"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

When Baptists and Beer Don't Mix

The following email was sent to me yesterday. Please note carefully that the author, my friend and fellow IMB trustee Winston Curtis, states in the body of the letter that it is for "public consumption." No pun intended. I called him to verify his desires for this to be public and he agreed I could post his letter and my response.

In order for you to understand Winston's second concern you need to have some definitions:

(S.D. 21) --- a major field study and report from a couple of years ago that detailed conditions on the mission field as it relates to new church starts and other areas of Southern Baptist ministry.
(2+2 Program) --- a seminary degree program, first instituted by Southeastern Seminary, that consists of two years of highly structered classroom learning and two years of missionary service, at the end of which graduates are much closer to qualifying as career missionaries.
(MLC) --- the Missionary Learning Center where missionaries are prepared and trained for their service. The MLC is in Virginia.


An E-mail from IMB Trustee Winston Curtis to the Executive Committee of the IMB

May 3, 2006

Dr. Tom Hatley and Executive Committee of the International Mission Board

Greetings to you all in the name of our dear Lord. It is with great anticipation that I am looking forward to serving the Lord with you on the IMB for the next four years. These are indeed exciting days to be so connected to the missionary sending agency of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I would like to meet with the Chairman, Executive Committee, President Rankin, and Trustee Wade Burleson in Albquerque, NM in May to discuss the concerns of this letter.

Having just completed a four year term I am grateful for the immediate past experience and, yet I also have concerns for our future as a Southern Baptist Board. My concerns rise from a process of attempting to simply be a good and well prepared Trustee. I do not by nature seek out controversy nor conflict. The Bible teaches in Romans Chapter 12 v.18 to try to not think more highly of your self than you should and to live in peace with all men. However sometimes the way to peace is difficult and somewhat unclear. This letter is for public consumption, I intend the contents of this letter to be a clarifying statement, and request that it be forwarded on to the next Chairman and Exec. Committee.

My concerns are twofold:

1. The current direction that the IMB is headed philosophically seems to me to be completely the opposite from the direction that we should be going, and

2. I continue to have a conviction and concern regarding fellow Trustee Wade Burleson and his, now clearer doctrinal positions on , baptism as a church ordinance, tolerance of glossilila in light of the S.D.21 study, the 2+2 program, and the weaknesses at the MLC, and finally a personal concern regarding Mr. Burleson’s convictions with the alcoholic beverage industry.

With the rising tide of the world population and the greater influx of missionary candidates I question the prevailing wisdom of fewer regions, fewer trustees and greater ecumenicalism. I do believe the time has come to revisit the clear advantages of relocating the IMB for purely good stewardship reasons. We would be better served by raising the number of regions , reconfiguring the trustee selection process to add more trustees because of the sheer work load that it seems that the Lord is sending us.

During the Huntsville, AL meeting Mr. Burleson and I met in an informal setting for breakfast, we discussed why I supported the new guidelines and discussed SD- 21, 2+2, and the MLC. Later in an interview with pastors in Tulsa, OK when Mr. Burleson was asked “was there anything at the Board that precipitated the guidelines ?” Mr. Burleson answered no to that question, this concerns me. This is a clear misrepresentation of the facts. Mr. Burleson seems to take the doctrinal position on Baptism which is different than the BF&M 2000, this concerns me. Alcoholic beverages have been the cause for much tragedy in American life, and the time tested position of the SBC and her Church Covenant document regarding complete abstinence has been the correct and wiser position on this matter. I would like discuss this document with Mr. Burleson.

Mr. Burleson and I will be better served with this format of discussion to insure clear understanding for me, him and our Board.

Winston Curtis, IMB Trustee from Oklahoma


A Response from Wade Burleson to Winston Curtis

May 4, 2006

My Dear Winston,

Thank you for sending to me a copy of the letter you sent to Dr. Hatley and the Executive Committee. Since you have expressed the desire to make your letter for "public consumption," I acquiesce to your wish and will respond publicly. Thank you also for your friendship. I have considered it a privilege to be your friend for many years, and I look forward to our fellowship throughout eternity! Your love for the Lord, passion for His church, and easy laugh are all a blessing to me.

Winston, I find your letter puzzling, and I can't help but question its ability to help further the cause of missions and evangelism. You state, "I do not by nature seek out controversy or conflict." I believe you Winston, however, I would suggest this "contrary to Winston's nature" request to meet and talk about your "concerns" is an unwise use of our time by promoting future controversy.

New Directions, the Board approved policy for missions expansion, encourages missionaries to partner with other Great Commission people, churches and denominations. I don't believe your public concern expressed in this letter regarding "greater ecumenicalism" is an intentional criticism of New Directions, but I do wonder if the you may be creating controversy by criticizing Board approved policy which calls for broader cooperation among Great Commission Christians.

I affirm New Directions and the cooperation with other evangelicals it affirms, and I would encourage all trustees, including you, to publicly affirm this Board approved policy as well. If it is your intention to alter New Direction policy, it is appropriate for that discussion to be in front of the full Board.

Therefore, I question why only I need to meet with you and the Executive Committee regarding your concerns? I am only one of eighty nine trustees. Public, open, and transparent debate is better than a few, small strategy sessions when it comes to altering Board policy. Your desire to move the IMB from Richmond, Virginia, to increase the number of trustees to beyond the current eighty nine members, and your belief the IMB is moving philosophically in the WRONG direction deserve discussion before the entire Board.

I'm also confused about your concern the IMB is moving in the wrong direction philosphically. Do you mean that you do not like the policy the Board has already approved under the leadership of Dr. Rankin? If so, I would suggest those discussions take place in a public, plenary session for the benefit of all trustees and members of the Southern Baptist Convention to hear your ideas. I'm not sure a meeting with the Executive Committee, Dr. Rankin and I is the forum for this type of discussion.

If we trustees don't like current policy, then it is our perogative to change it, which has already been demonstrated by a willingness to pass a new policy forbidding public criticism by trustees of Board approved actions.

I also believe it is a waste of your time, my time, the EC's time, and Dr. Rankin's time to meet and discuss "(Wade's views on) baptism as a church ordinance, (his) tolerance of glossilila (sic) in light of the S.D.21 study, the 2+2 program, and the weaknesses at the MLC, and finally a personal concern regarding Mr. Burleson’s convictions with the alcoholic beverage industry."

I stand by my statement in the Baptist Messenger that any problems on the mission field these last few years were swiftly and efficiently addressed by administrative staff under the old policies regarding tongues and baptism. Dr. Rankin affirmed this at our last Board meeting. Thus, I stand by what I have previously stated that there was no need for the new personnel policies on tongues and baptism.

However, in desiring to abide by the new policy forbidding public criticism by trustees of Board approved policies, I do not feel it is appropriate to go any further in discussing my personal views on "Baptism" and "the tolerance of glossilila (sic)." I can assure you that all my beliefs are based upon Scripture and fall within the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

If and when the entire Board is ready to change the recently approved personnel policies, I'll be happy to weigh in again with my position, but in abiding by the new policy on dissension, I will not discuss my views with you in this public forum. Until then, I believe we should move on to concentrating on missions.

Finally, I must gently take issue with your statement about my support of the alcohol industry. I am choosing to believe that you really are confused on this issue and not attempting to disparage me. I'm not sure I even fully understand what your concerns are in this matter and how those concerns affects missions, but I'll take a stab at it.

If you are referring to my understanding that our first English speaking overseas missionary, William Carey, was supported in his missionary efforts through the collection of ale receipts from the Ale House owned by the Baptist Association, and my reference to the well known anecdote of the spittoon being passed around to collect money for William Carey to travel abroad to minister to "the Indians" in India, then you may be correct in your assessment! I am grateful that the Baptists of the 18th century saw fit to take the proceeds that they earned through the buying and selling of alcholic beverages to help sponsor our first English speaking overseas missionary.

But I'm fairly certain that the Baptist ownership of alcholic industries in the 18th century is not what you are interested in discussing, but rather, it is my defense of the Biblical ethic of moderation and my church's support of the Scriptural prohibition against drunkenness which interests you.

Our church loving disciplines any member who violates our covenant against drunkenness. I teach my children and my church that abstinence is a wise choice for every Christian, and the best way to avoid drunkenness. I wholeheartedly support all believers who have an abstinence conviction. However, I believe the authoritative, inspired Word of God forbids drunkenness, not necessarily the drinking of an alcholic beverage.

What seems to concerns you is the idea of working with a fellow IMB trustee who believes the Bible, but has a different interpretation on this issue on which the Baptist Faith and Message remains silent. It seems this is what bothers you --- cooperating with a fellow trustee who interprets the Bible differently.

I would simply say to you Winston --- I hope we can work through these issues you have with me personally, but your "concerns" have nothing to do with missions and evangelism in my opinion. I'm on the International Mission Board, Lord willing, for seven more years. I love working with you and I will continue to do all I can to support our missionaries as they take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations, but I think it is not healthy or productive for us to focus on non-essential issues that have nothing to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let's cooperate Winston!

Again, we may not agree on all the non-essentials of the faith, but we ought to be able to cooperate with each other. I know I can with you --- even if you don't agree with me. Frankly, it would be sin for me to try to change your mind and demand you believe the way I do on the non-essentials.

I'm hoping you can find it in your heart to work and cooperate with others who don't see eye to eye with you on issues which the Baptist Faith and Message remains silent. I, and others like me, look forward to working with you.

Anyway, thanks for your email. I'm looking forward to Albuquerque, May 22-24, 2006 and focusing on missions at our IMB meeting.

I respectfully decline your kind invitation at this time to meet and discuss the issues you raise. I don't think that kind of meeting will be edifying to any of us as we seek to focus on missions and evangelism.

In His Grace,



Villa Rica said...

Brother Wade,

The same God that has delivered you from the CONSUMPTION of lions in the past will do so again. By God's grace you will prevail in SHINAR as I posted before on my blog.

Villa Rica

tl said...

So, which part of saying "The IMB is heading in the wrong direction" doesn't contravene the recently approved policy to NOT publically criticize board approved actions?

I am confused.

Ann said...

Wade, you make more sense than any preacher I know and I know a bunch. I marvel both at your wisdom and your self-control. The "invitation" sounds like a "shot across the bow." Sorry that this will be the pattern for you now. It is both unkind and unsubtle. It will get much worse.
A change in leadership at the highest levels is needed. Be strong and thanks.

Maiden said...

2+2 students do not qualify as career missionaries; that is the 2+3 program. It is the same thing with an added year on the field. The 2+3 students are under the label "career apprentice."

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Dr. B,

They are grasping at straws.

I've bumped up praying for you from every day to several times a day between now and the May meeting. I'm also now planning to attend the May meeting, with Brother Wes, in support of the truth, whether told by you or anyone else.

Love in Christ,


Anonymous said...

Wade, Your reponse is very gracious, kind and biblically on-target. I believe that it is evident that the Holy Spirit is leading you to repond graciously to those who, in spite of their view that they are not contentious, seem to be spoiling for a fight.
May you continue to grow in His grace, wisdom and stature.

Pressing on,
An IMB M in the field

Jim Shaver said...

Unbelievable! Well Almost until I revisit some of the things I hear in my own church.

I have to admit that I agree that the IMB should move from Richmond. However I'm sure I want it moved further than Bro. Curtis is advocating. I propose that we move it to India, Africa or Europe at the very least.

That way ALL the Staff and Trustees would get the real flavor of International Missions.

And I didn't know the Baptists of Carey's day owned an Ale House. Thanks Wade for that information. I can use that!

Bob Cleveland said...

Very good. You stuck to issues and facts. That is always right to do, but not always effective at "winning arguments" (which I know isn't your priority anyway).

For what it's worth, you assessment of Biblical teaching on alcoholic beverages is dead on, IMHO.

I believe it was Col. John Pelham (for whom our city is named) who said "With heart and mind and conscience clear, fear God and know no other fear".

Torrence Kulguye said...

I have at least two concerns with Mr. Curtis' letter. First, I am concerned with his position of complete abstinence. God instructed the Israelites to use their tithe in the following way if they were far away from the Holy Place: "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, 25 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 chooses 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" (Dt. 14:24-26) It is difficult to support a position of total abstinence from alcohol in light of such verses. If a church covenant disagrees with the Bible, it should be amended.
Second, I am concerned that he has falsely accused Mr. Burleson concerning baptism. If Mr. Burleson's view of baptism contradicts the BF&M, then we should be shown how it does so, from the Bible. It is unfair to make accusations without providing Biblical proof.

No Name said...

Wade and Winston,
Thank you both so much for allowing the public to see this. Mr Curtis, I applaud your willingness to be open and honest as to your letter to the trustees. That is refreshing in a IMB trustee. I do however disagree with you as to direction of the IMB.

I think the IMB has been heading in a great direction the last 10 years, at least up until the trustees passed the new policies. The IMB has focused on the least reached people groups and connected with other evangelical GCC's. Both to me are very positive moves. They have also opened the door for the church to take it's place as a co laborer in missions. No longer are churches told just to give to the CP and let the professionals do missions. The IMB begs churches to give to teh CP and to participate in missions. They have opened the door for churches to be full partners not just by giving but by their actions. That is the right thing! Unfortunately, many churches still just want to give money and let others do missions for them. That is not right.

Additionally Mr. Curtus I cannot see where Wade's view on alcohol among his people is any of the IMB trustees business. Maybe you could shed more light on this according to the scriptures? I see his view as very Biblical.

Thanks gentlemen for being transparent, I think that is very refreshing and healthy.

Wade Burleson said...


Thank you. I believe the words "much closer" to qualifying express it better than "qualified" and have made the change. The additional year of service on the field was unintentially overlooked.

Tim Batchelor said...


For clarity's sake, are you saying that the restrictions on alcohol consumption by missionaries should be lifted?

Wade Burleson said...


The missionary restriction against alcohol has not, and is not, even something I have discussed. Winston's letter addressed my personal "support of the alcohol industry" which I felt was a very odd statement.

When I asked him about the statement yesterday, he said he had heard I might be nominated for President of the SBC and, "I feel if you are nominated for President, people should know about you." I asked him if he was asked by someone else to send the letter, and request the meeting, because I found it disjointed to ask for an EC meeting via email and say it is for the public --- and to include a statement that he felt might cause people to be concerned about my character. I choose to believe Winston that this is not the case.

To attempt to focus on the policy restrictions of missionaries drinking an alcoholic beverage on the field at this time, when seemingly more significant, monumental issues are staring us in the face, as evidenced by Winston's letter, would be very unwise.

I have no desire to do so.

In His Grace,


Kevin Bussey said...


Your views on alcohol are similar to mine. I don't drink but why is it even being brought up in regards to IMB?

Tom said...


You have displayed exemplary patience and grace in your response. Brother Curtis' letter leaves me scratching my head, wondering why he included all the issues that he did and why he seeks the meeting he proposes.

Keep pressing on, brother!

Anonymous said...

Wade and Winston

Another informal breakfast is all that is needed between you to settle Winston's concerns about Wade that don't have relevence to his job as an IMB trustee.

Winston, if you want a private meeting with Wade with the EX com about personal concerns with Wade, why in the world make it public? You know any public statements about "concerns" about a fellow pastor's "convictions on the alcholic indurstry" has the potential to be immediately misunderstood by others. Love and charity would keep those concerns very private until a full understanding achieved in private to make double sure no gossip or misundertstanding got started that could damage a brother. Winston, is love and charity toward a brother in Christ and fellow pastor what is motivating you? If not, shame on you Winston for publicly opening the door to inuendo, and gossip about a fellow pastor and trustee that could do much damage. I think you know better if you know Christ.

Thanks Wade for quickly explaining your very scriptural position to quieten those concerns.

Concerns about the direction of the IMB should be taken up with all the trustees jointly, and the more public the better in that case! All the trustees need to hear your concerns and all of us too!

Ann said...

NOT For Publication (unless you really want to) You admitted to knowing little of the the real ugliness that has gone on in the past. Some loving and hopefully helpful advice--DON'T aid or allow this to morph into an argument over drinking! You have stated your Biblical position. The more comments you or others publish about this the more amunition your critics have. That is why the subject was issued with permission to make it public. YOU posted it as was their plan. I know you hate this but probably the writer and about three others worked on this senario carefully. Your reaction was predictable. Declare it finished and concentrate on the real issues. Another thing. Expect to hear in the next few days the beginning of their real campaign which is going to be that you are "backed" by CBF and other moderates. It is their chosen and announced strategy. This is not speculation. Be prepared. On another blog, I saw this Andrew Jackson quotation. "One man with courage makes a majority." You're God's man. Ann

t. d. webb said...


This Okie read Pastor Curtis' letter and came away with somewhat of an ambivalent reaction: Firstly, I was struck with dismay and sadness to see an explicit example of a Trustee revisiting a controversy in a matter not too dissimilar from a previous episode just a few months ago. The current complaint has, as its focus, the same person who was shamelessly and repeatedly slandered in the earlier debacle. It is apparently not bad enough that the IMB BoT did not display the character to apologize for the unsubstantiated and patently false charges that were heaped on one of their own, then. Apparently disregarding the black eye that the IMB BoT received in the earlier fiasco, now, a pastor IMB Trustee from Duncan, OK, is preparing a renewed attack on one of his fellow Trustees through revisiting one of the two issues involved in the policy changes made by the IMB BoT last year.

Moreover, Pastor Curtis has introduced an additional "concern" to further exacerbate the divisivness that continues to threaten the efficacy of the IMB. This charge asserts that you, Wade Burleson, support the "alcoholic beverage industry". When I first saw the statement, I was fearful that certain dirt-diggers had found an old Anheuser-Busch TV beer commercial in which you appeared. (wink) Well, since the charge is currently vague and ambiguous, we don't know precisely what Pastor Curtis has on his mind at this time.

That said, we do know that, by now, virtually every detail of your life has been scrutinized under the moral microscopes of those who have come to perceive themselves as your judge, jury and executioner. The good news/bad news is that, at least, Pastor Curtis has authorized the public release of his letter, though he is requesting a non-public meeting to define the "issues that concern" him.

By the way, if Pastor Curtis can justify linking you with being an advocate of the "alcoholic beverage industry" based on your understanding of Scripture's teaching concerning the use of alcohol and your church's policies regarding the same, perhaps he would be willing to discuss, even confess, his own condoning, if not advocacy, of "Satanism". . . You see, Pastor Curtis preaches in a town that references the athletes (some of whom are, or have been, ACTIVE MEMBERS in Pastor Curtis' church) on its high school sports teams as "demons", i.e., the "Duncan Demons" (in spite of rumored failed attempts to change their appellation to "Donuts" (tongue planted firmly in cheek)
. . .and so it goes. . .

In His Grace and Peace,
T. D. Webb

Anonymous said...

I have to make one more comment, especially in light of the the "Miracle in Memphis".

As it is becoming obvious now this thing is going to get ugly, and some already using the same tactics used in the past, inuendo, half truths, etc,etc, and since in Miracle of Memphis these were part of the evil repented of,

All of those who read this blog, sympathetic to that repentence, and who so eanestly want a return to gentleness and integrity in the SBC, should now pause, and,

Pray in saddness for the misdirected brothers who are being tempted even now to use such tactics, with sincere saddness that brothers are using these kind of tactics, and ask God to forgive them, and pray the Holy Spirit to gently convict them, and nip all this in the bud.

Maybe the Miracle in Memphasis will spread. Lord Jesus please let it spread.

And Brother Wade just hang in there and remember your priorities.

David Phillips said...


I've read this maybe 10 times this morning and I have yet to see one inkling of anything positive about Winston's letter. And per your comment, he wanted to "out" your views?

I, like Tom, am scratching my head Something just doesn't smell right about this. Be wise as avserpent, and harmless as a dove.

Wade Burleson said...


I had to laugh at your comment and posted it for that reason.

I realize you are serious, and I appreciated your concern. However, I do not have a campaign, and though you may be accurate in their plans, the very reason your comment should be posted is to end secret agendas.

I have no secret agendas. I just want to help our missionaries, our agencies and our convention keep focused on the main thing --- Jesus Christ and His Kingdom

What made me laugh was the idea that I would be the CBF or liberal candidate. Someone told me about BaptistLife which is the CBF opinion site. Several CBF people from around the world type their comments about Wade Burleson.

Read it at your own risk. It is not for the weak of heart --- I am the devil incarnate by most on that site--- at least by their own writing.

There is one evangelical, a man I have never met, but is from Oklahoma, a Mr. Webb, who patiently, graciously, and persistently defends me to the CBF'rs. In the providence of God, he is the same Mr. Webb that just posted above. He is vilified and attacked as much as I by the CBF, simply for his defense of me.

So . . .

I'm not sure that their plan of action to identify me as the "liberal" candidate will hold water. Unlike yesteryear, there is a written record of all that people are saying.

By the way, I'm sure Liberals are good people, just like Fundamentalists, but what they have in common is an anger toward their fellow Christians.

I want no part of the spirit of either group.

Reread the last line --- I would serve with anyone who names Christ as Lord and believes His Word, but I don't want the spirit of either group in me or my church. The Kingdom of God is too important and the time is too short to be filled with anger and bitterness.

JUSTAMOE said...

Wade typed, "Frankly, it would be sin for me to try to change your mind and demand you believe the way I do on the non-essentials."

I suppose that it could depend upon HOW one sought to change another's mind which can be termed a "sin" (brass knuckles, baseball bat, etc.); otherwise, seeking to do so wouldn't be a sin--it would be discipling an errant and less-mature Christian brother in regard to the truth of the Scriptures (something seen many times in the New Testament--and something for which more-mature believers are responsible).

kevin said...

Why don't we have a pay per view wrestling match to settle all of this? It could be one of those "royal rumbles" where a new trustee charges into the ring every three minutes. Last man or woman standing gets to make the decisions. Who would be the referee? All pay per view proceeds, of course, would go to Lottie Moon.

andrea said...


"Grace and Truth to You" - no wonder you selected the name. You are grace and truth.

I pray God's continued proctection on your life!


Nannette Lites said...

Your Christlike response today
reminded me of an observation made by a friend who had been a member of your dad's church in Fort Worth. She said, "No wonder he is so gentle in his dealings; Paul Burleson is his father!"
Stay as sweet as you are.
Nannette Lites

Wade Burleson said...


I respectfully disagree.

I am called to state the truth, defend my position (apologia in Greek), but the Holy Spirit guides into all truth.

In other words, the problems we have in our convention is that nobody is willing to admit they may be the immature Christian in need of discipleship. I may be the one who needs to be discipled in my "immature" beliefs, and I welcome anyone to show me the error of my ways from Scripture.

But when I state my position based on truth, when the person who disagrees with me states his position based on the truth, then we must wait for the Holy Spirit to convince. As we wait, and the Spirit may choose to not make us uniform in interpretation of the non-essentials in order to keep our focus on the essentials, we ought to accept one another with differing interpretations of the Bible, working together to bring people to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and love each other with Christ's love.

Benjamin S. Cole said...

Isn't Winston Curtis being renominated to the IMB Board for another four-year term?

And about this matter of lifting restrictions on the "consumption" of alcohol: Our church lifted those restrictions favoring total abstinence last year. In fact, we have wine at our communion services.

Like Martin Luther, I enjoy a lager every now and then, always in moderation. My Chairman of Deacons does the same. One of my deacon candidates makes a mean margarita. And it's not an issue.

By the way, since we lifted that clause from our constitution and bylaws, our church visitation ministry has taken off, and people in our church are more excited than ever about reaching the lost. I'm not making the chronological fallacy here by suggesting that our change from abstinence to moderation is what caused the renewed commitment to soulwinning. I'm only suggesting that it didn't hurt our witness.

For what it's worth, I think this is a part of a ridiculous attempt to discredit Wade. I've already heard from some megachurch pastors that "Wade's position on alcohol" was going to be "used against him."

So Wade, here's a promise. If you're elected registration secretary at this year's Greensboro convention, I'll split a bottle of Dom Perignon with you. :)

Winebibber in Christ,


Wade Burleson said...


With friends like you I don't have any need of enemies :)

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...


Are you trying to complicate Wade's life even more? :) I had to laugh when I read your post. That is too funny.


You said this was coming in yesterday's post. You were right. Many prayers and support. We all may need to go out with Ben when this is all over:)

darren said...

I think it's good that brother Curtis allowed this letter to be made public.

Yes, sadly it shows why so many younger seminarians are exploring non-denominational church plants as to have to deal with this kind of stuff but can just focus on the essentials of the faith and reaching lost people with the power of the gospel and the cross.

However, this letter in my opinion, may also reveals some deeper motives and tactics. Is the motive reconciliation, unity, harmony, the furtherance of the gospel? Or is this an attempt simply to discredit an individual by bringing the alcohol issue up completely out of left field?

So while I continue to pray for and sympathize with Wade for dealing with all this, I am also thankful because I know there are a lot of people in the SBC closely watching all of this trying to determine their own opinions and decisions.

Letters like this make those decisions a bit easier.

JUSTAMOE said...

ACTS 18:24-28

"24Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. 25He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor[b] and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. 26He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.

27When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. 28For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ."

Cf. Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 8; etc.

The Lord Jesus taught us to seek to win our brothers, not our cases against the brothers with whom we disagree. Paul taught that, in my Christian liberty, I never am free NOT to choose the brother with whom I disagree theologically; I am, though, responsible to seek to disciple him further. I respectfully disagree with your respectful disagreement--but continue to choose you, brother!

Rick Thompson said...

Just to clarify for Winston,

The liquid in the cup in my picture is HOT SWEET TEA.

Jack Maddox said...

I thionk we need to understand the concentric mature of all of this...there are two circles...they overlap...there is a realmn on each side that represents an extreme...many of us who are in the middle are reading, watching, listening and gleaning so that we may come to some understanding of what is taking place in the convention. I must tell you that the more I read, the more I see, the more I listen, the more I am coming to the understanding that although I am not in agreement wuth the recent activity of the IMB, I must tell you that something is not right with this countet movement...Wade withstanding (I believe him to be a very gentle and Christlike man) the writings and rambelings of many in this 'movement' do not represent the Baptist who sits in the pews of the church's that our in our convention(with a few exceptions)

BC's comments were in this preachers opinion shameful

"Like Martin Luther, I enjoy a lager every now and then, always in moderation. My Chairman of Deacons does the same. One of my deacon candidates makes a mean margarita. And it's not an issue."

This is the kind of thing we are reading, this is what we are watching, this is what we are gleaning...and this kind of rhetoric will guide our praying and our actions in the days ahead.


v domus said...


you may be Catholic material.

Jake Barker said...

Where's your church.....I want to join!!!

Brad Reynolds said...

I am very grateful for your willingness to choose to have the Bible and the Bible alone as your authority concerning matters of conscience and thus to educate others about what the Bible does and does not say about items such as alcohol. However, as I’m sure you agree it is important to place these references in their cultural and linguistical settings. Not only is this essential in arriving at the meaning of the text but it is essential especially in the matter of educating others on this issue of alcohol, which is minor for some but major for others, especially those affected by it.

With that in mind let us by fair about the most common term in the NT concerning wine - “oinos.” It certainly referenced fermented wine but it also most certainly referenced the fermented wine being moderated by at least 3 parts water and usually more. In other words, as Norman Geisler points out, one’s bladder would be affected long before one ever became drunk on such wine. In fact, Geisler points out that anyone who drank wine unmixed with water in those days was considered a Barbarian!

Further, their drink was out of necessity, they had water and grape vines. For those who did not have a fresh spring flowing year round (which was virtually everyone), their supply of liquid was dependent either on old stale water sitting for months in a pot, or cistern, which inevitably became a breeding ground for innumerable diseases, or grape juice if it was that time of year when the vines were producing, or oinos. One might wonder why they did not purify their water. They did, but usually not by fire, for fuel for flames was not as readily available in Palestine as it is in East Texas or the Redwood Forest. So, they purified their water by adding oinos which would kill most of the bacteria (further, they now called the new mixture – “oinos”!). That is a lot different from today.

Inevitably, many point to Jesus turning water to wine at the marriage ceremony, however, our review of “oinos” sheds new light on this matter. For, if it wasn’t diluted and if the reference to saving the worst wine for last was a reference to the attendees being to drunk to notice, then we have our Lord contributing to the drunkenness of others – which as Wade pointed out - drunkenness is sin.

We’ve not touched the issue of causing weaker brothers to stumble with our freedoms. And, yes I am one of those uptight pastors who believes if one of the youth in my church saw me walking out of an ABC store with a 6-pack of Bud it could very easily cause them to stumble. It certainly would have caused me to stumble when I was a teenager. In fact, less than 100 years ago our society forbade alcoholic drink, not the church but the society. Further, society still forbids consumption until a certain age, without parental control (and that age is greater (21) than the age on statutory rape (17)).

Even with this cultural understanding on oinos, it was still forbidden to pastors (I Timothy 3:3) as made clear by its juxtaposition with the reference to deacons (3:8). Timothy was so careful to maintain a pure testimony in this area that Paul had to instruct him to take it when it was actually needed for medicinal purposes.

Finally, there can be no doubt about the negative references the Bible has concerning alcohol (Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:3; Deuteronomy 14:26; 29:6; Judges 13:4,7,14; 1 Samuel 1:15; Proverbs 20:1; 31:4,6; Isaiah 5:11,22; 24:9; 28:7; 29:9; 56:12; Micah 2:11; Luke 1:15). And it’s positive references to wine are now better understood.

Now concerning my friend's reference to the practice of our great reformer Martin Luther, he also baptized infants, which may also encourage evangelistic fervor, yet that does not make it right. I have little doubt that were I to provide a bar and mixed drinks before visitation night I would not only have more participants but they would be more bold and free in their witness, however the thought of some church members being buzzed before they go out to share the gospel is not comforting, nor sanctifying, although it is entertaining.

For those seriously interested in this topic let me reference John MacArthur’s article and Norman Geisler’s article. You can find them by Googleing “John MacArthur – Be not Drunk with Wine – Part 2” and “A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking – Norman Geisler.”

So too conclude the matter, Scripture does NOT forbid drinking alcohol but then again it’s not that simple!!!
Brad Reynolds

Kevin said...

I know this is not part of the discussion, but could all brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ pray for me this Sunday night. I will be preaching at the baccalaureate and many of the sr. class need Jesus and I am going to preach in the school truth and I need God to give me the strength and power to proclaim His word with Power and Authority that we would see many come to Him for Salvation both students and Parents. I will be posting this on other sites as well.

Thank You in advance of God doing a mighty thing.
In Him
Kevin Lancaster

Anonymous said...

v domus,
When is your Catholic bus going to start? Do you think the ride will be smooth or bumpy?
Rex Ray

Benjamin S. Cole said...

Catholic material?

I like Latin, it's true.

My favorite Latin expression?

Veni, Vidi, Vici.


Anonymous said...

God bless you and all of my other brothers and sisters of like mind. I am a middle-aged,30 year member of SBC churches but lately my head is swimming. The "gifts" thing is making me crazy. Am I the only one thinking of going Calvary Chapel?

brad reynolds said...

You made a reference to "fundamentalists" having anger towards fellow Christians, just a note of clarification, I assume you meant legalists. As you know "fundamentalists" is a term derived from the 1920's referencing those who believed in the Five Fundamentals of the Faith listed below...which I feel confident from reading your blog you affirm. And I for one refuse to allow the liberal media to redefine the term as they have done and make it a pejorative term referencing all those crazy religious nuts who bomb abortion clinics. I am a fundamentalist according to its definition, not its redefinition, and I do not hate fellow-Christians, in fact I have no hatred toward anyone

1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2. The Virgin Birth.
3. The Blood Atonement.
4. The Bodily Resurrection.
5. The inerrancy of the Scriptures.

Dorcas said...

A short comment from one coming out of legalistic bondage into freedom:

I hope there is a better tasting wine out there than what we get at communion or I don't really get what the big deal is. Whatever Pastor Ben is passing off as wine (red vinegar?) no one is going to get drunk on, I promise. :)

Rebecca said...

When one of my brother's daughters come to him telling on one of the others... he says "Petty. What does that mean?" And then they say, "that it doesn't really matter." Why are we getting so caught up in things that just don't matter? The occasional alcoholic drink used to be something you kept in the closet (I know my parents did and their parents before them... my mom thought her parents always drank iced tea... little did she know it was of the long island type). After all, they were all baptist. So many baptists drink within their own home b/c they read the Bible and have absolutely NO CONVICTION against doing so. But in public? They don't dare b/c someone might see them and judge them. What happens when you admit to fellow Baptists that you don't think there is a thing wrong with drinking in moderation? They tell you they agree.
Try it. 9 times out of 10... they'll say "I feel the same way."
So, nice try but I just don't think many people care about Brother Wade's stand on alcohol.

Kiki Cherry said...


Wow. I went over to that Baptist Life site and wish I hadn't.

How can people who claim to be Christians write things like that? What kind of witness are we being to the world?

I have many friends in the CBF. Some of my closest friends from college, and even some of my missionary aunts and uncles.

I haven't lost my love or respect for them just because they went to the CBF.

I don't believe any of us can judge the motives of another person's heart.

I am sorry for some of the comments made towards you. But God knows your heart, He knows your motive, and He is your Judge and Defender.

Anonymous said...

Wade, how much more trouble would you be in if certain people knew your eschatology beliefs?

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! I would not go close to a Church that finds alcohol as (ok) in moderation. Tell that to all the poor down and outers that the man referred to as crazy goes out and witnesses to. They were moderate once!! Don't dare try to use the inspired Word of God to justify some fleshly desire of the human being. benjamin s cole must be kidding and even if he were this is serious business and no place for winebibblers and jokers. I can't believe I read your response to that accusation. Let's hurry and get over these last few non-essentials and then the slide will be smooth the rest of the way. And its all in the name of the Lord. There must be a thousand Scripture I could refer to but suffice it be II Timothy 2:22 "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. And oh, you have such a large Church----now I am speechless.

Bob Cleveland said...

With reference to some of the facts of Mr. Curtis' letter: He indicates that he differs with you on "tolerance" of glossolalia, and "tolerance" of the moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages. The fact that he called for a meeting with the leadership of the BoT implies he sees those things as questionable for a Trustee .. that they might call your qualifications into question.

His letter is silent as to whether he has ever discussed those things with you privately. I think the question needs to be asked.

Wade, has he discussed those thing with you, privately, in that light?

Wade Burleson said...


Your two posts are thoughtful and reasonable.

Please understand that some who post here have tongue firmly implanted in cheek and sometimes it is difficult to know from simply print.

Others, of course are quite serious.

I have determined not to edit comments unless they personally attack someone.

The issue must not be twisted or confused:

Good, evangelical conservatives sometimes disagree on the interpretation of Scripture on the non-essentials of the faith. Brad is right: conservatives agree on the fundamentals of the faith --- legalists and liberals can sometimes be very angry with those who disagree.

Lord, keep us from that spirit.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Anonymous,

When you find someone who knows my eschatological views let me know so I can know what I believe as well. :)

I teach my church the four major views and let them choose the one they feel reflects Scripture the best.

martyduren said...

I thought your favorite Latin phrase would be in vino veritas.

Benjamin S. Cole said...


I like many Latin phrases. Another one is this:

pessimum genus inimicorum laudantes

Anonymous said...

I will never understand those who say any amount of alcohol is wrong just b/c some abuse it. God created many things that can either be sinful or holy. Sex is one of them. Because some people have a sex addiction... does that mean we abstain from all sex? There are boundaries for sex. There are boundaries for alcohol.
All sex is not evil.
All drinking is not evil. We go to such lengths to attempt to prove any amount of alcohol is wrong and it just doesn't add up. I'd love to know the ages of those who are adament that all alcohol is wrong. I'd venture a guess that they are all over 50 and they've just accepted what they've been taught.
And now I'm debating on whether or not to sign this, but since I have not only said alcohol in this post but also sex, I'll refrain.

Stephen Pruett said...

Brad Reynolds, What are your reference sources indicating that wine was routinely diluted 3 or 4 fold in Jesus' day? I have heard that also, but I can find no solid reliable references other than one preacher quoting another. Not to disparage preachers, but I have heard a number of statements from pulpits that could have used better fact checking. To my knowledge water did not come from stale containers in most towns in the Middle East, it came from wells (as in the woman at the). I deliver a lecture every year on alcohol to medical students, so I know the harm it can cause. In addition, it seems clear to me that we are not to take advantage of our freedoms if they might hurt a weaker brother or sister. However, I cannot find in the Bible a clear teaching of unconditional abstinence. Even diluted wine, if consumed for a long period of time (as at the wedding in Cana) will have some effects. Not drunkeness (we agree that Jesus would not condone and certainly not promote such), but certainly a detectable effect. Cultural conditions and the necessity of wine as a means of preserving grapes in Bible times, but not now should be considered. However, it is still not possible to conclude with absolute certainty that the Bible teaches abstinence. Do we have a rule as Baptists that everyone must be certain about every issue? Can't we admit as Paul did that we see through a glass darkly and there is much we will never understand on this side of glory. Can't we have friendly discussions on these matters while we cooperate to reach the world for Christ? Apparently not. It seems that some of us feel compelled to use any difference of interpretation as a cause for character assasination or exclusion. One last thought: Wade said abstinence is the best way to avoid drunkeness-Hey this means he supports it, but he can't prove from scripture that it is the only permissible choice--and neither can anyone else who comes to the scriptures without preconceived notions.

CB Scott said...


I would still like to talk to you.
205 787 2704 is the number.


George said...

Wade, I want to thank you for your courage to stand for truth. I believe we are at another turning point in our walk with the Lord, and the choices we make in the next few years will determine how our Lord will deal with us a denomination. Keep up the good work.

Jesus said in Matthew 15 “In vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Is our worship “vain” when we place our Baptist traditions above what the Word of God tells us? I don’t drink, nor do I encourage others to drink, but I agree that there is no “commandment” to totally abstain from alcohols. How can we condemn what our Lord does not condemn? When we do, are we any better than the Pharisees?

George Welborn
Lawton, OK

Anonymous said...

To whom it may concern:
In Bible times, how many were killed by a drunk driver on a camel?
This is not a joke. As times change, what was acceptable may change to unacceptable due to other factors.
As a boy, I use to sing a song that had gay in it. Needless to say, I don't sing it anymore.
'Moderation' is one of the devil's best words in some areas. Is it OK for moderation in murder, sin etc.? If the law can keep it off TV, surely Christians can keep it out of the frig.

Can you see that Ann is so right. What I wrote above is falling into the trap that Wade's opponints want us to do: devide ourselves so we fight over small issues. If we fight each other we become too weak to overcome their power.
United for MISSIONS should be our slogan.
Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

Look up "wine" in an exhaustive concordance. In almost all instances in the NT it is the same Greek word:

"No one pours new wine into old wineskins... If he does the wine will burst the skins"

"the water that had been turned into wine"

"the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine"

"They have had too much wine" (at Pentecost)

"Do not get drunk on wine"

All these instances and many more are the same Greek word.

Draw your own conclusions, based on what it says, not on your tradition.

Tim Sweatman said...


I think I am seeing a trend in all of these discussions. It seems that a large number of those who launched and supported the Conservative Resurgence from its earliest days have a number of doctrinal views based on tradition in addition to Scripture. (I do not believe they do this intentionally.) Conversely, a number of those who came of age during the latter stages of the Resurgence and afterward, once the "Battle for the Bible" had been won, look to the Bible only as their basis for doctrine. Thus, when they find that a traditional doctrinal view does not have biblical support, they abandon the traditional view. So in a way, today's generation is moving the Resurgence toward its completion, moving beyond inerrancy to sufficiency as well.

Tim Sweatman said...

Oh, for the record, I have never had a drop of alcohol in my life (unless it was in some sort of medicine), so my statement is not motivated by any desire on my part to drink or to condone drinking. I simply do not see any way to make a biblical case for requiring total abstinence from alcohol; therefore, if we believe in the sufficiency of Scripture we should not have doctrinal requirements to abstain.

martyduren said...

Why did "in vino veritas" turn into an asterick and a slash?

What kinda blog you running here Burleson?? ;^)

brad reynolds said...

Thank you for your interest in this and your desire to be factual…that is always good and commendable, especially on Biblical topics such as this because of the emotions involved.

As I stated in my post, “for those seriously interested in this topic let me reference John MacArthur’s article and Norman Geisler’s article. You can find them by Googleing “John MacArthur – Be not Drunk with Wine – Part 2” and “A Christian Perspective on Wine-Drinking – Norman Geisler.””
The above articles will give you the data you requested. For further study, see Robert Stien’s article "Wine-Drinking in New Testament Times," Christianity Today, June 20, 1975.

Water did come from wells and cisterns, and it was very common to draw water from the well or cistern and store it in clay pots until the next time one went to the well, which in some cases, depending on distance, could be many days. Further, the phrase “living water” was a phrase used for water that came from “flowing” springs, and the still water was usually referred to as dead water because of the animals that would crawl in the wells or cisterns in search for water and die and because of the diseases contained within…which sheds light on Jesus being our “living water” - an ever-flowing source of life when all else offers death.

As you can also read from my post, I did not state “with absolute certainty that the Bible teaches abstinence,” rather I said, “Scripture does NOT forbid drinking alcohol but then again it’s not that simple!!!” Therefore, I believe we should teach the whole matter, which includes the cultural and linguistical context and the abundance of negative comments the scripture provides concerning alcohol.

Concerning, character assassinations, I know people on both sides of this issue and am unaware of that taking place. Concerning cooperation in missions, I am unaware of any policies by groups I am associated with that forbids such cooperation, However, I do not have problems with an entity placing high-standards on missionaries they send out, especially if the missionaries are being paid by that entity. I see this topic in similar fashion with modesty. The Bible doesn’t give guidelines for what is and what is not modest but I see nothing wrong with entities doing so.

The Bible doesn’t appear to be concerned with how close to sin we can get without sinning, rather it’s concern appears to be how close to the biblical Jesus we can get?

And I agree, many people view Scripture through “preconceived ideas” or their own presuppositions – it is a universal temptation which I feel affects us all, and the more aware of our subjectivity we are, the more I would hope we would strive for a semblance of objectivity in looking toward authorial intent of scriptures. Thomas Kuhn wrote a good book (which I feel was a catalyst for the post-modern movement) on the inabilities to see outside of our own worldviews, entitled “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” While I most certainly disagree with his conclusion on relativism, his book is nevertheless insightful.

Hope this helps

imb m said...

Essential...non-essential...essential...non-essential (I'm weighing this back and forth in the balance)

What in the world is Mr. Winston doing?

Did he go to Wade in private about these concerns before making them public? I believe that is biblical way that it should have been handled.

Did he abide by the new trustee guidelines? He implied things about Wade that could lead to false assumptions about Wade; he implied things that could disparage Wade's character...I do believe Mr. Winston has violated the new trustee guidelines.

Yoo-hoo; Mr IMB Chairman...where are you?

Thank you Mr. Winston for showing me that the IMB BOT that I serve under has members that don't abide by their own rules, yet expect me to do so...whether or not those rules are biblical.

brad reynolds said...

Thank you for your desire for Biblical fidelity, I am so encouraged by that, surely there is common ground here, as I was taught by one of the architects of the conservative resurgence. So, if your reference to those who launched it was in any way a reference to Dr. Patterson, I can tell you what he taught me, and lives by “Sola Scriptura!”

Further, if you are referencing the prohibition on drinking alcohol as a “traditional view with no Biblical support,” I believe I have shown that there is actual Biblical support for this position of prohibition, although the extent of it is obviously in question – medicinal purposes, etc.

Finally, there are certain systematically arrived at guidelines provided by Scripture concerning many topics we debate, even when Scripture does not have an 11th Commandment on them. For instance, I think one would be hard-pressed to state the Bible unambiguously states that women who do not cover their breasts are in sin! However, even when our female missionaries find themselves in these cultures, they usually remain covered, because of the systematic review in Scripture, which does, in many of our opinions, provide guidelines irrespective of our personal desires on this issue. While one might classify this as a traditional view without biblical support I think he would be wrong.

A 10-40 Window Worker said...


This was told to a missionary who was incarcerated for distributing Bibles. The interrogator was a Moslem..."Why do you always invite two Baptists when you go fishing? One will drink all of your beer!

Stephen Pruett said...

BR, Thanks much for your careful response. Here I go accusing folks of reading the Bible with preconceptions, and it seems I did the same thing with your post. I agree with you completely that that the issue is complex and the whole thing needs to be presented. I also think Tim Sweatman is exactly on target when he says that people are now less interested in tradition and more interested in really understanding and doing what the Bible says. This will probably be a source of a number of disagreements for some time. For the record, I did not intent to accuse you of character assasination or any such thing, I was referring to the letter which is the subject of this series of posts that seemed an obvious effort to find any sort of mud that might actually stick to Wade. Rex may be right about us not arguing over small things, but this is the heart of the subject about that has been central in these discussions. There will always be disagreements. The question is, can we cooperate or permit cooperation with those with whom we disagree over non-essentials.

v domus said...


your Latin words offer way too many options for me to understand the phrase. If you mean to use "vini" instead of "veni", that at least is in keeping with vine-dressing and therefore wine making. But the other two words serve as the root for many words used in English. Or, I may be missing something. Please let me know if I am.

Thanks in advance.

v domus

Anonymous said...

Wade, your "Last Days Madness" series changed my world. I was introduced to a different interpretation that I didn't even know existed. Of course being brought up in Baptist Churches the Pentecost/Walvoord view of eschatology is predominate. It was through your series that led/forced me to study for myself to see what does the Bible really teach on these things. I will forever be grateful to you for that. It was through my own study I came to a full-preterist view.

My concern is that once we are through with tongues and Baptism our eschatology would be next. As I'm sure you know, my view would be the first to be labeled heretical and the first to be thrown out along with me. But what am I to do? Deny what I have learned through intense bible study? Emmanuel is fortunate to have a pastor that allows such openess and freedom in areas where Baptist disagree. Continue to speak for people like me, even though we may never agree on everything. May God lead us all into Truth.

brad reynolds said...

Well said.

Thank you for your very kind words and yet I blush. Lest any get the wrong idea I am a very simple country pastor...and I blog as such. I certainly do not blog as a professor, for the title is most undeserved, save for the grace of Christ, and further I represent no one but myself. In fact, I'm not sure if anyone from either my church or seminary knows or even cares. However, as evidenced by the freedoms I feel to blog, the Presidents I know in our seminary institutions do not demand uniformity outside of the employee handbooks/guidelines, which are necessary for rules of conduct on and OFF campus. It is most fair for institutions to require whatever modes of conduct they feel is necessary to maintain their witness, including dress codes, alcoholic consumption, student-professor dating or whatever other matter that may not be as clearly spelled out in the Bible as some desire. This is not unusual, even by the standards of the pagan business world. There are even public charter schools that have very similar restrictions of their employees off campus.

On a personal note, I want to thank you for how God used you to get my father back in church. I had prayed for him for years. You will be glad to know he is meeting with a group of businessmen for prayer every Wednesday morning and is very faithful to church, albeit not a SBC church. You will recall the problems of that church from your days years ago, in fact one of the lines you used regarding one of the female leaders you were having trouble with, is still fresh in my mind and brings a smile on my face. As I recall, because of your stand on God's Word, she accused you of starting a cult like Jim Jones and you held her sweet hand and looked her in the face and said "Mrs. _____, it will be ok, just go home and drink some Kool-Aid."

CB, I haven't forgotten...will call soon. I was busy today, testing in tae kwon do, just in case I meet a Baptist preacher who’s had a little too much and takes seriously and literally Ben's favorite Latin phrase, towards me.

Benjamin S. Cole said...


I remember your parents well, and who knew at that time that our lives would intersect as they did. Your father told me during those difficult days that "his preacher son" told me to "hang in there." I didn't even know you, but your counsel was needed and the indirect encouragement helped me face some tough decisions.

And poor Mrs. Morph. She was convinced I was a cult leader...because I was "able to convince" 6 of the 7 members of that search committee to call me as pastor...and because I had run off the music guy that played the guitar like Elvis and mocked my Evangelism Explosion training to the teenagers.

Not sure I would have done everything the exact same way as I did...I was young and dumb and idealistic. But I'm so glad that God let me have a part in growing your dad's spiritual walk. Be sure and tell Doyle I said hello...and that I'm still "hanging in there."


Anonymous said...

Wade, I appreciate your spirit on this blog, consistently gracious in spite of many non-gracious efforts against you. Thank you also for hosting this discussion.

Brad Reynolds, I also appreciate your contributions to this discussion. I am one of those who read the Bible and found it to be lacking in a requirement of alcoholic abstinence. Since I live by the Bible, I do enjoy alcohol in moderation. I've also done a great deal of research into what others have said on the issue in my desire to make a fully informed decision, and I've read the articles you mention. They do include interesting information.

My only concern with articles of that type is this: if the consumption of alcohol was the fast train to hell that many SBC pastors teach, wouldn't God have been crystal clear on it? Why would an issue of this importance be left so ambiguous, that a proper perspective on it would require searching for an article published in 1975? What did Christians do before that article? How would we have found it before the internet? How many people lived lives of sin, not knowing the truth, until that article was published? (forgive my sarcasm, it is not in anger or malice)

My point is, it is my belief that God would have made it very clear. I don't think (I could be wrong) that there are any other issues that requre a scholar's interpretation to give us God's true view on an issue. I agree that historical context is important, and there are countless issues to which I've gained much greater understanding after hearing explanations of context and word translation, but on the big things, I can at least get the general idea just by reading the Bible myself, in english, even in the New Living Translation.

I can point to many verses that say alcohol is permissable. I can point to many that say drunkenness is bad, even a sin. I can even find a few that say it is a good thing to drink wine. (see Ecclesiates) I can't find one that says every good Christian must avoid it at all costs. (I understand you haven't made this point Brad, I'm including it as a response to some other comments I have seen).

The "stumbling block" is another common reason people give for abstention. I believe that is noble as well. I myself do not drink around those that I know think it is wrong. I do not, however, abstain from any public consumption. If I were to take Paul's very practical instructions on the matter to the extreme (as alcohol has been), then I would also never eat meat or ANY OTHER THING that offends my brother. The context is pretty clear that Paul is saying, "Use your head, if you know it's a big deal with the people you're directly visiting, then don't do it in front of the weaker brother".

Finally, if the wine of the Bible was diluted with water, then what is the point of a biblical admonition to avoid drunkenness? If it would have been well nigh impossible to get drunk on the wine mentioned (one would need to use the restroom far before they reached a state of drunkenness was the quote I believe), then why tell us not to get drunk?

To those who disagree, I am a teachable spirit, and I request you respond with scripture references that would be helpful in demonstrating why I'm wrong. I know that many people have had lives destroyed by alcohol, directly or indirectly, and they have a very good reason to abstain. Indeed, if one never drinks, one will never get drunk. But also, everyone who drinks is not a drunkard. These are the issues that I weighed in discerning the proper place for alcohol in my life. Your mileage may vary.

From the BFM2K, "Religious Liberty: God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it."

I will remain mostly anonymous, due to this being a new issue at my church, and not having had the opportunity to raise the concerns with my minister yet. And I have a feeling he knows who Wade is.

-Philinator (not my real name)

Jake Barker said...

Mat 11:18-19
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”[c]

CB Scott said...


I look forward to talking with you. I hope you test well. What belt are you working on? If I had stayed around longer I would have been glad to have trained with you. I started training again just lately. I never know when Ben might need my services. Since I am old now I give him a very reduced rate than from the old days. My methods are different now,also. I just yell: RUN, BEN, RUN:)
By the time you read this I pray that God has blessed His Word as you delivered it. May the Spirit dwell with might in your family and ministry.


brad reynolds said...

It is invigorating to share with one who has such a teachable spirit. You set a model for all of us on this issue. Your sarcasm did not come across with malice but certainly built a straw man. The antiquity of a document does not deny its veracity, hence although MacArthur and Geisler both wrote much more recently, Stein’s research is still relevant.

Further, the cultural context wherein the article was published helps explain things. The Prohibition was both socially acceptable and governmentally enforced outside the church less than 100 years ago; hence the article was not nearly as applicable then, as in the early 70’s. This does not deny that the information was always there, Stein did not invent it in his article.

Nowhere in the NT are we told that the instruction by God to work the land 6 years and let it rest on the seventh is no longer applicable…but a study of the cultural setting and principles of Scripture give us insight into this. Some would say “but we now live under grace not law, and thus the law is no longer applicable” true, but does that include the laws prohibition of murder or bearing false witness. It takes research into the culture, the setting, and the language of the text to arrive at an answer to the application of OT law.

Hence, to claim the Bible is not clear on the subject of alcohol as a way to neglect the cultural and/or linguistical setting is less than intellectually honest. The point is, if we use cultural understandings to interpret some difficult concepts that are not spelled out clearly in Scripture then we should not claim innocence if we neglect such study in other areas.

Concerning your claim of verses stating alcohol is permissible, in the context I have already mentioned I am unaware of any verses that say alcohol is permissible outside of medicinal purposes. In fact, without going through the verses one by one here (for 2 reasons: 1) If I had a field of expertise this would not be it, although I try to remain educated since I shepherd a flock; and 2) Time), let me encourage you to Google “The Moorings and Alcoholic Drink.” While I do not necessarily agree with all on the “Moorings” website, his treatment of the positive texts for alcohol seems fair.

Concerning your querry about the prohibition of drunkenness if one could not get drunk on the wine mentioned in NT. Not all wine or “strong drink” was diluted…hence the purpose for the prohibition of drunkenness.

As I continue to maintain, the statement "there is no Scripture that prohibits the drinking of 1 glass of alcohol" may technically be true, but there is much more to it. I for one will heed the advice of Solomon’s mother, “it is not for King’s to drink wine.”

Finally, the reason I mentioned Kuhn’s book earlier is for this very purpose. If one approaches this topic through a certain paradigm then no matter what evidence is presented for either side one will not change his/her mind unless the paradigm is removed. I happen to believe by the grace of God we can all remove our paradigms that keep us from truth, provided we are willing.

Thank you for your concern for my father, it means a lot to me and the fact you remembered his name is a testimony to your incredible mind and intellect. Dad, once said your mind will propel you. For those of us who are not part of the “not many” gifted ones in I Corinthians 1:26 there is a temptation to envy your talents but God’s grace is sufficient for all.

I will be speaking to him this week and will relay your message and I imagine he would tell you to “Keep Hanging in There” in reference to standing on God’s inerrant Word. If however, I referenced the situation which I feel (based on ABP articles and blog posts) we disagree on currently, he would probably give other advise. For although my father may not know the Bible as well as some, even he knows there are some things we need to release.

Thanks for your prayers. The service went great. We are preparing in our services for revival meetings with the former pastor here (Finny Mathews) in two weeks. The Lord has truly blessed me with unmerited favor through these sweet saints.

Dan Paden said...

Just for giggles, not that anyone really wants to know, I don't currently drink. This is partly because our mass-produced church covenant says I won't, partly because I know some people I'm trying to be a good influence on would interpret any drinking on my part as a license to get drunk, and partly because I know I would horrify some people if they ever caught wind of it. I once witnessed a fellow church member almost choke on their iced tea when I ordered a non-alcoholic beer. There's no telling what the reaction would have been had I ordered a Guinness. Like as not, I would have been picking them up off the floor!

For the sake of people like that, I don't currently drink. That's what teetotaling should really be all about, in my opinion. I don't see any other reason for it in scripture, and it kinda weirds me out that anyone would make it an issue at the convention.

Pastor Tom said...

I just recently discovered your blog. I have discovered some blogsites from members of The Salvation Army (of which I was a part from birth until 1995) who are expressing discontentment with their organizations GOBS ("Good Ole' Boy" systems) governance that seems to be leading that organization to stray a bit from its original purpose. I am praising God for these men AND women who desire to see the Army return to its roots. It will have to take place, however, much like movements of this kind in the SBC, through grassroots efforts.

I appreciate your takes on some very important issues for the same reasons.

"When Baptists and Beer Don't Mix" struck me right away as it is an issue that I have been confronted with, too. As you stated, the Bible doesn't condemn alcohol but rather drunkenness. Those who play "Pharisee" in judgment of people who consume moderate amounts of alcohol puzzle me

The Bible warns us against Gluttony. Now, applying the same standard set forth in regards to alcohol, should we declare food to be something that we should abstain from so as to avoid gluttony? By the way, when is the last time you heard a good message on the topic?

I know. It sounds ridiculous, but legalism generally does. Yet America’s churches/organizations/denominations are dominated by it. This is what concerns me with the SBC. In response to that, I think that it is time to look for some leadership outside the SBC GOBS.

I’ll close this comment section with a quote I found, but don’t remember where: "There are some beliefs worth dying for if God wills it; there are some things we can agree to disagree about (though some see these as areas to kill for), and in some areas we oughta just chill out and reach the world for Jesus.”

“Unfortunately, some would rather lower heaven than raise hell over 'minor' differences!"

Vern Peterson said...

I appreciate your blog and applaud your efforts and those of other like-minded people to open up the doors of SBC leadership and keep the tent from becoming any smaller.

All the same, I'm a bit confused about your comment about BaptistLife which you characterized as a "CBF opinion site." Perhaps next time before you just take someone's word about it, you might want to check it out. Since I wasn't familiar with it, I did. It contained links to 37 Baptist organizations around the world, including the SBC. It listed links to several news organizations including Baptist Press and several state convention websites inlucing Kentucy, Alabama, and Louisana. It also had links to 27 blogs: 5 identified as liberal, 7 as moderate, and 15 as right/conservative, including Albert Mohler's, Marty Duren's and yours. I checked out several posting from moderates and liberals and found no references to you at all. Perhaps they've moved on to other topics but you weren't one today, least of all the devil incarnate. (I didn't think I'd need to check out those on the right, but given the issues you blog about, perhaps I should have!) It wasn't anything at all like you suggested, least of all a "CBF opinion site." Someone did you a disservice by calling it that and you perpetuated it by not checking it out before you repeated it.

Later in that same reply you say, "I would serve with anyone who names Christ as Lord and believes in His Word . . ." As one who's never met you and knows you only from your blog, it does seem there's a little more of that spirit of anger you accuse the liberals (CBFer's?)of having than you would be comfortable admiting. There are a lot of us out here who aren't angry, who name Christ as Lord, and believe in His Word who no longer consider ourselves Southern Baptists--and affiliate with CBF. We're not the enemy.

Tim Sweatman said...


I was not referring to any particular individual. I was just alluding to something that I see as a trend, not just on the alcohol issue but on other issues as well.

brad reynolds said...

Thank you for your clarity and your spirit on this issue.

Pastor Tom
The "Pharisaical" title should be carefully tossed around. I personally feel it is much easier to defend slavery or polygamy from the Bible than drinking alcohol. For neither of these practiced are condemned, other than the abuse of slaves or wives, and in fact they are both practiced by Christians in the Bible and polygamy is even sanctioned by God in the OT law concerning one's brother’s widowed wife.

Now I certainly would not condone either practice today, in fact I think, as we look at the Bible in its context we can condemn them. I plead for the same consistency concerning alcohol. Now, unless we are willing to place the term "Pharisaical" on those who feel the practice of slavery or polygamy is wrong, then let us be careful about placing such a label on those who feel the consumption of alcohol for pleasure is wrong.

Wade Burleson said...


I stand corrected.

Thanks for the clarification. I had not noticed the other sites on BaptistLife that you mentioned.

Good words of advice.

Merv Noah said...

I am a 68 year old pastor of a small Southern Baptist Church in Marble Falls, Texas, a graduate of Enid High School, raised in the Birst Baptist church of Enid and my parent Mr. & Mrs. O.A. Noah were early members if not charter members Emmanuel. Whoopie!

Now as to why I am writing. My wife says I am a man before my time because I have am often at variance with bureacracy as you also are finding yourself.

The Southern Baptist issues of closed communion, rebaptizing prospective members 'into the Baptist church', saying we believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit but saying tongues have ceased, the empty headedness we have about worship and contemporary(?) music and perhaps some I can't think of right now, have often rendered me very unpopular.

Also I have ministered for years but am not a member of the royal fraternity of seminarians, Baptist or other wise, and without a doubt an outcast.

What you have been facing is fraternal obedience and lack of courage for many to reevaluate thinking from an accurate Biblical perspective. I don't like to be a boat rocker but I just can't buy in to peer pressure and group acceptance at the sacrifice of truth.

I know you nor none of the people involved in the International Mission Board Controversy but I do know a young woman, bi lingual in English and Spanish, who has returned to one of our seminaries, that will be unacceptable to some Southern Baptists if she reveales her true position of some of the issues you are dealing with.

We need her and she will be excellent in heart, zeal and sound doctrine but will never get past the critics if she is explicit and truthful, which she will be.

Merv Noah
Marble Falls, Texas

Pastor Tom said...


Perhaps I could use a different phrasing, but the idea I was trying to get at is this:

The Pharisees were great at taking a mandate or law of God (like the Sabbath) and building a library of regulations on how to comply. These regulations generally had little to do with God's intentions and as a result, would lead to frustration among the people as well as some interesting encounters with Christ.

I believe there is too much of this taking place in our churches today in regards to what we would classify as the non-essentials of our faith. At least at times, our practice of our Beliefs in some respects, SEEMS to be more important and better known than what our beliefs are and/or why!

An example: I pastored a church that had a prohibition against divorced men becoming a Deacon. Out of curiosity, I asked the leaders why. Their response: “That’s just the way its always been.” The problem with that response: They knew what their practice was, but had no idea why they practiced it. That was their response to a number of issues such as communion, Baptism, music, dress, salvation, marriage, etc. Don’t dare tell them and show them with the Bible that they are wrong if you wanted to remain as the Pastor. (By the way, I am no longer the Pastor). They had formed a supposed Biblical mandate that was based upon practice rather than the Word of God! These were the leaders of the church!

Now I’m in no way suggesting that our denominational leaders don’t know the Bible, but I feel that some of the things we classify as Biblical mandates are in all actuality, traditions/rituals that have been accepted as such and passed down through time!

In response to your example of slavery and polygamy:

Polygamy: Even in the life of a believer, God doesn't take away all of our sinful ways right at the point of conversion. It is a process. In fact, it won't be completed in this lifetime! The fact that we still might have a tendency to indulge in certain things that God would otherwise not have us involved in should not allow others to assume that God endorses it. The same can be said of polygamy. The mere fact that it took place does not in anyway suggest that God at any point in time found it to be an acceptable practice! Keep in mind that the Bible contains a historical record of the life and times of God’s people and the people that they encountered throughout their history. Therefore, the mere mention of the existence of a particular lifestyle or practice, even by some of God’s people, doesn’t mean that God accepts it, but is merely a recording of the factual history of that time.

Slavery: Generally speaking, the slavery throughout the Bible was much different then that which we encountered here in America and still in some parts of the world today. There were instances where it might be very similar (the slavery of the Israelites), but so often the slavery dealt with criminals working towards restitution, POWs, people who sold THEMSELVES as slaves to work off indebtedness, etc. I don’t think at any point in time does the Word of God endorses the method of slavery that took place in early American history.

Hopefully this clarifies my intentions. God Bless!

PS: I left off part of the quote on the first comment. My apologies. This should be added to the end:
“Others would rather raise hell over non-essentials than to raise up His banner of Salvation!"

Anonymous said...


Thanks for your reasoned response. I agree that the antiquity of a document does not detract from it's accuracy. I make no argument that the content is invalid, and is in fact a helpful addition to the discussion. Further, the historical and linguistic context is important, as proved by your examples of why we don't let our land rest every seventh year. I also read the Moorings article you recommended. I have to say I remain unconvinced.

I appreciate your remarks about paradigms, and believe they are extremely prescient. It wasn't until I removed my pre-conceived, culturally ingrained ideas about alcohol consumption that I began to even conceive that a Christian could permissably drink in moderation. It is for the same reason that I believe "the moorings" article is flawed. They begin from the assumption that alcohol is "corrupt". That is the basis that the rest of their arguments flow from, and I think it's a false premise, and not an intellectually honest position to start from. For instance, he comes to the conclusion that the wine at the Last Supper must have been unfermented, simply because Jesus would not have allowed a "corrupt" drink at such a Holy time. I think that's an unsupportable position, and is simply a conclusion based on a worldview.

Further, you yourself in your first comment on this discussion said that oinos certainly refers to alcoholic wine, and most certainly also refers to non-alcoholic wine. I have no doubt that that is the case, but that does not indicate which one the Bible is mentioning. The assumption is made that it is referring to the unfermented one, but again, I believe that is unsupportable. To return to my original point, God would not have left such an important issue open to such ambiguity among His children. There is no way I can match your Biblical knowledge, and I'm sure you've heard all the arguments I'm setting forth, just as I have heard all of the opposing arguments. As you agree, one cannot point to a prohibition in scripture, but that is not the whole story. In fact, the whole story relies on cultural perspective to connect the dots. I think it's great that you have decided to stay away from it, and there are many reasons that one might come to that conclusion, and they are different for different people.

The very absence of a clear prohibition on the issue is the very reason (and the core of Wade's position for the church at large, I believe) that as Christian brothers and sisters we should not let it divide us. On essentials of the faith, I have no doubt that we completely agree. We desire to see God's work done across the world, to see the lost come to faith in Him, to see lives changed by an encounter with our living Lord. If I felt that my consumption of a glass of wine in my home, or at a dinner with my wife, would in any way hamper that work, then I would abstain. But I have not found that to be the case, except for sermons from the pulpit. The Bible has clear instructions on avoiding drunkenness, and I follow those teachings.

I for one will heed the advice of Solomon the wise, "Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work--whatever they do under the sun--for however long God lets them live." He must not have listened to his mother. :)


Jason Morrison said...

Deuteronomy 14:26 might be a difficult verse to preach for some. Dr. Block writes in his unpublished commentary on Deuteronomy (page 337), "This festive meal, which is intended to be an occasion of celebration and joy, was viewed as a legitimate opportunity for the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages." His footnote on the word tranlated as "strong drink" in most modern English versions says, "scholars are not agreed on the precise meaning of 'sekar'. Whereas 'yayin' is undoubtedly derived from grapes, 'sekar' seems to refer to any kind of intoxicating drink, whether made from dates or figs or pomegranates or grain (beer). Although modern distillery methods were unkonwn to the ancients, the level of alcohol in these drinks was sufficient to produce intoxication (cd Lev 10:9; Isa 56:12)." See also sekar in NIDOTTE 4.113-14.

While I am a total abstainer, and think this a wise choice, I cannot command my brothers and sisters to practice what the Scripture does not completely forbide (and may make provision for on certain occasions).

brad reynolds said...

Anonymous et al,
Pardon my absence for so long…I taught from 7:30 until 2:30 today and just got home minutes ago.
Thank you for so much for your continued study. I cannot tell you how excited that makes one who teaches about the importance of study. The fact you took the time to read the articles speaks volumes of your character.

I find from pastor Tom’s response that I may not be communicating well so let me try this again.

Concerning polygamy Tom said, “the fact that it took place does not in any way suggest that God at any point in time found it an acceptable practice.” Actually God PRESCRIBED it in the law of the levirate marriage (Deut. 25:5ff). However, this was a different culture and we must look into the purposes of such a command based on the cultural and textual context (same with slavery, incest, taking drugs etc.).

My concern was that it appears we gladly look to the cultural and textual context to interpret a prohibition in these areas even though there is an absence of a CLEAR PROHIBITION in scripture but are reserved to do so in relation to alcohol, perhaps because of our cultural blinders. It seems amazingly popular to be open concerning moderation in alcohol these days, but still unpopular to be open to slavery (even the Biblical form) or polygamy, which caused my query into the cultural paradigms we may be using in the guise of progression.

Further, with respect to alcohol, as I have tried to imply, to have a clear prohibition would negate the medicinal needs of it and the cultural needs of it (for drinking and purifying water). Perhaps this is why scripture does not forbid the taking of mind-altering DRUGS (although it does forbid the use of magic with drugs (Gal. 5:20)). At times they may be needed for medicinal purposes (morphine), however, I wonder if those promoting moderation in alcohol would do the same for morphine or codeine if they were legal for enjoyment purposes?

Let me be clear that the hearts of individuals are of supreme importance. Nothing can substitute for a desire to please and honor Christ in all areas of life. Perhaps, this is the reason more prohibitions are not explicitly given – Christ did not want us to get bogged down with a checklist of do’s and don’ts, for in so doing we would much more easily fall into legalism and fail – hence I state again the NT never concerns itself with how close to sin we can get but rather how close to Christ we can get. Should we abstain from all forms of evil? – Yes. Is there a list in scripture of all forms of evil? – No…but that does not mean we neglect the cultural/textual setting of Scripture to arrive at principles that guide us. Although the command to “Love the Lord our God with all our Heart…” is our greatest pursuit (wherein, sadly, I confess I find myself so easily distracted).

Finally, please check the Bible version you are using for your reference to Eccl. 5:18, for it certainly takes A LOT of liberty. The Hebrew text mentions nothing what so ever of wine and the word for drink there could and was used in reference to drinking any beverage (water, milk, wine, juice). Further, there were many areas wherein Solomon may not have taken his mom’s advice…and probably regretted it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brad, for the sake of moving the discussion beyond this point, I see your point about being consistent in our application of cultural mores (i.e. slavery, polygamy). My concern with applying this to alcohol consumption is this: the other examples you mention are currently illegal, mostly based on the realization that they were immoral. Of course the slavery in the Bible was much different than the slavery in the states, with an entire industry of bringing people from across the ocean, and I believe this point has been discussed.

Another difference in these items and alcohol, is that New Testament texts did indeed contradict the earlier OT references. We can point to verses that say we should have only one wife. We know that forced slavery is wrong, and yes, these changes came in the culture as well. So my question is this: what cultural standards should we look to now to firmly establish that Christians shouldn't drink alcohol, even though the Bible is silent? I understand that perhaps this is not the proper forum to get into such a long topic, but as I'm understanding it, that is basically what your point comes down to: that since things are different now than in Bible days, we should conclude that we should avoid alcohol. Am I properly explaining my confusion on matter?

More importantly, without a clear directive from the Bible, then who decides? This is precisely why I think God would have been crystal clear on this if it were important to Him. If the Bible doesn't say "don't do it", and you can't even deduct from the Bible that you should completely abstain, then whose cultural points must I take into consideration? My local church's? The SBC? It's just too gray IMHO. We have to have a standard, I'm sure you'll agree.

The fact that linguistically, "oinos" meant both alcoholic and non-alcoholic does not mean I should infer that they were referring to the non-alcoholic. The fact that it means both doesn't even mean that I should err on the side of caution. I think God would have included a specific designation for alcoholic had he wanted us to abstain. As to your point that He wouldn't because they needed the alcohol for medicine and for purifying water, why wouldn't he have said that "alcohol is acceptable to use to treat your illnesses and your water, but you must not use it for any other reason." Instead, He told us to avoid becoming drunk. I think, if it were as important to God as it was to some of the preachers I've heard (and I do not mean you Wade, you've been most gracious), then that is how He would have addressed it.

One other fundamental error I think prohibitionists make, is that one glass of alcohol is enough to intoxicate a person. Perhaps that is true in some circumstances (dehydrated, empty stomach), but I've never experienced anything apart from a warming sensation down my throat. I've never been even a little tipsy. Further, the moorings article you mentioned had a line about how moderationists acquire the taste, and learn to deal with the "bitterness to get to the alcohol." Did I like wine the first time I drank it? Not really. So I guess I did acquire the taste, since I used to favor sweet drinks. I've since learned to appreciate the nuances, and do not drink to "get to the alcohol." I do not crave alcohol, but I do appreciate the complexities of a good wine, and even occasionally a fine scotch. Everything I enjoy is in moderation. An ounce of scotch at a time does not kill my liver, does not kill my brain cells, does not impair me. I just enjoy the flavor. Anyway, my point is that many non-drinkers simply cannot understand how someone could enjoy the taste of alcohol, and therefore they must be depending on the intoxicating effects (which if I ever reached that point, I would stop, as I feel dependency on anything but Christ is sinful.) This is simply not the case for anyone I know that enjoys a drink. Perhaps I travel in the wrong circles.

I completely agree with your point about the NT being about how close we can get to Jesus, not how close we can get to sinning without crossing the line. I fail to see how moderate drinking of alcohol is incongruent with that view. It's not a game with me to see how much I can drink and not achieve drunkenness. It seems that you approach from the premise that alcohol is inherently bad and thus could get in the way of a pursuit of Jesus, and I do not. Please correct me if my assumption is wrong.

As to my choice of translation, you are right. It was the NLT, and in comparing it with other translations, none of the others mention wine at all. I believe in the context of the verse (enjoyment of life) that clearly Solomon was not speaking of the virtures of water or milk. I suppose one could make the argument that it was grape juice that he was speaking of, but since Solomon mentions wine in other verses, I think its safe to assume that he was referring to alcoholic wine. I'm willing to cede that I am basing that on my own suppositions.

I do not wish to monopolize Wade's blog, I do look forward to a response from you, and I do genuinely have an open mind on the issue, I just haven't seen anything that fully convinces me yet. I see that you've started a blog, and I'll be sure to check in on it. I've appreciated the discussion, and the spirit in which you've approached it. I think is has been a good model of how Christian brothers (and sisters for those PC) should discuss these nonessentials of the faith. By the way, Hoosiers is one of my all-time favorite films. (referring to your profile.)

Best Regards,

- Philinator

brad reynolds said...


I’m not sure any apologist for moderation in drinking could have approached this topic with more skill, reverence, thoughtfulness and wisdom than you have. This has been enjoyable for me.

For the record when I speak of looking to culture for an understanding I am not at all implying that the culture should guide our understanding of Scripture but rather we should look to the meaning at that time (culture) of the Greek or Hebrew words used in the Scriptures (hence oinos – alcohol being watered down 3 parts to one); and the necessity of some things (oinos for sustenance) at that time (i.e. – Incest was necessary among the children of Adam and the grandchildren of Noah out of necessity but was later forbidden in the Levitical law).

Agreed concerning the point of the illegality of slavery, polygamy and mind-altering drugs but the question remains if these were legal would it be proper for Christians to participate and if not on what basis, other than looking at the cultural and linguistical context of the Bible to arrive at principles which prohibit these…hence the question of why this same systematic process not apply to alcohol.

Your point about the differences between alcohol and these other practices in the NT seems lacking to me; for one of Paul’s letters was written to a Christian practicing slavery and Paul does not condemn it at all (concerning the differences in American slavery and biblical slavery, you are right, but that just begs the question of whether slavery practiced in the bible is wrong and I believe it is and was, but I arrive at that conclusion the same way I arrive at the conclusion about alcohol – a look into the context – therefore there is consistency, I feel, on my part. My concern remains about the apparent inconsistency on anyone who would condemn all forms of slavery based on principles gained through a look at the context of the writings of Scripture but refuses to view alcohol through the same lens).

I think mind-altering drugs are the best parallel to alcohol. Will those who state alcohol used in moderation for enjoyment is not a sin also state morphine used in moderation for enjoyment is not a sin (if it became legal to use (and sadly it may one day)) and if not why?

I’m not sure there are any other major disagreements, in fact I agree with a lot of your statements (those who erroneously assume a glass intoxicates a person or people drink to get to the alcohol). However your understanding of my premise is wrong, I do not approach the discussion from any preconceived idea about the evil of alcohol. I do not believe alcohol is inherently evil anymore than I believe a Hemp plant is inherently evil.

And yes, Hoosiers is great. Perhaps when we get to heaven (although I’m not sure what it will be like) we can find a day, after spending much time with our Lord, and sit down and watch a glorified version of it (I hope this doesn’t sound sacrilegious, for that is not the intention) and have a glass of grape juice:)

Anonymous said...


I in no way claim to be a theologian, but maybe I can get some help with this.

You referenced Deuteronomy 25:5 - "When brothers live on the same property and one of them dies without a son, the wife of the dead man may not marry a stranger outside [the family]. Her brother-in-law is to take her as his wife, have sexual relations with her, and perform the duty of a brother-in-law for her." (HCSB)

"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her." (KJV)

Where does it say that the living brother is married?

brad reynolds said...

Very astute of you to catch this and your question is a good one.
It doesn't state they were married and thus we must infere it was a universal law, applicable to both married and unmarried. To argue that this just applied to single brother-in-laws is an argument from silence and a stipulation not made by God's Word. If the marital status was not addressed then we MUST assume the marital status was not an issue, to do otherwise would be to read into the text.

Anonymous said...


If we are going to assume that the instruction is irregardless of current marital status, and thus, God grants a case for polygamy, is that the only verse in which God does this?

Also, God said Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. (Genesis 2).

Wouldn't that constitue a Universal Law.

If so, is God then replacing His initial Universal Law with a new one?