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    Cornerstone University:  Staff Can Now Drink Alcohol; Students Outta Luck

    Cornerstone University:  Staff Can Now Drink Alcohol; Students Outta Luck

    Cornerstone University is lifting a ban on faculty and staff alcohol use that has stood since the institution was founded 68 years ago.

    According to the Grand Rapid News, President Joe Stowell told Cornerstone’s 279 employees at a staff meeting Friday that alcohol abstinence — a component of a lifestyle statement that had to be signed every year — is being dropped because a three-year internal study concluded it is “biblically indefensible.”

    “Given scripture’s lack of a prohibition against use of alcohol in moderation, we are releasing our faculty and staff to discern what is best for them concerning its use in their personal lives,” said Stowell, in his second year as the university’s president.

    The change doesn’t apply to students, who remain banned from using alcohol.

    Faculty and staff are being told to avoid using alcohol in any setting where students are present. Cornerstone will continue to ban alcohol on campus and at all university-sponsored events, Stowell said.

    As some of you know, I grew up GARBC (General Association of Regular Baptist Churches).  Cornerstone used to be one of the GARBC approved schools.  Joe Stowell's father was a leader in the GARBC as well. I'm sure that much will be made of this decision on many of the Baptist blogs.  That's ok.

    Cornerstone has long been the outsider in those Baptist circles.  I mean, they dropped the ban on student dancing back in 2004.  ICABOD is written on the door!  smile  (Haven't heard that phrase in a while)

    You can read more here...

    So... what do you think?  Good or bad move to ok alcohol for faculty and staff at a Christian college?  Shouldn't we drop any rule that is 'biblically indefensible'?

    I'd love to hear your comments...



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    1. Nathan Camp on Mon, November 23, 2009

      This is so disheartening to me. There is such a peer pressure to become a “drinking Christian” now. Why all this desire to do this? To give our money to this industry? Did they actually have a faculty member lobbying to have beer drinking theology teachers?

      I guess you CAN give your time and money to this, but SHOULD we? What do we gain by this new release on drinking in the church? What will our kids do, now that we are pushing back the allowable lines? This waste of time and passion on this, to me, is a sign of a much more dangerous trend in the body of Christ.

    2. jason on Mon, November 23, 2009

      Todd, that picture in this post offends me greatly. 

      If you’re going to study the bible while enjoying a frosty beverage, don’t dishonor it by drinking some watered-down excuse for beer like Pabst Blue Ribbon. A New Belgium brew or other high-quality drink would be much more God-honoring. smile

    3. Josh on Mon, November 23, 2009

      As an organization, Cornerstone would be justified in establishing any policy they desired, regardless of whether or not it was biblically indefensible.  Provided it’s openly stated that the policy is entirely the prerogative of the university and not a biblical absolute, I wouldn’t condemn them either way.
      I do, however, believe the days of categorical bans on alcohol consumption by staff (church, para-church, etc.) are quickly fading.  Certainly, if you’re in a position that requires argument for the issue you may want to think long and hard about exactly why you make the choice.
      As a pastor myself, I know most people are far more concerned with how the church brings justice the abused, relief to the oppressed, love to the orphans, and bread to the hungry.  The exception to this, in my experience, are those with a church background heavily steeped in “dos & don’ts”.  Interestingly, those are the hardest people to get engaged with the above issues of social justice.  I believe the historical litmus test of “drinking” would be better substituted with “whether or not we genuinely love our neighbor.” 

      BTW, totally agree with Jason…maybe Fat Tire or 1554.

    4. rbud on Mon, November 23, 2009

      “in loco parentis” has its limitations.

    5. GR Guy on Mon, November 23, 2009

      Drinking is not prohibited by the Bible, but drunkeness is.

      On the other hand, I think there are lots of things a school has a right to forbid in the interests of discipline and creating an environment that is conducive to learning and spiritual growth, that may not necesssarily be Carte Blanc forbidden by the Bible.  It’s certainly a balancing act and I think that’s what Cornerstone is trying to do.

      So I am OK with this policy and am glad they have made an effort to clarify their position after a serious study into the issue.

    6. KeithInAK on Mon, November 23, 2009

      As someone who “grew up GARB” and graduated from Cornerstone, I am somewhat offended by the picture.  The profs I know from CU would have better taste than to drink PBR and most wouldn’t use the KJV either.  My preference would be an Alaskan Amber and the NLT.
      Seriously, I believe that it is important to distinguish between biblical mandates and organizational policy.  During my time at CU this was not done well.  I think the new policy is a good move on the part of the institution and shows that they trust personnel to show maturity in applying the biblical principles that they teach.

    7. matt on Mon, November 23, 2009

      “As some of you know, I grew up GARBC (General Association of Regular Baptist Churches). “

      WOW. That makes two of us…

    8. kc on Mon, November 23, 2009

      wow! now i understand why the world looks at Christians and calls us a bunch of hypocrites! if it is ok for the faculty to drink then it is not ok for students to drink who are 21 years old?

      What great hermeutical scholars must be on the faculty there at cornerstone!

      the Bible doesn’t say we shouldn’t eat poisonous mushrooms. there are no laws against it. why shouldn’t we eat poisonous mushrooms? BECAUSE IT KILL YOU!!!!!!!

      God gave, at least some of us, common sense. Enough common sense to know not to eat a poisonous mushroom. i guess God figured that we would be smarter than that.

      oh….wait a minute….i forgot….alcohol doesn’t ruin lives….and alcohol doesn’t kill….cornerstone faculty and administration should be ashamed of themselves! i guess we should assume that Joseph Stowell drinks alcohol…oh, you say that would guilt by association…that’s part of the problem my friends….

    9. GR Guy on Mon, November 23, 2009


      Did you forget that you were once a freshman who was under the age of 21 at the time you came into school?  Or the fact that most students through most of college will not reach age 21 before they graduate.  It’s a judgment call and I am sure some will not like it, but it doesn’t make the college leadership hypocrites.

      While it may be unfair to some, I think it is a good policy.  And if one feels that strongly about it, go to MSU, Ferris State, CMU or other party schools where you can get stoned out of your mind every weekend and no one will give a second thought about you.  Cornerstone and others like it are trying to create something unique with their policies.  For sure it’s not for everyone but that doesn’t make it a bad thing.

    10. Peter Hamm on Mon, November 23, 2009

      First off, I agree that the ban on alcohol is biblically indefensible, so I applaud the fact that they have dropped the ban, although that shouldn’t be considered a license to drunkenness.

      Second, I applaud that it doesn’t apply to students. I always joke that the drinking age should be 30. I think that the students are better off not drinking at all, and I think they’re in their right to forbid it.

      Also, there’s nothing like an Anchor Steam on draft!

    11. GR Guy on Mon, November 23, 2009


      Can I see some ID please!

    12. Peter Hamm on Mon, November 23, 2009

      Dude, no need.

      I’m the designated driver tonight… just drinking sprite.

    13. WWJD on Mon, November 23, 2009


      I would have to disagree with you a bit on your list . . .  in the sense that drunkenness has destroyed so many families and marriages—- I think that belongs on your list also.

    14. Steve Long on Mon, November 23, 2009

      I am incredulous. It took a THREE YEAR STUDY to figure this out? Three whole years!  I read all of James Michener’s books in less than a year.

    15. Jim B. in Indiana on Wed, November 25, 2009

      A big part of this issue that is being lost is the age which each state allows one to purchase and consume alcohol.  In Indiana the age is 21 yrs. of age; therefore, the age for the majority of college students would not permit them to either purchase alcoholic beverages or to consume them.  So, for the university to not lift the ban on students to consume alcohol may be consistent with state laws, as well as the wishes of parents who send their children to that particular college.  Having two sets of standards for adults and students isn’t inconsistent or hypocritical, depending on the circumstance.

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