Jun 252013
 

Reform-Logo-TwitterWhy do I encourage dialog with Calvary Chapel pastors?

The brand of churches named “Calvary Chapel” isn’t going away.

There are going to be good churches with the brand and bad churches with the same for the foreseeable future.

Their success will be solely determined by how many people in a local geographic area support them.

 

There is never going to be a central governing agency that can be “reformed”.

Independence is as important to these churches as any biblical doctrine.

Very soon, the singular authority that is in place in CC will be gone and the whole movement will shatter like an iPhone screen on concrete.

Change, “reform”, if you will, cannot be effected simply by demanding it happen… those demands have no power in free market religion.

It cannot be effected by an attitude of contempt toward every pastor with the brand.

The only path to reform is the same as in a Southern Baptist church or one of the multitude of other independent churches loosely affiliated under some brand.

One pastor at a time.

One congregant at a time.

Change in the free market church will only come when pastors are persuaded to insure accountability and congregants are educated in their biblical rights and responsibilities and the warning signs of abusive leadership.

Both will require relationship and communication.

We must have the ability to communicate in a way that we will be heard…we must appeal to conscience and biblical ethics with both pastor and pew.

It will not always be successful with those we speak to.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it’s a race that will be going on long after I’m gone.

That’s the course we set a few years ago.

In my estimation, it’s the only way to see positive change in any of the independent denominations and I truly want to see those changes.

Unless a law is broken or civil rights abused, these churches cannot be forced to do anything other than what they are.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…nobody can lead if there’s no one following, no one can survive in the arena of free market religion without supporters.

The entire church must desire to be healthy.

Do we mark those who abuse their authority and bring shame and pain on the Body of Christ?

Absolutely…we have and we will…but that can’t be all we do.

With patience and grace and fortitude we must keep speaking, keep dialoging, and keep praying.

I may be wrong, but it’s the path I believe the Lord has given me here to walk both publicly and privately.

You may choose to disagree, but this is how I’m going to do the works that have been set before me here.

 

 

 

 

 

  363 Responses to “My Philosophy of Reform”

  1. Let me give a quick example of what “independence” looks like.
    At this years senior pastors conference there was a push for temperance in regards to alcohol use.
    There was a book given to the pastors about why they shouldn’t drink…at all.
    That book has started any number of fires in pastors homes while the pastor sat by the fire and enjoyed an adult beverage…

  2. Nothing wrong with having a beer once in a spell as long as you are sensitive to brethren around you

  3. “It cannot be effected by ….”

    Awesome use of “effected”. One of my favorite under-used words.

  4. Calvary Chapel will not change from the top down…. not with Chuck, not with CCA.

  5. Ixtlan,

    Chuck will pass on and CCA will just be one part of a multiple split.
    Change has to come from individuals…one at a time.

  6. This doesn’t just apply to CC…there are more Baptists in this country and they all have nothing but independent blood in their veins.

  7. PP Vet,

    Thanks. 🙂

  8. The alcohol thing. Yeah.

    Ive got to throw CC under the bus on that one.

    There are more positive or neutral statements in scripture about alcohol than negative. So encouraging pastors to steer clear of that is historically and biblically incorrect.

    That is an example of making distant secondary issues into primary issues.

    Great article, Michael!

  9. @ 5 – The funny thing is, that’s really the way change has to occur in all denominations. The priesthood has to be the priesthood, period. You can try to dictate changes from on high, but it will never work. At least with independent affiliations, the stage is set for the commoners to effect the change they desire. You’ll never get grassroots change in one of the higher denominations without a bloody revolution.

  10. Josh,

    It’s mainly fallen on deaf ears but I truly believe that the key now is that congregations be empowered through education to create the changes they desire.

  11. Just keep in mind that there are so many CC pastors and their wives out there, who are giving themselves away, day in and day out. They love Jesus, they love and serve the flock God has given them. They are not building kingdoms, making a ton of money, or abusing anyone. They are good and faithful servants. Let’s not forget them and let’s not condemn them. Regardless of what happens to CC as an “institution” or the millions of dollars of real estate in Costa Mesa that it owns and who will finally end up as “king of the hill,” it will not affect in any way, those committed men and women, around the world, who are loving and serving Jesus in their little fellowships under the CC banner.

  12. Totally agree @ 10 – but it has not fallen on deaf ears. Change is just slower and more gradual than we would like to see. Again, the child abuse resolution that just passed in the SBC is because of this type of education.

    Many CC’s have been positively affected by their interaction here. Keep those relationships alive.

  13. Nonnie,

    I completely affirm what you wrote.
    My pastor is one of those guys.

  14. Reuben,

    It’s an easy answer in my book.
    Drink at home in moderation and not in public.
    That way there’s no risk of stumbling a brother.
    There’s my book on alcohol. 🙂

  15. Micheal, I really appreciated reading your thoughts. Very timely for me to consider. Thank you.

    Here’s what I’d like to echo (and be a participant in): Biblical Education

    One pastor at a time.

    One congregant at a time.

    Change in the free market church will only come when pastors are persuaded to insure accountability and congregants are educated in their biblical rights and responsibilities and the warning signs of abusive leadership.

    Both will require relationship and communication.

    We must have the ability to communicate in a way that we will be heard…we must appeal to conscience and biblical ethics with both pastor and pew.

  16. monax,

    Thank you.
    Now the question before the house is “how do we do it”?

  17. On the alcohol thing….it’s not like CC is out there all alone with that conviction.

    Here is an article by MacArthur for starters. Not only him, but some entire denominations have strong convictions against alcohol by ANY member, much less the pastors.

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-macarthur-denounces-mixing-booze-with-ministry-54002/

    I would just remind everyone that CC has been used by the Lord to reach a LOT of drug addicts and alcoholics – I’m not just talking about some famous pastors in the 70s – I mean you average congregation today. I know we have a very significant percentage in our house.

    And the Bible is clear that where there is freedom in such an area, there is the greater law of love that warns against using that freedom to cause other brothers to stumble.

  18. Steve,

    The only conviction about alcohol that carries any weight with me is the biblical injunction against stumbling your brother.
    I used to joke about my own indulgence a lot, but stopped doing so for that reason.

  19. I used to joke about my own indulgence a lot, but stopped doing so for that reason.
    ————————————————————-
    I’ve noticed that change. And I applaud you for doing so.

  20. Steve,

    To be blunt, there’s a great deal of juvenile rebellion on this issue, not only in CC, but in the YRR movement.
    I’m sick to death of posts on cigars and beer for the sake of telling the world that you’re old enough to smoke and drink.

  21. Southern Baptists are largely tee-totalers, as I am, but there is a small movement towards moderation from some of the Calvinist brothers.

  22. Hey, why can’t I enjoy a heineken once in a while? These same churches many times sure don’t have the same conviction on gluttony which is why many church goers are Obese and FAT. I’ll drink a beer any day over a Soda which has no redeeming qualities. I don’t care about what other churches believe about alcohol, it’s what the Bible says that carries weight. Don’t give me your puritanical B.S. Calvary or any Church that acts like little babies in this issue.

  23. Josh,

    It’s a Calvinist distinctive. 🙂

  24. Solomon,

    When you look at the catastrophic cost of alcohol abuse in our culture, it’s not hard to understand a church standing against it.
    I imbibe, but I can certainly understand why others don’t.

  25. “Hey, why can’t I enjoy a heineken once in a while?”

    Knock yourself out.

  26. “Solomon,

    When you look at the catastrophic cost of alcohol abuse in our culture, it’s not hard to understand a church standing against it.
    I imbibe, but I can certainly understand why others don’t.’

    I understand that but it’s when these Puritans start telling me that I can’t drink at all when that’s never in the bible that I have issue with. I am going to stop eating “IN N OUT” because some people are Gluttons? Just because some people don’t have self control in that area don’t go putting your conviction on other people. If these Churches would focus a little more on teaching their congregations to get out of debt and stop being chasers of the ever elusive American Dream and stop being materialistic then maybe we would have healthier churches instead of focusing on a few pet sins.

  27. “teaching their congregations to get out of debt ”

    How is that not a pet sin?

  28. “how do we do it”?

    First of all, it will be a work of the Holy Spirit, which in spite of the opinion of some of my peers, began on places like the PP. In spite of all the mess, the blood and guts and tears, God has used this forum to effect those who have an ear to hear.

    Secondly, leave the grandstand mentality and become a prayer warrior for the Body of Christ. Pray first and foremost for yourselves, and then for others. This nation needs prayer, the Body of Christ in America needs prayer. We (the American church) have traded our birthright for a bowl of soup. We are obese spiritually and need to get back to the right spiritual diet.

    Thirdly, let us clean up our own house. Some will have ears to hear, some won’t. I feel no need to explain why Pastor XYZ does what he does. I am done beating my head against the wall due to some shepherd who appears to have lost his way and have gone beyond any godly sense of reason. If they are bent to complete in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit, then there is nothing left to say to them.

    Fourthly, there are many CC pastors out there that are already doing it right. Many of them. Many of us pastor small churches and are intimately involved the lives of the people who attend. You may not agree with the doctrine or practice, but we are attempting to be faithful and obedient to God’s leading.

    Fifthly, quit making secondary issues primary. For example, there are more CC pastors who drink occasionally than I want to recognize. I don’t drink, I personally wish they didn’t, but I will recognize their liberty to do so. There is a difference between convictions and biblical mandates.

    The SBC has laid a good example of how independent churches unite and cooperate for the furtherance of the gospel. I think some Calvary guys should take their SBC brethren to lunch.

  29. Solomon,

    I don’t mean to break it to you, but the Puritans weren’t all dry.

  30. pstrmike,

    That… was excellent!

  31. With regard to alchohol- my pastor would ask those in leadership to consider “setting it aside” for a season while they lead in the church. Alchohol is a mind altering substance- it is a drug. Just because it is legal does not make it any less so. If it is so important to someone that they are unwilling to give it up for a season to serve in ministry (at least in my church) then I would question whether it has become an “idol” in some sense (something we put ahead of God). I don’t need alot of rebuttal here – I was an active alchoholic/drug addict for 20+ years – so you can’t convince me that alchohol is anyhting less than a mind altering drug. Why would we want to alter our mind with any substance?

    Regarding drinking only at home- I guess it would come down to whether the individual was being honest when asked if they were abstaining while serving in leadership.

    Reagarding CC- the same book was given out at the ECPC- and abstinence encouraged in the context of the massive amount of deaths- family destruction- criminal activity- sexual immorality – and loss of productivty that is the direct result of alchohol.

  32. My point Josh is that more balance is needed not just to focus on a few things. My uncle is a homosexual and he goes to 4 sqaure somewtimes with my other uncle who is a believer and all they talk about is homosecuality being wrong which is true and biblical point of veiw but even my uncle says “Geez don’t they talk baout anything else”. My uncle doesn’t get offended at all by it as he is mopne minded but he just thinks it’s funny that the Church focuses on the three things- Adultery, Homosexuality and Drinking

  33. “With regard to alchohol- my pastor would ask those in leadership to consider “setting it aside” for a season while they lead in the church. Alchohol is a mind altering substance- it is a drug. Just because it is legal does not make it any less so. If it is so important to someone that they are unwilling to give it up for a season to serve in ministry (at least in my church) then I would question whether it has become an “idol” in some sense (something we put ahead of God). I don’t need alot of rebuttal here – I was an active alchoholic/drug addict for 20+ years – so you can’t convince me that alchohol is anyhting less than a mind altering drug. Why would we want to alter our mind with any substance?

    Regarding drinking only at home- I guess it would come down to whether the individual was being honest when asked if they were abstaining while serving in leadership.

    Reagarding CC- the same book was given out at the ECPC- and abstinence encouraged in the context of the massive amount of deaths- family destruction- criminal activity- sexual immorality – and loss of productivty that is the direct result of alchohol.”

    You have the same mentality of the AA Natzi’s I know. Balance may be a perspective you want to look into.

  34. @ 32 – So as long as we add debt to the mix, you are good with us preaching against alcohol?

  35. Mark, just because you had an issue with alcohol doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are responsible about it. To me Beer was never a big issue. My Dad had one with dinner almost every night to take the edge off after patrolling the streets of Compton, Paramount and Lynwood. He never got drunk and i was actually suprised growing up that alcohol was considered a bad thing as in my world it was completely normal to have one with your meal. People in the chruch have made a boogeyman out of it

  36. Amazing how the discipline of actually teaching the text, book by book, avoids the hobby horses.

    Exposition of the TEXT of Scripture, ALL of Scripture, has a lot of benefits.

  37. “@ 32 – So as long as we add debt to the mix, you are good with us preaching against alcohol?”

    How about you preach the abuse of it as a sin and not the use of it. Just stick to the word and what it says don’t twist it for your own issues you have with something that others arer responsible with

  38. He never got drunk and i was actually suprised growing up that alcohol was considered a bad thing as in my world it was completely normal to have one with your meal. People in the chruch have made a boogeyman out of it
    ——————————————————
    Solomon, I would suggest you are guilty of what you accuse Mark of. Using your own personal experience (which was positive) to then rip on others for their convictions based on their experiences.

    That’s great you grew up in a home without alcoholics or drug addicts. Others…not so fortunate as you. And kids don’t get to pick their homes or parents.

  39. @ 37 – I’d say that’s the way it is addressed 99% of the time, though I’d also say that 99% of the people I know who drink, do so to the point of sin, even though they may claim they don’t. The easy solution to avoid wrecked lives is to avoid alcohol all together.

  40. “@ 37 – I’d say that’s the way it is addressed 99% of the time, though I’d also say that 99% of the people I know who drink, do so to the point of sin, even though they may claim they don’t. The easy solution to avoid wrecked lives is to avoid alcohol all together.”

    Maybe for you and that’s fine but don’t put your conviction on others. Am i gonna stop eating hamburgers because a bunch of people have wrecked lives from being OBESE? I know plenty of people who drink and don’t abuse it. I guess because in my household alcohol was never a big deal, my dad had his beer and never made it a big deal, good or bad, it was what it was-JUST A BEVERAGE, nothing more nothing less.

  41. On the alcohol thing

    We serve wine with our Sunday potlucks.

    On feastdays, we have vodka on the tables.

    We are grown ups.

  42. “There are more positive or neutral statements in scripture about alcohol than negative. So encouraging pastors to steer clear of that is historically and biblically incorrect.”

    I believe that ratio leans the other way (more verses warning about the use and abuse of alcohol).

    But as with many things, the many fewer verses speak loudly and I’m not willing to ignore them.

    Signed,

    A “sipping saint”

  43. Solomon, do you know of a parent who ate a cheeseburger, then beat their kids because of it? And yes, healthy eating is also a good thing. Nobody is saying not to do both.

  44. For all you Sola scriptura teetotalers, how do you reconcile Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana where He changed the water into a whole lot of tasty wine? Your own opinion trumps the scriptures in this case? Does that make preaching abstinence from alcohol a “vain tradition of men?” Yes, I think it doe!

    (And don’t tell me it was grape juice. You know better.)

  45. “On feastdays, we have vodka on the tables.

    We are grown ups.”

    You only allow adults in your church?

  46. Xenia – We tried to adopt from Russia and were constantly warned about the problems with fetal alcohol syndrome, even to the point of bringing our own doctor to examine a baby before accepting placement – since many of the agencies either don’t know the medical history, or worse, are willing to lie about it.

    We are likewise connected to Romania, and I have visited there myself. Alcoholism is rampant throughout a nation with a larger Orthodox percentage of population than even Russia.

    I guess all the alcoholism in these two nations could be amongst the non-orthodox minority, but I think the “we are grown ups” is a little snarky considering such tremendous problems.

    And we all are still on the same page that DRUNKENNESS is still sin, right?

  47. By the way, I barely drink at all. Alcohol gives me a headache.

  48. Ok, Jesus was wrong when he approved the drinking of alcohol. You guys must be right.

  49. “Solomon, do you know of a parent who ate a cheeseburger, then beat their kids because of it? And yes, healthy eating is also a good thing. Nobody is saying not to do both.”

    Have you ever had an “In n out ” burger?

  50. When I was the administrator at a church we used to minister at, I actually had no problem with the pastor enjoying a cigar or an adult beverage. What frosted me was that he didn’t pay for it out of his own pocket and used the “church credit card” that he got reimbursed for. What frosted him was that I would highlight those expenses and ask him to write a check back to the church. And that, among other reasons is why it’s the church we used to attend…

  51. I would think that the alcoholism rates in those countries has more to do with socio-economic reasons than Orthodoxy or any other religion.

  52. yup, vein tradition of man for sure.

  53. Pam,

    That would frost me too…and I’d love to have seen the look on his face after your highlights. 🙂

  54. More deaths in America are caused by “cheeseburgers” than from alcohol. More people die from heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and cancer than from the effects of alcohol, even including drunk driver-caused accidents.

    By “cheeseburgers” a mean a bad diet leading to obesity and metabolic syndrome diseases.

    From the CDC:

    Heart disease: 597,689
    Cancer: 574,743
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 138,080
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 129,476
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 120,859
    Alzheimer’s disease: 83,494
    Diabetes: 69,071
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,476
    Influenza and Pneumonia: 50,097
    Intentional self-harm (suicide): 38,364

  55. Matthew 11:19
    The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

    Luke 7:34
    The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’

    We all need to be careful how we judge others by our own prejudices.

  56. Now wait a minute, Xenia. You fired off a crack about the way the Orthodox treat alcohol, even bringing it into your church services because “you are grown ups”

    So what does that say about those with other convictions. We are immature children?

    I don’t really care if you want to say we are somehow “weak in the faith” – I’ll own that and wear it as a badge of honor to heaven considering the society I live in today.

    I would never wish ANYONE deal with the ravages of alcoholism with someone in their family or personally themselves. But I do note people tend to be less cavalier about it when they have gone through such abuse – I pray with far, far too many people.

    But I don’t preach total abstinence. And I don’t teach grape juice for wine either. However, if anyone thinks the wine of the 1st century and earlier OT period is equivalent to some 100 proof or greater vodka is just as wrong as the “grape juice” preachers.

  57. The comment that Xenia made regarding the grown up thing rings true on both sides of the ledger. On one hand it gets on my nerves when people demonize it but on the other hand it bothers me when people act like total morons at the store when going up to the counter with a 24 pack or some hard liquor. They start braging about how they are going to be drinking and getting “Faded” and acting like it’s a big deal to drink. my philosophy is “ACT LIKE YOU HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE”, respect what you are drinking and don’t make light of it or act like a teenager who is trying thier first wine cooler. You are not cool just because you are drinking a 12 pack of Dos Equis

  58. Who is making this an either or? Why can’t we eat healthy and stop drinking?

  59. Biblical Education

    “how do we do it”?

    Yes, through a life of prayer in the Spirit—Who empowers each of us to properly wield the sword of the Spirit with all grace, wisdom and authority.

    And each of us most do our part. Personally, as I’m gearing up to openly rebuke and hold to account the elders of my former Presbyterian church in Pittsburgh—I plan to expose their abuses in light of Scripture, along with providing biblical exegeses of the various Scriptures many overseers twist to support their tyranny. I consider my tiny church in Pittsburgh to be a microcosm of the abuses, rebellion, lack of discernment, etc. . that are epidemic or actually endemic to the church at large.

    Ambitious project, yes. So I’m drafting my church abuse story now, and plan to post/publish my Scriptural understanding/scholarship of the true biblical nature and scope of spiritual authority soon—wanting it, of course, to be refined and informed through dialogue, via iron sharpening iron, that sort of edifying engagement.

    Presently, Biblical Education for me involves initiating and participating in online conversations toward corporately discerning God’s will and functional design for His Church.

    I fear many of our church governance models—from CC to Presbyterianism—is severely unbiblical.

    Also, fwiw, my attitude toward drinking is openly modeling what it’s like to my brothers and sisters and also to the world godly moderation and the fullness of life that is experienced in the Spirit of peace, joy and righteousness in the LORD.

  60. So what does that say about those with other convictions.<<<

    It means that they are valuing their own opinions over the words of Scripture if they are preaching abstinence.

    I think, if you were to teach people to drink in moderation, that would be in keeping with the Scriptures. If that's what you do, we are on the same page.

  61. Josh,

    the Bible doesn’t say to stop drinking

  62. Xenia, do you think Scripture commands us to drink?

  63. @ 62 – Solomon, nor does the bible say to stop eating cheeseburgers.

  64. It is true that Jesus never told anyone to drink vodka!

    In Russia, grapes don’t grow but potatoes do, that’s why vodka is a popular drink. The Russian government (back in the old days) used to have a monopoly on vodka and it was a big source of income. Obviously, the Church preached against drunkenness. Russia is a very cold place and it was believed that vodka warmed you up. It was viewed as a consolation for grim conditions. People would fall down in a drunken stupor, freeze to death, get snowed over and re-appear at the spring thaw. Pretty awful. However, a glass of vodka on a feast day is a lovely thing and I would join in if it didn’t give me an instant migraine. I don’t know any alcoholics at my church, by the way.

    So if you all think the wine at the marriage of Cana was really wine and not grape juice, why do you use grape juice for communion? Again, the reason I have always heard is that you don’t want to trigger an alcoholic by giving him a taste of wine but this is again saying that one’s one opinions trump the words of the Lord and so is therefore a “vain tradition of men.”

    See how that “vain tradition of men” phrase can be really irritating? That’s what I think when I hear it over and over as applied to my church.

  65. Xenia, do you think Scripture commands us to drink?<<<

    Nope. Nor does it command you to preach abstinence.

  66. Were there cheeseburgers back then? hahaha! A cheese burger and a heineken go good together

  67. I take it back, there is one time when we are commanded to drink alcohol and that is the Eucharist.

  68. We have wine for our communion and the kids partake as well

  69. @ 66 – It seems to me, then, that if abstinence is a choice, and one that I have found to be beneficial, then I would be foolish to not recommend it to others.

  70. “I don’t know any alcoholics at my church, by the way.”

    Alcoholism is a shameful thing that most will do everything they can to hide.

  71. ” [Timothy], no longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Ti 5:23).

    The Greek word Paul employs here for “use”—χρῶ—is the in the imperative mood.

  72. “@ 66 – It seems to me, then, that if abstinence is a choice, and one that I have found to be beneficial, then I would be foolish to not recommend it to others.”

    How about working out your own salvation with fear and trembling and let others be grown ups and make their own decisions when it comes to this issue. Drunkeness=SIN, Drinking in Moderation=Enjoyment

  73. Here’s what I am saying: No one should drink alcohol if they don’t want to, except in the case of the Eucharist. Otherwise, everyone should follow their own judgment. What I am against is preaching that the drinking of alcohol is sinful and all Christians must abstain. If anyone does choose to drink, they must learn to drink in moderation.

    Ok?

  74. @ 72 – Who is that verse addressed to?

  75. Some here know of the recently deceased Presbyterian scholar – R. Laird Harris. If you do know of him, you certainly respect his scholarship (I would hope) and his commitment to the Lord and the Scriptures for over 90 years of life on this earth.

    From his Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

    All the wine [of Bible times] was light wine, i.e., not fortified with extra alcohol. Concentrated alcohol was only known in the Middle Ages when the Arabs invented distillation (“alcohol” is an Arabic word) so what is now called liquor or strong drink (i.e., whiskey, gin, etc.) and the twenty per cent fortified wines were unknown in Bible times. Beer was brewed by various methods, but its alcoholic content was light. The strength of natural wines is limited by two factors. The percentage of alcohol will be half of the percentage of the sugar in the juice. And if the alcoholic content is much above 10 or 11 percent, the yeast cells are killed and fermentation ceases. Probably ancient wines were 7-10 per cent . . . . To avoid the sin of drunkenness, mingling of wine with water was practiced. This dilution was specified by the Rabbis in NT times for the wine customary at Passover

    So Xenia (and others) THIS is what I preach on the subject of alcohol. NOT “grape juice” but I do not leave out the differences with what people consume today. I have no doubt Jesus used real wine at Passover, and I have no doubt that it was quite diluted compared to grabbing a bottle off the shelf today.

    So as long as one believes both (no grape juice, but yes dilution) – then indeed, we are on the same page.

  76. @ 73 – Obviously, everyone can make their own decision, and they do make their own decisions. However, if I am to be honest when I am speaking, I would have to say I have seen alcohol cause problems more often than it has helped anything. Or should I lie to the people, and tell them I have only neutral experience with alcohol?

  77. Why are all the idiots on this thread screaming:

    Don’t tell me I can’t drink!

    Nobody is saying that, Bozo. Go ahead and drink all you want.

  78. Josh, your number 70: To not eat red meat would also be a choice, and may very well be beneficial; so would we also be foolish if we did not recommend that to others?

    But it has nothing to do with our walk with Christ.

    When I was in the new age movement, we were all trying to eat and drink our way to righteousness and sanctification.

  79. FYI

    Article by Daniel Wallace on alcohol with some references to positive/negative/neutral references to alcohol in the Bible.

    https://bible.org/article/bible-and-alcohol

  80. – It seems to me, then, that if abstinence is a choice, and one that I have found to be beneficial, then I would be foolish to not recommend it to others.<<<

    Shall I preach to you all the benefits of drinking Green Smoothies? I have found them to be extremely beneficial to my health, to the point of curing me from a chronic ailment. Shall I tell you all that not drinking a quart of Green Smoothie per day is bad for your health and that you are in sin if you don't follow what I have found to be beneficial?

    Yes, some people would benefit if they didn't drink. Many benefit from drinking, see the Mediterranean Diet for evidence for the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.

  81. Josh, as you can see the verse was addressed to Timothy. The reason I’ve reference it was to provide us a Biblical example of alcohol being permissive in moderation.

  82. @ 74 – I wouldn’t tell anyone that drinking in moderation is sinful, but I would tell them I don’t think its a good idea.

  83. Josh, would you also tell someone who eats 4000 calories a day of fat-saturated food that it’s a bad idea?

  84. or have I confused numbers, Josh? Were you addressing your comment to me or the one below me. Fwiw, I’ll be less confused if you employ our names in dialogue. .

  85. To the red meat, green smoothies arguments…I don’t get your point. Of course you should tell others if you have found a healthier way of life. I’m facebook friends with a lot of you, and you DO share those things. I’m thankful! I don’t follow all the advice, but I can’t even consider it if I don’t first hear it.

  86. “Josh, would you also tell someone who eats 4000 calories a day of fat-saturated food that it’s a bad idea?”

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  87. “All the wine [of Bible times] was light wine, i.e., not fortified with extra alcohol. Concentrated alcohol was only known in the Middle Ages when the Arabs invented distillation (“alcohol” is an Arabic word) so what is now called liquor or strong drink (i.e., whiskey, gin, etc.) and the twenty per cent fortified wines were unknown in Bible times. Beer was brewed by various methods, but its alcoholic content was light. The strength of natural wines is limited by two factors. The percentage of alcohol will be half of the percentage of the sugar in the juice. And if the alcoholic content is much above 10 or 11 percent, the yeast cells are killed and fermentation ceases. Probably ancient wines were 7-10 per cent . . . . To avoid the sin of drunkenness, mingling of wine with water was practiced. This dilution was specified by the Rabbis in NT times for the wine customary at Passover”

    Are you kidding me with all this? Dude, keep it simple. People know when they are getting drunk and they also know when they are drinking to enjoy, I’m not gonna start label reading to determine alcohol content. I know my limit and it is three beers. I don’t like liquor

  88. “People know when they are getting drunk and they also know when they are drinking to enjoy, ”

    Most drunks claim to be in 100% control.

  89. “Most drunks claim to be in 100% control.’

    For those who aren’t drunks, they can determine themseleves how much they can handle, they don’t need to start label reading

  90. Josh the Baptist wrote:
    The easy solution to avoid wrecked lives is to avoid alcohol all together.

    The easiest way to avoid horrific car accidents is to avoid driving altogether too. Not being snarky here Josh, just pointing out that the Almighty has given each of us reason and common sense enough to not demand a draconian solution for every problem in the Christian life.

  91. Josh,

    It may be something to do where your from, I don’t know. Is North Carolina considered the bible belt? I know the churches there have a reputation for betting pretty stern on certain issues

  92. My personal opinion is that alcohol is the last of the “DO NOTS” that is still legalistically held onto by a significant portion of evangelical Christianity. (I’m not accusing anyone here of being legalistic). While some of the other DO NOTS (dancing, going to movies, card playing, etc.) may still be held onto legalistically by some small minorities, alcohol is the one that still maintains a place of prominence.

    Obviously, alcohol can have a much more damaging effect than many of the others, and maybe that is why it is still held onto more strongly. I agree that alcohol can be a dangerous thing. There are certainly some circumstances where it is better for people not to drink. What I do reject, however, are those who say that it is flatly wrong to drink. Or those who may qualify it by saying that they can’t say it’s a definitively a sin to drink because the Bible doesn’t say so, but will then go on to make arguments about how unwise and unhealthy and unthoughtful of others it is to drink, that essentially they’re saying it’s wrong to drink (even they try to qualify it by saying that’s not technically what they’re saying).

    On the other hand, there are those who take the liberty to drink and flaunt it before others and that is wrong, too.

  93. I gotta side with X on this one for sure.

    No alcohol is a modern evangelical construct, a twisting of scriptures, worthy of the last few verses of the Bible.

    I am not sure I buy the “stumble my bro” thing either. It is misused or profoundly beaten as leverage to guilt and fear people into “acting” better. The reality is I stumble my bro when I go out with my dolled up wife, or watch tv, or read a different book, or buy a nice bike, so…

    Better to have no bro?

    Or we misunderstood that warning.

  94. @ 91 – Have I at some point said everyone who drinks should be shot in the face? Come on people. I’ve seen many people live full lives and never take a drink of alcohol. Why is giving up drinking so scary? Obviously, I can’t force anyone to do anything, nor would I even try, but if I am to give my honest perceptions that I have gleaned from life…it is that one can lead a happy, fulfilled life without alcohol.

    @ 92 – IT definitely has to do with where I am from. I was brought up in alcoholic family. I swore off alcohol years before I met Jesus.

  95. I come from an alcoholic home and a family history of alcoholism. It wreaked havoc over at least two generations and impacted me greatly. I have no desire to drink ever and I have a deep disdain for alcohol because of the impact it has when neglected. Yet I don’t have issues with those who choose to drink. As far as stumbling anyone I would be terrified if I was the person who gave someone their first drink explaining it is okay only to learn that first drink led to alcoholism.

    Michael, concerning your thoughts on CC you stated “With patience and grace and fortitude we must keep speaking, keep dialoging, and keep praying.

    I may be wrong, but it’s the path I believe the Lord has given me here to walk both publicly and privately.

    You may choose to disagree, but this is how I’m going to do the works that have been set before me here.”

    I see this as crucial. We all need to learn to agree to disagree without things leading to division. How we respond to disagreements no matter how strong they might be can be done in a God honoring fashion if we allow room for those disagreements and communicate in a fashion that doesn’t tear down.

  96. I would never argue about the damaging effects that alcohol can have in life. It certainly is not a subject matter to be taken lightly. However, I see other things in life that are not routinely placed on the DO NOT lists, that have had just as damaging effects as alcohol, if not even more. For instance, I think the pursuit of the American dream has collectively had a greater detrimental effect on Christians and society as whole than has alcohol. Now, in and of itself, I don’t think the “pursuit of the American dream” is a sin. I would argue, however, that the sins committed and the residual negative effects of those who have gotten caught up in the pursuit of material wealth, comfort, and power have been collectively larger in effect than those effected by alcohol abuse. And those who have gotten caught up in these pursuits would probably include just about all of us to some degree. Yet we hear far less talk about making sure we avoid these creature comforts and pursuits lest we may fall into even more egregious sin than we do about making sure we avoid alcohol.

  97. ” see this as crucial. We all need to learn to agree to disagree without things leading to division. How we respond to disagreements no matter how strong they might be can be done in a God honoring fashion if we allow room for those disagreements and communicate in a fashion that doesn’t tear down.”

    Amen, Erunner!!

  98. But Josh it does seem you’re imposing your own personal ethic onto others. . Of course I can lead a happy fulfilled life without drinking good beer—nothing “scary” about that. But for me a good beer (and I mean Belgian Quads that are highly effective—and one is generally enough for me), yes, a good beer with a good brother tends to sincerely enhance my happiness in the moment—it’s a gift from God. And being buzzed is not a sin.

    I wonder how effective the praiseworthy wine Jesus made for the Canaan wedding was at facilitating a greater joy and happiness for the guests!

  99. Kevin H say, I see other things in life that are not routinely placed on the DO NOT lists

    like aspartame. . i would most definitely put that on the DO NOT DRINK list. .

  100. “But Josh it does seem you’re imposing your own personal ethic onto others. . ”

    How? By sharing my experience? Is it not just as imposing to share your views in favor of alcohol?

    “And being buzzed is not a sin.”

    Well, that’s good to know.

  101. I will stop drinking alcohol if my robust brother is willing to consume less calories. His gluttony is causing me to stumble.

    Basically the same argument imo.

  102. No one has responded to my point. Why do you need alcohol. It is a mind altering drug. It is NOT ” just a beverage”. Would we be having this conversation if we substitute weed for booze? Further my post related to leadership. You wanna drink go ahead and drink. Just don’t expect to lead a ministry at my church

  103. “I will stop drinking alcohol if my robust brother is willing to consume less calories. His gluttony is causing me to stumble.”

    As I’ve said may times, I don’t understand why it is a bad idea to lay off both.

  104. I guess that’s just the imposition I’m reacting so strongly against—this idea of “You wanna drink go ahead and drink. Just don’t expect to lead a ministry at my church”

    A church like that sound legalistic to the degree of being an unhealthy body! A sick church, imho

  105. @ 105 – You think a church has to have alcohol in order to be healthy?

  106. Josh @ 43

    Do you know of a parent who had a beer (1) and beat their children because of it? If so, I would suggest ‘mental illness’ as opposed to ‘mad drunkard’.

  107. Or maybe a sick individual who puts alcohol ahead of serving The Lord. An autonomous church has the right to make rules just like a business does. If leadership has concluded for whatever reason that its not too much to ask to put aside alcohol during the season of leadership that is thier right

  108. @ 107 – I know of parents who set out to have one beer, but could not stop there.

  109. Is there anyone here who “has” to have his/her coffee every morning? Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant “drug.”

    I’m not promoting alcohol OR coffee, but just wondering why some would wink at drinking coffee every day, “religiously,” but be appalled at someone having an occasional beer or glass of wine.

  110. To Mark,

    “No one has responded to my point. Why do you need alcohol.” – It’s not a matter of need. Nobody NEEDS to drink alcohol. It’s a matter of when, where, and with whom we should restrict it’s use.

    “It is a mind altering drug. It is NOT ” just a beverage”.” – So is any beverage with caffeine.

    “You wanna drink go ahead and drink. Just don’t expect to lead a ministry at my church” – I guess Jesus couldn’t lead a ministry at your church.

  111. No, Josh the Baptist @ 106, what is unhealthy is the sort of legalism that prohibits the drinking of alcohol for it’s members, for it’s ministers. . period.

    Fwiw, I don’t think it’s good or healthy to have alcohol at a church picnic, for instance. . but saints going out for a beer after an evening service (or whatever the activity) should be free to do so without being censored as sinful or out of line with God’s will for His saints.

  112. All I am writing, and all I see Josh writing, is a presentation of the other side. I don’t see a command for total abstinence as the only choice befitting a Christian in our words.

    I do think it is somewhat obtuse to talk about cheeseburgers. Yes, people die from a lifetime of bad eating habits that lead to obesity and disease.

    But come on people, there is a reason we let kids buy burgers but not booze. There is a reason that laws about driving cars and booze are connected, and not burgers. There is a reason employers do not forbid burgers at lunch but can certainly forbid booze.

    And one night of binge eating can at worse make you vomit. One night of binge drinking, even if (and especially if) it is your first time can be deadly.

    Xenia says she does not have any alcoholics in her church. I’ll say praise God. We have dozens and dozens, as do most CCs. We have so many that have been delivered – former addicts and alcoholics. We also have many that love the Lord, and fight their addictions and lose regularly, only to get back up to fight again.

    As a final aside, I find it a little sad, but not surprising, that Solomon mocks the idea of studying the Bible in its historical context. Of learning as much as we can about how life was in the days in which we read. If we are going to yell Jesus used wine at Passover, then the fact that the consensus opinion (not just Laird’s but I used him as one example) is that this wine was diluted to avoid drunkenness, seems a relevant point.

  113. Don’t have time to read the whole thread right now, but want to give a hearty “AMEN” to this post.

    Nonnie at #11 – what a great reminder!

    Michael at #14 – Did I copy your book or did you copy mine? 😉

  114. My words above about being obtuse as to cheeseburgers can all apply to coffee as well.

  115. “As I’ve said may times, I don’t understand why it is a bad idea to lay off both.”

    I dunno. Most of the pastors I was raised with were obese, most had bad things to say about sipping alcohol but didn’t seem to mind talking about their delicious lunches.

  116. I would contend that all overweight people are not gluttons. Some who aren’t heavy may be gluttons also….

  117. Steve @ 113 ” If we are going to yell Jesus used wine at Passover, then the fact that the consensus opinion (not just Laird’s but I used him as one example) is that this wine was diluted to avoid drunkenness, seems a relevant point.”

    Subjectivity is never relevant

  118. “Is there anyone here who “has” to have his/her coffee every morning? Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant “drug.””

    Gulity! 🙂
    And trust me, I am hooked. I have painful withdrawal headaches if I ever try to go without it, and I rarely do.

    Now, I could go into the different effects that I have seen from alcohol and coffee, but no need. I should not let any substance control me, but coffee certainly does.

  119. Mark writes, An autonomous church has the right to make rules just like a business does. If leadership has concluded for whatever reason that its not too much to ask to put aside alcohol during the season of leadership that is thier right

    Wrong. A church is never autonomous from the Word of God. Churches that assume to make that their right have gone beyond the authority of Scripture and have become something other than a true and legitimate expression of God’s pleasure. Period.

    Leadership is absolutely and always constrained by Scripture in how it goes about doing the business of God.

  120. Monax – If I could show you one verse that seems to say leaders shouldn’t drink at all, then would you be OK with Mark’s proposal?

  121. Only on this blog would this article lead to this conversation….

  122. Jesus made the best wine ever!

  123. …and then commanded me to drink wine to remember Him.

  124. Josh, what is the verse in question that seems to say leaders shouldn’t drink at all. I’m happy to look at it.

  125. I would contend that all overweight people are not gluttons. Some who aren’t heavy may be gluttons also….
    ——————————————-
    I’m glad someone made this point before I had to. If you think every overweight person you see is guilty of the sin of gluttony, then you are making a false judgment, which the Bible has a thing or two to speak against. There are many other reasons for people being overweight.

    As far as Scripture goes – Paul said it was OK for Christians to not eat meat, and that those who did eat meat ought not judge those who did not. (And vice versa of course)

    I think most (not all) but most of the judging in this thread in one-sided.

  126. …and The Law specifically talks about enjoying “strong drink” in worship.

    “I smoke cigars to the glory of God” Spurgeon. Lol.

  127. “I should not let any substance control me, …”

    Yes, Josh, I agree 100% with you. No substance should CONTROL us.

  128. Michael,

    Maybe we could instead change the subject to all those abusive CC pastors. 🙂

    By the way, your article was very good. Sorry for contributing to the rabbit trail.

  129. Only on this blog would this article lead to this conversation…
    ———————————————-
    It’s the clown who made the first comment in the thread. He started it. 😉

  130. MOnax – Lev. 10:9 for starters.

  131. I don’t think it would be appropriate to tell people they ought to take up drinking if they have reasons why they choose not to drink. Maybe the reasons are family-related or their own past history- any reason the person gives is valid and should not be questioned, period. If a person had a drinking problem and gave it up, God bless them and no one should ever offer them a drink, IMO. I believe that a person who has a drinking problem and is able to over come it is a hero in my book.

    But to this people might say, “Well, if drinking can become a problem, why not get rid of it entirely? Why wait to see if that first drink turns into a life-long problem that involves wife-beating and deadly traffic accidents?”

    The reason we *can’t* say this is at least two-fold:

    1. It contradicts the Scriptures.
    2. It overlooks the fact that *moderate* drinking is a pleasure, a pleasure, I might add, given to mankind by God as a consolation.

    If you want to say they didn’t drink vodka or other hard liquor in the NT days, you have a point there.

    Fatty/sugary food is also addictive and gluttony is just as much a sin as drunkenness. But of course a man who has justed downed a six-pack of beer in one evening can cause more harm than a man who has just consumed an entire pizza in one evening. However, in the long haul, the pizza-eater has a greater chance of dying young from his addiction.

    My own father was addicted to fattening food but was a complete teetotaler. (He was a Baptist.) He died in his forties of a diet-related stroke, leaving me just as fatherless as the child whose dad drank himself to death. Of course, life with my father was more pleasant than life would be with a drunk but he was still unable to do many things that a fit parent could do. He was an old man at age 40. His marriage to my mother was not good as she did not anticipate being married to a sick old man so soon in their life together. His brother died at the same age of the same affliction.

    Let everyman be convinced in his own mind but you Bible-only folks- don’t go past what the Bible teaches.

  132. So, Monax, if Mark could then base his position on Scripture, you would be OK with not allowing alcohol for church leaders?

  133. Josh, a proper exegesis of Scripture doesn’t support Mark’s position.

    and Lev. 10:9, speaks to the priests of Yahweh not consuming strong drink when they are serving in the temple.

  134. I’m a dispensationalist, so I don’t look to Leviticus for application to my life today. However, from a purely devotional standpoint….

    I’m a priest of Yahweh and I spend 24 hours a day in His temple.

    Just sayin… 🙂

  135. KevinH,

    It’s all good.
    Like Steve said, I evidently inadvertently started it. 🙂

  136. i like your retort Steve Wright, I’m a priest of Yahweh and I spend 24 hours a day in His temple.

    well said.

    however, how do you reconcile our being new covenant priests and the temple of God with Christ’s commandment concerning the cup of wine: “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant.”

    clearly, in this, there’s a contradiction in holding Lev 10:9 to be applicable to the disciples of Christ.

  137. clearly, in this, there’s a contradiction in holding Lev 10:9 to be applicable to the disciples of Christ.
    ——————————————
    Like I wrote, I don’t see it as applicable.

    But from a purely personal devotional perspective, that’s between me and the Lord. 🙂

  138. between you and the Lord. .

    yes, Steve, i completely agree

  139. between you and the Lord. .<<<

    Yes, that's the whole point, isn't it?

  140. 137-139
    We are under a New Covenant with a different priesthood.

  141. “I’m a dispensationalist, so I don’t look to Leviticus for application to my life today. However, from a purely devotional standpoint….”

    do you look to Malachi?

  142. Put down the pitchfork Solomon and rest easy. I actually agree with you about the tithing thing… 🙂

  143. Q: Why do you have to take two Baptists with you when you go fishing?
    A: Because if you take just one, he’ll drink all your beer.

  144. O, that’s a keeper!

    Love the timely joke, Derek.

  145. Got to part with the regular Baptist position on this one:

    I, like Michael, enjoy adult beverages, beer being my choice, in the privacy of my home.
    I try not to stumble someone who has a personal problem with alcohol.

    Nonnie’s #56 sums it up for me.
    My Lord, went to celebrations and ate good food and drank good wine.
    Probably not enough that the Pharisee’s accusations were true, but he did drink and not some imaginary non-alcoholic wine, or no one would accuse him of being a drunkard.
    If my Lord could enjoy these things, then I can too.
    That being said, if I had a problem with alcohol, like I did with cigarettes at one time. I would give it up in a heartbeat.
    Happily, I don’t, I am moderate with alcohol and don’t feel the need to over indulge.

  146. Steve @ 126 ” If you think every overweight person you see is guilty of the sin of gluttony, then you are making a false judgment”

    Gluttony is defined as…
    1.excessive eating: the act or practice of eating and drinking to excess.

    So what is ‘excessive eating’? I would argue it is simply consuming more calories than your body is capable of burning…for an extended period of time.

    This ‘magic number’ does vary from person to person yes…and can be affected by other health concerns. I do not believe it is possible however, to ‘get fat’ by ‘not eating’.

    This isn’t to suggest that people should starve…but merely that their caloric intake tolerance may be lower than someone’s else…resulting in their being robust and someone else with equal eating habbits being ‘fit as a fiddle’.

    But yes, I would argue that excessive body fat = gluttony, even including other health concerns. Again, like many things in life, it is simple math.

  147. I’m sure there is some “in your face-ness” is going on with the YRR – to some degree the crusty pharisees who think beer=sin need to be offended. I’m a huge fan of this, but only a little amount. Anyone who is focusing all their attention on this is out of wack. Many who grew up in a teetotaler household are just going to have this baggage to work out of their system, its fact. That fades with age, its a fruit not a root, thus its not worth attacking directly unless they are purposely trying to stumble one who has a problem in that area.

    From the beginning of time , but especially from the 1200’s – 1800’s (in theological circles) Beer was like food, and it sometimes substituted for it. Monks were at times the only ones trusted to make the worlds supply. At times the supply and trade of alcohol kept nations afloat, ensured survival through disease and paved many of the roads we drive on.

    I have to agree with the YRR on this: “most good theological discussion has historically been done in pubs and drinking places.” Although in that context it was family men in discipleship, not lone rangers, and it was beer ; likely not 8 shots of Jack. Then again that’s my limit, not going to impose that on someone else.

    Today we don’t see it quite the same way, we’ve distilled such strong drinks and marketed them so heavily in night clubs that to many conservatives who have never enjoyed a good beer but watched club videos the word alcohol is synonymous with wanton sexual lust. It shouldn’t be so…While I am against the club / party lifestyle, its also a fruit issue – fixes itself when the gospel takes root. Not worth attacking, total waste of time.

  148. I think if you ask Jews, who have one of the lowest rates of alcoholism why they drink wine with so many meals and on so many occasions, they will tell you that it is a gift from God and they are almost obligated to do so.

    I don’t buy the “light” wine statements. The wine that Jesus made was full octane and that’s why the people were so surprised that “the good stuff” was served so late during the occasion.

    I think that churches that serve grape juice to the exclusion of wine have taken a step they were not allowed to make..

  149. I concur MLD, The wine that Jesus made was full octane

    I do appreciate churches having the option of wine or juice

  150. “I think if you ask Jews, who have one of the lowest rates of alcoholism why they drink wine with so many meals and on so many occasions, they will tell you that it is a gift from God and they are almost obligated to do so.

    I don’t buy the “light” wine statements. The wine that Jesus made was full octane and that’s why the people were so surprised that “the good stuff” was served so late during the occasion.

    I think that churches that serve grape juice to the exclusion of wine have taken a step they were not allowed to make..”

    This^^^

  151. MLD @4:21 (because I am on mobile)

    We shockingly agree again. On all points. I never understood why pastors skirt past the concept that Jesus took a flat out booze party and dumped miracle made gas on it.

    Modern evangelical Jesus would serve Welches grape juice at his table? Horse ****. The notion edges on historical heresy.

  152. In our church, we do serve an option for those who cannot consume alcohol for medical or other reasons … but we do ‘ferment’ it for one day.

    A funny story, each weekend I help serve communion. On the weeks that I serve the wine, this one older guy always comes up, starts to take the wine and his wife slaps his hand and makes him take the “juice”. Since she doesn’t take the wine either, I assume that they had an alcohol problem in the past … but he gives it a try each week. 🙂

  153. I think the statement “have taken a step they were not allowed to make..” is a bit much.

    Anyone know why “fruit of the vine” is used of communion by our Lord and not wine?

    As for myself, grape juice and wine are both “fruit of the vine” so either one is fine.

  154. Don’t confuse Cana with the Passover meal. (And don’t imply more than I am saying)

    Carry on… 🙂

  155. Here’s a great sermon from Tim Keller entitled “Lord of the Wine” (1996)

    http://download.redeemer.com/rpcsermons/storesamplesermons/Lord_of_the_Wine.mp3

    Why did Jesus use his powers for something as trivial as replenishing wine at a party? It is because he knows that history will ultimately end at another feast, the wedding supper of the Lamb. Jesus sits in sorrow at this wedding party as he thinks of the price he will have to pay in order to invite us to the ultimate wedding party. He offers us his wine so we may taste God and know joy.

  156. No offense to Keller – but I think we tread softly when we wax on about WHY God did something – especially where the text is silent.

    Let’s always be accurate as to WHAT he did (i.e. made real wine and not juice)

    But the rest of it is conjecture and opinion. Application is not interpretation and certainly not observation.

    (And I definitely would take issue with replenishing the wine as trivial – scholars of all tribes routinely speak of what a problem this was for the host)

  157. Steve, it’s been a couple years since I listened to this particular Keller message. . but I don’t remember him in this sermon or in any sermon or book or whatever I’ve read of his waxing on about theological issues where the text is silent. And you have to understand the context in which he uses the word “trivial.” Did you listen to him or. . wait. . you’re a Calvary Chapel pastor right? That then would explain your disdain for Keller.

  158. ” Did you listen to him or. . wait. . you’re a Calvary Chapel pastor right? That then would explain your disdain for Keller.”

    I just threw a penalty flag – that’s not a very fair statement.

  159. But I will ask this, Steve – if wine and grape juice are interchangeable, are leavened bread and unleavened bread just as interchangeable?

  160. unleavened bread=not made with yeast
    grape juice=not made with yeast

    leavened bread=made with yeast
    wine=made with yeast

    Just a little comparison chart…

  161. No I didn’t listen to an entire message. I only interacted with your quote of his words. I assume you are accurate.

    However, you weren’t accurate in quoting me. You might read my words again, and what you claimed I said.

    And we stock Keller in our bookstore.

  162. MLD – I just checked some old commentaries like Carson and (Leon) Morris. They both speak of how wine was diluted, greatly, in the days of Jesus. Add them to Laird.

    Fruit of the vine is an inclusive term. Wine is specific. There is freedom for either to be used in communion. I don’t oppose wine being used by any means. It would be nice if the same freedom was granted our side.

  163. As for me, I tend to side with those who see the greatest significance here as the transformation from the old Judaism (noted by specific reference to the purification waterpots) to the new thing that Jesus was bringing. It is certainly a theme throughout the gospels – and being the first of His miracles, and given the details of the text, works pretty good for me. But it still is opinion (though one shared by a lot of scholars)

    I will repeat though, that running out of wine was NOT a trivial thing – in fact as noted by these scholars, it was actually subject to civil liability in the courts of law.

  164. Ok Pastor Steve. I cut and pasted the quote from the redeemer website—so, yes, they accurately represent the gist of Keller’s message.

    Now, as far as your words, how did I misrepresent you?

    You said this: “No offense to Keller – but I think we tread softly when we wax on about WHY God did something – especially where the text is silent.”

    I represented your position on Keller in italics: waxing on about theological issues where the text is silent.

    Where’s the disconnect?

  165. And, I believe, what Keller found “trivial” was not the running out of wine, but the fact that Jesus’ first public miracle, that of turning water into wine, might be considered trivial in scale to considering all the other grand miracles the Son of God could have otherwise done.

  166. monax – I see a huge difference between the WHYs of God and teaching the WHATs of God from the text. Which was my point. Keller gave his take on “WHY” (Why did Jesus…) – To lump it all under theological issues misses the entire point.

    As far as your take @166 The quote cited is “Why did Jesus use his powers for something as trivial as replenishing wine at a party?” – Seems pretty clear. My point is that replenishing wine at a wedding (not simply party) wasn’t trivial in those days. A point made by many scholars who have written on the text.

    Now, you got your shot in at me being a CC guy, and you obviously see Keller as a key authority that you will defend, which is what Christians do. Defend the teachers they like the most.

    I get it. I doubt few here have had as many occasions as I to have someone come up afterwards and say Pastor (insert any of several well known CC names here) teaches that differently, to which I smile and say I disagree with Pastor (insert any of several well known CC names here)

    The thing about multiple exegetical commentaries is you quickly realize nobody agrees about anything but the foundational truths. Leon Morris’ John commentary is filled with his interaction with other scholars .

    It’s all good. Keller is a great guy that I like to read Like I said, we stock him in the bookstore.

    (So you can take back your “wait. . you’re a Calvary Chapel pastor right? That then would explain your disdain for Keller” at anytime. 😉 ).

  167. Steve Wrong said, “I see a huge difference between the WHYs of God and teaching the WHATs of God from the text. Which was my point. Keller gave his take on “WHY” (Why did Jesus…) – To lump it all under theological issues misses the entire point.”

    You ascribe “Why” all the time.

    I can pull a bunch of examples, or you can simply acknowledge that as a pastor you do it as well.

  168. I can’t help but love our host. He really is a good guy, not nearly perfect, but there’s something good in him. You guys don’t get to see the private convos and how he tries to help me, even when I can be a pain in the ass. He won’t give up on me or sell me out for “ministry”…much better than I can say for my own parents.

  169. In my eyes, Pastor Steve, your comment 157 on Keller was particularly disdainful.

    And as far as my Calvary Chapel pastor comment. You should read elsewhere my research on you men and your franchise. At this point in time my blanket opinion of CC pastors hasn’t changed one bit—not even after rubbing shoulders with you here.

    So you know: I’m considering a film project (2014) entitled The Wolves of Calvary Chapel.

  170. Mark @ 31

    You are absolutely positivly without reservation 100% correct. Being a clinician and an addictologist treating addicts, including eating disorders, sexual addiction, and alcohol and other drugs, there is a huge misunderstanding regarding what constitutes addiction and the enabling factors that comes into play (including justifying it by using scripture) that misses the whole mark in enabling a person to make godly and moral choices on the behalf of the self, others, and the community about them.

    Just one drink effects a person’s ability to see reality. The brain literally shuts off or creates a barrier to enable the brain to function using both sides to filter out morality and truth. When around children (or others), their reality is going to be different from the “altered” state of reality of the person drinking. Therefore, what the child is saying or is needing is going be put on hold and caused to play second fiddle, if even considered in lieu of what this “altered” state is, as it has now basically “hijacked the brain.” What the child learns is, that through “drinking” he or she can cope and control things. What the person drinking finds out (not learn, for their brain is no longer learning after a time) is that without drinking, the brain throws a tantrum until the amygdala has been given what it has now become conditioned to have in order for one to feel comfortable in their own skin.

    As for those who have a heart condition, it has now been proven that there is benefit in drinking wine—-but all that is required is 3 oz/per day. What more,it has also been proven that a cup of concentrated grape or blueberry juice provides the same benefit if not more, as it does not contain alcohol which washes over every single cell and crevice in the body and causes secondary health issues.

    When someone commented that the CC SP Conference addressed this, I cannot tell you my heart leaped with joy, particularly when we know many CC Pastors came out of a background of addiction. Addiction has more than just using an addictive substance or activity, it is interchangeable and it is a way of thinking that set one up to also switched addiction that will cater to a very narcissistic mindset. And for those who are in Christ, Jesus it is about a changed heart that has repented and put away that which caters to the flesh. It is about not making room, excuses, rationalization, or justification for anything that would stumble them back into the old way of thinking, and thus, sowing the spirit instead. It means to get out of Romans 7 and picking up one’s cross and living in Romans 8 and stop saying can’t or won’t or because, or but. For the love Christ, we can—-if we truely have the Holy Spirit, that is.

  171. “Just one drink effects a person’s ability to see reality. The brain literally shuts off or creates a barrier to enable the brain to function using both sides to filter out morality and truth.”

    Not buying it.

  172. I agree with Derek.

    Perhaps he was saying if an addict takes one drink.

  173. monax,
    I can’t believe the beating you give Steve.

    So, like I asked Andrew, why don’t you post your church’s governance documents – Perhaps constitution and by laws – let’s see what your approved type church looks like.

    Give me the web site – I can look for myself.

  174. I guaratee you, Derek that if a person were to have one drink and be placed on certain monitors to test his or her reaction time, peripheal vision, balance, and given certain psychological tests, they would not test as well as they would without having that drink.

    What happens Derek, is the brain builds up a tolerance and as it builds this tolerance up, the person believes that they are not be affected like they initially were when taking their first drink of alcohol. So they move on to having 2 drinks per day one time a week, then 2 times a week, then maybe, just on the weekends or on their day off or just during special occasions (which they also find all kinds of reasons to have “special” occasions.”

    Some people will have 1-2 drinks per day in the evening, as it relaxes them. Sounds like a decent thing to do–right. But, think of this way–why is that if you can’t have that 1-2 drinks in the evening, you get grumpy or short tempered, or feel like you are being deprived. Why is it that you are not able to relax without having a drink, you know, to take the edge off and to maybe sleep better. It’s because your brain has now become conditioned to building a tolerance and a demand for it being medicated in order to feel comfortable in your own skin. I would challenge you to stop drinking for 6 months. I would challenge you to write down in a journal each day how you handle your stress and ability to relax and sleep during that time. Then after that 6 months is over and you decide to take that first drink again—write down if you didn’t get a bit of a hit of what it was like when you first took your first drink at whatever age you were initially. Oh, don’t forget to write down why you would like to have that drink in the first, the second, and the third place. No excuses—just what you expect having that drink will do for you.

  175. Read and saved this quote long ago, not sure who said or I would credit that person. I just found it really amusing.

    It’s funny to me that Jesus said, “Drink this cup of wine in remembrance of Me. Then the Evangelical church steps in and says, ‘No, not wine. That might stumble people. We’ll stick to Welch’s. Thanks anyway, Jesus’:.

    In 1864, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church expressly recommended that “in all cases the pure juice of the grape be used in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.”[7] In 1865, Welch relocated to Vineland, New Jersey, where a sister already resided. Then in 1869, Welch invented a method of pasteurizing grape juice so that fermentation was stopped, and the drink was non-alcoholic. He persuaded local churches to adopt this non-alcoholic “wine” for communion services, calling it “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bramwell_Welch

  176. Still not buying it.
    You have research to back that up?
    Did it affect Jesus that way when he was accused of being a drunkard?

    Off for the night, gotta get up and go to work in the morning.

    Oh, and by the way I enjoyed some local beer earlier in the night.
    Ghost River Brewing’s Golden Ale…really smooth.
    If you enjoy such things, and are ever in Memphis, I recommend it.
    In moderation of course. 🙂

  177. MLD, here’s a short something I read recently representative of what I believe to the biblical model for church governance. It’s a 50 page booklet by Mark Dever entitled By Whose Authority

    http://involve.9marks.org/site/DocServer/By_Whose_Authority.pdf

    Church Polity matters and I believe Dever gets our ecclesiology right—the biblical model of doing church involves a congregational approach with a plurality of elders who are ultimately accountable to the members they serve and stand before.

  178. jlo, priceless!

    Derek, Colorado has quite a bit of local breweries. Boulder Beer is two blocks from my shop. The big thing right now, however, is micro-distillery. Stranahan’s is a micro I take care of, their chiller systems to be specific, and they make a good whiskey.

    http://www.stranahans.com

  179. RB…thank you for the kind words.
    I’ve been with Trey all night and now I’m getting the flu, so I’m out soon.
    Let’s disagree respectfully folks…I believe that everyone here would actually enjoy each others company if we met face to face.
    I can’t believe this thread is still going…

  180. Here’s another bit of trivia about alcohol. It’s stays in the body a minumum for 24 hours. Oh, the initial effects of it may not be felt, but it is still affecting the body and the brain. What more, the neurons are being slowly rerouted to cause the locus of control to be in the pleasure zone of your brain, which means instead of filtering things through by using the frontal left and right sides of your brain, everything is being monitored by how what emotions you may be having at the time instead. This then guages your choices, rather than being able to think through what is right and wrong. What is loving and what or how your choice may be impacting someone else.

    Here’s a scenario for you with the consideration that alcohol stays in the system for a minimum of 24 hours and is pass the blood/brain barrier. Say that a person has just 1-2 drinks about 6-7 pm in the evening. He or she goes to sleep, gets up and goes to work. Puts in a hard day at work and between 3-5, they start getting antsy about getting off. They might be feeling a bit sluggish or better, a bit thirsty and grumpy. They go home and really don’t have much to say—that is until they go to the refrigerator and grab a beer or some ice cubes to fix themselves their favorite or whatever kind of drink. Sounds good, right. Well, what is actually taking place is the alcohol is wearing off near the 24 hour mark and your body is beginning to tell you to give you that fix so that you don’t go into withdrawals (doesn’t have to be severe withdrawals, as if you are drinking a fifth or a couple of six packs each evening. What has happened is your brain, that also processes you thoughts and feelings, is building up a tolerance that tells you that every 24 hours, you are going to have to do something to take the edge off.

    Now in this scenario, the person is doing this routine 7 days a week. Seeing how the alcohol stays in the system for a minimum of 24 hours and like clockwork, they take 1-2 drinks per evening, they are essentially high around the clock.

    Some people don’t drink every day, but wait until the weekends. They still can build up a tolerance and do other type of addictive behaviors like checking girls to lust after them or looking at porn, or raising a ruckus with someone—just to stay off the boredom or loneliness they may be feeling. These type of activities are also very, very addicting to the brain system. And I think in part, this is why God’s Word tells us not to do them, for when we do, our brain, our body, and our heart are then put under bondage and we then put ourselves in a position of doing harm to others as well as ourselves.

  181. Correction: that would be to stay off the boredom, frustration, anger, anxiety, hunger ( for whatever they feel deprived of: like companionship, for attention), and or loneliness they may be experiencing.

  182. Another aspect of Alcohol is that it can help kill pain. Being one with chronic physical pain and I mean the type that can literally knock you out, nerve and glaucoma pain. It can take the edge off which is why it can be so insidious. I can understand denominations choosing not to allow the use of alcohol or even smoking by leaders / members.

    There were some people I knew who were dealing with emotional psychological issues and alcohol was the only thing that stopped them from cutting. It is humiliating to be in those situations not that I am but it was for people who confided in me. They were totally ashamed and that shame was constantly reinforced when they did “sin” and actually ask for help.

  183. uriahisaliveandwell,

    The axe you are trying to grind here (Scripturally mandated alcohol abstinence) does not have enough carbon content in the blade to hold an edge. The pushback you get will probably be in direct proportion to the times you try and re-sharpen it.

  184. ” that would be to stay off the boredom, frustration, anger, anxiety, hunger ( for whatever they feel deprived of: like companionship, for attention), and or loneliness they may be experiencing.”

    And from my personal real world experience which is limited these are also things that should not bother Christians who are spirit filled and lead of Christ. They (we) / (me) need to get over it and move on, constantly move on, dont stop do not pass go do not collect 200$. I always chuckle when some protestants talk about Catholics and their works salvation. They dont hold a candle to many protestant groups.

  185. Will someone please tell me in Scripture where states that Jesus drank wine, other than at the last supper.

    Also, please keep in mind: Isaiah, chapter 28 (What the kingdom looks like in darkness) and then, Proverbs, chapter 30.

    As for proof of what I have shared, I think over 40,000 hours spent treating addicts is sufficient. However, for any who has difficulty with this, if you really would like to know, the Internet is full of information that will help you to understand what is going on with your brain and body when you choose to drink. You might keep this in mind, when you drink, it does not just affect you. When you get in your vehicle, it can also kill someone on the highway. At home, it can break the heart of a child and spouse, ruin a future and enabling your mind to bend and twist and shaped the truth and reality into whatever you would like it to be, according the desires of your heart.

    So, yes — it is good news to hear that the conference has brought these issues into the open—now if the leadership can be held to an account for those things wrought out of such a mindset that was developed as a result of their respective addiction. For those who are in such role ought to be able to practiced self control in these areas in order to not hold back in protecting the flock from being drowned in their own vomit (leaven) and thus, quenching the work of the Holy Spirit in all.

  186. I use ice cream the same way. It relaxes me and kills the pain. I must say it stays in the body much longer than 24 hrs. In fact about 25 lbs of it has stayed in my body for yrs. 😉

  187. No axe to grind Muff Potter–only wisdom to share for those that have ears to hear.

    When we see the church behaving as if they are “of” the world, we need to slow down and carefully consider what and how we are being and doing and for what reason. I hardly ever comment on this site. This is one area that I am considered to be an expert, therefore, the subject was mentioned and I took liberty to share. Not meaning to be offensive to anyone, but only to speak truth into what some has shared and some have contended with against. Take it or leave it, time will be the bearer of all truth.

  188. ” For those who are in such role ought to be able to practiced self control in these areas in order to not hold back in protecting the flock from being drowned in their own vomit (leaven) and thus, quenching the work of the Holy Spirit in all.”

    I may start a firestorm here, but I don;t know that the church’s job is to keep people out of sin as much as it is to to proclaim the forgiveness they have in Jesus and how to continually seek it.

  189. monax is simply indicating what is so prevalent today. We all quote our rabbis as if they have authority.

    Look at the Keller quote.again @156. It is a declaration that certainly is open to a little pushback – except from those who stand aghast when Rabbi Keller is pushed-back upon, even as they do not hesitate to push on other people’s rabbis.

    We’ve gotten to a place where few have a problem taking issue with Calvin, Luther, or Wesley. However, to take issue with someone current, ESPECIALLY within that tribe, is somehow shocking to some people. Challenge MacArthur, or Piper in some circles, and you just simply can’t possibly be correct.

    Like I said, as a CC guy, I get this all the time. We definitely have our rabbis, and they are on the radio daily and my congregation listens to them and that is all fine and good. We likely won’t disagree on a whole lot, but it just always strikes me as funny when someone points out a difference and rather than discuss the point of issue, thinks just mentioning the famous pastor should end the discussion.

    And when I was in seminary, as a dispensationalist, I got it from my professors when I disagreed with Walvoord or Ryrie on something. Same thing. As if a dispensationalist can’t possible disagree with these guys on anything and still be a dispensationalist.

    Of course, we can disagree with respect, and we should. I began my first comment “no offense to Keller” and I meant it. Keller is a great guy doing a great work and I already said I enjoy his work and offer it to our church to learn from as well.

    Not good enough for some. The simple fact of daring to disagree is the issue…like I said, just as with the rabbis in Jesus’ day.

  190. Brian,

    Yes, cutting can be part of killing the pain just as alcohol can be used for such purposes. It is ever so discouraging to see someone who wants help not get it but rather put on a toxic guilt trip instead.

    The Holy Spirit came to comfort, to convict us, and to teach us. Not to condemn us, but to let us know we have a problem and that we need to address it so that we can have a fuller, healthier life in Christ Jesus and in our relationships with one another.

    Your comment is well noted and ever so true.

  191. what a piece of work you are, Steve. . what a piece of work

  192. Michael @ 52

    Alcohol and other addictions is not a discrimator towards economic, race, gender, religion, economic status or condition, or age.

    Many people and I mean a huge part of society universally do not understand what addiction or abuse is and what it does and how it is identifiable. All they know is that it works or does not work for them. Those who are victimized as a result of such usage though could write volumes, however.

  193. Well, from where I sit we were engaging each other in the 130s posts just fine.

    You quoted Keller, I (slightly) disagreed..and you jumped in with the CC insults and assumptions I have a bigotry against Keller – which turned out false of course.

    Michael should have stated his question “Why do I encourage dialog with Calvary Chapel pastor? (singular) – Because it is this sort of nonsense that drives ’em off.

    I don’t care who says it. Nowhere in the text does it say “Jesus sits in sorrow at this wedding feast”. Nowhere does it specifically say WHY Jesus did this miracle (except they needed the wine and Mary asked Him to). Is there a significance, of course. John recorded these signs so we would believe Jesus is the Christ and have life in His Name. Is there disagreement as to what the significance of the miracle is – you bet..loads of opinions and Keller is certainly offering one as he is entitled (as are we all who study the text). Is running out of wine at a wedding trivial – not in those days. And who knows what is meant by “Jesus offers us His wine so we may taste God and know joy” – is that communion-speak? The readers of John ch 2 are supposed to make that connection? Is it at all relevant to the discussion of whether wine drinking socially is given us by Jesus?

    All these are things we could have discussed. But it was far easier to go the CC-bash route.

  194. @56

    Good Scripture references—thanks

    “We all need to be careful how we judge others by our own prejudices.”

    What does this have to do with judging anyone—the Bible gives scripture that warns against drinking just as it does give example of drinking. But no where does it tell us to become attach to drinking in such a way that it affects our ability to make good choice and to be immoral and destructive in our action towards ourselves or others. For instance, when we get behind the wheel we put the lives of others at risk. When we drink on a regular basis, for many it will affect our heart, our kidneys, our liver and most of all our brain. That’s not judging anyone, but rather cautioning to examine why it is what we do in the way of drinking that we choose to do so, when we need to be far more mindful of the impact it may be having upon another.

    The people that Jesus was speaking to had to do with saying to them that no matter if He abstain or if He drank, they were going to find reason to discredit Him. For it was not in their Heart to see Him for who He was. I believe there far more scripture on the topic of drinking that speaks against it as it does causes so much harm and modifies reality and weakens the moral compasses in time of temptation, anger, troubles, and adversities.

    I don’t think saying to someone when they express what their take is on this topic is “being judgmental” is really going nullify the fact that alcohol can be quite destructive and is not a respector of persons.

  195. Speaking of nonsense, Steve writes, monax is simply indicating what is so prevalent today. We all quote our rabbis as if they have authority.

    So do you say things like this to your church people? Use and abuse people like this to serve your illustrative purposes.

    Just because I dropped a link to a Tim Keller sermon does not mean I quote or regard him (or anyone) as an authority. Don’t assign to my person things that aren’t true.

    Don’t misrepresent my person. Isn’t this what you’re saying to me? Golden Rule, Pastor Steve. Do unto others.

    And Yes, there’s a lot of push-back within the blurb quote of his sermon. But don’t denigrate his message without even listening to it. And don’t further denigrate me with your false spin of what I’m about.

    The CC-bash route? So far I’ve seen nothing but wolves overseeing these Houses of Bondage. . and you’ve made my file, Mr Steve Wright.

  196. each believer has the liberty to drink alcohol or not. If I choose to drink, I am not at liberty to criticize those who do not, regardless of their reasons for choosing so. On the other hand, if I choose not to drink, I do not have the liberty to criticize those who do, regardless of their reasons. Otherwise, neither choice is truly liberty. One of the greatest failures of the modern American church is to explore and understand the biblical insistance for liberty in
    Christ in his Body. Through this entire thread, no one that I recall has employed this freedom in expressing his/her decision to drink or not. We are freed from the Law, freed from the power of sin and death, freed to serve Christ, freed to live unencumbered by the demands and expectations of religion and religious. Why do we struggle so with this liberty?

  197. I have never been a person that cuts though I have been a person that will pound on a desk if the pain gets to be so much. I actually swim now when I hurt or I get on my chuck Norris exercise machine, though I cant stand his acting to much that thing has saved me a few times. The stretching and motion really helps. To be honest I think much of my pain level is emotional as if I had real physical pain like cancer or something I would not be so able to deal with it. There is some self pity involved, I am an emotional person and tend to operate on that plain were personal hobby horses are concerned. Let me be honest I get ticked when I am challenged or someone questions my credentials. I mean MLK asked me some questions and my first response was how dare he. After that discussion I am trying to ask, how dare I. Sort of like trying to walk in other peoples shoes. I post at the other blog cca as I am sure many see. I resonate “I hate that term for some reason” with the folks over there. As I do with the people here. Basically I am a messed up human groping in the darkest trying to find the light, but the light never went out and I am ticked about it. How dare the light shine where I dont want it to. We are an interesting species.

  198. “The Holy Spirit came to comfort, to convict us,”

    I agree with the convict us part the other part. After 31 years in the franchise, nope but it is a nice thought.

  199. I was referring to the comfort part. It is an unreasonable expectation. I think I struggle with this the most.

  200. One of the greatest failures of the modern American church is to explore and understand the biblical insistance for liberty in Christ in his Body
    ——————————————————
    That’s a good word, fil. Seems to me though often only the first half of Romans 14 (which is a key chapter on this sort of subject) is focused upon. The fact we are not to judge our brothers for their liberty.

    The second half though tells us that all that liberty is to be under love.

    Under love.

    There is a balance here. Like I said earlier, I’ll wear the “weaker brother in the faith” label, if that is true in the Lord’s sight it is cool, and if it turns out to be a false judgement from others, then so be it. The kingdom is not eating and drinking.

    And I will do my best to not judge someone else “who does not condemn himself in what he approves” v.22 – I think Josh and I have both acknowledged the liberty to drink others may enjoy.

  201. MLD @ 189

    “I may start a firestorm here, but I don;t know that the church’s job is to keep people out of sin as much as it is to to proclaim the forgiveness they have in Jesus and how to continually seek it.”

    As Christians, what does Paul say in 1 Corinthians 5-6. What does the Bible tell us about what it means to be in Christ jesus and what fruit is there that are named among those of the flesh.

    I agree with you when you say that “it is to to proclaim the forgiveness they have in Jesus and how to continually seek it.”

    However, this then leads me to ask you. What is there to continually seek if there is no accountability for these things that are fruit of the flesh, which by the way—addiction or abuse is often at the core of these types of behavior. For Paul has told us to put off the old man tha sows to the flesh and put on the new man who is now empowered by the Holy Spirit to now sow to the Spirit and to walk in obedience to His will.

    I am in no sense saying that there are some things that are extremely difficult to overcome. I am saying though that for the sake and health of the church, we as a body also need to be accountable and protected from that which does cause harm to others. And when we choose to drink, it can and often is a stumbling block for those who do not have the control or liberty that some have in doing so. Particularly when one is in the denial stages of their recovery processes, their brains simply are not able to balance out the truth of what liberty and bondage is. What more, when they know or see their pastor doing this, it can literally send them into relapsing. This may not make sense to you—-but what I have stated is true per the multitudes of what has been shared with me by thousands of clients. As Paul has stated, we are not to do something that a weaker one might not be able to handle. That’s love people, not “well I have a right, and the liberty to do so.”

    What more, what liberty is there when your reality has been modified and you are not able to key into the feelings and thoughts of another. That’s called the ability to empathize and to be aware of your own thoughts and feelings at the same time, but know where you stop and the other person begins.

    Have anyone here ever been in a roomful of people have been drinking and you have not. It’s like 2 total different worlds. Ask a person who has come out on the other side of their recovery. Ask your kids or your spouse who do not drink or are using some other type of addictive agent or activity.

    For many, they curse more, they are more sarcastic, flippant, and easily seduced into calling good evil and evil good.

  202. We all quote our rabbis as if they have authority.
    ———————————————
    We…..all……(first person, plural…author included)

    (and that’s “abuse”?)

  203. Uriah, even if you are correct, your agog glance and condescension is making it very hard to take you seriously.

  204. and that’s “abuse”?

    No Steve, it’s not.

  205. “So far I’ve seen nothing but wolves overseeing these Houses of Bondage.”

    monax, I am no Calvary apologist, but seriously, who the hell appointed you judge over the whole CC movement?

  206. “One of the greatest failures of the modern American church is to”

    Is to teach us that being human is not a vile sin worthy of eternal hell, to show us that God does not loath every cell division that takes place in our body is not some type of rebellion because it is not absolutely perfect. Maybe even hint that children are not totally corrupt and that said children would not kill their father and walk across their lifeless corps with no remorse and that we are all not Jr Hitlers just waiting to unleash our unregenerate souls on humanity. I am a weak broken human but never do I even wish such horrors as perpetrated by Hitler on any part of humanity. I guess I missed that class in my apostate university classes. I count that as a total failure, why would God create us for such nonsense. It is nonsense I think we agree with that.

    So we can agree children are not Jeffery Delmar wannabe’s and any self styled radical evangelist who has a brand to build should be dismissed as well silly. But yes I do agree this is one of the greatest failures to actually teach God actually loves some of us. I do not include myself in this last group, did at one time, dont now and never will but that is another post.

  207. London,

    Please explain: “your agog glance and condescension”

  208. my translation, having all the answers or thinking one has even some of the answers. I dont know if agog is condescending but having been in the corporation for so long I can say, most of the truly redeemed rhetoric is always condescending.

  209. Agog glance 😯

  210. What Brian said!
    Actually it was supposed to say arrogance and condescension

  211. Okay—seeing as what I shared had nothing at all with being arrogant, as I am a expert on addiction and the facts shared are true, as any recovered addict will tell you.

    As for being condescending, hmmmm. So in your estimate, you would take me more seriously if I was not so “arrogant” and “condescending.”

    Arrogant in my mind means that I put myself above others. Condescending, in my mind means that I look down on others as if they don’t know as much as I do.

    Well, what can I say—that I’m not either of these—not by a long shot. Perhaps, you just didn’t want to hear what I had to share, as it may have prick the conscience or the heart of what you don’t want to hear or admit might ring true. I don’t know—I just know my own motives in stepping out to share these things on the blog—

    This isn’t about me, any more than a person opinion of me being arrogant and condescending negates the truth on the effect and impact of using alcohol and/or other addictive agents. It is, I would hope would be more about coming to terms with the facts of how alcohol and other addictive agents does undergird many other behaviors that harms, hurt, and even destroys the lives of others.

    By the way, according to the disertation that I did, that included the use of alcohol, the number one correlation between violent crimes and suicidal attempts and suicide was the usage of alcohol. What more, just recently the Military changed their position regarding PTSD and alcohol. Whereas, last year there no correlation, they are discovering that there is a significant correlation. Understanding PTSD, as I do—PTSD can also be experienced by the bystander who witnesses a person who is drinking and acting out in a threatening or self destructive manner. As for a military person, the brain simply cannot adequately process a traumatic event or occurrences, due to the impact that alcohol has upon the brain ability to function adequately to filter through information that enables them to process their experience (s). Any more than a child can, when his or her brain has yet to be completely developed. With a soldier or troop, those under the age of 25-27, their brains have not been completely develop either. So, if they started to drink at, say 14 years old, their brain has been bathed in alcohol and it is from that which sets them up to be particularly succeptible to PTSD when going into combat and even out of theatre, due to military training they received that literally tears them down before they have even been able to develop a sense of the self—

    Knowledge can be good if you apply it appropriately, but if you choose to shut it out by saying someone is arrogant and condescending, then it seems to me that you may be trying to negate the facts by shooting the messenger.

  212. Personally uriah I agree alcohol is an awful addiction. It causes much pain, it also offers some relief from the present pain. I understand a Christian should never need relief, comfort, hope or other such nonsense. I get that in spades. As I have come to understand it, the true followers of the Lord Jesus, should not need that, the Lord Jesus. I get that as well, we need to repent of needing Jesus. We need to deal with it, move on, and get over it. Even before it happens I get that as well. I will admit I have, on many occasions, repenting of being a human that might need. I have actually prayed God would convict me of needing because, that is just not an option in the modern apologetic. True Christians do not need, anything what so ever, ever. I get that as well.

    I still want to hope and I even pray for hope at the same time I pray God would convict me of asking for hope. It is very strange repenting of hope but it is so very clear in the modern apologetic. From the very cheap seats, I dont get it and never will. It really is a very strange religion. It really is.

  213. Uriah,
    Respectfully, I was only able to skim your posts, but did not see any references to back up anything you are saying (If I am wrong then let me apologize in advance). An anonymous voice on the internet telling me he is the expert really is never going to convince me as an argument in and of itself.

    Gotta get to work y’all.

  214. Well, here’s my take: alcohol has a lot of calories, so if you’re overweight, you better not be seen by some of you eating or drinking or risk immediate judgment on both fronts. And that’s all I have to say about that!

  215. Gotta laugh a bit. This article was on reform but the discussion was almost exclusively in response to the first comment and the independence some pastors took from the CC SOP regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages. Did we miss the forest for the trees on this one 🙂

    The issue of believers and the consumption of alcoholic beverages is still a hot topic of discussion. Seems everybody’s got an opinion and a bible verse to support it. Always cracks me up though, when a person’s spirituality and dedication to Christ is determined by whether they imbibe or not.

    Gotta love them crazy Christians!

  216. Perhaps the humble expert on addiction might consider…

    http://thisisnthappiness.com/post/53913447988/camus

  217. Hopkins- “Always cracks me up though, when a person’s spirituality and dedication to Christ is determined by whether they imbibe or not.”

    Nowhere in this thread was that even remotely hinted at. Another case of completely twisting words to fit one’s agenda.

    Here’s one for you: If your employer told you as a “condition of employment” you must give up all online blogging/ social networking you would eitehr do so or you would lose your job. It really would not matter at all whether you agreed with your employer- or whether there was justification for the rule (as long as it is not illegal- which it now is in some states).

    In my posts- I am referring to a “condition of serving in leadership” in my particular Calvary Chapel. Voluntary service- I might add. That condition is to abstain from alchohol for a season. I submit that if a person refused to submit to that condition- they are making alchohol an idol- they are putting their desire to drink alchohol ahead of their service to God. You can argue all you want about liberty- but I have not seen a single post on this thread saying “no true Christian can drink”.

    Many on this thread are saying “one drink”- “not an alchoholic” “not an addict” ” dont need it- just like it” etc. etc. So- if you don’t need it- if you’re not an addict- then why such a MAJOR problem with abstinence while serving in leadership??? Sounds more like a problem with authority and submission to leadership.

    There is only ONE REASON why alchohol exists- to alter the mind. People drink alchohol for the feeling the alchohol gives them- anyone who says otherwise is a liar. No one responded to my earlier post- but would we be having this debate if we substituted weed for alchohol? Of course not. Yet there is no difference whatsoever. In fact- I’d argue that there is much less death, destruction, immorality, and crime associated with pot than with booze.

  218. Always cracks me up though, when a person’s spirituality and dedication to Christ is determined by whether they imbibe or not.<<<

    Glue yourself back together. No one on either side said this.

  219. Haha. Told you this was a sensitive subject! No need to be defensive! I just thought it was interesting how the thread sort of deviated from it original OPed. Again, just shows how hot this issue is to people. Carry on 🙂

  220. Mark,
    “There is only ONE REASON why alchohol exists- to alter the mind.”

    It’s also the only reason for the existence of Ice Cream – it is mind and mood altering. It obviously does not exist for the nutritional value.

  221. Report back to me when ice cream eater gets behind a wheel and kills a family of four.

  222. Well said, JTB.

    In other news: A sad day in America.

  223. @ 223 – Agreed. We knew it was coming.

  224. Josh, His claim was the mind altering effect – not the dangers. His claim was that people drink to get out of reality.

    You aren’t one of THOSE people who blame beer for car accidents are you – instead of holding people responsible. And by the way, we do have laws against drunk driving – so really it is because they are law breakers.

  225. Uriah
    The mere fact you’ve told us about 900 times that you are “an expert” in the field is what I’m talking about.
    And for the record, no My conscious is not “pricked” by anything you have said.
    I drink about 12 drinks a year (at most). Thankfully, Substance abuse is not an area in which I personally struggle, though I have my own issues with other things like every one else. But not that one.

  226. So you’re saying the mid-altering affect of ice-cream isn’t really the same as the mind altering affect of alcohol.

  227. “Knowledge can be good if you apply it appropriately, but if you choose to shut it out by saying someone is arrogant and condescending, then it seems to me that you may be trying to negate the facts by shooting the messenger.”

    That is a great example of why I can’t take you seriously. You have ZERO idea of who I am or what my knowledge level on this subject is.
    You use those kinds of words to shut down anyone who would dare to disagree with you, “the expert” (according to you) because if we disagree, we are “shutting out knowledge@ (which in fact, you don’t know if we already posses)

  228. I need a bowl of menudo…. quick!! :mrgreen:

  229. Josh,
    No they aren’t – not in the way he is claiming. He is against alcohol for the SOLE reason that it is mind altering – even if you just sit in your home and don’t even own a car.

    People do a lot of things because it is “mind altering” – look at dare devils.

  230. I knew it, I knew it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Menudo is a staple in BuenO Park! 🙂

  231. Menudo? THe purto Rican boy band that spawned Ricky Martin?

  232. I respect my friends who have Recovery based ministries, who embody the humility of those who work the 12 Steps, and those who are sponsors, who live the life and engage in conversations without EVER throwing their “expert” status in anyone’s face.

    I respect the addict who shows up to the meetings, damn thankful to have made the choice for sobriety, one day at a time, one hour at a time, admitting their brokenness and need to choose to avoid substances they find alluring and entrapping.

    These true experts quickly learn to influence by simply telling their stories to anyone who will listen, offering help only if the other person expresses the desire to change.

    These aforementioned friends, sponsors and addicts would rightly ignore the pontificating of a self proclaimed expert like the one on this thread.

  233. Bob, Let’s keep this between me and you… okay.. 🙂

  234. Exactly what G said!

  235. As to the idea at people drink because they want to have “mind altering experiences” that is horsec rap. I have an occasional glass of Syrah because it is one of the finest handcrafted beverages a human has ever learned to make, smooth, buttery, rich in flavor and with a bouquet that has a hint of a woody signature, gentle and pleasing to the olfactory senses.

    I enjoy French Roast coffee for many of the same reasons, primarily the rich flavor.

    A person who is not an addict makes the choice to limit their intake of these beverages because of the SECONDARY effects on body chemistry

    Because I can make healthy choices it bears out that I am not an addict of alcoholic substances.

    I :: am :: an addict of processed carbs and as such I take great pains to severely limit my intake of these addictive foods because they cause me to gain weight and effect my diabetes adversely. There’s that SECONDARY effect.

    I am also an addict of trying to “set people straight” about religious extremism and sloppy thinking, and I find that limiting my time doing so greatly lowers my blood pressure, alleviates my ability to be distracted, and contributes to my overall sense of well being, so…

  236. Capt K’s 206…..Yes!

    I can’t understand why people won’t have a civil discussion. We don’t have to agree on every issue, but certainly we should be able to come to the table without pooping on it.

  237. Have not had the opportunity to catch up on this whole thread, but here is a response to one othe statements being thrown around that people drink ONLY to alter their minds. How about for example, Deuteronomy 14:26 – “and spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.” Seems to me that at least in some circumstances, it is encouraged to drink before the Lord in enjoyment and rejoicing.

  238. PP @ 223

    Semantics. As long as everyone has equal representation under the law (including marriage penalties), this shouldn’t positively or negatively affect anyone other than those being wed.

    Now, if they are asking for God to ‘bless their union’, that won’t happen. It is also above our pay grades for the church to grant that to begin with…so asking a church to endorse the union (as if that is somehow God talking lol) is a silly endeavor imo.

    My personal thoughts? I think it is repulsive and it gives me a gag reflex thinking about it. Should my repulsion or religious convictions force someone else how to live though? Or dictate to the state ‘how’ they may govern? Of course not.

    Now that this is out of the political spectrum…maybe we can start telling people about Christ again and stop worrying about whether or not our institutions are “saved”.

  239. Crowned1 – Trying to raise children is much more difficult in a world that promotes perversion.

  240. Josh @ 240

    How so? We are called to be in the world, but not of it. Is sin no longer sin when gay marriage is “legal”?

    Civil rulings do not affect the court of God. Nor should they affect how you raise your children to help them know God. Nor should they affect how your children live either.

    God says if we raise our children up in the way they should go, in their latter days they will not depart from the path.

    God is sovereign above our worthless ballots. If anything, I think it will be easier to raise my daughter as a Christian in this world. The line between sinfulness & godliness is becoming more apparent daily.

  241. G: “As to the idea at people drink because they want to have “mind altering experiences” that is horsec rap. I have an occasional glass of Syrah because it is one of the finest handcrafted beverages a human has ever learned to make, smooth, buttery, rich in flavor and with a bouquet that has a hint of a woody signature, gentle and pleasing to the olfactory senses.”

    HA! I was waiting for this line of malarkey! I guarantee you that if the same beverage was made alchohol free- no one would buy it.

    Also- folks you are all missing the point!!! No one is saying a Christian does not have the liberty to drink. This entire thread started with reference to CC SPC and ECPC suggesting (NOT MANDATING BY THE WAY) that CC leaders consider abstention from alchohol. I then explianed that in my church- it is a condition of ministry to abstain.

    This issue is not whether one drinks- the issue is whether one submits to auhtority and sets aside drink- or does that person put drink ahead of service to the Lord? We have had men walk away from church leadership over this issue- as silly as that sounds!

    Further- you drinkers out there have ignored the marijuana analogy – would we be having this debate over pot? Of course not. Yet there is no difference between the two other than legality (unless of course you live in Colorado or Washington)

  242. “I drink because I like the taste”. HA- one of man’s all time greatest lies.

  243. @ 241 – I assume you don’t show your daughter porn, etc? Why not? Wouldn’t it then be easier to point out how different the world is?

    When my children see adult leaders promoting and celebrating sin, it is very confusing to them.

  244. Well I don’t know about others here…but I indeed drink moderately on occasion for the sole purpose of having a mind altering experience.

    When I have a headache, I also take aspirin to have a mind altering experience. If I am injured, I take pain killers to have a mind altering experience.

    If I didn’t want a mind altering experience, I would drink a non-alcoholic beverage (they are by far cheaper).

  245. I would say that if a church demanded that I abstain from alcohol for service that THEY have made alcohol an idol and I would find another church that understood Christian liberty.

  246. Josh @ 244 “I assume you don’t show your daughter porn, etc? Why not? Wouldn’t it then be easier to point out how different the world is?”

    She’s not old enough to understand porn yet. But I live in orange county, so all I have to do is take her to the beach to look at porn.

    “When my children see adult leaders promoting and celebrating sin, it is very confusing to them.”

    That’s because they are currently conditioned to trust men in spiritual areas. I am brainwashing my daughter (since birth) to trust in God and His Word alone. To critically think, and to use logic and reason. It is a long process, but I am building the foundations.

    That way, when she hears men “teach” her morality someday…she can determine if what they say aligns with scripture or not.

  247. “:She’s not old enough to understand porn yet”

    But she is old enough to understand homosexual unions?
    When she is old enough, then you will show her porn?

  248. Watching sports, watching tv or movies, reading scripture, and prayer are all mind altering experiences.
    Watching an article you wrote on one subject produce 200 responses on another topic is a mind altering experience…

  249. Josh @ 248

    No, she is not old enough to understand homosexual unions. I will explain the concept to her as she matures though. One stroll on the boardwalks of Laguna Beach will likely prompt this conversation.

    I will not shove porn in my daughter’s face, no. But I have no doubts, living in Orange County, that I will indirectly expose my daughter to porn, yes. And at such time, there will be questions and answers about what it is.

  250. Crowned1 @ 250 – So, like I assumed, you keep your daughter from things that will be damaging to her, as much as possible. Me too. My only point is that it is becoming more and more difficult to do so.

  251. Mark says:
    June 26, 2013 at 9:30 am

    G: “As to the idea at people drink because they want to have “mind altering experiences” that is horsec rap. I have an occasional glass of Syrah because it is one of the finest handcrafted beverages a human has ever learned to make, smooth, buttery, rich in flavor and with a bouquet that has a hint of a woody signature, gentle and pleasing to the olfactory senses.”

    HA! I was waiting for this line of malarkey! I guarantee you that if the same beverage was made alchohol free- no one would buy it.

    Mark, as soon as you can provide me an alcohol free version of Syrah I will buy it, just as I now buy decaf French Roast.

    Stop being a buffoon about what I said, it’s not malarkey, I stated absolute fact regarding my preferences as a consumer and an adult, and you have no personal BS filter.
    There is a niche market for every viable product.

    I’m going to say this as charitably as I can, “You are clueless.”

    Bringing the discussion back to reform, it’s precisely because of well intentioned extremists like you that reform rarely happens, which is fine, because there is another healthier alternative…

    :: Reinvention ::

  252. Kevin H @ nr. 238:

    Deuteronomy 14:26 is one of those inconvenient texts that one has to find a way to spin so that it no longer has a “plain meaning” which would contradict one’s original position of Scripturally mandated alcohol abstinence for all. I believe Alex called the practice “selective fundamentalism”.

    ~and~

    I am also an addict of trying to “set people straight” about religious extremism and sloppy thinking, and I find that limiting my time doing so greatly lowers my blood pressure, alleviates my ability to be distracted, and contributes to my overall sense of well being, so…

    Priceless (|lo)====::: , priceless!

  253. Mark,
    Does a Christian have the liberty/freedom to drink alcohol?
    Does the Bible explicitly prohibit “leaders” from drinking alcohol?
    Does one who chooses to drink alcohol have to justify him/herself to those who do not?
    Conversely, does one who chooses not to drink alcohol have to justify him/herself to those who do?
    Finally, what are your convictions on Christian liberty in Christ?

  254. …speaking of “reform” (“Who’s speaking about reform?” one asks. “I am!” replies me) this is why I moved on from Calvary Chapel. The structure is fine if one wants a personality driven pastor based church. If one wants polity, which I came to appreciate, I decided to take Rick Warren’s sage advice when he was telling people about how to handle their dissatisfaction with things at Saddleback. He invited them to feel free to bless those who didn’t share their dissatisfaction and part company with love and mutual respect. That’s called maturity, and is why Saddleback thrives. I believe the same can be said for the Calvary Chapels who have reasonable pastors who welcome some give and take from their congregations. Realistically, if at some point you disagree with a group on too many points it’s just time to move along with love for those who you can no longer support.

    …which is why healthy reinvention through personal discovery is so needed in the church, and it would be a great topic for Michael Newnham to begin a few articles on in preparation for his new book (hey, it could happen) 😉

  255. Josh @ 251

    No, I do not plan to shelter her. I plan to ‘not promote sin’. There is a difference. I intentionally expose her to Jesus, but I will also willingly explain homosexuality to her as the sin that it is…and expound on why society doesn’t want it to be sin.

    I, like you I am sure, do not plan to attend pride parades, homosexual weddings, or turn gay one day now that it is “legal”. Sin is not to be celebrated.

    I stand by what I said. What my neighbors do, what my friends do, what my fellow man does…will not affect me or my daughter (in the spiritual sense). Following Christ doesn’t change based on the popular sin of the day.

    Will it be an uncomfortable conversation piece one day? Possibly. But I hold honesty on a higher pedestal than sheltering.

  256. “Will it be an uncomfortable conversation piece one day?”

    That’s what I said. Not sure what you are disagreeing with.

  257. Josh @ 257 “Not sure what you are disagreeing with”

    Basically this is where we disagree in a nutshell:

    “Trying to raise children is much more difficult in a world that promotes perversion”

    No its not. Raising children according to scripture never changes. If there is 1 gay person or 1 billion gay people, sin is still sin. It is only more difficult, if you are relying on ‘others’ to raise your children for you. If ‘you’ are the spiritual leader…nothing changes.

    That is why it is important to teach children to critically think & be logically minded. So as they age, they will not be swayed by wolves who speak things that aren’t in the Bible.

  258. @255.
    That has always been the POV that I have been exposed to. Some, if not most Calvary Chapels also this position. I think where the phrase “blessed subtraction” came into play was attributed to those who attempted to sway the church in their direction and eventually left after much strife and frustration. I’ve seen several of those situations in my time.

    Having spent the bulk of my time in smaller churches, there is always a hope that is held out that someone will recognize the value of a church family environment and set aside certain non-essential differences for the sake of the fellowship. It rarely works, as most want their cake and be able to eat it to. In attempting to keep both, they end up with an empty plate and cake box. Better for them to move on before paradise is lost.

  259. Crowned, if you are trying to tell me that friends, family, TV, or the President of the USA have no influence on your children, whatsoever, I’d tell you that you are delusional.

  260. Having said that drinking is not prohibited by Scripture and to say otherwise is to temporarily at least abandon the cardinal Protestant doctrine of Sola scriptura in favor of a “vain tradition of men” based on “human opinions,” I think discouraging the consumption of alcohol is not the worst attitude a pastor could have. There are a lot of people who need to drink less and plenty more that should stop drinking altogether.

  261. Josh @ 260

    They can certainly have ‘physical influence’, but never ‘spiritual’. That is always between ourselves and the Lord. That is precisely why God said He would not tempt us more than we could bear…there is always an ‘out’.

    We can be given ‘suggestions’ or ‘peer pressures’…but we alone have to act on them. The key to overcome influence…is raising our children to identify & reject it (critical thinking & logic/reasoning).

  262. This is the day my patriotism died.

    My father served during WWII. Great-great-grandfather served with Grant and Sherman. 5G-grandfather with Washington. 3G-grandfather volunteered for the War of 1812 when he was 37 years old.

    The blood of my ancestors built this country.

    This tragic day will motivate me to more fully move my identity into that righteous and eternal Kingdom, where the just reign.

    Am I over-reacting? Perhaps.

    Time will tell.

    But today, it is hard to have hope.

  263. PP Vet, I agree with you. Time to remember where my real citizenship lies.

  264. “Trying to raise children is much more difficult in a world that promotes perversion”

    @ 262 – DId I say spiritual, at any point?

  265. @ 261 – Xenia – I see your point, and you are correct. I would not be able to resolve Sola Scriptura with prohibition of alcohol.

  266. PP Vet,
    Absolutely nothing has changed other than reinforcing the idea that we need to stay out of each others business.

    Time for redefinitions and reinvention.

  267. Josh @ 265 “Did I say spiritual, at any point?”

    If not spiritual…then what are you worried about? Physical crimes? I’m sorry, I think we lost each other at some point in the exchange so I will bow out.

  268. I’ll just repost my quote for the 5th time:

    “Trying to raise children is much more difficult in a world that promotes perversion”

    If TV, family, friends, teachers, coaches, and the president celebrate and condone certain sins, it is much harder for my young children to know what is right. That should be evident.

  269. Time for redefinitions and reinvention.<<<

    No thanks.

  270. Those churches that require abstinence from their leaders need to realize that by those standards Jesus himself wouldn’t qualify….

  271. I only spend part of the day with my son.
    The rest of the day, the prevailing culture has it’s way with him.
    Much tougher to raise kids today than it was even ten years ago.

  272. Is there any quarter given for the idea of a youth leader in a church abstaining from booze under the greater law of love over liberty expressed by Paul – and of a church asking said youth leader to do so as a condition of the office?

    Is there anyone who waits until the legal age to have their first drink? is the youth leader’s entire argument simply to be that the kids are not legally able to drink and Jesus wants them to abide by the laws of the land.

    Seems that method is tried in millions of houses across America every day. It was in mine. “Wait until you are 21” – how many kids are swayed by that argument?

    (I didn’t wait either)

    Is there an allowance for a church to express a different argument from the world to the kids?

  273. “If TV, family, friends, teachers, coaches, and the president celebrate and condone certain sins, it is much harder for my young children to know what is right. That should be evident.”

    Only if your children are looking to ‘men’ for truth, rather than Jesus. It is our job, as spiritual leaders of the family, to teach them the difference. Where is their focus? Where is the source of their morality? If morality is sought out in peers, the focus is off.

    For example, as a child I was instructed by my parents to trust pastors. Trouble is, when I’d approach them with a problem (these pastors disagree with each other and each one says their answer is the biblical one) they didn’t know what to tell me.

    God revealed to me later in the life, that the answer was…and always has been…His Word is truth. Trusting the subjectivity of men is a no-no. My parents did not understand this, but I will instruct my daughter in this thought process.

    So in that, whether the president, pastor, teacher, coach, family or friends try to mislead her…she will not believe them, but rather, will go to the Word for truth.

  274. Well, Crowned1, I’ll just have to quote myself again:

    “Crowned, if you are trying to tell me that friends, family, TV, or the President of the USA have no influence on your children, whatsoever, I’d tell you that you are delusional.”

    People have these things called the five senses. What we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell influence us…often times without our even realizing it. I’m glad that you are raising your daughter to believe in Scripture. However, she will also be influenced by everyone and everything that she ever comes into contact with. That’s the human experience. Good, bad, or indifferent, it is what it is.

  275. I don’t know about “looking to men for truth” as an apt description, but the Scripture is pretty clear about the examples we are to be for others – and it is nice when raising kids if the good examples out-number and out-influence the bad ones. Isn’t that at least part of the reason there are Christian schools and/or homeschooling options?

  276. “So in that, whether the president, pastor, teacher, coach, family or friends try to mislead her…she will not believe them, but rather, will go to the Word for truth.”

    If this were true, she would never, ever sin.

  277. Josh @ 275 “she will also be influenced by everyone and everything that she ever comes into contact with.”

    Potentially. And that is why from early childhood, the mind needs to be conditioned to ‘think outside the box’ and not accept that people are genuinely honest. Everything on this planet will ‘attempt’ to convince our kids that ‘they’ have the answer.

    One of my jobs, as a dad, is to teach my daughter that ‘they may be selling’…’but you still have to choose what to buy’. And what you should choose to buy, is the best product available, and that is what Jesus offers you.

    My parents said ‘trust teachers’, ‘trust pastors’, ‘trust men’. That is wrong. The only One Who should get the benefit of the doubt is Jesus. All humans (including dad) should be tested against scripture.

    If this concept ‘roots’ young enough…what the world is slinging will not be appealing.

  278. Steve @ 276

    In full agreement there.

  279. @ 278 and 279 – If that is the case, then more sinful influence from the outside would make your job as a father more difficult,

    Which is what I’ve said all along.

  280. Josh @ 277 “If this were true, she would never, ever sin.”

    Of course she would, ‘knowing the truth’ & ‘following it’ are two separate things. I do stuff I ‘know’ to be wrong, daily.

    My #278 should have ended “what the world is slinging will not be as appealing”

  281. @ 281 – So we are in agreement then. Living in an environment that says sin is good makes it harder for me to raise my children the right way.

  282. “The world” is inescapable.
    Community is something we create by association, sometimes we’re born into it through culture, sometimes we choose it because our parents model it.
    If we become part of a community that agrees on a set of values then regardless of what “the world” says, we choose “community” and therefore reinforce our values.
    The different communities throughout history have always reinforced and rewarded association by affirming practices which come from beliefs.

    This is how Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism have survived the millenia.

    Regardless of the practices and beliefs of the culture around us, we each choose to believe and therefore DO what we wish, seeking out like minded people, “tolerating” others, avoiding those who we find their beliefs & practices intolerable.

    Today nothing changed other than the freedom to more fully choose, tolerate or be challenged to love those whom we may or may not disagree with.

  283. Josh @ 280

    Dad’s spiritual job: Instruct them in the way that they should go.

    1. homosexual acceptance is on the rise, has the job changed?
    2. false teachers are on the rise, has the job changed?
    3. Revival is occurring, has the job changed?
    4. We have a Christian president with Christian legislation, has the job changed?

    In good times or bad, the job doesn’t change. Positive external influences, negative ones, doesn’t matter. Job is still the same, it has not become easier or harder based on society.

    I cannot ‘force’ my daughter to be a Christian, I can only raise her in the way she should go. As such, her acceptance or denial of the faith is between her and God. Which consequently means, the job doesn’t get ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ on me.

    Hopefully that explains what I am saying better.

  284. To All:

    It appears as though there are some who have felt offended by the information I’ve shared regarding the physiological, psychological, emotional, and relational effects of alcohol.

    It saddens me to hear that one will attempt to discredit me and the information that I shared by either attributing characteristics to my intentions or belittling my expertise on this subject matter.

    We know the Bible gives many scriptures pro and con on the usage of alcohol. We also know for those who defend such usage will be not as open to hear information that might counter that choice. At same time, however, there is one overriding scripture passage that one or two have pointed out that ought to be, in my opinion, as a Christian who loves the Lord, the primary standard in the use of such. But, cannot be adequately determined, unless they also understand and acknowledge the destructive forces that do overcome the body and the brain, as there is absolutely no medicinal value in the use of alcohol that overrides the destruction of this mood-mind altering drug. Alcohol is a depressant and only intensifies the negative psychological and emotional conditions one may be struggling with or even denying. What more it will literally numb the brain from being able to process information that is available but not easily access simply because the brain is now focused on what relieves or what feels good, not what damages it may be causing to self and others.
    The scripture passage that has been mentioned by others has to do with stumbling blocks that we can put in the way of another and yet, at the same time, use liberty as an excuse to do so regardless of what the impact may have upon another. Am I saying, not to drink—not at all! What I am saying is that if you choose to drink, don’t let your perceived rights to do so, cause you to lose sight of all sense and sensibilities by failing to making an informed decision base on facts, not on your desire to medicate yourself.

    As for the type of wine that was used in biblical times, don’t assume that it was the same that it is today, particularly when it comes beer or hard liquor. And by the way beer is just as damaging to the brain and body and others as any other alcoholic drink. When researching these things, please keep in mind that the marketing and sales of alcohol spend a lot of money on propaganda that is psychologically geared to promote the usage of alcohol. But, upon further research you will find out that what you have bought into is not quite the real picture that is going on in the lives of people who are using to escape or to avoid the reality of not being able to cope without being medicated.

    Getting back to what I really am trying to get across here. Although, as a Christian, we may have liberty to do things, we do not ever have liberty to put another person’s life at risk, or to stumble another, in their efforts to walk and to grow in the Lord, while being able to trust you that you will not do or say anything that would put them in harm’s way. And in order to use this as a measuring rod in engaging in what liberties we think we have, we absolutely must know what the effects of alcohol has on our ability to think, to feel, to make good and godly moral choices, for the benefit of others, as well as one self.

    When one simply says, “well Jesus drank,” therefore, they are not considering the deeper issues of what Jesus and Paul and others have taught us in the Bible. That is, the law of love—-which is the only debt that we should owe anyone. And when we decide solely because we want to—then we are missing the greater lesson that can also be found in Scripture that over and over again speaks volume in how using alcohol can also develop and justify committing such things that does bring much harm upon ourselves and others. If this offends you, I am most grieved as Paul has stated: “What, you count me as an enemy, because I tell you the truth.”

    I do not apologize for being an expert in addiction as what I have learned over the years was learned as a result of the calling that God placed upon my life to study, to observe, to learn from the many clients and their significant others while also considering scripture and seeing that in fact these things are true and that we, as a people today, live in a very addictive and narcissistic society, while even in the church, much harm is being done towards one another simply because we do not look beyond our own wants, needs, and desire to protect one another by not engaging in activities that do set us up for a fall. It is written that, “my people perish due to lack of knowledge.”

    There will be some who scoffs at what I have shared. That is there choice to do.

    But at what price are they willing to pay by ignoring the information that I have share? All one needs to do is to listen to the tears, the cries, and the pain and the suffering expressed to me, as therapist by those who have been abused, raped, robbed, or losing a loved one who on the death certificate, no one would except those close to the person would know that the use of a mind altering drug had everything to do with the choices that he or she made: thinking that they were functioning well and besides who business is it, anyway. All one has to do is to listen to the tears of fear and anxieties of an addict while still attempting to bargain and negotiate the terms of his or her right to drink, while their family walks out on them and they attempt to lay blame on anything other than the usage of the very drug, they have become dependent upon to cope and to seemingly function—at least in the reality and relative truths they have invented to do so.

    As for the affect of one drink—-all one has to do is ask oneself what one drink does for them. Then, tell me, they have been set free in Christ, to practice that which holds them in bondage and weakens the mind and the body to commit other things that are hedonistic and is most unloving towards another human being: Be it verbal, economical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or physical abuse and which by the way when using God’s Word to justify such things, is what is called Spiritual abuse at its best.

    One does not need to be drunk to fall into temptation and to do harm to another. This is all that I would ask each of you to consider, now being told some of the fact regarding the effects that alcohol has upon the brain and body. There is a residual effect upon the brain mapping that simply does not resolve itself as long as the pleasure zone is being stimulated to such an extent that all reasoning is filter through this instead—it is about the self and love is not even in the equation.
    Here’s a link that provides information on the effects of just one drink.

    http://www.jrussellshealth.org/alceffct.html

  285. London

    1. You do exagerate in order to what? 900 times??????
    2. The information provided is for anyone that cares to considered it.
    3. I don’t know you, or anyone else of this thread, so it would be foolish to think that it I am saying to anyone specifically that they should or should not be drinking.
    4. Given that I know who I am and what my heart is about—your response to what I shared comes across to me as being a bit defensive which in turns does not permit you to hear my heart or what I have shared. That grieves me, so I would encourage to consider that just maybe, I am not being arrogant or condescending and that although what I have shared was gained and developed into what most would consider to be that of what someone else on this thread may also claim in their own field and scope of knowledge and practice, that you would review and then pray about it and file it away–for who knows when the Lord might want you to access to gain understanding and be discerning in helping or providing intervention for another in the Body of Christ. Or even holding a person accountable for the harm brought upon another as a result of abuse and corruption.

  286. uriah has a legit opinion (IMO) and the person is an expert in the areas of drug and alcohol addiction and has the credentials to have a credible opinion.

    Personally, I drink in moderation and don’t have a problem with it (in moderation it seems proven that it is a health benefit)…but I do understand the cautions of drinking and I view it as much like eating…balance. Too much and it becomes a bad thing really quickly.

  287. ““You shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. And if the way is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, when the LORD your God blesses you, because the place is too far from you, which the LORD your God chooses, to set his name there, then you shall turn it into money and bind up the money in your hand and go to the place that the LORD your God choosesand spend the money for whatever you desire—oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves. And you shall eat there before the LORD your God and rejoice, you and your household.”
    (Deuteronomy 14:22–26 ESV)

  288. Uriah,
    In your continued efforts to convince us all you are “an expert” you have list any validity with me (and others I’m sure)
    It seems to be highly important to you that you get some sort of recognition for being “an expert” I guess.
    I’ll stick with the folks that G talked about. They have no need to sell anyone on any creditials other than hi, my name is….and I’m an addict (chose your type)they have all the validity just be having the guts to admit they are screwed up, that you seem to be so desperately seeking.

  289. Uriah,
    Sorry if I’ve been a bit strident with the push back. I am a recovering alcoholic with 17 yrs. sobriety to my credit. My wife is a moderate drinker with fine beer and wine enjoyed at meals. When we go to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner, she also enjoys a margarita or two.

    I am not the least bit “stumbled” or seized with some kind of uncontrollable desire to go back to my old life because she happens to drink in my presence like a lady with common sense and moderation. We’ll just have to agree to disagree with civility and realize that neither of us will “convert” the other. It has nothing whatsoever to do with your credentials as a counselor or the genuine harm that alcohol can cause those poor souls who cannot drink sensibly.

  290. I love my friend Uriah. I will offer this bible verse as proof there is a bit of a contradiction in the thesis against alcohol consumption (along with Jesus turning water into wine) while recognizing the dangers of addiction and drinking too much for too long:

    Proverbs 31:6-7 Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.

  291. Sometimes getting drunk is good to ease the soul…and the bible commands us to do it 🙂

  292. The Bible can be used to justify slavery, drinking, possibly bigamy.

    That is disingenuous at best. Really, just stupid.

    The question is, What is healthy behavior?

    Some here apparently think drinking is healthy behavior and should be encouraged and promoted.

    Because, like slavery, animal sacrifices, and divinely directed genocide, it is “in the bible”.

  293. I guess you could ask – what is the difference between putting yourself to sleep each night with a couple of drinks vs a couple of sleeping pills?

    I think some Christians are just insensitive to the fact that life is tough, even for the Christian, and you do what it takes to get through.

  294. A fair point.

    Costco dedicates about half the store to booze (a slight exaggeration).

    So apparently life is tough for a lot of people.

    Really, it is staggering. Where does all that booze go? People drinking themselves into a stupor every night?

  295. PP,
    I said earlier – talk to Jews about their views on alcohol consumption. As I said, they look at it as a gift from God to celebrate life’s occasions.

  296. “Costco dedicates about half the store to booze (a slight exaggeration).”

    SLIGHT!?!

    Dude, I think you were accidentally in a BevMo!

  297. You fellers sure do love yer likker.

  298. Costco has very limited variety – except in the booze aisles.

    One type of mayonnaise, 792 types of hard liquor. (Anyone who has been to Costco recently knows this is another – slight – exaggeration. Next time I go, I will actually count the different types of hard liquor. But I will still be stuck with one type of mayonnaise.)

    One brand of grape jelly, 231 different wine labels. (Again, next time I will count.)

    I think the Christian wearing the T-shirt “Hard liquor drinker and proud of it” has the burden of defending that.

    The position “I drink very little or none, I am comfortable with that, but I do not condemn anyone else for responsibly exercising their freedom of conscience in this area” does not fit on a T-shirt very well, but is in my opinion easier to defend.

  299. Josh – I barely drink – margaritas perhaps 4 or 5 times a year but one cannot make a case that drinking is prohibited in the Bible and one would be hard pressed to make a case that it is even frowned on.

    It’s pietism at its best. I could make the same case against watching any TV – from the white spaces in the Bible.

  300. “one cannot make a case that drinking is prohibited in the Bible”

    Nor can one make a case from the bible against texting while driving. Good point.

  301. I had an ice cold beer on my flight home last night. It was a long, long, long week full of stress fueled by a new employee who sits right behind me but refuses to get up and ask me questions. Instead, she sends emails and copies EVERYONE in management.
    Oh, and the font she uses is about size 30 so it’s a visual assault every time I open one of her emails as well…
    They said they can’t fire her (for other things not the annoying emails) because no one else applied for the job. 😯

    The beer helped me take the edge off while I sat and played a silly ipad game (more mind numbing than the beer actually)

    Pretty sure Jesus wasn’t offended.

  302. “Pretty sure Jesus wasn’t offended.”

    I’m sure he was glad you enjoyed yer Devil’s Brew.

  303. “… sends emails and copies EVERYONE in management.”

    Know the type ….

  304. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to the one who is perishing, and wine to those in bitter distress; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
    ———————————————————————————-
    RB does point out an interesting verse(s) above. There are a couple right before too. I paste the whole passage.

    So I guess if one wants to use that OT example, a lot depends on which description best describes our life in Christ at the moment.

  305. so it’s a visual assault every time I open one of her emails as well…
    ———————————————-
    That’s funny! I can relate to such…. 🙂

  306. It’s was Heinekein, not Devil’s Brew Josh. 😉

    And…it was free, so I didn’t spend all my tithe money on it either 😉

  307. “played a silly ipad game”

    Ipad’s are the conduit for demons to reach the soul.

    ANNNND…I’m just messing around with you guys today. Hope everyone has a great weekend. If you drink, take it easy.

    If you don’t drink, ah what the heck, get loaded for once.

  308. I do believe that about ipads.
    This game is a combination of solitare and golf and gophers (don’t ask) and it is almost as addictive as Candy Crush (which I gave up because it really was addictive)…

    I played the dang game till 2am this morning just trying to win one more round….

  309. “And…it was free, so I didn’t spend all my tithe money on it either ”

    Ha! Buttttttttt….since that beer is technically income, you owe the church a tenth of that Heineken. So, you gonna rob god, or what ? 🙂

  310. My daughter got a free game on her Kindle while we were on vacation called Monopoly Hotels. I wasted about half the week on that ridiculous game.

  311. God and the church are not the same, so therefore, to not give the church .50 (1/10 of an airline’s outrageously priced beer) is not robbing God.
    But, if it’ll make you feel better, next time I’m in a church, I’ll drop 2 quarters in the collection plate 🙂

  312. …or you can do like in the song “Signs”,

    “I said, ‘thank You, Lord, for thinking ’bout me
    I’m alive and doing fine…”

    (you know you just started singing the chorus, just admit it)

  313. When the devil points out your sin, and tells you not to drink, drink some more.

  314. …Oh sorry, forgot to put the above in quotes. It’s from Martin Luther.

  315. Who also said, ” When your conscience is being troubled by the devil and the Law, do something fun, joke with your friends, listen to music, even sin a little. And when the devil points it out, say, ‘What of it, devil. Add that to my list of sins including farting this morning. Don’t look at me as the merit of my righteousness, it is found at God’s own right hand.”

  316. “farting this morning.”

    That’s sinning?

    Uh oh.

  317. I’m requesting that resources be committed to have CostcoCal comment on the adult beverage inventory practices at the membership store of his namesake.

    CostcoCal, can you be found?

  318. Josh,
    the winds of reform are seldom sweet

  319. Costco Cal kicked ass.

  320. Or got his ass kicked.

  321. CostcoCal is a ninja, lurking in the rafters near the backstock of pickle relish

  322. And/or a Jedi Knight In Training. Seeking for The Way. To the free snacks zone.

  323. regarding Biblical Education:

    here’s a short exegetical look at “biblical leadership” via Hebrews 13:17a

    http://spiritualauthority.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/obey-your-leaders-and-submit-to-them/

    would be interested in any feedback, especially from Calvary Chapel pastors who have assumed the seat of Moses

    David

  324. monax,

    There are some interesting and helpful things in the article.
    However, the idea that there is no “hierarchy” of any sort intended by Scripture I think is in error.
    The question is how that “hierarchy” should act and in that sense I agree with the writer.

  325. appreciate your response, Michael.

    can you direct me to some Scriptures supporting such “hierarchy”

    i’d like to take a look at them?

    keep in mind. . my views of the nature and scope of spiritual authority are open for being refined. . so i do appreciate all gracious feedback. . this is somewhat new territory for me. . i know that i don’t have it altogether right yet. . i’m at the beginning of my research on this. . but that’s what i’m aiming for. . to have the right view of biblical leadership.

    again, thank you

  326. monax,

    I believe that biblical leadership in the local church is comprised of elders first, then deacons.
    Those elders will have the spiritual gift of a pastor/teacher.
    Deacons seem to be of lesser “authority”.
    Now, I think we also need to look at church history…where Polycarp was a bishop in leadership over other elders and churches.
    As he was a disciple of John, either the hierarchy was considered normative in the early church or the whole thing went off the rails after the death of the last apostle.
    I would also point you toward the writings of Clement of Rome who was a bishop in that early church and exercised and was acknowledged as having authority in the churches..

    “So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.””
    (1 Peter 5:1–5 ESV)

    “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.
    Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”
    (1 Timothy 3:1–13 ESV)

  327. Don’t forget St. Ignatius of Antioch! (Also a disciple of St. John & friend of Polycarp)

    ===

    See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic* Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

    ===

    *Catholic, meaning “universal.”

  328. Xenia,

    Yes, thank you.
    Again, a very early witness to life in the early church.

  329. Ultimately, Michael, I’m not wanting to look to church history but to the Word of God for my answer on this.

    “The church is always to be under the Word; she must be; we must keep her there. You must not assume that because the church started correctly, she will continue so. She did not do so in the New Testament times; she has not done so since. Without being constantly reformed by the Word the church becomes something very different. We must always keep the church under the Word.” —D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

    I find nothing in either 1 Peter 5 nor 1 Timothy 3 that supports “hierarchy.”

    The oversight of an elder is a coming alongside with the authority of a life submitted to the Lord and to His Word.

    Keep in mind how Jesus turned the tables on this, turned the worldly concept of hierarchy upside down. He said to his disciples, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mark 9:35).

    When His disciples desired such a hierarchical position—“Jesus answered them, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’” (Matt 20:25-28).

  330. why have i been moderated?

  331. maybe too many bible verse links?

  332. O, Michael, the ‘writer’ is me. . and the ‘article’ is simply a repost of an (academic) comment i made in the context of a larger conversation on Spiritual Sounding Board (link provided at SpAu).

    If there’s any Greek Scholars among us I’d love for you to look over my exegesis.

  333. monax,

    A hierarchy is nothing more than a leadership structure.
    The Bible not only identifies those leaders it requires submission to them.
    Now…what that “submission” looks like and how leadership is practiced is open to debate.

    I value history far more than you do in this case.
    If the very earliest church had a hierarchy that included bishops, deacons, and elders that is a very good indicator that the apostolic church did as well.

  334. Did you examine my scholarship of Hebrews 13:17a, Michael?

    In that particular passage the Greek doesn’t read that we’re required to submit to them but to the authority of Christ and His Scriptures.

    Obey your leaders and submit to them

    Peithesthe tois hegeomenois hupon kai hupeikete

    The first word—‘obey’—is a translation of the Greek word peitho.

    Peitho basically means to ‘persuade, convince; trust, believe’ (EDNT).

    What is important to note, to get technical for a moment, is that the verb is inflected in the middle voicepeithesthe, indicating that the subject of the verb is acting upon itself or is being affected by its own action. In the Greek the subject is affixed to the verb as a second person plural imperative that is ‘understood’ in the English Standard Version as ‘(You) obey.’

    As Peithesthe is followed by the dative with the indirect object being a participle in either the middle or passive voice—tois hegoumenois, modified by the second person plural possessive pronoun—hupon, followed by the conjunction—kai, which locks in a reinforcing second person plural imperative verb in the active voice—hupeikete, the entire phrase can literally be translated:

    ‘Follow (or obey) those who are leading and yield (or submit) [to them (or to their authority)].’

    In his expository dictionary W. E. Vine relates the significance of peitho as it is found here in the middle voice: “The obedience suggested is not by submission to authority, but resulting from persuasion. Peitho and pisteuo, ‘to trust,’ are closely related etymological [terms]; the difference in meaning is that the former implies the obedience that is produced by the latter. . . . Peitho in the New Testament suggests an actual and outward result of [an] inward persuasion and consequent faith.”

    The Greek imperatives here—“obey” and “submit” are in the volitional mood exhorting us to respond with willful assent. ‘Allow yourselves to be persuaded and willfully submit to the authority of your leaders,’ would be an appropriate rendering of the Greek.

    This point cannot be emphasized enough: the authority our leaders persuade us to submit to is the authority of the Word of God.

    The will that our leaders persuade us to obey is the Will of God.

    The moment a leader authoritatively interjects anything into the mix that is not supported in Scripture he has crossed over the line into spiritual illegitimacy.

    Just a few verses above our phrase in question the writer of Hebrews gives us this:

    “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings” (13:7-9a ESV).

    The force of the underlying Greek exhorts us to constantly bear in mind the character of those who faithfully taught the Word of God and to scrutinize their life carefully, and then to follow them as they have followed Christ.

    This sets us up to receive the instructions in question—‘obey your leaders and submit to them.’

    What’s important to keep in mind, especially for those in unhealthy authoritarian churches, is that this very appeal to obedience and submission is not to any leader (outside of God Himself), but to the truths and teachings of Scripture. These leaders must foremost model this obedience and submission to Christ and His Word if they are ever to be entrusted with any degree of pastoral stewardship.

  335. monax,

    In my opinion Jesus was not speaking against any hierarchical structure, but against abusive leadership in the hierarchy.
    As far as your exegesis, I believe you are correct that leaders are to be of good character and their authority is derived and limited by the word of God.
    However, I don’t believe you can simply exegete the passage in part.

    “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
    (Hebrews 13:17 ESV)

    If leaders are “watching over your souls” and are going to called to account for their leadership, then that assumes biblical authority.

  336. I believe St. Ignatius had a good understanding of the Greek and did not arrive at your conclusion, Mr. Monax.

  337. Yes, Michael, I’ve taken the full verse and the entire book of Hebrews as my context, along with the whole counsel of God. There is no question that elders (and every spirit-filled member of the body of Christ, for that matter) possess and wield spiritual authority. But that authority is certainly not exercised within a structure of a hierarchy.

    In fact if you’ll look at the etymological meaning of the word “hierarchy” you’ll find it to be a linguistic concept that runs antithetical to Scripture. Any ranking of those within the body of Christ into clergy and laity divisions, for instance, runs contrary to the Word of God. It exalts itself against 1 Cor 12:25 for one.

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hierarchy

  338. monax,

    Are all in the church elders or deacons?
    If not, then you have a division in authority and responsibility.
    Are all going to give an account for the souls in the local church?
    If not, you have a division in authority and responsibility.
    That is the clergy/laity division and you can call it whatever you want, but it looks like a structure we would refer to as a hierarchy.

  339. Unless you want to posit that the church went completely off the rails as soon as the last apostle died, this theory is without much support.

  340. If given a choice between the opinions of a man who knew the author of the Gospel of John personally and a man with a Greek dictionary in his hand…. well, it’s not a hard choice to make.

  341. monax,

    “There is no question that elders (and every spirit-filled member of the body of Christ, for that matter)…”

    Is there such a thing as non spirit filled members of the body of Christ?

  342. indeed, Michael, pastors and teachers will be held to a stricter judgement.

    but this idea and language of “division” runs contrary to the unity we’re all to have as we submit to the authority of Christ who is our Head.

    do you not see the conceptual creation of at least two bodies within the church—a ruling body of clergy; and a laity to be ruled. We’re to be one body—undivided.

    yes, He gave to the church gifted men, pastors and teachers, to unify the body—not divide it, to equip the saint for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.

    In our roles as shepherds, as watchmen, as overseers we must never assume the place of Headship (as many pastors do) over anyone. That is reserved for Christ alone.

    . .

    Xenia, the choice is simple—we look to the Word of God that He has placed in our hands for our answers on how to properly express our doing and being church.

    . .

    i love you guys, and appreciate this conversation. thank you. =]

  343. I am curious, Mr. Monax. Where do you think St. Ignatius got his ideas? Do you thing that he, as well as all the other early writers, somehow got it all wrong?

  344. MLD, you should know there’s no such “thing as a non spirit-filled member of the body of Christ.”

    but there are certainly members of “churches” and even “priests” and “pastors” who are not spirit-filled, and therefore not legitimately a part of the family of God.

  345. monax,

    I believe you are making an artificial construction.
    Clergy and laity are united as one body, but a distinction is still made.
    Kind of like the Trinity…one God, three Persons, complete unity.
    Submission within the whole.

  346. Xenia, the choice is simple—we look to the Word of God that He has placed in our hands for our answers on how to properly express our doing and being church.

    and please don’t call me “Mr. Monax” please.

    my name is David or monax, thank you.

  347. monax,

    Polycarp was a direct disciple of John.
    Did he create his bishopric out of whole cloth or was it part of the apostolic heritage?

  348. Michael, my simple appeal is to ground this in the word of God. Not on the writings of the Apostolic fathers.

  349. monax,

    Your simple appeal produces inconclusive results…the church has argued these things for two thousand years.
    If John approved of Polycarps’ bishopric, then we have a clue as to how the very earliest church interpreted those verses.
    With Ignatius, Polycarp, and Clement, it seems that we have clear examples that disprove part of your theory.
    Your only argument would have to be that the very first generation after the apostles corrupted the church.
    I can’t quite accept that.

  350. Well, I see that Monax is not going to directly answer my questions.

  351. Your only argument would have to be that the very first generation after the apostles corrupted the church.<<<

    Michael, lots of people believe this is exactly what happened. They read the Apostolic Fathers, see very little correlation between what they read and their own church and decide to dump the Fathers rather consider the scary thought that their church has deviated considerably from the first generation of believers.

    I would like to say something here about Greek and appeals to Greek. Let's not forget that the Church in Antioch spoke Greek. That church is still in existence and they still use Greek. Sure, today's conversational Greek is not the same as first century Greek but it was a gradual change, was it not? Were the original meanings lost to these Greek speakers over the centuries? If I wanted to know how a Greek word is to be interpreted, I would go ask the people whose ancestors were the ones who received the original Greek manuscripts and understood them and passed this understanding down to their descendants who you can find living in Antioch today, if the Syrian rebels haven't killed them all yet.

  352. Xenia,

    While I don’t hold their writings as canonical, there are some matters where you simply have to give them great weight.
    I think this is one of those matters.

  353. Michael, I don’t hold their writings as canonical, either but they are original source material, Johnny-on-the-spot eyewitnesses. A dictionary or a modern commentary is not a primary source.

  354. Michael, I only care to have our arguments (or understandings) grounded upon the Word of God. If it’s not acceptable in Scriptures, if I don’t see it there, then I can not accept it as being right for the Body of Christ. Again, I’m wanting my understandings—as iron sharpens iron—to be made of the stuff of Scriptures.

    If there’s anyone with a fair working knowledge of the Greek, I’d love for them to check my conclusions against the text. Again, I’m wanting to be challenged solely by the Word of God.

    With that. . I’m wanting to look at any and all Scriptures that bear upon this discussion of the true biblical nature and scope of spiritual authority. Huge, ambitious project, I know, but it’s what I’ve set my mind and heart to.

    I’ll come back later and see what more PxP has for me to consider.

    much thanks,

    Happy Independence Day!

    David

  355. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. So many religious groups got their start because their leader asked “What was the early church really like?” and then proceeded to invent something that is not even remotely like the early church. If they wanted to know what the early church -, the first generation after the Apostles- was like all they have to do is read the writings of those Christians who were alive then. They are freely available on the Internet!

  356. monax,

    That makes any reasonable discussion impossible.
    Ecclesiology has been debated by spirit filled people for two thousand years using the same verses.
    I will trust that Polycarp knew the heart of John and was “biblical” in his bishopric.

  357. If all you need is the Bible, Monax, then why are you giving us quotes from a dictionary and from Lloyd-Jones?

  358. Xenia,

    This is Sola Scriptura gone to seed…

  359. momax
    “MLD, you should know there’s no such “thing as a non spirit-filled member of the body of Christ.””

    So why did you use the terminology? Why didn’t you just say “members of the body of Christ?”

    I had the same beef with Francis Schaeffer when he used to say “Bible believing Christians – as if you could be a Bible denying Christian.

  360. Michael writes: “That makes any reasonable discussion impossible.”

    In my eyes the only reasonable ground when it comes to discussing ecclesiastical matters must be the Word of God and the Word of God alone.

    That is the only solid ground from which we might work out our theological reasonings concerning the will of God for his church.

    I’ve got commitments through the weekend but I should be free to check back here early next week if not sooner. Gonna sign off now for dinner. Thank you, Michael, sincerely for the conversation.

  361. “Pastoral authority can be attained only by the servant of Jesus who seeks no power of his own, who himself is a brother among brothers submitted to the authority of the Word.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer Life Together

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