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    Southern Baptists and Beer

    Southern Baptists and Beer

    Catch these words from Peter Lumpkins, a SBC pastor who recently wrote the book:  Alcohol Today:  Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence:

    “One would be hard-pressed to locate a belief — outside believers’ baptism by immersion itself — which reflects more unity among Southern Baptists than abstinence from intoxicating beverages for pleasurable purposes…

    According to a report from Associated Baptist press, Lumpkins says that younger Southern Baptist leaders do not appreciate that history and instead view teetotalism as extra-biblical and nothing more than “Pharisaical legalism.”  He says that ‘relaxed attitudes’ about social drinking is the biggest controversy to hit Southern Baptists since the big showdown in the 80s over conservative vs. liberals in the SBC.

    He continues…

    “Make no mistake: the popular, trendy appeal for Bible studies in bars; pastors leading men’s groups at cigar shops to puff, preach and partake; conference speakers who openly drink alcohol nevertheless are invited to college campuses as they carve out yet more influence into the youngest generation of Southern Baptists — all this makes an impending moral crisis among Southern Baptists predictably certain.”

    This paragraph in the article stood out to me:

    Without the abstinence standard, he argues the church either consciously or unconsciously helps promote a message in the larger culture that drinking is “cool.”

    What do YOU think?

    Is social drinking wrong?  If you’re a Southern Baptist… what’s your personal view on social drinking?

    And finally… where will the SBC finally come down on this?  What will the stance of the SBC be on social drinking be, in say, 10 years, in 2021?  What’s your guess?

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    1. Matt on Mon, February 07, 2011

      Poor guy. I’m sure it was difficult for him to decide which trend is the biggest threat to Southern Baptists—Calvinism or winebibbing.

    2. Randy on Mon, February 07, 2011

      Whew, I can finally be a baptist Calvinist charismatic just as long as I “babble without dabbling” in the wicked brew. The worst part is, that third piece of pie the Rev. had at dinner probably did more damage than a glass of red.

    3. MIchael on Mon, February 07, 2011

      I grew up Southern Baptist and still am Southern Baptist.  There’s a lot to be proud of in my denomination.

      However, the stance on alcohol is disappointing, considering the high value placed on Biblical inerrancy.  The Bible clearly says that getting drunk is a sin.  No debate there.

      Most SBCers hang their hat on the fact that alcohol in the day of Jesus wasn’t the same as today.  If that was the case, then why would there be any command against getting drunk?  Exactly how much watered down wine would one have to consume in order to get drunk?

    4. Rob Shepherd on Mon, February 07, 2011

      I am Southern Baptist. To me this topic feels like the weaker brother that Paul talks about. Jesus drank wine and was even accused of being a drunkard because of the people he hung out with. Some Christ Followers may take their drinking too far, but to throw it out all together is like when the church I grew up with banned dancing. It just makes them look silly.

    5. Peter Hamm on Mon, February 07, 2011

      I’m going to defend them for a moment.

      Yes, I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that although drunkenness is a sin that drinking alcohol in moderation is not. For that reason, I’d likely never become SBC.

      That said, the SBC is clearly on record on this issue. Perhaps we should stop trying to force them to change a belief. Perhaps if folks disagree with this issue who are within the SBC they an go start their own denomination or something.

      Everything in the Kingdom of Heaven is NOT necessarily based on democratic process. It’s a Kingdom, not a republic.

      And guess what, there really isn’t any health risk associated with abstinence. It’s not so bad for you. It’s not such a bad choice.

    6. Randy on Mon, February 07, 2011

      Try convincing my wife and brother in law that social drinking is cool.  Unfortunately they lost their dad in a terrible car accident in 1979.  Alcohol was/is not that cool to them. 

      I went to visit a church parishioner two weeks ago. This man was in a drunken stupor and couldn’t get off the couch.  He just couldn’t figure out why his wife wanted to leave him. I visited him last week again in the hospital and watched him hallucinate with the DTs. I pray that I don’t have to do his funeral this week as this would not be cool to me.  (1 Peter 5:7-8)

    7. Pastor Charlie on Mon, February 07, 2011

      I’m fully aware that there are arguements on both sides of the issue.  But as a pastor I deal with a lot of broken people, alcoholics, those on drugs…  In 44 years as a Christian, I’ve never met anyone who planned to become an alcoholic when they had that first drink, nor have I ever met an alcoholic who didn’t have that first drink.  The cost in lives, not to mention monetary costs (medical, broken homes, homeless, traffic accidents, insurance, lost time from work, fires started by drinkers, wekfare, law enforcement…) are astronomical.  You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to realize that alcohol is destroying lives.  What’s the upside to drinking?  I was in college when I got saved - been there, done that, and have the t-shirt which I don’t intend to wear again.  How many ruined lives is one’s right to a bear or “glass of red” worth?  If nothing else, Christian love should dictate total abstinance as the preferred, if not required, choice of those who love God and love their neighbor as they love their own lives.

    8. Danny on Mon, February 07, 2011

      Before I came to Christ, I consumed alot of booze.  It was my life and lifestyle.  I lived for it and it did absolutely no good for my life.  What does it say to the world when those who have been caled out of darkness into light partake of the same things as those in darkness.  I am not opposed to Bible studies in bars, but do we really have to consume the alcohol.  The world is not looking for a more tolerant Christianity, it is looking for a loving people.  It is looking for someone to embrace them in their sin and lead them out of it in a loving way.  I tend to believe that believers who consume alcohol will soon become a stumblingblock to others.

    9. pastor gaston on Mon, February 07, 2011

      Why is this such a fuss amongst American Christians? Go to Europe, Britain etc and they seldom talk about it (like the rapture). If it is a sin to drink alcohol how is Deut 14:26 explained? And why would the water turned into wine by Jesus be called “the best” (Jn 2:10)? I can’t find one scripture that condemns drinking alcohol.

    10. Corbett on Mon, February 07, 2011

      I understand the pain of addiction and the loss of lives that the over consumption of alcohol has caused.  If someone wants to be or even promote abstinence from alcohol based on those reasons, I completely support them. 

      BUT… don’t call it God’s mandate for Christians, when that view is clearly not supported in Scripture.  Or if you believe you have an extra-biblical revelation from God on the subject, perhaps we could throw it on some golden tablets and start a new religion out west.  (Oh wait… that’s been done.)

    11. Jerry Scott on Mon, February 07, 2011

      Traditions die hard! When we let non-Biblical edicts become doctrine, we look silly - because we are silly. Just like most everything - alcohol can be abused. We should say what the Bible says - no more.  What does it say?  “Don’t get drunk!” period

    12. Eric on Mon, February 07, 2011

      I don’t understand the concept of drinking being cool. I love pizza and I eat a lot of it. I even eat pizza in front of others. But I don’t think that eating pizza is cool. That’s not a slant against alcohol, just the concept of the act of eating or of drinking something being cool. (Perhaps the word “acceptable” would be better than the word “cool” when coming from SBC leadership.)

      I don’t believe social drinking is wrong. I do, however believe we must be alert when we are drinking.

      Given that, I’m with Peter on this one. The SBC has a right to determine what values they want to follow. Besides “not drinking” is not bad for you. Personally, I couldn’t be SBC myself. I usually have a beer with my pizza.

    13. J. on Mon, February 07, 2011

      I agree that if you wish to abstain that is more than fine.  If you have deep reasons, or even if you don’t-that is still more than fine to choose to abstain…  But we can’t act like it’s God’s mandate when scripture just doesn’t support an “Alcohol=Sin” conclusion.  If you want to abstain to support another who struggles, fine, but even in that case alcohol isn’t bad and you aren’t abstaining from it because of sin, you’re abstaining to support a friend who struggles with it.  Much like not eating ice cream in front of a diabetic friend who REALLY Loved ice cream-you abstain because of your care for your friend, not because ice cream is sinful…

    14. Kenneth on Mon, February 07, 2011

      Alcohol is nothing more than a “legalized” drug.  Why would anyone want to fool around with something that has addictive dangers and devastating consequences?  Just because the Bible speaks about wine doesn’t mean I’m going to sit down with a glass after a meal, or whenever.  That is a choice I have based upon my personal convictions.  I believe I’m a much better witness of Jesus for the lost world without a glass of wine, whether in public or in private.  Perhaps, those Southern Baptist who like to have a glass of wine should join the Catholic church. 

      I was raised in a family that faithfully attended and supported a Southern Baptist Church.  I have been a Southern Baptist pastor for many, many years.  Individual Southern Baptists can do what they want, and believe me they do no matter what’s in the Bible.  Some can really twist the scripture to justify sinful behavior.  But, I’m not ready to trade my car in for a mule just because Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of one.

      If we’re not careful, Satan can use the Bible against us to justify any sinful behavior we may want to do.  I still believe that born-again Southern Baptists should come out from the world and be separate, demonstrating the best testimony they can to the loving and saving power of God to a lost world.

    15. Andy on Mon, February 07, 2011

      First off, good points Peter H. I agree that my denomination has never been ambiguous over our stance on alcohol. People who don’t like this stance should probably not be an SBCer, find a denomination you can agree with on this standpoint. Not that I don’t want people in my denomination but why try to change it when there are plenty of others that don’t view alcohol like the SBC does.

      It seems like we get picked on a lot, and most of the time it is deserving, but why about this? The Baptist Faith & Message does not spell out anything about Alcohol, it is up to each church to determine as is the case with most things.

      I personally disagree with Mr. Lumpkins, I do not think that Alcohol is or will be the biggest issue in the SBC EVER! For him to say that means that issues like Divorce, Addiction, Pornography, and Homosexuality have all been conquered. Clearly the church is dealing with some bigger issues than Alcohol.

      Does the Bible say “thou shalt not drink.”? NO. But can you make an argument that a Christian should avoid Alcohol for a number of good reasons? Yes. Do I personally drink? Not any more, because I became convicted about it, not because my denomination mandated it.

      Though my denomination has a hard stance on the issue I see it more as an individual issue. What does the Word tell you and what is the Holy Spirit confirming or convicting you of. It may be permissible but not beneficial, on the other hand MAN vilified Alcohol not God.

      I’ll wait to see if Mr Lumpkin’s book hits the NY Times Best Seller list…

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