10/01/2007

SinAlert Detector

If drinking alcohol is OK but drunkenness is sin--how will we know when we quit social drinking and started sinning? [MORE]

33 comments:

Chris said...

Good idea. We probably shouldn't trust the Holy Spirit to help us with this kind of decision.

Michael R. Cline said...

I think it will be a little longer than what some people think until we are having "keg parties" for Jesus here at Bethel. As of this year, I still had to sign in to a covenant that included abstaining from alcohol. It's been spread that there is a faculty member using the "over my dead body" argument. The other rumor is that it will be for "adult" students (loosely defined as seminary student/faculty) but perhaps not the university students, considering most of them aren't legal anyway.

just some thoughts to kick in

Dnephew said...

As tired as I am of the alcohol debates--you found a creative approach. Thanks

Let me try one that builds on some themes:

Date Sept. 1, 2008

FLASH

Headline: WESLEYAN CHURCH DROPS ALCOHOL BAN FOR AFFLUENT WHITE MEN

Lead: Using sweeping executive powers recently authorized by the 2008 General Conference of the Wesleyan Church (TWC), the new church CEO publicly announced that TWC will no longer prohibit affluent white men from drinking alcohol.

Body: In a radical departure from its temperance movement roots, CEO L__ stated, "most influential commentators have declared the Holiness movement dead. I am simply recognizing this fact and positioning TWC for the anticipated evangelical merging and acquisition movement."

In response to questions of gender inequity, CEO L__ pointed to herself and asked, "What gender inequity?"

Said CEO L__, "My initial reaction is that women have never been the real problem here. But for those who are concerned, this announcement coincides with another first for TWC--an official church hermeneutic. We call it the 'Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander hermeneutic.' Now that women hold all the significant positions of power in TWC, we felt that this would have an immediate practical effect for for all those displaced white guys. Besides, hermeneutics holds the real key to gender equity."

When challenged on the race issue, CEO L__ appeared surprised and then circumspect, "We just goofed."

"I know better than anyone that the heart and soul of TWC is non-white. But something about spending six weeks in Fishers, IN makes everything look a lot whiter" she said. "Obviously we will address this mistake and further accelerate my plan to relocate HQ to Washington D.C."

Returning to alcohol, CEO L__ described the change this way: "The bottom line is that we want to be above reproach when it comes to legalism. We still read the Bible as universally negative toward the substance of alcohol but affirm the moderating effect of the Holy Spirit. We do not believe Wesleyan men will take advantage of this new found liberty to get drunk and beat their women and children. We see the main concern as one of finances. If you can afford it, we're fine with it. If you are poor--that's another story."

Ken DePeal said...

how much coffee is too much?

how much food is too much?

yes, i know... coffee won't endanger other people (in fact, NOT getting my coffee endangers other people!)

yes, i know... food won't endanger other people (though i've seen certain food items wielded as virtual weapons...)

just about anyone who's ever had alcohol will tell you they know the difference between a relaxing drink and getting wasted. (for those of you who have never drank, it's SORT of like the difference between the perk you get with a good cup of coffee versus the serious shakes you get after drinking an entire pot... and remember, i said "sort of," since i know there's a BIG difference between coffee and alcohol)

of course, the question then becomes, "why do you need a 'relaxing' drink?" it's a good question, to be sure, but then why not ask, "why do you need that fourth cup of coffee, that fifth can of mountain dew, that second candy bar, or that third doughnut?" (i see that hand...)

i've seen enough caffeine-addicted, overweight wesleyans to know that alcohol may be a less serious issue (okay, maybe that's overstating a bit for effect, but still...) than the issue of internal (and external?) damage we're bringing our hearts, livers, and other vital organs as we overeat and overindulge.

i'm SLIGHTLY tongue-in-cheek above, but i'm dead serious here...

if the consumption of alcohol is such a serious issue to address (and it IS a topic we should approach with great care and caution), why would we not also address overeating and other addictions with as much fervor?

in fact, here's a practical idea: why not remove pastors from the pulpit who, say, demonstrate a percentage of body fat greater than 30%? and why not remove ANYONE who serves in a position of church leadership (board, ministry leader, volunteer, etc.) who demonstrates a body fat greater than 40%? (i'm giving them an extra 10% since they're lay leaders...)

the alcohol debate that continues in our denomination is truly frustrating to me, since i know people who would never THINK to have a taste of alcohol engage in all OTHER types of indulgences (and not just food, contrary to my glaringly obvious food illustration)

i'd MUCH prefer people enjoying the occasional beer (and figure out their moderate limit) over indulging in gossip, slander, judgmentalism, pride, obstinence, immaturity, murmuring, or generally neglecting the Great Commission mandate of the Church.

i'm wondering... perhaps the device you recommended could be adapted to detect foul speech, thoughts, actions, and attitudes as well. perhaps then some of our other members and congregants might realize there are some sins as great (or greater?) than overindulging in alcohol...

MHayes said...

Some very interesting points mentioned by Ken. I guess this is where I come down on this whole debate. Yes I would agree that things such as coffee, over-eating, ect. need to be preached on. Over indulgence on any thing but the Lord needs to be put in place.

The difference I see is this. In all the news stories I have seen and all the statistics I have read not one of your examples, ken, compare to that of alcohol. Yes we have heart disease, colestoral, and other problems associated with eating and other factors. But I have yet to see a story that a person was killed because someone drank too much coffee. Or a child was abused in the home because dad came home after going to the steak house and eating the Ole 96er (that is for you Great Outdoor fans). We don't have a MACD: Mothers Against Coffee Driving. I have yet to hear a Coffe Drinkers Anonymous meeting. We don't see date rapes because a guy took his date to Baskin Robbins.

It seems to me that most of the 20-40 somethings, and this is totally my opinion, want to argue for being able to drink alcohol because they want to be able to feel included with those, mosly non-Christian friends, who go out to the club. Well, what would people think if I ordered a water instead of a Rum and Coke?

Now I might get flamed for writing this and that is fine but as ministers do we not want to take on this issue because we are scared? because we won't fit in anymore? maybe it is because most have already had the drink or two and can't muster enough strength to tell other people that it just might not be the best substance.
For me, I much like telling teenagers around me, ya know I have never had a drink in my life, alcohol causes more problems than it helps, and if I can stay away from it then so can you.

For now I will raise my bottle of Jone's Cream Soda to you all and keep an open yet guarded mind.

luke middleton said...

Don't leave Presbyterians and some other Reformed folks out of the list of those who enjoy alcohol (and while we're at it -- cigars).

The AJ Thomas said...

Maybe a better metaphor for alcohol (than coffee or food) would be fire arms. We all know that when used improperly firearms can cause serious problems. We know they kill, they aid in crimes, and we even know that sometimes well meaning people who own them have accidents and someone gets hurt, maybe killed, maybe just shot in the foot.

Most people I talk to who are against people being allowed to own guns say “no good can come of them, they are dangerous, let’s outlaw them”. And most people I know who own them say “what idiot can’t manage to use their gun carefully and know the difference between shooting game or targets and shooting other people. It’s basic gun ownership. Just because some nut job flips out and shoots his neighbor, or robs a bank doesn’t mean I’m going to do the same. It’s a problem with the person not guns in general”

Most people I know in TWC who are against alcohol consumption point to all the potential evils and say “no good can come from alcohol, it’s dangerous, let’s outlaw it”. And most people I know who drink (including a host of brothers and sisters in Christ) would say “what idiot can’t figure out the difference between a beer with his pizza and getting hammered. It’s basic alcohol consumption. Just because some nut job gets loaded and runs his car into oncoming traffic doesn’t mean that everyone who has a glass of wine with a meal or a bear with their pizza or a cocktail after work is going to do the same. It’s a problem with the person not alcoholic beverages in general.

When the people I minister to here about or stance on alcohol it’s not that they think it is super strict they just don’t get the connection what so ever. It’s like you told them to give up chocolate milk.

These days the greatest irony to me of our stance against alcohol is that in order to be extra holy we tweak the celebration of the Lord’s Supper to make it less like it was originally (and for 100’s of years after). Jesus, the disciples, the church fathers, and generations after them could hold their liquor but apparently we can’t. I know there is the argument of “what if someone in your church is an alcoholic” and I certainly want to be sensitive to that but there were “drunkards” in Jesus day weren’t there?

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I think I'm coming to view Objectivism with high regard, cause I'm white, but unfortunately, a female (maybe I can use my "femaleness" as an assest to further objecitvist commitments!) Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, hmmm....

MHayes said...

AJ,
You made a fine point but here is where I see a problem that most don't see whent they make that comparison. If I pick up a bb-gun, a shot gun, high powered rifle, or an AK-47 my personaliy, thought process, inabitions do not change. I might be like "cool I am holding an oozy" but that is about it.
Now the same cannot be said with alcohol. Obviously the size of the person matters but 1 person might have 1 drink (lets say a beer) and be 210 lbs and it not affect them at all. Another person might drink one glass of scotch be 150 lbs and be a little bit "tipsy". The question then becomes, ok well wine, beer and champaign are ok, but a person better stay away from the hard stuff because 3 of those are not the same as 3 of the other.
A second point is this, when tragedy stikes, a person who is normally inclined just to have 1 or 2 might then be inclined to have 5, 6 or 7. Yes I understand that we got some people, with no alcohol in them, who can go "postal", but I here more cases of the former than the latter.
Good discussion though and look forward to seeing more thoughts on this subject.

The AJ Thomas said...

Good thoughts Mhayes. There definitely isn't a direct corollary between alcohol and guns, or food, or tobacco, or coffee or… I just think the destructive potential of guns brings another aspect of the issue into the light. Coffee and food and the like represent the addictive nature and the damage to self aspect well but they don’t illustrate the damage to others part of the equation.

I think to get the best sense of the corollary though you have to move the line of comparison from “doing something awful while drunk” is pulling the trigger to “being drunk” is pulling the trigger. I could aim a loaded gun at your head and never hurt you at all but I never would because it’s just far to risky behavior. I think most responsible drinkers feel the same way about alcohol. I could probably consume this much and not hurt anyone but I’m going to stop well before that because I know that’s where the line of safety is (I’m not pointing a loaded gun even if I don’t plan to pull the trigger so to speak).

I think what we like about the tee-totaling stance is that it is clear and universal and we don’t have to leave anything up to anyone’s judgment. It’s definitely an easier stance to support and enforce. The thing we definitely need to keep in mind in all of this is that should TWC change it’s stance on “social drinking” than no one will be required to drink and those like me who have never had a drink before and wouldn’t have the first clue about my limits would probably be better served by keeping up their non-drinking practice or at the least setting a very, very low line for themselves (like 1 of anything soft and non-of anything hard).

As for the point alluded to earlier about the example set for our youth I would say alcohol would go in the same category as guns, cars, marriage, and votes. Someday – but not yet.

MHayes said...

AJ, I am loving this dialogue man!! Keep it up!

Here are some more thoughts in response. I would love to have a pole done of Christians who do the "social drinking" thing and ask them this. "Have you ever been drunk before in your life?" "If so, is this how you know what your limits are?" "If not then how do you know that limit?" My hunch would be that if they were drinkers before they were Christians then they most likely have been drunk before. If this is the case becoming a social drinker allows them to keep hold of that old life while at the same time not being in sin (drinking till drunk). Others who were professing Christians but messed up a time or two have that experience to guage what there limit is. If that is the case then sin has occured to which forgiveness would need to be asked for. Now here is my concern, a man of 27 comes to know Christ and, by chance, has never had a drink. Is it better to encourage them to stay away from alcohol or to say, "Go ahead have a drink and when you start to get a buzz you know when to stop!"

Though I have never had a drink I worked for 2 years for the Salvation Army where 60 male clients would live at any given time. Having had rough lives I would asked them, "If given the choice to have alcohol in your lives or to have never started to drink what would you choose?" 100% of the time they came back with "I wish I never would have started".

With all the discussions we have had and all the senarios both of us have given there is one common denominator between them all, every one of them started with at least 1 drink.

Ken DePeal said...

okay, so my coffee and food analogies weren't NEARLY as good as AJ's gun analogies...

Nicely done, AJ. VERY nice, indeed...

MHayes, I'm enjoying your writing, too, with one exception... Jesus never got drunk, but apparently knew his limits... and there's STILL this issue of turning water into wine when there were some fairly inebriated guests already at the wedding...

i'm not attempting to pick on you, since i'm truly enjoying the dialogue. i'm simply confused by your most recent assertion that one must have been previously intoxicated in order to properly know one's alcohol limit... was that true for Jesus? and also, what do we do with the miracle that resulted in giving water/wine to a drunken wedding party? (and PLEASE don't tell me it was kool-aid...)

MHayes said...

Ken thank you for your kind response. While thinking about the subject for many years, and it has been since my college days that I have really pondered this whole drinking issue, I wonder that just because something was acceptable and even participated in by Christians of the New Testament, even Jesus himself, does that mean it still has the same meaning in this day and age.

A quick example, Paul never condems slavery, in fact he tells slave owners to treat their slaves well and for slaves to obey their masters. Now we had a period of slavery in this country in which it was rightly fought to end. Since that day we have never had a position of slavery and to suggest such a thing would be horrid. In that same way could it be possible that something, such as drinking, could now have a context of not being the most beneficial to a persons walk with Christ. As many would say, and I would agree, that having a drink will not send your soul into the depths of sin; however I do believe that our present age of misuse and greater temptation to go into the sin of drunkeness it might just be better off to get rid of it all together. Remember we are always told to interpret Scripture, first, in the context in which it was written. I think we do ourselves harm to assume that the reasons why Jesus drank are the same that we would like to drink. As of yet I have not seen or heard of a church function that is BYOB, Have you?

I personally think, and this is again my opinion, that if Jesus were walking this earth in its present stage he would order himself a Jone's Cream Soda. I mean those things really are that good;)

The AJ Thomas said...

I'm not sure the slavery thing holds up since for example Jesus never:
-Owned slaves
-Turned free men into slaves
-Instituted a sacrament using slaves
And Paul never told Timothy to "have a little slave do your work, for it is good for your back and you are often tired"

I would also add that according to our morality there is no positive or even neutral situation in which to have a slave but we can all imagine situations in which the drinking of alcohol could at least be neutral.

I would guess that for everyone who's addiction started with a beer there are probably someone who's responsible usage started the same way. Everyone who has ever abused anything in any way started with their first ______. You could say the same thing for pain killers (pill), coffee (drink), soft drinks (drink), droughts (bite), sex (um.... you get the idea). Some guys get married and have sex and really like it and they end up having an affair. Should we all be celibate? Most of my friends are addicted to coffee – should we declare a ban on any substance that has caffeine? Some people say the Lord’s name in vain – should we take a vow of silence?

I would love to see us move toward a position on alcohol that took a strong and infinitely more defensible stand against drunkenness, that encouraged caution, and that respected and supported the choice of total abstinence and that did not permit alcohol (with the exception of communion, perhaps offering grape juice as an alternative) at general church functions out of deference for those whose conscience would be violated or sobriety compromised.

MHayes said...

AJ, I am sorry man but you missed the point I was trying to make. I was not saying that Jesus ever had slaves, nor did Paul ever encourage Timothy to get a slave. My point was that in the culture of Old and New Testament if you could not pay off a debt you sold yourself as a slave until the debt was paid off. (think how little debt we would have today if we knew that would be the consequences). So the slavery was something that was looked on as a positive for people who wanted to get out of debt. It was later in history that it was abused and needed to be abolished. With alcohol it is the same thing. It was a culture who knew nothing else but ferment with the exception of a good well. But maybe our culture has moved to the point where alcohol is needs to go, at least for the Christian anyways. I am not saying we need the 18th amendment reinstated but we can say, ya know it might have been fine for Christians at one time but today I feel that I need to be set apart from this task.

Anyways, I feel that I have occupied too much of this blog and am sure most are tired of listening to me so I will leave ample room for others to post their thoughts.

The AJ Thomas said...

So then I guess it ultimatly would come down to our perception of where cultue is today and comming to consensus on that would be next to impossible. Not to mention the vast cultural differences that exist in the North American General Conference not to mention the other GC's and mission feilds.

MHayes said...

Ok I said I was done but I must say reply 1 last time. You don't think we come to a consensus on culture? We do it every day. There is hardly a week that goes by where I don't hear someone compare the United States to Sodom and Gomorrah. That abortion is no different than the child sacrifices of civilizations of the Ancient Near East. Our culture worships money, sex, and television in the same way Baals where worshiped. All these things are comparisons of our culture to that of the past and we hear them and preach them in our sermons all the time.
You also assume that I am in the Wesleyan church when in fact I am not, and denominational ties have absolutely nothing to do with the how I have been shaped in this area.
Growing up I never heard this debate, but neiher was I sheltered. I just chose not to participate (with alcohol that is). I never really heard much of a ruckus about it until I attended IWU then it was like the house was coming down.
For me it is not a hard decision, it is not a struggle as it seems to be to other Christians to want to participate in. Here is what I wish someone would please answer. Do advocates of Christian drinking want to be allowed to drink so they don't feel guilt over a drink they like to have? If Christian drinking is allowed then it prevents condeming or judgement from happening from those who don't drink? Please just tell me honestly why perponents of Christian drinking fight so hard for that side? (and please don't give me the, cause the Bible does not say a drink is wrong, I acknowledge this, I just want to know what the real reason behind it is?)

The AJ Thomas said...

I stand by the idea that we cannot come to a consensus on whether we are in a culture where alcohol needs to be outlawed completely or where it has outlived it’s usefulness or appropriateness. The shear volume of disagreement on the subject observed here should begin to show that true. I’ve been a lot of places around North America and have observed significant cultural differences, including attitudes toward alcohol. For the record I think the parallel between the US and Sodom and Gomorrah is a stretch but that’s a subject for another post.

I don’t assume you are Wesleyan I just assume we are talking about the Wesleyan church as a main example due to the blog that we are on. Did you assume I was American?

As for proponents of “Christian drinking” I would say:
A – not everyone who may bring up some arguments in favor has any personal desire to drink (like me for example)
B – For vast numbers of Christians there is no struggle they simply enjoy and neither they nor their denomination bothers them about it.
C – My main concern in the issue is not the folks who have been raised with this standard who want to run out and pick up a six-pack but feel they need permission. Frankly I might wonder about them too. If you feel that denomination approval gives you the right to violate your conscience then you need to rethink the order of moral authority in your life.
The people I have in mind are the folks who come to Christ as adults, who enjoy the occasional drink, and who can’t understand why they are not allowed to serve in certain areas of leadership based on a stance we have that we can’t defend from scripture and which to them seems to meddle in their personal lives unduly and assumes the negative about their relationship to alcohol.
For folks like me who were raised with an “alcohol bad” mindset it’s pretty easy to understand the stance even if you don’t personally agree with it. For those who weren’t raised with this point of view it can be a real struggle to understand let alone embrace.

Pastor Todd said...

Great conversation here.

Is it possible we could advise others that there is no real wisdom in entering into the world of drinking alcohol because it is not necessary for life.

You can't avoid food, you must have it to live. Sexual expression is included in marriage vows and procreation (so married at least) cannot avoid sex. These behaviors are essential to life and we assume the risk of their abuse by our existence and must be vigilant in our behavior and thinking.

Drinking alcohol is not necessary and would it not be good counsel to simply say, "Why enter into something that has the inherent risk of abuse, or that someone following in your footsteps may abuse?"

Such advice cannot be given or preached as "thus sayeth the Lord" but merely as good wisdom for limiting opportunity for abuse in our lives.

The AJ Thomas said...

Pastor Todd - I agree. I just wish we would put it in a category of wisdom not morality and make it a "good idea" not a membership requirement. There are lots of things that are unwise and maybe even more unwise for one person than the next that we should feel free to advise against but not exclude on the basis of.

Michael R. Cline said...

I am nearly as tired of the debate of alcohol in the Holiness Tradition as I am the debate of anything dealing with the word "postmodern."

yawn

Keith Drury said...

I'm with Mike Cline on being tired of the debate.. (and the only reason I wrote the column is I actually saw one of these devices in Staples on the way home to write a column)

BUT NOW THAT I'M READING the thoughtful and considerate debate here I've changed my mind and am glad I ran the column... this is stimulating and thought-provoking after all..thanks for the thoughts so far--and(so long as you are considerate of others) you are welcome to say more.. thanks for thinking so well.

Eric Roemer said...

Apart from all the other arguements here, I personally choose to remember that I am Wesleyan. Which for me, reminds me that I am following in the legacy, not so much of the "Holiness Movement," but of one of the most effective and productive agents for the furtherment of the Kingdom, the salvation of lost souls and redemption of culture in all of the history. As a Wesleyan I choose to hold membership in this society and I have been ordained by this church... fully accepting their values and beliefs and promising to uphold them. I don't do this blind to the reasons why I believe what I believe though. I know what the bible says and doesn't say and how it doesn't present the issues around social drinking... they just aren't there. But they weren't in Bible in the 1730's and 1740's either when we (the collective past, present and future "we") saw the social and culture ramification of social alcohol and decided that it just isn't worth it so our organization decided not to participate in it. We chose to hold a high bar and high standards... hopefully not to be prideful and look down on others, even though that has happened. We do this because we are joyfully willing to fully commit to the cause of furthering the movement that once changed the world (and might do so again if we would choose to fight for things that really matter). For me, this is a good enough reason not only to not desire to drink, but also to defend this wise tradition. It has served us well in the past, and if we would choose to embrace it and move on to more important things, it will do so again in the future.

dNephew said...

I like Eric's comment because it integrates an approach to ecclesiology. Drury has touched on this in the past in other ways--I seem to recall something he wrote about binding and loosing.

Eric's acknowledgment of church authority raises some important questions. Is the Wesleyan Church (or any other evangelical Protestant church) the "Church?" And if it is, can aj hang around long enough to take it over and use church authority to change the rules?

I don't think that aj really considers the Wesleyan church, the "Church" And Wesleyan church tradition effectively prevents us from telling him that he is wrong. That's probably why we don't discipline people who violate the alcohol membership commitment.

If we don't decide to go home to Papa, I think we have two choices. The "Church" is either a destroyed Temple, the ark of the covenant is lost, and we will have to muddle along waiting for the Messiah. In which case neither eric nor aj are right or wrong.

Or we can consider the Wesleyan Church our little department of the "Church" responsible for Wesleyan affairs. In which case, the Wesleyan Church ecclesiology is political and eric, for now, is right and aj has three options.
1)If he wants to hang around and muster the political support at some future General Conference, has every opportunity to make himself right with a 3/4 vote of the other delegates;
2)He can shop around and find another department of the "Church" he likes better; or
3) He can start his own department and hope CEO of the "Church" gives it his blessing.

I personally favor the political ecclesiology

The AJ Thomas said...

dnephew - you seem to have forgotten my forth option. Hold an opinion contrary to my denominations stand but happily submit to it because it's "part of the deal" in being a Wesleyan - which I happily am (it’s also easy because I have no desire to drink). I’m not on any sort of quest I’ve just been sharing my opinion. You paint me as a crusader and that’s just not so. If I was actually going to crusade for changes in the Wesleyan Church this would be a little farther down my list.

I’ve seen alot of holiness tradition standards fall in my day (no shorts on the campground, no long hair for guys, no playing cards, no going to movies). I won’t be surprised if this one does to within the next decade. I certainly have better things to do that to try and make that happen but in a forum like this where we are kicking around opinions I’m happy to throw mine into the hopper.

If someone else does 1 and I have a vote (which is highly unlikely) I’ll likely cast it with them. I’ve got no interest in 2, I’m a pretty happy Wesleyan, although if I did make a drastic switch (as opposed to going to the Nazarenes of Free Methodists) I probably would go home to momma although I would make a pretty awful Catholic. And 3 is a recipe for disaster for anyone, myself very much included. I require oversight.

dNephew said...

aj, it wasn't my intent to paint you as an anti-temperance crusader or a conscientious objector. My goal was rather to borrow your advocacy within the narrow context of this discussion to highlight what I see as a tension of church authority.

I hope you picked up an implied compliment. Questioning church authority, rejecting church authority, even starting new church institutions is very Wesleyan (in the Wesleyan Methodist sense).

davide said...

1. It is largely assumed in the discussions that Scripture gives tacit approval to drinking. I am not so sure. Prov 20:1, Prov 23:29-32 and others all seem convey the thought of warning bordering on prohibition. Eph 5:18 from Phillips is intructive: "Don't get your stimulus from wine (for there is always the danger of excessive drinking), but let the Spirit stimulate your souls".
2. The cultural context of wine drinking in ancient times was much different that today (another example of language letting us down). First, ancient wine was almost always diluted at 3 to 20:1 before drinking - it was considered barbaric to drink unmixed wine. Secondly, water in ancient times was often contaminated and some alcohol content "disinfected" the water.
3. Given the tragic effects of drug and alcohol use today it seems idealistic to be trying to define the crumbling edge of such a horrific precipice in the name of being "seeker sensitive" or for a small degree of sensual enjoyment. As Christ's body do we not have some corporate responsibilty to avoid that which causes my brother to stumble?

Josiah Botsford said...

I can see both sides of this issue. However, as with most items of controversy, I don't believe that both sides will ever agree. My personal view entails being able to discern how much is too much.

This thought alone can bring apprehension among modern American society. We live in a society that seems to be unable to realize limits of any sort. We see people over-eating and under-eating. We see people who are highly addicted on caffeine as well as sleeping pills. Who is saying that we wouldn't become addicted to wine and become drunkards?

When I am not attending Indiana Wesleyan, I'll admit that I drink red wine. I only have a glass a day because of health reasons. I don't go visit the bars or drink a bottle a day. Not everyone is able to handle the temptation as well as I am, though. Why should we openly place people into a place where they could stumble because of their own inability to stop or say no?

After writing and thinking this out, I realize that I'm not completely certain where I stand on this issue anymore. I know that I can handle alcohol without over-drinking. This doesn't mean that everyone can. Why subject them to the temptation? Even seeing people from church purchasing wine could make others stumble.

Where do we draw the line? Would we pass this with certain guidelines on what to drink? Or should we continue to stay away from alcohol?

dschwyn said...

I have always believed that moderate drinking was alright and have always tired of the debate of whether Christians should drink at all or not. The "Sin Alert Detector" isn't the same for everyone. In addition to the issues, what's more important is how we set an example for our children and how we teach them to deal with substances, alcohol or drugs. Here is an interesting method, although unorthodox, yet intriguing way of lessening the danger of possble future trouble with children. It is from Stanton Peele, an addiction specialist. See Below...

http://www.peele.net/

Robin said...

As a medical professional, I thought I'd jump in and share some good news: Concord grape juice is nearly identical, and in some ways superior, to red wine for health benefits. So toss back a cold bottle of grape juice instead of a glass of wine, and your liver will thank you for it!

I have never consumed alcohol and never will. Why?

1. I have never met anyone who drinks who has not been drunk. They may be out there, but they're remarkably hard to find! Alcohol consumption is neither wise, nor necessary. Why would I choose to partake in a substance and support an industry that has brought such hurt, health problems, and injury in our society? I consider by teetotalling state as a "boycott of the industry!"


2. More seriously, a woman named Susannah Wesley gave her son a wise piece of advice, which has been beneficial to me in many circumstances: "Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes your relish off spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself." I may be over-simplifying, but alcohol seems to fit that definition quite well, ESPECIALLY since we know there is a point at which our bodies gain authority over our mind, and it is much earlier and ill-defined than most actually care to admit.

Why would The Wesleyan Church, or The Church, want any part of that?

JD said...

Since TWC is considering easing their stance on alcohol, this means that we can also tell the new converts in our membership classes that it won't be long until they can enjoy marijuana as well? After all, it's not prohibited in scripture, it's becoming more and more legalized and socially acceptable, and most people only use it "medicinally" anyway. Additionally, many people consider it to be no more harmful than alcohol. There are even scriptures that "support" the use of marijuana, according to some people (http://www.equalrights4all.org/religious/bible.htm)

So I guess as long as I know my limits, use it only in moderation, and don't allow myself get high on it, then my Christian witness won't be affected at all (especially since I can rely on the Holy Spirit to help me know the difference between moderation and over-indulgence, correct?).

I can hear the next generation of TWC with their arguments now...(To borrow from - and fictionalize - AJ's argument on 10/02/07) -

"Most people I know in TWC who are against marijuana consumption point to all the potential evils and say 'no good can come from marijuana, it’s dangerous, let’s outlaw it'. And most people I know who smoke it (including a host of brothers and sisters in Christ) would say 'what idiot can’t figure out the difference between a reefer with his pizza and getting hammered?!' It’s basic cannabis consumption. Just because some nut job gets loaded and runs his car into oncoming traffic doesn’t mean that everyone who has a joint with a meal or a little weed with their pizza or a maryjane after work is going to do the same. It’s a problem with the person not marijuana in general. When the people I minister to hear about our stance on marijuana it’s not that they think it is super strict; they just don’t get the connection what so ever. It’s like you told them to give up chocolate milk."


Oooh! This gives me a great idea to update our home visitation ministry to new visitors. Instead of just taking them a basket of muffins and cookies, we can add a little extra treat to it! What a progressive, cool, hip, seeker-sensitive denomination we are becoming!

AJ, please understand this was in no way meant to disrespectful to you. I just couldn't resist trying to make a point.

LivtDie said...

I think when one starts quantifying sin in an objective sense over anything outside the basic 10 commandments, than that "one" is a little bit insane.

SinDetector? Really? I laughed initially because I thought it was a gag.

I've been in a situation where I drank a fifth of whiskey, five or six beers, and then had to be the only sober individual to break up a fight between drunk Wesleyans who had four or five beers and suddenly thought they were King Kong.

My point? Well, I think Kierkegaard says it better and more concisely than I can:

"The difference is that between the dram a drinking man drinks as a matter of course, and the dram which a man drinks as a reward for his temperance. The latter is infinitely worse than the former, for it is a refinement; the former is honest intemperance, the latter is refined intemperance, being at the same time temperance.”
~Kierkegaard

Now that I reconsider this...I think I'll keep laughing.

::athada:: said...

I found a similar device to prevent Christians from storing up too many treasures on earth.

Just tell your employer to pay you no more than $1 more than the poverty line: "neither poverty nor riches, but my daily bread"

1 $10,830
2 14,570
3 18,310
4 22,050
5 25,790
6 29,530
7 33,270
8 37,010

http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09poverty.shtml