Monday, November 20, 2006

Holiness Convergence:)

Not long ago I spoke at the Joshua Convergence on Holiness. While some got carried away with the symptoms I spoke of rather than the substance, the following is the rationale behind my comments (both the symptoms and the substance).


HOLINESS

There appears to be a growing void both in the understanding and the praxis of holiness.

I have been appalled with the freedom that many Christians are assuming in Christ. While it is true that we have been set free from sin and the law, it is also true that we have been set free to serve Christ. We are not our own…we have been bought with a price.

The misunderstanding and thus the absence of holiness is exemplified in the way Christians dress. I am shocked by what I see “Christians” wearing (or rather not wearing). I am even more shocked that others are not shocked. Dress “morals” have been so lowered that they seem almost non-existent. As Mrs. Mary Mohler states, “Christians are wise to remember that modesty is biblically mandated” (“Modeling Modesty,” in Southern Seminary Magazine, Winter 2003, 17). A standard of modesty is desperately needed in our age of “openness.”

The “holiness void” was also on display this summer at the SBC when pastors apparently felt the need to lecture those of us who believe the Bible teaches abstinence from alcoholic drink, about our “extra-biblical” position.

In a comment section on a SBC blog, a pastor went so far as to say, “One of my deacon candidates makes a mean margarita. And it's not an issue. By the way, since we lifted that clause from our constitution and bylaws, our church visitation ministry has taken off, and people in our church are more excited than ever about reaching the lost.” Such statements can only be categorized as sad…truly sad.

While the loosening of morals in the areas of dress and drinking are very disconcerting, they are symptoms of a larger problem.

Millard Erickson (Christian Theology, 1985, p968) states that biblical holiness refers to:
1. A state of being separated or set apart to the Lord
2. Moral Goodness

In other words holiness has to do with our position in Christ, which finds its outward expression in the way we live. Being Holy entails being set apart FROM this world and being set apart TO Christ. This setting apart is demonstrable to the world by the high moral values Christians have. In Matthew 5:16 Jesus said, “May they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

However, as noted above, many Christians find it difficult to be set apart FROM this world (i.e. – abstaining from the vices of this world), and excuses to remain “like” the world in order to “be all things to all men” run rampant. Such excuses miss the point of being in the world but not OF the world.

This misunderstanding provides the impetus for Christians to ask the unbiblical question: How close to sin can I get? Hence, we are plagued with debates over: 1) How far is too far? 2) Is it wrong to listen to certain types of music? 3) Is it wrong for Christians to watch R-rated movies? Etc.

Such questions overlook the emphasis of the NT. The Bible never concerns itself with how close to sin one can get without sinning. Rather, the question posed by Scripture is: How close to Christ can I get?

Inevitably, one will accuse me of a works salvation. Yet, I am not advocating a works salvation but a salvation that works. Unlike the cults, we do not advocate high morals in order to be right with God we advocate them because we are right with God. When I walk with Christ I long to honor Him through “good works.”

While some Christians struggle with being set apart FROM the world, I struggle more with being separated TO Christ. The command to love the Lord my God with ALL my heart, soul and mind, is convicting. When was the last time I cried out with David, “My soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and weary land.” Is Christ my last thought at night and my first thought in the morning? Is He my passion and reason for living? Is He truly my Bread of Life?

When it comes to holiness, none of us are where we need to be.

Therefore, we conclude that holy separation is not just from something, it is to someone. When I took my vows to my wife I not only vowed to abstain from others, but I vowed to separate myself TO her: to spend time with her and show my affection to her. When I do this, my love for her grows and I long to please her.

How much more so with Christ. As I spend time with Him, my passion and love grows, and before I know it, I am longing to be separated from this world and TO Him.

Thus, holiness extends beyond dress and drinking, it goes further than lewdness and language, it reaches deeper than music and movies. These are mere symptoms.

Holiness is an inner separation from this world to Christ, which is lived out in an all-encompassing moral purity. God commands, “Be ye Holy for I am Holy.” For those of us who take this command seriously, we must hold on to God’s unchanging hand.

May our moral compass be stayed on the Star of Bethlehem. May our ethical foundation be anchored in the Chief Cornerstone. May our holy virtues flow from the Fountain of Living Waters. That when others see us, we are a mirror to the Father, which causes them to glimpse heaven and thereby proclaim Holy, Holy, Holy.


On another note, Dr. Vines series on Baptist Battles is now available at www.jerryvines.com. Anyone who is mildly interested in the current issues facing the SBC would be wise to purchase these. This is the only series of its kind, that I know of, and even if you disagree, we can all learn from these messages.

BR

151 comments:

irreverend fox said...

you are right on the money my friend. we don't agree on the alcohol issue...I think a total abstinence position is practical wisdom...but I can not say it is a Biblical mandate.

but all in all...you are right on my friend. I'm very concerned with dress...very. the generation we are reaching at Southside comes straight out of paganism...so this is an issue we deal with...and we do deal with it. loving, common sense teaching clears things up... once explained in a common sense way (not out of a legalistic dogmatism) things straighten up. as we grow and new folks are converted we have to deal with it every now and then...which is a good thing...it means we are reaching the lost and are always, it seems, in the process of fresh discipleship.

my concern is not for the lost and their standards...they're SINNERS. I'm not disappointed with newborns in Christ...they've not matured. my concern is with our churches and leadership that have nothing to say...most of our pastors are failing their newborns in this regard...

one of the benefits I’ve found since “converting” into a calvinist is that as a preacher I’m far more comfortable preaching the Word and letting the chips fall where they may…I plant or water and let God give the increase…cultural relevance? you bet! being a missional community, YES! seeker sensitivity? BOOOOOOO!

Anonymous said...

Brother Brad,

Great words of encouragement. I too pray that we can stop arguing over the symptoms and begin accentuating the seriousness of what it means to be holy. Great insight to being set apart from the world, but it does not stop there. Whenever we set ourselves apart from the world without attaching ourselves to Christ we fall into legalism. This is where I feel many people try to paint those of us who address holiness.

Blessings,
Tim

Kevin Holmes (and still baptist by conviction) said...

Brad,

I think I understand your heart in this matter. If so, I agree with you. Our behavior will be reflective of our holiness. However, there are two things that must be remembered.

First, it is only a relationship with Christ that results in holiness. While in the eyes of God, we are deemed righteous and holy at the moment of our salvation, in this temporal life, holiness/sanctification is a process of spiritual maturing.

Second, it is the holiness that results in the behavior, not the behavior that produces holiness. That is a message that we MUST be perfectly clear about. Avoiding alcohol doesn't make one holy. Dressing modestly doesn't make one holy. Likewise, one who drinks is not necessarily any less holy than one who avoids alcohol but stumbles at some other point. If we disciple people to develop their personal relationship with Christ, the Holy Spirit will take care of the behavior.

For me, it goes back to the issue sensationalistic soap box preaching in an effort to point out every possible variation of every possible sin and every possible circumstance in which one might encounter such a thing, or preaching Scripture expositionally, "line upon line, precept upon precept," and relying on the Holy Spirit to produce holiness in the Father's children who are redeemed by the blood of Christ.

By the way, I believe the latter approach will lead God's people to a position of abstainance from beverage alcohol. I also believe it will do it more effectively, with better sustained results, than the soap box method.

There is a host of behaviors of which we could take issue. However, the reality is that most of us tend to take issue with the things with which we don't personally struggle. If we want to quit meddling and start preaching, most of us SBC pastors would have to admit that we should be the epitome of exemplary health and fitness. We know that improper diet and lack of exercise leads to being overweight and excesive body fat, which in turn leads to coronary artery blockages, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, diabetes, kydney failure, liver failure, blindness, loss of circulation in the legs and feet leading to amputation, and a host of other health problems. So, is the preacher destroying his body by poor diet, lack of exercise, and excessive stress any more holy than the "Adonis" who takes an ocassional glass of wine? I think not.

So, I guess at the next "convergence" we'll hear you preach about the SBC-wide (no pun intended) ill of potlucks.

Les Puryear said...

Brad,

Excellent post. I am in agreement with you all the way, except for your commendation of Dr. Vines. :)

Regards,

Les

volfan007 said...

brad,

another great post. i really enjoy coming here to read what you write. you been getting much sleep lately(the baby)!

i know what you mean about the way that women are dressing...even in church. some of them are dressed in very suggestive, tempting clothing. it's almost impossible to even look at some women without getting an eyeful! even if you are trying not to.

maybe someone such make a resolution about the way women dress at san antonio. just kidding! i would imagine that everybody and their brother will have resolutions this year...after last year.

keep up the good work. your blog is very enlightening and helps people to grow in thier faith.

volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Your slight of 'back'-hand may work with some, but not here, my dear friend. If you will allow me just a few thoughts regarding this post: (1) you chide 'moderationists' for lecturing those who hold an abstentionist position and then cite, as reference, a quote where no lecture toward abstentionists is offered AT ALL - in fact, it is you, dear brother, who is lecturing. I think you'd be hard pressed to find any moderationist who would lecture you on your own personal convictions regarding alcohol. (2) you cite current views on alcohol consumption (moderationism) as evidence that morals are slipping - as if you have no obligation to establish that recreational alcohol consumption is, in fact, immoral. The argument against moderate consumption of alcohol is not, my friend, an 'a priori' argument and is even, as we've demonstrated ad nauseum, a difficult argument to prove at any level. (3) the passage you cite in Mat. 5 has to do with the outward expression of Christ's love - not morals 'per se'. Our Christlike actions will, in fact, reflect our morals, but out of a motivation of love, as opposed to a motivation of showing others how holy we are. (4) I have heard no Biblical moderationist offer 'excuses' for their behaviour - I have only heard them (and me) offer abstentionists strong, Biblical support for why abstentionists are overstepping their bounds for forcing personal convictions on others as Biblical doctrine (remember the passage about doctrines of man?). (5) I have never heard a moderationist ask, 'how close to sin can I get?' If enjoying alcohol in moderation is not sin, then one is not 'getting close to sin' by doing it. (6) getting 'close to Christ' as you say, (actually, I prefer the phrase 'daily sanctifiction') has nothing to do with what goes into the mouth, but rather, what comes out of the mouth (at least that's what I've read at least one famous person say). (7) I doubt if many would accuse you of a works-based salvation; you might, however, find many accusing you of trying to force personal conviction on others.
Toward the end of your article, you begin to head the correct direction - holiness has to do with 'becoming like Christ' - not in onerous rules (how to/not to dress, what to/not to listen to, what to/not to drink, etc.) Those types of rules are for babes in Christ. The mature Christian (or, as you say, 'holy' Christian) is the one whose actions reflect the love of Christ. What we need is Spiritual Maturity - not more rules. And that comes from: (1) submitting to God through the authority of His Word and His Spirit, (2) the trials of life, and (3) our own desire to become 'selfless'.
Were I easily offended, your description of me (as well as other moderationists such as St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, etc.) as immoral, misunderstood, and ones who 'try to get as close to sin as possible' would certainly do it. Thankfully to God, however, I am not easily offended. :)

Grace and peace,

PTL

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

Glad to see you is writin about holiness. We need to be a people of holiness for sure. It is a shame how we in the SBC has drifted from a holy lifestyle. Whit all the scandals out there it is a wonder anyone wants to be like us.

Bubba

By the way, that feller you mentioned here that dranks Margaritas with his deacons, is that Pastor Ben Cole from Arlington Texas?

Anonymous said...

WOW Brad.. That was truly great.
Some years ago I came across a message on 2 Cor 6 that moved me to tears and made this passage central to my life. The passage is
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

The outline by Alan Redpath in "Blessings out Of Buffettings" is:
1. The Motive For Separation From The World
a. our Preservation
b. God's satisfaction
c. Biblical revelation in OT and NT.
"The church never had such influence with the world as when she kept herself aloof from it. A church conformed to the world will never lead it; she must be separate if she would live."
(my additions)
2.The Marvel Of Separation To The Master
"I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
A Saviour Who Is Near
A Saviour Who Is Necessary
He Meets our real deepest needs
A Saviour Whose Name is seen in us.
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
1John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Cliff4JC said...

Dr. Brad,

You quoted a Mohler???? You are not coming over to the dark side are you? LOL

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joy,
Cliff

SelahV said...

Dr. Reynolds: How blessed it is to read these words. I think it is symptomatic of our unholiness when we choose dress, lifestyle and habits which mirror the world. Today my mind centers on "world" as in the material, tangible exploitation of senses via advertising and Hollywood Divas and Dervas. It's sickening.

I recall watching a lovely girl doing a beautiful signlanguage interpretation. With every uplifting of her hands in praise of the Lord her belly button and lower stomach was flashed in our faces. It was awful.

I do not advocate dressing in berkas or whatever the Islamic faith calls those long robes. But there is something to be said about them versus our Western culture.

Christians have lost salty-ness...for more reasons than our dress code. We are like a grain of Morton's in the Atlantic. Once we leave the shaker and hit the water, we dissolve and become one with the sea of unholiness.

I once had a girl ask me how I could give up drugs and alcohol so easily when I became a Christian. I told her it was simple. I love Jesus more than I love that junk.

I have found the closer I walk with Jesus, the less I care about any of the world's stuff. If we walk consecrated to Him, we count everything else as dung.
Thanks for your wonderful post. SelahV

brad reynolds said...

To All

I haven't time to respond now...headed out with my wife, but will respond later...great comments.

PTL

You deserve a little special attention:) The alcohol issue seems most important to you. As I said it is a symptom not the issue, but it consumes your comment. We have chased this horse round and round but I will oblige you again when I return...by the way, were you at the convention? If so then you know it appeared as if we were being lectured to, about about extra-biblical position, if you were not at the convention then you were wrong to correct me:)

God Bless
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
You made no reference to being lectured 'at the convention'. If you had, I'd have been mute on the issue as I was not at the convention. As I recall, the post spoke only in generalities and, as such, I spoke only in generalities as well. Your point was that you were often lectured, yet your example showed no evidence of lecture from the moderationist (on the contrary, it showed your 'tsk-tsk' toward the moderationists). Maybe if you had pointed to specific examples of where you'd been lectured about your conviction regarding abstinence - not the enforcement of your conviction on others - your argument would have been stronger.

PS - alcohol is not an important issue 'per se'; it just seems that the alcohol horse is an easy mount for abstentionists who are looking for 'signs' of the church becoming like the world - and I must needs always stand against such slander. :)

Grace and peace,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
PS - I'm afraid you may have mistaken what I was talking about when addressing being lectured. If you meant that there were moderationists lecturing you about your own, personal convictions - then I do, in fact, owe you an apology. If, however, you were talking about moderationists expressing their angst toward those (which may or may not include you) who would enforce their personal convictions on others, then I must stand by my comment. From what I understand, the issue was not whether or not SB's should have personal convictions toward abstinence, but rather, whether SB's should take a public stance against the Biblical, moderate consumption of alcohol. I do offer my sincere apology if there was someone at the convention who chided you for having a personal conviction regarding abstinence - that would be unChristlike indeed!

Grace and peace,

PTL

selahV said...

PTL: Not easily offended? You could have fooled me.
Dr. Reynolds: I'm a blind fool. I didn't see all that stuff in your statements. selahV

posttinebraelux said...

SelahV,
Not offended at all - and I'm sure Brad can confirm that he is pretty confident I'm not offended as well. :) I don't know if he will offer his take on my emotional state of mind as of the writing of that post, but I'm sure that, if he did, he'd agree that I was not offended. Surprisingly enough, most of my ramblings are very objective in nature. Seldom do I allow myself to vent emotionally. I've found that I tend to 'say' things I later regret when I engage in emotional discussions. I consider Brad a good friend - albeit one with whom I lovingly disagree from time to time. :)
The fact remains, however, that Brad should not have framed moderationists as immoral, misunderstood, and 'trying to get as close to sin as possible.'

Grace and peace sister,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL

First I did make a reference at being lectured at the convention…please reread my post, I said: “The “holiness void” was also on display this summer at the SBC when pastors apparently felt the need to lecture those of us who believe the Bible teaches abstinence from alcoholic drink, about our “extra-biblical” position.” The SBC stands for the Southern Baptist CONVENTION.

Concerning (1) - I couched my entire post with a preface which stated this was my rationale for the comments I made at the Joshua Convergence. At the JC I stated I felt I was lectured to at the SBC.
(2) Please refer to the numerous other posts in which I have established that recreational alcohol consumption was forbidden as alcohol today is equivalent of strong drink.
(3) Agreed. I never implied that our morals were done out a desire to show others how holy we are in fact, if you will reread my post…my point was that we need to love Christ with all out being…thus, I’m not sure why you even mention 3, since we were agreed from the origin of my post.
(4) there have been excuses offered that we are able to reach the lost by participating.
(5) Most moderationists agree that drunkenness is sin. If drunkenness is sin then it is common sense that just short of drunkenness is just short of sin. The closer to drunkenness the closer to sin. Thus, “how mush is too much” or put another way “how close to sin can I get”
(6) Our closeness to Christ does not stop at Matthew 15 were Jesus was dealing with the Jewish dietary laws.
(7) Legalism by definition is a works salvation.

As I said before, if this were about convictions we would not be having this discussion:)

Hope this helps,
BR

brad reynolds said...

Bear
It is.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Grosey
Thanks for those encouraging words.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Cliff
Dr. Mohler is brilliant and I know of many many points we totally agree. I could easily name 3:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

Selah
Thanks. It is very frustrating to see what Christian girls, and boys for that matter, are wearing today. But then again we must ask where are their parents?

It is easy to give up things when confronted with Christ. The living water reveals our broken cisterns which hold no water for what they are.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Volfan
Agreed. Thanks my friend.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Les
Thanks
BR

brad reynolds said...

Fox
Dead on. Sinners behave according to their nature…we should not expect more. However, we as Christians should behave as our nature also and we should not expect less. Thanks. We agree again:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

Tim
Bingo. Our holiness is not about outward actions as I point out…but outward actions are a reflection of our inward change as a result of Christ indwelling and His LORDSHIP.
BR


Kevin
Right on…we are definitely in agreement
BR

Jim said...

Brad,

Thanks for the post. In fairness to PTL (is that what I should call him?), I was present at the convention and there was lecturing on both sides of the issue.

And I tend to agree with his analysis: Moderationists don't usually argue that abstention is without warrant, just that those who abstain and expect others to are "extra-biblical."

If someone has argued that the abstentionist view is "extra-biblical," he is wrong. Whether one eats or drinks or abstains, it should be done for God's glory and with thanksgiving.

I like the point you make about getting close to Christ. We tend to ask such minimalist questions, when we should be asking, "What can I do to maximize my passion for Jesus Christ?" (Can't claim this thought as my own... heard it from Piper).

Thanks for the encouragement.

Jim

SelahV said...

PTL: I stand corrected :) And am very happy to know you weren't offended. :) I probably read (pronounced red) too much into your dialog. You guys have a way of talkin' online that whops my brain upside itself and knocks me loopy. :) Grace and peace to you too, brother. I'm glad you are friends with Brad. I like him. I like everybody. :) It just came off a tad strong, like you were offended. You know, like that saying, "me think thee doth protest too much". I should have typed in LOL after I wrote what I did to you. Sorry. After all, when a man says they are not offended, one should take him at his word. You said your weren't offended by something about a modernationist and Brad's "back-handed" something to everyone else. I figured I missed something in the post and hoped Brad would explain it.

I had no idea what you were talkin' about with the modernationist thing. I'm beginning to figure it out, though. I think. Is a modernationist a conservative Christian who thinks it's okay to drink alcohol in moderation? If so what is a person who believes in abstaining called? In society's view they are recovering alcoholics. In my case, I call them little Daniels. And please, I'm not trying to be witty or satirical, I'm serious. Is that what you mean here? :) selahV

TruthOfActs said...

Brad,
Read your post when there were 0 comments, but was too busy to reply. Sometimes comments affect my thinking, but not this time. I still agree with you 100%.
I can hardly believe I said that. Ha
I noticed you haven’t got any static on the lack of a dress code in our churches. I’m sorry to say that most of our church girls would not come close to passing the dress code in their schools.
There were over 100 kids from England on an airplane and we were allowed to exchange seats from smoking to non-smoking. My wife said, “Did you see all those rings in that girl’s eye-brows?”
“No. I never got past the ones in her navel.”

On the other hand, old people ‘see’ more ‘sin’ than young people. This is brought out by the ones that left first when Jesus said he without sin may throw the first stone.
The pastor we had the longest and was the ‘best’ pastor to me and my family did not allow women to wear slacks or blue jeans. We were the same age but he died over twenty years ago from diseases from being overweight. I believe his life was also shortened by a broken heart as he was asked to leave on a morals charge. See, he fought against what he was attracted to. His son could not attend his funeral as he was in prison, and later committed suicide. Yes, the devil is alive and well.

The subject of alcohol can be argued till judgment. But times change—what once was common in the Bible may become bad. How many have been killed by a drunk driver on a camel?
Will technology be the answer—a device that shuts down the car if it detects alcohol? Some states are requiring it on convicted drunk’s cars. How many will be killed by someone driving with their head out the window?
Of course that’s not even half the problem of fights, killings, divorce, loose morals etc.
Well Brad, have to gig you on something—took two dictionaries to find the meaning of “praxis” which means practice. How many doctors have on their walls, “Authorized to praxis medicine”? “If you can walk with kings and not lose the common touch.”
Rex Ray

selahV said...

Bro. Brad: I'm quite a bit older than the young woman who was signing that I called a girl. As I recall she was in her twenties.

Obviously, someone mentioned the attire to her afterwards, because since then she's worn longer shirts. (Although I strongly agree, parents need to be instructing daughters to be modest young ladies. Just like my Sunday School teachers use to do.) However, nowadays, ya can't tell a diva from a diva-wanna-be. And dress-styles are not modest. Even for little girls. I have a hard time finding jeans for my 8 year-old granddaughter that aren't three inches shorter than her navel.

But I'm off point. I think our relaxed apathetic attitude toward the "behaviour" in our society, and our penchant for imitating the "stars" in all their Corinthianism, is in large part the reason we stray away from the Spirit in our regenerated lives as Christians.

We are at war with our flesh. And all too often the flesh is winning the battle. I just want to be counted among the four in the fiery furnace and come out without so much as a tell-tale smell of smoke on my clothes. Ya know?

I just can't get away from the fact that Paul tells us to "practice" love; "put on armor"; and "lay aside every weight". And then we have that passage that says "whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God". When we excuse one thing with one argument, aren't we infact leaving some leaven in the house?

And when Jesus said "be ye holy", was that a state of yoga-"being" or a state of Jesus-being? SelahV

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Thanks for the clarification brother. I, like you, do not wish another blog on alcohol. It is you, however, who brought the issue up again. :) Just a couple of points: (1) just because you established that recreational use of alcohol is sin does not make it so (sorry to be the one to have to inform you of that :) ). (2) I think you'll agree that those who would offer 'reaching the lost' as an excuse for 'drinking' are worthy of Biblical discussion or being cited as examples. That is a silly argument and not worthy of Biblical discussion. (3) I'm afraid your argument about 'too close to sin' carries with it too many presuppositions. If you NEVER come close to having too much, then you never have to ask the question, 'how much is too much'? Again, if we apply that logic to Peter, John, St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Edwards, C.S. Lewis, Charles Spurgeon, etc. we must condemn them for such behaviour. It borders on arrogance to accuse such Biblical giants as constantly asking, 'how close to sin can I get'? (4) Christ was dealing with the Jewish dietary laws, but that does not negate the practical reading of the passage, else he'd have said, "it's not what goes into the mouth - except wine - that defiles a man....." (5) I agree that legalism in it's strictest sense has to do with justification (Gal), but I believe it can also be applied to daily sanctification in a looser sense - if only becuase we do not have an appropriate alternative word. I still would not say you adhered to a works based salvation based on your enforcement of personal conviction on others - simply that you're overstepping your Christian bounds. :) I wonder, have you found that there are more moderationists who try to make abstentionists hold to their (moderationists) convictions or are there more abstentionists who try to make moderationists hold to their (abstentionists) convictions?

Grace and peace,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Jim,
Yes, you may call me PTL. I apologize, but anonymity is prudent for me. I, too, agree with Brad that the issues we should be focused on are not dress, foods, and music, but rather, becoming like Christ. Paul said that the law was to bring people to Christ - but mature Christians don't need the law. They do the right things out of pure motivations - not in response to some set of rules. And if we do those things (dress modestly, listen to 'Godly' music, etc.) as a response to someone else's mandate, then we are no better for having done it - i.e. we are no closer to Christ for having followed those rules out of blind obedience to someone. If, however, our dress, musical preferences, activity preferences, etc. change as a result of allowing ourselves to be transformed by the power of God's Word and Spirit - THEN WE'RE ON TO SOMETHING! Would that God, through His Spirit, make all of us more like Christ today - and THAT is what the world will respond to (Mat. 5).

Grace and peace brothers and sisters,

PTL

volfan007 said...

kevin,

let me get this right, are you saying that its a sin to be fat? are you really saying that? where in the bible does it say that we should all be fit and trim? i know that it speaks against gluttony...but, you can be fat without being a glutton. just live in the south for 10 years and we'll show you how to accomplish that. also, where in the bible does it say that we should jog, or lift weights, or run a 5K?

read psalm 92:14

volfan007

brad reynolds said...

Rex
WE AGREE. Wow, this is great news for me today. I have studied this alcohol debate fervently. I was not as convinced, before the last six months, as I am now. And that convincing came from my own study of the cultural and textual context of God’s Word. I can honestly say my position has come from Scripture.

Dress is a little more difficult to defend from a certain passage in Scripture, but the freedom’s some Christians are taking because they can’t find a text which forbids something is what appalls me. Scripture is about how holy (separated from the world to Christ) we can get not about how worldly we can get and still be Christians. Thus, God did not give us a list of do’s and don’ts in the NT. For me where one starts on these issues will reveal where they end up. I have never heard anyone say “look at him wearing that suit: what a horrible witness for Christ.” And yet, there seems to be such a relaxing in this area that some churches almost abhor suits but welcome skin tight clothes under the guise of God doesn’t care what you wear, He looks on the inward. What they fail to realize is the inward is revealed in the outward.

Sorry about “praxis”…it’s a common word in my setting…I need to be more sensitive. Christ was able to take truths which confound theologians and keep children’s attention. I apologize.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Selah
Wise words. How I long for the day when this corruption will be swallowed up in incorruption:) but until then I must battle the flesh and sadly our hearts are deceptive above all things and would lead me to excuse my fleshly desires.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
Just a couple of notes concerning the points I feel need responding to: (2) I have cited it on my blog not long ago and you defended the said person. (3) There is a difference in drinking alcohol for survival purposes and recreational; I think you will be hard pressed to show where these men (outside of Lewis) did it for recreational purposes, which voids your “arrogance” statement: further, even if great men of God did drink strong drink for recreational purposes that does not make it right…truth is not dependent upon who believes it. (4) it is vital to understanding the passage…else Christ was saying drunkenness is ok also. (5) Perhaps I am not overstepping but you are understepping:)

God Bless my friend.
PS – How is the entry to law school coming?
BR

brad reynolds said...

Jim
I didn’t see the abstentionists as lecturing but perhaps that is because of my subjectivity. Nevertheless, this was the first time in the history of the SBC where moderationists were so vocal…it is not the abstentionists who have brought this to the forefront…we are standing where SB have always stood (and for good reason).
Also, as accusation of “extra-biblical” is quite an accusation in Christian circles…it is equivalent to PTL’s accusation that Jesus gave to the Pharisees in Matt 15: “teaching for doctrines the commandments of man.” Honestly, I feel such an accusation is worse than the implied accusation which accompanies an abstentionist’s position. The later is simply an implication of sin; the former is an implication of phariseeism.

I know you say an abstentionsist position is not extra-biblical, but is it extra biblical to teach an abstentionist position?

I certainly expect other Christians to behave as Christians, which as I understand Scripture includes the avoidance of mind-altering drugs for enjoyment, I would be a terrible “brother’s keeper” if I kept that Scriptural principle to myself. However, I am not their judge and would never desire such a responsibility, for fear of hypocrisy.

I think the bottom line on all this is what you shared: “What can I do to maximize my passion for Christ.”
BR

posttinebraelux said...

SelahV,
I didn't take your words as critical at all. Yes, I use the word 'moderationist' to refer to 'otherwise' conservative Christians who believe the Bible teaches a 'moderate consumption of alcohol' doctrine. I refer to those who believe the Bible teaches an 'abstain from alcohol unless it is medically necessary' position as abstentionists. Neither monicker is meant in a derogatory manner - just used for ease of typing. :) Hope you have a wonderful day sister.

Grace and peace,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad and Jim,
I, too, have struggled with what the obligation of one is with regard to their Biblical beliefs that differ with a significant portion of other scholars. A few examples would include alcohol, eschatology, predestination, church polity, etc. Do I teach that 'my interpretation is the right one', or do I teach the Biblical support for my position while, at the same time, offering an honest look at the differing positions? For instance, there is a gentleman in our church who has stated that he's going to teach the 'Biblical' eschatological doctrine next spring (meaning he's going to teach the pre-millenial, pre-trib position). Or again, someone saying he/she is going to teach that the only Biblically correct doctrine with respect to alcohol is the abstinence doctrine.
Personally, I have come to the conclusion that my obligation is to present an honest appraisal of all 'relevant' sides (by relevant I mean sides which have Biblical basis) and allow the Holy Spirit to convict whom He will in the direction He will. To do otherwise is, in effect, to say that we don't trust the Holy Spirit to guide others into all truth - we must help guide them because they aren't spiritual enough to discern the truth for themselves.


PS - I sit for the LSAT exam next Saturday. I REALLY need to score well in order to obtain financial assistance as the only law schools in my area are private schools and, as such, rather expensive.


Grace and peace brothers,


PTL

Jim said...

Brad,

I got kind of lost in the "extra-biblical" accusations stuff. I didn't intend as harsh an accusation as is seems you have taken it.

No, I don't think it is "extra-biblical" to teach abstention, just as I don't think it's "extra-biblical" to teach moderation. But I'd be wrong to suggest moderation is the only way to please God.

But since the moderationists are only a vocal minority, we should focus on other issues. Like how I sometimes neglect to ask the maximalist questions regarding food, tv, stewardship, etc.

Oh, that a passion for God would invade every "compartment" of my life!

The Seward said...

Wonderfull exposition my brother. I would like to ask those who pratice moderation in alcohol and liberalism in dress, WHY? Is Pepsi not good enough? Is our water that bad? Does the store you shop in not have anything alse to drink? And then to the latter What gain do you have by spending more money on clothing that cover less body.

Maybe I paid to much attention when I was growing up in youth group, but I thought that our goal was first to make disciples and then to live a life that does not cause those disciples to fall into sin.

brad reynolds said...

Jim
It did not sound harsh at all...I apologize if it seems I over-reacted...sometimes electronic communication is difficult.

PTL
Will pray for your LSAT.

The Seward
I would that more youth pastors taught as yours. Great Words.
BR

Anonymous said...

Brad,

You stated:
"Nevertheless, this was the first time in the history of the SBC where moderationists were so vocal…it is not the abstentionists who have brought this to the forefront…we are standing where SB have always stood (and for good reason)."

A couple of thoughts on what you have stated.
1. It was an abstentionists who brought this to the "forefront." We went several years without a resolution on this matter. In response to some of our brothers that beleive that there is freedom and liberty in regards to the use of alcohol, the abstentionists felt like they had to sound the charge. You know that there has not been a moderationist resolution proposed, so you tell me who brought this issue to the "forefront." A moderationist has not brought to the convention floor a resolution supporting a moderationist stand. But once is was brought, some felt compelled to speak to it. Which in my opinion was the worst resolution on abstention that we have ever had. In stead of just speaking to the issue, it took a stab at the "some are teaching...." So you tell me who was being aggressive?

2. As far as your statement that this past year was the "first time" in the SBC that moderationists spoke out,well James P. Boyce, founder of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke out against a resolution on alcohol in 1888 when he ruled, as President of the SBC, that a resolution against the consumption of alcohol “was not germane to the work of the convention.” (1888 Annual of the SBC, pp. 33-34).

John Dagg reported and lamented the fact that Baptist preachers would drink alcohol at a particular associational meeting.

Baptists used wine in their communion, and were moderationists leading up to the time of prohibition.

Your history is off brother.

These things I agree with you:
1. Certainly it has been a long, firmly held position of the SBC that one should abstain from the use of alcohol.

2. Certainly it is still the predominante position of most SB today.

But in this I disagree,
1. It has not ALWAYS been a SB conviction. It certainly has been our view for most of our existence, but it was not always the case.

2. Secondly, the main reason that SB took an abstention view was not because of some new understanding of a Biblical doctrine, but for social reasons, as they and many other denominations joined the prohibition movement in America. I am not saying that this was wrong or right, I am merely pointing out the catylyst for this change. For up to this time, Baptists were moderationits and in much of the world they still are.

Blessings,

Timothy

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,

Excellent insights and remarkable study, nevertheless I have this against it:

If the abstentionist brought it to the forefront they did it in a way they have always done…thus as I said: we are standing where we have always stood only this time there was debate from the floor (unlike the previous 60 resolutions).

Actually my history is not off unless you assume from silence that SB have not always had an abstentionist position. All the history we have, is over 60 resolutions pertaining to a stance against alcohol for recreational use. Resolutions like:

“Resolved that Southern Baptists continue to adhere to and promote vigorously and positively their commitment to abstinence from alcohol” – SBC Resolution, 1979.

“Resolved, that we reaffirm our historic stance of pointing out the deceptive and destructive nature of beveraged alcohol…” - SBC Resolution, 1976.

“Be it resolved, that we…call Southern Baptists to an exemplary Christian lifestyle of abstinence from beverage alcohol and all other harmful drugs.” SBC resolution – 1984.

“Whereas, Drinking alcoholic beverages continues to be the number one drug problem in America, bringing misery to millions; and…Whereas, The American culture is thoroughly saturated with a take-a-drink mentality; and Whereas the use of the drug alcohol as a chemical crutch is harmful and unnecessary in light of the spiritual resources available to all people through Jesus Christ; be it resolved…that we call on our churches to teach vigorously the danger of the drug alcohol in order to create a climate which will lead people to reject the use of alcoholic beverages." Resolution - SBC, 1975

“That we record afresh our deep and unalterable opposition to the liquor traffic in all of its forms and phases; that we urge upon our people the rule of total abstinence in their personal habits as the only sane, sensible and right course for Christian people concerning any recognized evil” SBC Resolution, 1939.

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

That we urge upon our pastors, churches, our schools and colleges, our Sunday School Board and all other teaching and educational agencies connected with our denominational life, that they be constant and diligent in setting forth the facts as to the evil effects of alcohol in all forms and urging upon our people the necessity for total abstinence from all alcoholic drinks as the wise and proper course for the individual.” - SBC resolution, 1935.

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


Baptists, during a time when alcohol was used for sustenance, were obviously moderationist but that does not mean they approved drinking for enjoyment (Notice Whitfield’s comment about use for survival purposes (support of nature)). Further, notice what Baptists and Southern Baptists have historically said below.

Now I challenge you to find a statement from such men, claiming that the Bible allows for drinking alcohol for ENJOYMENT or recreational purposes. Thus, I think I have been historically accurate as evidenced by exact QUOTES.

"It is true (as I observed at the beginning of this discourse) our blessed Savior did come eating and drinking; he was present at a wedding, and other entertainments; nay, at one of them worked a miracle to make wine, (you see I have been making some observations on it) but then it is not plain there had been more wine drank than was absolutely necessary for the support of nature; much less does it appear, that something had been indulged to pleasure and cheerfulness.
The governor does indeed say, "When men have well drunken," but it no where appears that they were the men. Is it to be supposed, that the most holy and unspotted Lamb of God, who was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, and who, when at a Pharisee's house, took notice of even the gestures of those with whom he sat at meat; is it to be supposed, that our dear Redeemer, whose constant practice it was to tell people they must deny themselves, and take up their crosses daily; who bid his disciples to take heed, lest at any time their hearts might be over-charged with surfeiting and drunkenness; can it be supposed, that such a self-denying Jesus should now turn six large water-pots of water into the richest wine, to encourage excess and drunkenness in persons, who, according to this writer, had indulged to pleasure and cheerfulness already? Had our Lord sat by, and seen them indulge, without telling them of it, would it not be a sin? But to insinuate he not only did this, but also turned water into wine, to increase that indulgence; this is making Christ a minister of sin indeed. What is this, but using him like the Pharisees of old, who called him a glutton, and a wine-bibber? Alas! how may we expect our dear Lord's enemies will treat him, when he is thus wounded in the house of his seeming friends? Sirs, if you follow such doctrine as this, you will not be righteous, but I am persuaded you will be wicked over-much.” (Whitefield – Marriage at Cana).

“The Israelites thought they had a better idea. They rationalized by saying, "There's no reason to drive these Canaanites out. We can make them pay tribute to us. We can tax them and make slaves out of them. Rather than driving them out, we will domesticate them, and they will be good for us."
Many of us have done that. We have favored certain sins. There are vices that we actually think we can somehow tame and get benefit from. Some people view alcohol and gambling in this way.” (Adrian Rogers)

“Alcohol knocks the blood corpuscles out of business so that it takes eight to ten to do what one ought to do. There's a man who drinks. Here's a fellow who drives a beer wagon. Look how sissy he is. He's full of rotten tissue. He says he's healthy. Smell his breath. You punch your finger in that healthy flesh he talks about and the dent will be there a half an hour afterwards…. I've stood for more sneers and scoffs and insults and had my life threatened from one end of the land to the other by this God-forsaken gang of thugs and cutthroats because I have come out uncompromisingly against them.” (Billy Sunday).

“And Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s wine which he drank and he said: Give me pulse to eat and water to drink.”…Young fella, the world and the devil persuade you that you have to do this. That’s a lie. And a vicious one. At the 8:15 o’clock service this morning, as I was closing, there came to me a man who belongs to this church, and said, “Pastor, I want to reconsecrate and recommit my life to the Lord God.”…Well, I said, “Why have you come?”…And he said, “I had given myself over to moderate drinking. I had just decided that it was all right to be a moderate drinker.” “But,” he said, “After listening to you this morning, I just want to recommit my life to the Lord. I will not do it.”…My brother, it will bless your family, it will bless your home, it will bless your children, it will bless your business, it will bless your life, if you will not drink.” (WA Criswell).

“When will the terrific reign of alcohol cease?” (JL Dagg)



I agree it wasn’t a new understanding it was a return to the original languages.

God Bless my friend
BR

selahV said...

Jim: I just got moderationist and abstentionalist figured out and now you start talking about maxi=sumthin or the other. Now what is that? I just love you guys. You keep adding to my vocabulary. If I'm not careful I'm gonna feel the call to study Hebrew. LOL. selahV

Jim said...

SelahV,

I'm sorry for that sister. Here's what I mean:

Minimalist question: "What can I get away with and still be in right relationship with Jesus Christ?"

Maximalist question: "What will maximize my passion for and radically enhance my relationship with Jesus Christ?"

Hope this helps.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Brad,

Ok brother, let us take a step back and look at this again.

First, reread the resolution. It was not merely the typical resolution against alcohol that we have passed in the past, it also declared that SB’s who taught moderation are in error. Is it not interesting that in all the BF&M that we have had over the years, not one of them have had a statement for abstention? Why? Because the writers of the BF&M have always tried to make it contain what is certainly taught in Scripture. Abstention is an honorable and a wise way to live. But the Bible does not demand everybody to live this way. Abstention from alcohol has been a long held conviction of SB, but we never placed it in our most important confessions, because of the lack of clear Biblical exhortation for it.

Secondly, I said I agreed that SB have for the greatest part of it history had a consistent stand for abstention. I really don’t understand the need for you to respond with all the resolutions and quotes. I agree that this is where SB has, for over a 100 years stood.

My contention is that you stated that this is where they have ALWAYS stood, and that is simply not the case. I do not mean this in a pejorative way, so please do not take me wrong, but your arguments remind me of the secularists that attempt to deny the Christian influence upon our early forefathers in this country; we call them Historical Revisionists. Brother, to say that SB have stood for well over a century with a conviction about abstention from alcohol, is an absolute and undeniable fact. To attempt to make SB’s teetotaler’s before we as a body fully joined the cause of prohibition, is historical revision and simply not true.

Dagg himself asserted that Pastor’s drank with each other, and he deplored it. History is clear that wine was used in communion. Although the English Baptists are not SB but they are a part of our Baptist heritage, and they certainly have been and still are moderationists.

Abstention has not always been the accepted standard, but it certainly won the day and became the standard. Why is that so hard for you to admit?

I'll work on your challenge about the history part, but how about you find me prominent Baptists before 1850's who taught that Christians must abstain?

One final thing, I think it is very diengenuous for you to challenge somebody to find men of God who thought drinking alcohol for recreation was ok, but then say that even if they did, these men would be wrong. That is like saying, ok, find me some great men who beleive that abstention is meant for everybody, but if you find them, they are mistaken. Whats the use?

Ok I really must stop but one more thought, I know why you want to make a distinction between drinking for survival and for recreation, but it has its problems. John the Baptist did not drink of the fruit of the vine for his entire life, by decree of God. When God became a man, he chose to drink wine. He certainly could have been like John, as he pointed out himself. John did survived without drinking wine. So too could have Jesus. If drinking wine is so bad, our Lord would have never done it. As the alpha and the omega, the begining and the end, seeing the world as it is today as if it was yesterday, he could have set the example and been like John. Yet He did not.

Blessings,

Timothy

johnMark said...

How far is the SBC willing to go?
http://hereiblog.wordpress.com/2006/08/15/southern-baptists-the-alcohol-resolution-how-4/

What are those in the SBC willing to give up?

Mark

posttinebraelux said...

the seward,
I'm sure I can't speak for any 'moderationist' but myself (and BTW, my attire is pretty conservative), but I'd have to say that the questions you pose are very valid questions indeed and should be asked by each and every Christian - along with, which is the better way to spend my money - to play golf or to give it to the poor? To go out to dinner or to give extra to the church? To spend extra money on Pepsi or to just drink tap water and give the extra to the poor? To sell all that I have and give it to the poor or to keep some for myself? You see, each person has to determine their own path based on their own convictions. The issue is not whether you and I choose Pepsi over water, but rather when you start telling me that I must needs choose Pepsi over water. See the difference? I think attire must be handled, generally speaking, in the same manner. We all know what 'indecent attire' is and we all know what 'extremely modest' attire is. The problem is the gray area in between. If we start making dress codes, whose definition of conservative will we use? Mine or yours? And what makes your definition more Godly than mine? Is it Godly practice for mature women to mentor younger women on what is modest and what is not? Absolutely! But I think we'd have a tough time making a Biblical argument that shirts which show 'middriff' are 'sinful' (i.e. the gray area stuff).

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
I ran across this article by Bruce Sabin a few weeks ago. I've confirmed the sources (at least cursorily) and it appears relatively accurate. It may help others to understand where anonymous is coming from.

"In the history of Christianity, alcoholic prohibition is a relatively new idea. In fact, alcohol was a normal part of life. In Colonial America, the Puritans expected Christians to drink (Hearn, 1943). In the 1700s, a Baptist minister created the formula for bourbon whiskey (Hailey, 1992). During the 1800s, many Southern ministers operated stills, and sold alcohol (Hearn, 1943). Parishioners who owned stills would tithe their alcohol; and preachers' salaries often included whiskey. All this began to change, however, as the Temperance movement took shape (Hailey, 1992).

The idea that alcohol was dangerous was not new, though. In 600 B.C. Pathagoras noted, "drunkenness is an expression identical with ruin." In 44 B.C., Cicero wrote, "a sensual and intemperate youth hands over a worn-out body to old age," when he drinks to excess. Centuries later, Muhammed declared, "there is a devil in every berry of the grape" (Hearn, 1943). In fact, Islam has a total prohibition of alcohol, proclaiming drinking a sin (Parshall, 1989). Chaucer wrote in A.D. 1380, "character and shame depart when wine comes in." Clearly, for thousands of years, men have known of the dangers of alcohol. Knowledge about the dangers of alcohol stopped few from drinking, however. Jesus not only drank, his first miracle was turning water to wine; and he used wine as a symbol of the salvation through his blood (Hearn, 1943; Jn 2; Lk 22:20).

For Southern Baptists, too, alcohol was a part of life. That is until the Temperance movement began to infiltrate the religious denominations in America. Finally, in 1896, the Southern Baptist Convention officially denounced alcohol and asked that churches excommunicate anyone who sold or drank alcohol. For the first time in Southern Baptist history, drinking was considered immoral. The success of this measure is debatable. A Southern Baptist study has shown that in the 1990s, 46 percent of members drink alcohol (Hailey, 1992).

Investigation shows that although people knew of the danger in alcohol, throughout history, Christian prohibition is a new, and rather American, phenomenon. The decisions of churches to abstain came out of the American Temperance movement. David Hailey, though supporting the SBC's resolution, admits that biblical support for abstinence was an after-thought. Christians had decided, for social reasons, that alcohol was wrong. Only then, did they turn to the Bible to find support (Hailey, 1992)."

The entire article can be found at:
http://www.brucesabin.com/alcohol.html


Thanks for the prayer brother!

grace and peace,

PTL

volfan007 said...

brad,

once again, i just cant figure out the need of these fellas to defend drinking alcohol. i just dont understand their motivation. it makes me wonder about them...you know, maybe they have a little brown bag hidden out back of the house somewhere, or something? i just dont understand anyone wanting to defend drinking a substance that has done so much harm to people...that the bible clearly states is foolish for a man to drink for recreational purposes...to just get high. i mean, we have sweet tea and pepsi and lemonade to drink today...and good water....why they even sell water in little bottles in the stores these a days. why in the world would a christian...who is full of the joy of the Lord....need alcohol????????????


volfan007

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

Seems these here comment threads gets more and more difficult to understand for me anyway. I want you to clear up somein for me please.

Since by your on posts we agree that drankin alcohol is a sin and since unrepented sin is rebellion against God and since rebellion is the opposite of Holiness, where does that leave those Ben Cole and Wade Burleson fellers?

Since Ben has publically stated he drankin with his deacons and Wade has stated he is out sippin wine with little ole ladies while witnessin, what does that say about holiness in these PASTORS lives?

Bubba


Volfan,

You ask if being fat is a sin. I thank second Hezekiah says if you aint runnin, joggin, and liftin you will become a slought and fat sinner.

Just joshin, Bubba

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,
You are right it was a little different from resolutions we made in the past. In the past we asked churches to excommunicate those who drank, we didn’t go that far this year.

Concerning the BFM, it does not speak of rape, slavery, drug use or even gossip, slander etc. It is not a statement on what the Bible condemns it is a Theological document.

You seem to be arguing that SB have only be opposed to drinking for enjoyment for the last 100 years. Dagg certainly mentioned pastor’s drinking…they still do today…that does not mean SB approved it. I have argued for abstention from alcohol except for survival and medicinal purposes…if you will reread Whitefield’s comment he argued for survival use also but against enjoyment use (that was in the 1700’s).

My point was that while the moderationists today seem to be arguing for alcohol consumption for recreational use I think they will be hard pressed to find spiritual Giants who have done so in the past. Nevertheless, even if you can find a stray comment somewhere that does not make it true. Truth is not based on who says it. If that were the case then I could just quote Adrian Rogers here. I think you are wrong about where we have historically stood...but even if you prove to be right that does not make it Biblical.

The question arises why did it take so long for “Christians” to take an abstentionists position? Why only in the last 200 years? Because until then alcohol was necessary for survival. It was used as a major source for sustenance because of impure water and lack of coca-cola’s:) But with water purification practices and plants developing, the need for alcohol for survival ceased, thus ushering in the abstention movement.

Concerning Jesus, I will grant that he very likely partook of fermented wine mixed with water but we have no solid evidence of such (oinos always refers to grape juice – and more than one scholar has argued this), but he did not partake of strong drink (the equivalent of today’s wine). The Alpha and Omega also said there was not a greater man born to woman than John the Baptist.
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL
The above addresses most of your article, however, if the writer were as negligent with the rest of his article as he was with the SB section I would certainly question both the validity and his presuppositions. By 1896, SB had already denounced alcohol 4 times, beginning in 1886.

Also, I think you will find it much more difficult to show that midriff glorifies God than your challenge to show it as sin. I think there is a correlation somewhere between that which doesn’t glorify God and sin:)
BR

brad reynolds said...

Volfan

Who needs it when we have Christ? Exactly. There certainly seems to be a Scriptural contrast with wine and Holy Spirit, as with drunk and filled: Be not DRUNK with WINE, but be FILLED with the SPIRIT.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Bear
I try to stay away from personalities and deal with issues.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
Once again you have missed the point my brother, but I will type slowly as I respond. :) The issue is not a defense of drinking alcohol - in fact, many who adhere to the 'moderationist' doctrine do not 'drink' at all. The issue is whether one Christian has Biblical grounds for enforcing an 'absentionist' doctrine on another Christian. That, dear brother, is the issue. To put it in Pauls words, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."


Grace and peace brother,

PTL

Anonymous said...

Volfan,

To answer your questions...

1. "once again, i just cant figure out the need of these fellas to defend drinking alcohol. i just dont understand their motivation."

My motivation is totally, 100% a desire to honor God's Word. I truly beleive in both the innerancy and the sufficiency of the Bible. I will not say what the Bible does not say. A a pastor that is committed to preaching and teaching expository messages, I will not go beyond the text. I will say that abstention is wise. I will say that it is even Biblical in the sense that certain people at certain times take vows of abstention, but what I cannot say to people is that the Bible clearly demands that all Christians Must abstain from drinking alcohol. The operative word is MUST. As a pastor if I say that, the very next question is, "show me in the Bible where this is taught." When I hee haw about wine not the same today as then, they need it to survive, we don't, Jesus didn't really drink.... on and on and on, many of them nod, go on and drink anyway. Why? They accept the authority of God's Word, but are suspicious of the authority of my interpretation of God's Word, in dealing with unclear doctrines. All you preachers, do a poll where people can be anonymous in your church, "have you ever, do you yearly, do you monthly, do you weekly, do you daily" I venture that most Baptists in the pew would admit that at least once a year they might have wine, champaigne etc...

2. "it makes me wonder about them...you know, maybe they have a little brown bag hidden out back of the house somewhere, or something?"

Brother, No need for a brown bag, Brother, you assume that others have the same conviction as you but that they are going against it..., if a person feels that it is allowed, they have nothing to hide. You might as well ask those crazy people who defend "them there worldly drums" in the church house if they have rock n roll praise music hidden somewhere! How dare them:)


3. "i just dont understand anyone wanting to defend drinking a substance that has done so much harm to people...that the bible clearly states is foolish for a man to drink for recreational purposes...to just get high."

Yes the Bible condemns the misuse of alcohol, but not its use. I am not defending alcohol, but a principle of Hermeneutics. The Bible says what it says! We do not need an expert to tell us what it really means.

4. "i mean, we have sweet tea and pepsi and lemonade to drink today...and good water....why they even sell water in little bottles in the stores these a days. why in the world would a christian...who is full of the joy of the Lord....need alcohol????????????"

Why did Jesus drink wine when He very well could have chosen to live like John the Baptist? I remind you that our Lord said,
"For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" But wisdom is justified by all her children." Luke 7.33-35

and also

"Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from the outside which can defile him." Mark 7.16

Do we Hear?

Blessings
Timothy

Anonymous said...

Brad,

I look at God telling John the Baptist, to not ever touch the fruit of the Vine, and I cannot help but to think that this blows away your "only for survival" position. Did they have to drink? It seems that God knew otherwise, (that it was not necessary for survival) and told some ie..nazarite vow folks, and JOhn, to be separate from it. Then when God became a man...instead of living like John, as a witness to all of all times, the need to abstain from wine, He chose to drink. In the face of the accuasation that He was a "winebibber," he could have spoke of the evils of wine and assurred the Bap--Pharisees of the day (sorry I couldnt resist:) that He certianly, like John did not drink...

Jesus said that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine.... Now if we live in a day that it is not necessary to drink because of Pepsi and pure water, then why would Jesus prophesy of a future consumption? Because wine in the Bible is much more then just a necessity, it is consistently used to symbolize blessing, joy, and fruitfulness. YES also danger, and Warning when it is abused.

Brad, just curious, in light of your "survival" only stand how do these verses support that?

Eccl 9.7
Seems to imply more then just a need for survival.

Psalm 104.14
The wine that makes glad the heart of man...

Deut 14,
God tells His people that they could use their money to buy wine and strong drink, and eat before the Lord in thanks.

Too me, this itself totally denies that God abhors wine and strong drink, and that it only existed for "survival." Priests cannot be under the influence of wine when they serve before the Lord, but in this situation, God tells them to buy wine and drink it? Why, wine in the Bible has always been used to symbolize not just "survival" but blessing. In this context, a thanksgiving meal, if you will, buy wine, why = wine is a blessing. If God felt about it as you say, then why not, like the priests, He demand it not be used?

Consistently in the Bible, the absence of wine is seen as a curse and the presence of wine is seen as a blessing? Why, not because of survival or lack of, but because it represented something that was good. I for one would rahter drink a Pepsi then just water. If I were only to have water....boring. I think this is the same principle we see in scripture.

Isaiah 25.6
Tells of the day God will give us a "feast of wines," and "well-refined wines,"

Now this is prophecy? YES If God's perspective is that wine is only for survival but not for pleasure, but the people don't know it yet, but someday when water is purified and on and on..... Then why would prohecy not reflect God's heart in this manner? Why would God foster the concept that wine was for more then "survival." This prophecy is a picture of a wonderful party, with extravagant wines offered as a blessing.

Please get me right here, I NEVER ADVOCATE THE ABUSE OF ALCOHOL!

I just do not see that the Bible calls for a banishment of its use.

Blessings,

Timothy

PS
I really have many other more productive things to do then talk aobut the use of non-use of alcohol. I am willing to agree to disagree, I respect the position of those who would abstain. How about this, you don't judge moderationists as "unholy" and they should not judge abstainers as being extra-Biblical legalists.

Sounds like Romans 14 stuff to me!

Lug Nutmegger said...

Dr. Reynolds,

Well written and Amen brother!

Lug

P.S. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

You is right. We should not get into personalities, but stick with the issues.

Would you agree that a pastor out there drankin alcohol with church members and lost people are not livin holy lives?

I says they are sons of rebellion accordin to Scripture. Please correct me in I'm wrong.

Bubba

Jim said...

Volfan,

I admire your passion. But your lack of understanding the moderationist position isn't a good argument against it.

I sit here drinking a 20oz. Pepsi full of sugar, calories, and the drug caffeine (is there any nutritional value?). You might ask me, "What Christian who is full of the joy of the Lord needs Pepsi?" You'd be right. I don't need it and if I don't give thanks to God for the good gift of Pepsi, I'd be sinning.

"But," you might say, "Pepsi doesn't kill people." You'd be right, but it certainly contributes to obesity which is one of the greatest killers in America.

In 2000, the leading cause of death was... (drum-roll please)... tobacco. Number 2... Poor diet and physical inactivity. And number 3... alcohol consumption. Alcohol Related Deaths for the Year 2000>

Maybe we'll present a tobacco or a fast foods ban at next year's convention.

BubbaBear,

Please stop dragging Ben and Wade into every conversation.

Brad,

If one of the strongest points of your argument is that the wine of the Bible is not the wine of today (which I agree with), wouldn't that make you a moderationist also? As long as a brother or sister waters down his wine or beer?

And it seems the "wine was the only safe thing to drink" argument has been demonstrated to be false (John the Baptist and others who abstained from alcohol).

Grace to you, friends,

Jim

brad reynolds said...

Timothy (and PTL),

Bottom line – what you say of alcohol could be said of all mind-altering drugs and even slavery. It is not an issue of forcing one’s convictions on others any more than it is when ones says in California Christians should abstain from marijuana. Now, there are probably marijuana moderationists who would argue that as long as one does not get high (drunk) it is ok because the Bible does not forbid it.

Which brings us back to my post…holiness is not about just abstaining from what Scripture says to avoid, God did not intend to give us a list of rights and wrongs for every aspect of life…holiness is about how close to Christ I can get.

There is no doubt that Scripture views STRONG DRINK (wine of today) negatively, and to not teach this is to be unfaithful to the text. Moreover Proverbs 23 views wine negatively…now you either have to say Scripture contradicts itself where it speaks positively of wine or there were two different meanings of the word yayin (which could mean intoxicating unmixed wine, wine mixed with water, or juice).

Further, there are numerous things we teach which are not explicit in the Bible…we arrive at these concepts/principles through hermeneutics…one such item is the TRINITY!

Concerning John the Baptist, it is possible to live on “Living water” (flowing – moving water) in Palestine but that would be difficult unless you either owned land near a stream or were a traveling evangelist like John…for those who lived in the towns water needed to be purified (by wine – which was called wine). I don’t see as many Bap-pharisees today, as I do Bap-libertines.

PS
I would never judge anyone that is not my position and may I say that even though I may feel that those who do not abstain may be compromising their testimony I assure you my sins far outweigh such. Of far greater concern to me than some preacher having a glass of wine is my thoughts and actions, which do not glorify Christ.

Hope this helps,
BR

brad reynolds said...

Lug
Thanks my friend
BR

brad reynolds said...

Jim

I guess I would be a moderationists if they watered it to the point of NT, which according to Dr. Stein would affect the bladder before the mind.

Concerning, "wine - safe to drink" argument. I go to India and Mexico often. The water there is unsafe to drink, however, they don't have ways to purify it yet, they survive and it affects some differently than others, but it is still unhealthy water! When the natives have opportunity to drink bottled water they do...even though they may usually drink unbottled water without effects. Why do they jump at opportunities to drink bottled water, because the other is unhealthy. Yet, that does not mean someone could not exist on it.

God Bless
BR

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

My Dear Brother,

You dont have to post this if you dont want to, I feel bad about hijacking the thread, but I wanted to respond. I wish we were talking about anohter issue, because my passion is about what the Bible says and what it does not say. I am willing to say at times, "I cannot show you line and vers, but I truly feel that_________ is right or wrong..." and then leave it up to the individuals conscience. But most the time I like to be able to say "Thus Saith The LORD." I do not think that this is a Thus saith the Lord issue, and it bothers me that some act like it is. In other words, SB may want me to abstain, but I personally do not feel that the Lord demands me to do so. So here we go.

1. “Bottom line – what you say of alcohol could be said of all mind-altering drugs and even slavery. It is not an issue of forcing one’s convictions on others any more than it is when ones says in California Christians should abstain from marijuana. Now, there are probably marijuana moderationists who would argue that as long as one does not get high (drunk) it is ok because the Bible does not forbid it.”

Please, lets stay on the subject of wine and not slavery or mind-altering drugs… The issue is what the Bible says or does not say about wine. Wine is mentioned in the Bible some 228 times and “strong drink” is used 19 times. If you read every reference, you get the picture, abuse and misuse is condemned, but the majority of references refer to wine in a positive aspect.


2. “Which brings us back to my post…holiness is not about just abstaining from what Scripture says to avoid, God did not intend to give us a list of rights and wrongs for every aspect of life…holiness is about how close to Christ I can get.”

AMEN, brother! I desire to be filled with His Spirit!

3. “There is no doubt that Scripture views STRONG DRINK (wine of today) negatively, and to not teach this is to be unfaithful to the text. Moreover Proverbs 23 views wine negatively…now you either have to say Scripture contradicts itself where it speaks positively of wine or there were two different meanings of the word yayin (which could mean intoxicating unmixed wine, wine mixed with water, or juice).”

Ok, how do you interpret Deuteronomy 14.26, The Hebrew words here are the common word for wine, and the word that is “strong drink,” God says buy it, drink it before His presence. Furthermore, in Isaiah 1.22, read the entire context, God Himself signifies that diluted wine is a curse. The Bible does not contradict itself for me brother, It consistently teaches that the abuse and overuse of wine is foolish, wrong, and evil, but that the use of wine is not; drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God, deacons do not drink too much wine, do not linger long…. But if I hold to a position that calls for abstention, then yes, there are some hermeneutical problems.

4. “Further, there are numerous things we teach which are not explicit in the Bible…we arrive at these concepts/principles through hermeneutics…one such item is the TRINITY!”
Yes, but the doctrine of the trinity is implied, alluded to, and I and you feel at places directly taught. The position that ALL Christians MUST abstain from alcohol absolutely does not even come close to a comparison with a concept like the Trinity. In other words, the Word STRONGLY supports this doctrine. Not so as far as abstention. Are you implying that there is as much evidence for to demand Christians to abstain from alcohol as there is support for the Trinity? I know you don’t believe this.

5. “Concerning John the Baptist, it is possible to live on “Living water” (flowing – moving water) in Palestine but that would be difficult unless you either owned land near a stream or were a traveling evangelist like John…for those who lived in the towns water needed to be purified (by wine – which was called wine). I don’t see as many Bap-pharisees today, as I do Bap-libertines.”

Brad, you forgot the  Still you have not answered or dealt with the thing that has really been heavy on my heart concerning this issue. God told John the Baptist to not ever drink wine. God directed for Samson the same kind of decree. Obviously for whatever reason the Rechabites took a similar oath. Yet when God became a man, He chose a different way. I will tell no man that John, Samson, or the Rechabites set a better or more holy example then our Lord, when it comes to the use of wine. If God would have lived like He told John to live, well…..

5. “PS
I would never judge anyone that is not my position and may I say that even though I may feel that those who do not abstain may be compromising their testimony I assure you my sins far outweigh such. Of far greater concern to me than some preacher having a glass of wine is my thoughts and actions, which do not glorify Christ.”

Well said Brother, there is only one Judge, may we all seek to glorify His name!

Blessings,

Timothy

Anonymous said...

Brad,

You said, "I guess I would be a moderationists if they watered it to the point of NT, which according to Dr. Stein would affect the bladder before the mind."

If this was the case, then there is absolutely no use to command deacons to not drink too much wine. Nobody would have thought that the Apostles were filled with new wine, unless they were peeing all over the place. Nor would Paul have chided the Corinthians about being drunk, (forget the, they broke into the wine before it was diluted response. If this was the standard, then certinly the Holy Spirit would have had it in the Scripture somewhere that Christians must not drink undiluted wine, It would have shut up every moderationist there is)

I have heard this argument, but it is not a common argument and it makes no sense in light of all the prohibitions against drunkenness. Men from the time of Noah and Lot have been drinking too much and have suffered more then a bladder problem because of it.

Timothy

posttinebraelux said...

Bear,
I guess Brad answered your question to him about moderationists being 'sons of rebellion'. Be careful, my friend, about judging someone else's justification. From what I understand about God, He's rather jealous of His authority as judge.

Brad,
You're exactly right - holiness is NOT about lists of do's and dont's. That's what I've been trying to say all along. We should not be about passing resolutions telling our members what to do and not to do. We should be about encouraging each other toward holiness. There is a reason that God was/is silent on some issues and it is not because He forgot to say, "Thou shalt not partake of wine." We must leave some issues to personal conviction and trust the Holy Spirit to guide Christians as He will - not as we will.

BTW, the context of Prov. 23 is drunkenness, not 'having a drink of wine'.

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

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

Brad -

1. Does it bother you that Lug (who is Mormon) has referred to you as a brother? If he is not a Mormon, please forgive me. (You and he)

2. Please share your view on the following scripture, specifically Peter's words at the end of this section (ie...Was it too early or should Peter have said something like they can't be drunk because it's not strong enough?...etc...) Act 2:1When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

5Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11(both Jews and converts to Judaism Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!" 12Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"

13Some, however, made fun of them and said, "They have had too much wine.[b]"

Peter Addresses the Crowd
14Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!

Thanks.

volfan007 said...

timothy and ptl,

i am answering veeeerryy slooowwly. i get your point. i dont agree with it. i agree with brad's view on this issue. we believe that the bible is clear on this. apparently you do not. i still love yall in the Lord, but i wont go drinkin with ya.


so, do yall get it? i believe that the bible clearly teaches that its wrong to use alcohol as a recreational drink....to just get high and feel good thing.
the bible teaches that its foolish to drink strong drink. its sinful to get high on alcohol to just get high. ok?

brad has already showed yall numerous times the clear teachings of the bible concerning this. yall dont want to hear it. so, i guess we'll just have to leave it at that.

would yall be ok with a little weed smokin too?

volfan007

volfan007 said...

jim,

again, where does it say in the bible that its wrong to be fat? where? where does it say that we should all be healthy joggers? where?

also, i have known more skinny, healthy joggers and work out people to have heart troubles than the fat people i know. my great grandmother was chubby her whole life and ate fried southern foods. the first time she was put into the hospital she was 94 yrs old. she died at 96. i guess we should all follow her example in order to live a long time.....huh?


from a fat hillbilly in tn,

volfan007

selahV said...

Jim: thanks for the maxi/mini explanation! That's great. I think for the most part, I'm a maxi. that's wonderful. I like that. And one who strives to abide in the Vine would probably be as close as one can get to being a maxi, don't ya think? So if the branch is not bearing any fruit but that which is shriveled and sour, what's that say about that branch's connection? SelahV

RevBubbaBear said...

Jim,

You said "Please stop dragging Ben and Wade into every conversation."

Perhaps you missed my last post. I am only dealin with the issues in it.

However since you brought up Ben and Wade, they are the ones who pubilicly brag about how alcohol enhances their ministry and saves people.

Bubba

Anonymous said...

There were also many of our great Christian forefathers who also smoked as well. Would a moderationist position on tobacco be extra-biblical as well? And many fine Baptist laypeople have grown and harvested tobacco. And it is not prohibited in the Bible. In the NEtherlands marijuana is quite legal - so as Brad has correctly ponted out - a moderationist position on marijuana would also be appropriate for our Christian brothers there. For the life of me I cannot figure out people who defend a moderationist position. The Bible clearly says we are to abstain from ALL appearance of evil. When I look at highway fatalitis caused by alcohol, broken homes caused by alcohol, abused children caused by alcohol, sexual immorality caused by alcohol, damage to unborn children - there seems to be sufficient evidence for it to qualitfy as having the appearance of evil. Alcohol - even in small quantities alters ones personality - why do I need to change who God made me either with alcohol or any other drug - after all alcohol is a DRUG and therefore any argument made by moderationist concerning using alcohol absent from medical supervision - could be made for any other drug). I guess I am just not as "enlightened" as my moderationist brothers. However I can promise you that this abstentionist will never crosss the line into drunkenness - or drive drunk - or do something else because I was at a point where moderaiton ceased and excess began. I would hate to see what these moderaiotnists do when they are in Amsterdam.

James Tucker said...

Dr. B,

Amen, and amen.

If I could add to your argument, I would say that we, believers in Christ, need to have a healty, wholesome fear of the Lord. If such a fear is understood, then one can easily incorporate holiness into the christian disciplines.

Indeed, the beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord, and this ought to prod us into a desire for a healthy, wholesome fear of the Lord, not for a wordly wisdom (1 Cor. 1:10-32) but a Godly wisdom (Jer 9:24).

I cringe every time I hear these lyrics sung: "How great is our God Sing with me, How great is our God, And all will see, How great, how great is our God." The fact is all, indeed, will see how great He is, but some of those will see glorious wrath, rather than glorious approval. I pray that your loved ones and my loved ones, who currently are children of wrath, will be transferred to the kingdom of Light!

Have a great Thanksgiving, which is not a day - but a life lived unto the Lord!

brad reynolds said...

Timothy,

We disagree:) Now to respond to your points, thanks for the opportunity again to shed some light on some issues and I hope this helps my brother.

1. I too would not want to deal with marijuana and slaves because an honest person would have to admit your hermeneutics would allow these in moderation. So a moderationist either has to be intellectually honest as PTL and admit such or avoid the conversation (as you do:)
3. I said Scripture does view wine as positive at times, thus when it views it negatively you either have state Scripture contradicts itself or assume it is speaking of different things (especially since the word oinos means different things)…I assume the latter. Deut 14:26: if it was common to dilute wine and strong drink as historical documents affirm…in fact, I know of no documents which state it was not diluted, but individuals as different as Homer and Justin Martyr affirm dilution. Then it would not be unusual for those to purchase strong drink, then do as was their custom (dilute it) and drink.
4. No I am not implying such…I’m simply stating we should use the same hermeneutic principles for alcohol that we would use for Trinity.
5. Answered

Concerning drunkenness, as I have stated numerous times, they could have gotten into the wine before it was mixed. For your benefit let me quote again common practice in NT times and then perhaps then you can see how people could get into the wine before it was mixed and obviously did so (PS – assuming why Scripture does or does not say something or even what it should have said is unwise…just STUDY the cultural and Scriptural context and allow revelation to speak for itself):

"The Biblical Words for Wine - Oinos/Yayin - The most common word in the New Testament for wine is the Greek word oinos. It is a general word that simply refers to the fermented juice of the grape…The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia (vol. 12, p. 533) states that yayin, at least in the rabbinic period, was diluted with water… Professor Robert Stein, in his "Wine-drinking in New Testament Times" (Christianity Today, 20 June 1975: 9-11), tells us liquid wine was stored in large jugs called amphorae. The pure, unmixed wine would be drawn out of these jugs and poured into large bowls called kraters, where it was mixed with water. From these kraters, it would then be poured into kylix, or cups. Wine would never be served directly from the amphora without first being mixed. And according to other historical data on this period, the mixture could be as high as a 20:1 ratio or lower than 1:1…Drinking unmixed wine was looked upon by Greek culture as barbaric. Stein quotes Mnesitheus of Athens as saying, "The gods have revealed wine to mortals, to be the greatest blessing for those who use it aright, but for those who use it without measure, the reverse. For it gives food to them that take it and strength in mind and body. In medicine it is most beneficial; it can be mixed with liquid and drugs and it brings aid to the wounded. In daily intercourse, to those who mix and drink it moderately, it gives good cheer; but if you overstep the bounds, it brings violence. Mix it half and half, and you get madness; unmixed, bodily collapse."
So, is drinking wine today the same as in Bible times? No. Because of the lack of fresh water, it was often necessary to drink wine in biblical times.. This was in a day and age when all they had to drink apart from wine was fruit juice, milk, and water. Due to a lack of refrigeration, even wine mixed from the syrup base, if left standing long enough, could ferment. These people had little choice in deciding what to drink.” - John MacArthur

BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL

First, the SBC does not pass resolutions telling church members what to do. Church members go to the convention and pass resolutions telling the SBC what to do.

I shall assume that since God is silent on slavery and other mind-altering drugs or barbiturates (which alcohol is) then we should leave those up to young Christians and their personal convictions also…I have discipled many children in Christ and I would no more leave such lack of discipleship with them then I would let a child play in the road assuming he will learn.

Proverbs 23 is not drunkenness, I will be glad to post exegetical evidence to such AGAIN.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Anonymous,
I think ACTS 2 is clear…the assumption that their daily normal use of wine (wine diluted with water) forbade any possibility to have access to undiluted wine verges on absurd.

On the other hand since this wine was their normal drink and Palestine is hot, the moderationists (who don’t think it was diluted) want us to believe that after a couple of hours of hot work in the morning individuals would come in and drink a couple of 16 ounce glasses of Chardonnay, as we drink tea when we are thirsty and then they would go back to work. Sorry I can’t make such a ludicrous assumption.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Selah
I published your excellent comment on holiness and covering one’s body…but for some reason it did not come up…can you resend it?
Thanks
BR

brad reynolds said...

James
My brother…so good to see you here. I miss you and pray for you. I hope your studies are going well. I still have your e-mail and will respond soon.

Excellent words…and God Bless you my brother,
BR

brad reynolds said...

To all,
Let us assume that .08 BAC is drunkenness, and that the moderation argument that drunkenness is sin but not drinking. Then that would mean that .06 isn’t drunkenness and not sin and since wine is SOOOO Enjoyable we could get to .06 and stop and not be in sin although we would be closer to sin than at .04 which would be closer than .02 etc. Again, it appears the argument is we can get as close to sin and not sin and that is our goal. Thus, the reason for my post.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Prov. 23 is about drunkenness and I would be glad to post exegetical evidence to that as well. :)
Again, (how many times have I said that?) the issue is not about drinking, but rather about whether you should be enforcing extra-biblical convictions on others. I praise God that you (and Volfan) have convictions of abstinence and I am not about to try to deter you from those convictions. Please, brothers, allow the same lattitude in this issue as there is NO BIBLICAL MANDATE for abstention. And, since you brought slavery into the argument - I personally believe that slavery is not the epitomy of love toward my brother. However, if a fellow Christian had a slave, and he 'loved' that slave (i.e. treated him with respect, etc.), I have no Biblical mandate that says I must tell him he is sinning. On the contrary, Paul did NOT condemn Philemon for having a slave, but rather encouraged him to take back Onesimus not only as a slave, but as a brother as well. Since God's holy standard NEVER changes - not even for culture's sake, we must accept that Paul did not condemn slavery but rather exhorted slave owners to treat their slaves with the same love they would any other brother/sister in Christ.
I personally abhor slavery, but, as I've said before, that may be a result of our country's history of loathful treatment of slaves.
We cannot FORCE biblical mandate where the Bible is silent. To do so is coersive and an abuse of Biblical authority.


Volfan,
If one uses alcohol to 'get high' as you call it, that would be sin.


Grace and peace brothers,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL

Thanks for your consistency…I am sure you would agree with moderation in other mind-altering drugs also. I wished other moderationists were as consistent as you with their hermeneutics.

Further and again if this were a matter of conviction we would not be discussing it. I am not sure we could force anything on anyone, just tell them what the Word says (not just in the King James but in the original languages).

Concerning No biblical mandate and Proverbs 23 let me quote linguist Dr. Stephen Reynolds:
“THE DISCUSSION of other paradoxes to throw light on the paradox concerning drinks alleged to be alcoholic is justified because it shows how what people believe is often colored by preconceptions and their preconceptions are often based on desires coming from fallen human nature.

Thus people take pleasure in their sins, and they seize upon a one-sided interpretation of paradoxes to give themselves complacency in these sins, or in struggling half-heartedly against them. A one-sided interpretation of the truth, "a man is justified by faith without the works of the law," has led to what is called easy-believism and thence to the moral decay of many professing Christians. Similarly a one-sided interpretation of the truth, "Yayin makes glad the heart of man," may lead men on a course to their destruction.

What we must do is detach ourselves from preconceptions when we look at the paradoxes concerning wine. A word which is supposed to denote an intoxicant is in one place treated as God’s good gift and in another is strictly forbidden, even to the point that it may not be looked at.
Concerning the paradox of Proverbs 23:31 and Psalm 104:15, an easy solution is to say wine is the same in both passages, and is good if used properly. The passage about not looking on it is then understood to be hyperbolic and not to be taken at all literally. It is true that hyperboles occur in the Bible, but one cannot read Proverbs 23:29-35 without coming to the conclusion that God is speaking of something He loathes as an article for human consumption. There is no suggestion that a good thing which He has given to us to enjoy is in view here. It is viper’s poison (verse 32) and the command is not to look on it. We all know television commercials and magazine advertisements do their best to get everyone to look at beautiful representations of liquor and then to drink the products so favorably shown. God says not to gaze at the sparkling stuff. This is a plain command! Bible believers ought to obey this command and not take the opposite course of saying that God has given it for us to enjoy. Ought we to let vipers bite us to enjoy the effect of their poison? God made the vipers, but we should use discrimination about what use we make of their poison.

But wine lovers and even total abstainers who say we must set up no man-made rules for general observance are puzzled by the fact that words which have been translated wine and strong drink sometimes are permitted for human consumption and sometimes condemned. It is easy to say that the answer lies in moderation. Of course we should be moderate in all things, particularly in what we put into our bodies, but moderation is not the answer.
If we are told, "do not even look at obscene shows" (e. g. X-rated movies), would we be doing right in saying that the command means to be moderate in our attendance at such performances? Of course not. The Bible has passages which prohibited looking at other particular material things. These examples no longer exist, but the fact that they did exist should make us cautious about accepting the argument that since "no material thing is evil in itself," a corollary to that proposition is that the Bible never prohibits the looking at or consuming any specific material thing.

For example, Lot and his family on fleeing Sodom were forbidden to look back at that city (Gen. 19:17-26). It is of course true that the material out of which Sodom was made was not evil in itself, but the moral evil which infested the place was such that God placed an absolute prohibition on looking at it. He also put an absolute prohibition on looking at a certain sort of yayin (Prow. 23:31). Before discussing what the descriptive phrases in this verse mean, the point must be established that at least some sort of yayin is not even to be looked at, no doubt because gazing at something attractive is a first step toward partaking. The prohibition is absolute, like that of looking at Sodom, as the context indicates. We should not resort to saying a passage is hyperbolic when nothing except our preconceptions or selfish desires stand in the way of accepting it in its plain meaning.

The prohibition of Proverbs 23:31 is not properly explained in any other way than total. But the next question is, exactly what is prohibited? It is yayin with certain descriptive words added which have in subsequent years proved to be hard to interpret, although they may have been perfectly clear to the people of the time in which they were written. The greatest difficulty is in the interpretation of the word yith’addam. Most translators and interpreters understand this to mean "it is red."
The Septuagint, being historically the first translation, we would naturally look to as the best guide when we suspect that a semantic shift in language over a period of time has led to a difficulty. But the Septuagint translation paraphrases the passage and places a stern warning against "setting throe eyes on bowls and cups" (vessels commonly used in drinking alcoholic beverages). No word suggesting redness is used.

As a stream descending into a plain spreads out, the water going in different directions for a while until a channel is cut, after which the water goes in the channel, so translators went in different directions for centuries, until "it is red" was found to be the path of least resistance. Thereafter translators followed this cut channel of least resistance as a matter of course.

The Septuagint translators are to be commended for not going this easy, but misleading way. It must have been apparent to them as an easy way out of the real problem. The meaning "when it is alcoholic" for ki yith’addam may have become obsolete in common Hebrew in their day. More probably the meaning was clear to them, but they were faced with the difficulty that the Greek language in the centuries before the time of Christ had no words for "to be alcoholic" (used of a drink) or for the noun alcohol. The Greeks did not invent words with such meanings until centuries after the Septuagint was written. Hence they fell back on a clumsy paraphrase. They did well, however, in not setting the readers’ minds in a wrong channel; as though God’s concern was in forbidding a drink of a certain color.

Those who translate the Bible into the languages of primitive tribesmen living in the tropics are aware of the difficulty of finding an expression to convey the meaning of snow. Such an important concept as "The Lamb of God" is difficult to translate into primitive languages whose speakers know nothing of the genus ovis, the animal we know as sheep.
The word alcohol is first recorded in English according to the great standard, the Oxford English Dictionary, in the sixteenth century. Before that time translators would have had great difficulty in giving readers the idea of an alcoholic drink without a long descriptive passage. Can we wonder that translators, uninspired as they were, took the easy way, and rendered ki yith’addam as "when it is red"?
The meaning of the phrase if yith’addam were it is red could be interpreted to mean do not look on wine when it is made from grapes with such skins as will give it a red color if the skins are allowed to remain with the juice during the first process of wine making. The idea could then be deduced that if potential consumers were offered a drink with an attractive red color, not clouded with impurities, some of them if they gazed at it would be tempted to drink. An ugly drink, not clear because impure, would not attract and therefore might safely be gazed on by some people.

The idea that what is forbidden are drinks attractive to the eye and that others are tacitly permitted would certainly be unworthy of the Holy Bible. This is because naive young people and addicts of alcohol would not be deterred from drinking merely because the beverage is less than beautiful as to color. Understood in this way the passage would only restrain connoisseurs of expensive drinks. Such an interpretation is contrary to the whole tenor of verses 2935. God’s revealed will is not to protect only rich hedonists from the woes set forth in these verses. The command is to protect everyone. If something purporting to be Scripture should say, "Look not on a prostitute when she is pretty. Do not ogle an immoral woman if she is physically attractive," we would very properly reject it as not being in agreement with the way the Bible teaches.
But linguistically to understand the words ki yith’addam2 to mean "when it is red" should be rejected. The verbal root ‘adom (a stative verb) is never used in any passage in the Bible concerning yayin except in this one (Prov. 23:31), and here it is used in the hithpael. It is true that in the qal it means to be red, but the hithpael is a conjugation normally having a reflexive meaning and if it is so used here, the meaning is "it makes itself red." Next, pushing aside all preconceptions, we must ask ourselves, what does this mean? "Look not on the yayin when it makes itself red." The yayin is naturally red in color when the grapes are pressed; there is no working of the juice within itself that makes itself red. We must search for the meaning elsewhere.

In discussing yith’addam we must note that God does not provide us with an inerrant dictionary of the ancient languages, nor does He usually provide us with an inerrant commentary. Only when one passage of the Bible comments on another have we such an inerrant commentary, and we have none for Proverbs 23:31

What we do have is suggestive, however. In verse 29 of this chapter, on the same subject, we have a reference to redness of eye as a result of drinking, or so it has been understood. Since there was no other word in the ancient languages in which the Bible was written for alcohol or for alcoholic beverages, what is more natural than that some characteristic of the result of drinking should be used to designate such beverages? It could be called red-eye, referring to the blood-shot eyes of drinkers, or red-nose, referring to their noses, and in course of time such an expression could be abbreviated to red. Red yayin would then mean alcoholic yayin, and would not be a mere designation of color distinguishing it from white or rose wines. The latter may not have existed in the time and place where Proverbs was written, and, even if they did, there would be no sense in permitting them and prohibiting "red" wine.
As noted above yith’addam is the hithpael conjugation. This is a reflexive conjugation; so the normal meaning would be, it makes itself red, and not "it is red," as most translations render it. As the redness of wines comes from the skin of the grape it is wrong to say that the juice of pressed grapes "makes itself red," for it is red by nature. If, however, red means alcoholic, the hithpael is appropriate. This is because a microorganism (yeast) on the skin of the grape goes into the grape juice when the grapes are pressed. The product resulting from the pressing, as yet unfermented grape juice, does makes itself alcoholic, the yeast devouring the sugar and excreting alcohol. Therefore it is entirely appropriate to say that yayin (originally non-alcoholic) makes itself red (i.e. alcoholic).

It will be demonstrated in a separate place that yayin is in Biblical Hebrew the appropriate word for the unfermented juice of the grape. But of course it is also appropriate for the fermented juice of the grape. This dual use of the same word is similar to that of the double use of the English word cider (either non-alcoholic or alcoholic).

The Talmud (Sanhedrin 70a) quotes Rabbi Isaac as perceiving that yith’addam does not speak of the color of the wine, but rather of the unhealthy coloring of the face of the drinking men. The passage is: "R. Isaac said: ‘Look not upon the wine, which reddens the face of the wicked in this world and makes him pale (with shame) in the next.’"3
It must be admitted that the meaning "reddens the face" cannot be derived literally from yith’addam, but Rabbi Isaac’s perception is sound that the redness underlying the word is not a reference to the color of the drink.

Furthermore another ancient authority, Raba, is quoted in this same section of the Talmud as perceiving that yith’addam does not mean it is red. Raba said: "Look not upon the wine ki yith’addam: look not upon it, for it leads to bloodshed (dam)." Concerning this, Rabbi Dr. J. Epstein who translated this passage comments, "(it) is taken as a reflexive of dam ‘blood.’"4

Although this meaning is attractive, it must be regarded as extremely doubtful on linguistic grounds, since, for one thing, the aleph in yith’addam is unexplained. The wine does not make itself bloody, but makes itself alcoholic. Raba is, however, to be commended for observing that the hithpael stem is not to be interpreted as though it were a simple qal, as do most translators and commentators.5

In Proverbs 23:31 the two phrases commonly translated by such expressions as when it gives its color in the cup and when it moves itself aright have not necessarily been understood correctly. If they have been translated approximately correctly, they should be understood as attached to the phrase where the drink in question is totally prohibited. Thus we may understand the meaning to be: Look not on the wine when it is alcoholic, even though it gives its color in the cup, and even though it moves itself aright.

On the other hand, these phrases may refer to the fermentation process. The word translated color (‘ayin) is said by Brown-Driver-Briggs to have sparkle as one of its meanings. This may refer to the effervescence which results from fermentation. The expression about moving itself aright may also refer to the movement of effervescence. Both of the phrases, in that case, would refer to sparkling, effervescent or bubbly (alcoholic) wine.

1. We must not be misled by the idea that an inadvertent glance at wine is a sin. It is the deliberate eyeing of the substance for pleasure that is forbidden. Those who say that because a glance is forbidden, and because it is sometimes impossible not to glance at wine, the whole commandment may safely be ignored are wrong. When looking is punished by God in the Bible we are led to understand that it is a deliberate act of disobedience.

2. Readers not knowing Hebrew will be helped in understanding the meaning of the hithpael stem if they read the appendix to this paper: "Appendix concerning the word yith’addam, etc."

3. Socino Edition, p. 476.

4. With reference to the reflexive sense of yith’addam, a sense which Raba noticed and made use of in his exegesis, it is interesting to observe that most translators and commentators ignore it. Most of them say the meaning is "when it is red," or as in the Latin Vulgate "quando flavescit" (when it turns golden). The Ladino or Judaeo-Spanish version published by the American Bible Society is outstanding in that it correctly brings the reflexive meaning into the translation, although it misses the deeper meaning, when it makes itself alcoholic. This version renders the expression "quando se invermizisi." I am indebted to Professor Karl D. Uitti, John D. Woodhull Professor of Modern Languages, Princeton University, for explaining on the basis of Old Spanish linguistics the difficult word invermizisi. The meaning as established by Professor Uitti is "when it turns itself into a red, scarlet color."
As for the Vulgate, Jerome’s translation, is there some reason for his choice of the unusual word flavescit? By rejecting the usual translation when it is red, he may have used a word which suggested inebriation in the type of Latin he used. The proof of this is not readily at hand, but what we do know is that he advised total abstinence from intoxicating wine.

5. It is not strange that alcohol at one period in the history of the Hebrew language should be named for a color (red) which is not the color of alcohol itself. The English (and international) word alcohol is derived from the Arabic al-kohl, which refers to a black preparation used by women to darken the edges of their eyes. All scholars are agreed on this. It is no more strange that alcohol should once have been given a name derived from the color red than that it should be generally known by a name derived from a black substance. Alcohol is in fact colorless.

IS PROVERBS 23:3 I ONLY A COUNSEL OF MODERATION
THE IDEA has been expressed that ‘al-tere’ yayin ki yith’addam, which means look not, followed by an expression the meaning of which is explained elsewhere, is not a prohibition of the use of alcohol as a beverage, but is only a command not to overindulge in the same. Thus The Living Bible (which is not a translation but a paraphrase) has: "Don’t let the sparkle and the smooth taste of strong wine deceive you." Presumably this could be understood to mean that if one partakes in a way he considers moderate he is not being deceived, and is therefore keeping the commandment.

But ‘al-tere’ means look not or don’t look, as all who have studied Hebrew are agreed. The idea of being deceived is no more in this verse than it is in ‘al-tedabber (do not speak) in verse 9, ‘al-tasseg (do not remove) in verse lo, or ‘al-timna’ (do not withhold) in verse 13. In none of these passages do translators, commentators or paraphrasers bring out any idea of not being deceived. It is not in verse 23 either.

‘al tere’ is the same type of prohibition as ‘al-tabbet ‘achareka in Genesis 19:17. In all of these examples ‘al before a verb in the jussive makes a prohibition. The command not to look back (to Sodom) was no doubt given to Lot because to look back might lead him to return to his home and to yield to the temptations with which the place abounded. If Lot had understood the prohibition of Genesis 19:17 as those who made the Living Bible seem to understand the same type of expression in Proverbs 23:31, he might have said, this means don’t let the attractions of Sodom deceive you. It does not mean that I must take the prohibition literally. I may look at Sodom, return there and enjoy its pleasures. It is enough that I refrain from being deceived by Sodom and the Sodomites.

But Lot’s wife learned that "don’t look" was not intended to be taken as a mere figure of speech. There is no reason to believe that "don’t look" in Proverbs 23:31 is to be treated any more lightly than "don’t look" in Genesis 19:17. To look at alcoholic wine often leads to a desire for it, the desire leads to drinking a little, and drinking a little may lead to drinking much and then to utter ruin. God intends those believers who read the Bible with discernment to stop even the first tendency to this downward course. Therefore we have this command.

PROVERBS 23:31
IT CANNOT be emphasized too much that it is basic to the argument that alcohol is forbidden as a beverage to everyone that Proverbs 23:31 be understood in a universal sense.

Many brush this verse aside as a mere rhetorical device, but this cannot be sustained because all of the prohibitions can only be understood as a series of solemn commands without rhetorical flourishes.
Strangely one advocate of the one-wine theory and the idea that alcohol may be taken as a beverage in moderation has come up with the thought that the command not to look at what is commonly translated "wine when it is red" (yayin ki yith’addam) is intended only for drunkards. He writes concerning the interpretation I have proposed: "This passage has to be utterly divorced from its near, far and ultimate context to bear the construction put upon it. The near (immediate) context is extremely clear: the warning and admonition are specifically applied to immoderate abusers of wine. Let us cite the whole passage in demonstration of this:
29. Who has woe? Who has sorrow?_Who has contentions? Who has complaining?_Who has redness of eyes?_30. Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine._31. Do not look on the wine when it is red,_When it sparkles in the cup,_When it goes down smoothly;_32. At the last it bites like a serpent,_And stings like a viper._33. Your eyes will see strange things,_And your mind will utter perverse things,_34. And you will be like one who lies down in the middle of the sea,_Or like one who lies down on the top of a mast._35. "They struck me, but I did not become ill;_They beat me, but I did not know it._When shall I awake?_I will seek another drink."

The one-wine theorist continues: "How could a context be any clearer? Here is specifically and carefully described a person to whom the admonition is directed."

This is completely to misunderstand the passage and the whole didactic method of the long section in which this passage occurs, Proverbs 22:17-24:22. Throughout this whole section the one warned is all humanity addressed as an individual with the pronoun second person masculine singular. This is the way God commands all people when He is particularly emphatic and wishes all to obey. Compare the Ten Commandments in which all humanity is addressed as "thou." A typical commandment is "thou shalt not. . ."
This one-wine theorist seems to overlook the fact that while drunkards are mentioned prior to verse 31, they are not addressed directly nor are they commanded to abstain in any place in this section of Scripture. Verses 29 and 30 refer to drunkards, not a single drunkard. A reader of verse 29 in the English where we read "who has woe?" may not notice that it really should be "who have woe?" as the answer in verse 30 shows that drunkards (plural) are these horrible examples. The Hebrew particle mi (who as an interrogative) has no number.
The point in bringing this out is to show that God in instructing all humanity addresses each one of us as "thou," a term used to designate a teachable one. Drunkards are not assumed to be teachable and are not commanded to abstain from alcohol in this section. (This is not to say that other parts of the Bible do not give them ground to hope.)
After describing the people steeped in the vice of alcoholism in verses 29 and 30, God returns in verse 31 to command all humanity as a single individual, thus bringing every reader to a close encounter with God.

Then in verses 31-35 God addresses with the same pronoun "thou" the individual whom He sees as not having obeyed the command not to even look at the drug in question. God tells him what He sees him becoming, that is an addict of alcohol, suffering from hallucinations and other ills, sinking into a drunken sleep from which he seeks to arouse himself that he may go back to the drug that has brought him misery. There is no command to abstain or message of hope to the individual in verses 33-35.

The command not to look in verse 31 is not addressed to this miserable addict. In the context of this section of Scripture all of the prohibitions are addressed to a person ("thou") who is not an addict to the vice described. If we understand verse 22 as only applying to people addicted to despising their mothers, we can say that one who has not fallen deeply into that sin may indulge in it moderately without incurring God’s wrath-and so on with moving boundary stones (verse 10), withholding discipline from those under instruction, etc.
This one-wine theorist goes on to speak of "the ultimate context of Scripture which clearly does not forbid the moderate partaking ‘of aged wine’ (Isa. 25:6)…" It is interesting that he cites this passage and calls the drink which God will give to all nations "aged wine." The words are shemarim mezuqqaqim. It is true that some scholars see in shemarim the idea of wine that is aged. The idea of lees has for a long time been discerned in this word by many scholars. The word shemer (singular of shemarim) does not mean aged in itself. No scholar thinks it does. If it means lees or dregs the sense of shemarim mezuqqaqim would be, as Koehler and Baumgartner understand it, "lees, dregs of wine out of which still clear wine is gained" (by filtering). Wine of this sort might be called "aged" in a loose way. But a major problem is how to fit this into the context. Would God in the great eschatological feast regale the people He loves with wine made by filtering dregs? The idea is out of harmony with the occasion.

There may be some problems about shemarim, but Luther’s translation of the phrase, "wine in which there is no yeast," is suitable to the dignity of this feast. It is furthermore to be commended as doing no violence to the root ZQQ from which mezuqqaqim is derived. Besides all this it is supportive of the idea that no leaven (yeast) was to be permitted in any sacred feast.

The ultimate authority to which this one-wine theorist appeals is the entire Scripture. Contrary to the one-wine theory, when one examines the entire Scripture he sees that Moses Stuart and Lyman Abbott were right. There are in fact two kinds of wine in the Bible, alcoholic and alcohol free. The one-wine theory is wrong. Appeals to it are without merit. Yet such appeals are made over and over again, often with the assumption that it is an established fact which may not be questioned.
In attempting to prove that it is wrong to argue that Christ could not drink alcoholic wine and fulfill his charge as Priest and King one man wrote: "First if such methodology were proper, both of these provisions (relative to both priest and king) would witness against our High Priest and King of kings, Jesus Christ. As shown previously, Jesus did partake of wine. Given the integrity of Scripture, this evidence alone exposes the argument’s reductio ad absurdum."

The fact is there is no evidence anywhere that Jesus ever drank a single drop of alcohol. He drank wine but not alcoholic wine. Wine (yayin, oinos) has two meanings in Scripture. Many other words in Scripture have more than one meaning, e.g. ‘elohim. One cannot properly attempt to reduce a sound argument to an absurdity by reasoning in a circle.
Jesus Christ, as sharing with all of us our common humanity, obeyed Proverbs 23:31, as a king He obeyed Proverbs 31:4-5 and as a priest about to offer a sacrifice He obeyed Leviticus 10:9-10. Would that all one"

Hope this helps
BR

SelahV said...

Dear Brad, I hate that the comment didn't post when I wrote it. The time sequence is of utmost importance to me. I try to copy and save every comment I make, but the one you said didn't show up when you posted it, also failed to transfer to my filebox. Nevertheless I will rewrite from my feeble memory.

I truly appreciate this blog on holiness. Would that we all could agree at least on being separated from the world unto our Savior as Lord. I especially like the following quote in your blog:

"Thus, holiness extends beyond dress and drinking, it goes further than lewdness and language, it reaches deeper than music and movies. These are mere symptoms. Holiness is an inner separation from this world to Christ, which is lived out in an all-encompassing moral purity. God commands, “Be ye Holy for I am Holy.” For those of us who take this command seriously, we must hold on to God’s unchanging hand."

I've read some comments on this thread that had me totally perplexed. I see from your original post that you see holiness as being so close to Jesus, abiding in Him in such abandonment, that all other behavior would be non-issues. The closer we get to Jesus, the farther we are from the world and its enticements.

The greatest folly of man is to think that any one sin that is eliminated makes him more holy. Which in my humble opinion is exactly what you are saying in your post.

For some reason this comment thread has begun to chase rabbits into the black holes of substance abuse. I, myself, have taken a trip down the runway of attire--or lack thereof.

Alcohol consumption is a no-brainer for me. While I find the arguments and apologetics interesting, it always takes a path back TO Jesus, holiness and separateness.

Before I offend some brother or sister who thinks all I am doing is agreeing with the host for some kind of brownie points, let me take you to another's perspective on attire or nakedness and the holiness issue. I subscribe to the newsletter of John Piper. While I am a non-Calvinist on various points of their doctrine, I do keep up with what he has to say on different issues. It just so happened that the other day, Piper sent me a newsletter which dealt with the same issue as yours.

Having read some rather accusatory comments toward your position on holiness, I read Piper with great interest. The following is an excerpt of his conclusion. PIPER WRITES:

"There was once a day when there was no shame. “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). Then sin entered the world. Specifically, the sin of self-exaltation. Man decided that he would be like God and call his own shots. The knowledge of good and evil is the presumption to decide for yourself what is good and evil without relying on God. That happened and we are all contaminated with that arrogance. It is who we are now by nature.

When we fell, we suddenly knew we were naked. “Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths” (Genesis 3:7). The nakedness that was once natural and fitting for the purity and innocence of man is now a painful embarrassment. God’s merciful solution to this is clothing. “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21).

Those who try to reverse this divine decision in search of the primal innocence of the Garden of Eden are putting the cart before the horse. Until all sin is gone from our souls and from the world, being clothed is God’s will for a witness to our fall. Taking your clothes off does not put you back into pre-Fall paradise; it puts you into post-Fall shame. That’s God’s will. It’s why modesty is a crucial post-Fall virtue.

Above all, let us remember that when Jesus Christ died for us, he “despised the shame” of the cross and bore it for us. Our shame is removed in his death for us. What then shall we wear? Paul tells us in Romans 13:14: Wear Christ. “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” If you wear Christ, you will never hear any brave and wise soul cry out to you, “Shame on your nakedness.”

Praying with you in the pursuit of purity within and without,
Pastor John"

May I conclude with this, Brad? I see no difference between Piper's view in his Letter on Nakedness and Shame, than your blog on Holiness and symptoms of unholiness. I appreciate both of you for calling this timely subject to our attention. I for one, know my holiness is in Jesus. My righteousness is as filthy rags. But Christ is calling me out to be different from the world.

For every sin He convicts one of, and one confesses, repents and turns over to Jesus, the devil returns with "seven" (I take liberty here) more enticements.

My pastor, Dr. Charles Conley, in Connecticut once said spoke of the first time a curse word was used publicly in a movie. "Frankly Scarlet, I don't give...." you know the rest. Charles said that what one generation condones, the next generation accepts or embraces as norm. I'm sure that was not an original quote from Bro. Charles, but it bears a great deal of wisdom considering the climate of our discussion on moderation, maximalation and minimalation, don't ya think? Should anyone want Piper's full text on Nakedness and Shame, they can find it at his site, Desiring God.

That is what I want to desire. GOD. Thank you Brad for allowing me to blog on your site. I appreciate your graciousness.
SelahV

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Dr. Reynolds (the other one) is, based on the research I've done as well, correct when he interprets the phrase 'when it is red' as, 'when it makes itself red' - or if I may carry his translation further, 'as it ferments'. I think, however, he is guilty of coming to the text with preconceptions as well. If the portion of the passage just before this text deals with drunkenness (v. 21 - the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, v. 30 - those who 'tarry long' over wine (i.e. get drunk)) and the passage immediately following deals with drunkenness (vs. 32,33 - bites like a serpent, stings like an adder, mind seeing strange things, mouth uttering perverse things), does it not follow that the passage between the two dealing with drunkenness is also dealing with drunkenness (I'm sorry, I just don't buy his wrangling to take vs. 31 to mean "Christians" while the passages before and after are dealing with "non-Christians")? In fact, to assert that it is not is to wrest the passage out of context. Now, if it is, what, then would 'do not look on the wine as it is fermenting' mean if taken in context with the balance of the passage? A clear (at least to me) and easily understood interpretation is to not look upon yayin 'in a lustful manner'. In other words, don't be consumed by wine or, 'don't sit in front of the wine just waiting for it to ferment so you can get drunk.'
Now, I'm sure you'll disagree with my interpretation, but I assert that it is a more natural rendering of the passage 'in context' than Dr. Reynolds. At the very least, it casts enough doubt on the interpretation as to discourage pastors from teaching 'as doctrine the commandments of men.'
And you must grant that Prov. 23:31 is the ONLY passage that even comes close to discouraging the drinking of wine 'per se'. And if this is the ONLY passage that even comes close, should we not look at the balance of Scripture to see what God's attitude is toward wine? (which, by the way, is almost universally positive with the exception of using it to become drunk).

PS - I notice you're not responding to the slavery issue....

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

Matt Johnson said...

Brad,

You are right on the money, brother. I love your blog and your posts are helpful to many!

I posted on my blog an article about a SBC pastor who advocated the "recreational use" of alcohol from his pulpit, but that's not all. He also advocated sexual activity outside the context of marriage as well. Needless to say, that really got me fired up.

Could it be, that some (emphasis on SOME, certainly not all) pastors who advocate drinking in moderation are also likely to be much more moderate with other "activities"? Certainly sex outside marriage would not be condoned by many (hopefully none . . .) as acceptable behavior for Christians, right??

I just wonder if the alcohol issue is for many the tip top of a slippery slope from which conservative teaching on other areas of biblical morality has the potential to slip and fall . . . .

volfan007 said...

wow brad, you waxed eloquently on that one. how could anyone not understand this issue after that discourse? thank you again for providing us excellent scholarly teachings on the issues.

i would suggest one more thing for those who say that the Lord was saying that yayin/oinos makes glad the heart of man means alcohol. this could mean that it makes a mans heart glad to have grape juice. it means that he had abundance. his heart would be glad. kind of like in our day....a good cup of coffee makes our heart glad. we have it and can afford to buy it. compared to times when you are going thru hard times and cant afford it, or else your country is in such trouble that you have no coffee to get. see what i mean? it doesnt mean that God was saying that these men were getting high, thus glad. instead, they were glad due to thier abundance....able to have grape juice.


volfan007

RevBubbaBear said...

Dr. Brad,

Aint you tired of this moderaionist position? Next thang you know we will have so called Christian brothers advocatin moderation in gamblin, lust, adultry, homosexual activities, and child abuse. Were are there folk tryin to take our SBC?

If these moderationist mislead folk into adoptin this trash in the SBC, I will withdraw from the SBC. Most of my folk in church are hard workin honest folk who have let dozens of pagans to Jesus, and none of them needed WINE nor a MARGARITA!

If these moderationists want to lead the SBC to very threshole of Satan's domain, they can do it without my CP dollars!

There are already at least thirty pastors I know who are ready for San Antonio. I read where Wade on his on blog wanted to change the name of the SBC. They aint votin for no Boozin Baptist Convention if me and my pastor friends get a vote!

Bubba

Anonymous said...

Brad - I didn't mean to be ludicrous or absurd. I just wanted your thoughts as to why Peter didn't say these men are not drunk because it's very diluted wine instead of saying what he did say..."It's only 9:00 in the morning." If it is powerful enough to make them drunk eventually (weak drink, in other words), was it okay for them to drink it at all or not? (moderation, in other words) HOWEVER - Don't answer that. It is becoming discumbobulated (sp?). I was actually more interested in the answer to my first question which you ignored...Does it bother you that Lug (a mormon) referred to you as a brother? Furthermore, would you see the need to correct him...assuming it does bother you?

Thanks.

brad reynolds said...

Anonymous,

I don't think I said "you" were ludicrous or absurd, nor did I even mean to imply that, I was speaking about a ludicrous and absurd way of thinking.

As to your second question...it does not bother me when anyone calls me brother. I had football teammates, who I know were lost, call me brother. Without a doubt the most binding brotherhood (and really the only one that matters) is in Christ, but that does not deny that some other brotherhoods may exists.

Concerning Lug, he would be best to answer his meaning, not me...however, while I would state that if he affirms the teachings of Mormonism I believe he believes in a works salvation and denies the full Diety of Christ, which would not make us brothers in Christ. Nevertheless, I can state that he has conducted himself better on this blog than many who call themselves Christians, which should be convicted to us.

Hope this answers your question.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Matt,
I certainly don’t think that most here would go that far. It appears to me that many who advocate moderation claim they refuse to go where the Bible doesn’t explicitly go (IMHO the ignore basic hermeneutical principles in doing so…principles which give us the True concept of the Trinity).

I am shocked to hear a pastor go to that extreme. May the Lord be merciful in His righteousness.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Selahv
Excellent words!!!!
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Selah,
Very articulate post and kudos to your ability to post your thoughts without being mean or judgemental. I, too, had typed a response to Brad on dress, but I sent it and it went to space somewhere - not to his blog. :) I agree with you that someone's dress can be shameful to them. I have come to believe, however, that immodest dress evolves primarily from either attitudes (rebellion, peer pressure, etc.) or ignorance. In either case, it is our obligation as Christians to gently and lovingly help our weaker brothers/sisters understand not only what not to wear, but why they are wearing what they are wearing and why certain attire is more pleasing to God than others. That, as opposed to us setting some kind of dress code for church. As far as the 'what one generation accepts in moderation, the next will carry to excess' - it sounds good, but I'm not sure it bears the test of time. Else we'd be a pretty depraved culture by now. :) My mom was a tee-totaler - I have two brothers who are tee-totalers and I am a 'moderationist'. My daughter is a tee-totaler. Go figure.... :)

Grace and peace sister,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

PTL

Did you read Dr. Reynolds article? If so, you know he demonstrates linguistically from the Hebrew text that Proverbs 23:29-32 deals with drinking wine, while vs 33ff reveals what happens if one starts drinking (typically, they become drunk). Now you may be jumping up to verse 20 and 21 but there is no command against drunkenness here but counsel to avoid winebibbers and an explanation of what becomes of drunkards and then there are 6 verses between filled with numerous other words of counsel (buy truth, get wisdom, listen to your father, a whore is a deep ditch, etc). So its not as you present it, and you have failed to address Dr. Reynolds excellent exegesis.

I notice no one has touched my question about how close to sin .02 BAC is.
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Matt,
I'm sure you can find any number of whacko preachers - even in the SB. I think, however, that the hypothesis that moderationists are on a slippery slope toward loose morals will not stand the test of most moderationists I know. The moderationists I'm familiar with do not see abstinence as a Biblical mandate. Other clear mandates, however, (such as extra-marital affairs) would be adamantly opposed by moderationists. See the difference? The moderationists with whom I am associated with are VERY conservative Christians who simply believe that the Bible does not teach an abstentionist position - as I've tried to demonstrate on this and other blogs. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a person who is: (1) faithful to scripture and (2) believes it is ok to have sex outside marriage or homosexual relationships or any number of activities (including drunkenness) which are explicitly described in the Bible as sin. Hope that helps.

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Bear,
Brad is obviously much more lax than I would be were it my blog. I am offended that you'd compare moderationists to homosexuals and child abusers! The Bible is MUCH more explicit regarding Christian charity (of which I fail to see in you) than it is on abstention my friend.

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Still no response to slavery? You're the one who raised the issue my brother. I didn't raise the issue about 0.02bac. And I must needs differ with you regarding your appraisal of Dr. Reynold's exegesis. I'd probably not have used the word 'excellent' to describe it. :)

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

SelahV said...

PTL:
Thanks for the kudos. Let's take the "one" statement Dr. Charles Conley said about the next generation.

I grew up in the Leave-It-to-Beaver era. I could watch TV without ever hearing gutter language. Now not only does the gutter language exist in most every TV program, but in most songs heard every day on any radio station other than Christian. There was a time when Lucy and Desi slept in separate beds. Now children can watch naked folks rolling and tossing in them, out of them and on kitchen counters all day long. Daytime viewing. Thus the "generation condoning leading to the next generation's fullblown acceptance of norm" is indeed proven historically correct....I think. :)

As to the attire issue. I agree the reasons for which girls, teens and women choose to wear what they wear may vary. I don't think anyone is advocating a dress code here. At least I'm not. However, I think the main reason behind the lack of modesty is because society has allowed sensuality to be what sells everything from Burgers to Tractors. Society has developed an apathetic attitude. It's just a commercial afterall. It's just that attitude that has condoned all that is sinful and unholy to reign supreme in our whole society. Including our churches.

I've found in working with youth for nearly 23 years that they want boundaries. Then need boundaries. But if we adults cannot even agree on what we're roping off, how can we teach them what the boundaries are?

Personally, I don't appreciate some of the attire flaunted in my husband's face. Nor do I want older women wearing Brittany Spears clothing line in front of my teenage grandsons. It makes it very hard to instruct a 12 year-old on how to dress like a young lady when her grandmother is wearing bluejeans three inches below the navel.

I think it all goes back to the unholiness that has invaded our church mindset. I don't think a preacher has to necessarily get up in the pulpit and preach nonstop about what someone is wearing or not wearing.

Holiness itself, should cover it all. (however, look at how folks seem to think that just the mention of behavior is somehow taking the Bible beyond its intended purpose.) Just look at the illustrations in the Bible that John Piper gave in regards to Adam and Eve. (Opps, must we?)

Our bloghost presented Holiness as his topic. Behavior is simply a Symptom of one's holiness according to Brad and even John Piper. I agree with them both. And I don't think either of them are advocating a set of legalistic rules either.

I agree that the closer one gets to Jesus, the more one will want to honor Him in every area of one's life. Behavior points others to Jesus or away from Jesus. Just as one's words are indicators of what one thinks. And I think I've indicated I think too much. LOL. Chris Redman says I'm verbose. I think Chris is right.

However, Brad and Piper deserve the kudos for presenting a subject that we all need to give greater attention to in our lives. Well, at least I do.

God bless you all as you prepare for the coming Lord's Day. SelahV

Jim said...

Bubba,

That is absolutely ridiculous. I'm surprised Brad left that comment up.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Brother Brad,

I can not help but say this. I pray you will forgive me in advance. I know that we agree on many things and the last thing I want to do is be in disagreement with you. But here goes.

Which high school bracket does Texas A&M play in?

Blessings,
Tim

brad reynolds said...

Bear
I went back and reread your comment after PTL's and Jim's counsel...they usually try to be objective. Since you have not mentioned names I will leave it up, but feel free to reword it or remove it, otherwise I feel you will face some, perhaps, deserved scorn.

You may want to say, you oppose recreational alcohol consumption like you oppose other sins. This is perhaps the dillema we find here: moderationists seem to have a difficult time understanding how we could claim alcohol consumption for recreational use is sin...I see it clearly in Scripture and they do not...thus accusations of being extra-biblical. I do understand your frustrations but let's try and remain above reproach here.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Tim
I have one word to describe the Longhorns season, which will still end up being a ten win season: disappointing!

And yet that is saying a lot...can you name any other NCAA team who has had six consecutive ten win seasons? Is there very many teams who would be disappointed in 10 wins?

I don't think you will find one, even in Carolina:)
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Selah,
I agree with you - Brad is very sensative to discuss issues which are of true import to not only SB's (that would be arrogant), but to the church itself.
Please do not think me critical, but I would offer a couple of observations regarding your response. I think we must be very careful to distinguish between culture and the Church. The 'leave it to Beaver' era is a reflection of culture, not the church. In the same light, the 'loosening' of values we witnessed through the '60's and '70's was also a reflection of culture, not necessarily of the church. Just as the early church stood in stark contrast to Roman depravity, so the true church still stands in stark contrast to a depraved culture - and the more depraved the culture, the greater the contrast (hence the 'let your light so shine' passage from Christ). I do not believe the true church to be significantly more or less 'holy' today than it was during the early part of the church age.
You will notice, however, that I use the phrase 'true church'. I think that it is a STRONG possibility (born out in Scripture) that many who fill our pews today are not the church at all, but rather seed which fell among stony or thorny ground (or even worse yet - wolves who have come in to destroy). True Christians still look like they did centuries ago - they still display the fruit of the Spirit, they still have a deep yearning for God's word, and they still 'look' like the hands and feet of Christ.
If we say that all the 'good' we do is, in fact, due to the power of Christ through us, then to say that the 'true church' has become worldly is tantamount to saying that the Spirit of God/power of Christ has become void. I simply cannot believe that. So, if our churches reflect the world instead of the love of Christ, one of two things MUST be present: either many in the church are not 'the Church' (which is the choice that I believe (see Mat. 25), or the power of Christ to work through His Church is waning.
I think you and I are MUCH closer to agreement than disagreement. :)

Grace and peace sister,

PTL

RevBubbaBear said...

Dear Brad, Jim and PTL,

You guys say that my reasoning is absurd and that moderation of alcohol will never lead to moderation in other sins. Well there is a grave just outside of Birmingham that proves you wrong!

Let me prove my point. One of my dearest friends was raised in a Presbytrian church. He believed that moderation was the rule, so he would have glass of wine occionally. After 30 years in the Presbytrian church he became Episcopalian. After sitting under a homosexual pastor who told him that as long as you were monogomous it did not matter if you were in love with a man or woman. The pastor told him "You know how those old Baptist think alcohol is sin? But you and I know that moderation is the rule. Well sexual preference is the same thing. Heterosexuals are threated by us so they make it a sin. It is no sin if you stay committed to one man or woman."

My friend lies outside Birmingham today six feet under as a result of complications of AIDS.

But you fellers go on sittin in your comfortable pew listenin to a watered down gospel sayin moderation is the rule. Who knows it might be your friend or family member who gets lied to by the next MODERATION pastor.

Bubba

SelahV said...

PTL: Very well organized and succinct, dear brother. I must agree with you on two things. We are probably closer to agreement than we are disagreement. And yes, I agree with you that many in the church are not 'the Church', and are indeed poor seed and wolves. However, many in the church are part of the church and are simply living to the flesh, don't you think?

I've been reading quite a few things on holiness since Dr. Brad posed this subject for our thinking pleasure. And one said person I enjoy reading is Oswald Chambers. Don't have any idea if he is a Calvinist, moderationist, or whatever-ist. He cites 2 Cor. 7:1 "Therefore, since these promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit and brind our consecration to completeness in the (reverential) fear of God."

Oswald says: "I have the responsibility of keeping my spirit in agreement whit His Spirit, and by degrees Jesus lifts me up to where He lived--perfect consecration to His Father's will, paying no attention to any other thing."

I see this as the body of the "true church" who are immature Christians, drinking milk. And even some more mature Christians giving in to self-exaltation, self-indulgence, self-gratification rather than Christ-centered holiness.

Paul says in the above verse, "let us cleanse ourselves". This is not in my thinking (and I may be off base) something we can easily lay aside as not our responsibility. We, in fact, are responsible for our actions. We will be held accountable for those actions and what we teach. I know you agree on that, my brother.

While I see holiness as abiding in the Vine and allowing Jesus to flow through us, I also see poritions of the church blocking the flow by going with the flow. Do you not? If not, then perhaps, our paths divide on who the "church" is. And that is a topic for another blog, I suppose. Blessings to you, PTL. I enjoy discussing this with you.

BTW Tim, you crack me up! SelahV

SelahV said...

PTL: BTW...I never said anything about Brad being "very sensative to discuss issues which are of true import to not only SB's (that would be arrogant), but to the church itself."

What ARE you trying to slide in under this discussion door as MY agreement to Brad being sensitive about issues of discussion, little Brother? :) huh? SelahV :)

Kevin Holmes (and still baptist by conviction) said...

Volfan,

You asked if I was saying that being fat is a sin. Actually, I'm saying that one can make as good of a Biblical case for avoiding an unhealthy lifestyle in diet and activity, as one can make for total abstainance of alcohol. (Since the is no explicit prohibition of either in Scripture.)

My point was that if we are not careful, we preach our personal soapbox issues and intentionally avoid or are blind to our own areas of weakness.

Would you say (all other matters equal) that an avoidably overweight and unhealthy individual who knowingly and intentionally perpetuates his/her unhealthy diet and lifestyle is any less sinful than a perfectly healthy individual who drinks a glass of wine on ocassion?

By the way, I was born and raised in the South and lived here most of my life. I'm fully aware of the cultural food. However, if culture becomes either an excuse or the defining criteria for sin, where does that leave us?

Kevin Holmes (and still baptist by conviction) said...

Volfan,

By the way, your "being fat without being a glutton" argument is akin to the argument that some make concerning "drinking without being a drunkard", one that many abstentionists find oxymoronic. Yet, as a point of fact, a better parallel to your "fat vs glutton" argument would be "drunk but not a drunkard" argument which I believe even the more permissive in this argument would find absurd.

volfan007 said...

over on the founders blog...they are having a fake debate with the caners. tom ascol and james white actually had a fake debate with the caners. good grief, charlie brown!

why do five pointers feel the need to argue and try to convert everyone? why do they feel the need to cause strife and division? why do they feel the need to stir up fights....even when there was not one?

wow!

can someone spell...."off the deep end?"

fat on turkey and dressing in tn,

volfan007

TruthOfActs said...

Brad,
I don't know if this is on the subject exactly, but it is something going on about how Baptist should practice their doctrine. I will be there.

Baptists to discuss diverse views on worship
By TERRY LEE GOODRICH STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER
ARLINGTON — Cornerstone Baptist Church will host a discussion Dec. 5 on forming a fellowship for Baptists and other evangelicals, including those with formal worship and those with more emotional, less structured styles.
Many in the second group say spiritual gifts such as prophecy and speaking in tongues continue today, rather than having ceased after the church’s first-century beginnings.
"We’re hoping for a fruitful dialogue," said the Rev. Dwight McKissic Sr., Cornerstone’s pastor. He said he hopes attendees will "explore fellowship opportunities for Baptists who are committed to unity while recognizing our diversity."
The International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in November 2005 said it would no longer appoint Baptist missionaries who use "a private prayer language." Trustees at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary decided in October that the seminary will not tolerate the promotion of speaking in tongues. At a seminary service during the summer, McKissic said he sometimes speaks in tongues when he prays.
Some theologians say the practice was a spiritual gift during the early days of the church but that some Christians misused it as a way to elevate themselves; others say it has a valid place in modern times.
McKissic said the issue will play a minor role in the discussion.
An invitation letter to pastors and other Christian leaders, sent by McKissic and the Rev. Wade Burleson of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Okla., said they hope a fellowship will allow diverse views while recognizing the belief that the Bible is inerrant. The meeting is open to Baptist pastors and church leaders as well as leaders of other evangelical churches.
McKissic said the proposed fellowship will be modeled after the cooperation of three differing Baptist traditions in the United States more than two centuries ago.
The Charlestonian tradition, named for First Baptist Church of Charleston, S.C., used formal or liturgical worship, carefully crafted sermons and a more traditional, less prominent role for women in worship, McKissic said.
The tradition of Sandy Creek Baptist Church in Sandy Creek, N.C., was characterized by gospel folk tunes and altar calls during which preachers moved among the congregation, he said. Worshipers were free to testify in church, say "amen" or "glory" and run, shout or dance if moved by the Holy Spirit. Women played a more prominent role in worship.
The third tradition was that of Silver Bluff Baptist Church in Silver Bluff, S.C., where free and enslaved blacks worshiped in a fashion similar to that of Sandy Creek. The two groups sometimes worshiped together.
In the late 1700s, the Charlestonian and Sandy Creek traditions merged into the United Baptist Church.
McKissic said he is excited about Burleson’s involvement in the discussion.
"His church is more Charlestonian, and the one at Cornerstone is more Sandy Creek," McKissic said. "We don’t cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ the same."
Burleson said the purpose of the meeting is to show that Christians who agree on essentials of the faith "can cooperate, worship and minister together, although we might differ on the style of worship or private prayer language."
The Rev. Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said in a statement that he will be out of state and unable to attend the conference, but that the call for unity "is a great cause" and he hopes the event goes well.
This report includes material from The Baptist Standard news publication and Star-Telegram archives.
- IN THE KNOW If you go
Roundtable discussion for Baptist pastors and other evangelical church leaders
Free; reservations for lunch required by Thursday (Nov. 30) 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 5
Call 817-468-0083
Cornerstone Baptist Church 5415 Matlock Road, Arlington

Rex Ray

brad reynolds said...

Rex

You may want to post you other comment to Art. He is not commenting here and it is off topic, although I posted one of your comments.
BR

brad reynolds said...

Bear

I hate to hear that about your friend. You truly have my condolences.

However, that does not evidence that all alcohol moderationists would be moderationists in areas thay feel the Scriptures are clear. I agree with you about abstention but we must also be fair to those who wrongly:) disagree with us

Thanks
BR

Lug Nutmegger said...

Dr. Reynolds,

I enjoy religious discussion, particularly Christian discussions and I very much like your blog and your views.

As a Mormon I have been called many things, but frankly I have yet to have anything truly affect me until I saw Anonymous's question, "Does it bother you that Lug (a mormon) referred to you as a brother? Furthermore, would you see the need to correct him...assuming it does bother you?".

I find it difficult to believe that someone would even ask that question let alone that I would actually have to defend my use of the word "brother" or to define the context of how I used it.

It seems that your blog is better served for SB's only and so I will not intrude any longer.

I appreciate your kindness to date Dr. Reynolds. You have a great blog and I pray for your continued health and success.

Thanks again,

Lug...out

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
See what I mean about Bear? I tried to tell you what he meant in his post and you wouldn't believe me. I have no response to him as I will not even offer him the privilege of my consideration of his abusive commentary. I would 100 times rather see even a drunken brother in Christ than a mean-spirited pharisee.

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Selah,
The part about Brad was my attempt as being as graceful as possible regarding Brad's postings. He IS very sensative to post regarding issues relevant to the church - I do not, however, agree with all that he posts and thus cannot say with honesty that Brad's presentation of this subject is in agreement with my take on the subject. No underhandedness intended or implied. :)

To your response to me - 'ditto'. Well said. :)

Grace and peace sister,

PTL

Jim said...

Brother Bubba,

I understand your desire to remain faithful to the Word. It is my desire as well. But your argument is not logical. I personally abstain from alcohol, but feel we should not impose our cultural understandings of alcohol on all brothers and sisters around the world. Does this mean that I will advocate moderation in greed, lust, homosexuality, child abuse?!? That's crazy!

That would be like me arguing the "abstentionists-or-nothing" crowd would eventually lead us to vegetarianism and abstention from meat, or uniforms in church to avoid immodesty. The leap in logic is too great.

Then, what's this: "But you fellers go on sittin in your comfortable pew listenin to a watered down gospel sayin moderation is the rule."

I listen to a "watered down gospel?" Have we met? Have you attended my church? The gospel I listen to and believe is the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the pew I sit in is not all that comfortable;)

And I have never said that moderation is the rule.

False charges and half-truths are not helpful in this conversation.

Your friend with no harm intended,

Jim

brad reynolds said...

Lug
I am honored that you participate on this blog and while I would never take responsibility for what another says, I can say I hate that an anonymous person said something offensive toward you on this blog.

You have always behaved as a gentleman, and sadly some take blogs very personally and begin behaving in an ungentlemanly manner, as revealed in the comment towards you.

I have thoroughly enjoyed your comments and our e-friendship. Please feel free to participate here, no matter what others say. I would be honored.

I am very interested in continuing conversation with you. You must know that Christianity views Mormonism as a cult. If Christians are wrong then I desire to know what is right (although I am convinced that Christianity is true) and if Christians are right then I want you to be in heaven with me.

PS - I try to never pay any attention to anonymous comments, simply because if a person cannot say something to you "man to man" then it’s not worth hearing.

God Bless
BR

volfan007 said...

kevin,

eating food and drinking alcohol are two totally different matters. the bible is clear about drinking fermented, strong drink being a sin. being fat is not only not a sin...it is actually a sign of prosperity and blessing. gluttony is a sin....eating past being full. but, there's nothing wrong with eating until you are full...for example, Jesus fed the five thousand until they were full!!! in all reality, being fat has more to do with your genetic make up and what culture you grew up in than it does with anything else. of course, gluttony can lead a person to be fat....but, being fat is not a sin.

drinking strong drink is foolish according to proverbs. drinking strong drink is what a fool does. and, getting high on alcohol is a sin according to eph. 5.

thus, comparing eating to alcohol is like.....well, comparing apples and grapes.


fat and healthy in tn,

volfan007

volfan007 said...

lug,

i hope that you will not quit coming to this blog because of the comments that someone made. when i read those comments from anonymous i felt that they were truly out of bounds. i hope that you will continue to come here and talk with us.


from the hills of tn,

volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
I missed the verse in Prov. where it says, to quote you, 'drinking strong drink is foolish.' Either that verse was left out of my Bible or your Bible has one too many verses. :)

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

selahV said...

PTL: Hey, there again, Bro. PTL. You said, "I do not, however, agree with all that he [Brad] posts and thus cannot say with honesty that Brad's presentation of this subject [holiness] is in agreement with my take on the subject." Brackets and words within are mine.

I'm corn-fused, brother. Can you tell exactly what you don't agree with that Brad is saying in the post? (not the comment section--that doesn't count, cause we bloggers take him on rabbit trails that I don't think were in his original post). I do realize, however, comments can enlighten one to discover other areas in which one thinks. (one reason I am avoiding some blogs now...don't care for some of the comments...but for the most part, everyone seems to try and get along). Being a female, I have to remind myself the differences in our gender and how we challenge each other's ideas. Some see it as challenge, another criticism, another debate, another dialog. I am discovering each blogger brings their own set of ideas, heritage, pilgrimage and personality to the table of discussion. So I'm trying to wade through all the waves caused by some fellas belly-flopping into the middle of someone's stream of thought. Ya know what I mean?

BTW...."Ditto?" Come on, PTL. I thought I asked some pretty tantalizing questions. Do you actually agree on my whole post to you? :) ))))) those are giggles that follow my smile, in case ya don't know. selahV

selahV said...

Volfan: Hi there!
You asked: "why do five pointers feel the need to argue and try to convert everyone? why do they feel the need to cause strife and division? why do they feel the need to stir up fights....even when there was not one?"

Do you think it may have something to do with some folks pointing at them every time they get into one of their discussions? Then that raises read (pronounced reed) flags for all to go over to another site and join in the dialog? :)}}}
Just wonderin'...cause I kinda thought the Humpty Dumpty post had more meat to chew on in it than the one on the canceled debates. selahV

selahV said...

LUG: do come back. Don't let one anonymous commenter spoil our engagement of dialog with you. I for one have multiple questions I'd like your thoughts on. selahV

posttinebraelux said...

Selah,
Regarding Brad's original blog, I disagree strongly with the inplication that alcohol in moderation is sin and I disagree with him using that 'vice' to point to a general 'slipping away' of holiness in Christians' lives. Other than that, I agree with the 'gist' of his blog. Hope that helps.

To our discussion, I most certainly agree that Paul often exhorts Christians to, in effect, 'walk worthy of the calling with which they were/are called.' Inherent in that statement is the implication that it is possible for Christians to walk 'unworthily' of their calling - i.e. be 'worldly'. I personally don't believe that Christians can be 'in the flesh' based on Rom. 8, but that's probably a semantic issue more often than not. Hence, I agree with your post. :)
I would not be surprised, however, if, when we get to heaven, we find that many who we thought were 'worldly' Christians were/are, in fact, not Christians at all.
I think it imperative to exhort Christians to be holy. I think it just as imperative, though, to emphatically state that, if there is no fruit, there is no attachment to the Vine. :) There is no such thing as a non-fruit bearing Christian and people need desperately to hear that.
So, again, I agree wholeheartedly with your response. :)

Have a blessed evening sister,

PTL

Anonymous said...

I think anonymous' question is legitimate. Is it right for Lug to call Brad a "brother" in the way that we as Christians use the term? Isn't a brother or sister one who has Christ as Lord and Savior?

Shouldn't Lug be given the gospel? The full gospel? I of course do not discourage the friendship that has been made wit Lug on these posts and I also agree that he has been very patient, but to chastise anonymous for asking such a question that I see as legitimate and Biblical frankly has me puzzled. Greatly puzzled in light of some of the other views that have been presented where others have been downed for their approach to those who are unbelievers.

volfan007 said...

ptl,

do you own a concordance? you might want to use it before you answer with such accusations that someone is being deceptive, or they dont know thier bibles, etc. look up proverbs 20:1.

just curious, ptl, do you drink alcohol for recreation?


still not brewing any moonshine in these hills of tn,

volfan007

Anonymous said...

PTL: I'm gonna take some liberties here since our host has moved on to another topic. Usually, few readers return to comment, so I'd like to address some of the things you said to me in your last comment.

You said, "I would not be surprised, however, if, when we get to heaven, we find that many who we thought were 'worldly' Christians were/are, in fact, not Christians at all." Do you think when we get to Heaven that we will actually remember anyone who didn't get to heaven with us? I guess if we do remember, then we won't care, will we? I mean, since there is no sorrow in heaven.

ALSO:
You said: "I think it imperative to exhort Christians to be holy." Why? Why is it important that Christians be holy?

ALSO, you said: "I think it just as imperative, though, to emphatically state that, if there is no fruit, there is no attachment to the Vine. :) There is no such thing as a non-fruit bearing Christian and people need desperately to hear that." According to what I think Calvinists adhere to, all the "elect" are going to go to heaven. So how can an elect person not bear fruit? It would indeed be impossible to bear fruit without attachment to the Vine. There are no branches if there is no Vine. So fruit can't come from nothing. And since Jesus referred to Christians as branches, anything but a branch connected to the Vine would not produce anything, right? My tomato Vines have suckers and suckers don't produce fruit. I don't think Jesus meant those suckers as branches, do you? And if it is true that branches are Christians, and Christians are elect, then all branches produce fruit, don't they? Even if the fruit isn't visible to the harvester?

I've had some Christians in my life who have insisted that some other person is not a Christian because they did not see any fruit. But just because one person doesn't see any fruit, doesn't mean there is no fruit. Just means all people don't see all things. Which brings completeness to me in the fact that we have no right to judge others or judge them by their fruit or lack of fruit. What do you think? Tell ya what. I'm gonna post these questions and your original statement to me on one of my blogs. http://selahvquestionoftheday.blogspot.com/

In order for me to keep up with your replies more easily than scrolling down the hundreds here on Brad's site, would you mind to come over to my house and sup awhile? selahV

Jim said...

Just for everyone else's info.

Prov. 20:1 from the ESV

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise."

ESV Footnote: Or "will not become wise."

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
do you own a concordance? you might want to use it before you answer with such accusations that someone is being deceptive, or they dont know thier bibles, etc. (now where have I read that before?)
Your translation must be quite different than any that I'm familiar with. I've looked through about 10 translations so far and have yet to find one that says, 'drinking strong drink is foolish'. I did, however, find that ALL of the translations I researched said that those who were 'led astray' by strong drink are foolish.
That's the problem with taking someone else's word for what the Bible says. They often misquote the Bible in favor of their own preconceived ideas. There is obviously a differnece between having a drink and being 'led astray', else the translations I'm familiar with would say the same thing as yours does (or at least what you say yours does), namely that, 'whoever has a drink of strong drink is foolish'.
Please stop misquoting this scripture. There may just be some who could be led astray by your errant teaching - not to mention the fact that we're commanded by John not to add to Scripture. :)

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

brad reynolds said...

Debbie

I think the illegitimacy of the question has to do with the subjectiveness of it.

If he were asking me if I am offended that a lost person (assuming Lug is, which we do not know) called me brother I would say not at all. I have been called much worse by Christians on this blog. If he felt that Lug should not have addressed me in that way then his comment should have been addressed to Lug and not me.

What bothered me is: that is not the way Christians should be dealing with the lost…talking about them as if they are not reading and nitpicking on such minute issues. We should be reaching out to them.

Lug has read a gospel presentation I asked him to read and hopefully he and I will continue to discuss it. He has been a delight and an example and hopefully he and I will meet someday. Would that more so-called Christians behaved as he.

Finally, since you were general in your statement about others being downed for their approach to the lost I shall assume you are speaking of this blog. If so, let me state I see a VAST difference in not being offended (at all) that a lost person might call me brother, and participating with them in mind-altering drugs in order to gain a hearing for the gospel.

Hope this helps
BR

brad reynolds said...

PTL

I am answering your question on witnessing with booze here:

Such logic would also entail doing cocaine since that is better than hell also...in fact that logic could lead the Corinthians to assume that participation in immorality is ok provided we are leading others to Christ.
BR

Anonymous said...

You assume correctly Brad. I was speaking of this blog.:) I disagree with your answer but thank you for answering.

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Why the answer on this post? Such is at the heart of hierarchicalism, no?

PTL

selahV said...

Brad: God bless you, brother! You are a tolerant patient man. That said, I want you to know I am a bonafide washed-in-the-blood, fully immersed in the baptismal waters (twice) in a Southern Baptist Church Christian. I believe in the Virgin birth, the only begotten Son, the priesthood of the believers, Calvary, the attonement, the resurrection and the fact that Jesus is coming again to pick me up someday unless the good Lord has appointed my day to die before He returns, in which case, I'll join the rest of ya'll in the air. I have no idea when the tribulation will occur, if in fact I'll be in it or whipped out of it. I am sanctified and being sanctified. I confess, I do not have all the answers to any one question because every question seems to have multiple question marks and parts to it.

Lord, I wish we could all just get along...what kind of example are we Christians setting for a lost world looking on? Or maybe it just doesn't matter.

I've gotta go write a blog. I apologize, Brad. Eliminate this comment if ya want. Your sister in the Lord, selahV

volfan007 said...

ptl,

the verse says that those who drink strong drink are not wise....those who are not wise are foolish...are they not? is not fools the opposite of wise?

proverbs 20:1..."wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."

that looks pretty plain to me....along with the passage in proverbs 23 and ephesians 5.

i dont see how you dont see it.

do you drink alcohol for recreation?


volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
Your translation: "those who drink strong drink are not wise."
The translation you quoted: "whoever is DECEIVED (or to quot another translation, 'led astray') by strong drink is not wise."
There is a VAST difference in those two statements. I don't see how you don't see that.

Eph. 5: "do not get drunk on wine" (quoted from the NAS).

Prov. 23 has been discussed ad-nauseum. It is dealing with drunkenness, not moderate/legitimate consumption.

If you would come to God's text without your preconceptions, the text would be much more clear to you brother.

Grace and peace,

PTL

volfan007 said...

ptl,

do you drink alcohol for recreational purposes?


volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,

Yes I do. Does that have some bearing on your argument?

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

volfan007 said...

ptl,

yes, that explains a lot.

volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
Exactly what does it explain? That I come to the Scriptures with the ability to see them plainly instead of twisting easiliy understood passages based on my preconceived notion that alcohol is evil, as handed down from pastors before you?

PTL

RevBubbaBear said...

VOLFAN,

You should have known he is a moderationist. Why else do you think he wanted you to find a different translation? These guys always find tanslations that siut their desires.

Bubba

brad reynolds said...

Let's play nice
BR

posttinebraelux said...

Brad,
Thanks for stepping in, but I don't pay any attention to Bear's comments any more anyway. He's lost credibility with me as a Christian blogger and I will not entertain his blather.

Grace and peace brother,

PTL

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,

I'm going to guess from your silence that you've had a chance to study the scriptures you referenced and understand the errors you've made in interpretation. It's ok to learn my good friend. I learn something every day. It's when we stubbornly refuse to see what is in front of us that we become our own enemies. May God continue to bless your studies.

Grace and peace,

PTL

volfan007 said...

ptl,

how do you know that brad was not talking to you?

volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
for two reasons: (1) I've said nothing that is not nice, and (2) Bear has demonstrated his desire to be mean-spirited on several occasions.
PS - you never did tell me what exactly you ment by, 'that explains alot'.........

PTL

volfan007 said...

ptl,

a lot of your posts come across....well, harsh. and, by that explains a lot...i mean that that explains why you argue for drinking so much...so passionately. you are for drinking so strong because you drink, and you dont like for people to tell you that its unwise and leads to sin.

volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
A bit of 'pot calling the kettle black' if I may remind you of your constant barrage of assaults against '5 pointers' (of which I am one), no?
And as to people giving me their opinions about drinking, I ALWAYS exhort them to make sure their opinions are in line with Scripture. We both know about opinions and armpits....
I do, however, take issue when people misquote Bible passages in support of those opinions. Can you show me even a single passage that says, 'drinking is unwise'? (Please don't try using Prov. 20 - I've already shown you the error of that assertion) Or better yet, that 'drinking leads to sin'? That's quite a strong accusation dear brother (may I take the liberty to call you brother?) - to accuse me of doing something that leads to sin. Don't you think it much more edifying and exhorging to 'stick to the issues' rather than directing your barrages against individuals? As evidence of such, I point to the 'that explains alot about you' comment.

PTL

volfan007 said...

ptl,

there's no need for us to continue this discussion. you dont want to hear the verses that brad and i have pointed out to you....you dont agree with us. we've already talked about this. so, i really dont see a need to continue. except to say, God bless you, bro.

btw, i dont hate five pointers. i dont like extreme calvinists attitudes and the way they act, but i love five pointers in the Lord.

volfan007

posttinebraelux said...

Volfan,
On the contrary, you've posted exactly zero verses which cite what you've asserted that they cite. But I too am dreary of getting nowhere. You've adamantly refused to see Scripture in it's own light, and I don't think I'm going to be able to help you until you take your blinders off. If you do, let me know - I'd love to visit.

PTL

volfan007 said...

ptl,

ha ha ha ha.......i got the last word

lol

i am just joking about getting the last word, so please dont get angry.


volfan007