Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dr. Richard Land's Article on Alcohol - Not His BP Release

This is Dr. Land's article. It was written by Dr. Land and Barrett Duke. It is not his BP release yesterday. It is different. And typical of these men, they leave no stone unturned. It is thorough.

On Alcohol Use
By Richard Land
President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission
And
Barrett Duke
Vice President for Public Policy, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Southern Baptists have been known historically as total abstainers. Not all Southern Baptists have adhered to this commitment, but if one were to examine the constitution of most Southern Baptist churches, certainly most of those constituted prior to 1960, one would probably find a clause in which the congregation pledged itself to refrain from the use and sale of alcoholic beverages.

While the Bible may be subject to various interpretations concerning alcohol consumption (as well as the nature of the beverage consumed), Southern Baptists’ understanding of the issue has been exceedingly unambiguous. In the Convention’s history, SBC messengers have adopted over forty resolutions on the issue prior to this year—as recently as 1991 and as early as 1886.

Southern Baptists meeting in session have called their brothers and sisters to live “an exemplary Christian lifestyle of abstinence from beverage alcohol and all other harmful drugs” (1984); to recognize alcohol as “America’s number one drug problem” (1982); to “reaffirm our historic position as opposing alcohol as a beverage” (1978); to view “personal abstinence” as the “Christian way” (1957); to express their “unceasing opposition to the manufacture, sale and use of alcoholic beverages” (1955); to realize alcohol is a “habit-forming and destructive poison” (1940) and the “chief source of vice, crime, poverty and degradation” (1936); and to “reassert our truceless and uncompromising hostility to the manufacture, sale, importation and transportation of alcoholic beverages” (1896).

Over the last two decades, the attitude of some Southern Baptists toward alcohol use has moderated, however. This is especially true among younger adult Southern Baptists. No doubt many factors have contributed to this shift. Greater social acceptance of drinking, very little preaching on the “evils of alcohol,” a more secularized church community, and a growing attitude of independence among church members have all contributed in various ways.

The greatest evidence of the recent shift in attitudes toward alcohol consumption occurred at the 2006 annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina. At that meeting, the Resolutions Committee brought a resolution that called on churches to reaffirm their historical attitude toward alcohol consumption. If this resolution had been presented twenty years earlier, it would have been met with yawns, with many present wondering why the Convention needed to spend time on an issue that was so settled among Southern Baptists. However, this meeting revealed a much different attitude. There were certainly no yawns. In fact, that resolution produced more discussion and dissent than any other resolution presented at the meeting. Some messengers were so convinced of their freedom to consume alcoholic beverages that they took to the floor of the convention and urged the body not to adopt the resolution. In the end, according to press reports more than four-fifths approved the resolution, but a small, vocal group voted against it.

When one considers the high cost of alcohol abuse to individuals, families, and society, it is surprising that some Southern Baptists insist on their right to drink. Alcohol problems cost American society more than $184 billion per year in health care, criminal justice, social services, property damage, and loss of productivity expenses. Alcohol is a factor in as many as 105,000 deaths annually in the United States and a primary contributor to a wide array of health problems and human suffering. These include various cancers, liver disease, alcoholism, brain disorders, motor vehicle crashes, violence, crime, spousal and child abuse, drownings, and suicides. Even those who are able to control their drinking should recognize that they are engaged in a behavior that is destroying millions of lives, and choose to abstain rather than encourage by their behavior someone to drink who will not be able to control his drinking.

In modern American society, the human toll taken by alcohol abuse is staggering. According to a recent USA Today/HBO poll, 20 percent of Americans indicated they “had an immediate relative who at some point had been addicted to alcohol or drugs.” The article, “In Tim Ryan's Family, He is the Addict,” in the July 20, 2006 issue of USA Today notes, “That translates into roughly 40 million American adults with a spouse, parent, sibling or child battling addiction.”

When you add the millions of children living with addicted parents, you are talking about a devastating problem that adversely impacts the lives of nearly half the people in our nation—and virtually all users of other drugs start with alcohol, that’s why it’s called the “gateway” drug. The USA Today article quotes Sis Wenger, executive director of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, as saying, “For every person who’s alcoholic or dependent on other drugs, there are at least four or five people hurt on a regular basis.”

Of course, one must be careful when speaking to the issue of alcohol consumption. After all, many medicines contain alcohol. One can find it in fairly high percentages in cough syrup, for example. Compared to beverage alcohol, some over-the-counter nighttime cold syrups are more than fifty proof. That’s a fairly high alcohol content, higher than beer and wine. As far as we know, no one would consider it sinful or inappropriate if someone drank these medications to help cope with the symptoms of a cold or flu.

What is of concern when it comes to alcohol consumption, however, is its recreational/social use. While about 60 percent of the United States population drinks alcohol recreationally/socially, the historic Southern Baptist attitude has been opposed to this use of alcohol. What the last Southern Baptist Convention meeting revealed, however, is that this is changing, at least among a vocal minority of church pastoral leadership. No one has a firm statistic on just how many Southern Baptists drink alcohol recreationally/socially, but most of those who have been paying attention know that some Southern Baptists drink alcoholic beverages at least occasionally. To date, this attitude has not flowed very far into the ranks of the pastoral staff. Most pastoral staff still do not drink alcoholic beverages.

Because alcohol is such a dangerous substance, and because attitudes toward alcohol use appear to be changing among some Southern Baptists, it is necessary to be reminded of the Scriptural teaching on the issue. Both the Old and New Testaments speak of alcoholic beverages, and they use many words to refer to them. In the Old Testament, one finds at least eight words that refer to the juice of the grape and a couple words that refer to beverages with higher alcohol content, often translated as “strong drink” or “liquor.” Practically all of the uses of these words speak of alcoholic beverages in a negative context. However, it appears that the negative aspect is principally related to the debilitating effects on people, not on the alcoholic beverage in itself. Alcohol as a substance is not evil. For example, Psalm 104:14-15 speaks of wine, “which makes man’s heart glad,” as one of God’s provisions for man. Wine is often mentioned as one of the ingredients used in offerings to God (see Ex. 29:40). Even sweet wine, which is thought by many to be mere grape juice, can debilitate (see Hos. 4:11), yet Joel 3:18, speaking of the day when God restores Judah, says “the mountains will drip with sweet wine.” The same can be said for the Hebrew word translated “strong drink.” While there does not appear to be any positive reference to people drinking “strong drink,” it was used in drink offerings to the Lord, which certainly suggests that it was not an “evil” substance (see Num. 28:7, and Dt. 14:26, where the word is certainly used in the context of purchasing offering items).

The New Testament has a more limited vocabulary to refer to alcoholic beverages. The principal Greek word (“oinos”), translated “wine,” is used more than thirty times. When used in its non-metaphorical sense, it appears to run the full gamut of meanings, from grape juice, usually qualified by the adjective “new,” to the fully fermented alcoholic beverage. While it is common knowledge that people drank beverages containing alcohol in the early days of the church, the New Testament is not nearly as accommodating of the practice. In fact, except for the handful of references in the Gospels that speak of wine, (Jesus’ lesson about new wine and wineskins, Mt. 9:17; Mk. 2:22; Lk. 5:37-38; John the Baptist, Lk. 1:15; 7:33; medicinal use rejected by Jesus, Mr. 15:23; Lk. 10:34; and the wedding feast at Cana, Jn. 2:3, 9, 10; 4:46), and the neutral and metaphorical references in Revelation (wine spared destruction, Rev. 6:6; wine as a metaphor for wrath, Rev. 14:8, 10; 16:19; 17:2; 18:3; and as a commercial product, Rev. 18:13), one encounters only negative statements about the non-medicinal use of alcoholic beverages. In Acts 2:13 the observers supposed that the apostles were full of “sweet wine” because of their behavior when the Holy Spirit had filled them. Except for one reference to its medicinal use (1 Tim. 5:23), all of the remaining references, to the actual fermented juice of the grape are warnings or prohibitions to its use or abuse, (see Rom. 14:21; Eph. 5:18; 1 Tim. 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7; 2:3). In addition, the New Testament calls Christians to sobriety, which while not alluding solely to the issue of alcohol abuse certainly includes it (1 Thess. 5:1-11), and to lifestyles contrary to those of the debauched culture (Lk. 21:34-36; Rom. 13:12-14; Gal. 5:19-24; 1 Pet. 4:1-6).

While the use by some biblical characters of alcoholic beverages is undeniable, it is important to note that the beverages these men and women consumed were not the kinds of alcoholic beverages people consume today. The alcohol content of beverages referred to in the Bible was considerably lower than many of today’s alcoholic beverages. Additionally, we must keep in mind that sanitary conditions were not what they are today. Alcohol provided an ideal way to maintain the potability of beverages. Without it, people would have suffered even more from common parasites and other health threatening ailments resulting from ingesting contaminated water (see 1 Tim. 5:23).

Even so, one could certainly still overdo it when drinking these beverages, and unfortunately, some biblical characters did on occasion. It is important to note that when they did, the Bible seldom had anything positive to say about it. Indeed, their drunkenness usually resulted in inappropriate behavior, which was subsequently denounced by the biblical writer. Just consider the Bible’s depictions and negative view of the drunken behavior of Noah (Gen. 9:20-27), Lot (Gen. 19:30-38), and Xerxes I (Est. 1:10-11).

When one wants to find a positive picture of alcohol in the Bible, one must look at it from a much different angle—the angle of abstinence. Those among Israel who chose to dedicate themselves in service to the Lord in a special way actually abstained from drinking alcohol as part of their commitment. These people were called Nazirites (Num. 6:1-21), and they were cherished by the Lord for their commitment. While Samson’s life was tragic in many ways, he was a Nazirite. He is the only judge whose birth was announced by the angel of the Lord, who instructed Manoah and his wife to raise Samson as a Nazirite (Jud. 13:1-25). Those who coaxed Nazirites to break their vows by drinking wine were condemned by God (see Amos 2:11-12).

Of course, not everyone who was committed to serving the Lord was a Nazirite, and no doubt, some of these others drank beverages containing alcohol. As we have noted, on many occasions it would have been very difficult not to do so, simply because the means to maintaining a healthy level of hydration required drinking beverages that contained at least trace amounts of alcohol. It certainly appears that Jesus was not a Nazirite, and that there were times when the beverage placed before Him probably contained alcohol. Indeed, Jesus appears to draw attention to this when He distinguished Himself from John the Baptist. In Mathew 11:18-19, He said, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard.’”

Before anyone decides to use Jesus as his excuse to drink alcohol, however, it is crucial to note that the term “drunkard” was used by His enemies in an attempt to discredit Him. He does not admit to ever being drunk in this passage. He does seem, however, to indicate that he did not totally abstain from beverages that had any alcohol content as well as engaging in other activities contrary to John’s practices, like socializing with various groups of “unacceptable” people. Jesus wasn’t engaged in drinking alcoholic beverages because He felt it was His right to do so, He was doing this to make a point—that the unbelieving just looked for excuses not to believe.

People often refer to Jesus’ miracle at the wedding feast at Cana as evidence that he approved of alcohol consumption (Jn. 2:1-11). We must note several important features, however. First, we cannot be positive that what Jesus created had alcoholic content. The headwaiter may have been commenting on how good the wine tasted not about its alcohol content. Second, John tells us that Jesus performed this miracle as a “sign” (Jn. 2:11). He intended that those who witnessed this would see a spiritual significance in the miracle, not focus on the wine. In other words, He created the wine for another purpose, a much more important purpose than merely to provide the wedding guests with something to drink. Third, the text never says that Jesus drank any of this wine. Considering the Bible’s very negative attitude toward drunkenness and Jesus’ dedication to God, it is inconceivable to us that Jesus ever drank alcohol recreationally or that He was ever drunk.

It is obvious that one can find instances in the Bible when people drank alcoholic beverages. While most of these examples are negative, some clearly are not. Nevertheless, when one examines the full counsel of Scripture regarding alcohol use, there is little doubt that it warns against its use and unequivocally condemns its abuse. Some Bible passages warn against drinking any alcoholic beverages because of their debilitating effects (Prov. 23:29-35). Others instruct against the use of alcohol by those in positions of authority (Prov. 31:4-5). They require sobriety of church leadership (1 Tim. 3:3, 8; Titus 1:6), and drunkenness is always condemned (Isa. 5:11, 22; 28:7). In fact, there appears to be a clear movement in Scripture toward a rejection of alcohol use. We pointed out earlier that the Old Testament had more positive references to alcohol use than the New Testament. This could be evidence that the Bible’s principles were gradually undermining the practice of alcohol consumption, much in the same way that biblical principles eventually undermined the practice of enslaving people.

With this said, the Bible does not condemn all uses of alcohol. It recognizes its medicinal value. Proverbs 31:6-7 instructs the king to “give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter. Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his trouble no more.” The Apostle Paul perpetuated the use of alcohol for medicinal purposes. He instructed Timothy to “use a little wine” for his stomach ailments (1 Tim. 5:23). This apostolic advice to Timothy could well indicate that Timothy was a total abstainer and that Paul had to urge his reluctant son in the faith to consume wine with alcohol for health purposes.

In a time when medicines were very rare, alcohol was one of the few medicinal aids available to assist the human condition. Today we have many more effective means for dealing with various physical and mental afflictions, means that do not have the potential to cause the kinds of significant damage alcohol causes. These positive references to alcohol consumption for medical purposes tell us that the mere consumption of alcohol in itself is not a sin. If it were, then these passages would be instructing people to sin. What is clear in these passages, however, is that there is no hint that one can use alcohol for recreational/social purposes.

Of further interest is the way in which the actual beverage used in the Lord’s Supper is referred to in the New Testament. Paul speaks of “the cup” whenever he refers to the Lord’s Supper (see 1 Cor. 10:16, 21; 11:23-28). Even at the inauguration of this event, Jesus spoke of “the fruit of the vine” rather than using the term “wine” (see Matt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:17-20). Scholars are in general agreement that the phrase referred to wine, and we are not claiming that wine was not used in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, but we think it is significant that there is no direct reference in Scripture to an alcoholic substance in connection with it.

Those who cannot find chapter and verse to justify consuming alcohol still argue that their freedom in Christ enables them to imbibe. It is certainly true that Christians are no longer under the condemnation of the Law. They no longer must follow rules and regulations in order to please God. But the freedom that Christians enjoy is not the same as license. The Christian must weigh his freedom against his responsibility in order to determine the appropriateness of certain behaviors. When considered from this perspective, it seems very clear that there are overwhelming reasons for abstaining from the consumption of beverage alcohol. Three principal reasons for this self-restraint are witness to the lost, service to the saved, and the appropriate treatment of the body.

As a matter of witness, it is preferable that a Christian not do anything that would hinder his witness to others. While some have argued that they find greater acceptance among a certain subset of the population because they drink with them, this is not the case for the vast majority of people who need to be reached with the Gospel. In fact, many lost people have certain expectations of Christians, and one is that they do not drink. Many of the lost recognize this as a distinguishing feature between Christians who are serious about their faith and those outside of the faith. Furthermore, victims of alcohol-related crimes could be deeply offended by someone who is supposedly concerned about people’s welfare engaging in an activity that has been so harmful to them.

This principle of witness is especially apt in today’s culture. Alcohol abuse is taking a staggering toll on millions of people and their families. It is inconceivable that one’s concept of Christian freedom could include the freedom to engage in any behavior that has become so devastating to millions of those in and outside of the church.

The Christian must also keep in mind how the example of his own lifestyle influences others. This can be understood as the servant principle. The Christian is a servant of all. He should consider how he best serves others by his behavior, not how he can live his own life without regard to others. The controlling principle here is that of the weaker brother. Paul counsels Christians to refrain from any activity, including eating and drinking, that may encourage another to engage in activity that will end up leading to feelings of guilt in the weaker brother (Rom. 14:13-23). He instructs Christians to pursue those things that edify others (1 Cor. 10:23; 14:26).

We disagree with those who say they can drink alcoholic beverages in the privacy of their own homes because they are not influencing anyone to follow their example. Parents, for example, must understand that their children will likely follow their example. It is a fact that the teenage children of parents who drink alcohol are more likely to experiment with alcohol than the teenage children of parents who abstain from alcohol consumption. It is just nearly impossible to engage in this activity unobserved by someone. We believe it would be tragic if someone were encouraged to engage in a behavior that destroyed their lives because of the example of someone they trusted.

In addition, the servant principle should lead those in leadership to abstain from alcohol use. In Proverbs 31:4-5 the king is counseled not to drink alcoholic beverages because it will cloud his judgment. It is also imperative that those responsible for leadership be available at all times for those in need. It would be a terrible disservice if a family had just experienced some tragic loss, and their pastor could not offer the spiritual counsel and support they needed because he had to sober up first.

The third principle applies to the appropriate treatment of the body. God created the human body. That in itself should be sufficient reason to abstain from alcohol use. But the Christian has another important reason for abstaining from alcohol. Paul taught that the Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It houses God Himself (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Consequently, whatever we do to our bodies affects directly the dwelling of God. Out of respect for God the Christian should do all he can to engage only in activity that honors and strengthens his body. His body and mind should be available to the indwelling Holy Spirit at any time and should be under the Spirit’s control, not that of alcohol (Eph. 5:18).

We understand that this argument can be made about many behaviors, overeating, for example. Of course, one cannot stop eating because someone might be encouraged to eat too much or to eat foods that are not healthy for them. People have to eat, but they don’t have to drink alcohol. Alcohol consumption is purely a lifestyle choice. It is not a necessary part of one’s life, like eating. Furthermore, the arguments made by some that they drink wine for their health is not supported by science. The health benefit comes from the grape, not the alcohol. All one must do to get this benefit is drink grape juice.


In conclusion, we offer five general principles that the Christian would do well to follow when he is making a decision about alcohol use or any other activity. First, Christians are not free to do anything they please. They belong to Christ and should make every effort to engage in behavior that honors His Lordship over their lives. Second, selfishness should be shunned. Selfishness is the root of all sin. It leads people to seek their own interests, even to the detriment of others. Third, sacrifice is a Christian virtue. Jesus provides the supreme example of this. He recognized the human need for forgiveness and willingly gave up His rightful place in heaven, took on human flesh, and sacrificed His life on the cross for the sake of others. Fourth, God’s glory is the most important concern for Christians. With every activity, the Christian should ask whether or not God will be glorified. Finally, the Christian must remember that he will be judged for his every deed, both those that affect his own life and those that affect the lives of others. Every Christian should live to hear his Lord declare, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” on the day of judgment.

33 comments:

sbc pastor said...

This article, written by Land and Duke, is clearly both meticulous in effort and scholarly in research. I am glad that they pointed out the sudden change among some Southern Baptists in regards to our convention’s historical stance of abstinence in regards to alcoholic beverages:

“Over the last two decades, the attitude of some Southern Baptists toward alcohol use has moderated, however. This is especially true among younger adult Southern Baptists. No doubt many factors have contributed to this shift. Greater social acceptance of drinking, very little preaching on the “evils of alcohol,” a more secularized church community, and a growing attitude of independence among church members have all contributed in various ways.”

Furthermore, I appreciate their engagement with the entirety of Scripture concerning alcoholic beverages:

“Some Bible passages warn against drinking any alcoholic beverages because of their debilitating effects (Prov. 23:29-35). Others instruct against the use of alcohol by those in positions of authority (Prov. 31:4-5). They require sobriety of church leadership (1 Tim. 3:3, 8; Titus 1:6), and drunkenness is always condemned (Isa. 5:11, 22; 28:7). In fact, there appears to be a clear movement in Scripture toward a rejection of alcohol use. We pointed out earlier that the Old Testament had more positive references to alcohol use than the New Testament. This could be evidence that the Bible’s principles were gradually undermining the practice of alcohol consumption, much in the same way that biblical principles eventually undermined the practice of enslaving people.”

Southern Baptists are blessed to have such leadership at the ERLC. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

IN HIS NAME said...

Brad,

HOW INTERESTING!!!!
I see that any Church that uses Wine for the LORD'S SUPPER is in SIN against the SBC...

A Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

In His Name
I don't know what you are referencing but if it has to do with Dr. Lands article...although I affirm totally what he said I did not write it.

brad reynolds said...

JLG
You are right. We are priviledged to have such scholars at the ERLC.
BR

peter lumpkins said...

Dr. Reynolds,

Thank you for the Land article. For my part, it stands, to date, as the definitive statement given pertaining to the specific usage/non-usage of alcoholic beverages for recreational, pleasure-filled purposes.

I trust you are compling these essays in some scheme. Churches in the future--especially those not familiar with the internet resources--will need copies of these articles for their libraries, etc.

I wonder how much traction the idea would gain to solicit a few godly businessmen/women to fund the actual printing of these in booklet form to send to our 43,000+ churches. I'm just thinking out loud.

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

Peter

BSC said...

Brad:

That is as convincing an appeal as I have ever read. Thank you for posting it. I will, however, have to disagree with some of Land's conclusions, except for the final five, which are good principles for any believer's life.

JLG:

Why do I feel like the blogworld drips with slobber every time you post another accolade? Have a drink, man. You're going to dehydrate if you keep at this pace.

Lumpkin:

Provocative idea about compiling a book. I think one of those "Five Views" books would be a project of inestimable value to the church.

BSC

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Yet again, a concise and well written treatise. Just a few things to point out, however. (1) the assertion that alcohol is a 'gateway' drug is simply not valid. Is there a correllation between those who use drugs and those who use alcohol? Yes. Is there a cause and effect relationship? No. In other words, alcohol does not 'make people turn to harder drugs' - else we'd have a HUGE drug problem. Alcohol is legal and 'drugs' are not - and to infer that Christians would jump from 'legal' alcohol to 'illegal' drugs simply because they've drunk wine is preposterous. The 'cause' is environmental or emotional. Alcohol does not 'cause' anyone to do anything. (2) It appears that, aside from the Scriptural plea (which is good), Drs Land and Duke make an emotional appeal based on the 'abuse' of alcohol, not the 'use' of alcohol. 'Tis true, there is much devastation and havoc wreaked as the result of the ABUSE of alcohol - just as there is from the ABUSE of sex or the ABUSE of guns. We must not, however, confuse the legitimate use of wine (a glass or two at dinner) with the devastation caused by the abuse of such. (3) Drs Land and Barrett refer to the fact that Christians are no longer 'under law' - they fail to mention, however, that prohibition of alcohol was never part of the law. So, while they are correct in their assertion that we are no longer under law, it is a moot argument because the subject of their argument was never a 'legal' issue. (4) they refer to the health benefits derived from wine as being 'only' from the grape, not from the alcohol. Oh contrare, good Dr's. "A new study from researchers at the University Hospital of Zurich, Switzerland. identifies a mechanism for how alcohol favorably effects arterial muscle cells. According to Wilhelm Vetter, M.D., and colleagues, alcohol, when consumed around mealtime, reduces the proliferation of smooth muscle cells (SMC) within the arteries. SMC growth is a key element in the develop-ment of atherosclerosis, which commonly leads to heart attacks and strokes.
The study found that the ingestion of alcohol. equivalent to two glasses of wine or three beers, with a high-fat meal resulted in a 20% decrease in the growth of arterial muscle cells. Researchers suggest these results could have a profound effect on heart disease “considering the amount of time humans spend in the postprandial state during their lifetimes.”" While there are certainly benefits to be derived from the antioxidants found in grape juice AND wine, the alcohol itself, in fact, provides health benefits as well. The argument fails to point to even one scripture which prohibits the moderate consumption of alcohol - with the exception of Prov. 23, which again deals with abuse, not use - but does provide as cogent an argument as I've seen. Certainly strong ground for those who have a conviction not to imbibe, but rather weak when trying to make it a 'principle for all'. Just my thoughts.

Sincerely,

PTL

BSC said...

PTL:

I, too, noticed the reference to "under the law." It's a rhetorical slight of hand, and perhaps the weakest part of the argument.

And as far as the "gateway drug" thing goes...blogging is gateway drug. I've had to start taking over-the-counter sleep medication to force myself to stop reading them at the wee hours of morning. ;)

BSC

posttinebraelux said...

bsc,

lmbo (laugh my buttocks off).

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Peter,
The articles as well as my study will be "packaged" for my records and those who contributed. But I think making it available in some form for the convention as a whole is an excellent idea.
BR

Ben
We agree...it is thorough.

PTL
The name "gateway drug" was not coined by Land it is a known reference to alcohol. The reason it is known as such? Because those who move onto other drugs usually begin with alcohol.

What seems preposterous to me is your idea that alcohol's effects on the mind does not cause anyone to do anything.

To quickly dismiss the effects of alcohol on society by equating it with the abuse of sex or guns is convenient for a moderationist. But I believe such a dismissal of devastating effects is irresponsible. Comparing the devastating effects of an unnecessary substance with the effects of the abuse of a necessary activity for man's survival (sex) is amazing. But I understand why one holding your position would do so.

Your study is excellent and its merits should stand on their own. However, the assumption that such benefits outweigh the detrimental effects is unwarranted. Especially in light of the known damage that moderate drinking causes to the frontal lobe (where decisions are made) and the loss of brain cells, that will never be replaced.

Marijuana users point to its benefits also - they even have studies to support them. Abortion proponents point to the benefits of fetus stem cells also, and have studies to support them.

Finally, the assumption that the benefits cannot be gained by any other substance without the detrimental effects of alcohol is also unwarranted.

Less than two glasses of wine has detrimental effects:
"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s study on impairment effects revealed that even at a BAC of .02 “the majority of participants were SIGNIFICANTLY IMPAIRED…on important measures.” (National Highway Safety Administration). IN OTHER WORDS, JUST 10 OUNCES OF WINE CONSUMED IN AN HOUR WILL SIGNIFICANTLY IMPAIR ONE’S DRIVING!"

BR

Tim Batchelor said...

An interesting study regarding alcohol as a "gateway drug":

"Among those studied, 90 percent of subjects who progressed from one substance of abuse to another did so in the following sequence--abstinence, alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and hard drugs. The most dramatic increase in drug use occurred between the ages of 13 and 14, when adolescents are going from middle to high school. (Taken from Nida Notes by Neil Swan and taken from the study "Early Childhood Behavior and Temperament Predict Later Substance abuse" by Dr. Margaret E. Ensminger and Dr. Sheppard G. Kellam and colleagues of Johns Hopkins University research)

http://www.nida.nih.gov/NIDA_Notes/NNVOL10N1/Earlychild.html

Tim Batchelor said...

Here's another particularly poignant quote that is not footnoted but which is generally recognized in research regarding parental attitudes toward alcohol and teenage use and abuse.

A study done a few years ago found that in homes where the parents were total abstainers from alcohol, 16 percent of the teenagers in the home experimented with alcohol before adulthood. In homes were the parents were social drinkers, 66 percent of the children experimented with alcohol before adulthood.

And a child who drinks before age 15 is four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports.

Furthermore, recent studies have shown the alarming extent to which alcohol decimates an adolescent’s still-developing brain and nervous system -- far more harshly than it does those of an adult.

Richard Land in First Person, the Great Alcohol debate

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Again, the fact that two items are correlated does not establish a cause and effect relationship - the classic example of this is sun spots and the movement of the stock market. Second, the fact that alcohol is not necessary for procreation and sex is does not negate the analogy. It is the ABUSE of alcohol which wreaks havoc - not the temperate and moderate use. I've never beaten my wife or children, I've never lost a job for having a glass of wine, I've never driven drunk, I've never had liver cancer, etc. - and to imply that the moderate and legitimate use of alcohol causes those problems is what is irresponsible. Finally, I never said that alcohol did not kill brain cells - I simply said that Dr's Land and Barrett were incorrect in their assertion that it was the juice, not the alcohol which had merit - and they are incorrect.


Sincerely,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Most fair in your comment.
I stand by my statement that all abusers began as users. But that does not in any form imply all users are abusers.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Tim
Good points. There is no question about the evidence of these studies they speak for themselves.
BR

sbc pastor said...

BSC,

In regards to your comment:

“Why do I feel like the blogworld drips with slobber every time you post another accolade? Have a drink, man. You're going to dehydrate if you keep at this pace.”

It is a legitimate possibility that the symptoms you have described (i.e. funny feelings, slobbering, drinking, and dehydration) may reflect your having had too much to drink (:0) as opposed to my not having had enough – Don’t you think???

Although I disagree with your remarks concerning my appreciation for the article written by Land and Duke, I do respect your opinion – after all, if I understand correctly, that happens to be your field of expertise (:0)

Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

BSC said...

JLG:

FYI:

Regards are things you send someone.

Regard is a reference.

Thus:

In regard to.....not,

In regards to.

THX,

BSC

mom2 said...

My opinion is that bsc is in better intellectual status than he is in Biblical interpretation status. His humor would be best used as a stand-up comic.

Grandmothers without college diplomas may not count though.

Anonymous said...

WORDS of WISDOM unto their own destruction; for by so doing they either add unto, or detract from the Scriptures, and so bring the curse of God upon them; and they give into doctrines of devils, and into heresies, which are damnable, and bring upon themselves swift destruction, which lingers not, and slumbers not. Now from hence it does not follow, that the Scriptures are not to be read by the common people; for not all the parts of Scripture, and all things in it, are hard to be understood, there are many things very plain and easy, even everything respecting eternal salvation; there is milk for babes, as well as meat for strong men: besides, not the Scriptures in general, but Paul's epistles only, are here spoken of, and not all of them, or anyone whole epistle among them, only some things in them, and these not impossible, only difficult to be understood; and which is no reason why they should be laid aside, but rather why they should be read with greater application and diligence, and be followed with fervent prayer, and frequent meditation; and though unlearned and unstable men may wrest them to their perdition, those that are taught of God, though otherwise illiterate, may read them to great profit and advantage.

Travis Hilton said...

Brad,
I was just reminded a few moments ago why I'm for abstinence. I just saw a professed Christian sitting in front of his neighbor's house with a long-neck beer bottle in his hands. The picture of him sitting there with the bottle makes me realize what is at stake here. Reguardless of the opinion some moderation advocates have here, anyone has free reign in that nieghborhood to assume what they will about his drinking. It is a bad impression period. Not to mention the example it sets for his kids. The feeling I had as I passed was not self-righteous judgement, but a sickening feeling that this individual could care less about his witness or example.

brad reynolds said...

Travis,
Guarding our witness is wise, and an important part of the discussion.

The devastating effects of alcohol are also important...I will speak more to this in the near future.

I have been personally counseling an officer lately. He worked a single car accident. A teenage driver fell asleep and killed his sister, his brother, and his father. The 8 year old girl died in the officer's hands. The reason the boy was driving: his father, though not drunk, had enjoyed some alcohol with his wife that day at the lake. The boy was trying to be responsible. SAD

If you think about it...lift up the officer and the boy...God knows their names.
BR

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

anonymous,
too much ad-hominal statements have taken place here. I have reached my limit. This is not your fault...I have just seen too much negative on blogs lately. If you would like to restate your protest I will be glad to post it.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Travis,
Don't you see that you are, in fact, passing judgement? The statement, "this individual could care less about his witness or example". If there is truly something about his character that elicits a prompting in you by the Holy Spirit that something is amiss, you shouldn't just drive by - you should stop and share with him why he is in error. I must add, though, that if holding a beer elicits such a response in you then either: (1) there's more to his attitude than just the beer, or (2) you really need to work on your judgemental attitude. In either case, I think Christians have an obligation to go to other Christians when they have been offended and openly discuss the offense. Otherwise, how will he know you're offended?

Thanks,

PTL

Christopher Redman said...

Excellent post and Brad your comments are as clear and unemotional as I have ever read on any post/comment you have made.

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I agree; if we think a Christian is hurting the witness of Christ we should say something…but that is difficult sometimes, especially if we don’t know them well…I think it better if those in his church speak to him, since there is a covenant relationship there. If I were to address a Christian not in my church on his witness in any area, my words must be chosen very well, for human nature is defensive – which at times causes more problems. Thus, I agree, but very very gently.

CR
Thank You…I think:)

I really try to be clear and unemotional. The few times I think I have failed were when false accusations of lack of integrity or questioning the precious Word. “Them are fighten words” :)

Quite honestly it bothers me that some apparently see themselves as the one to whom SB employees must give an account. But I think they are brothers in Christ and I think their motives are pure.

And yet, God is so good. Just last night as I read some of the low praises:) I was receiving on another blog, I wanted to respond, yet God guarded me and grew me more. Instead I prayed for the Lord to honor the faithfulness of those who were commenting. Sometimes it is difficult for me to let the Lord be my defense, but He is much better at it than I.

I’ve seen too much “answer immediately, apologize an hour later” responses on Blogs. MY wife has helped me a lot, she reads every post…but not every comment. I think the difficulty is the medium. I have some very close, very Godly and very intelligent friends who would confront me immediately if they thought I was out of place. I have had one encourage me a few weeks back on how to say something more effectively…I agreed and changed it. This is not to imply that those who know me are blind, quite contrar they are usually my harshest critics…but they understand what I am trying to say through a medium which by definition makes communication difficult.

Those who have been offended by any statement I have made, are those who do not know me, we all have a tendency to take a general statement made and make it personal as if the one we disagree with were writing directly to us.

I will be addressing all this soon, with some new standards for this Blog…I do not want to see on this Blog, what is taking place in other places. Perhaps together we can make this a model Blog and still tackle the difficult and emotional issues facing SB:)
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
You're exactly right about the gentle nature with which we 'fellowship' - which (fellowship) includes pointed and sometimes corrective communication. I made the assumption that Travis personally knew this brother as he was attesting to his Christian profession. It is possible, though, that I read too much into the comment. At any rate, the closer the brother, the more still one will sit to have a splinter dug out of his eye, no?

Grace and peace,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Yes:)

BR

Travis Hilton said...

PTL,

I don't think you heard the point of my comment. Reguardless of how you may perceive the man's drinking, you can not control how others percieve it. My grief (not offense) is for his witness. I agree with Brad that these things are not as easy to confront as you suggest. I beleive in confronting a brother when it is possible and appropriate. You don't know the situation, so you are in no place to judge my reflection. I did not mention any person's name. It was ment to be taken at face value as an example. Beleive me, I work on not having a judgemental attitude everyday (as should you, obviously). I am confronted with situations which are much more appalling that require me to exercise God given grace on a daily basis.

Travis Hilton said...

PTL,

I posted my last comment after I read you last statement. It sounds like you understand where I'm coming from now.

Grace,
Travis

posttinebraelux said...

Travis,
I think I understood where you were coming from all along, but thanks for the retraction. :) If I have a judgemental attitude toward your judgemental attitude toward my judgemental attitude toward your judgemental attitude, does that make us both judgemental? Just kidding. :) At any rate, I too must constantly be on guard against unBiblical judgement of the lost (which is not my place to judge regarding anything) and my brothers/sisters in Christ (which judgement requires a gentle approach to very specific issues). My point is simply that we must be very careful regarding our perceptions of others' motives and attitudes.

Grace and peace,

PTL

IN HIS NAME said...

brad reynolds said...
PTL
I agree; if we think a Christian is hurting the witness of Christ we should say something…but that is difficult sometimes, especially if we don't know them well…I think it better if those in his church speak to him, since there is a covenant relationship there. If I were to address a Christian not in my church on his witness in any area, my words must be chosen very well, for human nature is defensive – which at times causes more problems. Thus, I agree, but very very gently.

AMEN AMEN AMEN AMEN AMEN

BRAD,
I have to say that is the BEST comment I have ever read that was written by you.

This is one problem with BLOG'S, not being up close and personal.

CHRIS say he has seen a change and I had stated that I was beginning
to see your HEART.

AGAIN I SAY AMEN,
A Brother in CHRIST.

brad reynolds said...

In His Name
You are right...the lack of personal touch in blogging is a problem.

I am thinking of having some new rules on my Blog, to set an example of Christain gentleman discussion. I will post about it tomorrow. I would like your input when I do.
BR