Monday, July 17, 2006

Alcohol Study Methodology

QUOTES AND MORE: This section will be dedicated in the following Posts to quotes, statistics and former Resolutions.

“Alcohol is classified as a depressant drug, because it will depress the body and the mind…unlike foods, alcohol does not have to be slowly digested. It is immediately absorbed into the blood…(which) rapidly carries it to the brain….Alcohol affects all parts of the brain which also affects the heart rate, coordination, speech, and destruction of brain cells.” (National Education Foundation of America, available at http://www.cnoa.org/N-02.pdf)

“Resolved, that we, the members of the Southern Baptist Convention, reassert our truceless and uncompromising hostility to the manufacture, sale, importation and transportation, of alcoholic beverages in any and all their forms….Nor do we believe that any church should retain in its fellowship any member who drinks intoxicating liquors as a beverage, or visits saloons or drinking places for the purpose of such indulgence.” (SBC Resolution, May 1896).


ALCOHOL STUDY METHODOLOGY

Because, the methodology of the study is so long…I chose to post it today. I will post my perspective tomorrow, since it is important in qualitative research for the researcher to admit his bias upfront.

This study will examine the biblical, cultural and philosophical issues surrounding the partaking of alcohol in moderation. One question drove this study:

1. What is the current view of the leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention concerning the question of moderation in alcohol?

Content analysis will be the methodology used to answer this question. Historically, content analysis has been used primarily with quantity; in this study, however, it is used in a qualitative manner. In other words, this study is not as concerned with frequency as it is meaning. Therefore, this is a qualitative study that utilizes content analysis to answer the question which drives it. A description of the use of content analysis will be followed by a description of qualitative research.

Content analysis involves collecting, comparing, and categorizing data for communication. The application of content analysis for the question driving this study will include the following steps: (A) collection of data; (B) determination of the coding unit; (C) consideration of emergent categories; (D) analysis of data; (E) considering issues of reliability; and (F) insuring ethical safeguards and considerations. These steps are described.

A. Collection of Data
In researching data for this study the researcher contacted the heads of the SBC agencies, the current President and two past Presidents. The two past Presidents were selected because of their influence in the conservative resurgence from its inception, their continued influence and the researchers convenient sampling (the researcher knows these men). Those contacted were Dr. Danny Akin, Dr. Morris Chapman, Dr. Roy Fish, Dr. Jeff Iorg, Dr. Charles Kelley, Dr. Richard Land, Dr. Albert Mohler, Dr. Frank Page, Dr. Paige Patterson, Dr. Thom Rainer, Dr. Jerry Rankin, Dr. Phil Roberts, Dr. Bailey Smith, and Dr. Jerry Vines.

Each individual was asked to respond to “the morality of consuming alcohol from a biblical perspective” as well as other thoughts they may have about the resolution. They were given no constraints concerning the length or content of their response.

To date the researcher has received communication revealing at least 50% will participate. The researcher fully expects to hear that even more will participate. This is an extremely high percentage in a study requesting articles with no stipend given (it is not unusual to have 10% or less participation). The researcher assumes the participants feel this is an important issue to address. The articles will be read and posted respectively.

B. Determination of a Coding Unit
One of the most important decisions to be made in content analysis is what unit of text will be studied. The most common options are word, word sense, sentence, paragraph, theme and whole text.
Words are single symbols used in writing with distinguishable physical boundaries. Word sense distinguishes between multiple meanings of words. A sentence is a combination of words, which is complete; expressing a thought. Paragraphs are short records that can be difficult to assign into single categories, but are used to develop a particular aspect of the main subject. Themes are subjects that can be used successfully to describe an idea. Whole text is text that is larger than paragraphs and difficult to define (Weber, 1990).
The coding unit that is most appropriate for this study is the theme. In researching the data the themes abstinence, moderation, effects, strong drink/wine, wisdom, morality/holiness, and witness will be utilized.

C. Emergent Themes
New themes may emerge as the study progresses.

D. Data Analysis
Articles will be read and re-read searching for the themes of abstinence, moderation, effects, strong drink/wine, wisdom, morality/holiness, and witness. Material deemed relevant to these themes will be classified respectively. The researcher will review all material relevant to a theme and note similarities and differences. This will be done for each theme. Once similarities and differences are noted the researcher will synthesize the material for each theme into a framework which will provide the reader with general information as to what the leaders of the southern Baptist Convention believe about the moderation/abstinence debate.

E. Considering Issues of Reliability
Stability (which checks for accuracy within the coder over time) will be checked by having the researcher re-code one of the articles. Reproducibility (which refers to the extent that more than one coder arrives at the same results) will be checked by having a second coder code an article.

F. Ethical safeguards and Considerations
Content analysis is relatively unobtrusive since it involves text and not human subjects. Therefore, the question that this study seeks to answer is free from ethical compromise.


The main objective of qualitative research is understanding, rather than the ability to generalize or the identification of causes and effects (Creswell, 1998). The analysis of qualitative data discovered through research is intended to build understanding inductively, from the data, rather than deductively, from a priori hypotheses or categories (Gay and Airasian, 2000). Thus an understanding of the position of the current leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention on the issue of abstinence from alcohol will arise from the data.

Qualitative research is certainly value-laden, however, the researcher will try to stay as objective as possible.

Creswell, J. W. (1998). Qualitative inquiry and research design. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage Publications.

Gay, L. R. & Airasian, P. (2000). Educational Research. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Weber, R. P. (1990). Basic content analysis (2nd ed.) Newbury Park, Ca: Sage.

49 comments:

sbc pastor said...

I have posted an article entitled, "Baptists and Drinking: Drunkenness, not alcohol, is the problem," written by Benjamin Cole and published in the Dallas Morning News this past Saturday, July 15th. In the article, Cole criticizes Southern Baptists, the SBC’s recent resolution, the “fundamentalists” in the SBC, and teetotalers in general. Please enjoy the interesting read :) and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

peter lumpkins said...

Dr. Reynolds,

I think the project parameters are excellent. In addition, if I may speculate for a moment about the advocates for recreational usage of alcoholic beverages--I do feel they underestimated not only the passion of those known as teetotalers--not to mention the sheer volume of them in the SBC--but also Theo-Biblical sophistication of teetotalism's arsenal.

Our forefathers were decidedly more than dumbed-down Bible-thumpers. Research--both sociological & medical--sound ethical theory and Biblcal Revelation stand squarely on the side of non-advocacy of recreational usage of alcoholic beverages.

Have a great day. With that, I am...

Peter

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
That's it. I give up. I see no desire to encourage fellowship between those who share differing convictions on this issue. Did you read what you posted? I quote, "Nor do we believe that any church should retain in its fellowship any member who drinks intoxicating liquors as a beverage, or visits saloons or drinking places for the purpose of such indulgence." Is that what you are supporting? I see only a desire to promote propaganda which supports your position - and further drives a wedge between the abstentionists and moderationists. Is there no room for charity? As I write this, I'm looking in the yellow pages for the nearest PCA affiliated church. :)

Good night to all and to all a good night,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I just re-read my last post and it may be a bit confusing. When I said, "I see no desire to encourage fellowship", I meant that I saw (see) no desire from the abstentionist "camp" - I, personally, will always desire fellowship between those who adhere to opposite convictions regarding this issue. Sorry for the confusion.

PTL

peter lumpkins said...

Brother PTL,

Greetings, my Brother. To Dr. Reynold's credit, he was only quoting an historical source a half century after our SBC began. I know you did not mean to imply that that history should be ignored.

Yet,that historical heritage we cherish as Southern Baptists--both warts and all--make us who we are, and, hence, who we either need to be again or need never to be again.

Interestingly, all the hoopla over Church Discipline being a lost Reformational principle coming from our Founders' brethern is precisely the context of this resolution. This makes it quite humorous to me, in fact.

Nevertheless, like it or not, that's how strongly our Baptist ancestors stood against alcoholic beverages for recreational purposes. The question ultimately becomes, however, not how they stood on the issue, rather why they stood so firmly as they did. And, it is to that end, my Brother PTL, that these discussions will end upon the finality of "Scripture says."

Have a great day. And, please, PTL, do not yet look so quickly for another home. All families have their squabbles. Ask my wife! (who, by the way, usually wins:).

With that, I am...

Peter

posttinebraelux said...

Peter,
Unfortunately, the issue of alcohol consumption cannot be conclusively determined via sola-scriptura - else we wouldn't be engaged in all the hoopla. I too would be interested to know why our historic Baptist brethren stood so firmly against the consumption of alcohol - especially in light of that fact that the Bible is not quite as adamant. My point has always been that, in such "grey" issues, charity must reign. And there is an obvious vacuum of such from the abstentionist camp. I have been sorely dissappointed that this lack of charity would come from professing Baptists. And yes, I will begin the search for a denomination more charitable toward my Biblical doctrines.

Humbly,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I will continue to post where SB have stood historically on this issue...it is history not propaganda. And we would be wise to be stewards of such. However, I do not know why our fore-fathers took such a strong stand on alcohol...perhaps the study in God's Word brought them to the "conviction" that God's Word is clear, especially when one takes into the cultural/biblical context about strong drink.

In the church I serve we do not make it an issue of fellowship and I am sure some of the members imbibe (ie - fellowship between moderationists and abstentionists), but they know where their pastor stands and why he stands there...in other words the content of my words on this blog has been shared with the sheep.

If your church has a stand that prohibits fellowship with those who imbibe and you imbibe then you would be ethical and wise to look for another church but not necessarily another denomination, for unlike the PCA we SB are not hierarchical. In other words the SB convention may take a stand on alcohol but it is not applicable to the churches, for we believe in local autonomy...but if the PCA took a stand - guess what - your church would also. Further, as one who holds so strongly to following exactly what
God's Word says, you would be hard-pressed to find anything but believers’ baptism in the NT.

Nevertheless, the priesthood of the believer certainly gives us all the freedom to do as we feel God is leading us within the guidelines of His Word.

Which is what I am doing :)

I honestly believe abstinence from strong drink for recreational purposes is the Biblical position (Sola-Scripture), however my belief does carry implications. Yet, this would not keep me from fellowshipping with you, for I sincerely believe you think the Biblie is not clear on the issue. I would hope my speaking what I am convinced God's Word teaches would not keep other Christians from fellowship.

BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I want to point out that both positions carry implications. The moderationist position carries with it the implication that those of us who believe in abstenince do not depend on Sola Scriptura for our authority and that we are trying to enforce our "convictions," rather than God's Word on others.

Part of my point in posting where SB have historically stood is to reveal that to hold to a moderation view Scripturally is to imply that 90% of current SB and 61 previous SB conventions did not hold to Sola-Scriptura...which is a bold imlication.

I do not take these implications personally, but they still exist.
BR

mom2 said...

In life we make many choices. It sounds to me like alcohol wins for some people.
I don't think anyone is going to be mistreated at my church or any other Southern Baptist Church for their drinking. If they are so sure they are right, why do they feel they can't associate with us but have to leave?
I personally just think the ones wanting to drink or condone it, should just keep it a personal issue if they don't want to be confronted. Is their goal not the same as the one they accuse us of.....that of trying to convince us to change or accept their view?

brad reynolds said...

Peter
I did not make the connection between our reformed brothers and church discipline...good point.

I guess many of the "founder" crowd might say those poor uneducated SB had it right on church discipline but wrong on alcohol (convenient).
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Mom2,
Thank you so much for your post. What a great illustration of the lack of charity. "It sounds to me like alcohol wins for some people." - truly a quote to live by.

TTFN,

PTL

mom2 said...

posttinebraelux, I'm sorry that you feel offended, but it seems like the alcohol issue is something you are willing to "fight" for, so I assume it means a lot to you. That is human nature that we will fight for what means the most to us.
It has pretty well been explained to you that the stance of the SBC is a long standing thing and one cannot help but wonder why it has become such a hot button issue this year.
I am almost positive that there are members of our church that drink, but they don't make an issue of it (I doubt that they want everyone to know it) and no one confronts them, except we did have an issue with members who bought a liquor store.
That is not their sole source of income.
I pray that you will have peace within your own heart and peace with your brothers and sisters in Christ. I am sure that if you came to my church, I would welcome you but just don't expect me to think like you do.
God bless!

IN HIS NAME said...

Posttinebraelux and Peter,

I see your HEARTS and you both show the GRACE that GOD has given you. I PRAISE the LORD for young men of your knowledge. Peter, as Chris would say, your still dancing and I pray that continue in dialogs with Chris and Posttinebraelux.

A Brother in CHRIST

posttinebraelux said...

Mom2,
You are correct - we fight for that which means the most to us. And for me it's not alcohol (as you assume). It's a fight against the intolerance of the abstentionists (as evidenced by your assertion that those in your church who do imbibe don't want everyone to know it). Do you expect that their fear is one of judgement from their brothers and sisters? My sincere prayer is that they would concquer their fear and boldly stand for what they believe to be Biblical Truth. Not once have I tried to encourage you to believe like I do - I think that's what most have missed in these discussions. It's not my business how you interpret "grey" issues - that's between you and God. What is my business, however, is any Christian who maintains an attitude of intolerance toward those who do not share his or her convictions in areas where the Bible is deafeningly silent.
BTW, I will still gladly post - but more from the perspective of a Presbyterian who disagrees with infant baptism rather than a Baptist who holds a moderationist position regarding alcohol. :) I hope the Presby's are less judgemental.....

Sola gratia,

PTL

IN HIS NAME said...

Brad you said,

I honestly believe abstinence from strong drink for recreational purposes is the Biblical position (Sola-Scripture), however my belief does carry implications.

You keep using the word strong drink for recreational purposes.

Could you define what you mean?

I have asked you many times, where in GOD'S WORD does it say, it is a SIN to DRINK a glass of WINE with a Dinner.

You have to remember BAPTIST DON'T DANCE, when replying.

Your Brother in CHRIST

mom2 said...

posttinebraelux, My church is small enough that I know everyone pretty well since I have gone there 50 years and no, I don't think the drinking members keep their secret out of fear.
At least not fear of any church member.
I think a lot of presuming goes on in the minds of all of us, but we need to keep the chips off our shoulders and honor and worship God, not our own theologies.

posttinebraelux said...

Mom2,
I may need help knocking the chip off my shoulder - it's rather large. :) I wonder, why are the moderationists in your congregation secretive about their convictions if not out of fear of man? Surely they know that they cannot hide it from God. Regarding the worship of theologies, I adamantly agree - although I'm unsure of how to worship a theology. I do know that it's impossible to worship God without some theological basis regarding His character and nature. Do you agree? BTW, why is it that when you promote an abstentionist interpretation you're worhipping God, but when I promote a moderationist interpretation I'm worshipping my own theologies?


Confused,

PTL

sbc pastor said...

PTL,

In regards to your comments:

PTL: "Unfortunately, the issue of alcohol consumption cannot be conclusively determined via sola-scriptura - else we wouldn't be engaged in all the hoopla."

The moderationist view may be that this issue cannot be determined sola-scriptura, however I do not believe that many abstentionists would share that view.

PTL: "My point has always been that, in such "grey" issues, charity must reign. And there is an obvious vacuum of such from the abstentionist camp."

Certainly, charity must reign in both black-and-white as well as grey issues. However, abstentionists do not believe this to be a grey issue. Furthermore, your accusation that there is an "obvious vacuum" of love among abstentionists is preposterous. In fact, I believe that the evidence is quite to the contrary. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

sbc pastor said...

All,

In my experience, most (although probably not all) Baptist Church Covenants, which are affirmed when one joins a local Baptist church, includes terminology in regards to alcoholic beverages. For instance, our Church Covenant states:

"We also pledge... to abstain from the sale of and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage..."

Does your church have something similar to this in its Church Covenant?

Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

IN HIS NAME said...

ONE of GOD'S CHOOSEN with a HEART
Ted Stone

Among Stone's final speaking engagements was an address to a group of directors of mission preceding the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., in June.

DID THEY LISTEN?
There he implored Southern Baptists to stop regarding broken and hurting people as “second-class citizens in the family of God.”

Your Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

JLG
Our church does not have such in our covenant. My personal belief is that if we were ever to move to that point, we would spend much time in the New Members class explaining such a position Scripturally.

While I am very outspoken on this issue I would be just as outspoken on other mind-altering drugs, slavery, prejudice and suicide. I think it wise for churches to have high-standards for covenant membership, however, prejudice is more of a problem in the community I serve. If I were to lead a church this direction I would not single out alcohol but may include it in a list of vices from which to abstain.
BR

brad reynolds said...

in his name

Wise words
BR

sbc pastor said...

Brad,

I do agree with you that there are many other things that Church covenants should address. BTW, our covenant does address many issues - I only quoted the one phrase regarding alcoholic beverages. Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

posttinebraelux said...

In His Name,
I won't speak toward myself, but I'll be the first to agree with you regarding Peter's gentle spirit (even though he did use the word "whining" in reference to moderationists). :) Thank you Peter for your grace and humility.

PTL

Christopher Redman said...

Dr. Reynolds,

It will be interesting to see your committed support to our SB founders in the area of the doctrines of grace. I am also hoping that you will use MacArthur's beliefs to validate the truthfulness of these biblical truths as well.

I find it odd that you are now citing SBC founders who were abstentionists (as well as MacArthur) to add weight to your point on alcoholism. (convenient!) Will you do the same in your treatment of Calvinism?

(BTW, I agree that abstaining from alcohol is the best thing for Christians and I abstain from alcohol as well. However, their are legitimate interpetive issues of which I care not to discuss again. This subject is over from my vantage point.)

CR

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,
I'm sure if more churches made their members pledge an allegiance to a list of do's and dont's it would make it much easier for those who abhor doctrines of man to choose which churches not to attend. Keep up the good work dude. :)

PTL

Christopher Redman said...

Dr. Reynolds,

I just scanned through the comments. I haven't noticed anyone mentioning this as of yet. Do you realize that you are the honored guest, or perhaps, the man of the hour over at concernedsbcer.blogspot.com?

CR

sbc pastor said...

PTL,

Baptists are a confessional people and a people of the Book. However, as a Presbyterian, you may be unaware of that fact :)

Here are some other "doctrines of man" (as you call them) that we also affirm:

Avoiding gossip, backbiting, and excessive anger; Abstaining from the sale and use of intoxicating drinks as a beverage, the abuse of drugs, and the sale and use of pornography

Furthermore, we encourage brotherly love, being slow to take offense, and reconciliation.

Is it wrong of us to ask anyone considering church membership at SBC Waco to affirm these "doctrines of man" and this list of "do's and dont's" (as you call them)?

I think not.

In fact, I believe that many churches are plateaued or declining because they have absolutely no expectations, or doctrinal standards, of their church members whatsoever. However, I must admit that I am unashamedly and wholeheartedly a Southern Baptist.

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

IN HIS NAME said...

DOES anyone know who said this??

The portrait of a young leader is that of a shepherd who loves and leads his flock.

He does not attempt to drive them as a herd or even try to force them to follow him against their own will.

He simply follows His Lord and models the way for others.

This is the type of leadership that Southern Baptists have been blessed with for the last quarter of a century and it is the type of leadership that we as younger leaders should seek to demonstrate both now and in the future.

A Brother in CHRIT

PS: BRAD you still have not answered my question.

IN HIS NAME said...

SHOULD HAVE BEEN

A Brother in CHRIST

mom2 said...

My thoughts relating to making our own theology something we worship, I mean that we want the majority to look at things the way we do. Maybe the minority should consider that there is wisdom in the counsel of many.
I also believe that our early church leaders had wisdom and sought to know the mind of Christ.
It seems to be the way things go now, that the minority makes the most noise and hopes to get their way. If their way is the right way, there should be a way to bring about change without interrupting the real mission of our denomination and church. For 27 years there have been some that have still not been willing to forgive and move on. That is unhealthy. Now, I am afraid another storm has been stirred and for what reason, I have trouble understanding.

posttinebraelux said...

Mom2,
Don't fear the storm - God is always at the center of it. :)

Grace and peace,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,
BTW, apparently you and Dr. Aiken would disagree on the pledge of allegiance to alcohol abstention - not that Dr. Aiken is God's last word, simply that I'm sure you (as well as I) have tremendous respect for him. To quote him, " As a pastor or church leader, would I demand abstinence for church membership? No, I would not." (http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/religion/stories/DN-alcohol_15rel.ART.State.Edition1.23e377c.html). Just fodder for your consideration.

humbly,

PTL

sbc pastor said...

PTL,

I greatly respect Dr. Akin. He is a fine man of God and he is a faithful representative of our convention.

However, it appears that you have once again misunderstood :) I, personally, do not demand anything of our church members. Instead, our church has certain requirements of anyone who would become a member of our church. As a truly Baptist church, we have requirements for membership and are in covenant with one another:

"The membership of this Church shall be composed of persons who have given evidence of regeneration by the Spirit of God, who have been scripturally baptized by immersion, who have completed a New Membership class, and who have subscribed to the Church Covenant, Articles of Faith (BF&M 2000), and the Constitution and Bylaws of this Church."

In addition to requirements, we also have high expectations of our membership: regular attendance, faithful in supporting the church financially, a cordial attitude of cooperation, Christian conduct, and faithful participation in the organized work of the Church.

In contrast to many churches in this day, we have no desire to be like the garden club or the Elk's lodge :) We believe that many churches are plateaued or declining because they have absolutely no expectations or doctrinal standards of their church members whatsoever. If someone does not agree, then they are free to find a church of like faith similar to their own.

We are a Southern Baptist church in belief and in practice, not just in name. Many new church starts do not have “Baptist” in their name. However, we do – our name is “Second Baptist Church.” We are unashamedly, wholeheartedly, and unequivocally Southern Baptist.

I am sorry that some Southern Baptist’s (especially in the blogosphere) are ignorant of historic Baptist beliefs, are ashamed of having the name “Baptist,” and are angry that they are Southern Baptist. Although it is not my desire, it may be that both the PCA and the SBC would be better off if a few others followed your lead :) God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,
Interesting rebut, but again, off the point - I'll take the blame for that as I may have been unclear in my post. I'll make my questions as clear as I possibly know how: Do you disagree with Dr. Aiken's position on requiring a pledge of allegiance to alcohol abstention? If not, why do you impose such a standard on your congregation? If so, maybe you could share your thoughts about the pledge with him - perhaps he might just change his position......I only bring this point up due to your insistence that the leaders of the SBC be given strong heed - but wait, maybe that's regarding the abstinence issue.

Curious,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,
Interestingly enough, I'm not surprised or even hurt by your obvious desire for me to part with the SBC. (come closer, though - I've got a secret for you - we'll still be brothers). Scary, huh?
Brothers don't shake hands - brothers gotta hug (to quote from one of my favorite movies). :)

PTL

IN HIS NAME said...

SBC PASTOR,

I guess TED STONE would not qualify to be a member in your church.

May peace be with you

sbc pastor said...

PTL,

You quoted Dr. Akin as saying, "As a pastor or church leader, would I demand abstinence for church membership? No, I would not."

My reply to you was, "I, personally, do not demand anything of our church members. Instead, our church has certain requirements of anyone who would become a member of our church."

Which word did you not understand?

As the pastor, I do not require that anyone abstain - the church does. It's that simple. It's called congregational church polity (Oh, I forgot, Presbyterians don't believe in that either :)).

However, if Dr. Akin were to say that CHURCHES should not require members to abstain (which may have been his meaning) then YES I would RESPECTFULLY disagree.

I have great respect for Dr. Akin as both a man of God and as a theologian – and I do value his opinion.

In regards to your comment:

"I only bring this point up due to your insistence that the leaders of the SBC be given strong heed - but wait, maybe that's regarding the abstinence issue."

Yes, I do value the wisdom of the leaders within our convention. However, have you never heard that it is possible to RESPECTFULLY disagree? – That may be a common characteristic among many moderationists :)

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

brad reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
brad reynolds said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,
Is your point, then, that you - as a pastor - would not encourage your church to require such a pledge of allegiance? I wonder, where did SBC Waco (the church) get the idea to require such a pledge? Don't fret, brother - it's ok to disagree with the leaders of the SBC - I do it all the time. When you're convinced (by the Holy Spirit) that you're right and they're wrong, it is your obligation to disagree - Christ did. Oh, BTW, please allow me an observation. Your comments, while assumed to be innocent (I always assume the best of people), are inciteful. Whether you intended or not, you have made the implication that moderationists do not have the capacity to "respectfully" disagree. Remember, reality to others is not how you see things, but how they see things. I truly trust that your intentions are pure, but your commentary really does come off as boorish and demeaning. Just a thought.

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

CR,
In response to CSBCer someone has asked me to put into context my response…thus I have below.

Concerned SBCer says:
“Here's the problem. First, it (Deut. 14:26) isn't "a very difficult passage in the Hebrew". So Brad Reynolds is "conceding" a point I never made.”

However, Concerned SBCer’s assumption that difficult passages are limited to language is naive. The difficulty in the passage is not always a result of the language sometimes it is a result of an apparent contradiction in Scripture. Which is what we have in Deut. 14 (which is about tithing not alcohol) and its contrast with passages like Proverbs 23:29-31 and Prov. 20:1 which are Both ABOUT Alcohol. We always use clear texts to interpret unclear text, which sheds light on the need for Dr. Reynolds’ linguistical study on SHKR to reconcile the contradiction. Moreover this contradiction is also relieved if the Tithers’ diluted the strong drink, which was a common practice (the text does not say what they did with it).

He/She continues:
“Second, his cited reply above concedes my conclusion entirely. If the meal was "probably indistinguishable" from the Lord's Supper, then what was imbibed at that meal was "probably indistinguishable" from what was imbibed at the Lord's Supper.”

2. In his/her zeal to refute my second point he/she misses it totally. The point was not whether there were one or two meals, but rather some were getting into the “oinos” BEFORE it was mixed with water (the common practice). Thus, some were drunk while others went without! (Furthermore, I’m not sure he/she should so quickly dismiss early church documents as he/she does in his/her full response).

He/She also says:
“Something has gone wrong here. Brad Reynolds claims that, in this passage, "Paul didn't even condemn drunkenness." He must be reading a different passage than I am. The fact that "one is hungry and another is drunk" (v. 21) is precisely the problem Paul explicitly names and addresses. The fact that some are hungry, and some are drunk, is what leads him to exclaim "What!" (v. 22). Notice that his shock and dismay is not in reaction to the fact that "some are drinking," but rather "some are drunk".”

3. Concerning his third point. Anyone who just reads 1 Corinthians 11:20-21 would still have a difficult time arriving at the conclusion that Paul was condemning drunkenness. For if he was condemning drunkenness then he was also condemning eating “What do you not have houses to EAT and drink in?” However, there is a much larger context which makes clear that Paul was not condemning “drunkenness” but condemning the partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily “For he who EATS and DRINKS in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself.” (I Cor. 11:29)

In another posts he tries to address my concern about Jesus contributing to the drunkenness of others by saying, the head-waiter at the wedding was exclaiming:

“ordinarily, people get drunk on the fermented juice first. But you've kept the fermented juice until now. Incredible!”

WOW – Talk about bringing blinders to a text. Here was a normal wedding, where according to the CSBC’ers interpretation the waiter says this is not a normal wedding for we didn’t serve the fermented drink first. In fact, we weren’t planning on serving fermented drink, we were just planning on serving grape juice and then water…but Jesus you came and gave us, not more grape juice, but good mind-altering barbiturates.

The assumption that this was an anomalous wedding is unwarranted. The assumption that they still did not get drunk even after the fermented drink was made is amazing. And the assumption that the same word in this text is used for grape juice and fermented wine is mind-boggling.
BR

brad reynolds said...

ConcernedSBCer in his/her response to Peter Lempky’s objections to his/her assumptions reveals more of his/her presuppositions. He says

“Surely, if the text actually commended "boozing it up," then it would commend drunkenness, which contradicts quite a few other texts of Scripture. In addition, if "whatever your heart desires" was meant to encourage immoderate consumption, then the text would commend gluttony, which also contradicts quite a few other texts of Scripture.”

Precisely, ConcernedSBCer does exactly what he condemns the abstentionist for doing. Namely, using clear passages about a subject to provide light to passages that seem to be contradictory. (Proverbs 23:29-31 and Prov. 20:1 to provide light to Deat. 14:26).

He continues:
“We have an advocate of "total abstinence for all" who handles the text of Scripture by (i) inventing rules of word usage that are refuted by the passage and book under discussion, and (ii) presenting bare speculation as something "more probable" than the natural reading of the text in its context. Is this not remarkable? Where in the Scriptures does it say that the ancient Hebrews used "both wine and strong drink for the necessary purifying agents that they were"?”

Concerned SBCer’s continual refusal to allow for the historical context to be used when interpreting Scripture removes authorial intent. If “oinos” typically referred to wine mixed with water in that day but could also refer to grape juice and wine yet unmixed, then one should always interpret the text as wine mixed with water, unless it is absolutely clear it refers to one of the others. This is not “inventing rules of word usage,” it is abiding by hermeneutical principles!

In Psalm 23 we are not told what a shepherd’s “rod and staff” are used for…and yet when we understand what they were “normally” used for in that culture, we understand the text more clearly. Interpreting Scripture without sufficient attention given to the historical context causes numerous problems, not the least of which is requiring women to wear head-coverings when they pray or believing the Bible teaches moderation:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

My Second Response to Concerned SBCer

I have a problem with anonymous comments…if someone does not have the fortitude to place their name behind their beliefs then their beliefs are not very substantial in their own life, which makes them less substantial in the lives of others no matter how spirited the write.

However, while I am not in the habit of responding to anonymous writings I will respond again to the errant presuppositions made by ConcernedSBCer. Who said

“According to Dr. Brad Reynolds, there is an "apparent contradiction in Scripture," in this case, between Deuteronomy 14:26 and Proverbs 23:29-31 / Proverbs 20:1. On this basis, he alleges that Deuteronomy 14:26 is "a very difficult passage in the Hebrew." Unfortunately, Reynolds doesn't argue for this contradiction; he asserts it. Perhaps if he provides some supporting argumentation, I can interact with it.”

For the reader who has not a Bible allow me to quote:
“Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1)
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper.” (Proverbs 23:29-32)

These texts are dealing with alcohol!

“And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires; for oxen or sheep, for wine or strong drink, for whatever your heart desires.” (Deut 14:26).

This text is dealing with Tithing.

The apparent contradiction (for those who seem to be blinded to it) is that Proverbs is negative toward the use of Strong drink (a brawler and don’t look upon the wine) while Deut is positive toward the use of Strong drink. The hermeneutical principle I referred to is that we use clear passages about a subject (that is, passages dealing with alcohol and speaking of alcohol) to shed light on passages that may be contradictory and this unclear (that is passages dealing with Tithing and speaking of alcohol). Thus, Dr. Reynolds linguistical study on SHKR is warranted. Furthermore, we have clear evidence, as Robert Stein has shown that in the NT wine was diluted with water:

“The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia (vol. 12, p. 533) states that yayin, at least in the rabbinic period, was diluted with water….Wine stored as a liquid, however, would ferment. Professor Robert Stein, in his "Wine-drinking in New Testament Times" (Christianity Today, 20 June 1975: 9-11), tells us liquid wine was stored in large jugs called amphorae. The pure, unmixed wine would be drawn out of these jugs and poured into large bowls called kraters, where it was mixed with water. From these kraters, it would then be poured into kylix, or cups. Wine would never be served directly from the amphora without first being mixed. And according to other historical data on this period, the mixture could be as high as a 20:1 ratio or lower than 1:1….Drinking unmixed wine was looked upon by Greek culture as barbaric. Stein quotes Mnesitheus of Athens as saying, "The gods have revealed wine to mortals, to be the greatest blessing for those who use it aright, but for those who use it without measure, the reverse. For it gives food to them that take it and strength in mind and body. In medicine it is most beneficial; it can be mixed with liquid and drugs and it brings aid to the wounded. In daily intercourse, to those who mix and drink it moderately, it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds, it brings violence. Mix it half and half, and you get madness; unmixed, bodily collapse (MacArthur, Be not Drunk with wine).”

To assume that the ancient cultures except for the OT Hebrews purified their water with strong drink or wine and that this practice appeared for the Jews ONLY in the NT times is quite an assumption. And yet it appears he/she makes this assumption by claiming I have no historical documentation to support my view that the Jews could have diluted the “strong drink” in Deut.

He/She continues:
“Moving on to 1 Corinthians 11:20-21, Reynolds speculates (in the first link above) that "some were getting into the 'oinos' BEFORE it was mixed with water (the common practice). Thus, some were drunk while others went without!" Sure, this is possible. But again, Reynolds needs to argue from the text that this is likely.”

Concerning 1 Corinthians 11, the normal use of “oinos” should be assumed (wine mixed with water). If this is the case, then the only way some could get drunk is to get into the wine before it was mixed! Which explains why the hosts ran out. Surely, he is not assuming that the Christian hosts were so ill prepared that they did not have enough strong drink for everyone. The easiest solution is to assume the hosts WERE PREPARED for all their guests but some got into the wine before it was mixed. The maintains the meaning of “oinos”

Next he/she says:
“Despite the fact that Paul reacts in shock and dismay ("What!), not to the fact that some are drinking but to the fact that "some are drunk," Reynolds thinks Paul is not condemning the drunkenness. I really don't know what to make of this.”

If Paul were condemning drunkenness he wouldn’t tell them to go to their houses to do such drinking…he would say “don’t do such drinking!” He is condemning partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily!

Finally, in reference to John 2, he is CORRECT I misread his comments in statement D. In fact, He believes both wines were fermented and states:

"The assumption that they still did not get drunk even after the fermented drink was made is amazing." And I made this assumption... where? Perhaps Reynolds missed the closing four paragraphs of the post. My view is compatible with some people choosing to abuse the oinos which Jesus made, while other people choose to partake with moderation.”

He has certainly made clear that he believes Jesus provided the barbiturate for people to get high on…quite an accusation! Even many secular bartenders and flight attendants don’t do that; in fact they quit serving the abusers, instead of providing them with more.

My understanding of John 2 is that the “oinos” here was the typical oinos of the NT (wine diluted with water). The quality of the “oinos” is not dependent on whether it was mixed or unmixed with water and to assume that a head-waiter could not tell the difference in the quality of good-wine mixed with water from the quality of bad-wine mixed with water is lacking.

He has wisely not addressed the points I made in my post on why I am an abstentionist and the case against moderationists. I’m not going to hold my breath.

Finally, I have neither the time nor foolishness to argue according to folly. I will gladly respond as I see fit and will gladly interact with the anonymous individual here…but my post and comments are primarily to those who do not enter this discussion with their minds made up and who refuse to change.

We can always excuse that which we want, ad-nauseum…but for the moderationists or abstentionists who truly are open-minded we shall continue our pursuit of truthJ
BR

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