Saturday, July 08, 2006

Legalism and Alcohol

Much has been written on Blogs lately about Fundamentalism and Legalism, especially in relation to moderation in alcohol. I am truly amazed at the ignorance of the meaning of NT legalism, as well as the relative way the ignorance is applied (I have yet to hear these bloggers claim that those who believe slavery or smoking marijuana is sin are legalists (even though the NT does not condemn these acts either)).

To shed light on the NT meaning of legalism I will quote from Zane Hodges’ “Legalism: The Real Thing.” Dr. Hodges could not be labeled, a legalist, since he has argued against Lordship Salvation (a position I hold). Thus, his comments are quite objective.


“Legalism is not a very nice word. No one wants to be accused of it anymore than one would want to be accused of despising motherhood or apple pie. In ecclesiastical circles, to call someone a legalist is to hurl an insult of the first magnitude. If someone says, "You’re a legalist," the instinctive reply would be, "Them’s fighting words!"

But legalism is more than just a nasty religious word. It is also a widely misused word. In the ordinary jargon of evangelicalism, legalism has come to mean an undue emphasis on rules—particularly rules of a negative kind. But on this basis the apostle Paul, whose epistles contain a plethora of negative commands, would himself be called a legalist! This is an absurd designation for the great Apostle of Grace.

When I did my undergraduate work at Wheaton College, like all other Wheaton students, I signed the famous Wheaton pledge. The pledge, of course, bound me to abstain from things like drinking, smoking, dancing, card playing, and going to movies. To many people today, that kind of restrictive policy smacks of a very bad case of legalism. Yet I am happy to report that I never had a problem with the Wheaton pledge at all. Not only did I abstain from all these things while a student there, but I was actually glad the pledge existed….

Naturally there were some people, even in those days, who thought the Wheaton pledge was a par excellence example of rigid fundamentalism with its so-called legalistic mentality. This accusation, however, was false. First of all, if you didn’t like the idea of a pledge you could go to another school. Anyone who enrolled at Wheaton knew perfectly well what the rules of the game were. It was a fault much worse than the pledge, to enroll and sign it, and then go out and break it in the name of Christian liberty. Those who did so only revealed their lack of Christian integrity and character.

But in the second place, the Wheaton pledge was not an expression of legalism properly perceived from a biblical point of view. If anything, the Wheaton pledge impinged on the NT teaching about doubtful things. Paul had a good bit to say on that subject and if I read his words correctly he was highly sympathetic to the idea of giving up doubtful things if they caused offense to his Christian brothers. I am impressed by his words in 1 Cor 8:13 where he writes: "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." I am not at all sure I could pull that off!

My experience in Evangelicalism suggests that not very many Christians today share these sentiments of Paul’s. For the most part, Evangelicals are not very eager to surrender practices they regard as their right to engage in, in the interest of a brother who may be spiritually hurt by their activity. It is not uncommon to hear scruples against so-called doubtful things labeled as "legalism." This kind of characterization then offers an excuse for ignoring other people’s scruples, in the alleged interest of maintaining Christian freedom against unbiblical legalism.

To all of this I say, "Stuff and nonsense!" People’s conscientious scruples against activities not explicitly condemned in Scripture is not—I repeat, not—legalism. Of course, when a word is used widely in a certain way, it comes to have that meaning. But I am not talking about the semantic history of the word legalism. I am talking about the NT concept of legalism….

Let me quote Berkhof directly on this point. He designates this use by the Latin words, usus didacticus or normativus, and then he writes as follows: "This is the so-called tertius usus legis, the third use of the law. The law is a rule of life for believers, reminding them of their duties and leading them in the way of life and salvation….

For a long time I have felt that Acts 15 is a highly instructive text in terms of the nature and content of the legalistic thought which Paul vigorously opposed. For example, in Acts 15:1 we are told this: "And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’" Naturally, it is unlikely that this means that these Judean teachers asked for circumcision and nothing more. The subsequent debate at Jerusalem suggests that the larger issue was the keeping of the Mosaic law, in the keeping of which circumcision was simply the first step.
But clearly these Judean teachers mixed their commands into the conditions for final salvation from hell. We should not leap to the conclusion, however, that they denied the necessity of faith in Christ. In all likelihood they affirmed it, since they got a good hearing at Antioch—so much so that the congregation there dispatched Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to settle this issue once and for all.”


In other words, maintaining Biblical standards of holiness as a way of life is not legalism, rather, legalism is an insistence on certain behaviors to accomplish salvation. I have never heard any leader, or for that matter, pastor in the SBC who has said one must abstain from alcohol in order to be saved. Such derogatory, devisive and erroneous labeling of legalism on those who uphold the biblical standard of holiness displays either an ignorance of legalism or a lack of intellectual honesty.

92 comments:

IN HIS NAME said...

BRAD,
Does this ring a BELL?

Neo-fundamentalism may be identified as the modern movement that, while holding to the historic fundamental doctrines of Scripture, has evolved into a movement with different emphases and perspectives.

Neo-fundamentalism has remained true to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith, steadfastly defending those doctrines in pulpits and classrooms.

However, although historic fundamentalism has fielded intellectual giants like Robert Dick Wilson, W. H. Griffith Thomas, Bishop J. C. Ryle, J. Gresham Machen, and many others,

neo-fundamentalism has tended to reject intellectualism and seminary training.

This anti-intellectualism has resulted in aberrations of orthodoxy, particularly seen in the “King James only” movement.

Even though early fundamentalists certainly believed in the inspiration of the autographs,

some neo-fundamentalists have tended to go further and actually advocate the inspiration of the King James Version,

even including it in their doctrinal statements.
Neo-fundamentalism has also tended toward ""legalism"",

adding explicit statements regarding behavior to doctrinal statements.

In addition, neo-fundamentalism has also advocated secondary separationism, calling for avoidance of other Christians who do not follow the same rigid standards.

In advocating this attitude, neo-fundamentalism has tended toward divisiveness, splitting of churches, and fostering of ill will among genuine Christians.

This is an unfortunate commentary on those who otherwise hold to correct doctrine.

Ultimately, sound doctrine should issue in life-changing behavior, the relational expression of which must be love (Joh_13:34-35; 1Jo_2:10,1Jo_2:11; 1Jo_3:14).

Love is the Christian’s duty even when engaged in conflict with heresy or immorality.

The biblical admonitions to love need to be taken seriously, especially where alleged compromise is not in the realm of doctrines central to the faith.

A Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

in his name,

James Dobson as well as the SBC have been classified as Neo-fundamentalist. Such insults are ad-hominal at best. Yet, even if one chooses to erroneosly categorize the Biblical standard of abstinance as Neo-fundamentalist anti-intellectual legalism, this does not change what legalism means in the NT.

The admonition to love is certainly relevant, expecially since love rejoices in truth!
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Three points dear brother:

1)my understanding of the word legalism is not "one who holds high standards", but rather, "one who enforces his/her extrabiblical standards on others." Your friend has completely missed the point in his rambling about Wheaton's pledge. Legalism is not about what standards I hold for myself, but rather, what (extrabliblical) standards I hold you to.
2) legalism is, as it was in Christ's day, one of the most heinous of sins - Christ spent more time decrying the sin of the Pharisees (legalism) than He did of any other sin. Please do not downplay the offense of true legalism (calling holy that which is the "doctrines of man" - which include the command to abstain from alcohol).
3) When Paul is discussing causing brothers/sisters to sin he says two things to the respective groups (mature brothers and weaker brothers); he says for the weaker brothers not to judge the mature brothers (i.e. don't be legalists) and for the mature brothers not to despise the weaker brothers. Note too, that those who apply the drinking of alcohol to these passages are, by definition, "weaker brothers." Implicit is the call to become mature - i.e. grow up and recognize that, "it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but rather what proceeds OUT of the mouth (legalism)."

Thanks brother,

Posttinebraelux

brad reynolds said...

Posttinebraelux,

Excellent post if legalism meant “one who enforces his/her extrabiblical standards on others” and if abstinence from strong drink was extrabiblical. Since neither of these presuppositions is accurate the rest is invalidated.

Legalism as confronted by Jesus and Paul was the belief that one had to fulfill certain laws for salvation (Galatians). Redefining it, does not change its NT meaning.

I’ll have more to say on the law in NT in another post

Thanks for sharing your thoughts
BR

sbc pastor said...

Posttinebraelux,

It appears that you may have misunderstood the resolution. If I remember correctly (and occasionally I do not), it does not say anything about abstaining from alcohol - that would be extrabiblical (Hence, it is recognized that Nyquil is fine for medicinal purposes and rubbing alcohol is good for cleansing boo-boo's).

However, the resolution does speak of abstaining from alcoholic beverages ("strong drink" is prohibited in the Scripture, and modern alcoholic beverages are "strong drink" by biblical standards due to their alcoholic content).

I do agree with you that legalism, as well as liberalism (when they are defined biblically), are condemned in Scripture.

Please note the article that I have posted on my blog at http://sbcpastor.blogspot.com where Dr. Patterson offers his theological understanding of the subject. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

posttinebraelux said...

Dear SBC pastor,

Neither alcohol nor strong drink is prohibited in the Bible. Granted, Solomon does say that one who is "led astray" by strong drink is unwise, but there are two caveats here: 1) only those who are "led astray" by strong drink are committing some offense, and (2) the offense is merely that they are unwise. Never does the passage condemn strong drink - nor is it Biblical to assume that the oinos spoken of in the new testament is the same as the strong drink spoken of in Proverbs. Apparently oinos had some considerable strength as well or: (1) the apostles couldn't have been thought to be drunk on it (Acts 2:13), or (2) Paul would not have chastised the Corinthians for being drunk on it (I Cor. 11:21)or (3) Paul wouldn't have counseled the Ephesians not to be "filled" with it (Eph. 5:18). It is risky at best to use secular writings (which I assume you are using in reference to "mixing" of wine) to justify an extrabiblical stance on prohibiting brethren from drinking alcohol. Rememeber, the yahyin which made Noah drunk was also blessed by God. Please be careful about calling evil that which God has blessed.

God bless you as well SBC Pastor as He continues to allow all of us to become more mature in understanding His nature.

posttinebraelux said...

Dear Brad,

What word would you use for "enforcing extrabiblical doctrines upon the body of Christ"? (with the exception of just calling it "sin" which Paul does (Mark 7:7)). That would be what the prohibitioners are guilty of.
BTW, I'm not sure what the difference in today's wine and NT wine would be with respect to alcohol content. Most of today's wine is ~ 12% alcohol. Are you all (you and SBC Pastor) saying that NT wine was less alcoholic than that? If so, it hardly would contain enough yeast cultures to "bust new wine skins" or to make someone drunk (reference the passages I alluded to in the response to SBC Pastor). If, in fact, "strong drink" is truly "strong drink", I'd say the alcoholic content would have to be well above the 12% level. If today's wine was diluted much at all, it'd realistically fail to be wine at all (example: if today's wine was cut by 2, it would be 6%; cut by 4 would elicit 3%; cut by 8 would be 1.5% (which is the common alcoholic content of handmade rootbeer).

Love and peace to all,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Sorry, that wasn't Paul who called it sin, it was Christ (well, Paul called it sin as well, but in a different passage).

PTL

Jeffro said...

Brad,

Could legalism (an insistence on certain behaviors to accomplish salvation)also include an insistence on certain behaviors to accomplish greater righteousness in Christians?

Jeffro said...

Brad,

Surely you understand the difference between alcohol and marijuana use. Comparing the moderate use of alcohol with the moderate use of marijuana is a categorical error. First of all, one is legal and the other is not. Therefore, Christians who are to be subject to the laws of the land would be in sin by partaking of marijuana. Secondly,(and you may not know this since you went to Wheaton, where everyone signed the pledge and kept it) marijuana in its mildest form produces a high. If you take one hit you feel the effects. It is not possible to partake of marijuana without sinning, because it immediately produces a stupor. You also mentioned morphine in a post somewhere, some other time. The same reasoning applies. However, alcohol can often be enjoyed, moderately, without any mind altering effects. Your comparison of alcohol and marijuana is akin to comparing Pep pills, also known as speed (which you can buy over the counter in any convenience store) to Mountain Dew. One produces a sinful, mind altering effect. The other does not.

Also, to further comment along the lines of Posttine's thoughts. The alcohol content for basic beer does not exceed 5%. There are now selling designer beers in some states, where the alcohol content does not exceed 11-12%. But the alcohol content in Nyquil, which produces an almost immediate effect BTW, is well over 20%.

As far as slavery is concerned, you need to define what is wrong about slavery. Levitical slavery is not a sin is it? I would say wholeheartedly, that a slavery that belittles the humanness of man is wrong, but this is not the only kind of slavery in the world. This is why Paul did not decry slavery in the NT. Oftentimes, men sold and still sell themselves into slavery for the purpose of paying off debt, or providing for their family, or because they love their master. Slavery, alone, is not an evil thing. I would suggest that in a sense I am a slave. For instance, I signed a 30 year mortgage roughly 2 years ago for my house and property. I don't own it. If I don't work to make the payment, the Master (bank) will come and possess it, and sell it to someone else. Furthermore, when I pay off my Master (the Bank), I still must continue paying my other Master (the government), or they will come and put me in jail and take my property and sell it to someone else. Is this type of slavery sin?

brad reynolds said...

Posttinebraelux,
I would say forcing extrabiblical doctrines upon the body of Christ would be “forcing ones convictions on others.” It is not the legalism of the NT which is salvation by the law.

For difference in today’s wine and NT please read MacArthur’s article (google John MacArthur “Be not Drunk with Wine”) - This article will help all understand this better.

We have covered most of this already in the comments under the posting of What really happened at the SBC – Part 2

Jeffro,
I’m not sure one can be made more righteous than when one gets saved. We are fully righteous then, but our righteous standing before God is not what we are discussing we are discussing the command be ye holy for I am holy.

As you know a “joint” can be made with more or less hemp plant and the potency of it depends on both the amount and the quality of the hemp plant…one can easily take a hit and not be ”drunk.” However, the subjective term of “drunk” implies certain problems for both marijuana and alcohol. Further, Marijuana is legal in California.

No one has argued against the biblical example of alcohol for medicinal purposes (Nyquil).

Further, if you are equating being owned by a person with paying a mortgage, then that may explain why we are having difficulty understanding each other’s analogies and rationale. But thank you for your contribution
BR

sbc pastor said...

Jeffro,

Do you think that comparing the relationship between marijuana/alcoholic beverages with the relationship between speed/mt. dew is a valid and accurate comparison? I think that it may be somewhat of a stretch... although it was hillarious. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Jeffro said...

Brad,

Please explain to me how you are not discussing righteousness when discussing "Be holy as I am holy." Can we be holy? Furthermore, you have not yet proven that moderate use of alcohol is sinful. I suppose that you are referring to 1 Peter 1:16. But the context, v. 13 reads, "Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed." Are we not allowed to excercise self control when partaking of alcohol?

Marijuana is legal in California, for medicinal purposes only. I believe you must have a prescription to use it, and it is to be used in order to create a stupor to relieve pain. Is this right?

In a Levitical, NT and Ancient understanding of slavery paying a mortgage is a form of being owned by an entity at the very least. Furthermore, explain to me how owning a person while caring for them according to the principles in Ephesians 6:9 is sinful.

Jeffro said...

SBC Pastor,

Speed (caffeine pills) is definitely used to create a stupor. Mountain Dew (liquid caffeine), is not used to create a stupor. Also, there are many high powered caffeine drinks on the market now. Red Bull, Monster, Rock Star, and Mt. Dew have hopped up caffeine drink. And many are addicted to caffeine; Mt. Dew, Sun Drop (my personal favorite), Coffee, Starbucks, Energy Drinks. Where do we draw the line?

Personally, I don't know any marijuana users, and I know quite a few (I work with addicts and alcholics.), who use marijuana for any other reason but drunkeness, which is not a subjective term. However, alcohol can be used in moderation, without causing drunkeness, and many do just that.

I am glad you enjoyed the comparison. I stick to it. lol

God Bless

sbc pastor said...

PB,

It is very obvious that you are completely unaware of the fact that there are 3 separate Hebrew words as well as 3 separate Greek words that are used to translate the English words "wine" and "strong drink" in the English translations of the Bible. Additionally, these words (in the Biblical languages) have a very wide range of meanings - with some of the words having multiple meanings. Thus, it is dependent upon the context of each particular passage as well as the teaching of the Scripture as a whole in order to correctly interpret their use (proper hermeneutics is essential).

As for your comment that "neither alcohol nor strong drink is prohibited in the Bible," it is sufficient to say that you should definitely research that which you are speaking of - for your statement is entirely incorrect and unscriptural. Please refer to previous posts on this site as well as several on my site at http://sbcpastor.blogspot.com - on my site there is one post by me, a link to an article by Dr. Akin, and an article by Dr. Patterson. Please refer to those for an introduction to the subject. This would be necessary in order to have any type of educated discussion at all.

Please notice that several of these words, including 'oinos,' can refer to the fruit of the vine, purified drinking water with a very small alcoholic content, as well as "strong drink."

In light of your understanding of the subject, I find it rather amusing that you "assume" that I am basing my beliefs upon secular writings. On the contrary, they are based entirely upon the Word of God. Furthermore, I have examined the teachings of the Scripture with several of the most reputable and conservative Biblical scholars to ensure faithfulness to the text of Scripture (please see my posts).

You stated: "Please be careful about calling evil that which God has blessed." In light of your apparent ignorance of the subject, this may be appropriate advice for yourself as well. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

posttinebraelux said...

Dear SBCPastor,

I have read posts by many authors as well as "face to face" discussions with several knowledgable Christians and have yet to find one who can present a single Biblical passage where alcohol is prohibited or forbidden (BTB, I read the Patterson blog on your site and still found NOT ONE Biblical reference indicating that drinking alcohol is sin). I think I have done extensive research on this subject and can find no such passage. Can you point me to just one passage that says drinking alcohol is sin? I do find several passages that indicate that God blessed alcohol as a gift from Him. Now, it is true that some of the words translated wine can mean "juice" or simply "fruit of the vine", but you can also find isolated passages where the word translated baptize refers to "washing" or "cleansing" and not necessarily immersion. I don't think either of us would argut that the normal use of the word baptism means to immerse = just as the normal use of the word oinos or yahyin refers to alcoholic wine. If you will, with open mind, read the arguments by anyone who denounces alcohol as sin, you will most likely find that they are forced into verbal wranglings that twist the normal meanings of words into convoluted and almost incomprehensible arguments. Isn't it simpler to allow the text to speak for itself? The same word (oinos) is used of Christ turning water to wine as is used by Paul when he says not to be "filled" with wine. There is no Biblical ground for saying that these are referring to two different kind of drinks. I find it laudable that you and Brad hold such high standards for yourself and, kidding aside, pray God's strength in your endeavors. I trust, however, that you do not judge those of your brethren who do imbibe - as you would be committing sin to do such (let him who does not eat judge him who eats - Rom. 14:3). I promise, in return, I'll not despise you who do not eat.

BTW, I understand that "ignorance" simply means "one who is not knowledgeable in a certain area", but there are some who do not and, because of it's potentially offensive connotations, I prefer to abstain from using such derogatory words when describing other brothers.

PTL

sbc pastor said...

PTL,

Thanks for your comments. However, I think that you are still missing the picture - alcohol is NOT prohibited in Scripture, but "strong drink" is. Please read my blog entitled, "Alcohol, Inerrancy, and the SBC" - please note: it is not the Patterson article.

Furthermore, I believe that an earlier blog on this site addresses this issue as well - I think it is entitled, "What really happened at the SBC - part 2." Another good posting is by Baptist Theologue regarding those called to ministry and their relationship, or lack thereof, with alcoholic beverages (it is on my site in the "comments" to the Patterson article). These will hopefully provide a more thorough understanding of the biblical prohibitions on "strong drink" and thus on modern alcoholic beverages due to their alcoholic content.

Please feel free to comment on them at my blog so that we will not have to consume so much space on Brad's. Furthermore, in regards to your previous comments:

"It is risky at best to use secular writings (which I assume you are using in reference to "mixing" of wine) to justify an extrabiblical stance on prohibiting brethren from drinking alcohol."

Your comments appear to be somewhat inflammatory and are completely uncalled for. Furthermore, they are "potentially offensive" and I too prefer that you do not use such disparaging language.

"Please be careful about calling evil that which God has blessed."

It should also be noted that great care should be exercised on your behalf so that you do not condone and endorse that which God has forbidden (i.e. "strong drink"). God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

IN HIS NAME said...

Brothers

Pro 30:6 - Add thou not unto his words,.... To the words of God; as the Jews did, by joining their oral law, or the traditions of the elders, to the written word, and preferring them before it; and as the Papists, by making their unwritten traditions, and the sense and determinations of their church, equal to the Scriptures; and as all enthusiasts do, who set up their pretended dreams, visions, revelations, and prophecies, upon a foot with the word of God, or as superior to it; whereas that is, and that only, the rule and standard of faith and practice, and is a sufficient and perfect one; see Deu_4:2;

lest he reprove thee; that is, God; either by words or by blows, by threatenings and denunciations of his wrath and displeasure; or by chastisements and corrections for such daring pride, blasphemy, and wickedness; those who add to his words, he threatens to add plagues unto them, Rev_22:18;

and thou be found a liar; a forger, speaker, and spreader of doctrinal lies, such doctrines as are contrary to the word of truth; not being built on that, but upon human inventions, and additions to it.

A Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

Jeffro,

Positional Righteousness given by Christ and Christ alone is different from sanctified (holy) living. If you honestly have not grasped the difference I will be more than happy to explain.

If you are implying that Christians may imbibe in mind-altering drugs, other than alcohol (marijuana, etc), in nations where they are legal I will be glad to discuss this situational ethic.

Also, drunkenness is subjective the amount of alcohol that leads to drunkenness depends not just upon the person but the amount of food the person has eaten as well as the type of food and many other factors. Furthermore, a new study came out last Friday from Univ. of Wash which revealed that 1 strong drink began altering the mind and sight. Thus, a governments definition of drunkenness can and is subjective.

BR

brad reynolds said...

Posttinebraelux

I have tried to make clear this is not an issue of weaker/stronger brother but an issue of avoiding sin, avoiding the appearance of evil and simply making wise decisions. While I encourage brothers in Christ to make wise decisions. I would ask of you not to despise the wisdom of those who uphold biblical standards. However, I must of necessity speak the principles of Scripture.

Thank you for your spirit in this discussion.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Dear Brad,

It is the prohibitioners who revel in the application of Romans 14 to the consumption of alcohol - either the passage is applicable (in which case it is the weaker brother who does not drink) or it is not. With regard to the "appearance of evil", we must first be able to classify the consumption of alcohol as evil - which we cannot on a Scriptural basis. If it is not evil, then consuming it cannot present an appearance of evil. If, however, we were to feign drunkenness - even though we weren't - then you'd have a pretty good argument.
On the issue of despising those who hold Biblical standards, God forbid. I think, though, that I went further in that I do not despise even those who hold extra-Biblical standards. There is nothing in this world wrong with a conviction to abstain from alcohol. On the contrary, it is primarily the prohibitioners who despise those who do imbibe (of course I'm not in reference to you).
On the issue of my "spirit" in these discussions, I hope you know that I always try to maintain a gentle spirit - even with those who choose not to have such a spirit.

Peace and grace brother,

PTL

IN HIS NAME said...

Posttinebraelux,

I have to add to which you have posted.

AMEN !!! AMEN !!! AMEN !!!
A Brother in CHRIST

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,

Sorry about posting here; I tried to post to SBCPastor's site to cut down on the blog here, but he refuses to post my comments. I'm merely asking for just one single passage which prohibits the use of alcohol or strong drink. SBCPastor, please, please, just one passage.......

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
I do not revel in the application of Romans 14 to alcohol but for those who do I can understand why…if drinking alcohol is not evil nor the appearance of evil the fact we are having this discussion in the SBC certainly implies it is a questionable activity.

I would have to agree with Dr. Patterson that it is the appearance of evil. I assure you, when I was a teenager if I had seen my pastor walking out of the ABC store with a 6-pack of Coors Light I would certainly have had a difficult time listening to him the following Sunday. My football coach got in trouble for drinking beer at a baseball game because of how it appeared (how much more so a pastor, for goodness sake).

I assume you would classify our Christian brethren, in countries where other mind-altering drugs are legal, as holding to extra-biblical standards if they felt they should abstain from Marijuana and such.

BR

posttinebraelux said...

Dear Brad,

At least you and I agree that those who use Rom. 14 to support their stance against the consumption of alcohol would be considered weaker brothers/sisters. I also would agree that, where the Bible is silent (as is the case with the legal use of marijuana), convictions held should not be despised and convictions not held should not be judged.

I knew you'd come around. :)

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL

If someone's conviction against alcohol is simply that it causes weaker brothers to stumble than I would agree that those it caused to stumble were weaker brothers, but not necessarily those calling for abstention on behalf of the weaker brothers (ie - Paul).

However, the assumption that the weaker brother argument is the strongest argument against alcohol is weak:)

Thank you for your consistency in relation to marijuana. Just as you refuse to say moderation in the mind-altering drug of alcohol is wrong, you also are consistent in refusing to say moderation in the legal use of the mind-altering drug of marijuana is wrong. I wish more moderationists would be as consistent as you. Thanks, it is refreshing. Wrong, but refreshing:)

BR

posttinebraelux said...

Dear brother in Christ,

I have neither commended nor condemned alcohol or marijuana - it is not my place to do so. I leave that to God who, interestingly enough, is silent on the issue. But more tomorrow...

PTL

IN HIS NAME said...

PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE BECOME “LEGALISM”

Those in POWER and their MIND SET becomes or leans toward "LEGALISM”.

I wish those that post would call Fundamentalism of today by its correct name
”Neo-fundamentalism”. Neo-fundamentalism may be identified as the modern movement that, while holding to the historic fundamental doctrines of Scripture, has evolved into a movement with different emphases and perspectives.

Neo-fundamentalism has remained true to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith, steadfastly defending those doctrines in pulpits and classrooms.

However, although HISTORIC FUNDAMENTALISM has fielded intellectual giants like Robert Dick Wilson, W. H. Griffith Thomas, Bishop J. C. Ryle, J. Gresham Machen, and many others,

neo-fundamentalism has tended to reject intellectualism and seminary training.

This anti-intellectualism has resulted in aberrations of orthodoxy, particularly seen in the “King James only” movement.

Even though early fundamentalists certainly believed in the inspiration of the autographs,

some neo-fundamentalists have tended to go further and actually advocate the inspiration of the King James Version,

even including it in their doctrinal statements.
Neo-fundamentalism has also tended toward ""legalism"",

adding explicit statements regarding behavior to doctrinal statements.

In addition, neo-fundamentalism has also advocated secondary separationism, calling for avoidance of other Christians who do not follow the same rigid standards.

In advocating this attitude, neo-fundamentalism has tended toward divisiveness, splitting of churches, and fostering of ill will among genuine Christians.

This is an unfortunate commentary on those who otherwise hold to correct doctrine.

Ultimately, sound doctrine should issue in life-changing behavior, the relational expression of which must be love (Joh_13:34-35; 1Jo_2:10,1Jo_2:11; 1Jo_3:14).

Love is the Christian’s duty even when engaged in conflict with heresy or immorality.

The biblical admonitions to love need to be taken seriously, especially where alleged compromise is not in the realm of doctrines central to the faith.



A Brother in CHRIST

Jeffro said...

Brad,

Please, enlighten me. I would love to read your explanation of the difference between positional righteousness in Christ and holy living. I apparently need a lesson.

I don't beleive that I in any way implied that Christians can imbibe in mind altering drugs i.e. marijuana, speed, morphine, where they are legal for the use of altering their mind and producing a stupor. Apparently, we are having trouble communicating.

Further, drunkenness is not subjective. A person's tolerance for alcohol (including the contributing factors such as food and weight) may be subjective. But drunkenness is not subjective.

Finally, if not imbibing of alcohol is part of living "the holy life," can we listen to secular music? Can we watch TV? Can we chew tobacco? Should we eat fried chicken? Are the Beatles off limits? How about Barney? Can we do any of these things in moderation and still be living "the holy life?"

brad reynolds said...

Jeffro
The declaration of righteousness upon a person is done at the time of justification. Thus on the basis of Christ’s atoning death the righteousness of Christ is imputed unto the one who believes. Sanctification is the process whereby one actually becomes holy in living. Millard Erickson’s comment on this is “enlightening”: “Sanctification is the process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God.” (Erickson, Christian Theology, Baker, 1989, p 968).

Alcohol is a mind-altering drug! I guess we are having trouble communicating.

Please, help us understand what drunkenness is. Is drunkenness when the alcohol level in the bloodstream is at .10, as many states held before the congressional act in 2001, or is it at the .08 level that states now hold too? Is the standard of drunkenness DUI or is it the higher standard known as public drunkenness (which even lawyers argue is subjective)? Is it when one loses function of all their mental capacities or just certain ones and if certain ones, which ones and to what extent? Please help us to know the objective biblical standard for drunkenness.

Concerning the freedom to imbibe in unholy living, I will admit I know not where the line is and neither do you. Can we live holy and go to rated R movies with vivid nude scenes, if so, can we watch NC-17 movies, exactly where does this end? Can we listen to actors blaspheme God and still be holy, if so, to what extent can we tolerate such blasphemous attacks upon our Lord and still be holy? Can we watch MTV 24/7 and say we are holy? Can we poison our body? to what extent?

You see my friend you are asking the wrong question. The Bible never answers how close to sin can we get without sinning, for that is a dangerous game (Proverbs). But rather the Bible asks the question how close to Jesus can we get! “Be ye holy for I am holy,” saith the Lord:)

I know this may come across in a spirit not intended but I am trying to show why the ad-absurdum argument you made does not withstand biblical scrutiny. Grace is not a license to sin.
BR

brad reynolds said...

in his name
If you are going to post long comments please don't repeat. I don't mind long comments but I do mind repitition.

But too respond to your repitition let me repeat "James Dobson as well as the SBC have been classified as Neo-fundamentalist. Such insults are ad-hominal at best. Yet, even if one chooses to erroneosly categorize the Biblical standard of abstinance as Neo-fundamentalist anti-intellectual legalism, this does not change what legalism means in the NT."
BR

sbc pastor said...

Brad and PTL,

In regards to PTL's comments:

"Sorry about posting here; I tried to post to SBCPastor's site to cut down on the blog here, but he refuses to post my comments. I'm merely asking for just one single passage which prohibits the use of alcohol or strong drink. SBCPastor, please, please, just one passage......."

I will simply state that all of PTL's comments have been posted to my site, with the exception of two. The reason that these comments were not posted is because of inflammatory and disparaging language.

Furthermore, he insisted on making unfound allegations and outright lies. Thus, I did not publish 2 of his comments (but did 3 others), and will not publish any others that contain such vile and ungodly material. I understand that by nature, blogging appears to lead to somewhat heated discussion (at least as I have seen in my less than 2 months in the blogosphere) - this I recognize. However, his abuses were extreme and warranted censure in my best judgment.

However, I have provided PTL with exactly what he has asked for: "I'm merely asking for just one single passage which prohibits the use of alcohol or strong drink" (in his own words). I have given him his answer, albeit not to him directly - but to the moderation argument.

I have posted an excerpt from an article written by Dr. Stephen Reynolds (kin folk Brad?), entitled, “The Absolute Prohibition of Proverbs 23:29-31.”

It can be found on the blog entitled, "The Moderation Argument: Answer a Fool According to his Folly" which is a synopsis of Reynolds argument. Here is the link:

http://sbcpastor.blogspot.com/2006/07/moderation-argument-answer-fool.html

Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Christopher Redman said...

Brad,

I think you (and I) could really learn something about blogging from Steve Camp.

In stead of arguing points and taking a position, he actually accmpolished a powerful and faith building blog post.

Read: http://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com/

Post: The Juniper Tree
...learning to treasure Christ in the hard places (Monday, July 10th, 2006)

CR

Kevin Stilley said...

Brad, thanks for the post.

In His Name, your diatribe on neo-fundamentalism is a straw-man argument.

Peace,

Kevin

Jeffro said...

Brad,

Drunkenness occurs when one loses their ability to completely control themselves. In the case of the government limit, let me offer this true story. I have a brother in law who was once an alcoholic. He has 6 DWI's. He lost his license for 4 years and went to jail for 11 months for his last one. While in prison God in His Sovereign grace saved him. He told me that when he received his 4th DWI his BAC was .09. He passed the entire field sobriety test, had no slurred speech, but had 3 beers at a restaraunt on the way home. He had complete control of himself. He was not pulled over for drunken driving or reckless driving. He went through a license check. So, your argument about BAC is moot. As I said before, different people have different tolerances to alcohol. Tolerance to alcohol is subjective, drunkenness is not. If drunkenness is subjective, you open the door to play fast and loose with other sins in Scripture.

You are correct that grace is not a license to sin. Please search my posts and show me where I said that it was, or even referred to it. You, my friend, are the one who is claiming a thing to be a sin with no Biblical evidence. It appears to me, based on your argument about the "subjectivity of drunkenness," and based on your desire for a Biblical definition of drunkenness that you are trying to use the absence of specific law in Scripture to advocate creating a new one, e.g. You cannot drink any alcohol, because the least amount of alcohol could make you drunk.

Further, if "sanctification is the process by which one’s moral condition is brought into conformity with one’s legal status before God.” (Erickson, Christian Theology, Baker, 1989, p 968). I ask who brings ones's moral condition into conformity with one's legal status before God. Is it me? Or, is it the work of the Holy Spirit? Surely, you will agree that the Holy Spirit conforms me into the image of Christ. If you do agree, then you must believe that every Christian who drinks alcohol in moderation is sinning against the work of the Holy Spirit in their life, because the Spirit convicts and conforms. Please correct me if I am wrong. Furthermore, if Jesus drank wine, your argument that being holy i.e. not drinking alcohol, then Jesus wasn't holy.

Please explain. Based on your subjective understanding of drunkenness, and your implying that drinking alcohol is not in line with holiness. If Jesus drank alcohol, what does that say about His holiness.

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,

I think you may have misunderstood my request. The request was not for you to post a lengthy discussion of Dr. Stephen Reynolds about the passage in Prov. 23 (which has been debated by scholors much more learned than I). I find no place in the passage that states, "the consumption of alcohol is prohibited." My request was not to Dr. Reynolds. I requested that you (SBCPastor) point to one passage that says "the consumption of alcohol is prohibited." You cannot do that and if Brad is honest, if Dr. Patterson is honest, if Dr. Reynolds (Stephen that is) is honest, if Dr. Aiken is honest, they will confirm for you that there is not a single passage in the whole of the Bible that clearly sets forth the command not to consume alcohol or strong drink. It's not there my friend. Give up. You won't find it. Speaking of Prov. 23, however, might I point you to a debate by Dr. Stephens and Ken Gentry:

http://www.contra-mundum.org/antithesis/Antithesis2-2.pdf

I figured I better post here becuase SBCPastor probably wouldn't post to his site.

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Oh, and SBCPastor, would you mind posting one of my comments to you on this blog so that all can see how inflammatory, disparaging, extreme, vile, and unwarranted my outright lies and ungodly material really is (adjectives and nouns provided by SBCPastor).

Brad, I'm a little surprised that you don't ask SBCPastor to tone his rhetoric down.

Thanks,

PTL

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

Christopher
Good Comment and excellent post by Steve Camp

Jeffro,
Is drunkenness when one loses their ability to control 100% of themselves or 90% or 80%? I’ve yet to meet a drunk who knew he was drunk when he was drunk, they usually claim they aren’t drunk (although some have probably been drunk enough times to know). Further, while drunkenness is prohibited in scripture, the exact point of drunkenness, while not subjective to God, is subjective to man, hence the different standards. Which is why Jesus did not drink undiluted wine (stay far far away from sin.)

You do make a good point about the fact we don’t know how much of the mind-altering drug of alcohol we can partake of before it alters the mind.

In answer to your question of who accomplishes sanctification? The Holy Spirit or the Christian? Yes! (Phil 2:12-13).

Read Dr. Patterson’s article on SBCPastor’s Blog for your question of Jesus drinking alcohol. But for now let me post 2 paragraphs:
In fact, Jesus was neither, and again there is no evidence that He drank "oinos" or anything other than the fresh, natural fruit of the vine.
To whatever extent wine was used by Jesus, clearly it was in small quantities and either at meals or for medicinal purposes. Certainly no tragic industry was supported by the selling and buying of wine. This latter point is crucial for the believer. A believer in no way can justify drinking if thereby he is contributing to the sustenance of an industry responsible for two-thirds of the violent deaths, two-fifths of all divorces, one-third of all crime, and untold millions of dollars in damage to private property.
Even if a Christian wished to demur from the idea that to take a drink is sin, strict biblical evidence establishes that imbibing strong drink is not God’s ideal for the believer. The question then becomes: Can it be anything less than sin for a believer who is genuinely grateful for the atoning power of Christ in his life to pursue anything other than the highest -- God’s ideal -- the best that he can be for Christ?

PTL
You have certainly posted here in good spirit and that is all I can address (although your presuppositions are flawed – there are many things that are wrong which are not specifically called sin in Scripture (abortion), but with a careful analysis of the Scripture, its context and historical setting, we arrive at principles). But thank you for the encouragement concerning my Blog and I will take it as an opportunity to encourage all to avoid judging motives, ad-hominal statements, or unChristlike comments or spirit. May God be honored as we seek truth.
BR

IN HIS NAME said...

Brad,
I thank you for your openness on your Blob by accepting all posts to the GLORY of GOD, AS JESUS and Wade Burleson have done.

Spc pastor
MAYBE I see PRIDE PRIDE PRIDE BECOME “LEGALISM.

Posttinebraelux
I SEE YOUR HEART

Kevin Stilley
MAYBE, I Will read your Blog.

Christopher Redman
GREAT LEAD on STEVE CAMP’S BLOG, I Will read your Blog.

Jeffro
LOVED YOUR COMMENT, I will read your Blog.
A Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

In His name,

Perhaps you should read my post..."An IMB Trustee, a Calvinist and Blog subjectivity - Part 1
BR

Thanks for your encouraging words to all except SBC pastor...perhaps you should read Hodges comments on this post about calling someone a legalist :) Especially in light of my previous comment about ad-hominal comments

posttinebraelux said...

Dear Brad,

Abortion is specifically mentioned as sin - it's one of the ten commandments. Regarding the development of standards based on Biblical principles - those are called convictions (I know you know that - I'm just stating it merely as a point of definition). Convictions are laudable but should not be enforced on others. If I enforced my convictions on others, you'd all have to drink wine (the alcoholic kind) at communion. :)

PTL

IN HIS NAME said...

BRAD,

Where in GOD'S WORD, the Bible, does it SAY Drinking WINE with a meal is a SIN?

A Brother in CHRIST

sbc pastor said...

PTL,

In regards to your comment:

"If I enforced my convictions on others, you'd all have to drink wine (the alcoholic kind) at communion."

I have posted an excerpt from the article, "Use of Wine in the Lord's Supper." The article contends that Jesus and His disciples drank unfermented grape juice during the Passover when Christ instituted the Lord's Supper, and that replacing the "fruit of the vine" with alcoholic beverage is injurious to its meaning: that Christ is the sinless Lamb of God that died as a sin substitute for mankind. I hope that it is truly helpful.

"Did Jesus use fermented or unfermented grape drink when he instituted the Lord's Supper (Mt. 26:26-29; Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22:17-20; 1Co 11:23-26)?

The following data support the conclusion that Jesus and his disciples drank UNFERMENTED GRAPE JUICE.

1) Neither Luke nor any other Biblical writer uses the word "wine" (Gk oinos) with regard to the Lord's Supper. The first three Gospel writers use "fruit of the vine" (Mt 26:29; Mk 14:25; Lk 22:18). Unfermented wine is the only truly natural "fruit of the vine," containing approximately 20 percent sugar and no alcohol. Fermentation destroys much of the sugar and alters what the vine produced. Fermented wine is not the product of the vine.

2) The Lord's Supper was instituted when Jesus and his disciples were eating the Passover. The Passover law in Ex 12:14-20 prohibited, during Passover week, the presence and use of seor (ex 12:15), a word referring to yeast or any agent of fermentation. Seor in the ancient world was often obtained from the thick scum on top of fermenting wine. Furthermore, all hametz, (i.e., anything that contained any type of fermentation) was forbidden (Ex 12:19: 13:7). God had given these laws because fermentation symbolized corruption and sin. (cf. Mt 16:6, 12; 1 Co. 5:7-8). Jesus, the Son of God, fulfilled the law in every requirement (Mt. 5:17). Thus, he would have followed God's law for the Passover and not used fermented wine.

3) A rather lively debate has taken place over the centuries among Jewish rabbis and scholars as to whether fermented products of the vine were allowed in the Passover. Those who held to a stricter and more literal interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures, especially Ex 13:7, insisted that no fermented wine could be used on this occasion.

4) Some Jewish sources affirm that the use of unfermented wine at the Passover was common in NT times. For example, "According to the Synoptic Gospels, it would appear that on the Thursday evening of the last week of his life Jesus with his disciples entered Jerusalem in order to eat the Passover meal with them in the sacred city; if so, the wafer and the wine of ...the communion service then instituted by him as a memorial would be the unleavened bread and the unfermented wine of the Seder service" (see "Jesus," The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1904 edition, V.165).

5) In the OT, fermented drink was never to be used in the house of God, nor were the priests allowed to draw near to God in worship while drinking intoxicating beverages (see Lev 10:9, note). Jesus Christ was God's high priest of the new covenant, drawing near to God for the sake of his people (Heb 3:1; 5:1-10).

6) The value of a symbol is determined by its capacity to conceptualize the spiritual reality. Therefore, just as the bread represented Christ's pure body and had to be unleavened (i.e., uncorrupted with fermentation), the fruit of the vine, representing the incorruptible blood of Christ, would have been best represented by juice that was unfermented (cf. 1Pe 1:18-19). Since Scripture states explicitly that the process of corruption was not allowed to work in either the body or blood of Christ (Ps 16:10; Ac 2:27; 13:37), both Christ's body and blood are properly symbolized by that which is uncorrupted and unfermented."

God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

sbc pastor said...

In His Name,

In regards to your question:

"Where in GOD'S WORD, the Bible, does it SAY Drinking WINE with a meal is a SIN?"

Please read my blog entitled, "The Moderation Argument: Answering a Fool According to his Folly." It is an exerpt from an article by Dr. Stephen Reynolds entitled, "The Absolute Prohibition of Proverbs 23:29-31."
I hope that you will reflect upon it and share with me your thoughts - unlike PTL, who has refused to recognize it as a Biblical prohibition against drinking or even looking at fermented drink (alcoholic beverages). Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,

I was just kidding about making you drink alcoholic wine at communion - I promise I'm not going to try to get anyone to do that.
On the issue of my vile, disparaging and ungodly comments - I really would like for you to post one of them here - I've even forgotten what I said.
On the issue of your article "The Moderation Argument", with the exception of your insinuation that all those who hold a moderationist position are fools, I really liked the article. It was well thought out and well presented - wrong, but well presented.

Grace and peace,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL

Your assumption is that the embryo is a human being to the extent that you are…while I certainly agree, we come to that conclusion not based on a specific phrase in scripture which says “embryo’s are human beings” but rather principles gained from Psalm 139 and other texts. This is the same way we have arrived at the doctrine of the Trinity. No where does Scripture say God is a triune God or “once saved always saved” and yet these are accurate Theological ABSOLUTES, arrived at from the whole counsel of God’s Word (Systematic Theology). The point being Biblical Truths are not always specifically spelled out, but to deny their existence is bad hermeneutics. If you are looking for passages that say “Thou Shalt not listen to vile speech from thy Television set” or “thou shalt not look at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” or “thou shalt not smoke pot or do speed” or other such sins you will be looking for a long time. However, the command “Be ye holy for I am holy” covers a multitude of transgressions.

Even the Sixth Commandment is misunderstood, without a comprehension of the language and the context. King James translates the Hebrew meaning in this context wrongly as “Thou shalt not kill” – while that is an accurate rendering, the word for kill could also mean murder and does in this case. This understanding of “thou shalt not murder” is arrived at not necessarily through the exact phrase of Scripture but from an understanding of the context and the whole of Scripture.

The NT is not filled with a laundry lists of rights and wrongs but rather the clear commandment to seek God first, to love Him with all our heart, and to unashamedly proclaim his glory, and to be holy!!! Surprisingly, there is a vacuum of holiness in the lives of Christians and it extends well beyond the realm of alcohol.

BR

brad reynolds said...

In His name
Please reference JLG's blog and my prior comment about desiring a list of taboo's from God.
BR

brad reynolds said...

JLG
Excellent work on the Lord's Supper.
BR

Jeffro said...

Brad,

Your question, "Can it be anything less than sin for a believer who is genuinely grateful for the atoning power of Christ in his life to pursue anything other than the highest -- God’s ideal -- the best that he can be for Christ?" cannot be considered in this argument. You must first give adequate Biblical evidence that moderate alcohol consumption by a Christian negatively effects his ability to be the "best that he can be for Christ." You have not done that. Furthermore, the presupposition behind this question is flawed. It seems that you may equate being "the best you can be for Christ" to holiness. This coupled with the belief that this should be done out of a sense of gratitude to Jesus for the atonement, comes across as a debtor's ethic. As if not having a glass of wine with a meal somehow belittles holiness, destroys sanctification and negatively affects the working out of one's salvation with fear and trembling. Surely, you are not suggesting that having a beer with a steak shows a lack of gratitude for Christ and the atonement.

Secondly, your argument that Jesus partook of wine in small quantities is unfounded. How do you know that?

Third, your implication that Jesus would not have imbibed wine if it would have supported the alcohol industry is absurd (in a logical sense).

Your words,
"Certainly no tragic industry was supported by the selling and buying of wine. This latter point is crucial for the believer. A believer in no way can justify drinking if thereby he is contributing to the sustenance of an industry responsible for two-thirds of the violent deaths, two-fifths of all divorces, one-third of all crime, and untold millions of dollars in damage to private property."

Wal-Mart sells beer and wine. Can we shop there without contributing this industry. Applebees, TGIFridays, Chilis, Outback, sell beer and wine. Should we continue to eat there. One of Mexico's leading exports is Tequilla, should we vacation there? Radio and Television stations continually run advertisements for alcohol. Should we continue to imbibe? These stations are clearly able to sell their ads because they have a listener base, of which we are apart.

This is faulty logic. "Alcohol causes bad things. The Alcohol Industry makes and markets alcohol. Therefore the Alcohol industry is bad." It seems to me that you, whom I know to be a strong proponent of free will in salvation, apparently forget that men have freedom to drink or not drink. Where is your defense of the will now? It seems that you believe that alcohol is the problem, rather than the sinful depravity of the one abusing it.

Allow me to offer a couple of other syllogisms to illustrate the problem with this logic. "Hypocrites (in the Christian sense) are bad. Churhes are full of hypocrites. Therefore, churhes are bad. "Smoking cigarettes is bad for you. Phillip Morris makes and markets cigarettes. Therefore Phillip Morris is bad for you."

Based on this logic it would have been difficult to justify being a Christian during the Crusades.

There is a winery 5 miles from my house. They grow muscadines and make muscadine wine. They are not part of the dreaded "Alcohol Industry." Would it be ok to imbibe their wine?

Jeffro said...

Correction.

My first paragraph should read , "As if having a glass of wine....

Thanks for the opportunity to post.

God Bless

brad reynolds said...

Jeffro,
These were not my arguments they came from Dr. Patterson's article, as I stated!

If you have not read this article please do so...JLG has it posted on his Blog. It may answer most of your questions.

Second, if you fail to see the distinction between supporting Anheuser Busch and Wal-Mart then I am not sure anything I say will be received with an open-mind.

Your syllogisms are wrought with error. However, you are correct in assuming that I believe that those who create the opportunity and atmosphere for sin are extremely sinful...thus, Hugh Hefner is sinning by producing pornography even though he may not look at it, and those who maintain brothels are sinning even though they may not participate.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,

Here we go again.... :) First, I hope you're not lumping your assertion that the Bible prohibits the consumption of alcohol in the "Theological absolutes" category. Second, you're exactly right about your examples for the command, "Be ye holy as I am holy." All of those examples are laudable examples - but are also personal convictions. One who is not tempted by bikini-clad women may find perusing the SI swimsuit issue edifying in that it displays God's creative genius in the beauty with which He created woman. Were you, however, to issue the edict, "The Bible prohibits Christians from looking at the SI swimsuit issue", you'd be gravely mistaken - not that I think you'd ever attempt such a faux-paux.
Finally, you're slightly off about the vacuum of holiness extending beyond the issue of alcohol - there is a vacuum of holiness, but it has nothing to do with whether Christians imbibe or not - as drinking alcohol is not sin and therefore doesn't affect anyone's holiness. At some point, your hominy-hominy arguments are going to catch up to you dear brother. :)

a loving dissenter,

PTL

sbc pastor said...

PTL,

I assumed that you were kidding about "making" anyone drink wine as part of the Lord's Supper. However, I also assumed that you do practice partaking of wine during the Lord's Supper. Was that assumption correct or incorrect? I posted the exerpt to point out that replacing the fruit of the vine with an alcoholic beverage is injurious to what they are to represent: the sinless nature of Christ and His sacrifice for sin - however, I am not suggesting that those who do so realize this.

In regards to your comments that I refused to post on my blog, I did not print them out and put them in a picture frame. I am technically challenged, but I assume that they are deleted. Although I remember somewhat of their contents, I prefer to let dead dogs lie and move on. I do not pretend to be completely guiltless as some of my comments no doubt contributed to our "escalated conflict" (as Tony Snow would so eloquently say).

However, our dialogues today on both this blog and mine have been just "plum sweet" and for that I am thankful. By the way, I am glad that you indicate in your closing that grace always comes before peace - that will preach. God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

brad reynolds said...

PTL
You may have some anti-nomian tendencies. Perhaps Fredericks magazine or even tasteful pornography (if there were such a thing) is not sin either, provided one is admiring the way God created women. Such freedom would warrant an admonition: Grace is not a license to sin.

The point I made was that we gain Absolute truth not only from direct statements in Scripture but also from Principles contained therein. I really think you would benefit greatly from a course in hermenuetics:) But until you can take such a course, perhaps I can recommend this book: Carson, D.A. and John Woodbridge, eds. Hermeneutics, Authority, and Canon. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.
BR

Jeffro said...

Brad,

Forgive me for attributing such poor argumentation to you. You are correct. I failed to see it Dr. Patterson's argument.

Secondly, of course the syllogisms are fraught with problems. They are evidence of the faulty logic found in Dr. Patterson's paragraphs.

Third, your last post to me marked the third time that you have referred to the two of us not being able to communicate.

Your words,

"Further, if you are equating being owned by a person with paying a mortgage, then that may explain why we are having difficulty understanding each other’s analogies and rationale. But thank you for your contribution"

"Alcohol is a mind-altering drug! I guess we are having trouble communicating."

"Second, if you fail to see the distinction between supporting Anheuser Busch and Wal-Mart then I am not sure anything I say will be received with an open-mind."

I don't believe that we are having any trouble communicating. I understand you perfectly. I simply disagree. You obviously disagree with me. If this is the case, please don't shirk my questions or arguments through dismissal. Acknowledge them. Confront them. Even ignore them if you like. It is your blog.

Finally, how is supporting Wal-Mart which supports Anheuser Busch, whether you do or not, different from supporting Anheuser Busch?

brad reynolds said...

Jeffro,
My comment about failure to communicate was in reference to your earlier allusion and your tendency to make what I believe to be ad-absurdum arguments. Proverbs is clear about what to do in those situations.

Allow me to illustrate in case you do not see the absurdity. Do I support the pornography industry if I buy a slushee from 7-11? I believe the porn industry is evil and Christians should not support it financially, yet I do not believe Christians are supporting it just because they purchase a slushee or a cup of coffee from 7-11 (which sells pornography). This is the same relationship Wal-Mart has with alcohol.
BR

imb m said...

My opinion?
All of this is based on CULTURAL AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY. I've read MacArthur's paper. I've listend to all the comments and justifications against alcohol. I've read where some have insisted that drinking alcohol is sin. I don't see it as being that black and white because the Bible doesn't have one verse in it that says, "drinking alcohol is a sin".

I've had the Lord's suppper in Europe and Asia where wine was used. In a communal cup, this is much safer (protection from spreading illness) than using plain grape juice. I've been offered fermented mare's milk in Asia and partaken. Why? It was the safe thing to drink. There was no boiled water/tea, there was nothing else to drink.
I see no sin in any of this. No "appearance of evil".

It seems so easy to justify no alcohol use when you live in the good ole USA. Leave America and you'll find most places in the world have a totally different perspective.

On another note.
Perscription drugs...is taking these, without a perscription a sin? I'm refering to valium, anti-depressants, muscle relaxants, etc. These drugs are easily available overseas over the counter. I know of numerous missionaries who use these outside of a doctor's supervision. Since these are mind altering drugs, are our m's now sinning in their use?

We do our best to teach our people to look to God's Word for how to live your life. "Don't just listen to what I say, but go back and read God's Word and see if what I've taught is truth."

The approach of those of you who go outside the Bible for your sources of information (in Bible times the wine was different...who really knows this?...read MacArthur's paper, etc.) doesn't cut it for our work. Our people have to trust in the Living and True word of God for guidance in living their lives...not some cultural idea from the West about what is right or wrong.

When I read how many try to justify that drinking alcohol is a sin (when the Bible doesn't say this), then I see judgmentalism written all over that statement. I do believe that we are commanded in the Bible to not judge others.

Christopher Redman said...

Paige Patterson stated, "I see no biblical evidence for Irresistable Grace." Hugh?

See post at http://christopherredman.blogspot.com

God bless,

CR

IN HIS NAME said...

ALL,
I would recommend you read the all the post on this new Blog, TO THE GLORY OF GOD.

http://concernedsbcer.blogspot.com/

A Brother in CHRIST

brad reynolds said...

Imb m
Thanks for your service and may God bless you.

Also, we all have to trust in the Living and True word of God for guidance in living our lives…not some cultural idea from the West, or East for that matter, about what is right or wrong. The truth of the wine being different in bible times is not going outside the Bible for information it is translating a Greek word accurately. Situations do not determine our responses. Some of the most profound influencers on my life have been M’s who have abstained in cultures that did not.

I agree that there is way to much judging going on…and when I hear people accuse those, who hold to the biblical model of abstinence, of being legalists, I to am reminded of the Bible’s warning here.

On the issue of using mind-altering drugs for medicinal purposes or for survival/health reasons, we are all agreed. That is the point, in fact, as MacArthur’s article makes clear.

H. Edward Pruitt said...

Brad,

Greetings from Chiang Mai. A Buddhist came to Christ today. I knew you would want to know.

Looks like you have created a firestorm by simply posting the Truth. I know it is time consuming responding to all of these comments, but just hang in there and keep standing for the Truth.

HEP

brad reynolds said...

Christopher,

I don't mind others plugging their blogs here, but let's keep the blog plugs to blogs that are dealing with the issues at hand. You've commented twice and both times you have referenced Blogs that have nothing to do with this discussion (the first one was a good read which made me wonder why you posted the second one after upholding the first as an example).

PS - Some assumptions on the second one are erroneous - I will not discuss these here - there will be time for that later - in fact any comments about Calvinism will be removed (that is not a rabbit trail but an Elephant trail) since we would never return to the point of the post.

Suffice it to say I believe there is a third option you do not address - when man's will and God's are the same. I do not believe men are dragged by God into the kingdom against their will...I believe their will is as God's at the moment of salvation, but without a doubt some resist even though it is "God's will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth" - the Apostle Paul.

Some may argue I shouldn't address this issue and then refuse to post any more comments on this. My reasons
1. This is not something I want to chase on this post.
2. To the tune of "it's my party and I'll cry if I want to" - "It's my Blog and I'll post what I want to, post what I want to, posts what I want to" - :)
BR

brad reynolds said...

HEP

Praise God!!! I have been praying for you and the students. Dr. Nelson asked me, via e-mail, to pray for them last week.

When will you be back in the states? Let's plan lunch. E-mail me.
BR

brad reynolds said...

In his name,
Good thoughts on your post.
However, I think one word can reveal your errant assumptions: Abuse.

The point of the Corinthians abuse of the Lord’s Supper is that it was…Abuse – drinking strong drink rather than the fresh fruit of the vine. (Even in seasons when fresh fruit was unavailable they still abused oinos (the mixture of water to wine, which has been proven by Dr. Stein and many others)).

Further, God’s creation of vegetation does not mean that vegetation cannot be…Abused! (alcohol, marijuana and other mind-altering drugs).

Finally, only if you Abuse the term oinos (yayin) to mean strong drink like today’s wine, can you use Scripture’s positive statements of oinos (yayin) to defend moderation.
BR

Christopher Redman said...

It's your post and I respect your rules. Please accept my apology.

God Bless,
CR

brad reynolds said...

Christopher,

No apology necessary, but thanks for your spirit.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

SBCPastor,

I look forward to many, many more exhilerating discourses with you. I, too, am willing to let dead dogs lie. My only point is that when you delete blogs, but then make the comment that they are "vile, distasteful, ungodly, outright lies" it puts the other person in an indefensible position unless (which I've learned the hard way) the other person saves the comment. Not truly a fair fight, don't you agree? BTW, I do not partake of wine at communion (and I'm using wine in the common sense of the word - alcoholic), but would have no problem with those who did, or even doing it myself. Thanks for the exchanges.

Brad,
I remember another post where you referred to the moderationists as antinomians. I'm hurt :( You should know by now that I am not "against God's laws". How can righteously be opposed to that which Christ came to fulfill? Your example of pornography is a great example of personal convictions - there might be those who are "tempted" by pictures of women in swimsuits - there might even be those who are tempted by pictures of children in swimsuits - or men in swimsuits. Does that constitute pornography simply because a brother or sister is weak in that area? It does for them, don't you agree? In that case, are we to censor all catalogs which contain pictures of models in swimsuits? Again, no. However, if we know a brother is weak in that area, we're also not to parade our children around in front of him. Again, we're talking about conviction issues - not Theological absolutes. You might do well to sit under my tutelage for a while. :)

PTL

Christopher Redman said...

Deuteronomy 14:26 "And you shall spend that money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen or sheep, for wine or strong drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household."

I have very limited views on this subject -

1) The Bible does not universally condemn strong drink (Deut 14:26)

2) The production of beer and wine today does not add alcohol to the product. The alcohol content is there by natural fermentation.

3) I don't drink, most here I believe don't drink.

4) Instead of "being totally opposed to" (alcohol), if the resolution would have been worded somthing like:

"we strongly discourage the use of alcohol because..." or "we strongly recommend that no one consume alcohol as a beverage..."

If that was the wording, I think that we would not be engaged in this discussion one month after the fact.

CR

posttinebraelux said...

Dear Brad,

The abuse Paul was addressing to the Corinthians was not that they were partaking strong drink as opposed to new juice (that's an argument from silence as he used the word oinos). The clear - and not from silence - abuse Paul was addressing was their drunkenness. I'm telling you dude, if you'd just listen, I can help. :)

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Notice I said antinomian tendencies. I said that because you defended SI Swimsuit, however, you side-stepped the Soft-porn or Fredericks magazine issue - people use the excuse I'm admiring what God created to consistenetly lust for women other than their wife or in the case of antinomians...thier wives:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
To refuse to admit the known fact that oinos normally referred to wine mixed with water is convenient.

To abuse the normal use of oinos by not diluting it, is clear.

If we decide agape includes homosexual attraction then we can also excuse homosexuality. We can't arbitrarily change what NT terms meant.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,

There you go with your hominy-hominy argument again (that's Greek for "sidestepping the issue"). You didn't direct your argument at my observation that what Paul was condemning was not the use of oinos instead of oinos (I believe that's your argument, no?), but rather that they were using communion as a time to "get drunk". Isn't that what Paul was condemning?
With respect to the Frederick's catalogue - I know of no normal men who wouldn't be tempted to lust when looking at such material. If there are such out there, however, it is not my place to offer up the command to them: "Thou shalt not peruse the Frederick's catalogue". Only to offer up the command which Christ gave, namely: "But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Mat. 5:28) Keep trying dear friend.

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Christopher,

I still think we'd be having the discussion even if the SBC used the wording, "We strongly discourage...." My contention is that we should not "discourage" brethren or sistren from doing anything that is not Biblically discouraged. It's not our place. I find no place in Scripture where God made placed the SBC in charge of condemning that which He clearly has blessed (Deut. 14:26). Your voice of reason, however, is such a breath of fresh air.

Thanks for your post,

PTL

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

PTL
The issue is not that we should not lust or for that matter that we should be holy. We are agreed. What we are disagreed about is the extent to which man will excuse his lust or lack of holiness. I find it interesting that a man whom Calvinists have wrongly accused of being an Arminian actually believes the extent of sinfulness that taints man is so great the he believes the heart is deceitful above all things.

Also, you may want to read the book I recommended on hermeneutics...its a good book which relieves the tendency of the moderationists to excuse their strong drink by taking a difficult passage (which is actually dealing with the tithe and the newly instituted Mosaic law) and devoloping a doctrine of drink from their Shekarology.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

But Brad,

You still have not conceded that what Paul was condemning was the drunkenness at the Lord's Supper - not drinking oinos instead of oinos. You're slippery my friend, but I can still catch you. :)

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

PS Brad,

I like the use of "shekarology." It's 180' opposite of your doctrine of "Sola-Trux" (juice only). :)

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Paul wasn’t condemning drunkenness but rather partaking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Instead of recognizing the holiness of the observance some were gorging themselves (drunk) while others, were last in the Baptist line at the supper and, went hungry. In other words they treated the Lord’s Supper as a pot-luck feast rather than a holy observance of our Lord’s work. Again, the point being, what moderationists refuse to see…holiness.
BR

sbc pastor said...

Brad & In His Name,

Please pardon my interruption, but I wanted to share with you a comment that I posted on my blog in response to Patterson's article.

In regards to your comments on the Lord's Supper in 1 Cor. 11:20-22:

You are certainly correct in assuming that those who were drunk did not get in that condition by consuming the unfermented grape juice of the Lord’s Supper. They became intoxicated by consuming “strong drink,” which is prohibited in Scripture. However, the “strong drink” was not consumed as part of the Lord’s Supper, but rather as part of the love feast (a.k.a. agape feast, communal meal, etc.) preceeding the Lord's Supper.

According to Dr. Stephen Reynolds, “The Christian whom the inspired Apostle Paul criticized so sharply in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22 did not become drunk at church gatherings from the communion cup, but from drinks they consumed as part of their own individual suppers which they brought with them to the meeting place (verse 21). Paul distinguishes this private feasting from the Lord’s Supper. This scandal, which was increased by the lack of concern the wealthy Christians had for the poor, seems to have been limited to the church at Corinth.”

Furthermore, the KJV Parallel Bible Commentary notes, “In the early church, the Lord’s Supper was commonly preceded by a fellowship meal, later known as the Agape Feast. Eventually, so many problems accompanied these feasts that at the Council of Carthage (A.D. 397), they were strictly forbidden. And such was the case at Corinth.”

Thus, the alcoholic beverages that were consumed, although they are prohibited, were not part of the Lord's Supper, but rather part of the Love Feast preceeding it.

In Christ,
JLG

sbc pastor said...

CR,

In regards to your comments on Deuteronomy 14:24-26:

Dr. Stephen Reynolds notes the importance of taking this entire passage (thru v.29, not just v.24-26) into consideration in order to correctly interpret the text:

“THE PROBLEM of the translation of the Hebrew word shekar, translated in older versions "strong drink," and in the NIV in different places "beer," "other fermented drink" or "drinks," is not an easy one. Where it is used in Deuteronomy 14:26 it can be argued from the general consistency of all the Scripture that it was not an intoxicant. Linguistic studies can be used to support this idea.
This passage tells us that under certain conditions a believer could use the money, which he would otherwise give as a tithe for the support of the Levitical priesthood, in giving a feast for his family and for such Levites as might happen to live in his neighborhood (verse 27) and for strangers, fatherless persons and widows. As the tithe of a wealthy man’s income would purchase a great amount of intoxicants, it is inconsistent with the general tenor of the Bible’s teaching that, without any mention of moderation, all believers should be told to purchase them to give to people of all ages and both sexes. We know that yayin is a word which can mean a non-intoxicant. Is this true of shekar also?

The fact that it is to be consumed according to the law of Deuteronomy 14, might lead us to believe that shekar, like Hebrew yayin and like English cider had two meanings, one referring to an alcoholic drink, the other to a non-alcoholic one. But, someone may object, is it not certain that alcoholic content is of the essence of the word shekar, because the standard word for to be drunk in Hebrew is the verb shakar which is cognate to shekar?
This argument is easily refuted by linguistic study. This shows us that verbs may be derived from nouns in a particular (not necessarily primitive) stage of the noun’s development. For example, the Greek word for to be drunken is methuo. This was derived from a Greek word for wine, methu, which was common in the period of Homer, but which had become almost obsolete in the period when the Bible was being put into Greek. It never occurs in the Septuagint or the Greek New Testament. One might nevertheless argue, if he had no background in linguistics, that the verb methuo is the primitive word, and that the noun methu is derivative. Linguistic science removes that possibility, because all scholars trained in this field of learning are agreed that the Greek language got its word methu not from the verb methuo but from an original Indo-European root "medhu (meaning) honey; also mead."1 The word medhu was in use before the Greek language was formed. It is preserved in the word for honey in such ancient languages as Old Slavonic (medu) and Tocharian B (mit).2 Since the remote original of the word methu in Greek meant honey, the idea must be rejected that it can possibly be derived from a verb meaning to be drunken. The evidence is compelling. The ancient word medhu, passing into archaic Greek shifted in pronunciation to methu and in meaning to wine. The verb methuo was derived from the fact that some (not necessarily all) methu was intoxicating.

Similarly, although we are not sure of all of the history of shekar and shakar, we can postulate that shekar is original and shakar secondary. Shekar may have included both non-intoxicating and intoxicating varieties, and the verb shakar may be derived from the intoxicating kind.

The Syriac language has a cognate word which suggests that the primitive meaning of the proto-Semitic root sh-k-r may have been a drink made from the date palm or honey.3 An intoxicating date wine may have, in course of time, come to be the meaning, and the word may have also taken on the meaning of beer.

There is enough evidence to say that it is unjustifiable to claim that shekar must essentially be an intoxicating drink, and since the circumstances of its use in Deuteronomy 14:26 are such that an intoxicant is inconsistent with God’s commands given in other places, we must assure that a non-intoxicant is intended here.”

1 "Indo-European Roots," in The American Heritage Dictionary of English Language, Houghton and Mifflin, © 1973, p. 1528.

2 Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, G. and C. Merriam Co., Springfield, Mass., 1937, p. 1519.

3. A Compendious Syriac Dictionary Founded Upon the Thesaurus Syriacus of R. Payne Smith, Edited by J. Payne Smith, Oxford: Clarendon Press. Article, "Shakar."

posttinebraelux said...

Brad, Brad, Brad,

And I thought you were above that - "what moderationists refuse to see - Holiness."??? I see Holiness every time I open the Bible; I experience Holiness everytime I see my own rotten flesh in light of the purity of God - and it is in the form of Jesus Christ. How can you say moderationists refuse to see Christ? Holiness is what's going on inside - not what's going on outside. The Corinthians were unholy not because they were drinking oinos (not trux), but rather because they were being selfish and arrogant. It was what was going on on the inside that Paul was addressing. My holiness has nothing to do whatsoever with whether I drink a glass of wine or not - my holiness has to do with what Christ has wrought in me. It's called love. Can I love and drink a glass of wine? I do it all the time. Can I (as an abstainer) condemn those who have a glass of wine? Yes, and that would be unholy - as that would show a lack of love. Christ said it like this: It's not what goes into the body that defiles a man, but rather what comes out of the body - that's what defiles a man. You agree?

SBCPastor,
Again, well written argument. However, if Paul was so strongly opposed to the Corinthians drinking alcoholic oinos, why didn't he just say, "hey dudes, don't drink oinos at communion - drink trux" (the greek word fro grape juice)? Maybe if the grape juice industry had been around then, they'd have gotten him to put that in there. :)

Thanks,

PTL

Christopher Redman said...

I really don't have a bone to pick in this discussion. I'm going to bow out and let Mr. Reynolds have the last word.

I am chuckling at how much intense "linguistic" study is needed to prove your point. It's not nearly that difficult for me to prove the Doctrines of Grace from scripture as it is for you to prove some hebrew word in Deut might mean cider or something.

Anyway - God Bless,

CR

brad reynolds said...

JLG
Thanks for your insight...most enlightening.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Inward holiness is expressed outwardly. Upholding biblical standards is not unholy but holy. To not uphold biblical standards is…unholy.
By the way, I’m really not sure you can agape wine but I guess if you drink it enough it can become a love:)

CR,
Your confidence in explaining the mysteries of salvation is admirable…and I agree Dr. Reynolds study in Deut is tedious and amazing, but what joy he must receive from such in-depth study in the Word.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,

You're certainly right about tedious! What's amazing, though, is that it takes an extensive dissertation (both of Deut. 14 and John 2) to make the Bible fit your preconceptions. And the part about agapeing wine - good jab my worthy opponent. I'm sure you're aware, however, that agape can only apply to other people - not to inanimate objects like wine. I do, however, very much like the taste of it. :)

grace under pressure,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

In His Name,

You're right; the blog at: concernedSBCer.blogspot.com is very well written, humbly offered, and, to every extent possible, very commendatory (is that a word?) of Dr. Patterson. Good blog.

PTL

Christopher Redman said...

Brad,

I know that you have moved on to another post. I have been following the arguments over the alcohol resolution, both for and against. As you may know, a new blog surfaced at concernedsbcer.blogspot.com in which the author goes into great detail and examination of the scriptures and the article posted by Dr. Patterson in BP.

I noticed that your blog post and some comments made here were not explicitly addressed by this other fellow. I've asked him to consider the three particular issues that you have addressed that I did not see him address.

This is what I wrote to the "concernedsbcer" -


I've noticed that you have interacted with some of the comments and questions left on your post.

As you may know, Brad Reynolds has posted a blog entitled: "Legalism and Alcohol". In the post and in comments made, there are a couple of arguments for total abstinance that you have brushed over here but not clearly delt with. I wonder if you would address these:

1) Reynolds quotes Zane Hodges "Legalism, the real thing" in which it is asserted that legalism is adding additional laws/requirements to salvation (not sanctification). You have addressed legalism in "sanctification".

2) One of the comments on the post cited, Dr. Stephen Reynolds as arguing that the "strong drink" in Deut 14:26 could be translated as "cider" or some other non-intoxicating drink. (I think this is relevent to address because this is the main verse that demonstrates that strong drink is not universally condemned.)

3) In 1 Cor 11, the cup of the Lord's supper was strong enough to make one drunk. Again, in Reynolds post and comments addressed, it is argued that the actual Lord's supper cup was not what made the people drunk but it was a feast they partook in prior to the Lord's supper. (Your post indicates otherwise.)


The reason that I am bringing these three objections up is so that your treatment of the issue might be thorough and leave no stone unturned.

Thanks and God Bless,

CR

brad reynolds said...

CR
Excellent! I honestly and sincerely desire truth. Let us follow the trail that truth blazes where ever it leads on this issue.
BR

brad reynolds said...

CR
I read SBCer's comments.

On 1 we agree to an extent. On 2 I concede it is a very difficult passage in the Hebrew. But in my humble opinion both Dr. Reynolds (an abstentionist) and many moderationsists made a common mistake. They took a passage that is a difficult passage found in the context of a totally different subject (tithing) and developed a position on alcohol. In Dr. Reynolds defense, perhaps he was just reacting to the moderationist use of this text for their position. Nevertheless, to use Deut. 14 for either alcohol position is unwise, in my opinion.

Concerning point 3, I think if there was a meal prior to the observance of the Lord's Supper, as early church documents indicate, it was probably indistinguishable from it. The abuse of the drink at the meals/supper was still a problem. To claim that it was simply drinking to much of the wine served, is an argument from silence. One should not neglect the work of numerous men including NT Scholar Robert Stein on "oinos." Without a doubt some could get into the amphorea before it was mixed, which of course would deplete the resource to make more "oinos" (perhaps that is why some were drunk and others went without – although this too is an argument from silence, but one that explains things better).

His point about Paul's silence on abstinence is good, but let us not forget the context. Paul didn't even condemn drunkenness, which we all agree is a sin. In fact, he said you have houses to go to get drunk (a sin) or just to drink strong drink (also a sin).

So why would Paul not condemn a sin? Perhaps Paul
(as is made clear by the context) considered drunkenness a symptom of a much bigger problem. These individuals were taking the substitutionary death of Christ lightly, both in mind and in actions, and thus partaking of the Lord's Supper in an unworthy manner.
BR

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