these, but my only real motive is faithfulness to all that God has actually said and done - no more, no less.

Finis, wishing grace,



Tim, while it says that Jesus came drinking..
1. what %age alcohol was he talking of? where does scripture indicate that it was = to lite ale? or strong ale?
2. yes it is dumb to be drunk. In any counry it is dumb to be drunk.
3. You are stating rather vehemently that I am a heretic for saying that maybe Jesus didn't drink in the same way you like, and have given evidence that possibly you are making more of the alcohol content of the drinks He drank than I am. I am happy to say that yes there was probably an alcohol content to the drinks, but I certainly don't think it was any way similar to the level that you are able to buy today.
I think it is not useful to just think that the statements about Jesus eating and drinking can just be automatically brought into our cultural situation without scrutiny. We cannot retranslate John 2 into "Jesus turned the water into beer!"
Hence, I am for being exact in translation and contextualisation.
Many thanks for your severe reproof.



The last thing I think is that you (or anyone else here) are/is a heretic. Though my words could surely be heard as harsh, please don't hear that opinion - I don't think it at all. And though many other observations/disagreements pop up in your mind (and comment!) which I was not really addressing, I want to say again that the only point I was making was this: whatever the percentages and quantities, whatever the cultural sensibilities of the day, however the wine was prepared and served, etc., etc., the fact remains that Jesus drank wine of some sort, on at least one occasion during His life time - and that was neither dumb, unclean nor iniquitous.

If the Lord of Glory, the Son of God and the Righteous One, saw fit during His earthly life and ministry to let wine - in some form and fashion - pass His lips, it seems to me an overstatement for men - implicitly or otherwise - to condemn such. I simply thought that Jesus' rebuke in Matthew 11:16-19 addressed such an overstatement.

Whether Jesus drank "in the same way I like" (whatever that is) or whether it was .008% verses 150 proof is completely beside the point. I am not arguing that Jesus approves of drunkenness (obviously), nor am I arguing that we should drink because He did. I am merely pointing out what the biblical witness states, and reminding us that regardless of the wicked excesses of our culture, what Jesus did was always perfectly righteous - including what He drank.

Grace and peace,


The comments to this entry are closed.