Skip to comments.How Evangelicals Lost Their Way on Alcohol
Posted on 01/12/2011 8:57:47 AM PST by Alex Murphy
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Well, I think we’re all wasting our time here. You don’t think I get it, and I don’t think you get the concept of a voluntary association.
How can any church effectively operate, if the members don’t have similar beliefs, sometime including matters of indifference? If I started attending a Methodist church, should I then demand that a new believer be dunked rather than sprinkled? I prefer full immersion. Either I must compromise a bit to prevent division in the church, or find a church which matches my beliefs. That’s a pretty simple decision if the Christian is focused on furthering the cause of Christ.
Baptist doctrine is set by church members, not by a “leader with a power trip”, but if I one day have a problem with Baptist doctrine I’LL LEAVE and find a church group which doesn’t offend my relationship with God.
I dont think that voluntary association has anything to do with denominations legislating on things adiaphora.
How can any church effectively operate, if the members dont have similar beliefs, sometime including matters of indifference?
So youre saying that a denomination must have uniformity of beliefs (which dictate practice) in things indifferent in order to be effective. Ive never heard that espoused before. Can a denomination dictate whether members can go to a rock concert? How bout ballroom dancing or the opera? Shop at WalMart? Visit DisneyWorld?
When you go beyond the boundaries set in the Bible, where do you stop?
Once a denomination (through its leadership) gets a taste for this sort of thing -- telling their members what is and isnt allowable on all sorts of things -- they will never voluntarily stop their bad behavior.
If I started attending a Methodist church, should I then demand that a new believer be dunked rather than sprinkled?
I hear what you are saying, but by your example you are missing the point. The Bible does speak to the matter of immersion vs. sprinkling. Dont confuse the fact that different groups interpret the Bible differently that somehow the question of the mode of baptism is a matter of adiaphora. Its not.
If a group says that drinking is a sin according to the Bible and then limits its members based on that argument from the Bible, thats one thing. To that group drinking is not adiaphora. At least you know where they stand up front. But thats not the same as a group saying that drinking is not condemned in the Bible, however, in order to promote some false sense of harmony, we are going to forbid our members from touching a drop of alcohol. This is something quite different. Then individual liberty is at stake.
Yes, that's a very important factor. There is a strong cultural prohibition against drunkenness. However, that's combined with almost universal consumption. Personally, I suspect the fact that everyone knows what alcoholic beverages taste like helps. There's no "mystery" to it.
I'm not Baptist - but my view is simply "Alcohol served a vital purpose, at one point in time. Today, it's sole purpose is intoxication (at some level) - something that many people can control and manage - and something that others choose to let govern their lives.
I think there are many, including myself, who would disagree with your assertion that the "sole purpose of alcoholic beverages is intoxication."
In fact, I see that idea as perhaps the major PROBLEM with our cultural understanding of alcoholic beverages. Many people in our society have somehow given up on the idea that a beer is a beverage.
Yet that's precisely how alcoholic beverages seem to be treated in places where there's a healthy attitude: that they are beverages, not things you use as drugs.
At my house, for example, "beer" is something you have one of. There's not a huge distinction between water, tea, coke, and beer, except that water and tea are recognized as being specifically good for you (tea less so the more sugar you add), coke is recognized as being specifically bad for you (so it very seldom if ever shows up in our home), and beer is recognized as being healthy in quantities of one or less, quite marginal in quantities of two, and very bad for you in quantities of two or more.
Kids in our family know what alcoholic beverages taste like. They've sipped them, occasionally, since they were small. So there's no mystery there. They have a model of very moderate (and occasional) consumption, often with meals. And they regard people who abuse alcohol and drugs as fools.
To the main point, though: I certainly don't see the "sole purpose" of beer or wine as intoxication. In fact, I really don't see any degree of intoxication as having anything at all to do with why there's beer in the fridge at my house.