Thursday, June 29, 2006

What really happened at the SBC

I was exuberant at what God did at the SBC this year. And not just a little amazed. I headed into the convention expecting a possible impact and a real “fight” from the floor by and with the *Bloggers and the “new young leaders” of the convention, I was joyously disappointed. Here is the breakdown of the convention (as I saw it).

1. The Presidential Vote.
This concerned me as much as anything before the convention. The President has the appointment power that can change the course of the convention. My concerns were warranted, I believe, because of some of the Bloggers who were supporting Frank Page, yet having problems with the word inerrancy. I even spoke to one on the phone who said he had met with a group of BGCT pastors encouraging them to come and vote for “change” in the convention. I’ve always felt we are known by our friends as well as our enemies. However, as the convention neared my concerns were eased. I spoke to Ben Brammer (Frank Page’s son-in-law) who assured me of his father-in-law’s theology. I trust Ben totally and was comforted by his words. Furthermore, during the vote I noticed L Russ Bush, a bulwark of conservatism who helped lead the way in the conservative resurgence, voting for and sitting next to Frank. Finally, I listened intently to my President as well as a President of another institution affirm Dr. Page’s conservatism and election!
This coupled with the other results from the convention brings me to an acute view of what took place. The election of Frank Page WAS NOT a message to the leaders of the convention that we needed to change course. The election of Frank Page was over CP giving. That’s it. If there was a mandate that came out of the convention it was “either put up or shut up when it comes to supporting the convention.” I agree with Ben Brammer when he says his father-in-law would have been elected without the support of the internet (Bloggers). In fact, on every other issue at the convention to which the Bloggers spoke, they were soundly defeated! Let’s look to these.

2. The Wade Burleson Motion and Vote.
Some of the Bloggers who fellowshipped with Wade Burleson at the convention spoke for Wade’s motion to have the executive committee appoint a committee to look into the IMB Trustees. Wade asked that his motion be sent back to the IMB trustees with the stipulation that the chair not be able to appoint the committee. Wade was wise to ask this, since that was going to happen anyway. However, it went back without any stipulation to the chair – an apparent loss for Wade.

3. The alcohol Issue
The anti-nomian Bloggers push to keep the convention from speaking against the consumption of alcohol was not just resoundingly defeated, it was rejected with an amendment that applied the abstinence of alcohol to the Trustees of our institutions (a direct application to one of the foremost speakers on the Blog for moderation). This not only exhibited the faithfulness of Southern Baptist to know and interpret Scriptural principles accurately, it also revealed the relatively small impact of Bloggers (although they did have an impact).

My next post will conclude my analysis of the Greensboro convention with predictions for the future, especially in light of the 10% defeat and new young leaders.

* when I use the word “Bloggers” I am not identifying all of them, just those who seem united on the Wade Burleson, alcohol, and BGTC/BGAV issues.


J. Gray said...

Hi Brad.

Totally agree with you on the Frank Page issue.

Completely undecided on the Burleson issue.

Completely disagree with you on the alcohol issue.

You said this resolution "exhibited the faithfulness of Southern Baptist to know and interpret Scriptural principles accurately."

Really?? How so?

Where is that verse about total abstinence? What principles of interpretation lead you to believe that a total abstinence policy is biblical?

Sadly, as I see it, this resolution showed that the SBC is consumed with a massive preoccupation with alcohol. 57 resolutions on alcohol??? We get it...the SBC thinks alcohol is evil. (Still trying to find that verse as well.)

Now I understand it is easier for you to write off all bloggers(or even most of them) by calling them anti-nomian. Not a very fair tactic, in my mind, but you do it nonetheless.
I was against the alcohol policy...and not because I am anti-nomian (which I guess to you antinomian means alcohol drinker..hmm). I don't drink at all, so I am not trying to excuse drinking.

But I think the SBC has started imposing as "law" things that God never said was evil.
I think the resolution was unbiblical at worst, extrabiblical at best. It is a sad day when Jesus and Paul have been excluded by resolution from serving as a trustee in the SBC. Sad day, indeed.
I love the SBC, but we need help.

- Gray

brad reynolds said...


I think I asterisked Bloggers and at the bottom of the article made it clear that this was not all Bloggers, just those who are united with "Wade Burleson, alcohol and BGCT/BGAV issues."

In the coming days I will be addressing all your questions about alcohol, including 15-20 continual posts. For now, let me refer you to John MacArthur's sermon series found at

(You can see part 2 and part 3 by substituting 1937 and 1938 for 1936 in the above link) - Please pardon my technical ignorance, I know there is an easier way to post the link but I am ignorant of it.

Further, the statement that Christians should abstain from marijuana, cocaine or other drugs is also extra-biblical but I don't see the wine-bibbers saying that these are also permissible for enjoyment provided one lives in a country or state (California) where they are legal and one's use does not lead to a "drunken" or "high" state.

Finally, as you will see from MacArthur’s' research as well as that of Robert Stein. The wine of that day was so diluted by water that it would have been difficult to get drunk and would not be classified as alcohol by today's standards.

Furthermore, drinking the diluted wine for needed sustenance (because of an absence of other options) is much different from drinking undiluted wine for enjoyment.

Please read Macarthur's articles before responding here...It would save us both some time.

And thank you coming and participating on this blog. Since you are the first one to comment with whom I disagree I would like to ask you to help me keep the comments from descending to unwholesome language or personal attacks. If you notice my neglect, please let me know (although I haven't figured out how to remove comments yet - but will soon). I truly want this Blog to be an honest discussion of important issues without ad-hominal comments. I truly desire to honor Christ here. I recognize I am incapable of perfect objectivity, but will strive for imperfect objectivity.

J. Gray said... reason for this to become the "Caner Discourse" Part Deux. LOL

BTW, I have already read MacArthur's article.
Believe me I have great respect for Dr. Stein, as I sat under him at seminary for New Testament.

But I think the argument for the diluted wine is quite weak. The idea that the drink could not or did not get people drunk seems to be based on some serious assumptions.
What was it that Jesus created at the Wedding? Wine, right? Some would say, well it's the diluted wine, not the kind people got drunk off of ("strong drink").
But could people get drunk off wine?. In fact the implication there was the kind of wine he created was exactly the same as the kind served at most weddings where many people got drunk. Could people get drunk off the wine Jesus created? If the answer is "yes", it doesn't matter how many glasses it took, 1 or 100, it was alcoholic.

Now, let me be clear. I don't drink. I don't encourage anyone to drink, in fact I discourage it for all the reasons that are always discussed.
But I think it is a wisdom issue, not a sin issue.
If alcohol was a sin, why is it not talked about as a sin in Scripture?

See, sadly, in the SBC we have let our cultural preferences and extrabiblical concepts taint our views. We say Scripture is sufficient and authoritative...but then we go and add things to it.

If the resolution was about alcohol ABUSE. Then I'd be all for it. If the resolution was simply a recognition of the damaging effects of alcohol abuse (not use but abuse), then I'd be for it. But when it becomes a condemnation of something that is not condemned in Scripture, it's gone too far. When we say that trustees and leaders MUST be people who do not drink...we've gone too far. When Jesus can't be a trustee in the SBC, we've missed the point.

Moreover, since when is the fact that something is abused by people mean that we should outlaw it all together?
Dr. Akin, who I also love and admire, is simply off when he said food is a bad analogy. It's not. It fits. So does sex.

So, practically this resolution means nothing to me. As I said, I don't drink. I have no desire to do so. But where it works itself out is that drinking is NOT a sin, and I can't take that step. Drunkeness is a sin, but not drinking.

I'd imagine that no one in the SBC is desiring to outlaw prescription drugs...despite the possible damage that can be waged by people who abuse them.
Too many aspirin, you die.
Do we outlaw aspirin? Do we not let people who use aspirin, even in moderation-only for a headache, be trustees?

Let's be consistent, if we're going to do this.

But of course we won't do that - we are the kings of inconsistency in the SBC. We lash out against alcohol as we sit in a building with alcohol signs all over it.

I just wish we'd worry about sins that are actually sins condemned in the Bible.
Pride. (We brag about numbers all day long. "This guy had 8000 baptisms, isn't he great?")
Greed. (Do you think Guidestone could give us a lecture on greed? Maybe as we have agency heads making over 300K they can talk about it.)
Gluttony. ('Nuff said)
Drunkeness. (Let's put the focus on the REAL sin.)
and many more.

I think you get my point.

Brad, I think we agree on how this plays itself out in our lives. But the main issues I have with this are: (1)calling something a sin that Jesus didn't call a sin, (2)the SBC's sheer inconsistency in applying this reasoning to any other area in believer's lives, and (3)losing focus from where it should be when we agther for the SBC, Christ and our mission to spread the gospel to all men.

brad reynolds said...

The alcohol issue came to the forefront of my mind when Wade Burleson claimed that he believed we should give CP funds to someone who practices moderation in alcohol. This puts alcohol on the front burner, since it involves missions.

You are wise to point out the sin of gluttony. Were the SBC to bring forth a resolution against gluttony I would whole-heartedly vote for it.

Paul himself made a distinction between wine used for medicinal purposes and that used for enjoyment. No where does he tell Timothy to partake for enjoyment, but he does tell him to partake for his ailing stomach.

Inconsistency is when a pastor refuses to apply his logic for moderate consumption of alcohol for enjoyment purposes to moderate consumption of weed for enjoyment purposes. To condemn weed and applaud its illegalization but condone alcohol is the height of hypocrisy.

I drink alcohol for medicinal purposes at times(there is about 10% in the Nyquil I take). I have used codeine for medicinal purposes...but I will not partake of either drug for pure enjoyment and yes I believe to do so is wrong (this is consistent).

Micah said...

"..The anti-nomian Bloggers push to keep the convention from speaking against the consumption of alcohol..."

Which of the 10 Commandments outlaws the consumption of alcohol?

J. Gray said...

Is it possible to smoke weed and not get high at least to smoke and not be at some level of mental impairment?

You can drink alcohol in moderation and not be impaired or drunk.

No, you're right he doesn't tell timothy to take alcohol for enjoyment. But he doesn't tell him to avoid it either. The silence argument only goes so far.

There are verses throughout Scripture that pair alcohol with joy...and not in a bad way.

Lok, my point is this: we really have ZERO basis for saying alcohol consumption is a sin and therefore all Christians should not "imbibe".

Surely God would have told us if it was a sin...right?

brad reynolds said...

To say alcohol consumption was sin period would surely be erroneous for as Stein made clear wine was a necessity for survival.

But to equate today's alcohol with what Jesus partook of would be equally as erroneous.

I gladly allow consumption for survival or medicinal purposes (as with any drug)...hence there is no biblical prohibition. But there is no biblical prohibition against any drug use (alcohol is a drug). To claim freedom to use alcohol and deny freedom for all other drug use seems contradictory at best.

brad reynolds said...


The same one that outlaws the use of marijuana

Jeff Repass said...


I would like to respectfully make a few observations about your SBC analysis. You say:

"The election of Frank Page was over CP giving. That’s it. If there was a mandate that came out of the convention it was “either put up or shut up when it comes to supporting the convention.”

I don't think it is so simple. Surely this was a major issue. But if it was the sole concern on messenger's minds, why was Wiley Drake elected when his church gives 1% or less to CP? Further, would you not agree that even amongst some of the most conservative members of the denomination that there was a lack of enthusiasm about the establishment candidate? I would also suggest that the hometown factor played a substantial role.

Finally Brad, though you may be in disagreement with us, there are many conservative Southern Baptists like myself who are concerned about a narrowing of parameters as reflected in recent IMB policy decisions. I don't think it is fair to characterize us as anti-nomians or moderates. Would you characterize Joyce Rogers that way?

I believe you make a category error by attempting to group those who agree on "Wade Burleson, alcohol, and BGCT/BGAV issues." There are many different parties represented here.

The sum total of your comments seems to imply that the most noteworthy bloggers are less than conservative. For example, you state

"...some of the Bloggers...were supporting Frank Page, yet having problems with the word inerrancy."

In reality, most of the well-known SBC bloggers of whom I am aware are theological conservatives who affirm and defend innerrancy. If you know of some who aren't, please make note of them specifically. Perhaps you could quote some the statements you have read that lead you to this conclusion.

Overall, it seems that you are attempting to lump a large group of people together who have only one thing in common - they have visions for the SBC which differ from your own. You combine them, make vague generalizations which seems designed to discredit them, and then you imply that they are not that powerful and are having little if any influence on the SBC.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I urge you to use caution in labeling brothers who don't see eye to eye with you on all matters.

brad reynolds said...

Welcome and thanks for your affirmation of inerrancy and your love for the SBC. From your comments I think we may be closer than you think on many issues and if that is the case I certainly would not lump you with the Ben Cole/Wade Burleson conglomeration of Bloggers.

Wiley Drake’s CP giving was not in the BP and was certainly not well known, further I could not improve on Florida Baptist Witness explanation for his election.

You were right concerning the hometown factor being substantial. In another state, Jerry Sutton may have won, but his CP giving was substantial also. Ronnie Floyd, although a great man, was doomed because of his CP giving.

I’m all for cooperation but not at the expense of losing our Baptist identity. There is a reason I am a Baptist. The IMB has long held policies against the speaking in tongues and for immersion, and a host of other issues. To take CP money and give it to those who believe in baptismal regeneration or that baptism was not an ordinance given to the local church or believe in a second blessing is simply wrong in my opinion. Perhaps the IMB trustees could do a better job of communicating their intentions and precisely where they are headed – However I do not take Wade’s words to be inerrant at all. The dublicitous way he has treated me on his Blog reveals he is less than open-minded – I will speak more to this in the future when I explain how to be intellectually-honest in Blogging.

Ben Cole told me I could quote the conversation he and I had on the phone. Part of that conversation included his recollection of speaking to a group of BGCT pastors and encouraging them to come vote for change. When I spoke of inerrancy, he said it was no longer an issue. NO Longer an Issue? When speaking to a group (BGCT) of pastors associated with a convention that gives to the CBF (which refuses to condemn homosexual ordinations) inerrancy is not an issue? HELLO.

I need not tell you the connection of Bloggers united with Ben Cole and Wade Burleson.

You are right concerning their vision differing from mine. And I allow them to label themselves.

The following quotes came directly from Wade’s Blog from one’s supporting his vision for the SBC and apparently his candidate.

“Thanks for clearing up the "liberal" tag. So far as I know, I have not met one liberal in all my years in the SBC, and that includes CBF people.” - Milton

“Inerrant became a "talking point" in the early 70's by which to accuse those who believe different to the fundamentalist regarding non-essential to salvation parts of scripture. For instance if you apply Paul's writing to Timothy regarding women's roles in the church at Ephesus to the church of today then why do you allow Christian women to go to the beauty shop or wear jewelery, especially gold or pearls?” – charliemac

“The Bible can be trusted in what it teaches and affirms. Does not contradict itself but does with science, geography, and history. Without error in faith, morals, and salvation, but not true in all words or statements.” Rex Ray

“God did not want us to have a Bible that was perfect like of math book. He wanted us to believe by faith.” RR

“No one word has caused more harm among Christians than inerrancy. I pray it will expire from where it came--the smiling lips of the devil.” RR

“There are a lot of us out here who aren't angry, who name Christ as Lord, and believe in His Word who no longer consider ourselves Southern Baptists--and affiliate with CBF. We're not the enemy.” Vern Patterson

“For the first time in many years I have hope for what I believe is a needed course correction in the SBC. I was one of those called by some “LIBERAL”. I chose to fight politically what I saw as a political take over of the SBC. I was present at the formation of the CBF. For me it was religious politics, not theology” – Hershel

By the way, Wade usually responded to my comments and spoke against most of them. He didn’t even respond to most of these comments…interesting.

Jeff Repass said...


Thanks for the reply.

I believe when you refer to "bloggers" who are not innerrantists or have ties to CBF, you leave the impression that those individuals are actually operating a blog related to SBC matters. The examples you cited appear only to be individuals who posted comments.

I read some of the exchange between you and Burleson, and I agree that he took a harsh tone with you. I found this regrettable. Your approach seemed generally mild (though you certainly upped the rhetoric with Ascol yesterday).

Still, to Wade's credit, he has been a staunch defender of innerrancy and has been a bold opponent of CBF (bold opposition seems to be his style). I am not sure that it would feasible for him to lecture every mod or lib that stops by and leaves a comment considering the volume of comments he recieves.

As for the IMB, please know that I am opposed to baptism for regeneration. I don't know of anyone at the IMB who isn't. Perhaps you are aware that the former IMB baptism policies did not consider such baptisms to be acceptable. It seems that many who support the new policy like to bring up baptismal regeneration. I presume this is to gain support for the new policy. But the new policy actually deals with the baptismal administrator's beliefs about eternal security.

Further, I agree with you that the IMB should not employ people who teach a second blessing. But as you know, there is a distinction between a belief in a second baptism and the belief that a person today could have the gift of tongues. The former tongues policy already prohibited speaking in tongues publicly, but to my knowledge, there has never been an IMB policy which prohibited doing so privately. I am told that some fine missionaries dating back many years claimed to have this gift, though they did not use it publicly and did not promote it as a gift others should seek.

Finally, I don't think that the conglomeration of bloggers associated with Cole and Wade are monolithic. Again, you seem to imply that they are a very united bloc and that they are linked to softness on innerrancy. I don't think you can make that leap. The same is even true of the BGCT to a certain degree. I certainly do not agree with the direction of BGCT leadership, but I can tell you that there are many conservative SBC-supporting churches who are still in the BGCT fold. The reasons for this vary. I think there are still a lot of conservative pastors here who are unsure that splitting was such a good idea.

Anyway Brad, I'm sure it's true that we have many things in common, but I find that you paint many things with a broad brush. Perhaps I am no better, but I think details are important.


Cliff4JC said...

I'm offended! For weeks I encourage you to start a blog...and you decline. Then, after starting one; I find you have been not only ignoring my personal emails; but you didn't tell me you started the blog. I'm left to find it myself while reading your posts talking about our conversation on Tom's blog! LOL

Glad to see you hear! I look forward to interacting. Congrats on the new baby.


Cliff4JC said...

Isn't there something in 2 Hesitations about listening to Gold City and teaching student ministry?

brad reynolds said...


Welcome, I sent you an e-mail yesterday, that I started a blog, but the e-mail got sent back. Maybe it's my server or perhaps you have so many e-mails from your camp students your box can't handle anymore.

Anyway, welcome my friend!!!

brad reynolds said...

When I say bloggers I mean those who traverse the Blog community leaving comments...sorry if that was misleading.

Concerning the conglomeration...if some fit in it, I was speaking of them, if not, I was not.

We are known by our friends as well as our enemies.

Concerning Ascoll's Blog I thought my comments were like sheep amidst wolves (but then again I'm bias).

J. Gray said...

Bloggers are guilty by association? Come on.

Do you think Wade Burleson denies inerrancy?
No, he doesn't.
Just because some people who post on his blog are theological moderates/liberals does not mean he is.

This idea that all the bloggers are a bunch of liberals who want to destroy the SBC has got to stop.
I know you like to think of yourself as an anomaly on the blogosphere...but you're really no different than anyone else.
You have your opinions on these matters, so does everyone else....we discuss them and wade through the garbage.

There is not some great blogging conspiracy, as many SBC leaders want us to believe. (I heard with my own ears at the SBC...from men I greatly respect.)

Blogging is a means of communication and discussion. It just so happens that there are some SBC pastors that blog. Many of them are not that happy with some of the decisions and statements of the SBC, and have said so on their blog. Is that wrong?
No, it's not. Last I checked the SBC was a bottom up cooperation, not top down. If these men have issues, they have every right to discuss these issues...even if Paige and whoever else don't like it.

Do I agree with everything said on these blogs? No!!
People are all over the board....that is why there is discussion. There is not a single "blog-blob" that goes around and everyone agrees on everything. That is foolish, simplistic, and riciculous to think that bloggers are of one mind.

I disagree with Burleson on some things. I disagree with lots of guys on some things. But it doesn't mean they are not right in other areas.

IMO, the SBC leadership (on the whole) has blown off bloggers as single-minded malcontents. That simply isn't the case.

brad reynolds said...

The BP and other major Baptist press sources as well as some of the Bloggers have emphasized the union as a group.

To brag on their Blogs the difference that they made as a group at the convention and then act appalled when someone would classify them as a group is most duplicitous.

I stand by my statement "We are known by our friends as well as our enemies."

J. Gray said...

How many bloggers do you think there are?

Of those, how many do you think went to the SBC?

What exactly did the bloggers impact?

The only impact the bloggers had, IMO, is they were discussing the issues for a long time before the meeting. The info got out into the hands of most people through blogs, and various online state papers.

My question is: is it a bad thing that the information about these issues, resolutions, etc. got out to the average person in the pew?

brad reynolds said...

No it's not bad at fact it's good.

John said...

Hi. Let me make some quick comments on your legalism:

You: "Finally, as you will see from MacArthur’s' research as well as that of Robert Stein. The wine of that day was so diluted by water that it would have been difficult to get drunk and would not be classified as alcohol by today's standards."

The watered down wine argument is hard to believe. Why is there so much warning about drunkeness if it was all so watered down? I think its just a ploy of those whose conservative culture has blinded them to what the Bible really says: the Lord Jesus made "wine" -- and that for "recreational use."

You: "Paul himself made a distinction between wine used for medicinal purposes and that used for enjoyment. No where does he tell Timothy to partake for enjoyment, but he does tell him to partake for his ailing stomach."

Actually if you read the text carefully, Paul made no such distinction. He doesn't tell Timothy to take wine like medicine. He tells him to change his diet to include wine because it is healthier.

You: "To condemn weed and applaud its illegalization but condone alcohol is the height of hypocrisy."

Forgive the sarcasm but. . . You're the guy over at "Founders" talking about "logical conclusions"? Seriously, that's a silly comparison. First, marijuana, so I understand, is nearly instantly intoxicating. Alcohol in moderation is not. (Unless you're accusing the Lord Jesus of getting intoxicated since He frequently drank wine -- and that for recreational reasons -- and it wasn't "watered down.") Second, illegal drugs are illegal. Illegality makes it different as we are to respect the rulers as instituted by God. If prohibition were brought back, then it would be wrong for a Christian to drink because it would be illegal.

You're just arbitrarily changing the meaning of the word "wine" to mean something other than it plainly means. Liberals do the same with texts on homosexuality or the roles of women. If you don't like the text, just change the meaning of the words. That's wrong.

You: "Concerning Ascoll's Blog I thought my comments were like sheep amidst wolves (but then again I'm bias)."

Really? You went there and defended someone who clearly made course and discourteous comments. And you're the sheep?

You've called those who don't believe the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul were sinners for drinking "wine" (not water with a few drops of wine but "wine" -- that's what the Bible says), you've called them "antinomians." I'm wondering if you're willing to apologize for that.

An antinomian is someone who does not believe God's law has a role in the life of a Christian. Now, God's law is not that collection of mores you were taught as a child but what is found in the Word of God. (That book that tells us that the Lord Jesus turned water into . . . not watered down grape juice!) For example, scripture condemns causing unnecessary divisions in the church (Titus 3:9-10). That is, someone who makes up their own laws (like against "wine") and uses that to cause divisions in the Body is sinning. The antinomian would say it doesn't matter. Let them sin that grace might abound. Let them continue to make up prohibitions out of their culture and impose it on people and claim they're sinning; let them divide the church with legalistic resolutions. "It's ok!" That's antinomianism. So a Bible-believer (rather than a cultural Christian) would not be an antinomian just because he allows doing what the holy Lord Jesus did (i.e. drink "wine") if he calls legalists and divisive people to repentance for their sin.

brad reynolds said...


You said “Let me make some quick comments on your legalism”

First the Biblical meaning of legalism is salvation by the law. Please do not call those who uphold Biblical morality legalists (for that matter don’t call those who have higher standards than you legalists). To do so exaggerates both an ignorance of legalism and Biblical morality.

You said “The watered down wine argument is hard to believe.”

Please read MacArthur’s articles on oinos it would help you. Google “John MacArthur be not drunk with Wine” and read all three parts! Please do not comment again until you have read this.

Just because people normally watered it down for daily use (fluid necessity) does not mean it was always watered down – hence the warnings of drunkenness.

You said, “He doesn't tell Timothy to take wine like medicine. He tells him to change his diet to include wine because it is healthier.”

Your comprehension of I Timothy 5:23 is far removed from accurate. The Greek literally translated “No longer drink water but use a little wine for the stomach of yours and your frequent sickness.” Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon makes clear that “asthenias” (which means weakness or sickness) here means sickness.

You said, “First, marijuana, so I understand, is nearly instantly intoxicating.”

You can dilute marijuana just as you can dilute alcohol.

You said “Second, illegal drugs are illegal.”

Please read all my comments before posting…I’ve addressed legalization of marijuana!

You said “For example, scripture condemns causing unnecessary divisions in the church (Titus 3:9-10). That is, someone who makes up their own laws (like against "wine") and uses that to cause divisions in the Body is sinning.”

In Titus Paul was speaking to the visible local church, but I’ll accept your application to the broader invisible church.

Just so you know, the New Testament was not written in English. It was actually written in Greek. And oinos was the word that we translate as wine. As New Testament Scholar Robert Stein makes clear the word was usually used of wine that had been “watered down.” We don’t arbitrarily have the freedom to change oinos to California Zinfandel. As you say, “liberals do the same…”

Finally - Surely, Jesus wouldn’t be contributing to the drunkenness of others at the marriage of Cana. I’m certain you agree that drunkenness is sin and further, aiding one to sin by providing the substance for sin is surely wrong.

John, let us both try to keep this conversation civil.

brad reynolds said...


One final note - I was not taught from a young age that alcohol was wrong, just drunkenness. In fact in my Christian home I drank Whiskey at a terribly young age.

John said...

Dear Brad,

Hi. You wrote: "First the Biblical meaning of legalism is salvation by the law." Please point out the verse where the Bible defines "legalism" in this narrow way.

As for your call to be civil, you might want to start by retracting: "Please do not call those who uphold Biblical morality legalists (for that matter don’t call those who have higher standards than you legalists). To do so exaggerates both an ignorance of legalism and Biblical morality."

Legalists are those who impose their own man-made laws on others. I'm speaking as the Lord Jesus, a recreational wine user and maker!, did when he condemned the pharissees in Mt. 23 for various fabricated laws, not necessarily in the context of salvation (which the pharissees apparently had little concept of.)

As for oius, it means "wine". To redefine it as something else just so it nicely bolsters Victorian era prohibitionism is no more a right and reverent handling of the holy, inerrant Word of God, than is re-interpreting kephela ("head") to mean "source" or any of the other word twisting that homosexual advocates do to negate the scriptures they don't like. It is no more right to mangle scripture for a "conservative" purpose than it is for a liberal one.

I've read 1 Timothy 5 carefully and I believe you are wrong. Martin Luther commented that Timothy was probably, as an earnest, godly young man, being too ascetic with himself and with-holding wine from his diet, eating and drinking simply. Paul tells him to change his diet to include more wine. By the way, lexicons are not the best means to find the meaning of a word in any particular context but looking at the context is.

Yes, Paul was speaking to a local church in Titus 3:9-10. And he tells Titus that someone who causes unnecessary divisions in a church (I would assume any church) is guilty of a serious sin and should be confronted. Seeking to impose man-made, Victorian era prohibitionism onto the church will cause such divisions and should be resisted.

By the way, "Biblical morality" (a term I've probably used some too), is not a particularly precise term. Morality (like "values") is technically relative thing, depending on the "mores" of the people involved. God's Word in scripture are inherently absolute.

Your comparison of alcohol with drugs that immediately intoxicate is not serious. Please stop such non-serious arguments.

brad reynolds said...

A much less rhetorical, yet still erroneous comment.
Thank You.

The Pharisee's laws were related to their understanding of salvation by the law. For an understanding of legalism being salvation by the law read Galatians.

Already dealt with oinos (not oius as you say)

Your assumption that Thayer did not use the context is quite revealing. Further, it is good to use the context to arrive at the meaning of a word…but we should use the Greek NT rather than King Jimmy’s amazing work.

Alcohol is a drug. Please inform yourself more.


John said...
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