Post Number: 140
|Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 4:41 pm: || |
We are members of a Baptist church. Whereas the official position toward alcohol isn't as "strong" as Adventism, I don't think any of the members drink, and the use of alcohol is discouraged because of its many nefarious effects.
Adventism's position (that the Bible strictly forbids the use of alcohol) is incorrect, even to the casual reader. The loops that they jump through to hold that position isn't much different than the ones for their other doctrines.
My father was destroyed by it, and my parent's marriage. We stay far away from it.
Do your PCA friends also smoke? Have you thought of approaching the topic of alcohol use? There are good Christian books which deal with the topic from several different points of view.
Post Number: 119
|Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 4:45 pm: || |
A couple times a year the men at my church have a steak cookout. There are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available. Romans 14 applies here, I think.
Overeating can destroy a life just as abusing alcohol. As with food, keeps things in moderation, but show grace and charity also.
Post Number: 1912
|Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 5:05 pm: || |
God commanded the Israelites to, once every three years, travel to designated cities, use their tithe money to buy wine or other fermented drink (the Hebrew is quite clear here, God is basically giving them the choice of wine or beer, but it's definitely alchoholic) and have a feast to celebrate before Him.
Stop and let that sink in, God commanded tithe be spent on wine or beer to have a corporate celebration.
I'm not suggesting that those commands are to us and I believe it may be a very good idea for many to abstain, but in light of this OT command, several place in the Bible where fermented wine and its more pleasant effects are presented as a good gift from God, and Jesus' decision to make the best wine as His very first public miracle, I think it would inappropriate to judge a Christian for enjoying that gift in moderation.
Making a personal choice is one thing, but trying to enforce that choice on others, in contradiction of what Scripture has to say, is legalism.
Post Number: 1270
|Posted on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 - 8:25 pm: || |
Good point, Chris. Thanks for weighing in.
Post Number: 18
|Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 11:03 am: || |
I haven't faced the alcohol issue at my PCA church. It is not talked about, although I know they take the stance that drinking alcohol is not a sin in and of itself, but abusing it is a sin. That is also my stance and some have referenced that stance in this thread already.
I am personally very very careful with alcohol, when, where and with whom and it's usually very rare that I do partake. My SDA husband is very much against it, so it's rare on my end, because I'm with him most of the time.
I have spent many years not being committed to a church. I attribute it to not wanting to be held accountable and uncomfortable with people getting too close to sinful me. In recent years it's been because I fought the temptation to not look closely at the differences between me and husband. God in his mercy helped me to face these reasons, helping me to repent and turn to him in faith. In my life now, I feel desperate for more of Jesus, more of the truth, and I know I need the body of Christ in order to grow, so out of gratitude to Him I am committing myself to a bible believing, evangelical, gospel centered church. It is stepping out of my comfort zone, but I want what's best for me and my kids as a believer.
I know you are going though and have been through a lot, Honestwitness. Growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus is nothing but helpful to you and your family. I encourage you to find and stay in a place of worship. It's ok to question what is preached against what God's word says. I don't consider myself a PCA, just a Christian. The formeradventist youtube channel has some good teaching, there are some by Colleen about not being deceived again. Check them out if you can. Those points she makes are helpful to me as I sit under preaching and gives me hope. God is faithful and his word is true.
Post Number: 1913
|Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 11:48 am: || |
Yes! While committed Christians may have varying views on alcohol, we should all be able to at least agree on this at a minimum: Drunkenness is *not* within Christian liberty.
The Bible is full, OT and NT, of counsel and commands against drunkenness and abuse of alcohol. So yes, I believe the Bible presents abuse of alcohol as a sin.
I actually see some parallels to the Bible's view of sex. Sex is often presented as a good gift from God. The book of Song of Solomon is a testament to this as is Paul's command to husbands and wives not to forsake coming together intimately for too long. In fact, God's relationship to Israel, the Church, and even us as individuals is often presented in extremely intimate terms that in the original languages carry some sexual over tones. So sex is a good thing, a gift from God.
However, sex can be absolutely devastating and destroys many lives when used and abused outside the parameters and context that God has set (a marital covenant relationship between a husband, a wife, and God). The Bible is full of counsel and commands against sexual immorality. For many people, a life of celibacy may indeed be the best choice for a variety of reasons.
So, while it is within Christian freedom to marry (and all that implies) it is not within Christian freedom to abuse sex outside God's plan for sex. When that happens, a good gift from God becomes warped into something destructive. Knowing this, some groups over time have forbid marriage or have forbid marital relationships between man and wife. This goes beyond what the Bible teaches, actually contradicts what the Bible says, and is an extreme form of legalism. I believe we tread on some of the same ground when, seeking to avoid abuse and misuse, we forbid other things that can be viewed as gifts of God within the appropriate context.
We need to judge by biblical standards. It's not legalism to expect our Christian brothers and sisters to live in a godly way when it comes to sexuality, alcohol, and everything else. It only becomes legalism when we judge them in a way that God doesn't.
Post Number: 1914
|Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 11:58 am: || |
Just so no one misunderstands, I want to be crystal clear:
I am NOT, NOT, NOT encouraging anyone to drink. Personally, I think if you have made it this far without social imbibing being part of your culture, then don't change that now. There are real dangers and social ills related to alcohol and it probably is smartest to just avoid it. By all means, if you are an addictive personality or have alcoholism in your family, DON'T TOUCH IT!
Nothing I've said above should be construed as some sort of endorsement of alcohol. The only thing I am concerned about is that we don't judge our fellow Christians in way that goes beyond what Scripture says. And importantly to this forum, that as transitioning formers, we don't separate ourselves off from the larger Body of Christ based on issues like this where the Bible allows freedom within parameters. I hope that's clear.
Post Number: 19
|Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 12:08 pm: || |
Great insight on those parallels, Chris! Thank you for pointing them out. I like how you articulated what legalism is.
Post Number: 15516
|Posted on Friday, July 21, 2017 - 4:51 pm: || |
Thank you again, Chris, for clearly explaining this.
Post Number: 1273
|Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - 6:51 am: || |
Thanks, Chris, for the further insights. This is helpful, indeed.
Yesterday, in Sunday School, we were discussing Acts 13 and how the ministry of the early church leaders was very public, so much so that the secular leaders showed an interest. Our teacher asked us how we might apply that concept today.
A gentleman in the class mentioned how he knew of a ministry in our area in which some Christian pastors were holding meetings in a local brewery, in the attempt to bring Christ to the world.
I have a problem with that concept, because I've seen it backfire...in my own life.
Back in the late 60s, I was a high-school student. Our Presbyterian church leaders decided to reach out to the local neighborhood with what was called the "social gospel." So, they rented a storefront in an area of the city in which there was a "hippie" presence.
They turned the store into a coffee house, open on weekend nights, where coffee and tea were served and panel discussions were held on various topics of interest at the time. We high-school-church-kids worked in the kitchen and served tables, mixing with the patrons who came in for the ambiance and the fellowship.
I met several people there who exerted a very "hippie" influence on me that led me into all-out rebellion against my church, my parents, and my Lord. For three years, I was involved in illegal drugs and fornication. My parents were completely horrified at the total change in my behavior, from a faithful Christian to a rebellious hippie.
Because of my experiences, I am very wary of mixing the ministry of Christ with the agenda of the world.
I know Christ ate with sinners, but we also have warnings against having fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. One pastor in a previous church I attended called it "playing footsie with the devil."
I don't want my freedom to cause another person to stumble. As it stands, even though I love many aspects of my new church, I don't feel free to invite certain people to attend church with me, if I know they have had a problem with alcohol. I think my church leaders are rather naive about how many people in our world struggle with addictions. At least they serve grape juice for communion, instead of wine. Thank goodness.
If the intention of the church is really to be "missional," we need to be sensitive of the struggles of those in our mission fields. In the same way I would not decorate with swastikas in a Jewish neighborhood (or anywhere), I would also avoid promoting alcohol in a mission field full of alcoholics.
However, if the intention of the church is to be a social club of the whitewashed, where we can stay cloistered away in our own little comfort zone, we can afford to practice our freedoms within the walls of our church buildings. (Did that sound sarcastic? I guess it is.)
Post Number: 148
|Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - 10:57 am: || |
The Bible does not proscribe the use of alcohol. Drinking an alcoholic beverage is not a sin, drunkeness is.
I say this as a person who had a problem with alcohol. I drank to self-medicate emotional pain and stress, and I drank to self-medicate physical pain on occasion too. But I drank myself into oblivion when I was dealing with emotional pain. I was using alcohol for the wrong reason and I quit. And it was the easiest thing I've ever done after I said, "God, I don't have the strength to give this up and so I'm putting it in your hands because I know You have that strength". I've never had the slightest craving for a drink since.
I will never use alcohol again. However, I know many people who do not have a problem with alcohol, and I don't think that they are doing anything wrong according to the Scriptures. And I would not think to tell them that because I had a problem, they should not drink either.
Post Number: 20
|Posted on Tuesday, August 01, 2017 - 1:57 pm: || |
HonestWitness, You could vocalize your concern to the elders and/or pastor. Also, they may have good insight for you on this issue.
Spudw's point, is the stance my church takes, and I think it is biblical.
I am not interested in ministries that water down the gospel in order to reach people. I would want to investigate that ministry further is see if that's the case. The bible is relevant and the gospel is a relevant need for today's people.
Post Number: 4
|Posted on Monday, September 09, 2019 - 12:45 pm: || |
I wonder what the Bible says about poppies, coca plant, mushroooms, peyote, and our favourite plant maryjane?
We already enjoy grapes, corn, rye, barley, malt and hops, no?