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2010.11.08

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Casey

SAD SAD day when this "up and coming leader" takes a position like this. He is catering to the world...not to Him. Is lack of clarity is appauling...even more he smacks the Bible as being "unholy" by saying it 'conflicts' and 'is not clear'. One generation says 'it's no big deal'. The next generation 'embraces it'. JDG has opened the door to 'anti-Biblical behaviour'. Sadly, again, this is a guy who gives more to ACTS29 than the SBC...yet others say he's 'one of us'? I don't think so. Wake up SOUTHERN BAPTIST MESSENGERS!!!!!

Wes Widner

"Greear is paid with Cooperative Program dollars."

This is the type of attitude that weakens the SBC. We turn away otherwise wonderful missionaries, pastors, etc. just because they see no point in upholding an archaic and weak stance on the total abstinence from alcohol.

Randy

Great post! I'm still of the opinion the focus is on the surface issue rather than the real issue. Drinking is a manifestation of an idolatry issue; worshiping the idol of self.

peter lumpkins

Casey,

Thanks for logging on. I do think this issue is going to be a 'deal-breaker' for many young Southern Baptists...

Randy,

Always a pleasure. Know I appreciate your view...

Wes,

Whether or not my post portrays the "type of attitude that weakens the SBC" is a matter of opinion. Some may agree with you; others not. On the other hand, the way I see it, while my view on abstinence may be "archaic" as you suggest, I'm under the impression Dr. Greear's stance is more likely to be considered the "weak stance" on total abstinence from alcohol. Now, if you care to show how his view succeeds, I'm all ears.

With that, I am...
Peter

Darby Livingston

While I agree with Greear's premise, I think his defense of it leaves quite a bit to be desired. Don't judge a position by the weakest defense of it. A weak argument doesn't necessarily prove or disprove a premise. Of course, Peter already knows this being a philosopher.

peter lumpkins

Darby,

Thanks. The difficulty remains, not only is Dr. Greear's position what young seminarians are digesting, his case is very similar in content to what I've encountered since 2007 when I began challenging the moderationist position. Little, if any, deviation has changed in the script.

With that, I am...
Peter

P.S. philosopher? You give me a good old belly-stitcher laugh, brother :^) I'm just a West Georgia Redneck country-boy, beans-n-tators, cornbread-n-buttermilk preacher! :^)

jpm

Peter,
You've shot some holes in his view...but you've honestly left some in your own I think.

if I were to mix wine with three to twenty parts water would it then be permissible? Alcohol is alcohol, whether it is diluted or pure...whether a disciple gets buzzed or a pastor gets sloshed...was it wrong in biblical times? If not, how is it wrong now just because we deal with ratios?

If people in biblical times did not get 'drunk', then how did wine make the heart glad? how did it make someone forget their sorrow? and how did it make wedding guests not notice the difference between good wine and cheap wine later at a wedding?
These are real issues that have to be dealt with if you want to say your views are binding on the conscience of other Christians.

From a Southern Baptist abstainer from alcohol and a supporter of Christian liberty.

peter lumpkins

 

jpm,

Thanks for logging on. I appreciate your acknowledgment pertaining to some of the weaknesses in Greear’s thinking. If I may, I’ll offer a few thoughts toward what you see as holes I’ve left in my own presentation:

A) Whether or not your mixtures would be permissible, your premise is flawed. “Alcohol is alcohol, whether it is diluted or pure” is simply naïve. If one were to take your premise to be functional, not only would it prohibit drinking intoxicating beverages, it would also prohibit consuming freshly squeezed juices and even raw grapes since the fermentation process begins the second the grape’s skin is breached. In other words, fermentation begins in one’s mouth--producing alcohol!-- as one chews the grape. Do you honestly think that’s what I have in mind?  Or what I think the Bible means? Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol is simply absurd in that sense.

However, alcohol is alcohol is alcohol is not absurd in another sense.  For example, there exists identical amounts of alcohol in a mixed drink, a standard can of beer, and a glass of wine—there is no difference. Hence, the common idea that a glass of wine is less intoxicating than a mixed drink is a conventional myth. Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol is to be taken at face value in this sense.

B) Of course it was wrong in biblical times for a disciple to get “buzzed” the same as a pastor gets “sloshed” now.  Hence, I don’t understand your question about ratios.

C) You appear to assume I argue people in ancient times did not get drunk—”If people in biblical times did not get 'drunk'…” If so, you are grossly mistaken. I have never suggested otherwise. Indeed the very first mention of “wine” in the Bible is associated with Noah’s drunkenness. I do not nor will I ever deny what the Bible says. If a moral position cannot be argued from all the Bible says pertaining to a particular subject, I become suspicious rather quickly. In fact, that is one of the basic reasons I reject moderation, at least in those forms I’ve thus far heard it argued. For example, Greear, boldly pronounces the Bible “celebrates alcohol.”  Now while the Bible does not “celebrate alcohol” it does commend wine and moderationists are correct to point such out. However, the Bible also condemns wine. In other words there are two sets of Scripture passages which need to be addressed. Greear and many like him want to proclaim one set to the exclusion of the other. This is unacceptable in my view.

D) You appear to assume that the alcohol and subsequent “buzz” it brings is what the Bible means by making the heart “glad.” There is no indication in Scripture that “gladness” is brought about by getting high on intoxicants—at least the kind of gladness acceptable to the Lord. Could you please offer some clear Scriptural support for your premise? As for making people forget their sorrow, that’s easy—alcohol is a depressant

E) Pertaining to wedding guests, you seem to assume “good wine” is alcoholic wine and “cheap wine” is not. The fact is, there seems to be no definitive evidence existing that indicates more potent wine was also the better wine in antiquity. There are evidences that the opposite is the case

F) I realize many of the issues at stake and your reasoning is precisely why this issue is a significant one.  Folks who relegate it to the tertiary borders have not given clear thought how much this issue affects us all.

Finally, jpm, I have no desire whatsoever to “bind the consciences” of other Christians. My speaking out on this issue is no more or less than Greear or others speaking out about moderation. Indeed I said (and still mean) Greear has every right to promote moderation in his church if that’s where he and the church desire to go.  But when he brings it to the SBC as a paid employee of the SBC and flaunts moderation as an ethical option, indicting those of us who are abstentionists as “adding to the law” then do not be surprised those of us who have convictional views embedded in Scripture and sound moral reasoning—not to mention foot the bill to pay his salary (albeit an adjunct salary but salary nonetheless)--to refuse to roll over like a whipped mongrel having our stomachs scratched.

Thanks again.

With that, I am…

Peter

jpm

Peter, I'm not sure I was clear with my illustrations of my position, so I have tried to clarify while interacting with your response:
A) You can't argue both sides of "alcohol is alcohol". Either it is permissible or it is excluded. One note: alcohol does not equal drunkenness. Drunkenness is condemned in Scripture, wine is not. "The son of man is come eating and drinking, and ye say...a winebibber..." Luke 7:34 If intoxication is the sin, and not drinking alcoholic beverages, it is easy to say simply "moderation is key". Which is where Scripture leaves us since there is no prohibition against consumption of alcohol unto a certain point. Whether that is one beer, five beers, or an eyedropper of gin is irrelevant. We are not talking about concentration, but amount consumed permissibly. That's why I said, alcohol is alcohol, it is either bad or good. You can't say bad in the 21st century but ok for Jesus in Palestine.
B)A mere illustration that use or misuse does not equal condemnation of a substance.
C)You had argued earlier that biblical wine was diluted with water and weak, so that one would have to really pour it on in order to get drunk. While this might be true on some occasions, Scripture clearly says there are pleasing effects to the consumption of alcohol for those who use it properly: "it makes the heart glad", "makes one forget their sorrows", and could hinder perception of "good wine" vs "cheap wine". That was not to talk about their respective strengths, but the ability of the celebrants at a feast to determine good or bad based on the amount they have drunk (John 2:10, not used to condone or condemn altered states of perception, but merely to illustrate that biblical wine was strong enough to alter perception over time due to alcohol)
C-2 and D) Yes the Bible condemns drunkenness, and you have scriptures that speak to that issue. But the Bible also speaks well for the pleasing effects of wine. Some would say: "any form of altered consciousness is wrong" I would say: be consistent, if it is wrong for wine to alter our consciousness (getting buzzed..we'll say) then it is wrong for any other thing to get us buzzed. That means when our wives make us drunk (your love is better than wine) that is is wrong also. Caffeine is wrong. Our own brains are packed with inebriating chemicals. Eh? Are we saying anything that alters your mood is wrong? Where is that in Scripture? "Be not buzzed"? But we do see "not given to much wine" for a deacon in 1 Ti 3.
E) I stated above, it is implied that wedding guests would be affected in their ability to discern between good and bad wine due to the effects of drinking so much, therefore the cheap stuff was brought out later when it wouldn't be noticed, or consumed so heavily.
F)Folks who harp on this as a primary issue make the Bible cheap. Jesus couldn't be a messenger at the Southern Baptist Convention because he made and consumed alcoholic beverages. Spurgeon couldn't join one of our churches because he drank and smoked cigars. Are we that 'holy'?
Some say, true, it was ok in ancient times, but that was before our culture made alcohol such a destructive poison. That is the exact same logic behind theological liberalism: bible + society's prevailing notions = convictions. Even if it is a conservative stance, it uses the same tools to interpret Scripture.

peter lumpkins

jpm,

A) Either “alcohol is permitted or it is excluded”.  Begging pardon. That is not true at all.  If it is either “permitted” or “excluded” as you put it, then no exceptions whatsoever may be allowed, including medicinal purposes.  Neither I nor the Bible so far as I can tell posits such a position. Nor did you seem to get the point, jpm, that your assumption is clearly ridiculous since alcohol is actually produced the second the peeling on the grape is pierced. That’s when fermentation begins.

B) I never supposed alcohol “equals drunkenness” if that’s what you’re suggesting. And you are correct, drunkenness is condemned in Scripture as I mentioned in my comment.  However, I also mentioned Scripture flatly condemns intoxicating drink itself—Prov. 20:1; 23:31 among other places.

C) It is not easy to say “moderation is key” when one has no biblical precedent nor biblical definition nor practical definition for moderation.  Indeed moderation is a foreign notion overlaid upon the Scripture. 

D) “Which is where Scripture leaves us since there is no prohibition against consumption of alcohol unto a certain point.”  I’m afraid Scripture does not leave us hanging, so to speak, in consuming dangerous toxins.  Unless, of course, you’d want to argue alcohol is not a dangerous toxin (see below)

E) When you can explain “consumed permissibly”  in a clear way, I’ll address it

F) “That's why I said, alcohol is alcohol, it is either bad or good”.  I challenge anyone to read Prov 20:1 and come to the viable conclusion that the beverage about which the author spoke is good

G)  “A mere illustration that use or misuse does not equal condemnation of a substance”  I haven’t a clue toward what you refer

H) No, I really didn’t argue “that biblical wine was diluted with water and weak, so that one would have to really pour it on in order to get drunk'.”  Actually I was reiterating Stein’s via Akin’s point (and many others as well).  I take a different approach actually.  And, quoting “it  makes the heart glad” does not constitute biblical evidence at all, jpm.  You need to demonstrate the author was pointing to the consumption of alcohol is that which made the heart glad.  

I) “That was not to talk about their respective strengths, but the ability of the celebrants at a feast to determine good or bad based on the amount they have drunk (John 2:10, not used to condone or condemn altered states of perception, but merely to illustrate that biblical wine was strong enough to alter perception over time due to alcohol) C-2”  I don’t know what you’re talking about. Sorry.

J)  “But the Bible also speaks well for the pleasing effects of wine” Again, it going to take more than just saying so, jpm.  Please give me some positive aspects of the pleasurable consumption of intoxicating substances you speak about in Scripture

K) “if it is wrong for wine to alter our consciousness (getting buzzed..we'll say) then it is wrong for any other thing to get us buzzed.”  That means when our wives make us drunk (your love is better than wine) that is is wrong also. Caffeine is wrong." Sorry, jpm.  You’re making very little sense at this point. We’ve gone from a rational exchange concerning intoxicating substances to placing euphoric feelings from legitimate and proper love-making and drinking caffeine in the same moral category as dangerous drugs. Tell you what, brother.  I’m not going to waste my time on such non-sense.  I suggest you go right on believing they belong in the same category if that’s your idea of thinking “consistently” about this issue.

L) “Folks who harp on this as a primary issue make the Bible cheap” That’s your opinion. Some share it; others like myself do not. 

M) You have absolutely no proof whatsoever that Christ imbibed intoxicating beverages.  Pure assumption. And since such is so, I’d be careful confidently saying so. Nor is your statement pertaining to Spurgeon apparently correct, jpm. Spurgeon was a staunch supporter of the Temperance Movement in Britain and the US. 

N).  Not sure about your logic in your formula for liberalism.  Unfortunately, I lost interest when you cited the ridiculous inclusion of love-making and coffee & tea in the same category as the most dangerous drug on the planet—alcohol. 

I trust your day well.

With that, I am…

Peter

jpm

Peter,
What did Jesus make from water in John 2? What did Jesus drink that made other accuse him of being a 'winebibber' KJV or 'drunkard' ESV?

peter lumpkins

jpm,

Jesus made wine in John 2. And, presumably you are referencing Matt 11:19 (Luk. 7:33) when you inquire what Jesus drank that made others accuse Him of 'wine-bibbing.'

Presumably you assume the new creation wine in John 2 was an intoxicating beverage. Unfortunately, you're limited in ways to demonstrate such as am I limited (your limitations are more I think). However, I do think there are compelling reasons not to accept your assumption (supposing, of course, you do presume so). Not an advertisement for my book, but I have a whole chapter on Cana's Wedding, Cana's Wine. I only mention it because the texts and questions you're bringing out, jpm, have been dealt with by various scholars before. In fact, St. Augustine did not hold to the theory that Jesus created an intoxicating beverage at Cana. Interesting study I assure.

As for what Jesus drank for the religious leaders to tarnish His good name, does it really make a difference? From their point of view, I mean? Christ no more had to drink intoxicating beverage for them to accuse Him of over-drinking than He had to have overly-gorged Himself for them to accuse Him of gluttony.

In addition, you'll find in the previous verse the same guys said, "John has a demon." Do you think John had a demon? Did Jesus think so? I don't even know if they actually thought he did; nevertheless, they accused him.

What's more, the same band of religious scoundrels also accused Christ of casting out demons because He had the power of the devil (Matt 9:34; 12:24).

I'm just not impressed, jpm, with accusations the Pharisees alleged against Jesus. And, frankly, I'm surprised anyone would even think twice about it.

With that, I am...
Peter

David R. Brumbelow

jpm,
The Bible says Jesus made wine (oinos). It does not say He made alcohol. Wine was used in a generic sense to refer to alcoholic, and nonalcoholic wine. Both were called wine. So for you to say Jesus make alcoholic wine, is your “interpretation,” not you just taking Scripture for what it says.

Proverbs 3:10; Isaiah 16:10; 65:8 all call wine what is clearly nonalcoholic wine or grape juice. (Check out how many English translations also call this grape juice, wine.) In about 200 BC the Jewish scholars translated Proverbs 3:10 and Isaiah 16:10 with the Greek word oinos. The same word used in John 2.

Aristotle said any mixed drink could be called wine (oinos). That is a pretty good authority, and a pretty wide definition of the word. Aristotle also called must (grape juice) a kind of wine. Dictionaries even call must “new wine.” No, I’m not putting Aristotle over Scripture. The Scriptural evidence is above. But Aristotle also speaks to the ancient general, common use and definition of the word wine (oinos).

Whether you believe Jesus made alcoholic wine or nonalcoholic wine - either way is an interpretation. But when you consider the entire context of Scripture, it is obvious Jesus made the pure, un-intoxicating kind of wine.

Peter Lumpkins’ "Alcohol Today" has an outstanding chapter on John 2; chapter 12. Read it, and be wise.

Yes, Jesus’ enemies accused Him of being a winebibber. Jesus’ enemies also accused Him of having a demon. But I doubt you believe that Jesus was even moderately demon possessed.
David R. Brumbelow

Ron Hale

Peter,

I'm enjoying reading your book: Alcohol Today!

For a number of years, I've been teaching a Saturday morning Bible Study at an Alcohol/Drug Rebab in my hometown. While I have seen about twenty men come to Christ over the last year, most of the men in this program are from Church backgrounds; yes, mostly Baptists.

It has become very clear to me that alcohol is the gateway drug to a host of hellish problems in our culture, communities, and our churches. Cheap wine and beer ... were the first instruments to foolish behaviors, decisions, and brushes with the law.

I knew this growing up ... with an alcoholic father and personally drifting toward its siren call as a teen and young adult. I'm thankful for the turnaround that only Christ can bring.

Peter ... keep beating this drum! Even if it seems you are the only one marching down Mainstreet U.S.A. or the SBC ... keep beating this drum!

peter lumpkins

David,

I appreciate your input. Very helpful. Thank you...

Ron,

What a ministry, brother! And, thanks so much for the encouragement...

With that, I am...
Peter

Shane

Peter,

Go share the Gospel with people and stop spending all your time blogging about issues that are inconsequential in light of it. I want the 10 minutes of my life back that I spent reading that post.

And stop signing your name like that... it sounds arrogant and ridiculous.

Peace,
Shane

peter

Shane,

A couple of things. First, I advise you to keep track of your own time. If you cannot judge in the first couple paragraphs something is worth your time, no one else can assist you I assure.

Second, I'm wondering if you think our brother Greear was, in his publication--the one toward which this was actually a response--how did you put it? Oh yes, "blogging about issues that are inconsequential in light of [the gospel]"? If not, I'd like to know why. If you do, then I think that's just wonderful.

Thanks. Have a great Lord's Day tomorrow.

With that, I am...
Peter

Shane

Peter,

I must apologize for the tone of the previous post - I was drunk when I wrote it. (A joke) But in all honesty, I do apologize sincerely. I'm sure you have a well thought out view of alcohol in your theology - I just get worried that we spend too much time discussing matters that, in the end, will have little-to-no significance on the kingdom of God. This is one of my biggest complaints to organized church bodies like the SBC. There is nit-picking in a way that can only be described as reminiscent of the Pharisees. I think we tend to forget that legalism is just as grave a mindset as liberalism. It is to the legalists that Jesus had the most fiery words.

Let me clarify about time wasting. I'm not saying I don't think it's okay or good to write about these issues or discuss them, but there's a fine line where one can cross into obsessing, argument, and passing judgement. Do you agree? It's this that I would say is a waste of time, and also sin. You have said that at some points in the text, it is a matter of opinion whether or not alcoholic wine is the kind being referenced. With that in mind, we have a mutual friend Paul who once wrote:

"As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand."
(Romans 14:1-4 ESV)

He is talking about food, but the first sentence and the tone apply to this topic as well. We are not to quarrel over opinions. Of course, the word "opinion" is entirely loaded, but if we don't get legalistic with it we can see the heart behind it.

Anyway, thank you for the counterpoints - they are challenging to think about, and will definitely require me to dig deeper on the issue.

Cheers (another joke)
Shane

Kent C.

PETER

Thanks for posting this to inform Southern Baptists. The bottom-line is that Bible believing Southern Baptists are not going to financially support this kind of 'junk' thinking. As a layman, I'm alarmed...since this is a training ground(SEBTS) for future SBC pastors/leaders. The alarming part is the poor construction and lack of consistency in JDG's argument. He is clearly 'blinded' but his 'position' can just easily open the door for 'marijuana use'. It is NOT a principled argument. His openness(or lack of it) is demonstrated by his dismissive spirit of abstinence and historical positions.

While your recent book, Peter, is certainly adequate, let me quote a book that is now out of print(The Bible and Its Wines), of which I have the last 200+ copies. It puts forth principled positions that many of us have not heard before. Let me offer one:

“To say that whenever the word wine is used in the Bible it always means that which is fermented and intoxicating makes the Bible full of contradictions and causes it to lose its divine authority for God cannot contradict Himself. Whenever disapproval, condemnation, warning prohibition accompanies the word wine, it must be understood that fermented wine is indicated. When God's approval, blessings, sanctions are given to wine it must be understood that the unfermented is intended. There is no other way of harmonizing the Scriptures dealing with the subject(alcohol).”

Further, my own personal conclusion is that I cannot apply to the Jesus I worship...was sinless and dies for me...that He intentionally took(or made) a mind altering drug, intoxicant, and would bring suspicion/questioning upon Himself. There was enough suspicion/questioning by some for the good things that he did. He expected that. Why would we give ANY credence to His critics?
And finally, name the last SEBTS chapel speaker who was allowed 'equal time' to present an abstinence(alcohol) position?  Leads one to easily conclude that Dr. Akin and SEBTS may have an agenda here...(?)

Thanks,
"Casey"  or bka  Kent C.

peter

Shane,

No problem.  Thanks for the return.  One of the differences obviously between us, Shane, is what counts for significance on the kingdom of God.  As I mentioned to jpm above, alcohol is the most dangerous drug on the planet.  It’s potency toward addiction and empirical record of utter socio-destruction cannot be overestimated.  Hence, for one to think the issue is not one of significance on the kingdom of God frankly shocks me. And, it is that cavalier, happy-go-lucky, do-as-you-wish, libertine attitude which, as much as anything, remains unacceptable so far as I am concerned (not referring to you at this point).  Greear’s point about his preferring a culture of non-drinking at his church is striking.  Preferring?  Preferring? My heart cries blood when I think about teens reading this adiaphorous nonsense.

As for Jesus having the most fiery words to “legalists” you may be correct. It is not clear, however, He lit a match under them because of their legalism.  Instead Christ appeared to be more concerned with their religious hypocrisy not their ethical legalism. In fact at least once He tells His followers to do as they say, but don’t do as they do (Matt 6:2).   Even so, your premise seems to be, Shane, that abstinence is legalistic, and, if so, a flawed premise. I am no moral legalist, I assure; but I am an absolutist by ethical theory.  Nor does imbibing poisonous intoxicants readily fit, without distortion, the passage from Paul. It’s rather clear Paul had religious implications in mind not dangerous intoxicants.  He was not referencing social imbibing of intoxicating substances; rather he was speaking of meat offered to idols, hardly the same as we dispute now.

Now as for passing judgment on a view, my brother Shane, I cannot help but wonder what is one supposed to do with a view contrary to one’s own? Further, as for not “quarrelling” over opinions, I simply cannot see your point. To make sense of your interpretation, we would need to lay down our exchanges on just about everything.  Indeed Baptists are well-known for their “quarrelling” over everything. So be it. We hold dear with the reformation doctrine of all as priests before God.

As I mentioned somewhere in this thread or another recently, I did some research; I wrote a book; Hannibal was kind enough to publish the manuscript.  I was virtually willing to say, “I rest my case.” On the other hand, SEBTS (faculty) continues to send mixed signals on drink.  They continue to publish about it when, for almost a year and a half, I’ve said relatively nothing. If they want the debate, they’ll get it. I have absolutely no intention of sitting back on my behind while influential men (Greear is an adjunct professor, a regular conference speaker, and was one of the key players of the GCRTF setting the agenda for the SBC) parade their amoral musings on the most dangerous drug in the world. It’s not gonna happen, brother.

Thanks for the exchange.

With that, I am…

Peter 

peter

KC

Thanks for the contribution. Your point is magnificent. We inerrantists maintain one legitimate way to "solve" alleged discrepancies in the Bible is through harmonization. One gospel says there was one angel at the tomb; another says there were two angels. Is this a contradiction? No. It may be a difference but it is not a contradiction. Neither gospel records that there was one and only one angel at the tomb. Hence, harmonizing, we interpret the two different accounts.

The very same is true in the example you cite--some passages of Scripture commend wine while others condemn wine. What do we do? Well, the moderationist takes those that commend wine to the exclusion of those that condemn it. This is exactly what Greear did. Wine [though Greear wrote 'alcohol'] is "celebrated" in Scripture but not a thin recollection of those key moments when wine is flatly condemned in Scripture. But as you make clear, KC, this leads to a fundamental problem of interpretating the Word of God so as to emphasize an actual error.

As for SEBTS, I hope we're both wrong. But unless some clear direction on this issue is forthcoming, I can see challenges on the SBC floor to Danny Akin for allowing professors to send mixed signals about intoxicating substances to Southern Baptists.

Thanks again, KC.
With that, I am...
Peter

Shane

Peter,

I would have to simply say that I disagree with your statements. Paul says in no uncertain terms not to quarrel about matters of opinion, and you simply dismiss it saying "so be it." Is not that verse inspired by God? And about passing judgment - what is it that our brother Paul has meant by this statement? Is it simply there to be removed at will? It is not for me to tell you "what you should do", as you say, but I think we would all do wise to consider that question and the the reason for those verses rather than dismissing them. In fact, Paul answers it right there in the text. "Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." I still believe that this passage applies to this issue. We can argue and present our points, but judging is left for the "master" as Paul says. Please believe me when I say that I don't judge you for your position. I just disagree. It is before your own master that you stand or fall. And you will stand, for He makes you to stand. The fact is that we cannot stand on our own. Neither of us.

I do not come to the same conclusions on alcohol that you do, I'm afraid. I have heard your points with an open heart, and I am no addict to alcohol (or even a regular drinker for that matter) that I should be trying to convince myself other than what you are saying. I simply do not agree. You say that the ancient Hebrews had no understanding of alcohol as an intoxicant in reference to Psalm 104. You even say "Did the Hebrew people “celebrate mold”? No? Then, why would they celebrate alcohol? Frankly this is unmitigated nonsense." I don't agree here. The same questions could be asked about our culture. There are a plethora of verses that show alcohol and it's effects are well understood in that time.

"Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent." (Genesis 9:20-21)

and...

"Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman." (1 Sam 1:13)

and...

"And David invited him, and he ate in his presence and drank, so that he made him drunk. And in the evening he went out to lie on his couch with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house." (2 Sam 11:13)

and...

"And they went out at noon, while Ben-hadad was drinking himself drunk in the booths, he and the thirty-two kings who helped him." (1 Kings 20:16)

The list continues, but it's clear (to me at least) that alcohol as an intoxicating substance was well known in the Psalmist's days. It's also interesting to note what the wine does in the Psalm. It "maketh glad the heart of men", just as oil "makes his face to shine". He didn't say "make full the belly of man". Just interesting to note - not evidence in itself.

And concerning the 1:3 or 1:20 wine to water ratio, is that not just moderation? Where is the line?

It seems to me that your argument starts with an assumption - "alcohol is wrong" and you work your way backward through a number of assumptions and interpretations from there. There are a lot of "there's not reason to believe that the word here implies" and "this could also mean" statements up there which make up your opinions. For me, it is not compelling enough an argument to abstain.

Concerning your statement, "Even so, your premise seems to be, Shane, that abstinence is legalistic, and, if so, a flawed premise" - that is not my premise. One cannot judge whether or not a premise is wrong because it can be looked at in a legalistic way. I am saying that we should be careful not to overstep into legalism.

In short, I agree with many of your statements about Greear's logic being faulty - the fact that "God-loving" people enjoyed alcohol is not evidence that it is okay, the fact that Paul does not make it clear is also very dangerous, as we could make plenty of other arguments from here that do not appeal to our common sense. But I do not agree with your statements for the "wrongness" of alcohol.

I am very clear that I cannot "convince" you other than what you believe in this. That is my goal here. Like I said, this issue is not worth my time in my view. But I would like for you to see that this is an opinion that you hold. The way that you talk about Greear in this makes me worried. It seems that you strongly oppose not just his view, but also this brother himself for whom Christ died. I do not believe that the way you talk about him is in line with how we should treat and love one another as Christ commands. And I am not saying that you shouldn't oppose (and even vehemently so) his view on alcohol. You have full right to that, but it is so easy to attack the person with the issue. That's what I don't agree with more than your view itself. I know that I didn't act in line with this in my first post, and I sincerely apologize for that. I have condemned myself there. Hear me on this - if you truly are concerned about the Southern Baptists and JD and his church, then perhaps you should discuss this issue with him with an open and loving heart, and not one of condemnation. It is not for us as believers to condemn. That is the role that only God can fill, because He is the only one who can do so justly and rightly.

Regards,
Shane

peter lumpkins

Shane,

Thanks. I think it’s perfectly fair to “disagree with my statements” Shane.  But I most certainly did not “simply dismiss” Paul’s statement with a “so be it.”  Please read that one a bit closer:  I was referring to Baptists, their “quarreling,” and the priesthood of believers.  So your point is not well taken.  And, I’ll remind you what I stated about your interpretation, Shane:  “I cannot help but wonder what is one supposed to do with a view contrary to one’s own?…To make sense of your interpretation, we would need to lay down our exchanges on just about everything.”

Your very response demonstrates my point. If Paul meant “in no uncertain terms not to quarrel about matters of opinion” why are you disputing what I wrote?  Now, it’s not a problem for me for I don’t believe for a minute Paul meant what you say he meant.  On the other hand, given your interpretation, you’re explicitly disobeying what Paul in “no uncertain terms” said:  not to quarrel about matters of opinion. Nor does it help your point to say, “Please believe me when I say that I don't judge you for your position. I just disagree.”  Neither am I “judging” you nor Greear for that matter. I just disagree as well.

Second, no I most certainly did not suggest the ancient Hebrews had “no understanding of alcohol as an intoxicant in reference to Psalm 104.”  Where did you read that, Shane?  What I wrote above is hardly what you’re describing here.  Above I wrote:

“The fact is, however, if one reads these verses contextually, the obvious conclusion is, the Hebrew people were not thanking God for “alcohol”--an element they did not even know existed as alcohol--instead they were thanking God for their sustenance, their harvest, their livelihood, their very survival as a viticultural society. Indeed the only way to find “celebrating alcohol” in this passage is to place it there based upon preconceived notions”

In the passage, I denied the Hebrew were “celebrating alcohol” for a very obvious reason—they did not know the element of alcohol existed. And, while they knew very well something happened when either older wines were consumed undiluted or uncared for during the aging process (i.e. intoxication resulted), there remains not one thin line of evidence in Psalm 104 or other places to make one believe they thanked God for the intoxicating element of the grape produce, or, using Greear’s phrase, “celebrating alcohol.” 

And, allow me to state once again since you seem to have misunderstood my reference to mold.  Just as mold is an explicit indication that grain is beginning to deteriorate, so the presence of alcohol is a sign the grape is deteriorating.  My point was and remains, Israel thanking God for the grape’s alcohol would be like Israel thanking God for the grain’s mold. Nonsense.

Third, it’s obvious you did not read the thread, Shane.  You assert, “There are a plethora of verses that show alcohol and it's effects are well understood in that time.”  May I suggest you go back and read my lengthy reply to jpm above (especially “C”).  Why you think I deny ancients knew about the intoxicating effects of fermented juice is baffling to me.

Fourth, I haven’t a clue the point you’re making about  "maketh glad the heart of men", and “oil "makes his face to shine".  You’ll need to be specific.

Fifth,  no, I do not start with "alcohol is wrong" but with what, if anything, would the Bible have to say about wine, which is virtually the only parallel we have with any number of consumable intoxicants today. 

Sixth, you say your premise is not “abstinence is legalistic.” O.K.  But what did you mean, Shane, when you wrote this: “This is one of my biggest complaints…There is nit-picking…reminiscent of the Pharisees. I think we tend to forget that legalism is just as grave a mindset as liberalism. It is to the legalists that Jesus had the most fiery words”?  You wrote these words presumably as a challenge to my position here.  If you do not think “abstinence is legalistic” toward what does your references to “legalism” and “legalists” refer?

Seventh, you claim your “goal” is not to “convince” me or others toward another position, and even that this issue is “not worth my time in my view.”  Really?  Well, you could have fooled me, Shane. You’ve logged perhaps the longest comment on this thread.  You’ve quoted several Bible verses and corrected my alleged wrongful interpretations of Scripture. From my side of the street, you appear to be fairly well convinced the issue is worth your time.

Eighth, unless you show me specifically where I’ve been unfair to Greear, I’m afraid I haven’t a clue toward your meaning, Shane.  Please be specific if you’re going to state I judged him and condemned him rather than strongly opposed his position on alcohol.

Finally, of course there is an element of “opinion” represented here just as there is in virtually any position anyone ever takes on an issue, Shane.  What is your point?  That my opinion is no better or worse than another’s?  Just exactly what is your point? Are all opinions created equally?  Do some have more credibility than others?

Have a great evening

With that, I am…

Peter

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