Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dr. Jerry Vines' Article on Abstinence

QUOTES AND MORE:
“We declare afresh our unalterable opposition to the whole liquor traffic, whisky, beer, and wine, and to the license system by which this most blighting and corrupting traffic fastened upon our body social and body politic. We stand unalterable for total abstinence on the part of the individual and for prohibition by the government, local, State, and National, and that we declare relentless war upon the liquor traffic, both legal and illegal, until it shall be banished.” (from SBC Resolution, 1938).

O thou invisible spirit of wine, if thou hast no name to be known by, let us call thee devil. (William Shakespeare).

DR. JERRY VINES’ ARTICLE ON ABSTINENCE

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO SEPARATION?

Messengers at this year’s SBC meeting got quite a wakeup call. I refer to the lengthy discussion of the resolution on alcohol. Now, resolutions with reference to the manufacture, sale and use of alcohol at the SBC meeting aren’t unusual. But, this year, there were several who raised objections to the total abstinence position taken. Although the resolution and the amendment passed overwhelmingly, many messengers were shocked that there would be any opposition or discussion at all. I was not shocked. For some time now I have been aware that there is a small group among us advocating moderation in the use of alcohol rather than total abstinence.

I was not shocked. I was saddened. It is an indication that the line of separation between believers and the lost world is being gradually erased. I was saddened. I was not surprised. We have seen it coming for sometime now. Large numbers of our churches and our pastors seem to have forgotten or have ignored the Bible’s teaching concerning separation. The Bible is very clear that believers are to live lives of separation. Of course, there is a positive aspect to Bible separation. Paul testified he was “separated unto the gospel of God”(Romans 1:1). Bible separation begins with our absolute commitment to Jesus and His Word. It’s first, who you turn to, not what you turn from. But, there is also a negative side of separation. II Corinthians states it clearly, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing..”(II Corinthians 6:17). Love creates the desire for separation. If I truly love my wife, I separate myself from all others.

The neglect of this clear Bible truth has caused rampant worldliness in our churches, and sadly, even in the lives of too many of our leaders. We seldom hear anything in church about what Christians should not do. I know the danger of extremes. Legalism is certainly to be avoided. But, I don’t find many of our Baptist people in danger of that! And we must also avoid isolation. We are not to be isolated from the world; we are to be insulated from it; and we are to infiltrate it with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, I wonder, is anything considered worldly anymore? I John 2:15-17 is still in the Bible.

So what does this have to do with the use of alcohol? The case against the use (not just the abuse) of alcohol is easy to build. Physically, socially, domestically, influentially, and yes, biblically, total abstinence is the only way to go for a Christian who takes Bible separation seriously. As the old saying goes, “alcohol has many defenders, but no defense." In coming weeks I plan to set forth the Bible’s position on the use (not just the abuse) of alcohol. To think that there are now pastors of churches, leaders of youth groups and members of boards of SBC entities who are promoting moderation rather than total abstinence shows just how far down the road to apostasy we have traveled. When I was a student at New Orleans Baptist theological Seminary I preached and witnessed every week in the French Quarter. I heard just about all the standard arguments for moderation from the winos. To hear the same arguments used today by those who are spiritual leaders really saddens me.

I think it would be a good time to call a meeting. Let those among us who are advocating moderation in the use of alcohol gather and issue a call to repentance. To repent of worldliness, in sins of the spirit as well as sins of the flesh. To repent of the sin of encouraging a position on the use of alcohol that will lead thousands to addiction and destruction. And issue a call to return to Bible separation. To see, not how close to the cliff of worldliness they can ride, but how far from it they can stay.

Jerry Vines

166 comments:

sbc pastor said...

Thank God for men like Jerry Vines that actually still believe and preach the Word of God!

Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

I hope and pray that those advocating moderate consumption of alcohol either separate from worldliness or separate from the SBC - a convention that has no desire to be "conformed to this world." Our convention doesn't need any more "moderate's."

God bless you and God bless the SBC!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Christopher Redman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Christopher Redman said...

I deleted my last comment. Suffice to say, I think it wise if our current president, Frank Page, would publicly ask everyone to allow this issue to rest and call us back to cooperation for the kingdom again.

Jeff Repass said...

I respect Dr. Vines and appreciate his committment to God's word. In this particular case however, I differ with him. I believe that his argument for seperation could be applied just as vigorously to wearing make-up, playing cards, or listening to music with an upbeat tempo. I do not drink, but I am unable to see any grounds for creating a distinction between wine and strong drink in the New Testament.

I believe that such an interpretation is based primarily on cultural presuppositions. I could be wrong, but don't see why my differing interpretation requires that I repent.

mom2 said...

I believe that such an interpretation is based primarily on cultural presuppositions.

Cultural caught my eye. There lies a lot of our problems. We have become like the frog that was put on the stove in cold water and gradually brought to the boiling point. He died before he realized what was happening to him.
Are we going to let our churches die in the same manner as we adapt more and more to the world's culture?
God does not change and the standards that brought blessings to Nations in Bible times are still the same. Read and see what caused destruction and you can see so much of the same things going on today with the approval of even church members. God help us is all I know to say.

sbc pastor said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
sbc pastor said...

Mom2,

You are a wise and godly woman. God bless you!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Nathan White said...

“For some time now I have been aware that there is a small group among us advocating moderation in the use of alcohol rather than total abstinence.”

Advocating moderation? Certainly not. Rather, there are some who are advocating holiness through means other than man-made rules. Instead of ‘advocating moderation’, they would prefer not to use a political process to force a rule on others that scripture fails to set. Nobody is ‘advocating’ anyone to take a drink of anything.

“The Bible is very clear that believers are to live lives of separation.”

Amen to that. Paul instructs leaders to not be given to much wine, therefore instructing us on the line between separation and the rest.

“The neglect of this clear Bible truth has caused rampant worldliness in our churches, and sadly, even in the lives of too many of our leaders.”

Worldliness stems from a much deeper issue than just an outward issue such as alcohol. Mainly, it comes from a misunderstanding of the gospel itself. This is the main reason for conferences such as Together for the Gospel conference…in which secondary issues were temporarily set aside for a return to biblical truth concerning what is really important.

“To think that there are now pastors of churches, leaders of youth groups and members of boards of SBC entities who are promoting moderation rather than total abstinence shows just how far down the road to apostasy we have traveled.”

Promoting moderation? Again, I feel this is an inaccurate statement. Towards apostasy? I find this statment puzzling in light of Paul stating: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

brad reynolds said...

Jeff
Actually, I think his argument is better applied to marijuana, slavery, cursing, cloning and suicide than to playing cards or music. Alcohol (Strong Drink) is a barbiturate, a mind-altering drug, which the bible warns against.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Nathan,
I shall assume that you include other barbiturates, suicide and slavery in “man-made rules.”

And actually, Solomon instructs leaders to use no wine (intoxicating drink), for such causes forgetfulness of God’s law and perversion of justice.

You are correct about the root of worldliness. But roots produce fruit. The evidence of the worldliness within is expressed without.

Excellent point about Paul’s statement that the kingdom of God is about RIGHTEOUSNESS, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

All,
Nathan could not have been more accurate in his assertion that, "Worldliness stems from a much deeper issue than just an outward issue such as alcohol." It is a sign of a lack of personal responsibility when we, as individuals or in corporate (as the SBC), blame our worldliness on something or someone besides ourselves. If I am worldly, it is not because I understand the Bible to present a "moderationist" stance on alcohol, it is because of my own sinful nature. To blame alcohol for the church's worldliness is inane. Further, Dr. Vine's use of II Cor. 6:17 is out of context; the context of that passage has to do with our intimate relationships with others - we are not to be intimately related to unbelievers. To apply it to alcohol (an inanimate object)is misleading and inappropriate. A better application of alcohol can be found in Acts 10:15, where God told Peter (concerning that which goes into the mouth), "What God has cleansed, you must not call common."
With regard to Dr. Vine's rhetorical question, "is anything considered worldly anymore?" followed by the reference to 1 John 2:15-17, again, Dr. Vines is misapplying scripture. The book of 1 John concerns "love" - either love for the world or love of God, Christ, the Bible, and brethren. To imply that those who hold a Biblical view of alcohol (moderation) are, "in love with the world" is a preposterous accusation.
With regard to Dr. Vine's allegation that careful and Biblical exegesis of God's Word is the same as, "just about all the standard arguments for moderation from the winos." is insensative at best and is simply mean-spirited. How can he honestly compare the views Bible scholars to that of winos? Finally, Dr. Vine's request that, "those among us who are advocating moderation in the use of alcohol gather and issue a call to repentance" borders on assuming the role of the Holy Spirit. A more loving and Biblical statement would have been, "Let those among us who are persuaded that the Biblical position on alcohol is moderation be convinced by the Holy Spirit and God's Word of their inaccurate interpretation of Scripture - and then may they respond as God guides them." - although that prayer, would be a moot prayer as, if the request was granted, the Holy Spirit would be misleading us. :)
I truly am dumbfounded that a leader in the SBC would lower himself to this level. True, worldliness is rampant in the church, but this is evidenced not by our position regardig the Biblical view of alcohol, but rather, by the lack of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, for truly against such, there is no law.

SBCPastor,
Verily your congregation must be blessed by your loving and gentle spirit. PS - I try every day to seperate myself from worldliness; I often fail, but God's love is relentless - unlike others' who would simply choose that some, "seperate from the SBC."

Grace and peace to all,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
No matter where one falls on this issue, it is unwise to speak ill of men of God. Not that you are doing this, but it is the impression I got.

Further, it MAY be our own sinful nature, which leads us to the position of Moderation.

To imply II Cor. 6:17 does not apply to holy living (abstaining from certain actions) is just wrong.

Moreover, if you think Dr. Vines comments on worldliness and alcohol are strong, then be not a reader of George Whitfield’s and Billy Sunday’s sermons (men God used to bring Awakenings to His children).

Further, how can you say, the winos did not claim that Jesus turned water to wine and therefore we should drink. Surely, you’re not implying Dr. Vines lied about an event, where you were not.

Finally, I really did like your comment: "Let those among us who are persuaded that the Biblical position on alcohol is moderation be convinced by the Holy Spirit and God's Word of their inaccurate interpretation of Scripture - and then may they respond as God guides them." And felt it was wise. Only I would add “and then Repent” for that is how God guides us when we are wrong:)

I hope I don’t sound to harsh. It is not my intention:)

I am appreciative that you feel the Holy Spirit is misleading me:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

To All
Before I get a lecture...Let me state it is perfectly legitimate to disagree with men of God. They can err. But unwise to attack them...which I do not think was the intention of PTL. However, when I first read the comment I certainly wondered.
BR

Timmy said...

Mr. Reynolds,

Please do not take this wrongly, but Dr. Vines is not the only man of God in the SBC. Dr. Vines' statements are more accusatory than harmless statements, and he has spoken ill of everyone who does not hold to his position. His contribution, unfortunately is resulting in separation, but it is not the kind the Bible calls for. This separation is that of godly, conservative brothers in the SBC.

Dr. Vines' statements have been condescending and have attempted to play the role of the Holy Spirit whether one wants to admit it or not. While I have great respect for Dr. Vines and other leaders in the SBC, they do not hold the trump card in this discussion. While the leaders chime in on the discussion (which is well worn out), people will hold their arguments in light of Scripture with equal treatment as those in the moderation camp.

Timmy said...

Mr. Reynolds,

As I posted my last comment, I just saw your statement posted before mine. Nathan and PTL have made some good points which should be considered for what they are, not carrying assumptions or implications which do not present themselves therein. As you have realized, you have taken liberty to assume on PTL with regards to his statements. I certainly hope that you do not allow such assumptions in your biblical hermeneutic. It is not necessary to try to read into what one is saying. Thinking and wondering about what one might or might not be saying will not carry the discussion to an open and honest discussion.

Thank you for considering my statements.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
As you will agree, my comment contained no insulting language AT ALL. On the contrary, I was very careful to direct my comments to his post - not his person. An attack on any brother FOR ANY REASON is not only unwise, but sinful. Is it possible that Dr. Vines himself is guilty of such? And please don't twist my comment regarding winos and Bible scholars - the clear implication in Dr. Vine's comment was that the exegesis of winos is similar to that of Bible scholars who hold a moderationist position. To say otherwise is to ignore the obvious. Further, the fact that someone says something about a particular issue does not make them right about that issue (George Whitfield or Billy Sunday) - unless it is God through His Word. Finally, you do sound harsh - implied or not. For you to post an article that is clearly inflammatory and then to chastise me for disagreeing with it - in what I believe to be a much less inflammatory tone than that taken by Dr. Vines - is harsh. And please Brad, would you point to the part where I spoke ill of Dr. Vines - for if I did, then I truly am at fault and will certainly make public apology for such post-haste.

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Timmy
I shall assume you hold such men like Whitfield, Spurgeon, Sunday and others with such high disregard for their similar position.

Further, if my assumption that PTL did not intend to speak ill of a man of God offends you, I apologize, but I shall still assume it, and kindly believe it is right to do so.

Your implication of biblical hermeneutics needs no response:)
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
In case you did not pick up on the accusatory and inflammatory tenor of Dr. Vine's commentary, let me point to but a few of the implications: (1) Dr. Vines implies that if one holds to a Biblical view of moderation, he/she is worldly, (2) Dr. Vines implies that if one holds to a Biblical view of moderation, he/she is an apostate, (3)Dr. Vines implies that scholars who interpret the Scripture in favor of a moderationist position are no better than winos, (4) he implies that those who would profess a moderationist position are responsible for leading thousands to addition and destruction. Can you not see the inflammatory nature of this post dear brother?

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Timmy,
Allow me to caution you from the implication that Dr. Vines was condescending and playing the role of Holy Spirit!
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
To infer his comments about winos implied he regarded their exegesis as equivalent to Biblical scholars is unwarranted. He simply stated he heard the same ARGUMENTS from winos…ie- Jesus turned water to wine so we should be able to drink.

Moreover, I said that I did not say you were speaking ill of Dr. Vines, but I got that impression when you claimed he “lowered himself” to some level.

My posting of this was to continue my research project which I explained days ago.

Would you say that one is inflammatory if he implies that to hold to a moderation view of majiuana, or slavery, is worldly?
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Regarding your caution of Timmy, please read my comment regarding Dr. Vine's implications.

Sincerely,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
You are exactly right about the "lowering himself" statement. That was directed at his person, not his post. For that, my most sincere apologies to Dr. Vines. PS - your last question is off topic. The topic is the inflammatory nature of Dr. Vine's post. I do not see how holding to a moderationist view of marijuana (right or wrong) is inflammatory?? I can see how holding to a view that condones slavery is inflammatory - not to mention the fact that it is unloving and demonstrates a lack of kindness. Is that what you meant? I'm sorry, I don't understand the question.

In His grace,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Your humility is an example. Thank You.

The question was:

Would an abstentionist's be inflammatory if he implied: to hold to a moderationist view on other mind-altering drugs (marijuana) is worldly.

Would an abstentionist be inflammatory if he implied: to hold a moderationist view on slavery is worldly?

Personally, I do not think so and have stated time and again on this blog that I believe alcohol is no different from other barbiturates and mind-altering drugs.
BR

brad reynolds said...

I have also stated that I believe some Moderationist sincerely believe the Bible allows moderation.

But if I truly believe the Bible teaches to Abstain and that it is wrong to participate in alcohol for enjoyment purposes then I would not be teaching the whole counsel of God's Word if I refused to say so.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Your silence on the inflammatory and accusatory nature of Dr. Vines post is deafening - but understood.

Sincerely,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
It's not the posting of ones views of an issue that makes them inflammatory. It is not inflammatory for me to say that I believe slavery is sin. It is, however, inflammatory for me to imply that those who hold to a Biblical view of moderation in alcohol consumption are worldly, apostate, and responsible for leading thousands to addiction and destruction. Do you see the difference?

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I do not think it inflammatory to say a moderation position on alcohol, marijuana or other barbiturates is worldy. Although, I think some hold the position of moderation out of a biblical misunderstanding rather than a desire to be worldly.
BR

Nathan White said...

Brad said: “I shall assume that you include other barbiturates, suicide and slavery in “man-made rules.”

Brad, you will be the only one assuming. For scripture speaks specifically on alcohol on several occasions, and it is silent in the specific areas you listed. Attempting to lump alcohol in with other issues in which you (and others) personally see as similar is not a hermeneutic which I would deem as sound.

IN HIS NAME said...

BRAD and ALL,

Did JESUS our LORD and SAVIOR DRINK WINE???????

I don't know why we BAPTIST want to separate ourselves from the other members, of the BODY of CHRIST.

We have LOST our WITINESS, we wonder why, some new BAPTIST CHURCHES don't put the word BAPTIST in the name of the church.

JESUS didn't draw a line in the sand, JESUS said FOLLOW ME, NOT CAST STONES.

I would recommend that YOU'ALL read this ARTICIAL and PRAY that GOD BE GLORIFIED in all we do.

http://www.interfaithalliance.org/site/pp.asp?c=8dJIIWMCE&b=120704

A Brother in CHRIST

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Please let me know if I am speaking ill of Dr. Vines in this post. The more I think about his post, however, the more saddened I am. It truly is a dark day when leaders like Dr. Vines would drive a wedge, not between SBC'ers, but between Godly brothers and sisters (I am not including myself in the Godly category) - whatever their denomination, through the use of phraseology such as worldly, apostate, wino, and those who, "are responsible for, "leading thousands to addiction and destruction." I would not dare presume what his intentions are by posting this dissertation, but I can say what the effect WILL be - the ostricization of those who shouldn't be ostricized by those who should not be ostricizing. Shame on whoever does this.

Sincerely,

PTL

Anonymous said...

It's a pretty sad commentary when there is an actual debate amongst Southern Baptist preachers about the consumption of any alcohol at all.

It sounds to me like these "young" preachers and others of like mind want to use the "Jesus did it" spin to excuse their own foray into the pool of the world and its vices.

Of course the issue is cultural! Don't you people see that alcohol, its use AND abuse is destroying our country and its families? Who's to say that once you take the first drink you can stop? Why even dabble? I sincerely doubt that the "wine" of the Bible was equal to a shot of Crown Royal.

This is complete nonsense and I'm not even a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I can't argue theology and all the things in God's word, but common sense tells me to stay away from something that would probably be detrimental to myself and my family.

Again, it's my personal belief that some of the "moderationists" are using their interpretation on this issue to excuse their own shameful behavior.

With families in your very churches falling apart like a wet paper bag, why on God's green earth would ANY man who call's himself a preacher to his people say it's okay in moderation??

Preachers, how do you know if someone in your church doesn't have an addictive personality? Your teaching them that a drink or two, here and there, is okay could and WILL lead thousands of people to broken homes, abused children and the list goes on and on.

Our society is falling apart at the seams morally and alcohol and it's USE are a key reason why. I emphasized use, because in any form, its use could lead to horrifying effects for anyone. Don't think you are above falling into the world of alcoholism just because you think you can handle it in moderation.

God help us.

brad reynolds said...

Anonymous,

I have tried to encourage our brethren to explain at what point drunkenness is reached? is it .08 BAC, or .06 or.10. They refuse to respond.

I have tried to seek the difference in beer (a mind-altering drug made from vegetation) and marijuana (a mind-altering drug made from vegetation). Neither of which is condemned in the Bible. They refuse to answer.

I have revealed the NT "oinos" was diluted with water…they refuse to listen.

I have asked at what point does purposely destroying our brian cells for enjoyment become sin?...they skirt the issue.

I am at a loss.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Nathan
Thank you, but you are too kind. It was not I who lumped alcohol with other barbiturates…I believe that honor goes to the FDA…but thanks anyway.

Concerning the Bible’s silence on these issues, you make my point. Just because the Bible is silent does not mean it condones something.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Anonymous,
Do you really believe society is falling apart because of alcohol? Or might it be a more plausible consideration that society is falling apart because of it's own depravity? When we place the blame for our depravity - whether it be alcohol addiction, sexual addiction, anger, arrogance, etc., etc. - on inanimate objects, we are excusing ourselves from the blame for being the depraved people we are - "it's really not my fault that I'm an alcoholic; it's the liquor's fault." How much sense does that make? We MUST take accountability for our actions. Alcohol is not to blame for society's depravity - people are to blame for society's depravity. Me saying that the Bible teaches a position of moderation with respect to alcohol consumption WILL NOT lead ANYONE to become a wife abuser, child abuser, divorcee, or whatever else you might put in your list "that goes on." People are responsible for abusing wives or children. If the alcohol is responsible, then we should be throwing alcohol in prisons instead of the poor, innocent men who beat their wives and children. Based on your argument, if we can just get rid of alcohol, our society would be Godly again. Now that I think about it, that may be what the post-tribbers believe.......

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

To All
I find it interesting that the current resolution and those speaking for it are much milder than resolutions past and preachers past.

This is where we have stood historically, it is not the abstentionists who are moving, it is the moderationists.

And yet, it is the abstentionists who are being accused of driving a wedge.

This is where we have always stood, only with stronger language then we are currently using.

Interesting,
BR

Nathan White said...

Anonymous said: This is complete nonsense and I'm not even a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Paul was a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, why didn’t he see this as nonsense? Why didn’t the Spirit through him admonish church leaders to abstain completely? Why did he admonish the Corinthians to not abuse the Lord's table by getting drunk instead of just telling them to use grape juice? (wait, I thought Brad said that the wine then was diluted?) Was the Holy Spirit disconnected from the culture? Didn’t the Spirit foresee how people might abuse this!? Doesn’t Paul see the danger in leaving people to the Spirit alone for sanctification?

Brad said: I have revealed the NT "oinos" was diluted with water…they refuse to listen.

That is exactly right Brad, you have revealed the ‘oinos’ was diluted with water. Please forgive me if I do not take your word over the scriptures. Can you please demonstrate this assumption using the Word spoken from God? Or are you going to use methods outside of scripture to overrule scripture (such as the old-earth advocates who place scientific discoveries above the scriptural account)? Besides, even if it was diluted with water, it still contained alcohol. Last time I check the resolution was for total abstinence.

Nathan White said...

Brad said: It was not I who lumped alcohol with other barbiturates…I believe that honor goes to the FDA

I guess I will check with the FDA next time I want to exegete scripture. But honestly, this is not the first time you have used secular logic to distiguish between right and wrong. One can only recall with sadness the whole 'ethics' issue on Tom's blog. At least you are consistent.

Brad said: Just because the Bible is silent does not mean it condones something.

Amen. Thankfully, the bible does address the HIGHEST standard in this area for the Christian life: do not be given to much wine.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
It is neither the moderationists nor the abstentionists who are driving a wedge between brethren. It is those who would use language such as worldly, apostate, wino, and "responsible for leading thousands to addiction and destruction" who are driving a wedge between conservative - yes I said conservative - Christians. And this over an issue as trivial as how one interprets Scripture regarding the consumption of alcohol.

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Nathan
Once again:
“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”

Further, you said,
“I guess I will check with the FDA next time I want to exegete scripture. But honestly, this is not the first time you have used secular logic to distinguish between right and wrong.”

To accuse me of using secular logic to determine right and wrong is the ad-hominal approach I am growing accustomed to. Actually, I used science (not necessarily secular either) to show that alcohol is a barbiturate like marijuana. Perhaps you do not notice the difference, which explains much.

Concerning the highest standard for Christian life, you may want to read Proverbs 31:4-5. It may be insightful:)
BR

BSC said...

About destroying brain cells.

Some have more to spare than others.

;)

brad reynolds said...

PTL
May I assume that Billy Sunday, Charles Finney, George Whitefield and other great preachers as well as the 1896, 1938, 1939 and numerous other SBC were driving a wedge since they used much stronger language?
BR

BSC said...

And one question:

Brad, would you drink a glass of wine that I mixed half-and-half with water? Twenty-to-one?

Just curious. I'm not literally offering you a drink, to be clear.

BSC said...

Another thing:

Do you believe that wine can still bring cheer to daily intercourse?

;)

brad reynolds said...

Ben
Would I drink it for pleasure...No. For survival, yes.

Would you smoke a joint in California, if I diluted it?
:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

Ben

Do you believe it still bites like a serpent?
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
You certainly may assume that. If their language over an issue like alcohol consumption was stronger than that used in Dr. Vine's post, I think that would be a valid assumption.

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Yes, it certainly does bite like a serpent if abused - which is the context of the passage to which you are referring.

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Your consistency is most admirable. Thank you - sincerely. I wish most moderationists were as consistent.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL – I fear we will disagree about Proverbs, for as Stephen Reynolds has brilliantly demonstrated:

“IT CANNOT be emphasized too much that it is basic to the argument that alcohol is forbidden as a beverage to everyone that Proverbs 23:31 be understood in a universal sense.
Many brush this verse aside as a mere rhetorical device, but this cannot be sustained because all of the prohibitions can only be understood as a series of solemn commands without rhetorical flourishes.

Strangely one advocate of the one-wine theory and the idea that alcohol may be taken as a beverage in moderation has come up with the thought that the command not to look at what is commonly translated "wine when it is red" (yayin ki yith’addam) is intended only for drunkards. He writes concerning the interpretation I have proposed: "This passage has to be utterly divorced from its near, far and ultimate context to bear the construction put upon it. The near (immediate) context is extremely clear: the warning and admonition are specifically applied to immoderate abusers of wine.

This is completely to misunderstand the passage and the whole didactic method of the long section in which this passage occurs, Proverbs 22:17-24:22. Throughout this whole section the one warned is all humanity addressed as an individual with the pronoun second person masculine singular. This is the way God commands all people when He is particularly emphatic and wishes all to obey. Compare the Ten Commandments in which all humanity is addressed as "thou." A typical commandment is "thou shalt not. . ."
This one-wine theorist seems to overlook the fact that while drunkards are mentioned prior to verse 31, they are not addressed directly nor are they commanded to abstain in any place in this section of Scripture. Verses 29 and 30 refer to drunkards, not a single drunkard. A reader of verse 29 in the English where we read "who has woe?" may not notice that it really should be "who have woe?" as the answer in verse 30 shows that drunkards (plural) are these horrible examples. The Hebrew particle mi (who as an interrogative) has no number.
The point in bringing this out is to show that God in instructing all humanity addresses each one of us as "thou," a term used to designate a teachable one. Drunkards are not assumed to be teachable and are not commanded to abstain from alcohol in this section. (This is not to say that other parts of the Bible do not give them ground to hope.)
After describing the people steeped in the vice of alcoholism in verses 29 and 30, God returns in verse 31 to command all humanity as a single individual, thus bringing every reader to a close encounter with God.
Then in verses 31-35 God addresses with the same pronoun "thou" the individual whom He sees as not having obeyed the command not to even look at the drug in question. God tells him what He sees him becoming, that is an addict of alcohol, suffering from hallucinations and other ills, sinking into a drunken sleep from which he seeks to arouse himself that he may go back to the drug that has brought him misery. There is no command to abstain or message of hope to the individual in verses 33-35.
The command not to look in verse 31 is not addressed to this miserable addict. In the context of this section of Scripture all of the prohibitions are addressed to a person ("thou") who is not an addict to the vice described. If we understand verse 22 as only applying to people addicted to despising their mothers, we can say that one who has not fallen deeply into that sin may indulge in it moderately without incurring God’s wrath-and so on with moving boundary stones (verse 10), withholding discipline from those under instruction, etc.”

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Thanks for the lengthy dissertation from Dr. Stein. I fail to recall, however, making the argument that the writer was not in reference to individuals. Rather, my point was that it is the abuse of the yayin that is warned against. The dissertation you posted fails to address the issue to which I was in reference. Who has woes? Who has redness of eyes? Who has unnecessary sorrows? Those who "tarry long at the bottle." And what is the end of such behaviour? That those who see strange things and speak perverse things (obvious signs of drunkenness, no?) will experience the bite and sting of their addictive behavior. See how logical and easy to understand this passage becomes when we don't try to twist it into being a prohibition of the moderate consumption of alcohol?

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Actually, Dr. Reynolds states that vs 32 is what will happen to anyone, including moderationists (not just drunkards) who drinks intoxicating drink for pleasure. He makes that clear in his article.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I didn't find that part, but assuming he does make clear his position - he's making a clear mis-interpretation of the passage. :)

PTL

johnMark said...

The Jewish Encyclopedia also says, ""Yayin" was the ordinary matured, fermented wine, "tirosh" was a new wine, and "shekar" was an old, powerful wine ("strong drink"). The red wine was the better and stronger (Ps. lxxv. 9 [A. V. 8]; Prov. xxiii. 31)."

And also states, "Ordinary, fermented wine, accordingto Raba, must be strong enough to take one-third water, otherwise it is not to be regarded as wine (Shab. 77a). R. Joseph, who was blind, could tell by taste whether a wine was up to the standard of Raba ('Er. 54a)."

And, "The benefit derived from wine depends upon its being drunk in moderation, as overindulgence is injurious."

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=201&letter=W&search=yayin

Though there is nothing of the percentage alcohol content of the wine whether cut with water or not.

One thing I have been wondering is if the water was so terrible what did John the Baptist drink?

How much cleaner today are the bodies of water Jesus and those in His time drew water from?

brad reynolds said...

John Mark
Impure water affects different people differently...as in the case of Mexico or third world countries where it is not purified.

I'm not sure I understand the rest of your comment, but thanks for confirming again that the wine was diluted with water.
BR

peter lumpkins said...

Dr. Reynolds,

Thank you for putting this project together. I feel it good to hear what our leaders have to say.

I find it interesting to criticize a preacher for preaching. After all, is that not what Dr. Vines is, a preacher? Is it really amazing to hear him waxing hot or oozing passion about a theme he believes the Bible addresses?

Thanks again, Dr. Reynolds. And I look forward to the future posts. With that, i am...

Peter

johnMark said...

The Jewish Encylopedia (JE) says the wine was diluted with water, but still does not tell us the alcohol content though it's clear that it contained alcohol. There is more information in the JE giving positive comments towards alcoholic drink if anyone cares to search and read it.

I have read that the wine in Jesus' time was used mainly to purify the water. Then what did folks like John the Baptist drink since he couldn't have wine? Just a curiousity.

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

John Mark

Thanks for the affirmation.

As to what John the Baptist, the Nazarites, or abstainers (Timothy) drank I assume it was water, juice, milk.

BR

posttinebraelux said...

Peter,
Surely when you say, "I find it interesting to criticize a preacher for preaching" you're not intending to imply that, just because someone is a preacher, he or she has carte blanche right to say what they want to? On the contrary, I would expect that preachers would feel an even stronger burden than most to be sensative in the delivery of their preaching. Actually, we're commanded to test what preachers preach (I Cor. 14). Surely I have misunderstood what you're trying to say.

Sincerely,

PTL

Timmy said...

Mr. Reynolds,

In an earlier article explaining your posts, you said,

"I am making the assumption that the majority of us interested in this topic (no matter what our current position is) approach it with a teachable spirit, an open-mind and a desire to learn. I further assume we can learn from these men. May God be honored as we seek truth."

While this is true (I believe), what we are learning is nothing new about the alcohol debate but their treatment of their brothers who disagree with them on biblical grounds.

You also mentioned that these articles were written that we would gain clarity on these issues. I also do not see any clarification taking place.

With that said, I find myself wanting to ask you, "What are you hoping to accomplish with these articles?" and, "Do you really believe these articles are profitable for the SBC, especially in light of the fact that our convention is being divided over an issue as nonessential as alcohol?"

We have all already heard the arguments that have been made. I believe Drs. Akin and Patterson have done a sufficient job in stating their case (which undoubtedly is the case of the rest in your list).

In my own article, I mentioned about the Together for the Gospel movement in which brothers in Christ set aside denominational differences (and non-essential, non first-importance matters) to come together for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is truly a wonderful thing to witnss. Juxtapose that movement with the last month in the SBC and the alcohol debate. The contrast could not be more stark. On the one hand there is thousands coming together for the sake of the gospel, and on the other hand, there are thousands being divided for the sake of alcohol.

If this kind of SBC constriction continues, I fear that many will seek gospel parternships, confessional identity, and missional cooperation apart from the SBC. The consequences from this could be greater than we realize. For the sake of the gospel and our efforts to reach the world, let us recognize that we have written another chapter in SBC's book "Adventures in Missing the Point" and let us work together to see the real issues in the SBC addressed.

brad reynolds said...

Timmy,
Your spirit for unity and the sharing of the gospel is an inspiration to us all and I share it. Thank You!

However, the assumption that leaders should not speak out against moderation of mind-altering drugs (including alcohol) or slavery or any other non-essential for the sake of such unity is not shared by me.

I don’t think the division is as deep as you think…I believe it was a 90-10 vote. Nevertheless, we are not departing from where we have always stood…it is the moderationists who are departing.

My goal in this study, was to find the similarities or differences amongst our leaders to this important topic for our convention. As you read the articles I believe you will find some similarities and some differences.

Tomorrow, I will post Dr. Phil Roberts (President at Midwestern Seminary) article.

This is a Qualitative Study on the current position of the leaders of the SBC. I hope the study will be of use not just today but also for future generations who look back upon our history.
BR

Timmy said...

Mr. Reynolds,

It certainly does not surprise to see SBC leaders defend the resolution. As has been mentioned earlier, the surprise was the number of conservatives who disagreed with the resolution (many of whom are teetotalers).

In your research in light of baptist history, let me encourage you to include the founding president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, James P. Boyce who spoke out against the alcohol resolution of 1888 and said that the alcohol resolution against the consumption of alcohol “was not germane to the work of the convention" (1888 Annual of the SBC, 33-34).

Furthermore, there are many other SBC leaders, professors, and pastors who disagree with this resolution, who either are not at liberty to express their disagreement or simply don't care to as they have more important and worthy matters to address. Simply because those against the resolution don't create a blog to talk about it doesn't mean that their views don't exist and are not shared amongst many Southern Baptists.

They have, fortunately, taken the high road and refuse to make this a litmus test to loyalty in the SBC or a boundary marker for cooperation. Furthermore, they have realized that this is not fruit of biblical, conservative theology either. The leaders, in my opinion, would better serve the convention be spending their time addressing the real issues that exist in the local church and in our convention at large rather than writing op-ed pieces on worn-out argumentations.

Thanks for allowing me to express my concerns, and I hope that the future of the SBC will be strengthened by our commitment to the Word of God as the sufficienct and sole authority for doctrine and practice.

sbc pastor said...

I am sure that Dr. Vines has become accustomed to others disagreeing with him. He has faithfully stood on the Word of God for many years and that will always lead to a few bruised toes. Many of the comments that I have read concerning Dr. Vines article, such as “mean spirited” et al, appear to be the ranting’s of those with bruised toes!

Our convention's stance is unchanged – we have faithfully stood against beverage alcohol for over a century. During that time, there have been approximately 60 resolutions passed by the SBC condemning the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. Has the position of the SBC changed? No! We do not believe that the Bible condones any consumption of alcoholic beverages other than for medicinal or survival purposes. Only those advocating moderationism have changed their position.

I, personally, have become thoroughly convinced, after listening to a month's worth of attempts to justify the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages, that the issue is precisely what Dr. Vines has pointed out - worldliness.

Doesn’t the BF&M 2000 address this issue? Article XV, The Christian and the Social Order, states clearly, “In the spirit of Christ, Christians should OPPOSE racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and VICE, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography” (emphasis mine).

Doesn’t the usage of the word “vice” in this context include the consumption of beverage alcohol – a “vice” that the SBC has addressed, and opposed, approximately 60 times over the last century?

It appears that it would. Thus, any person holding to a moderationist position could not honestly affirm the BF&M 2000 – and therefore they would be ineligible to be employed by SBC entities that require affirmation of the BF&M 2000.

Brad, it would be interesting to find out if those SBC leaders participating in your qualitative study interpret the meaning of “oppose… vice” in the BF&M 2000 in like manner - just a thought.

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Timmy said...

Jeremy Green,

Thanks for the input. You have proved my case in point.

Go ahead. Argue that those who argue against the total abstinence demands cannot agree to the Baptist Faith and Message. You will find yourself alone in your own camp.

Yes, the BF&M is our confessional identity, and there are many who are challenging this confessional identity. However, one can hardly with the best attempts imaginable argue that alcohol has anything to do with it. Rather, the challenge comes soteriologically, not morally. The front burner issue in the SBC is not alcohol, it's the gospel.

Mr. Reynolds, if you cannot see after such comments the degradation we are arriving at, I do not see the profit of having any coherent or reasonable discussion on the matter. This is PRECISELY why so many refuse to discuss this. I am sorry that Southern Baptists cannot have healthy discussion without resorting to accusations and condemnations of their fellow brothers. For quite some time I have restrained for commenting because of the nature of what is being said. I think I will go back to practicing such restraint. Again, thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts. May the Lord be gracious to lead us to repentance, not for having a certain position on alcohol, but for our attitudes and actions which are so unbecoming of the gospel to which we profess.

Bama Baptist Preacher said...

For those of you who suggest that Dr. Vines is playing the part of the Holy Spirit by issuing a call for repentance, may I remind you of the the word of the Lord to Isaiah in Isaiah 58:1-
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

Was John the Baptist playing the part of the Holy Spirit when he cried from Jordan's banks "Repent, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand"?

Thank God for men of God like Jerry Vines that are still bold enough to call sin sin!

brad reynolds said...

Timmy

I’ve pretty well detailed what my study covers in my post “Alcohol Study Methodology.” I’m interested in the similarities and differences of our current leadership of the SBC. I’m not interested in a lone voice years back. In fact, the study doesn’t even entail the unanimous voice for abstention the convention has always expressed.

It is not the resolution for abstention that brought alcohol to the forefront of SB politics…for that resolution has always been (although in years past the language was much stronger).

What has brought it to the forefront has been the vocal minority, which has not always been. It has been the blogs who condemned the resolution and accused our leaders of placing man-made rules above the Bible or worse…legalism. These Blogs trumpeted forth one voice until a few individuals decided we will speak in the Blog world also. And as soon as we do, we are told “you are causing strife and a bad witness to the world.” Convenient.

Concerning those who don’t speak out…let me assure you…no position would keep me from saying “thus sayeth the Bible.” However, some may rightly feel this is not an issue to speak to. I disagree and feel it is good to hear from our leaders on such a controversial issue.

If you feel this strongly that they should not address it, please contact them and tell them. You have good reasons…I just disagree with you.

Concerning our witness…I think the position of abstinence is a great witness. How can we become a stumbling block to the world by having high holy standards. I am honored that Wikipedia says of teetotalers “The Southern Baptist Convention takes a strong stand on temperance (By the way this was written before the resolution this yearJ
I think they will see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven,

Finally, I don’t believe it to be in order for 10% of SB to expect the other 90% to submit to their wishes, especially on something we feel is wrong, Biblically.

BR

brad reynolds said...

JLG
Your thought is interesting. I would not presume their thoughts on that issue. And since the scope of my study does not entail it, I would be unwise to ask them.

I can say I have not heard any express that understanding of the BFM2K but that does not mean they do not hold it.

For whatever reason the BFM2K does not speak to any type of drug use or abuse, but just vice.
BR

NC Pastor said...

I do not cease to be amazed that the issue of the consumption of alcohol continues to be a subject of such passionate debate among Southern Baptists, and among some pastors and leaders, no less!

Here are some questions and answers that have led me to an abstinence position:

1. Is drinking alcohol wise? Absolutely not. “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise” Proverbs 20:1.
2. Is drinking alcohol potentially destructive? Absolutely. Just ask children who have been orphaned by drunken drivers, wives who have been beaten by drunken husbands, and men and women who live in the daily haze of alcoholism.
3. Is drinking alcohol commendable for leaders among God’s people. Absolutely not. “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink” Proverbs 31:4.
4. Is drinking alcohol helpful to my testimony or conducive to a life above reproach? No, it is not. “For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money” (Titus 1:7).
5. Does drinking alcohol bring glory to God? No, it does not. How could a practice bring glory to God if it is foolish, potentially destructive, shameful for leaders to drink, and harmful to my testimony?

Now, the truth is, we could substitute other practices for “drinking alcohol” in these sentences. For instance, let’s take something like “jumping in front of moving traffic.”

1. Is jumping in front of moving traffic wise? Absolutely not.
2. Is jumping in front of moving traffic potentially destructive? Absolutely.
3. Is jumping in front of moving traffic commendable for leaders among God’s people? Absolutely not. I would contend that you wouldn’t lead God’s people for long if you make it your practice to jump in front of moving traffic.
4. Is jumping in front of moving traffic helpful to my testimony or conducive to a life above reproach? No, it is not. Indeed, it will likely cut your testimony short!
5. Does jumping in front of moving traffic bring glory to God? No, it does not.

I think it would be agreed that the Bible has much more to say in warning believers against the dangers of alcohol than it does about moving traffic. In fact, to my recollection, there’s no place in the Bible that prohibits believers at all from jumping in front of moving traffic. We have complete liberty in Christ to do so!

Why, then, is it that no one is likely to present an impassioned, indignant, and inflamed argument proclaiming the Christian’s liberty to jump in front of moving traffic? Why is it that – should the time come that our nation developed an obsession with jumping in front of moving traffic for thrills – few would be likely to take issue with an SBC resolution stating our truceless opposition to jumping in front of traffic? Perhaps it is because there is no attractiveness, no temptation, and no allure to jump in front of moving traffic.

On the other hand, it seems that there is some allure and attractiveness in drinking alcoholic beverages. Whether that allure is the desire to escape the degree of social embarrassment that often accompanies a separated lifestyle, or whether that attractiveness is a desire to participate in a pseudo-sophisticated wine and cheese culture, or whether that allure is a longing to be able to drink a long-necked beer at a sports bar – I don’t know. But I am convinced that the Christian liberty arguments being put forth by some moderationists are nothing more than clever men’s justification for continuing in unholy behavior.

Make no mistake: This is a hill upon which to die for those of us committed to abstinence from drinking alcoholic beverages. We will do what it takes to ensure that Southern Baptists’ historic and biblical opposition to alcohol continues, and that it is included in our confessional statement if necessary. In spite of the foolishness of the floor debate at this year’s convention, our denomination spoke clearly: we stand opposed to alcohol.

Those who differ with this position are welcome to stagger to the back door of our denomination and celebrate their so-called liberty elsewhere.

Mopheos said...

Fellow Blogaholics,

Dr. Vines and others have thrown down the goblet of "worldliness" at the feet of the "moderationists." What, pray tell, is worldliness? The term itself does not occur in the Bible. We must look to similar terms like "world" and "worldly," both of which do occur and have a semantic range which includes negative and non-negative use. Worldly is used by Paul in Titus 2:12 in conjunction with ungodliness, and is the antithesis of living "self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age..." David Wells notes that one of the three prominent uses of the term "world" in the Scripture "encompasses the cognitive horizons of the fallen, their appetites, the way that they order their life, their priorities, their behavior, what they really want, and what they will do to get it"..."The 'world,' then, is the way in which our collective life in society (and the culture that goes with it) is organized around the self in substitution for God." Worldliness defines life without reference to God and His purposes, does not recognize His place either as Creator or Redeemer and makes man the measure of what is true, good and lovely in the world.

With respect to the arguments against alcohol, everyone is agreed that abuse is ungodly and roundly condemned, that the warnings are serious, absolutely true and to be strictly heeded, and that drunkenness is dissipation. Everyone should be agreed that drunkenness is the object of Scriptural condemnation, and that wine - whatever its strength - must obviously be fermented in order for the warnings and condemnations to make any sense. Fermented juice alone calls for the warnings and condemnations. Strict, absolute and universal prohibition is not found in the Bible.

But this is not all the Bible (and its Author) have to say about wine. God says nothing about the "recreational use of beverage alcohol" - those are terms and expressions culled from the world of prohibition and Temperance movements. "Alcohol" is the social engineer's lingua franca, the clinician's diagnosis. God does not speak of wine this way. Who are we to change the lexicon? Are we the ones who brought the world into existence with a word? Are we at liberty to recast how God thinks about wine so that we can condemn it with more force and more knowledge than He? Total abstinence is a social construction. The only time abstinence is used in the New Testament is when Paul rebukes those who insist on abstinence from foods which God himself does not forbid. Gentiles were instructed to abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, etc. To abstain from sexual immorality does not mean to abstain from all sex, nor should gluttony demand abstinence from all food, sluggardness demand abstinence from all sleep, covetousness demand abstinence from all possessions, greed demand abstinence from all use of money, nor drunkenness demand abstinence from all wine. God roundly condemns all the former vices while wisely, generously approving of the latter blessings, including wine - all within their God-ordained spheres. To say otherwise is to speak when God does not, or to speak pejoratively about that which God speaks approvingly. This is true worldliness as the Bible understands it, preferring the selective opinion of men above God's own view of what He creates and purposes, roundly condemning what He does not, taking cues about creation from someplace other than the Creator.

Condemning moderationists (perhaps winebibbers would be more accurate) as worldly and apostate might sell in the cheap seats at the coliseum, but it does not do justice to the One who was accused of winebibbing Himself. I prefer His favor and company, in any event.

In the company of winebibbers,

Timotheos

brad reynolds said...

Timotheus,

Thanks for the insight to worldliness. It is always good to gain from others. Let me add that the command to love not the world, which includes lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life was given to Christians (I John 2:15).

Concerning the rest.

Please read my post: Alcohol Abstinence: Biblical or Bias…but in short:
1. NT Scholar Stein makes it clear that the normal “oinos” in the NT would affect the bladder before the mind. But people could get into the “oinos” before it was mixed for consumption, which clarifies the drunkenness warnings.

2. The Bible doesn’t condemn slavery, suicide, abortion, or the partaking of any-mind altering drugs. Can we therefore conclude God condones it?

As my Post makes clear I was a moderationist based on what I thought the bible taught but as I studied it more, including the meaning of “oinos” in that culture and the words of Proverbs I realized the bible teaches abstention from strong drink (today’s alcohol) for anything other than medicinal or survival purposes.

Please feel free to respond to the reasons I am against Moderation (listed in my post).

You are right the Pharisees did accuse Jesus of being a wine-bibber they also accused Him of being from the house of Beelzebub. Their accusations do not make it so.

But thank you for your input.
BR

SBCteacher said...

NC Pastor,

Number 1: This text discusses drunkness. Keil & Delitzch:

This proverb warns against the debauchery with which free-thinking is intimately associated.
Wine is a mocker, mead boisterous;
And no one who is overtaken thereby is wise.
The article stands with yayin. Ewald maintains that in 10-22:6the article occurs only here and at 21:31, and that it is here, as the LXX shows, not original. Both statements are incorrect. The article is found, e.g., at 19:6; 18:18, 17, and here the personification of “wine” requires it; but that it is wanting to shkr shows how little poetry delights in it; it stands once for twice. The effects of wine and mead (sheikar from shakar, to stop, obstruct, become stupid) are attributed to these liquors themselves as their property. Wine is a mocker, because he who is intoxicated with it readily scoffs at that which is holy; mead is boisterous (cf. homeeya, 7:11), because he who is inebriated in his dissolute madness breaks through the limits of morality and propriety. He is unwise who, through wine and the like, i.e., overpowered by it (cf. 2 Sam. 13:28), staggers, i.e., he gives himself up to wine to such a degree that he is no longer master of himself. At 5:19we read, bshagah , of the intoxication of love; here, as at Isa. 28:7, of the intoxication of wine, i.e., of the passionate slavish desire of wine or for wine. The word “Erpicht”~AVIDISSIMUS~],i.e., being indissolubly bound to a thing, corresponds at least in some degree to the idea. Fleischer compares the French: e{C}tre fou de quelque chose.Isa. 28:7, however, shows that one has to think on actual staggering, being overtaken in wine.


Number 2 is a category error from beginning to end. How do you get from having a drink over dinner or a beer if you have major kidney problems to domestic violence? Where exactly is that link? There are many things that are potentially harmful, including the eating of red meat and many other things.

Number 3 deals with drunkness, not drinking universally. It is also discussing civil rulers not leaders in general. Verse 5 follows: Lest he drink, and forget what is prescribed,
And pervert the right of all the children of want. This was the downfall of many a ruler. He drank to excess. It further amazes me that the people that beat the drum of Proverbs 31:4 don't let their eyes drop down to 6 and 7: Give strong drink to him that is perishing,
And wine to those whose soul is in bitter woe;
7Let him drink and forget his poverty,
And let him think of his misery no more.


So, I ask, how is this text advocating abstinence? By your own yardstick (the quotation of a text) it doesn't, unless you are a theonomist.

Again K&D: Wine rejoices the heart of man, Ps. 104:15, and at the same time raises it for the time above oppression and want, and out of anxious sorrow, wherefore it is soonest granted to them, and in sympathizing love ought to be presented to them by whom this its beneficent influence is to be wished for. The ruined man forgets his poverty, the deeply perplexed his burden of sorrow; the king, on the contrary, is in danger from this cause of forgetting what the law required at his hands, viz., in relation to those who need help, to whom especially his duty as a ruler refers.

So, this text is saying that civil rulers should not be drunkards because it causes them to pervert justice to the poor, but the poor are encouraged to drink to take their minds of their plight. The contrast here is between the two classes of persons and the effects of strong drink as it relates to those classes.

Number 4: Is drinking alcohol helpful to my testimony or conducive to a life above reproach? No, it is not. “For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money” (Titus 1:7).

That is true inasmuch as it conforms to 1 Cor. 8 and Romans 14 on Christian liberty and also not doing that which defiles your own conscience. As an elder in the church, you are responsible for the outward testimony of the church, and living in NC where there are those who, if they saw you drink in public would seek to make problems for you as those of weaker conscience were acting in the Roman and Corinthian church, it is expedient for you to abstain, and you are to be commended for this. This is your cultural idiom. However, in Asia or Europe or even in the state of CA, where wine is regular part of the cultural idiom or in other times and places, like Medieval Europe, where there are or were no other options for clean drinking water, much less other beverages, that is not the case. Ergo, this point falls under the heading of Christian liberty and maintaining the testimony of your church and the unity of the body. Incidentally, its the reason most of the folks that are moderationists are also tea-totallers...a point regularly overlooked.

5. To answer you question: (a) if it results in drunkenness on your part; (b) if it defiles your conscience; (c) if you were an alcholic before you became a Christian. I used to be meth addict. I abstain from coffee most of the time, because it gives me a buzz. Likewise your same objection proves too much, for if it is used in a sense that it actually increases or, worse, merits holiness, you then become guilty of legalism at worst, Galatianism at best.

SBC Pastor said: " . . . any person holding to a moderationist position could not honestly affirm the BF&M 2000 – and therefore they would be ineligible to be employed by SBC entities that require affirmation of the BF&M 2000."

In all honesty, this has to be the most absurd thing from an SBC pastor that I have heard in a long time. The BFM2K does not mention this issue. I suppose SBC Pastor is discussing XV on "vice." Such an interpretation assumes what it needs to prove, namely that all alcohol consumption is a vice. The appeal is thus viciously circular, thus irrational. Moreover, it too proves too much, for the BFM2K also affirms closed communion. Shall we take a poll of all the trustees, seminary presidents, agency heads, professors, administrative staff, DOM's, etc. that do not affirm closed communion or attend churches that affirm closed communion? I can name you a least half a dozen trustees that are sitting on boards at this moment that come from large churches with several thousand members that make no effort to practice closed communion. Do you personally poll your church before you serve the elements in order to weed out Presbyterians and Methodists and others visiting with you? Do you further ask that only members of your local church, not those in the wider congregation take communion with you? If not, then I submit you do cannot honestly affirm the BFM2K and are therefore ineligible to be employed by an SBC entity.

brad reynolds said...

To All
If you have not read Robert Stein's article in Christianity Today or Stephen Reynolds "Biblical Approach to Alcohol," please do so but please only if you are open-minded.

If you can't access Stein's article imediately, John MacArthur quotes him extensively in his sermon series "Be not drunk with wine."
BR

peter lumpkins said...

Brother PTL,

Surely preachers must be tested. I did not realize my words implied that they didn't. Thus I do not get the difficulty of my words.

Have a nice Thrusday evening.

Dr. Reynolds,

Have you considered getting permission to post a transcript of one of Dr. Rogers' sermons? And, the old Patriarch, himself, Dr. Criswell?

Come to think of it, what a grand old idea for a book. A collection of the greatest recent pulpit masters in the SBC: "Vol.1, Classic Sermons on Temperence"

With that, I am...

Peter

posttinebraelux said...

All,
Boy have I missed some gooooood conversation this evening!
SBCPastor,
I'm not sure what dictionary you're looking to for you definition of vice, but none I've seen have wine anywhere in the definition. Websters defines vice as, "a moral depravity or corruption." Are you suggesting that those who hold a moderationist position are morally depraved and corrupt? Hmmm....I wonder.... And if you consider me standing against someone who would liken me to an apostate because of my Biblical view on alcohol "ranting", then so be it - I'm a ranter. Oh, and thanks for the condemnation of "worldliness" - I can always count on you for some good old name-calling.

NC Pastor,
The issue is not, and never has been, the consumption of alcohol. The issue is whether or not someone has Biblical ground to promote the prohibition of such. And to carry your analogy out - you bet I'd stand against anyone who told me that I was in sin by jumping in front of traffic - especially if there were SEVERAL passages in the Bible where God commended and blessed jumping in front of traffic.

Bama Baptist Preacher,
Your use of Isaiah 58 implies that the moderate consumption of alcohol is sin - which it is not. Secondly, this passage specifically says to "tell my people their sin" - not "tell my people to repent". Sorry for the technicality, but the implication is that, once aware of the sin, the Holy Spirit would call them to repentance. Finally, was John the Baptist calling to the saved or the unsaved to repent?

Brad,
Your use of stumbling block is out of context; Paul was in reference to other Christians - not the lost world. On the other hand, Christ did speak to our witness - He said that they would know us by our.......any guesses? Righto Brad - by our abstinence from alcohol. Wait, that's not what He said, is it?

See what happens when you miss out on several hours of conversation?

Ranting as accused,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

SBCTeacher,
Wow! I'm awestruck.

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Peter,
And all this time I thought you staunchly in the abstentionist camp. I too would love to see a book on "Classic Sermons on Temperance". BTW, Websters defines temperance as, "moderation in action, thought, or feeling.

Have a greate evening, bro.

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Sbcteacher
You prompted me with your comments.

While Kiel and Delitzch are good GERMAN commentators. I would differ with their conclusions. Not to say that their german heritage influenced them. Their conclusion from Proverbs 20:1 that the results of being led astray are only applicable once one has reached a subjective realm called “drunkenness” is unwarranted by the text.

Concerning Proverbs 31:4-5. This is dealing with drinking alcohol, not drunkenness. The TEXT is Clear “It is not for kings to DRINK wine or intoxicating drink.”

There is a reason for this:
“In Australia Dr. L. A. Cala and associates have for many years studied the effects of alcohol and the brain and its ability to function. To determine the point at which alcohol consumption begins brain damage, Cala examined heavy drinkers, using CAT scans, and found brain shrinkage already in progress. Using the same CAT scan procedure, she then examined a group of individuals considered to be moderate to light drinkers. Of thirty-nine drinkers tested, thirty were found to have some brain shrinkage, with frontal lobes bearing the first signs.
The reference to the frontal lobes is significant for it has been proved that decision making and moral value centers of the human character reside in the frontal lobes of the brain.
This confirms what Proverbs 31:4-5 had already told Bible believers, that alcoholic drinks (and as nothing is said of great quantities we may understand small amounts of alcohol) cause forgetfulness of the law and perverse judgments.” (Dr. Stephen Reynolds – article I mentioned)

Concerning vs 6-7
When speaking to kings who make laws, God advises against a complete prohibition of alcoholic drink, because strong drink is appropriate for someone near death and wine is appropriate for someone in great sorrow.

We give barbiturates (sedatives) today, to those near death or experiencing great loss.

I shall quote Stephen Reynolds
“The word ‘obed (perishing). should be taken literally and in its grimmest sense. It is not as when a person says lightly, "I am dying of thirst. I must have a beer." No. We are here dealing with the case of one dying in agony, as by crucifixion. This fact is noted in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a where it is said:
Rab Chisda has said, "To him who went forth to be executed there was given a little frankincense mixed with wine to deprive him of consciousness."
Heinrich Seesemann relates this passage to Mark 15:23 and Matthew 27:34.1 Charitable persons, knowing the agony of death by crucifixion customarily gave this narcotic to those being crucified, and Christ was offered this means of forgetting His misery. He refused it, because it was necessary that He suffer the utmost agony in atonement for the sins of the redeemed. Had He not been the redeeming Savior He could have taken it. This may be what Proverbs 31:6-7 means. One about to die in extreme agony may take a narcotic. These verses do not say that one whose pains are not agonizing may drown his sorrows in drink. The passage says for others to give the sufferer his narcotic, not that he is to get it himself. This suggests that in modern times such drugs should only be given to a sufferer on the orders of a qualified physician.
It is to be noted that Christ refused the oinos mingled with myrrh (a narcotic) as we are told in these passages, but when He was offered vinegar (oxos), a non-intoxicant, He received it. This was almost immediately before His sacrificial death (John 19:29).”

Jeff Repass said...

Thanks for sharing your thinking SBCteacher. I too am appalled by Green's preposterous suggestion that the BFM2K prohibits a moderationists viewpoint.

I am also dissapointed to see Green and nc pastor suggsting that those who disagree with the abstention viewpoint, whether they drink or not, should not be a part of the SBC. Sad. I imagine they would be surprised to learn who some of the people they actually wish to eliminate are. This sort of diviseness over secondary issues is causing many problems in the SBC right now.

We are an association cooperating together under a confession for the purpose of advancing the gospel. We do not all look, act or think exactly alike. If those who wish to make SBC a mirror image of themselves succeed, then the denomination will most certainly become obscure.

mom2 said...

posttinebraelux, If I had not read a lot of your posts, I could almost think you worked as a salesman for the liquor industry. You sure do defend it well. Of course, I don't agree with you, but to each his own I guess.

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I didn't use a text for "Stumbling Block" but if it makes you feel better I'll use the words "bad witness"
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
You may want to research Temperance in reference to alcohol.
BR

IN HIS NAME said...

ALL, Brad, and Peter.

DID JESUS DRINK WINE?

Peter said YES on his BLOG

If JESUS drank WINE was that abstentionist.

Are we condemning JESUS for drinking WINE?????

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

In His Name
Once Again!!!
Jesus drank "oinos" - wine diluted by water
BR

IN HIS NAME said...

Peter said,

Jesus Made Fermented Wine (Jn. 2.9).

Jesus Drank Fermented Wine (Luk.7.34).

The Lord's Supper Jesus Instituted More Than likely Used Fermented Wine (Luk. 22.18).
Church Leaders in Paul's Day Necessarily Displayed Moderation in their Use of Wine (1Tim.3.3,8)

A Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

In His Name
Just because it was diluted does not make it unfermented.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Mom2,
See - we were having such a pleasant conversation and you had to go and accuse me of being a salesman for the liquor industry. Now have I made any comments like that toward you? Please, if you - and others with similar tendencies - could keep your comments directed at others' posts and not their persons there'd be quite a bit less tension in here.

Sincerely,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I'm sure that you can develop alternate uses of the word temperance through a matriculated diagnosis of the valperoodle-schimbocker formula (similar to the method used for developing alternate uses of the word oinos) but the "normal" use of the word temperance is moderation.

Your local liquor salesman,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

So Brad,
Let me get this straight - you're opposed to the consumption of alcohol except for survival, but you would condone the use of such by those who had great sorrow so that they could forget their sorrow - which I'm not sure is possible without being drunk, but that's another blog. :) If such is the case, which of the abstentionists gets to set the law regarding what level of sorrow warrants the use of alcohol?

Curious,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Concerning temperance:
We are agreed many have taken the normal use of "oinos" in the NT culture and replace it with California Chardonnay. Nevertheless, I am not doing that here temperance. Please see Wikipedia and look under teetotalers or temperance movement:)


Concerning my position on who prescribes barbiturates for those grieving:
Actually, I am comfortable with the current laws of the land, wherein a MEDICAL DOCTOR is the one who prescribes barbiturates for those grieving.

Please don't forget I allow for it in medicinal situations:)
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I'm sorry, I missed the part in Proverbs where the writer said to, "go see a doctor and see if you can get a prescription for your sorrow." (I'm assuming your equating sorrow to depression or some other sort of mental malady?) I understood it to say, ".....and wine to those in bitter distress let them drink and forget their poverty, and remember their misery no more." Maybe I have to apply the matriculated diagnosis of the valperoodle-schimbocker formula to understand that it's culturally relevant meaning is that we are to get a prescription to drink wine. No?

Needing a prescription,

PTL

C. T. Lillies said...

Remember brothers grace comes first-- THEN salt. (Colossians 4:5 - 6) The world is watching folks. Do you think only Christians have access to these pages?

This is just crazy. Who would think I would have lecture a bunch of pastors on proper conduct? You guys should be ashamed of yourselves. Sheesh.

Much Grace
Josh

brad reynolds said...

PTL
How my comments are missed I know not, but here again, taken from my comment earlier.

"Rab Chisda has said, "To him who went forth to be executed there was given a little frankincense mixed with wine to deprive him of consciousness."
Heinrich Seesemann relates this passage to Mark 15:23 and Matthew 27:34.1 Charitable persons, knowing the agony of death by crucifixion customarily gave this narcotic to those being crucified, and Christ was offered this means of forgetting His misery. He refused it, because it was necessary that He suffer the utmost agony in atonement for the sins of the redeemed. Had He not been the redeeming Savior He could have taken it. This may be what Proverbs 31:6-7 means. One about to die in extreme agony may take a narcotic. These verses do not say that one whose pains are not agonizing may drown his sorrows in drink. The passage says for others to give the sufferer his narcotic, not that he is to get it himself. This suggests that in modern times such drugs should only be given to a sufferer on the orders of a qualified physician."
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
So you do have to apply a matriculation of the valperoodle-schimbocker formula in order to ascertain it's cultural relevant meaning. Now the passage makes perfect sense. It really doesn't say to give wine to him who sorrows. It says to go and get a doctor - who, and only who, will write a prescription for him who sorrows so that the pharmacist (and only him) can give the wine to the person who sorrows. See how easy the passage becomes when you don't twist meanings into it. :)

Where's that pharmacist when you need him,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Josh
Thanks for your caution i think that is exactly why Dr. Welch and many of the leaders of the SBC have problems with Blogs - they may have a good point!
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
again from earlier comments:

Please take the time to read them...it save me from have to respond to the same questions.

Concerning Proverbs 31:4-5. This is dealing with drinking alcohol, not drunkenness. The TEXT is Clear “It is not for kings to DRINK wine or intoxicating drink.”

There is a reason for this:
“In Australia Dr. L. A. Cala and associates have for many years studied the effects of alcohol and the brain and its ability to function. To determine the point at which alcohol consumption begins brain damage, Cala examined heavy drinkers, using CAT scans, and found brain shrinkage already in progress. Using the same CAT scan procedure, she then examined a group of individuals considered to be moderate to light drinkers. Of thirty-nine drinkers tested, thirty were found to have some brain shrinkage, with frontal lobes bearing the first signs.
The reference to the frontal lobes is significant for it has been proved that decision making and moral value centers of the human character reside in the frontal lobes of the brain.
This confirms what Proverbs 31:4-5 had already told Bible believers, that alcoholic drinks (and as nothing is said of great quantities we may understand small amounts of alcohol) cause forgetfulness of the law and perverse judgments.” (Dr. Stephen Reynolds – article I mentioned)

Concerning vs 6-7
When speaking to kings who make laws, God advises against a complete prohibition of alcoholic drink, because strong drink is appropriate for someone near death and wine is appropriate for someone in great sorrow.

We give barbiturates (sedatives) today, to those near death or experiencing great loss.

I shall quote Stephen Reynolds
“The word ‘obed (perishing). should be taken literally and in its grimmest sense. It is not as when a person says lightly, "I am dying of thirst. I must have a beer." No. We are here dealing with the case of one dying in agony, as by crucifixion. This fact is noted in the Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a where it is said:
Rab Chisda has said, "To him who went forth to be executed there was given a little frankincense mixed with wine to deprive him of consciousness."
Heinrich Seesemann relates this passage to Mark 15:23 and Matthew 27:34.1 Charitable persons, knowing the agony of death by crucifixion customarily gave this narcotic to those being crucified, and Christ was offered this means of forgetting His misery. He refused it, because it was necessary that He suffer the utmost agony in atonement for the sins of the redeemed. Had He not been the redeeming Savior He could have taken it. This may be what Proverbs 31:6-7 means. One about to die in extreme agony may take a narcotic. These verses do not say that one whose pains are not agonizing may drown his sorrows in drink. The passage says for others to give the sufferer his narcotic, not that he is to get it himself. This suggests that in modern times such drugs should only be given to a sufferer on the orders of a qualified physician.
It is to be noted that Christ refused the oinos mingled with myrrh (a narcotic) as we are told in these passages, but when He was offered vinegar (oxos), a non-intoxicant, He received it. This was almost immediately before His sacrificial death (John 19:29).”

We are not told that they Hebrew's had Yale school of Medicine to get their MD. But certainly, a king would allow laws for such.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

All,
I just read an interesting question on another blog and I must confess my ignorance on much of church history, so I'll ask as well. With the exception of the recent abstentionist movement by the Baptists (I say recent as encompassing the 19th century as well), is there any historical group or church leader which/who promoted a Biblical absolute of prohibition?

Honestly curious,

PTL

mom2 said...

posttinebraelux, Sorry, I forgot to put the smiley face behind my comment. I really was not being mean. It does bother me though that Christians are so defensive about alcohol. There are so many things that we should be defensive about that seem not be bother us enough to defend.
I am afraid that is evidence of the condition of our witness - weak, timid and rarely heard, but alcohol brings out all the defenders.

posttinebraelux said...

Mom2,
Please don't assume that, just because I stand against those who would impose "laws of man" on me, that I wouldn't stand just as strongly against other actions I deemed inappropriate as well. What issues, dear sister, are you referring to when you say that we are too timid and weak to defend? Again, our witness is determined by our love (or lack of it) - not by our imposition of unBiblical prohibitions on our brethren.

Witnessing through love,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Here we go again, with the old..."nobody said anything until Billy Sunday," argument.

As the Moderationist's have always argued, it doesn't matter what church leaders have said, what matters is what the Bible says. Nevertheless, let’s pursue this rabbit:)

To search for a tradition of abstinence within the Catholic Church (the church before the reformation) one would be searching in vain (although they had much more serious errors and still do).

During the Reformation as well as before 300 AD those who affirmed the truth of Scripture were largely running for their lives either from the Catholic church or the Roman/Secular Government, respectively. They did not have time to develop a doctrine of wine. Nevertheless, documents reveal the anabaptist (our fore-fathers) were known for the abstinence of strong drink, even there own Schleitheim Confession (written as they hid for their lives) states:

“From this we should learn that everything which is not united with our God and Christ cannot be other than an abomination which we should shun and flee from…drinking houses, civic affairs, the oaths sworn in unbelief and other things of that kind, which are highly regarded by the world and yet are carried on in flat contradiction to the command of God, in accordance with all the unrighteousness which is in the world. From all these things we shall be separated and have no part with them for they are nothing but an abomination, and they are the cause of our being hated before our Christ Jesus, Who has set us free from the slavery of the flesh and fitted us for the service of God through the Spirit Whom He has given us.”

In fact, it was assumed in many cases that if you did not curse, drink, or run with those who did then you were an Anabaptist.

Now lest we forget, even as late as 1527 they did not have Mountain Dew:) They had water, juice, milk and wine. They still had to purify their water.

To assume they partook of alcoholic beverages similar to today is unwarranted by both their documents and the fact wine was still used for survival purposes!

Furthermore, Dr. Roberts article reveals that early church documents make clear that they drank wine mixed with water at the Lord’s Supper (Justin Martyr, et al).

Thus when wondering why the church was silent for so many years, let us review:

AD34- ca AD 314 – church Running for their lives and wine used for survival
ca AD 315- ca AD 1530 – Catholic Church/State and wine used for survival
ca AD 1530 – ca AD late 18th Century – persecution and wine used for survival.
Late 18th Century until today – Wine not needed for survival and used for entertainment. Awakenings brought about by preachers who preached on abstinence.

Hope this helps
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Mom2,
PS - don't be bothered by those who disagree with you - I promise that God is big enough to take care of Himself and His Word. I think a really good way to approach this issue - like all other "grey" issues - is to present your position in as Biblical and understandable manner as you can, allow those who disagree to present their position in as Biblical and understandable manner as they can, and let God through His Spirit convict those whom He will. It is not job to convict others dear sister. The kingdom is not served when we accuse others of being like "liquor industry salesmen." It is best served when we proclaim our own understanding of Scripture - not when we besmirch the position of those who disagree with us. Again, God is plenty big enough to convict those who He needs to convict - and I find myself in that category all too often.

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Please take your own advice:)

Perhaps you should say "which some of us believe to be a grey issue."

If mom2 and others (myself included) felt this to be grey, we would not be discussing it.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
You may disagree with it being a grey issue - I, however, cannot look at all the scholarly evidence presented - from both sides - and say "you are wrong for holding to an abstentionist position." I can say, however, that it is wrong for someone to say, "You are committing sin when you consume alcohol in moderation." That, my friend, is legalism - not with respect to justification, but with respect to sanctification.

peace and grace,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I think throwing around the L word and implying that those who Biblically believe in abstinence (ie - partaking of strong drink for entertainment purposes is wrong) are in sin is the exact type of rhetoric you are condemning, is it not?

Thus, if you are to use such strong words as legalism, either don't get upset when the opposite word is used of moderationists (ie - liberalism) or use legalism in the Biblical sense (ie - respect to Justification). By the way, notice I have yet to say or even imply Moderationists are liberal, even in the sanctification sense:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

To All
SBCWitness has posted a response by Dr. James Merritt to Ben Cole's Dallas Morning News article. You can find it at sbcwitness.com
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I am very cautious about using the "l" word and no, it is not intended - nor has it ever been intended toward those who, "Biblically believe in abstinence (ie - partaking of strong drink for entertainment purposes is wrong)." On the contrary, I think you'll find that my praise of such conviction has been outspoken. My admonishment, you will note, has been toward those who would tell me that I am committing sin if I consume alcohol in moderation. My use of the word 'legalism' is in strict accordance with your own definition of said word - i.e. in reference to those who would add to grace with respect to salvation. You'll not that I made particular distinction between justification (which I do not think applies to the current issue) and sanctification (which is in context to our 'everyday walk') - which those who would enforce 'laws of man' on others are, in fact, guilty of. I do not 'throw around' the word legalism/legalist. In fact, I think you'll find that this is the first time I have used the word in any blog. Nor do I get 'upset' when called a liberal - or anything else for that matter. Please do not accuse me of either. I trust this post will shed some light on how I intended the use of the word 'legalism' - and if taken wrongly by anyone, I sincerely apologize.

Grace and peace to all,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
PS - Although I have not seen you use the word 'liberal', phraseology such as 'blinded' and 'purposefully negligent' carry the same connotation, no?

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I have made clear I do not think most moderationists are "purposely" negligent. In fact, I assumed it was their presuppositions NOT their purposeful neglect.

Further, I do not believe that innocent blindness from presuppositions is the same as the accusation of "liberal."

But even if it were, it is not as inflammatory. Agreed?
BR

Howard Fisher said...

Those moderationists are just horrible.

[Have a good day at the public school kids. Try not to be influenced in your thinking. Don't be atheistic or naturalistic or ungodly in any way while you are with those pagan teachers for 10 times the amount of time you are with me. God bless and be safe.]

Ok, now back to discussing those moderationists. It is just terrible the Bible says nothing to support our view. We need to let our traditions to rule the day. Then we will be able to go back to the wonderful days of prohibition.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
If I were to postulate that the reason for your misinterpretation of Scripture is due to your innocent blindness, would you consider that an affront toward your person or your blog?

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Neither.
In fact I wouldn't consider it an affront at all.

I would assume it is your innocent blindness which caused you to wrongly assume of my misinterpretation and my innocent blindness:)
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Then you are a good fellow indeed (and I mean that). I still contend, however, that the better road to take with respect to this issue (the issue being whether or not one Christian has the right to demand prohibition from other Christians) is to present one's case and let God through His Spirit convict those whom He will (who knows, it could be the prohibitionists OR the moderationists who are convicted).

Brothers in Christ,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Howard

If you are tempting me to take up the great public school debate you are doing a good job...but I will decline for now. But I think we are all agreed - parents who aren't doing a good job teaching or making sure their children are taught Scripture and other truths should start.

Concerning, your other comment...I'm not sure what you meant. but if you are implying that abstentionist are ruled by tradition instead of the Bible, that is a harsh word to say of Dr. Adrian Rogers:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I agree.

Further, I would extend your principle to all sins.

Please don't take it personally that I lump alcohol in with other mind-altering drugs, slavery, cloning and other things the Bible does not speak to...I assure you it is not personal. It is my strong belief:)
BR

Mopheos said...

Thanks for the response, Brad. The passage in I John, of course, is an indictment of the hearts of men - it is the lust of men in those various regards that John is condemning and warning against. Drunkenness would certainly fall under such an indictment, as would sexual immorality - wine (nor food nor sex, etc.) would not.

I take your point on the mixed wine. However, I don't believe God is addressing either: a. somehow mistakenly "getting into" the unmixed stuff, or b. wine as a bladder bromide. Eating and drinking to the glory of God is the primary concern of the warnings. Mixed or unmixed is largely irrelevant when it comes to understanding the ethical, spiritual and creational instruction on wine.

I know how God speaks concerning slavery, suicide, abortion and drug-abuse (and you undoubtedly know that, in the history of His dealings with men, He has not roundly condemned slavery, for example - even among His own people). I can offer biblical apologies for my position on each of these issues (with which I will not burden this blog). What the abstentionist apparently cannot do is offer an apology for their position that integrates ALL that God has to say about wine. Anecdotal, sociological/cultural arguments are not satisfactory in this regard. Why does YAHWEH favorably compare Himself to a "strong man shouting because of wine" as He comes to the aid of His people (Ps. 78:65)? Maybe He knows something about wine that abstentionists cannot, because of presuppositions, bring themselves to acknowledge nor believe. Just maybe...

In the case of winebibbing and the house of Beelzebub, I think you know that such a comparison is disingenuous. He flatly denied the charge and then chastised those who allied Him with Beelzebub. He did no such thing with regard to those who accused Him of winebibbing. In fact, He chastised His accusers because the Son of Man DID come eating and drinking, but they slandered Him with their accusation of gluttony and winebibbing. They threw wisdom to the ground with their disgruntled hyperbole...but wisdom (then and now) is justified by her children.

You and I might agree, Brad, that "recreational use of alcohol" (as the Ab's are so fond of saying) as it is practiced by the "Bud lite" culture so prevalent today, certainly falls under the condemnation of all the Bible's instructions and warnings. It is worldliness in every sense of the word. But you would be mistaken to so characterize all those who drink wine. Though it may be undesirable from your position, eating and drinking can, and always should, be done to the glory of the Creator of food and drink - including wine, mixed or not.

Grace and peace,

Timotheos

Gummby said...

Just out of idle curiosity, if the stated goal is separation from the world, wouldn't it make more sense to root out unbelievers from your congregations instead of separating from brothers in Christ?

posttinebraelux said...

Matt,
What a novel idea......Would that we all understood that we are not, primarily, Southern Baptists, but the body of Christ. I can't imagine one part of the body saying to the other part: "you, finger, if you don't believe like we thumbs do regarding the consumption of alcohol, then you should go be a part of another hand." Strikes of discord, no?

Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Timotheus,

Good Post…Well Thought out and good spirit.

Excellent distinction between the Bud-light crowd and those who may have a drink with their spouse over dinner and we agreed the two are different. However, I am not in agreement that this distinction allows for moderation.

We’ll also disagree on what God may have been addressing to the Corinthians.

I think you will find it difficult to distinguish between alcohol and other barbiturates biblically, but I applaud your effort. I think you will find it even more difficult showing from God’s Word His outright condemnation of slavery.

Addressing abstention, the point of this blog the past two weeks, has been to show that we are not arguing for abstinence anecdotally, sociologically or culturally.
I think we have shown, not only that we can argue for abstinence from the whole of God’s Word, but the whole of God’s Word is why we do. In fact, I think it easier to argue for abstinence from the drug of alcohol, then for other barbiturates that the Bible is silent about.

The idea of God’s passion for defending His children equated with a man in a rage due to alcohol (Psa 78) does not necessarily show God’s approving of the man’s disposition or wine.

Your point on Beelzebub is well-taken.

I wish I had time to respond more fully, but I am also working on some writing and a nursery:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

Matt
I’m not sure I agree with the idea of rooting out unbelievers from the church. I don’t believe that to be my job.

But your desire for a pure church is agreed with and appreciated.

On separation, it saddens me greatly that some are choosing to separate from where we have always stood.
BR

Church Dog said...

Geez, I need a beer after reading all that! Off to the fridge...

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Maybe I misunderstood Matt's point, but I understood him to be dissappointed that some would encourage the moderationists to seperate from the SBC. I know that's an area of disappointment for me.

Sincerely,

PTL

centuri0n said...

Dr. Brad:

I think Matt's question (he's a friend, and I know where he's coming from) is really this -- does it do us any real Gospel-oriented good to shake our fist at "the world" as embodied in the alcohol industry when, on the other hand, we have people on the rolls of our SBC churches who are clearly reprobate in their membership covenant with us and do not attend or participate in church life?

In other words, doesn't the winnowing fork start in our own threshing houses? If separation is the issue, shouldn't we work on what we can actually fix rather than what we require unbelievers to fix for us?

brad reynolds said...

Centurian

Good point and well articulated. I certainly agree that churches should do all possible to reclaim sinning brothers, even through disciplinary means.

But as SB we have always stood against what we feel are the evils of society. Some may feel we shoudn't, but I will kindly disagree.

By the way, welcome to the site
BR

Gummby said...

Sorry if I caused any confusion. I was referring to causing people who believe that the Bible's teaching is "if you drink, drink in moderation" to leave the SBC. I agree that you can build a strong case against drinking, but you cross the line if you try to include in your case that the Bible says "never drink." The Bible consistently says "don't be drunk," not "don't drink," and there is a differecnce between the two. This resolution misses difference.

Furthermore, if as Protestants we say that Scripture is our sole rule of faith and practice, then we must submit ourselves to it, even when we wish it said something other than it does. I think this is the case here. Had God simply said "Do not drink" as the 11th commandment, that would have settled it. Since He didn't, we must wrestle with how exactly it plays out. Many believers may decide that, for purposes of conscience, of witness, or weakness, that it is better for them not to drink. But to make this a requirement is to go beyond what Scripture says.

Brad, isn't it still a requirement in SBC churches that members be Christians?

For instance, James Smith, in an article on the most recent Baptist Faith & Message, says this: "Baptists also insist on a believers' church -- persons are accepted into membership of our churches only after a public confession of their faith in Christ. Salvation, we believe, is not inherited from our parents or imposed by the state or church. Unlike certain other denominations, the church is composed only of those who have experienced the new birth in Christ.

Thus, the mode of baptism and requirement for church membership demonstrate in the most basic way that Baptists are indeed confessional in our practice."

But as I understand it, the statement was made at the convention that membership rolls "were helpful as evangelistic tools." If true, that would seem quite a contradiction.

brad reynolds said...

Matt
Your comments of alcohol can be made of any mind-altering drug. Yet, I shall speak forth that I am convinced God’s Word prohibits them for recreational use.

I guess I should let the one who made the statement about using the “rolls” for evangelism address it. If I had made such a statement, my meaning would be: While our churches are to be of the redeemed only, none of us know for certain all on roll are redeemed. In fact, some have left us, perhaps because they were not of us. Let us go and see them, find out if they are truly saved and if not let’s witness to them and if so let us address their sin in abstaining :) from church.”

But then I’m not the one who made the comment. If he intended that the church is a meeting place for the lost rather than a gathering of the saints then I would certainly disagree with him.
BR

C. T. Lillies said...

Dr. Reynolds

That membership thing you were just talking about is a good idea. I think you should put that forward as a resolution for next year at the Convention. I mean I think thats a much more important issue. It's scary to think about how many lost folks are deciding the focus of the church. Besides, there's probably a good part of the--what is it, 16 million?--membership of the SBC that would love a visit like that. One way or another it would get a pastor into their house which is generally a good event.

Much Grace
Josh

brad reynolds said...

Josh
Thank you. Your words are kind.

I think something encouraging churches to reach the lost and reclaim the deserted through love and visitation would be good.

Wording is vital though, as we do not want to infringe on the autonomy of local churches. I'm not sure I could word it properly...but an excellent idea.
BR

Gummby said...

Some followup questions, if I may, Dr. R.

You said: Your comments of alcohol can be made of any mind-altering drug. Yet, I shall speak forth that I am convinced God’s Word prohibits them for recreational use.

First, do you consider caffeine a "mind-altering drug?" If so, would you also include this on your list?

Second, it bothers me a bit that you're making the case against alcohol the same as the case against say, marijuana. Yet we don't repeatedly see marijuana use in the Old Testament, and we don't see Jesus smoking dope with the disciples.

Wouldn't it be fair to say, then, that there is that there is a difference between the Bible's stance on alcohol (since it says something explicitly), and the use of other drugs (where the Bible has no command, and therefore we must infer what is right and proper concerning them)?

Finally, you just said "we do not want to infringe on the autonomy of local churches." Isn't that precisely what the Convention is trying to do in the case of alcohol, though?

brad reynolds said...

Matt

Good Questions.

I do not consider caffeine a mind-altering drug, neither does the FDA for that matter, however they do consider alcohol a barbiturate like marijuana. Please see the section under QUOTES AND MORE for my posts “Alcohol Study Methodology” and “Alcohol Abstinence: Biblical or Bias”

Please read Dr. Roberts post under “A Third Seminary President Shares His View.” New Testament wine is not the same as today. So to say it was equivalent to California Chardonnay is just wrong. But when we see intoxicating drink (Strong Drink - equivalent) – the Bible is negative to say the least (Proverbs 20:1 and 23:29-34). Therefore, I do think it is easier to make a case against strong drink which the Bible does address then marijuana which it does not. Although I personally think all barbiturates are wrong.

You may want to read my entire post on Alcohol Abstinence: Biblical or Bias

Finally, while the SB have always stood against what it considers evils of society (Drugs, Abortion, Alcohol, Pornography) and have made resolutions to such, they have not instructed churches to adopt them. In fact, we, the messengers of the churches have not even made the BFM2K binding for participation in the SBC,

While we have always spoken against evils, we have also been careful not to get into ecclesiological matters, save for what we have said in the BFM’s.

Hope this helps.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Matt

By the way...the only way I think we can say Marijuana or other drugs are wrong is that they kill brain cells and are mind-altering drugs which can lead to intoxication. I'm not sure we have any other basis to say they are wrong. It is the same basis for alcohol.

If we applied the Moderation argument to Marijuana then one must say Marijuana is allowed provided it is legal in the country the Christian lives and it doesn't lead to a drunken state.

I am trying to be consistent in my application of Scriptural principles...no one has showed me where the moderationists are consistent yet. Except for PTL who agrees if any barbiturate were legal, then Christians could participate for enjoyment provided they not get drunk. He is consistent.
BR

sbc pastor said...

Brad,

It appears that Dr. Roberts' comment in regards to the superficial hermeneutic of the moderationists' claims could definitely shed some light on the various discussions of both today and yesterday:

"They are common arguments which, taken at a superficial glance, would seem very convincing. When looked at in the first-century context, however, the resulting opinion about alcohol consumption is quite different."

Although there may be several new moderationist voices the past day or so, it appears that the same basic flaws in their argument continue to appear. This issue definitely points out the need for each of our SBC seminaries to require more courses in hermeneutics. BTW, you have done an excellent job responding to the comments of the moderationist camp. Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Gummby said...

Dr. R.: thank you for your kind and gracious words. I'll have to do a little more digging with regard to the difference in wine from 1st Century until today.

brad reynolds said...

Matt
Your wisdom in searching for truth is admirable. It is an inspiration to me and, hopefully, all.

Let us pursue truth wherever it leads on this issue.
BR

brad reynolds said...

JLG
I think you are right. There is a common mistake of equating today's wine to NT.

I truly believe that many make that assumption and then decide it is a conviction rather than Biblical issue. That is where I was 10 years ago. But I further believe if they are willing to research the evidence of 1st century oinos then they will understand abstention more clearly.

I like to assume the majority of those we disagree with, are honestly searching for truth. Sure there is a minority who's mind is made up and they shall not be moved but I did not start this blog for them:)
BR

C. T. Lillies said...

This isn't a hijacking, honest. but...

Dr. Reynolds wrote:
"I think something encouraging churches to reach the lost and reclaim the deserted through love and visitation would be good.
Wording is vital though, as we do not want to infringe on the autonomy of local churches. I'm not sure I could word it properly...but an excellent idea."

It can't be any tougher than writing a doctoral thesis. And if you set your hand to it there's probably lots of folks who are concerned about the same problem who could help you out.

Anyway, you'd have to really work at to to make it cause as much trouble as the current topic has (see, I worked back around to the issue at hand).

Much Grace
Josh

sbc pastor said...

Josh,

In regards to your comment:

"Anyway, you'd have to really work at [it] to make it cause as much trouble as the current topic has"

Out of curiosity, why do you believe that this topic has caused so much "trouble?"

As far as I know, none of the other 60 or so resolutions passed by the SBC in condemning the manufacture, distribution, and consumption of alcoholic beverages has ever caused a problem.

What has led to the current predicament? Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

brad reynolds said...

Josh,
Ouch! My arm is hurting! Ok, I'll do it:)

If you will remind me, say around March, I will work on it and have a colleague join me in the wording.

You can contact me via Southeastern Seminary...they can give you my phone and e-mail.

I would rather someone else send in the resolution and speak to it since I'm employed by the convention. Would you be willing?

BR

brad reynolds said...

JLG
You have an excellent question that we should all ponder. Why has this stir not happened before?
BR

Taliesin said...

Brad,

Just a few brief comments:

1) People who use marjiuana and other similar drugs do it for the express purpose of "getting high." It is possible, and many people due, drink alcohol without that intent.

2) As others have pointed out, while wine may have been mixed (I've seen people more knowledgable than I argue both sides), it still had alcohol content. In which case the issue becomes a conscience decision.

3) Even if it is mixed, Deuteronomy 16:4 allows "strong drink" which, while not distilled, would imply a higher alcohol content.

4) Have you considered the possibility that those who do not hold a prohibitionist position do so because they feel that submitting to the prohibitionist position would violate Colossians 2:16, Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. (ESV)

5) Do those who hold to the prohibition position feel that this will be effective when Paul says, "If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh." (ESV)

6) I find the abstainer/moderationist distinction misleading as, in many cases, "moderationists" actually choose to abstain. Prohibition(ist) party/conscience party is a more accurate reflection of the two groups. Those who attempt to label the conscience party "libertines" are only increasing the emotional level.

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,
I saw nothing in Dr. Roberts post that referred to the moderationist hermeneutic as "superficial." When will the slander stop? Is it not possible to present one's argument without disparaging those with whom one disagrees? Honestly, this is getting tiresome.

Worn out,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Taliesin,
Welcome and glad you are here.

I seem to be repeating myself in my comments, but here goes:
I will address your points in order.
1. If one can partake of other mind-altering drugs without getting drunk, and one can, then the moderationist has no reason for saying it is wrong.

2. Alcohol content is not the issue, no one has argued that…drinking intoxicating drinks is.

3. I think you meant Deut. 14:26. If so there is a higher content in strong drink…however this text on tithing should be interpreted in light of texts on alcohol (Prov. 23:29-34 and 31:4-7). Further Dr. Stephen Reynolds has argued against strong drink in this text see http://www.alcoholandthebible.org/biblical_approach.htm

4 & 5. You point on taste, touch, handle, drink, eat can be made for other mind-altering drugs.

6. Your defining of the two parties is acceptable in my view…however, I think abstentionist/conscience is more accurate. I have called moderationists “libertines” and have apologized for it. Yet, to call abstentionist “legalist” is also uncalled for.

Hope this helps
BR

rm said...

July 22, 2006

Guys, I really don't see the need in all this fuss about alcohol. There are limitations withing scripture regarding its use and
its abuse no the least of which is
the statement "don't be drunk with
wine.... insted be filled with the
Holy Spirit.." a bit of a paraphrase there but you get the point.

I've been in a SBC church all my life - came to Christ under a wonderful bible teaching/preaching pastor and I have a glass of wine occasionally with dinner or at a special occasion. Never been drunk a day in my life - don't like it well enough to even consider it. I really think this is a non issue and there are things more important these days than wheather someone, even a believer, has a glass of wine occasionally.

Folks, grow up! Let's get about the business of loving people and
pointing them to Christ so that they can know him as we do.

rm

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen:


Is it now possible to rationally discuss something really important
such as


How many angels can stand uncrowded on the head of a pin?????


All silly joking aside, let's get on with telling others of the Savior who saves and keeps eternally all who come to Him in faith and repentance.

rm said...

Some additional comments on the separation issue regarding alcohol.
Let's put alcohol aside for a moment and speak a little about worldliness in the church - where shall we start?

How about music - secular rock styles brought in with "christian" words and now called CCM. How about our worship servies resembling a secular concert at the local municipal auditorium or theatre. How about our church bulidings having more in common with the local mall movie theatre than a decent respectable God honoring facility. How about our churches asking admission to see a Christmas and Easter program where the gospel is presented - the very idea of asking someone to pay to hear the gospel that is offered freely to anyone who will accept!!
And you think alcohol is the issue - GET A LIFE PEOPLE!!!!!

The list could go on and on - the point is alcohol is the least of our worries at this point - and separation?? well based on the above list and more we look more like the world than we ever have and you don't even need alcohol to see that. Athough after attending some typical worship services on any given Sunday one could easily
consider a drink to calm the nerves.

rm

Daniel said...

I would just offer an outside perspective, if I may, as an atheist and former Southern Baptist:
You have many more important issues to invest your energy into, such as feeding the hungry and clothing the naked, by the explicit commandment of your Jesus, than in reassuring yourselves of your "separation" by a stance you take on alcohol which was obviously not shared by Jesus.

By WHAT all will know that you are his disciples? The alcohol you abstain from? The "purity" you think you exemplify by abstinence? Hardly.

brad reynolds said...

RM and anonymous,

Thanks for dropping by and Please read my latest post.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Daniel
Thanks for coming by. As you know we SB sometimes have addressed what we feel are evils in society…but sadly there are times I fail to address the evils within me. Would you do me a favor and go into my July archive and read my post “What happens when I die” and give me your thoughts.

Again, thanks for coming by.
BR

Taliesin said...

BR: I seem to be repeating myself in my comments, but here goes:
I will address your points in order.
1. If one can partake of other mind-altering drugs without getting drunk, and one can, then the moderationist has no reason for saying it is wrong.


Brad, I had seen your other comments and was addressing them. In an attempt to be brief apparently I was unclear. There are two problems with your argument. First, what I was pointing out in this comment is the importance of intent. No one, at least that I've ever met, uses "mind altering drugs" without the intent of, well, altering their mind. A number of people drink wine because they like the taste of a particular wine. There is no intent on a state of drunkeness. Second, there is no Biblical allowance for mind altering drugs, but there is for alcohol.

BR: 2. Alcohol content is not the issue, no one has argued that…drinking intoxicating drinks is.

It's obvious that the wine and strong drink in Biblical times is intoxicating if taken in sufficient quantity, even if you're correct and it was watered down. For example, non-intoxicating grape juice was not available until the 1800's. From the Welch's site, "1869 Dr. Thomas Bramwell Welch, a physician and dentist by profession, successfully pasteurizes Concord grape juice to produce an "unfermented sacramental wine" for fellow parishioners at his church in Vineland, N.J., where he is communion steward. His achievement marks the beginning of the processed fruit juice industry." Prior to this there was only fermented "sacramental" wine.

Additionally, your claim that the reason that the church did not address the use of wine until recent centuries was in part because it was "used for survival". This would seem to imply that the wine of Biblical times did have alcoholic content to some level.

BR: 3. I think you meant Deut. 14:26. If so there is a higher content in strong drink…however this text on tithing should be interpreted in light of texts on alcohol (Prov. 23:29-34 and 31:4-7). Further Dr. Stephen Reynolds has argued against strong drink in this text see http://www.alcoholandthebible.org/biblical_approach.htm

You are correct on the reference. The link goes to the right verse, it is the typed reference that is wrong. However, I have read Dr. Reynolds and find his presentation wanting. This is how he defends that "shekar" is non-alcoholic in Deuteronomy:

- "might lead us to believe (third paragraph, first sentence)
- he provides a discussion on methu and methuo, then writes, "we are not sure of all of the history of shekar and shakar" (fifth paragraph, first sentence)
- since he's not sure, "we can postulate" that this goes in his favor (fifth paragraph, first sentence
- therefore, "Shekar may have included both non-intoxicating and intoxicating varieties"

Excuse me if this line of argumentation is not convincing. Given the context of the word in other OT passages, his suppositions seem like a stretch to justify his position. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says of shekar, "Most likely not “liquor” for there is no evidence of distilled liquor in ancient times. It denotes not just barley beer but any alcoholic beverage prepared from either grain or fruit."

BR: 4 & 5. You point on taste, touch, handle, drink, eat can be made for other mind-altering drugs.

For response to your specific point here, see (1). However, this does not address Colossians 2:16. What is it Paul doesn't want me to allow you to judge me on when says, "let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink"?

BR: 6. Your defining of the two parties is acceptable in my view…however, I think abstentionist/conscience is more accurate. I have called moderationists “libertines” and have apologized for it. Yet, to call abstentionist “legalist” is also uncalled for.

(1) I have not called you a legalist. The libertine reference was to another blog article (link supplied) which you have praised.
(2) It is "abstentionist" to which I was specifically objecting, as many who believe the Bible does not command that we abstain, abstain because they think it is the best option in modern society.

Regarding the recent comments since Brad's response to me, I would truly love to see this issue become a conscience issue left up to each believer. I have spent more time researching this in the last couple of months than I have drinking in the last couple of years. Since SBC resolutions are not binding on local churches, there is an impulse to just drop the issue. But I keep coming back to Colossians 2:16 and Paul saying don't let this happen...

brad reynolds said...

Taliesin

Thank you for clarifying…I shall try and do the same.

You said:
“No one, at least that I've ever met, uses "mind altering drugs" without the intent of, well, altering their mind.”

While your experience may be true of the majority of those who use mind-altering drugs, consistency still demands that you say if one may partake of alcohol for recreational use without reaching drunkenness (mind-altering) then one can do the same of other barbiturates. This position would obviously exclude those who partake of drugs to get “drunk,” which are those you’ve known.

You said
“non-intoxicating grape juice was not available until the 1800's.”

I assume you meant for storage. For surely it was available “in season.” If you meant for storage, then we are agreed. They stored it and used it to purify their water, this mixture was known as “oinos.”

I have never argued it did not have alcoholic content. I’ve said that Dr. Stein has shown that it did have alcoholic content, but it was so low that it would affect the bladder before the mind (ie – not strong drink like today’s wine).

You Said
“However, I have read Dr. (Stephen) Reynolds and find his presentation wanting.”

I think I failed to make my point here. My point is that when there is a context of strong drink and within that context the Bible speaks of Strong Drink, it is negative (Prov. 20:1), when strong drink is found in the context of tithing and the Bible speaks, it is positive (Deut). The question arises: is the Bible contradicting itself? I say no. I say we should at least try and reconcile the differences which is what Dr. Reynolds did.
Now whether we agree with his LONG and painfully detailed reconciliation is another question…but he begins with the text on alcohol which is contextually addressing ALCOHOL (Prov 20:1) and then uses this text to interpret a contradicting verse on alcohol which is in the context of TITHING. This is good hermeneutics. Bad hermeneutics would be to take a verse in the context of Tithing to interpret a contradicting verse on alcohol which is in the context of alcohol.

Further, we are not told in Deut whether they diluted the strong drink or not before drinking…but if so, then this is another way to reconcile the contradiction.


You Said
“What is it Paul doesn't want me to allow you to judge me on when says, "let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink"?”

Actually, in the context Paul is dealing with Jewish Legalist who are adding to the work of Christ in order for one to be saved. Claiming, things like “you must observe Jewish festivity days in order to be truly saved” and “you must not eat and drink food or drink dedicated to gods”, etc.

Again thanks for the comment and clarification
Hope this helps
BR

Taliesin said...

Brad,

Thanks for a your response.

BR: consistency still demands that you say if one may partake of alcohol for recreational use without reaching drunkenness (mind-altering) then one can do the same of other barbiturates.

What other use is there? If there is a medicinal use, sure, that's acceptable. Outside of that I don't think your hypothetical makes sense. Also, there is still the fact that, as I read the Bible, it specifically allows the moderated use of alcohol, but it is silent on barbiturates.

BR: I assume you meant for storage. For surely it was available “in season.”

I have read some who do not agree with that statement. According to their understanding of ancient practices to get the most juice the grapes would all be allowed to fully ripen before being picked. This meant some grapes would begin to ferment on the vine and freshly treaded juice would have some alcohol content.

I think this was done at times (and is still done today by some wine-makers) but did everyone do this? I don't think we can know for sure.

BR: My point is that when there is a context of strong drink and within that context the Bible speaks of Strong Drink, it is negative (Prov. 20:1), when strong drink is found in the context of tithing and the Bible speaks, it is positive (Deut). The question arises: is the Bible contradicting itself?

I agree that the Bible does not contradict itself. But Proverbs 20:1 says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."(ESV) The warning here, like the warning in Proverbs 23, is not to become dependent on alcohol. Wine and strong drink require a measure of caution. So, in my opinion, do sugar, chocolate, and caffiene. My personal experience is that I have more problems with two of the last three than alcohol.

BR: Actually, in the context Paul is dealing with Jewish Legalist who are adding to the work of Christ in order for one to be saved. Claiming, things like “you must observe Jewish festivity days in order to be truly saved” and “you must not eat and drink food or drink dedicated to gods”, etc.

But what was the drink, or who was the God? Most frequently wine was used as an offering. In Colossae, which was part of Phrygia, this would almost certainly have been the case, as Phrygia was the center of the worship of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. Celebrations to him were drunken feasts, so watered down wine would not have been used.

So Jews in this area would have been especially suspicious of anyone who drank wine. Therefore, if we can associate any specific drink with Colossians 2:16, it is wine. If we cannot, then the broad range of drinks are covered by the verse. In either case, Paul's command still holds.

brad reynolds said...

Taliesin,

Much of this I have covered in responses to others but I try to respond to everyone who comments out of respect for them and their thoughts…so here goes.

You said:
“What other use is there? If there is a medicinal use, sure, that's acceptable. Outside of that I don't think your hypothetical makes sense.”

Then you are agreed if one uses mind-altering drugs for recreational use without purposely trying to get drunk (high) it is ok?

You said:
“Also, there is still the fact that, as I read the Bible, it specifically allows the moderated use of alcohol, but it is silent on barbiturates.”

You mean “it is silent on OTHER barbiturates.” And you are correct, but if the sin of alcohol is drunkenness rather than drinking then the sin of other barbiturates is getting high rather than partaking.

You said:
“But Proverbs 20:1 says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."(ESV) The warning here, like the warning in Proverbs 23, is not to become dependent on alcohol.”

Actually your assumption is unwarranted by the text. To assume the leading astray of strong drink is either 1) a dependence or 2) drunkenness is not warranted by the clear reading of the text.
Moreover, the defining of what wine and strong drink is (mocker – brawler), is not dependent on what they may do (lead astray). ie - First thought – Wine is a Mocker. Second thought – Strong Drink is a Brawler. Third thought – If you are led astray be them you are unwise. Furthermore, Dr. Reynolds gives a clear understanding of Prov. 23. Please refer to the earlier article I mentioned.

“But what was the drink, or who was the God? Most frequently wine was used as an offering. In Colossae, which was part of Phrygia, this would almost certainly have been the case, as Phrygia was the center of the worship of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine.”

We are not told what the drink was…to argue it was an intoxicating drink is an argument from silence. Moreover, even if it was strong wine…what is to say they did not use it like they used other wine – to purify water for daily consumption. The point wasn’t let no one judge you as doing wrong because you drink intoxicating drink, but let no one judge you as lost because you drink drinks sacrificed to pagan gods.
BR

Taliesin said...

Brad,

Thanks. At this point I will simply let my previous statements stand and allow others to judge which are more faithful to the text after reading both of our comments.

Thanks again for a fair hearing.

Cliff4JC said...

152? Is Silver dead yet?

Timothy said...

I truly am saddened by the hypocricy of our SBC leaders in this matter of alcohol. The Bible in no place calls the drinking of alcohol in moderation a sin. It is laughable to hear the arguments about the "wine in those days being diluted." Men loved to get drunk from the days of Noah and to act as if the wine in the Bible was non-alcoholic is total historical revisionism.

1. Why did Paul rebuke the Corinthians for getting drunk at the Lord's Supper? If we are to believe what is being espoused, they must have been drinking that diluted stuff by the gallons. What was Paul's answer? Go home and drink. He did not rebuke them for using undiluted wine at the L.S.? He did not tell them to never drink wine.

2. The fact is that the Son of God, God in the flesh, chose to live his life "eating and drinking," and was rebuked for His choice. God could have lived like John the Baptist, as a testimony for all people of all time of what seperation meant to Him. Are you telling me that John the Baptist set a better example for us than our Lord?
3. Hypocricy. It deeply saddens and hurts me that our SBC leaders are soooo unjust in the wars they choose to fight. I have seen several obese men stand behind the pulpit of FBC Jacksonville with their blessing. There is no telling how much Tobacco money has been used to build and support SBC entities in the Carolinas and Virginia.

This truly is a case concerning the Sufficiency of Scripture.

Blessings,
Timothy

sbc pastor said...

I too agree that "this truly is a case concerning the Sufficiency of Scripture." However, the moderationist argument is dependent upon it not being sufficient. Thus, they must employ poor hermeneutics, misinterpretation, proof-texting, and arguments from silence in order to defend their position. Essentially, they malign the Word of God - albeit unintentionally (at least for most). God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,

My brother, let us keep our tone mild.

I personally am uncomfortable “laughing” at the work of NT Scholar Robert Stein, Dr. John Macarthur, Dr. Paige Patterson, Dr. Danny Akin, and Dr. Phil Roberts.

Concerning the drunkenness in Corinth. AGAIN, just because wine was stored and mixed for daily consumption does not mean the Corinthians could not get into the storage “bottles” before it was mixed. Dr. Roberts has quoted from early church fathers concerning the common practice of diluting the wine with water at the Lord’s Supper…Please read his article. Also, Read John MacArthur’s work on “Be Not Drunk with Wine” – You can google it.

Speaking of John the Baptist, Jesus said he was “the greatest born among men.”

Finally, I agree we should speak on gluttony and sins that harm the body. I do and have, in the midst of some of the greatest tobacco producing counties in Virginia, for the last 14 years. I don’t know of any abstentionist who are claiming that smoking or gluttony is not sin. Thus, the claim of hypocrisy is void of application.

Now, perhaps you can help me understand why Daniel would not “defile himself with the King’s wine?”

BR

isaiah543 said...

Father,

I pray for my brothers who lead the SBC.
Teach them that the flesh can't kill the flesh.
May they mortify sin by Your Spirit instead.
May they walk in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
May they believe that preaching grace promotes holiness.
Forgive them their unbelief.
Put Fear in their hearts to convict them of binding the consciences of your children with extrabiblical resolutions.
Show them the Hellward tendency of their good intentions.
Raise up leaders who are men of both grace and truth.

In the name of Jesus who will surely build His church and wash her with the Word,

Amen.

Timothy said...

Brad,

First,

If I came across harsh, forgive me.

There are as many scholars who do not agree with the assesments of the men that you have identified or have not had the same conclusion in there commentaries, (I have poured over commentaries on this subject). God is soverign, He saw this discussion before we were born. If He had wanted to, His Holy Spirit could have easily said, "Do not drink wine." The fact is that when one does a word study on "wine" in the old and new testamen, there are more favorable references to wine then negative. We are Warned! But drinking wine is not universally condemned. It is interesting that Dr. Mohler said that it cannot be proven exegetically that drinking alcohol is forbidden for all people of all times. Can we biblically tell Baptists in other parts of the world, "you are in sin." Can we tell our brothers and sisters in other evangelical faith groups "you are in sin."

1. Corinth. If the issue was getting to the wine before it was mixed, then why did Paul not correct them for drinking undiluted wine? He does not even hint at this. The clear issue was not what kind of wine they were drinking (as seen in context) but HOW MUCH wine they were drinking, and by the way how much food they were eating.

2. I know that you are not saying that John the Baptist was greater than or Lord. Certianly our Lord did say he was the greatest born among men, but was Jesus exalting John's standard of living above His own? I think not. You certainly did not answer my question, so I will not answer yours concerning Daniel. (Mine: Do you think that John the Baptist set a better example for us than Jesus?) If I do exactly what Jesus did, am I wrong? Certainly many Southern Baptists are more comfortable with the life of John then our Lord.

3. Hypocricy. Brad, Where has there been a convention wide statement against gluttony? Let us be honest. Drunkenness is not the sin that hits home with preachers, but gluttony certainly is. Where is the outcry against it? When will Richard Land and Paige Patterson come out and address the issue of what being overwieght does to our body? Where is the continuous resolutions condemning Tobacco? Cancer caused by Tobacco is prematurely taking lives all over this globe at alarming numbers.
Here is the hypocricy: Overweight, obese men (by government definitions) stand up and decry alcohol consumption in any form, while publicizing to the world their own lack of self-control in relation to food and exercise. Or the Hypocricy of favoritism, alcohol is our favorite enemy, but when will Vines, Patterson, Roberts, Merritt, Land, publicly write in our papers the bad example set by overweight, obese preachers? Do you think their are more fat preachers or drunkard preachers? I know the answer. We need to get the LOG out of our own eye.


Timothy

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,
Thanks for your post and heart.

Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians was not even their drunkenness. His rebuke was partaking of the Lord’s Supper unworthily. He could have condemned their partaking of intoxicating drink and even their drunkenness, but he didn’t in fact, he said go to your own houses for such revelry. His concern wasn’t the alcohol of even the amount but that they were taking the death of Christ so lightly.

No, of course John the Baptist did not set a better example than Jesus. But Jesus Himself, held John the Baptist up as an example to all men. Concerning the example Jesus set Dr. Phil Roberts demonstrates Jesus did not drink intoxicating drink…read his article.

Now I await your answer on Daniel?

Gluttony not tobacco has ever caused a man to beat his children in a drunken rage, nor has it causes a family to lose their lives because a man had “one too many” before he got behind the wheel. While tobacco and gluttony are both evils they do not bring the evil devastation on society that the alcoholic industry does. I assume that is why we spoke again to an evil on society.

Concerning the log in our eye. I made it clear in my post Is alcohol driving a wedge between us, that I am chief of sinners…but my wretchedness does not excuse me from saying “this is what the Bible teaches.”
BR

C. T. Lillies said...

We now interrupt this hermaneutical jousting match to bring you the following statistical facts:

Regarding gluttony:

“More than 910,000 [as in nearly a million] Americans die of cardiovascular diseases each year, which is 1 death every 35 seconds.”

Regarding alcohol:


In 2001 (the most recent figure available from the CDC’s mortality report) [a meager] 75,766 alcohol related deaths were reported.

(FYI, thats only something like one death every seven minutes. Thats pretty good from the CDC standpoint.)

Here's some
more.

Much Grace
Josh

C. T. Lillies said...

Dr. Reynolds and all,

At the end of the day all of us are going to say "we taught what the Bible said" whether anyone agrees with us or not. If it was me massaging the Word around like this I would try to make certain that I wasn't doing it to maintain the staus quo or trying to buck it just for the sake of bucking it.

Are we angry because someone has maligned one of our teachers? Or are we upset because the someone's using scripture improperly? Are we just toeing the line baptist style?

Some things to consider.

Josh

brad reynolds said...

Josh
Equating heart disease with gluttony is a leap. While there may be a relationship, they are not the same thing.
Further, gluttony may cause you to hurt yourself which is wrong, but alcohol can cause you to hurt yourself and others!

Not sure implication of massaging the word was meant for moderationist or who. Concerning your questions I can’t answer for others but I can for myself.

1. No
2. Upset…no, but bothered…yes.
3. No
BR

Timothy said...

Brad,

you said, "Equating heart disease with gluttony is a leap." So overeating does not have a relationship with heart disease? Overeating which causes one to be overwieght? Being overwieght does not have a strong correlation wiwth heart disease? Now I have heard it all.

Let judgment begin in the house of God is the Scriptural admonition. What is the bigger problem, obese preachers or drunk preachers? We are making more noise over what we perceive as others faults while blinking an eye at ours. May God help us!

Timothy

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,
I know some very healthy men that are not obese who have heart problems. Heart disease is as much related to genetics and stress as it is obesity. Further, not all obese people are gluttons.

If you have read my post...you know we are not blinking our eyes at sin...Please read them..."Alcohol Abstinance: Bias or Biblical; Alcohol: is it driving a wedge between us; and can abstentionist and moderationist find common ground.
BR

Proselytizer said...

PTL & Timothy,

What the heck are you two waiting for. The remaining 99.2% of the Christian world awaits you. Why stick around with Pharisees who don't give a hoot about what the Bible says, but only what their tradition (barely over 100 years old) says, in contradiction to the Word of God.

The Bible says, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities." (I know, it was referring to a different bunch of Pharisees, but it is CERTAINLY analagous.)

There are loads of branches on the body of Christ that are much more honest about the Word, and not so schismatic. Open your eyes, brothers!

Josh S said...

You know, another way we could separate ourselves would be to invent a silly walk that only we do from going from place to place. We could then declare that we are "saddened" when other Christians refuse to engage in the silly walk.

Grosey's Messages said...

Friends, I was saddened to hear of a group of Australian Baptist pastors going away together for a restreat, loaded down with "slabs" (24 cans) of beer and other drinks, each.
The effect: one of those pastors lost first his children, then his wife and then his church as the effects of his alcoholism (he is now an alcoholic) brought the gospel into disrepute.
Lets not be dumb on this matter.
Steve