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2008.05.26

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Dave Miller

Jason, I find it telling about traditionalism in the SBC, that I can confess to several sins CLEARLY delineated as sins in scripture, and keep my job. I can confess gossip, lust, pride, greed materialism, even idolatry of the heart and not miss a paycheck. Of course, gluttony is another (from our conversations, David W may be the only person in blogdom bigger than me).

But there are activities that are NOT spelled out in scripture as sinful, that would immediately cost me my job (buying a lottery ticket or drinking a glass of wine).

Again, I do not do either, and don't want to, but it does say something interesting to me about our traditionalism as a denomination.

Dave Miller

Peter,

Having read at your anti-alcohol series, I remain of the opinion that alcohol use in moderation is not a sin and that only strained exegesis based in tradition and not on the clear teachings of scripture can make it so.

Jim Champion

Lets also not forget that cost of dialysis - after you get diabetes from being overweight is about $250,000 per year. This cost causes all of our medical insurance rates to rise (no complaining about the cost of SBC medical insurance if you are diabetic :) ), and is one of the leading costs of medicare insurance coverage. Medical costs related to being overweight ( diabetes and heart related alilments) are even greater than ailments directly related to drinking.

David, I know you like to make fun of your size, but for your families sake I would cut out those double and triple cheeseburgers. Grab a low fat meal at Subway and take a nice long walk, 3-4 miles every day.

Jim

Byron

I am not a prophet, but I am going to make a prediction.

I believe that most people here if not all will leave this alcohol series with their original opinions intact. So far that has been the case with me. I'm still not convinced that the non-abstentionist (non-drunkenness) position is the most biblically accurate one. My question is, if we didn't have the historical references to cultural antiquity and social mores, but we did have an accurately translated Bible (we do) to study, would we still come to the same conclusions? I think not. The strongest arguments I've read so far (not only here, mind you) have started with the Bible and ultimately left that, pausing to take a merry trip down memory and sniff the flowers of tradition in the fields of history. I'm not saying there's no merit to the abstentionist argument. Perhaps there is, and there is a lot of respect and admiration due for the scholarly work involved in defending it. Forgive me, I'm just not convinced yet.

David (W), may I seriously encourage you to consider a lifestyle change. I doubt you have become as overweight as I have, which has forced a lifestyle change for the purpose of mere survival. But I still encourage you to consider Nutrisystem (what I'm doing) or Weight Watchers, because obesity does have long-term deleterious effects. Your comments have shown me my own previous mindset: consume whatever you want, simply because you enjoy it, and everything so far is fine, so why stop a good thing? Brother, this is not a healthy mindset!

Byron

Oops. I meant to say, I'm still convinced that the non-abstentionist (non-drunkenness) position is the most biblically accurate.

Chris

Byron,

You might be right. I wonder however, what you would say to those in Romania, who have a great translation and on occasion use fermented wine (it is all they can get at the time) for communion, but forbid it's use for pleasurable purposes. Where did they get their ideas? (FYI- The Christians trace their Christian heritage to the apostle Andrew.) I only ask, because much of the rhetorical argument against tradition lies in the hands of moderationist. Could it be that it is the moderationist who are truly addicted to tradition?
Chris

Byron

Chris, you are right in that some moderationists do rely upon tradition for their main argument. As for Romanians, I do not know and I do not live there. Perhaps someone should go there and ask them? Until then, we will have to be content with the same reference book they have, the Bible. And who knows, but perhaps one of them could come here and have his or her Scriptural interpretation corrected? ;)

However, you do raise a good point. Both sides tend to lean heavily on tradition, while accusing the other side of that guilt. I admire Peter, though I disagree with him, for keeping the proper focus on the Scriptures themselves.

Byron

BTW, Chris, technically the Romanians HAVE arrived at a different conclusion than the SBC, according to your words. I find that significant. But I'm not sure what to make of it.

R. L. Vaughn

Peter, over on Nathan Finn's 'Fullness of Time' blog you posted the following ethical syllogism:

"If it can be shown that, Biblically speaking, it is a perfectly moral, acceptable practice to both advocate and use, even in a moderate sense, alcoholic beverages specifically for recreational, pleasure-filled purposes, and alcoholic beverages being the mind-altering drugs they are, it necessarily follows that it is also a perfectly moral, acceptable practice to both advocate and use, at least in a moderate sense, other mind-altering drugs specifically for recreational, pleasure-filled purposes."

Since Nathan closed his comments and went on vacation, I hope it is OK to bring it up here. You mention using alcoholic beverages for "recreational, pleasure-filled purposes." How would you define "recreational, pleasure-filled purposes?" For example, would one glass of tea or one glass of wine consumed with a meal be a recreational, pleasure-filled purpose?

My thinking is that the ethical syllogism may be comparing apples with a fruit that is very similar to apples (or perhaps two different kinds of apples). For example, it seems that a glass of wine could be taken with a meal for no more particularly "recreational" purpose than a glass of water or tea or milk is -- that is, quenching thirst, washing down the solid food, etc. On the other hand, while some other mind-altering drugs might have a medicinal purpose, there seems to be no "in-between" use as noted above for wine. If so, it seems like the parallel in your syllogism is not complete or exact.

I hope I have explained this in a clear manner. What are your thoughts on this possible "in-between" use of a drink substance such as wine that would be lacking among the reasons for using mind-altering drugs? Thanks.

peter lumpkins

RL,

Thanks for mentioning the syllogism. Actually, you're not dealing with the syllogism as it is, RL, but trying to substitute a comparison when there is no comparison in the syllogism. It's not an analogy.

It's the drug in the wine, RL, not the wine per se. How moderationists continue to miss that slips right by me. In addition, why one who insists on advocating wine, does not advocate drug-less wine is telling. For them, it seems to suggest that consuming wine is not the principle for which they contend; rather, it is consuming alcohol.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter


R. L. Vaughn

Peter, thanks for the comments. You say I'm not dealing with the syllogism as it is, and I suppose that is a correct assessment. It seems to me the syllogism is faulty or incomplete. Before we go any further, let me direct you back to a question that it is kind of buried in the middle of my post. How would you define "recreational, pleasure-filled purposes?" Thanks.

Jim Champion

David

What would be your guess as the to average cost of dialysis - one of the many results of type II diabetes. Secondly - assuming you are on the annuity boards health care plan - who do you think pays that cost. The answer to the first question is #250,000 per year, the answer to the second is each and every participant in the health care plan. The SBC I'm pretty sure self insures thier health care plan, but even if they dont I will give you a simple equation that insurance companies use to set the cost of premium. Premium equals claims plus administration.

The average cost of health care on overweight folks due to diabetes, heart issues etc far outstips the cost on the occassional jogger who has a heart attack.

for the sake of your family I would encourage you to drop the double cheesburgers, grab a low fat meal at subway and start walking 3-4 miles a day - at least six days a week.

Can you imagine what would happen to the cost of SBC sponsored health care if we were able to get our pastors and other staff members in shape. The old 80/20 rule not only works on who works in the church, or who gives - but also on health care. IN fact it is more like 10% of our population is responsible for 90% of the claims - and a large percentage of them are lifestyle related

Tim B

Jason,

I can only find the word "glutton" used four time in the bible. I am sure that there are a few other references to overeating in the proverbs. That stands in contrast to 57 times that the words drunk, drunkard, and drunkenness are used. So in comparision, I do not think it a reach that biblically the Lord's greater emphasis between the two is on drunkenness.
My point above is that while both are sins most folks who have lived through the hell of having an alcoholic in the home would much rather live with a glutton.

Camel,

I have never seen someone stumble around after consuming caffeine but I have known a few kids who threw up after ingesting nicotine via tobacco. You and I both know that there is no comparison.

These kinds of arguments is where abstentionists believe the moderationists "don't get it."


Tim B

peter lumpkins

RL,

If you want a definition, that's fine. But the definition does not affect the syllogism in any way unless I employ the definition in two different ways in the syllogism. I do not.

So, while we could talk about definition later, you wrote: "It seems to me the syllogism is faulty or incomplete." My only question is "Where?"

With that, I am...

Peter

R. L. Vaughn

Yes, I do want a definition. If you do not want to give one, that is also fine. But it can be hard to understand meaning with undefined terms. For example, I assume your term ""recreational, pleasure-filled purposes" does not address the use of alcoholic beverages for medicinal purposes. Would you agree?

We are probably talking around each other on the faulty syllogism thing. As a syllogism, perhaps yours may or may not be faulty. But that gets back to why I am asking you to define terms.

volfan007

Camel and JasonK,

Was there anything wrong with me eating my 2,000 plus calories? No, of course not. That is not gluttony. Gluttony is eating past being full. It's eating more than you can hold. I ate only one double quarter pounder with cheese and fries...now, if I'd gone for another double quarter pounder with cheese...well...

The ancient Romans would gorge themselves, then go throw up, so that they could eat some more. That's gluttony. Eating so much fried chicken that your stomach hurts the rest of the day just because it tasted good....that's gluttony. I confess to doing this a few times. I have repented of it. But, eating til your full is not gluttony. Jesus fed the 5,000 until they were all full. Did Jesus cause them to sin that day? Of course not. Also, eating something that contains a lot of calories is not gluttony. C'mon.

JasonK, maybe you didnt read about my Great-Grandmother in my post above? 96 years old. She was chubby and ate fried foods her whole life...and lots of them!!!! And, the same could be said about many of my family members on both sides of my family. They still live as long or longer than the health food guys.

I can also tell you about all the health food joggers who have bad heart problems and who have died early..due to heart attack.

Also, I can tell you about many, many people who have been destroyed by alcohol. I know of a young child right now in the TN Baptist Childrens Homes who is there because of FAS. His mother drank, and because of that he only has half of a brain, cerebral palsey, is blind, has only 10% hearing, and has other health issues. And, did you know that a woman could give her child all of this trouble before she even knows that she's pregnant??? by doing something that the Bible calls foolish??? by drinking fermented wine???

So, go and peddle your moderationist view to someone else, because I dont imagine that the children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome would want to hear it. And, may no children anywhere ever have to deal with FAS due to the teaching of some Christians that drinking just a little bit is ok.

David

Camel Rider

David and others....
I made comments about coffee and other things because the comment was made that alcohol is bad because drugs such as this should only be used for medicinal purposes...that nothing should be used for recreational pleasure. I was simply pointing out the inconsistencies in this thought process. If we're going to see "nothing is to be used for recreational pleasure" then we need to also take a stand on coffee, chocolate...anything that we use solely for pleasure.

I agree with you that drunkeness destroys families. But I just wish we would say "As Baptists we don't believe in drinking because of the possible effects on families, health and testimonies." Instead we say it's based in Scripture...which then makes everyone else look like liberals because they don't believe in Scripture. I personally it's a dangerous path to start drinking...but we need to clarify that the reason is because of the possible effects and not try to twist Scripture to source our beliefs. This is my point.
::: Camel Rider

Byron

To All:

I'm sorry for saying that whole bit about "flowers of tradition in the fields of history" and all that. I should not have said that. However, I still believe that moderation is the Biblical view, until I am convinced otherwise.

David:

Gluttony is not simply eating beyond fullness. I remember a TV show once (forgot the name, or the date it aired) that showed a huge man who, everyday, ate the equivalent of a banquet table's worth for supper. This is what it took for him to feel "full" and basically the show said as much, in not those exact words. Not surprisingly, he was so huge he could not move on his own, and his body had adapted to consuming (though not efficiently processing) untold thousands of calories in a single meal. His eating habits had continually adjusted upwards the definition of fullness for him. That is why, in my view, gluttony is eating beyond what is good and healthy for the individual, and I admit that there is no exact, universal standard for everyone. I sense a lot of resistance in your words to the truth people are telling you on this, and all I can tell you, brother, is that I sympathize, but one day you will have to face the music. And the sooner that is, the better.

Chris

Camel,
You state that someone else stated:
"nothing is to be used for recreational pleasure"

From there you conclude the following.
"then we need to also take a stand on coffee, chocolate...anything that we use solely for pleasure.

The problem is that I did not see the word "nothing" as it related to pleasurable purposes anywhere. Alcohol, yes, anything? Did you simple add that to add weight to your argument? I might have missed it, but I feel confident based upon all that Peter has written on this subject that he never stated, "nothing...for pleasurable purposes." rather he stated in a variety of ways, alcohol... for pleasurable purposes. There is volumes of differences in these two and thus the weight of your argument fall apart based on "nothing".

Camel Rider

Chris,
Thanks for the questions...
Here are two quotes...

Bart said...
"The question at play is simply whether one ought to employ intoxicants recreationally. It is a question that applies to wine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and oxycontin alike."

Tim said …
Either we support the use of mind altering drugs for recreational purposes or we don't. We don't believe there is one approved mind altering drug and others that are not approved.

So I guess the question is "What is a mind altering drug?" Does the definition apply to anything that changes our mood? Does it create within us a difference in outlook or mood? If so, then this applies to many other items.

And lastly...can you show me in Scripture where it says not to drink alcohol for recreational purposes? When you show me...I'll stop asking questions.
Thanks!
::: Camel Rider

Chris

Camel,

Thanks for clearing up "nothing" for me. I still don't see those quotes going as broad as you claim. For those state "mind altering drugs" not chocolate. I will concede, however, it was recently documented that chocolate has the same addictive qualities as cocaine! That stated, I fail to see how you position others as throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

As for showing you where the bible states the case, I think Peter's 19+ post have shed considerable, beyond, well beyond, killing a fly with a jackhammer beyond, ground to biblically reject the moderationist position. I think Dr. Barber's quote at SBC Today perhaps drives in the final nail flush for me. (#22 Bart Barber Says: Did you ever notice that the word “sober” in the New Testament is almost universally applied metaphorically rather than literally? Yet the word has a long and well-attested history of meaning something along the lines of “not corrupted in the least by alcohol.” The verb form, nepho, is the opposite of methuo (”intoxication”), and means to be “completely unaffected by wine.”)

One final thought, if you suggest my problem being the sufficiency of Scripture, particularly the English translation sufficiency, I might let you know I grew up in south Florida as a pagan and watched a lot of Jacques Cousteau documentaries. When I got saved I attended a KJV only church. I was dreamy eyed many a time when I would venture out on the Atlantic ocean wondering if I might indeed “Count it [I mean really put the math to work] ALL joy when you (in this case me) fall into DIVERS temptations…” I just knew ol’ Jacque had left some undiscovered Spanish gold for me out there. Imagine my despair when sweat brothers helped me see the text a little closer and with more clarity, why the truth shattered my assumptions and left me counting sea shells to boot. (Hope the levity makes your day.)


volfan007

For the record. I do not have diabetes, nor do I have heart troubles. I am 46 years old. My Dad is 73. He does not have diabetes, nor does he have heart troubles. He is also a big person.

David

Jim Champion

However David

The odds that you will contract either diabetes or have heart problems are MUCH greater at your size. And I will agree that your genetics play a role, BUT, genetics never counted on us eating these unbelieveably calorie laden fast food meals and then lead essentially sedentary lifestyles. Your medical costs will be much higher than average, and my pastor and staff will be paying higher premiums to support the higher risk omongst us

By the way, have you seen the movie Super Size Me? That movie should be a wake up call for our generation.

jasonk

David,
I don't want to convince you to be a moderationist. I respect your stand, and appreciate that you have a personal conviction that leads you to abstain.
I would question your science, that one glass of wine can cause fetal alcohol syndrome. I'm not saying it has never happened, I just think it is the exception and not the rule.
I'm mostly concerned about your health, and the attitude you take toward it. You eat a double quarter pounder and fries and a shake, and it fills you up because your stomach has stretched to the point that it takes a lot of food to fill you up. But soon, what you're eating now will not fill you up. It will take more. Gluttony is not measured by how much it takes to fill you up.
It used to take at least half a pizza to fill me up, sometimes I could put away a whole pizza on my own. Then I was full. Tonight I had three slices, and am stuffed.
I'm glad for your grandmother and your parents, but they are the exception. I think if you took the time to alter your lifestyle, and honor the temple of God that is your body, you would feel better, and you would live longer.

volfan007

Jason,

I have altered my lifestyle, and I do try to take care of the temple which is my body. I'm still a big person. Is that a crime? or a sin?

Jim,

I know a lot of skinny preachers who have been to the hospital a lot more than I have. In fact, I have never had to stay overnight in a hospital. In fact, I have never had to stay in the hospital, period. Have you?

Have you, Jason? Have either of you ever been in the hospital?

David

Byron

I think there's more to it than simply, "My great-grandmother lived to be 96, and look how she lived and ate," or whatever. One of the factors that needs to be considered is that her generation (whoever, for the sake of argument) lived a lot closer to the land. Though they ate a lot of bad foods, such as fatty meat meals with lots of cholesterol and grease, their food did not have all the chemical preservatives in it we have today, and in agrarian/rural societies, just living off your own land was hard work, and usually involved more than one generation of a family at a time. So these people had plenty of exercise in their lives, growing up and into adulthood. So, to live a contemporary 21st century lifestyle of excessive caloric intake coupled with sedentary inactivity is not a recipe for health and long life, in other words.

Chris Johnson

Brother Peter,

I am glad you are returning to this topic. It has been a good bit of information to wade through.

Do you not think that there are any instances in scripture where wine is seen as a blessing or gift from God to His people?

How did you deal with the Psalm passage....

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle,
And vegetation for the service of man,
That he may bring forth food from the earth,
And wine that makes glad the heart of man,
Oil to make his face shine,
And bread which strengthens man’s heart.
(Psalm 104:14-15).

Most seem to agree that this is not speaking to the amounts or effects of consumption so much, but to what God has provided as good.

Blessings,
Chris

Byron

Chris, I can almost remember Peter's response to that. It involved wine as the fruit of the vine, in its unfermented state (yayin? I think), as being the only kind of wine blessed by God. Apparently, there are multiple kinds of wine, which very well could be, perhaps.

Camel Rider

Byron...you said...
Apparently, there are multiple kinds of wine, which very well could be, perhaps.

Don't forget the kind in the box. :-)

Chris Johnson

Brother Byron,

Thanks, I thought that may have been the argument. I am still trying to determine what the purpose would be for unfermented juices. I may go in that direction and see how scripture contextually treats unfermented juice. Maybe that is what Peter is trying to prove.... that unfermented juice was always the target.

Blessings,
Chris

Jim Champion

David,

No, I have not been in the hospital - except the emergency room for a few bouts with kidney stones. I like many also have a never ending battle of the bulge and was up to 260 about a year ago, blood pressure was creeping up. I cut out as many of the fats as I could, cut back on the volume of food that I ate and embarked on an excercise program and am now in the 220s (still high according to the life insurance charts for my height (6'4") but my clothes fit better and my blood pressure is back to acceptable with out having to take meds.

I work as an underwriter in the health insurance industry - when I talk about 10% of the individuals in a group plan being responsible for 90% of the claims I am telling the truth. Most of those 10% are due to lifestyle issues, the rest are cancers (which my theory is also due to lifestyle - smoking and overweight) and also environment - hormones in the processed foods that we eat.

My main point is alcohol and food are both bad to excess. It is very easy to be critical of alcohol when you dont have a problem with it, what you are doing to your body is just as evil. Praise the Lord that you overcame your addiction to alcohol and drugs, I will pray for you that you overcome your addiction to unhealthy foods.

by the way - one thing that helped me was to have one meal a week that was my cheat meal. If I wanted a hamburger or fries I would wait until that designated meal and just enjoy the heck out of it. If sweets are your issue - I keep a bag of dark chocolate around (you know the kind that gives you the same benefit as a glass of red wine a day!) and will have one small piece - it really satisfies the sweet tooth,

Jim

jasonk

David,
I spent a week in the hospital 21 years ago, when I had my appendix taken out. Today that same surgery would not even require an overnight stay :>)
Keep in mind that 21 years ago, I was massively overweight, ate much like you described earlier, and served on a church staff.
I have weighed nearly 300 pounds in my adult life (I am 6'2" tall). My weight tends to go up and down with the seasons, since I am an avid cyclist, winters are bad for my body.
The fact is that we all struggle with different things. Some struggle with drinking too much. I do not. Neither do you. I struggle with gluttony. Its a sin, and the hardest part about it is knowing when I have crossed the line into sin. But I trust the Holy Spirit to guide me, and to lead me into the truth, and that He does.
When I was still quite overweight, a woman in my church asked me why I was always preaching about drinking and smoking, but never preached about gluttony. I was really shocked, but she was right. That's when I woke up and realized that I had a hypocrisy problem, in addition to a weight problem.
You asked if it is a sin to be overweight. I don't really know how to answer that, except that being overweight is like being hung over. It may not be a sin to have a headache, and be sick to your stomach, but it is a result of over indulging in something that the Bible tells us to exercise moderation in. Being overweight can be a result of slothfulness, which is a sin. It represents a lack of discipline, self-control (a fruit of the Spirit), and ultimately has its roots in pride.

R. L. Vaughn

Peter, concerning your syllogism:
A syllogism can be valid (in form as a syllogism) and yet be built on faulty premises. For example: All Caucasians are racists. RL & PL are Caucasians. RL & PL are racists. Now that is a valid syllogism. If A & B are true, then the conclusion is true. But since A is not true, the conclusion fails.

You ask what is wrong with your syllogism. Well, I suppose in form there is nothing wrong with it. Nor am I charging that you intend to define "recreational, pleasure-filled purposes" in two different ways. If one admits your presuppositions, then one is bound to come to your conclusion. It seems the only two possible conclusions are, either (1) it is wrong to use both alcoholic beverages and mind-altering drugs for recreational, pleasure-filled purposes, or (2) both alcoholic beverages and mind-altering drugs can be used for recreational, pleasure-filled purposes. Certainly most Baptists would run from the second possibility, thereby driving them to the first. But the success of your syllogism depends on several factors not in evidence. For example, a definition of "recreational, pleasure-filled purposes"; that, Biblically speaking, the use of alcoholic beverages is for recreational, pleasure-filled purposes; that, Biblically speaking, mind-altering drugs are the equivalent of alcoholic beverages.

Perhaps you will still consider defining "recreational, pleasure-filled purposes". Further, I wonder:
Is the use of wine for the stomach's sake a recreational, pleasure-filled purpose?
Is the use of wine in the Lord's Supper a recreational, pleasure-filled purpose?
Is the use of wine in cooking a recreational, pleasure-filled purpose?
Is the use of wine to get drunk a recreational, pleasure-filled purpose?

Another concern, or a least curiosity, that I have is that your syllogism implies that it is the intent of the use of alcoholic beverages that defines its moral acceptability. Other statements you make seem to indicate that you believe alcoholic is inherently immoral. Would you clarify?

Thanks.

BroJOkie

To the moderationists:

I just finished three days at Children's Falls Creek. I did the moral issues Bible Study in our cabin in front of 102 fourth, fifth and sixth graders. I'm curious first if you would have had a Bible study on drugs and alcohol and if you did, what would have been your message to them? Just say NO to drugs and drink in moderation when it comes to beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks? Please enlighten me!

jason

BroJOkie,
Here's an idea. Teach them that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, and that up against these things, there is no law. I would teach that that if there is anything that is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, they should let their mind dwell on those things. I would teach them that Jesus said the most important things in life are loving God and loving people.
When you teach them these things, you don't have to tell them that drugs are bad, or that it is wrong to drink to excess. They will know.

David R. Brumbelow

BroJOkie,
As you point out, moderationists have a real problem in giving a clear word about alcohol. Imagine trying to explain to those kids that sometimes it’s wrong to drink and take drugs and sometimes it’s not. It depends on the situation. It depends on the person. It depends on the drug. It depends on the laws at the time. It depends on your age, etc., etc., etc.

What is the correct answer? What is the answer that kids can understand and that they can easily carry out in their lives? What is the answer that is guaranteed to keep their lives from untold heartache and ruin? The answer is easy. When it comes to alcohol and other drugs - Just say no! It works every time. Or, as God said in Proverbs, don’t even look at it. And as God said in 1 Peter, be sober. (Proverbs 23:31; 1 Peter 5:8).

One last thing, BroJOkie. I’m sure glad you were the one teaching those kids.

David R. Brumbelow

Byron

David R. Brumbelow, please understand something: Christian liberty was never designed by God to lead to excess. The abstentionist mindset to me seems to be that one cannot function without rules in place to govern behavior. And there is some truth to this, because the believer functions by the rules of Scripture and guidance of the Holy Spirit. The moderationist viewpoint is not lawlessness or excess, but following what we believe the Scriptures to teach. We claim no compulsion to drink, and we understand conscientious abstention, even of many moderationists in the SBC. In my opinion, the problem here does not lie within moderationist teaching, but with not having the Word of God taught in fullness, which is the only ground for Christian liberty.

jason

I agree with Byron. If what BroJokie and David Brumbelow are right in what they are saying, then I think Jesus would have had a whole lot more to say when the Pharisees asked him which commandment was the most important. But He didn't. He summed it all up by saying that you have to love God, and love people. If you do that, everything else that is right and good makes sense, even to a child. If you are focusing on loving God and loving people, you're not going to get wasted. You are going to do right.
But then you say, "It works every time." Are you serious? If it works every time, then why are so many teenagers getting drunk and using drugs? Even those who go to Falls Creek do. Perhaps by making such an issue of it, while ignoring the more important teachings to love God and love people, we are doing more harm than good.

peter lumpkins

JasonK,

Your rejoinder to David may be the quote of the entire series. You write:

""It works every time." Are you serious? If it works every time, then why are so many teenagers getting drunk and using drugs?"
Perhaps if they'd said "Thanks but No Thanks" that about which David speaks would have worked--at least every time they actually meant what they said.

Even more confusing is your indictment:

"Perhaps by making such an issue of it, while ignoring the more important teachings to love God and love people, we are doing more harm than good."

First, to separate loving God and loving people by making a disconnect with teaching people what God says is surely mistaken.

In fact, I would argue we are loving God and loving people through precisely that very act. It is not all we are to do in demonstrating our love for God and people. Nonetheless, it remains a significant part.

Secondly, let me get this straight: we are "doing more harm than good" by warning teens of the perils of drink & drug? For some reason, JasonK, that just doesn't square with my plumb line.

Grace for this evening. With that, I am...

Peter

peter lumpkins

All,

Typepad made a few changes that I cannot change. For example, no more than 50 comments can be on one page. This makes it horrible if we have over 50, since one has to continually go to next/previous, etc.

My solution was to reverse the comment thread, allowing the latest comment on top rather than bottom. It may feel weird at first. I think it will be better overall.

Thanks.

With that, I am...

Peter

Byron

Peter, that's a great idea to reverse the comment thread. I hate that Previous/Next thing. If they want that as default, then at least make it a per user setting that the user can change. Then again, I haven't commented as my Typepad user login for some time now, since it always seems to lose my information even after it tells me I am logged in (perhaps this is a Firefox issue; not sure). So it wouldn't help me anyway.

jason

I too like the format with the newest comments first. It makes it a lot easier to get to the newest stuff.

All I am saying, Peter, is that we spend so much time trying to tell people what is right and wrong, and it doesn't really work. I spent many summers at Falls Creek teaching kids not to do this and that, and I can tell you that the kids still did it anyway. I think that if we follow the admonitions of Christ and the Apostle Paul, beginning with loving God and loving people, as well as the fruits of the Spirit, we will no longer be known for what we are against, rather than what we are for.
Paul himself, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said that against these things, there is no law.

Byron

Peter, I subscribed to the comments RSS feed, and it no longer works (well, I'm using Thunderbird). Do you have any idea what's wrong, or if any other RSS feeder works?

David R. Brumbelow

Byron and Jason,
I too enjoy Christian liberty in Jesus Christ. But I do not believe that liberty extends to harmful, recreational, mind altering drugs (Galatians 5:13).

We should teach people to love God. Part of loving God is that Jesus said “if you love Me, keep My commandments“ (John 14:15).

Maybe I should say that when it is practiced, abstinence works every time. That is true of sexual immorality and it is true of drinking and drugs. (I am not meaning to accuse anyone who is for moderate drinking, with sexual immorality.) It’s when you decide to try it that you get in trouble. Will everyone abstain? Of course not. But those who do, will miss out on a world of trouble and heartache. In such a case we have taught the kids the right way, it is up to them to follow it.

I’m against drinking in moderation for other reasons. But one is that so many kids and adults can’t handle it. For many, that first drink ultimately destroys their life.

And if beverage alcohol (remember that biblical “wine” is a generic term that can mean fermented or unfermented) is forbidden by God (I believe it is: Proverbs 23:31; 1 Peter 5:8; etc.) and if it is harmful, it should not be taken even in moderation.

I came across an interesting quote. “Temperance may be defined as: moderation in all things healthful; total abstinence from all things harmful.” -Xenophon, Greek philosopher, 400 BC. And hey, temperance (self control) is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:23).

David R. Brumbelow

Timotheos

So David,

We would be correct to conclude from your analogy that just as it is wise to avoid "a world of trouble and heartache" by abstaining completely from "beverage alcohol," so it is equally wise, in order to avoid sexual immorality, to abstain completely from sexual activity.

I know you will protest such a conclusion (at least I hope you will), as well you should. We rightly teach and warn our children about the "world of trouble and heartache" which sexual immorality brings about. We teach them the biblical difference between sexual purity and joy on the one hand, and sexual deviancy and misery on the other. Nobody supposes nor suggests we forbid all sexual activity on the basis of its abuses and dangers.

Scripture does not command such with regard to our lawful enjoyment of sex, and neither does it command such with regard to our lawful enjoyment of wine. So-called moderationists (we might rather be called "biblicists," but that term's already employed elsewhere :^) are simply trying to hold to the principle that we should not go beyond what is written - no more and no less.

Grace and peace,

Timotheos

David R. Brumbelow

Timotheos,
Your name reminds me of a fellow in the Bible who apparently had such conviction he would not drink wine whether it was fermented or unfermented (1 Timothy 5:23).

As you correctly point out, there is sex that is clean and righteous and there is immoral sex. I agree and much more importantly, God agrees (Hebrews 13:4). We are free to do one. We are not free to do the other, even in moderation.

The same is apparently true of wine. There is good wine. It is clean and pure and made by God each year in every vineyard. Just like He did in John 2, except then He did it miraculously fast. Even today, the process is a miracle, don’t you think?

The good, unfermented wine (aka grape juice; the fruit of the vine, the cup) is pure, healthy and to be enjoyed by adults and youth. It is the wine God made that makes glad the heart of man (Psalm 104:15). In it you have nothing to fear.

The bad, poisonous, rotted, fermented, alcoholic wine is to be feared like a serpent (Proverbs 23:29-35). You shouldn’t even look at it. This wine is not clean, pure, righteous. It will make a man do stupid things that he would never do in his right mind. Fool around with this stuff and you are not wise (Proverbs 20:1).
David R. Brumbelow
June 4, 2008

PS - Everyone - if you haven't already, click on SBC Files here on Peter Lumpkins’ site and you can read much more about all this. It’s been a big help to me.

Timotheos

Of course you know, David, that Peter has been calling the "good wine/bad wine" tune for quite some time in an effort to wear down his poor linguistically and exegetically challenged moderationist brethren. For my part, the effort - though surely interesting - is mostly irrelevant, as it does not adequately address the breadth and variation of all the scriptural testimony, nor does it give any reliable way to discern when so-called "good" wine or "bad" wine is indicated - except the particular theological predilections of the interpreter. Others have already dealt decisively with such ingenious parsing, so I shan't take up that dance again.

Furthermore, I don't know that I would agree that sex is "immoral" per se, anymore than I would say that wine is inherently "moral" or "immoral." The context in which "sex" occurs denominates it as moral or immoral, but the act itself is not so characterized apart from context. And so it is, I think, with wine (notwithstanding all of those fine attempts to sunder wine into opposing "good wine/bad wine" categories).

But someone has already noted what will probably prevail in the end of this discussion - both moderationists and abstentionists will no doubt remain such after all the dust has settled. Ephraim is joined to his idols...I guess we'll just have to leave him alone. *grin*

Peace.

David R. Brumbelow

Timotheos,
And I thought I was going to convert you on the alcohol issue with one fell swoop! :-). Well, anyway I tried. And I am convinced Peter will continue to do so. Your days are numbered :-).
David R. Brumbelow

Byron

I agree with Timotheos. Having said that, I would never knowingly drink in front of brothers in the Lord such as Peter Lumpkins and David R. Brumbelow, with whom I would be honored to count as friends. But, personally, I have to remain unconvinced of the abstentionist argument for now.

David R. Brumbelow:

The Galatians 5:13 passage context mainly concerns the keeping of the Law in the flesh. As such, it is not referring to any sort of substance abuse. And it had to do with the origin and meaning of righteousness. So, I'm sorry, I do not see your point.

I really believe that all these special case scenarios/what-if questions that are constantly thrown our way are for the most part not the insurmountable barriers they first appear. Those who can't handle alcohol, shouldn't. Those who can, avoid the sin of drunkenness. Obey Romans 13. Parents, teach your children to be obey the Word. Honor Christ and provide a good example. Not all Christians are meant by God to partake. Not all unbelievers have problems with alcohol (and no Christian should!). Sure, society is going bananas with alcohol and drug abuse. Interject worshipers of Christ who refuse to follow the ways of the world, but worship and live in Christian self-control and discipline, even to the point of moderation for those who hold that view, and you have something to thank Christ for.

James

Scripture condemns the abuse of alcohol, not the use of alcohol

This is fine, but it begs the question of "what is abuse?" Is drinking until buzzed "abuse"? Is drinking without a meal abuse? Is drinking for entertainment rather than food or medicine abuse? What if instead of having a wine with a meal each night, I had half a Vicadin instead? Should this preclude denominational leadership? What if it were learned that an SBC board member went to Amsterdam and had a marijuana cigararette in a legal setting? Would only "Pharisees" have a problem with this?

All this ignores why Baptists began abstaining in the first place. In the S.E. US, alcohol was a blight. De Toqueville (1832) said that alcohol was at the root of every social ill in America. It is still true except that the problem is compounded with other entertainment drugs.

Most people don't seem to understand the context in which the Apostle James said "Faith without works is dead". This was a man who turned himself into the "Jew of all Jews" for the furtherance of the Gospel. When Paul said "All things are lawful but not all things are [good for us]", he meant it.

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