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

I Would Not Have Sinned, Except for the Law

Some Southern Baptist leaders believe that the way to stop believers from straying into sin, or to keep church members living lives consistent with personal holiness, or to establish churches with a worthy 'Baptist Identity,' is to lay out for Christians 'the law' of proper behavior. Following the articulation of 'the law' (whatever it may be from church to church), comes the use of threats (see picture below) to keep Christians from violating the laws of the church. In this manner, some Southern Baptist leaders seem to feel comfortable that they have done all they can to perserve the purity of God's kingdom. However, in my experience, such behavior exhibited by church leadership contradicts the beauty of the gospel as an internal change of heart. To demand conformity through outward pressure is a tactic of religious cults, not Christian grace.
Years ago a young man named Eric was driving by the church I pastored in Tulsa. He had a pistol underneath the front seat, an open container of beer in the cup holder, and was on his way to an open field where he would drink himself to drunkenness in order to have the courage to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head. As he drove south on Sheridan Road he saw our church sign that said, "Prepare to Meet Thy God." The words so rattled him he turned into our parking lot and prayed, "God, if you are sending me a sign, let someone be inside this church to help me." The Lord answered his prayer.

Eric came into our offices and our Worship Pastor began to talk with him about knowing Christ. I was soon called and within an hour we had the privilege of seeing the Holy Spirit regenerate Eric's soul, with the end result of Eric trusting Jesus Christ as His Savior and Lord. The transformation was enormous. Eric was excited about his new life in Christ and when we explained the purpose of baptism, Eric committed to be in church Sunday to make known his faith in Christ through believer's baptism. We explained that at the conclusion of my sermon, he would need to come down the aisle to be introduced to our church and he would be baptized later that night.

Sunday morning came and I closed the message with an invitation to make public the work God had done, or was doing, in the listeners' lives. No sooner did our Worship Pastor begin singing when Eric came running down the aisle, and in King James language, he came walking and leaping and praising God. When the appropriate time came I introduced him to our church. "Ladies and gentlemen, I want to introduce you to a young man who this week was intent on killing himself, but God has intervened. This is Eric . . ." As I was speaking to the crowd I turned to look at Eric and to my horror, I saw Eric was wearing a Budweiser Beer T-Shirt that said, "Budweiser, King of Beers."

I knew some of the deacons would be upset. Sure enough, after church one of the older deacons came up to me and said, "Pastor, did you talk to Eric?" Acting ignorant, though knowing full well what he meant, I said, "About what?" "Did you tell him he ought not be wearing that beer t-shirt in church? It ain't appropriate."

I took a deep breath and said, "No, I didn't. He has just come to faith in Christ. If we begin to tell him what he can't do, shouldn't do, ought not do, etc . . . we quench the work of the Spirit by imposing a law. If we were to speak to him about the t-shirt, and he were to stop wearing it, he will confuse regulations of a religion with the reality of a relationship. Let's love him, get to know him, and encourage him - but let's stay away from the 'should nots' of religion and give time for his relationship with Christ to develop."

I can't say my deacon fully understood what I was saying, but to his credit, he listened quietly - and walked away without a response. We baptized Eric that night and the next Sunday Eric came to Sunday school wearing a 'Coors' t-shirt. The next week he came with a Michelob Light t-shirt. The following week he came to church wearing another beer t-shirt.

Eric was a beer t-shirt collector.

It was not easy staying quiet. Many were tempted to say something. I might have said something if the Bible addressed the subject, but nowhere in the sacred text does it say, "Thou shalt not wear a beer t-shirt to church." Eric himself had no idea that some people might be 'offended' at his clothing, and when a handful of church members came to me to talk about Eric's Sunday dress, I asked them if they were personally offended with this new Christian wearing beer t-shirts. Those who spoke to me about it, to a person, never said they were personally offended, but there was some, nebulous person 'out there' who might be. I told them when they could introduce me to this mysterious, offended person, whom I had not yet met, I would talk to Eric. Until then, our love for Eric would cause us to love him where he was in his walk with Christ.

About the fifth Sunday Eric came to church wearing a new t-shirt. It was a t-shirt with a Christian logo. He had found a Christian t-shirt store and, prompted by the Spirit, Eric purchased several t-shirts with a Christian message. That Sunday he had traded in his "Budweiser: King of Beers" t-shirt for one that said, "Jesus Christ: King of Kings." Christ had Eric's heart. The change that occurred happened within. There was not the demand for conformity imposed upon this young Christian by a Southern Baptist congregation, but rather, there was the powerful, internal work of the Spirit within the heart of a man that experienced the love, acceptance and patience of a people who themselves had tasted of the grace of God.

Because many Southern Baptist churches, contrary to historic Baptist principles, are often filled with unregenerate, lost people, Southern Baptist pastors are often tempted to impose LAW on the congregation to keep them in line. However, when churches recognize the beauty and power of the Holy Spirit to tranform lives, and receive people into membership whom the Spirit has already given new life in Christ (and not those convinced to 'join the church' through manipulation), then we pastors can simply trust in "He who began a good work". May God give us the necessary grace to resist the temptation to precede the internal work of the Spirit in His people. Patience allows us to feel the excitement of seeing the beautiful, internal work of the Spirit which trumps any work of the law.

In His Grace,

Wade

207 comments:

1 – 200 of 207   Newer›   Newest»
greg.w.h said...

Wade,

Absolutely wonderful story. I desire that we pray more and constrain less. I have complete faith in God to answer our prayers for situations like this: though, perhaps, not exactly the way we might answer the same prayers if WE were God!!

Those who are used to imposing Law also have a problem with their own personal sense of liberty and freedom. They're afraid of that liberty and afraid of the freedom lest they get too close and be caught and drawn in by sin.

Again, God is bigger than that. That doesn't mean we should go out of our way to be tempted, but if God's power is so finite that he can't help us deal with temptation, then how on earth can he save us from our sin?

This time is leading up to the Annual Meeting. We have a clear choice in how we pray and what we ask God for as he prepares our hearts for that meeting. On one hand we have the well-intentioned but legalistic alcohol resolution from 2006. On the other hand, we have the Garner Resolution that calls for our restrictionism to be limited to those things we can agree on and pass by a decent majority into the Baptist Faith & Message.

My prayer is that God would teach each of us the value of soul freedom to do what is "lawful" as a natural--rather than coerced--act of gratitude for this great salvation and faith that has been passed on and imparted to us. I pray that he would teach it to us in exactly the way that this story speaks: showing God's mighty power far and vastly overcoming our limited, hopeless restrictionist attitudes.

In the past few months, I've begun to see real evidence that the problem of spiritual meanness is starting to break through in the hearts of some leaders. There is an admission that it is a problem--though the detailed confessions that allow real heart change are still missing. And I'm not speaking about an event that I would expect ANYONE who reads your blog to either know about or understand. But it is exactly that powerful of a change of heart.

God can harden and God can soften hearts. We need to pray for softening lest he instead harden hearts to the point of bringing people home instead of permitting them to continue in his service here. That are prayers on this subject would be intentionally reflexive would, no doubt, be an even greater joy for Our Father. He might even greet us on the run...so to speak.

Greg Harvey

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

I can't remember what my previous favorite post of yours was, but this is my new favorite post of yours.

LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!

Can't wait to hear what was wrong with your approach from those whose ministry it is to correct you.

Shibboleth,
David Mc

Steve said...

I came very close to being that deacon a time or two when I was learning churchiness. Isn't it odd the things we worry about?

Benji Ramsaur said...

Wade,

I think if people do not get that there has been a real internal change in the heart of the Christian, then the approach of Sinai--with its thunderings and lightenings--will seem to make sense to them.

However, if people do get that there has been a real internal change, then I think Hebrews 10:24 will make sense to them.

Thank you for posting on this topic--and great illustration.

Please post some more.

blampp said...

Wade, Very applcable illustration..... I'm sure you've heard it before..... but one of our Deacon's at a pastorate in California reminded the congregation regularly.... "That our job was to get 'em caught and let the Lord get 'em clean!"
Amen and Amen! I also liked Eric's choice of t-shirts!

Jim Paslay said...

Wade,

Great story that shows how lost people will act like lost people until they art transformed by the saving power of Christ! The man's continued wearing of beer T-shirts after coming to Christ shows the importance of discipling new converts so they will be grow in their faith.

One question, why the beer T-shirt link? I think we get the picture here that the guy was obviously into beer T-shirt collecting. Do you need a link to drive home the point?

One thought, how patient would you have been if it had been a Playboy T-shirt and subsequent shirts would have been his collection of center-fold babes? After all the Bible doesn't say, thou shalt not wear Playboy T-shirts to church, either!

One more thought, I pray that Chris is still serving the Lord and growing as a result of the transforming work of Christ that took him out of a life of drunkenness to a life of dedication to Christ.

Jim Paslay said...

Sorry, I meant Eric instead of Chris.

Paul said...

Seeing the women in that picture might lead me to have a beer. Just in case.

David Simpson said...

Extremely inspiring, Wade- thank you.

"From the king of beers to the King of kings"- I think I heard Rick Stanley preach that once...

bryan riley said...

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard? Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness."

bryan riley said...

Jim, it wasn't a Playboy shirt, and none of us have experienced that to answer how one might have done that in love. Perhaps Chris knew enough already because of his changed heart not to do that. We can hypothesize to death the possibilities, but when I read this post I thought there is absolutely nothing here that can legitimately be challenged or questioned, but someone will do so nonetheless.

Dan Paden said...

An enjoyable story. I can't tell you how many times I've encountered Southern Baptists who will admit that there is no scriptural prohibition on a drink, just on drunkenness, but who nevertheless insist that no one ever have a drink because some hypothetical person somewhere might be dragged kicking and screaming against his will into a state of perpetual drunkenness. It's never them, of course.

I often think of something I read in an article on C.H. Spurgeon's cigar smoking to the effect that the Prince of Preachers said that (quoting from memory), "God gave us ten commandments, and I find it all I can do to keep them, and I have no desire to add to the list."

Chris Harbin said...

I went to a high school where the mentality was to coerce spirituality by enforcing a rigid behavior code. There was little recognition that following the rules had little relationship to any internal change or faith in Christ. It was as if the external actions in accord with a code of morality were primary, and faith in Christ were secondary.

The only time I have felt it necessary to speak to someone about clothing was a young lady brought up in the church who did not understand the effect her choice of clothing had on others.

Faith is so much more than a morality checklist. Thanks for the post!

Joe W. said...

Wade,

What a wonderful story of grace, and of progressive sanctification! We should be very patient with new converts, allow the Holy Spirit to work, and give them milk before meat.

My only complaint about this post, is the introduction. In suttle ways, you continue to take jabs at those who believe in Baptist Distinctives.

By the way, I see nothing wrong with the sign or the stance of those strong christian females of the past.

Bill said...

Jim: I may have missed it, but I don't see anything in the post that indicates that the young man was leading a life of drunkenness.

Tom Parker said...

Jim Paslay:

We really need to be patient with people that come to Christ or we will turn them away--it's a shame that we get hung up about what is on a t-shirt.

Joe W:

You have a one-track mind--alcohol-alcohol--what a shame.

Elizabeth Prata said...

This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing it, and so eloquently. It gave me a lot to think about.

Bob Cleveland said...

Perhaps it is, that where there's little Spiritual sensitivity, or Spiritual discernment, there's a reliance on the "law" to see spirituality in others.

Or to NOT see it.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

What a great story of God's grace and the Holy Spirit's work in the life of a new believer. This is no doubt something that you and I agree should happen. What a strong and humble stand you took with those deacons. I am certain that their respect for you as their pastor grew immensly as they say how you dealt with a new believer in Grace. Something all pastors should do.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers said...

Sorry, the next to last sentence should read;

I am certain that their respect for you as their pastor grew immensely as they saw how you dealt with a new believer in Grace.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Tim.

Joe W. said...

Tom Parker,

You wrote... "You have a one-track mind--alcohol-alcohol--what a shame."

Not so. I simply chose to comment on the entire post. Read my comments again and you will see that I acknowledged and applauded the focus of this post. However, I also chose to comment on the introduction and pictures. Wade could have easily left those out if he did not desire comments about them. Why is it that you do not accuse Wade of having a one track mind?

Wade Burleson said...

Joe W.

You said,

By the way, I see nothing wrong with the sign or the stance of those strong christian females of the past.

Double click on the photo. Enlarge it. If the women were truly guaranteeing that any lips that touched licquor would never touch their lips, then those women probably drove hundreds of men to the bottle.

Pastor Hilliard said...

Wow. Wade you captured the whole book of Galatians in one blog post! Good stuff.

Lin said...

This sentence is the KEY to the whole issue:

"Because many Southern Baptist churches, contrary to historic Baptist principles, are often filled with unregenerate, lost people, Southern Baptist pastors are often tempted to impose LAW on the congregation to keep them in line"

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,
i was preparing a sermon on John 14 and in my study came across an article that i think fits beautifully. http://www.religion-online.org/showchapter.asp?title=375&C=21 Thanks for the post, Tommy

CmlCros said...

Great story....it's definitely a struggle to find the balance between living a holy life and not becoming judgemental. I'm glad to hear about your reaction....thanks for allowing him to be himself. Thats cool!

Joe W. said...

Wade,

I understand your humor, unfortunately, no one understands mine. I keep forgetting to put these little marks beside of my sentences... :)

Tom Parker just missed the forest for all the trees. My post was not negative, it was positive. It contained 3 sections. First I commended the wonderful story of grace and progressive sanctification. Second, I pointed out that you still took a few jabs at the Baptist Identity crowd. Then lastly, I said... "By the way, I see nothing wrong with the sign or the stance of those strong christian females of the past."

Not sure how I get accused of having a one track mind for a post like that.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Evidentally they didn't have good marketing strategies back in the 20's. I don't think my lips would want to touch any of those women.

Thanks for sharing your story.

dwmiii

Kevin Bussey said...

Awesome story!

When my grandfather accepted Christ years ago after being in a gang, God called him to ministry. He decided to go to Moody Bible Institute and his former gang gave him a "Beer" party!

I'll bet God has fun with this stuff more than we do.

pastorricky99 said...

I am still trying to find the right words to express what I sense in my heart. Wade, I greatly appreciate your humility and desire to see others come to know Jesus PERSONALLY, not through the 'rules', 'thoughts', or 'traditions' of others. This example is tremendous! When we allow Holy Spirit to do what God has ordained and we get out of the way, we have the ability to see God work in amazing ways and at the same time we have the added benefit of experiencing genuine transformation. Too often we as pastors and church members, maybe with great sincerity, attempt to change people and in doing so neglect the work of Holy Spirit. If we can't place the love of God on man, and if we can't save others through the blood of Jesus, then why do feel as if it is our responsibility to 'change' a new believer.

Albeit, we should teach, guide, love, encourage, disciple, etc. we can't change a person's heart or mind. That comes as Holy Spirit renews hearts and minds as the new believer comes to a greater knowledge and love of King Jesus.

If more of our churches focused on true transformation and not conformity to traditional standards or 'Baptist Identity' I wonder if we could experience a greater work of God through a regenerate church membership that is passionate about loving God, loving others, and sharing Jesus.

I should start by repenting of my selfish pride and desire for others to conform to my definitions!

Thank you for some amazing examples to follow!

a fellow servant...
panta te ethne

Ricky

Tim Greer said...

Jim's reply is a classic example of the confusion on the beer issue. In his mind, beer and Playboy are essentially synonymous. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Anonymous said...

I cannot remember the details of the situation, except that the other day my wife brought to mind something a very new Christian was doing. I do remember the 'something' was in nature like the beer shirt. My wife, though, lovingly, was able to talk about the situation, and the response to the new believer way, "Thanks! I have never even thought about that." In turn, there was no offense, and the Lord used my wife to bring to light something that was unwise in the life of a younger Christian.

Wade I truly appreciate this story, but I wonder if we don't miss the the Spirit working through us, at times, to help younger believers grow...if it's done in love, without judgment. Not as as giving another legalistic rule, but demonstrating a way of wisdom.

Robert

Alan Paul said...

Wade-

Right after I became a christian, my pastor introduced me to a friend of his who was also a member of the church. He was a Dallas Theological Seminary student who had a heart to disciple new believers. We set up a time to meet, and at that time, I had my own business and was extremely busy. My office was in downtown Dallas just outside the West End district right across the street from a Hooters restaurant. Well, when I get busy, I often would just call Hooters and order take out and then go over and get it. When my friend and I met for the first time, I suggested, in the interest of time, that we just go across the street to eat. So we sat there in Hooters and he talked to me about scripture memory, the importance of prayer and reading my Bible. He gave me my first 4 verses to memorize. We ate lunch, got to know each other and then he left to go back to DTS and went back to work. He said nothing to me at all - and didn't for quite some time. We eventually discussed it, but if my memory serves me right, I am the one who brought that day up, not him.

I am not sure how I would have reacted if he had chastised me for suggesting we meet there. But I do know one thing, he allowed that lunch to happen because he had higher things in mind - namely to make sure I, as a new-born Christian - had the tools I needed to begin my walk with Christ. He and his wife discipled me, along with my wife, for 4 years after that. We met every Saturday night and then him and I met at least twice a month during the business days.

I can't begin to tell you how much that has mean to me since then. He provided that foundation I needed on which to grow deeper in my faith in Christ. If he had made a big deal about eating at Hooters that time? I don't think would have walked away from the faith, but doubt we would have become such good friends and I would have missed the opportunity to be solidly grounded in my faith. And he would have missed God's appointed task for him, namely, discipling a floundering new believer who was looking for a reason to continue in his newfound faith.

Thanks for this post, it made my day.

bryan riley said...

Robert, I appreciate what you are saying, and I think that at the heart of it is a sensitivity to the Spirit - and not to a method or a rule. On one occasion the Spirit may lead you to confront in love; on another occasion the Spirit may lead you to pray silently for someone; on another occasion the Spirit may minister directly into that other person's life without any words from anyone. That is the work of the Spirit. And when we submit and don't just apply human rules, well, wow! it's powerful stuff.

Alan Paul said...

Joe W.- I think Wade needs to continue to take shots at the Baptist distinctives and keep shooting until they have been demolished in the way all idols should be.

Anonymous said...

Bryan, that is my point. I think we CAN address some of these issues without making them an issue. As the brother above said about Hooters. I had a situation when I worked in corporate america. My Sr. Director wanted to take me and a few others to lunch to celebrate a good year, or something. He suggested we go to Hooters and I responded to them that if there was any possible way, perhaps we could go somewhere else. I probably said something like, "Man, that place is too tempting for me." (Spoken in a humerous voice). Again, I can remember the response like yesterday. My boss told me that was "cool." It was good to see young men with conviction about things like that. He later told me it wasn't for him to stay away, but that he really respected me for it. I think decisions like that become opportunity to show people that there really is a difference in Christians' lives. I know this is staying from the point of the Beer T-shirt story, but sometimes I think contextualize, or whatever, too much.

I agree with Wade on the issue of legalism versus grace, but I also want to make the point that people won't get offended or turned off from the faith, if you explain things in love.

Robert

Jim Paslay said...

Tim Greer said:

"Jim's reply is a classic example of the confusion on the beer issue. In his mind, beer and Playboy are essentially synonymous. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Actually I am not confused about the two. Both pornography and alcohol has claimed many lives and destroyed many families along the way. I consider alcohol abuse and the activities that lead to that abuse a blight on our culture. And I think we ought to as Christians be willing to give up alcohol for the sake of Christ. I will not turn my freedom in Christ into a license to gratify my own desires!

Anonymous said...

Jim, by virtue of your comment though, what you are saying is that we do have liberty!

And while medically speaking, we can maintian that circumcision is a healthier choice, Paul had some words to say to Peter in Galatians about it. Focus on the gospel, not limiting freedom.

Robert

Anonymous said...

i think i would actually require liquor if i were to touch those lips...

Steve said...

I can't decide whether Baptist Identity/Distictives are a subtle reimposition of The Law, just another political ploy, or the logical next step in the narrowing of our convention's ability to work together cooperatively for Christ, but they are definitely a man-made failure to behold and employ the ability God has given us to save the world and should be dropped like a hot potato.

Pls excuse the long sentence.

Darryl Bridges said...

I am sure pornography and alcohol have claimed or had a negative impact on the lives of many.

I don't have the stats to prove it, but I'll bet that since the beginning of time, more lives have been lost or destroyed under the guise of forcing adherence to misguided "religious" principles.

Just a hunch . . .

traveller said...

It is interesting to me that there is almost, if not, universal agreement in the comments on this post to the fact grace should be offered to a new believer such as the one Wade describes. However, each one of us is in some ways like that young man. We are weak in some area. It may not be in wearing a beer t-shirt but in a lack of patience, anger, a misinterpretation of scripture, etc. My question is why is it that we are willing to show grace to this young man but unwilling to do so to others who are followers of Jesus that are on the journey with him but not what Father intends for them to ultimately be?

Anonymous said...

Traveller,
It could be that we like to be like Paul (right or wrong)in Heb. as he addresses those who are still on milk and unable to take meat. Paul calls himself a chief of sinners, but at the same time corrects and exhorts others. Perhaps the issue boils down again to motivation...which should always be love. In love, even in our sin, I think we can discuss issues of personal sin, or preference with others, and it be okay.

B Nettles said...

Wade,
I think that traveller got the point!

I'm just surprised that Bob Cleveland didn't post that first.

John Moeller said...

Wade et al,

I am so saddened that Eric was never "properly" baptized. You state that you baptized him, but he was in a budwiser t-shirt when it happened. Poor soul, lost, tisk tisk.....

We all know that the first book of Baptist, chapter 4, verse 3 states, you must wear modest white clothing under the proper white robe, layered if necessary to insure we see no sinful thing. tisk, tisk,

poor Eric, he'll never qualify as a missionary......

Next thing you'll tell me is that Eric had a tattoo too....

Sarcasm over......

Keep knocking down those traditions Wade, I love hearing about how God continually uses you.....

Anonymous said...

Wade,
When are you going to post something that builds up all Southern Baptist.
It appears to me that you are only critical!

Here in Nashville...everyone that i know in leadership ask me what is Wades issue today.
Please for the sake of Gospel unity give it up.

In Christ
Robert I Masters

Anonymous said...

When are you going to post something that builds up all Southern Baptist.
It appears to me that you are only critical!

Here in Nashville...everyone that i know in leadership ask me what is Wades issue today.
Please for the sake of Gospel unity give it up.

In Christ
Robert I Masters

Tue Apr 22, 01:45:00 PM 2008


Well, tell your SBC friends to give him some material to work with.

NativeVermonter said...

Mr. Master’s,

I do think today’s post serves as a good example of lifting all SB’s up. Most of the comments seem supportive as well. C’mon, you know deep down you were actually encouraged…you just don’t want to admit it.

Hey I wasn’t hugged as a kid either.

John in St. Louis

Denise said...

I remember when I was growing up in Enid that it was a horrible sin to wear pants to church. Cold, snow, sleet, didn't matter! I had to wear my slacks under my dress and then go to the fellowship hall which was a seperate building to remove my pants and then walk to the sanctuary and enter the church house as it was called then. Absolutely REDICULOUS!! Did it have anything to do with my salvation? Nope. I'd love for my older son and daughter who are not walking the walk right now come naked if it meant them hearing the word and getting back where they need to be. Boy would that shock some little old deacons ;) :) Ok maybe NOT NEKKED :)

Denise

Joe W. said...

Alan Paul and Steve,

I am not sure if either of you are Baptist or that you fully understand what a distinctive is.

Baptists may differ over Calvinism, Arminianism, Worship Styles, Bible Translations, etc., but there are cetain distinctives that be must adhered to in order to be considered truly Baptist.

You may want to read up on them here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptist_Distinctives

I have no problem if you do not hold to these distinctives and are not Baptist. However, to say a Baptist Distinctive is an "idol" and needs to be "dropped like a hot potato" shows either a grave misunderstanding on your part or a willful misrepresentation against those who hold to these principles.

David R. Mills said...

Nonsense - whatever happened to Matt 28 and discipleship. This went on for weeks, shame on you. What if the shirt had porn stars on it, would there have been an intervention - I think so. No won der we have so many ignorant believers, they never were discipled rightly.

John Moeller said...

Joe W.

Holy smokes Batman, you hung yourself on your own Comment. According to your URL link, we should read this and see it your way... Let me take an excerpt;

Soul freedom: the soul is competent before God, and capable of making decisions in matters of faith without coercion or compulsion by any larger religious or civil body....Eric wore a budwiser shirt and God laughed. You are not allowed to make his decision for him

Church freedom: freedom of the local church from outside interference, whether government or civilian. Wade thought it was cool, so you have no right to say anything

Bible freedom: the individual is free to interpret the Bible for himself or herself, using the best tools of scholarship and biblical study available to the individual. The new convert interpreted that God was OK with his shirt based on his knowledge.

John

Joe W. said...

John,

Did you even bother to read my first comment. I have no problem, I repeat no problem with the new convert, the T-shirt, or the way Wade handled the situation.

You underscore my point further with your comment. For someone to say that people who hold to Baptist Distinctives are idol worshippers and that the disctinctives need to be dropped like a hot potato is completely ludicrous.

John Moeller said...

Joe W.

explain it to me then. what is this distinctive of the Baptist that you are referring to then. The conversation is about a budwiser shirt and Alan's comment was about eating at Hooters. If it isn't either of those, then what are you referring to?

I would ask; If I can disagree on Calvinism, then why can't I disagree on drinking, shirts, PPl, etc....

Tom Parker said...

david r. mills:

This blog has nothing to do with porn.

Anonymous said...

what a 'great' proposal for promoting Baptists to put super-glue and bandaids on their mouths so they can't disciple new Christians...no wonder our churches are becoming 1 mile wide and a 1/2" deep...

Joe W. said...

John,

Sorry, but I feel like I am talking to my 8 year old. :)

One more time, here we go.

I pointed out in my initial comment (9:21 am) that this was a great post by Wade. However, I was troubled by his introduction. I noted that Wade seemed to be trying to tie the "Baptist Identity" movement (if there is such a thing) to legalism and cultic behavior.

Alan Paul chimed in at 12:12pm with a comment directed to me... "Joe W... I think Wade needs to continue to take shots at the Baptist distinctives and keep shooting until they have been demolished in the way all idols should be."

Then... Steve wrote these words and 12:41pm... "I can't decide whether Baptist Identity/Distictives are a subtle reimposition of The Law, just another political ploy, or the logical next step in the narrowing of our convention's ability to work together cooperatively for Christ, but they are definitely a man-made failure to behold and employ the ability God has given us to save the world and should be dropped like a hot potato."

Thus (and with success so far), I have tried to show that there is no corelation between Baptist Distinctives / Baptist Identity and the quote... "Laying down of the law".

My point is this... those who hold to Baptistic believes are not idol worshipers or cultic, our Baptist Heritage does not need to be dropped like a hot potato, and people need to learn to read the actual comments without bringing their preconceived ideas about a person from the day or week before to the conversation.

Only By His Grace said...

Wade,

Some keep changing the story so they can sidedoor attack you; for shame on them.

The story reminds me of an incident some ten or twelve years ago.

On a Sunday morning I was standing behind the pulpit before church started when a youth carrying a Sonic drink walked into the auditorium. I noticed her before Sunday School, but had not met her. I turned to walk out of the pulpit to go introduce myself when a deacon sitting in the mid section literally hollered out, "Young lady, you can take that cup of whatever you are drinking and get out of the auditorium. We do not allow food and drink in this sanctuary!"

She was caught much like a deer is caught in the headlights of a car, too petrified to move. She turned to almost run out of the auditorium. I turned to the deacon and said just as loud to him as he hollered at her, "B___, I would be ashamed of myself if I were you." I then caught up to the young lady. I took her to our new Youth Pastor, told him what happened. He and his wife not only sat with her during worship, but they had her over to their college apartment for Sunday dinner.

The young lady came to know the Lord later that year at Falls Creek. The deacon never changed.

Phil in Norman.

John Fariss said...

One of the elder deacons at our (Southern Baptist) church, who is also a parking lot greeter, was told by another senior citizen that if a male showed up wearing an earring, he should "snatch it out" rather than allow a man so dressed to enter the building. I'm sure that would have gone over quite well; fortunantly, he had enough maturity in Christ to laugh such a suggestion off. The same senior (not the deacon) met with me a few months ago to demand that we enact a dress code, prohibiting jeans that were either tight or had holes, bare shoulders and midriffs, and various items of attire that he considered "provocative." I told him that if he would show me where the Bible approved of dress codes, especially the New Testament, I would recommend it. Funny: he never got back with me with any of the passages he was absolutely sure were there. I found out later that most of his anger was directed toward one young lady, a new Christian and a recent emmigrant from eastern Europe, whose clothing tended to be more European than most of the rest of us. Guess what? She has toned down her attire, but not because anyone in the church made rules and regulations, but because through her own discipleship and growth in the Lord, she decided to, her and the Lord! When we trust God and give Him room to work, it's amazing what He will do, as Wade points out.

Just a word to a few of you who have commented: beverage alcohol (beer or in any other form) does NOT equal pornography, lust, or institutions/businesses organized around the promotion of either. At least, such is my position; as I told that senior, show me the Bible verse that says it does, and I will support it. And I'm with Paul, Wade, and dwmiii: given the choice of kissing any of those lips or having a beer or a bourbon--I'd gladly belly up to the bar! (Which, by the way, I quit doing about a year after I became a Christian, not because of any man-made rule, but because of the Holy Spirit's leadership.)

Joe W. said...

And... I believe I understand how Wade felt in this situation. For those critical of the way Wade handled this situation, you need to take a step back and realize that this was a new convert. This young man was not open rebellion.

A couple of months back we had a man attend a service in a white tank top, covered in tattoos, and wearing sun glasses. He sat through the choir service, all the while keeping his sunglasses on. I had a member of our church ask me if I wanted him to make the man remove the sunglasses before I preached. I said... absolutely not.

If you are more concerned about black sunglasses than you are black souls, you are in as bad a shape as they are. (Or Beer T-shirts)

Remember... we are talking about new converts and visitors...

John Fariss said...

Addendium to my earlier comment: different churches are organized differently, and here I am speaking of the very real and "subliminal" criteria rather than what is typically found in church constitutions and by-laws. For some churches, the principal is "when you look like us, you can be one of us." One church I served was a white-collar church in a blue collar neighborhood; for them, that meant hourly workers and unskilled laborers should go elsewhere, whereas supervisors and mill owners were welcome--and Hispanic migrants and African Americans were given directions (literally) to the nearest Catholic or African-American church. For others, it is "when you behave like us, you can be one of us." This is equivilent to saying, "after you clean up your own act, you can join and get right with God--but first you have to change yourself!" I once served that church too: one Sunday morning a single mother with several unruly stairstep children came in. And one little blue-haired old lady said to another in a stage whisper, "If she can't make those children behave any better than that, she should stay home. Surprize, surprize, surprize: that is exactly what she did.

Then again: the churches I served prior to where I am at now were all dysfunctional. No surprize there.

Sort of like an old joke in my hometown: strangers pulled up at a service station and asked, "Where is the Church of God?" The old man there replied, "Well. . . there's the Baptist Church, that's the church of the Weaver's; the Methodist Church, that's the church of the Wren's; the Presbyterian Church, that's the church of the Bliss's; the Catholic Church, that's the church of the deStaffano's. But I don't think we have a Church of God's in this town." May God save us from becomming that joke.

John Moeller said...

Joe,

Maybe I am only 8, but I don't recall ever reading one of your comments that stood out, or have any preconceived prejudices about you at all.

I read your comment, thought about it, and said; Hmm, Joe is saying that some of the commenter's must not be Baptist because they have different "distinctive's" than he does.

I read Alan and Steve's comments and all of yours..., I agree distinctives are the foundation of Baptist, I'll give an example. A distinctive is Baptism by immersion. I'll give you that all day.

A tradition (not a distinctive) is that women wear dresses and men dress "respectable" then they go to church.

I go to a thriving church where Harley riders show up every week in chaps. Teens wear baggies and t-shirts with writing on them. Some even have piercings and gages in their ears. We just sent one teen to seminary with 3 inch gages in his ears. (look out PP) These are not new converts, they are fine Christians who are just comfortable with who God made them.

Is that me, NO! I am the typical conservative. Will I push my traditions on them, NO! I want everyone to know the Lord, not just people who look and act like me.

My point is; the way I read the comments, we are all talking about old traditions which are excluding the multitudes who need Jesus and calling them distinctives of our faith.

I don't see tattoos, piercings, exposed mid-drifts, and the like as open rebellion against anything. It's just the 2008 way of life.

If we go with your train of thought... After a new convert gets "trained" they will need to remove the tattoos, the piercings, sell the Harley, settle down and conform.

I don't see it your way.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
You wrote "Some Southern Baptist leaders believe that the way to stop believers from straying into sin, or to keep church members living lives consistent with personal holiness, or to establish churches with a worthy 'Baptist Identity,' is to lay out for Christians 'the law' of proper behavior."

Could you point me to specific Southern Baptist leaders that openly advocate such an approach to Christianity? Your post implies that they don't believe in grace, but instead advocate a works approach to salvation based upon your story of the troubled young man that was saved. Do you really believe that these "Baptist Identity" folks would advocate an approach any different to Eric than the one you took just because they think it is wrong for Christians (especially leaders) to drink?
You can be a teetotaler, refuse to condone worldliness, and still show grace and patience with a new believer that is confused about living a consistent Chritian life. As a matter of fact I was saved in a very conservative, "Baptist Identity" church...and was rougher around the edges than Eric. That church loved me, prayed for me, shared their homes with me, AND gradually taught me that there was a better way to glorify God with my life.

Again, could you just give me one example of a "Baptist Idenity" guy that would say your approach to this baby Christian was wrong (and show evidence).

Thanks,
A Simple Student at SBTS

Anonymous said...

Wade,
This post would have been ten times better had you left out the not so subtle dig at those "Baptist Identity" folks you so vehemently disagree with.

volfan007 said...

i guess i'm one of those "baptist distinctive" folks, and i agree with wade's post. it was a good one.

after i got saved, i would have been one of those long haired, rock and roller guys wearing "lynyrd skynyrd" t-shirts and "kansas" t-shirts. i drove to church listening to ac/dc and journey...and, i would open the door with the music jamming before i turned off the engine, too...so that deacon brown and sister smith could hear it.

one thing though....i quit drinking alcohol and smoking weed immediately after my conversion. the Lord delivered me from it. also, i quit cussing immediately. and, you know what else? i started loving people at that church, and i started loving to hear about Jesus.

wade, i appreciate that yall took it easy on that young man, and you let the Lord bring him along. that was a good thing to do.

david

CmlCros said...

Jim,
Beer is like porn? Why don't we attack gluttony? At the next convention look and see how many pot bellies you see. Let's attack pride and then ask why leaders in the convention don't want toactually know how many people are in our churches. Let's attack being judgemental and then ask why we automatically attack various groups such as Acts 29 and the Emergent because they're different and were threatened.
I understand a stand like this where scripture is clear 100% : deity of Christ, Virgin Birth, Salvation through faith not works....but alcohol....come on....so scripture is to be taken literally except when it says wine which they actually meant was juice?

Where in scripture do we see Jesus condemning people? These can of beliefs are more of the pharisees than of the Savior.

Anonymous said...

what a 'great' proposal for promoting Baptists to put super-glue and bandaids on their mouths so they can't disciple new Christians...no wonder our churches are becoming 1 mile wide and a 1/2" deep...

Tue Apr 22, 03:13:00 PM 2008


What do we do with an SBC pastor's daughter who is about 20, not a new convert yet wears tight fitting strapless tops, short skirts to show off her tanned great figure in church? Daddy is a well known SBC mega church pastor and does not seem to have a problem with it at all.

Maybe we should clean up our own camp before we pick on new converts?

Jason Bengs said...

Wade,
I read you posts and many times I think "Wow! I needed that today." Then I read the comments and think to myself, "They just don't get it." I found myself reading the comments and wondering if you expected to get such a reaction.
It seems that what may have been meant to reveal a correct way to handle a situation actually created another situation.
I wish it were easier for us to disagree with each other without it seeming as though we were sniping. Some of the comments come across that way and if mine have I apologize.
I am glad you shared with us your experience with legalism and how you responded to it in your church. I know that I have been that deacon at times and I think all of us have at some point.
My prayer is that we all move past that and grow ourselves just like each party in your post (deacons, church members and new believers).
Thank you for the reminder that God calls all of us to Holiness. Some of us take a different path (meaning God convicts us of behaviors in different orders) than others.

jasonk said...

I wonder how many of those deacons at your church had a problem with a beer tshirt, but would leave the church and smoke a cigarette.

One time several years ago, we saw a young man, maybe 17, come to faith in Christ. He was from a background where church, religion, Christianity, and faith were all foreign. One of the first Wednesday nights after his conversion, he wore a tshirt advertising Trojan condoms. I was afraid for my job. But like you, I said nothing, and ultimately it passed.

Great story!

Anonymous said...

Another story,
My family and I are your missionaries with the IMB, now over 20 years.

On one of our furloughs (stateside assignment, now), a hurricane was headed for the town we were in. A meeting was called to see if the church would open it's doors as a shelter for people fleeing the storm.

After much positive debate one of the most affluent and influential deacons stood up and said of their newly built fellowship hall. "God has blessed us with this beautiful building but he has also made us responsible for it. If we open it up as a shelter you know what kind of people are going to come and stay here." He made a motion not to use the building as a shelter and it passed!

Needless to say, we never returned to that church.

jasonk said...

Jim Pasley said,
"I will not turn my freedom in Christ into a license to gratify my own desires!"

Spoken by a man who is...how many pounds overweight?

Alan Paul said...

Joe W.-

First off, there are many Baptists who say that the SBC has moved away from historical Baptists distinctives with the advent of the BFM 2000. I tend to agree.

2nd of all, any organization which refuses to work with anyone who refuses to sign on to the BFM2000 had elevated that document to the level equal with the Gospel and Scripture.

Sounds like an idol to me.

Joe W. said...

Alan Paul,

First, I disagree.
Second, I disagree.

On June 14th, 2000, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a revised summary of our faith. The committee's report says in part:

"Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches. We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God.

Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice."

I couldn't have said it better, or agree more. I wonder if Wade thinks everyone who uses the BF&M of 2000 as a statement of faith is is an idol worshipper. How bout it Wade, a comment?

greg.w.h said...

Joe W.:

Not speaking for Wade, per se, but if I recall, he is satisfied with the BF&M 2000 as a current, consensus document for praxis and for faith commentary for primary doctrine. He's indicated some dissatisfaction with the way the words elevate certain doctrines beyond a secondary/tertiary stance and potentially lead to unnecessary conflict. But he's clearly been more dissatisfied when issues that are not addressed by the BF&M 2000 are used for the purpose of division.

But that doesn't stop either him or others from believing that the BF&M 2000 is at best a substitute for a rich discussion and agreement on primary doctrine based on the words of the Bible itself. Wade has consistently expressed a strong hope that we would find reason for unity around important doctrines of the faith and permit the expression of soul competency and liberty everywhere else.

That his stance echoes the comment in Ephesians where Paul suggests that we will find unity through complete knowledge in Christ Jesus is, in my mind, a source of great hope for those of us who desire that the bickering be replaced by the love one for another that is commanded by Christ Jesus. That people like you are more interested in resting on tradition and nitpicking than desiring the same thing is the cause of great complaints against the Convention and its work...both by the saved and the unsaved.

Baptists are seen as bickerers. That is hardly a Christian distinctive. It certainly IS a Baptist one. It reminds us that the demons know the name of Jesus...and tremble. One would think we'd have at least the decency to be afraid that God will judge us for intentional divisiveness as we continue to find things to pick on about Wade's comments.

And I'm not picking on any one person or even group in saying that. If Wade's blogging effort illustrates anything, it is that it is very, very easy for the divisive side of our personalities to come out, no matter who we are. It reminds me of a continual theme in Rob Zinn's sermons when I sat under him: you can't expect to get orange juice from a lemon.

Greg Harvey

Bob Cleveland said...

I'll repeat the conclusion I reached in the process of writing a recent post on my blog: the cry of "priesthood of the believer" rings pretty hollow when so many folks spend so much time acting like they don't believe it.

Or, at least, that they don't believe it applies to others.

Joe W. said...

Greg Harvey,

You wrote... "That people like you are more interested in resting on tradition and nitpicking than desiring the same thing is the cause of great complaints against the Convention and its work...both by the saved and the unsaved."

And you wrote... "One would think we'd have at least the decency to be afraid that God will judge us for intentional divisiveness as we continue to find things to pick on about Wade's comments."

Well that is certainly one way to look at it, and perhaps that is your view. Of course, it may be that many of Wade's comments are divisive as he picks on things he does not like in the SBC. ;)

Funny thing... when "people like me" post, we are bickers and nitpicking... but when you, Wade, and Ben Cole post you are practicing Baptist dissent.

Jim Paslay said...

Joe W. said:

"Funny thing... when "people like me" post, we are bickers and nitpicking... but when you, Wade, and Ben Cole post you are practicing Baptist dissent."

I couldn't have said it better my friend!

Anonymous said...

Wade Burleson said...
Joe W.

You said,

By the way, I see nothing wrong with the sign or the stance of those strong christian females of the past.

Double click on the photo. Enlarge it. If the women were truly guaranteeing that any lips that touched licquor would never touch their lips, then those women probably drove hundreds of men to the bottle.

Tue Apr 22, 10:18:00 AM 2008


Of course! If God truly had any use for those women he would have made them attractive.

Obviously, since they are not beautiful in the eyes of the world, they are not of God. Right? Women are only credible to the point they are sexually desirable, correct?

Is the man who wrote those words really a pastor? Does he prohibit unattractive women from attending his church? Should unattractive women be allowed to teach Hebrew? Does he belittle homely women from his pulpit?

Strange words from a man who proclaims the gospel of a man who had no physical attractiveness to draw other to him...

greg.w.h said...

Joe W. & Jim:

It works like this: every time there is an attempt to address an issue, folks like you show up and mock others. Everyone around you sees the behavior of the one and of the other.

Your behavior therefore serves as a useful contrast to Wade's. For heaven's sake, please don't stop because of my comments.

Greg Harvey

Joe W. said...

Greg,

You wrote... "It works like this: every time there is an attempt to address an issue, folks like you show up and mock others. Everyone around you sees the behavior of the one and of the other."

So a person calls me, Wade, and the other 16 million (give or take a few million) Southern Baptists idol worshippers... and I am the one showing up and mocking others?

Greg, for someone who continually argues that the dissenting and minority views should be heard, it sure seems odd that you only want to hear comments identical to your own and paint those with differing views as behaving badly or being mockers. Maybe I am looking in the wrong place, but I don't see the contrast.

I fully stand behind my comments on this post. I agree with Wade's approach to the new convert, I don't think Southern Baptists are idol worshipers for having a confession of faith, and I do not think we need to drop our Baptist Distinctives like a hot potato.

RRR said...

A new Thai Christian began attending discipleship sessions with 3 other new believers. She continued wearing her Buddhist amulet when she attended. After a few times together she asked, "Do I have to quit wearing this?" "You are now a child of God like me." it was explained. "Talk to God about it and then do what you think would please your new Father."

She never wore it again.

ezekiel said...

Spurgeon says....

""Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." --Romans 8:37 We go to Christ for forgiveness, and then too often look to the law for power to fight our sins. Paul thus rebukes us, "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Take your sins to Christ's cross, for the old man can only be crucified there: we are crucified _with Him_. The only weapon to fight sin with is the spear which pierced the side of Jesus. To give an illustration--you want to overcome an angry temper, how do you go to work? It is very possible you have never tried the right way of going to Jesus with it. How did I get salvation? I came to Jesus just as I was, and I trusted Him to save me. I must kill my angry temper in the same way? It is the only way in which I can ever kill it. I must go to the cross with it, and say to Jesus, "Lord, I trust Thee to deliver me from it." This is the only way to give it a death-blow. Are you covetous? Do you feel the world entangle you? You may struggle against this evil so long as you please, but if it be your besetting sin, you will never be delivered from it in any way but by the blood of Jesus. Take it to Christ. Tell Him, "Lord, I have trusted Thee, and Thy name is Jesus, for Thou dost save Thy people from their sins; Lord, this is one of my sins; save me from it!" Ordinances are nothing without Christ as a means of mortification. Your prayers, and your repentances, and your tears--the whole of them put together--are worth nothing apart from Him. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good;" or helpless saints either. You must be conquerors through Him who hath loved you, if conquerors at all. Our laurels must grow among His olives in Gethsemane. "

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

It is not "having a confession of faith"--it has become a creed--that is the truly sad part. It sadly will become narrower and narrower--more and more about the outside--that can be seen.

prolepticlife said...

As a teenager I was lost but had a few Baptist friends who I occasionally hung out with. One day I went to the home of one of these friends. The next day at school this friend told me that his mom forbid him to have anything to do with me and I was no longer allowed in their home. I was shocked and couldn't imagine what I had done that caused such an uproar. My friend told me it was the shirt I was wearing the previous day. It read "Where in the Hell is Owasso Oklahoma?" I honestly had no idea that was offensive. I was clueless that this was a problem for some people. Several years later I came to faith in Christ. Unfortunately for my friends mom, she didn't get to play any part in that work of God because she closed the door to any possibility of witnessing to me over a t-shirt.

Ish Engle said...

As far as the alcohol thing goes, I think Romans 14 can be applied here. For some, there is great danger in drinking ANYTHING. For others, its just a drink.

Let each determine what is right for them, and let us not cause our brothers to stumble by imposing our choices on each other.

Just my $0.02.

ezekiel said...

Joe W,

I don't really have a problem with baptist distinctives so much as the condemnation and judgement that seems to come with them.

Why should you or anyone else be able to determine my liberty based on your conscience?

1 Cor 10:29 29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? 30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? 31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

One is either saved or not. Period. If saved then one is in Christ and according to the word, there is no longer ANY condemnation. Baptists (I have been one all my life) seem to lose something in our battle for the WORD and Truth with all our zeal and fervor and I am more guilty of that than most. I just wonder if what we have lost is the same thing Israel did in Jerusalem. They had all the religious rites and practice down to a T. Even added a few things for good measure.

Maybe as a denomination, we need to spend more time walking in the spirit, less time trying to impose our conscience on others to bring about changes in the flesh that we judge to be important to be members of our little boys club. Reckon?

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Viewed this way, as we look at men in the SBC scramble and fight for control and authority to subject people to their rule and their consciences, do we see a repeat of Jerusalem and the pharisees?Do we really see men living out a life of obedience to Him, working out their own salvation with fear and trembling, walking humbly before their God?

Watching your comments and your determination to fight for the baptist identity, I just wonder if you are as willing to fight for Christ? I wonder if He would be as willing to fight for your baptist identity as you are or if He would be more interested seeing people saved and living a life of humbly serving Him.

We baptists have always been willing to fight to the death for our churches and our denomination. I Don't see a lot of difference in that and what the leaders of Israel were doing when Nebuchadnezzer rolled through town.

Israel was an example to us. Is our local church building and the SBC our "golden calf"?

1 Cor 10:10 1 I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, 2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food, 4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play. 8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. 9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, 10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

volfan007 said...

joe w. and jim p.,

hang in there. it's fellas like you that give hope to people like me that the sbc has a bright future, and that it will stay the course. keep up the good work. fight the good fight of faith.

God bless you you both for being a clear voice of reason and soundness in a muddy water place.

david

David Richardson said...

Wade, this is an AWESOME post. That was a wise pastoral move on your part! Enjoyed reading this.

Jim Paslay said...

Greg Harvey said:

"It works like this: every time there is an attempt to address an issue, folks like you show up and mock others. Everyone around you sees the behavior of the one and of the other."

I challenge you, Mr. Harvey, to give me just one example of where my comments have mocked someone. Just because I agreed with Joe W. on a certain comment he posted somehow makes me a mocker. I am almost certain you and I have not met and I have will refrain from making a judgment about you as a person if you will kindly afford me the same.

Joe W. said...

Ezekiel,

No one is trying to limit the liberty that you have in Christ. The SBC has simply put forth a confession of faith, and seconded it as a "minimal" statement, around which likeminded Baptists can come together and cooperate. Thus, if you are not likeminded or Baptist,(though you may truly be saved and on your way to Heaven) we simply will not be able to get along for the purposes of missions, evangelism, or planting churches.

At the same time, I realize that perhaps I do seem to be passionate about this subject (because I am). Many people have given their blood, sweat, and tears for what you call the "Baptist Identity". Are you suggesting that our Baptist forefathers, those who were willing to die for the "Baptist Distinctive" of believer's baptism should have just lightened up and been more accepting of others?

I am a Christian by the new birth, but I am a Baptist, not by choice, but by conviction. I know Greg thinks that I am mocking others when I say that, but I am not. Truth be known, it is the conservative complementarians who have been labeled and mocked on this blog for the last month or more. We have been called "racist", "chauvenistic", "cultic", and "idol worshippers".

Pot meet kettle...

John Fariss said...

Joe W,

You quote part from the preface to the BF&M 2000 is identical (or virtually so) to that in the 1963 version. And you are exactly correct: those are words that reflect an historic Baptist understanding of a confession of faith. However, another part--which you did not quote--calls the document an "instrument of doctrinal accountability," which moves it closer to (if not actually into) a creed. Furthermore as it is also a requirement for seminary employees (not, as I understand it, just professors, but all employees), missionaries, and (so I have been told--maybe someone can enlighten me) Lifeway employees to sign off on, it functionally becomes a creed. This is a significant departure from historic Baptist distinctives. Granted, many strains of Baptists have long adopted confessions (viz., from the 1644 London Confession and onward), while others have eschewed them altogether ("No creed but the Bible!"), but the language and idea of a "confession" as "an instrument of doctrinal accountability" is an entirely new twist. I could even argue that it is part of the "Baptist identity movement" which makes new distinctives to defining us as a people while calling them old. Now: having said that, I would also agree that calling this "idol worship" is hyperbole at best. However, it seems to me that it is also true that in some quarters (IMB, seminaries, maybe Lifeway) it is being overemphasized almost as a substitute for dialogue and to quash disagreement and dissent. What do you think?

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

Let me say again it is not a confession of faith, it is a creed, something that narrows.

Anonymous said...

Wade may correct me on this, since he was more closely related to the mission board, but I seem to remember that in earlier times missionary applicants were given the BF&M confession (as it was earlier, not creed as now) and if there were parts they did not agree with fully they could write their differences (maybe their own confession of faith, I'm not sure exactly the procedure) and still be considered for mission service. The 2000 creed (yes, that's what it is if it is required compliance) was required to be signed by all, prospective and current who were commissioned earlier, with no differences. Thus someone who was in full agreement with the current SBC confession of faith when they were appointed, and whose beliefs had not changed, could be fired for not going along with changes pushed through by a small, powerful group. That seems to me to be a creed.

Susie

Steve said...

The thing that gets at my craw about this pararding of Baptist Distinctivers is the echo of pride that underlies it. We are called to be Christians, and it is Christianity that the world has so much trouble with. "To turn the other cheek? To refuse revenge? Are you people Crazy??"

We can and do rejoice in our salvation, but do we lord it over people in who actually baptized us, or who lead us to convert? We should celebrate the Savior who saved us, and that's it.

We should have no pride in anything about our achievements or the peculiar tenets of our particular denomination of Christianity until the world is saved.

The real danger in celebrating our "Distinctives" is it opens the door for the next sales job for some user peddling patriarchalism, or Landmarkism, or utter intolerance on alchohol, or boards of trustees rewriting the BFM2000 and insisting on its use as a creed, or not wearing ties to church, or not this and doing that. This is where you hear such utter stupidity as burning a pulpit because a woman preached behind it, or not opening activity rooms for people rescued from a storm, or not allowing poor neighbors to play on your outdoor equipment or in your church gym if it has one.

Some may feel their nation is in a economic or moral collapse, and celebrating with pride one's heritage may be called for in their mind; but if the SBC is under attack, how likely is it that those who want to celebrate historical differences are the ones presenting the REAL danger to our cooperative spirit?

Leastways, that's how it looks from my neck of the woods.

Wade Burleson said...

Suzie,

Correct.

Baptists have not been, nor should ever be, a creedal people.

Wayne Smith said...

Wade,
In reading these comments it is obvious to me who are the Spirit Filled Christians and who are the Legalist Baptist. All followers of Jesus Christ are Christians First and foremost. They may be from different Denominations, but they are the body of Christ.

Pro 30:6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book,

In His Name
Wayne

Ish Engle said...

Didn't Jesus call for us to overlook our differences and follow Him? Isn't not judging others, being a neighbor to those who need help, giving selflessly and loving without concern for "who" the loved one "is" about unity?

Why then would it be good to celebrate "distinctive" differences?

I'm not asking to be "smart", but as a non-Baptist, I'm curious why so many Baptists want to separate what I thought Jesus wanted to unify. That keeps coming out accusatory and mean, but I do not mean it as such. I just don't understand the imperative for "distinctives".

Elisabeth said...

In the small Arizona city where I live, wearing a beer t-shirt to certain churches, even certain Southern Baptist churches, would be acceptable wear! There's a lot of cultural differences, even in this country, as to the acceptability of beer and wine.

One thing that bothers me about the legalistic total abstaining from alcohol position - it is declaring something sinful that Jesus partook in. On Sunday I had the privledge of partaking in the Lord's supper. For the first time in my life, I drank wine with it instead of grape juice. Juice was offered as well as the wine, BTW. I decided on the wine even though I am usually a non-drinker. And later, it felt like something that was bothering me deep inside was settled. Later I realized what it was. It was the fact that there was somewhat of a discord in me between the teaching of no alcohol, and the fact that Jesus drank alcohol. Partaking of the wine was a decision on my part of Jesus over legalism.

OC Hands said...

As I read these posts from time to time, it seems to me that there is a pattern that has developed, and is repeated with almost every post.
Those who believe the SBC is in danger of falling into legalism and narrowing the parameters are in one category and those who do not believe this are in another category. There seems to be no middle ground, and each "side" uses scripture, historical documents, quotations from well-known religious leaders and personages to prove their point of view is correct.
Plus, there are certain religious and political figures that usually get criticized at some point in the discussion. When we were on the mission field, we knew that there was disagreement on various issues, but we had no idea how sharply the lines were being drawn. Nor were we aware of the attitudes and spirit of those who desired to be in the leadership of the SBC.
Call us naive, uninformed or uninterested, but we were very involved with sharing the gospel and bringing those who believed into a more personal relationship with Christ through discipleship and organizing them into churches. Believe me, it is a 24-7 responsibility. We had no time nor desire to become as involved in religious politics or prolonged discussion regarding the finer points of theology. And, we were working cooperatively with various other mission entities as we shared the gospel and discipled believers.
Having been stateside (and retired) for a number of years, I really do miss the freedom to work for Christ unhindered with the constant fear and criticism of those who question almost everything we are doing.
I suppose current missionaries must put most of this out of their minds and concentrate on the task at hand in order to get anything done.
In view of the many many millions that still have yet to hear the gospel and believe, can we really afford to focus on the minutiae? Perhaps it is important to some of our brothers in Christ who actually baptized us, or whether you agree with everything contained in the BF&M "confession." But spending hours, days, weeks and months debating these tertiary issues, as they have been called, is not as productive as finding ways to work with other believers to win the world for Christ.
Just the ramblings of a retired missionary.

Elisabeth said...

Oh my gosh, OCHands! How I would really love to meet you! You so hit the nail on the head right there!

Gary Snowden said...

Wade,

I appreciate very much the way in which you allowed the Holy Spirit to work in the life of this new believer without piling on a lot of legalistic restrictions about dress and other matters. I've read the entire comment string and am chagrined to see that the Baptist identity folks are still finding fault with you over this post and those who have commented in support of the stance you took.

The one that finally prompted me to respond was the comment by Joe W. who in addressing Ezekiel says the following, "Thus, if you are not likeminded or Baptist,(though you may truly be saved and on your way to Heaven) we simply will not be able to get along for the purposes of missions, evangelism, or planting churches."

I know this is the party line of the Baptist Identity folks--we'll recognize that others can truly be saved, but we simply cannot cooperate with them in missions, evangelism, and church planting. The audacity and pride which that statement oozes leaves me shocked. Do we really believe that only Southern Baptists know how to evangelize? Is ours the only denomination or convention that has a passion for reaching the world for Christ? To hear some of these Baptist Identity folks, one would think so.

I have no problems with Baptist distinctives and taught them for many years as a seminary prof overseas. The issue is that this new crowd ignores the historical distinctives (priesthood of the believer, soul competency, local church autonomy, etc.) and adds a whole new subset of legalistic trappings to these and incorporates them into a creed which must be signed and affirmed. That is a denial of our Baptist heritage--not an affirmation of it.

OC Hands said...

Elizabeth,
Thanks for your comment.
You may visit our blogsite (listed on Wade's home page) or copy this to your browser:
http://www.vopraise.blogspot.com
Blessings,
Milton

Anonymous said...

Wade, Your story about the young man is inspirational, negative comments would be hard to respond. But, your "double click" on the ladies with no appeal in your estimation was less than I would expect you. Someone said "physical beauty is only skin deep".
Jim Sadler

ezekiel said...

Joe W.

In your battle for the Baptist identity, I ask that you think about a few things.

1)You call them Baptist “distinctives”. In searching for the definition of this word, we have to look at “distinction”

Main Entry:
dis•tinc•tion
Pronunciation:
\di-ˈstiŋ(k)-shən\
Function:
noun
Date:
13th century
1 aarchaic : DIVISION b: CLASS 42: the distinguishing of a difference without distinction as to race, sex, or religion; also : the difference distinguished the distinction between imply and infer3: something that distinguishes regional distinctions4: the quality or state of being distinguishable no distinction of facial features in the twins5 a: the quality or state of being distinguished or worthy a politician of some distinction b: special honor or recognition took a law degree with distinction won many distinctions c: an accomplishment that sets one apart the distinction of being the oldest to win the title

Now in light of this, how do you fight for distinction, distinctives or difference when we have been warned against these types of activities. Romans 16:17


Doesn’t this promote division within the body? The John 9:16 type? In fact don’t we as a denomination look more like the Pharisees, divided, trying to determine if the blind man that now sees is really of God? We do the same thing when we say you are not dressed properly, don’t fit into the right groups, or God forbid you are a woman….
You can’t drink wine and be a Christian…on and on. Never the less, the blind man did see. He was healed, and the Pharisees couldn’t do anything about it. Just like them, though, you would kick him out of the church.

Jesus tells us that now that we know it, our sin remains. Seems a good bit of repentance is in order. But then, the Pharisees only got angry and killed him. Much the same response we see carried out in countless churches today. Even here on this blog.

2)"Thus, if you are not likeminded or Baptist,(though you may truly be saved and on your way to Heaven) we simply will not be able to get along for the purposes of missions, evangelism, or planting churches."

Yes, division. Separatism. In other words, we can believe in Jesus, believe in the death and resurrection, the atonement work of the blood of Jesus shed on the cross but then divide on how we dress or how we treat women. Divide on stupid things like drinking or gambling or whatever. Things that will become less and less as He becomes more and more. Fleshly desires that if Jesus wants them gone will be gone. Washed away by the washing of the WORD.

It appears to me that you are fighting for your religion. There is a lot of difference between that and fighting for the WORD. You can fight for Baptists, fight for your local church but is that really the same thing as fighting for Christ or is more like fighting for the Temple and all its traditions?

3) “At the same time, I realize that perhaps I do seem to be passionate about this subject (because I am). Many people have given their blood, sweat, and tears for what you call the "Baptist Identity". Are you suggesting that our Baptist forefathers, those who were willing to die for the "Baptist Distinctive" of believer's baptism should have just lightened up and been more accepting of others?”

NO, I am suggesting that they fought for the same thing you are fighting for. We had to learn it from somebody. Again, what were their blood, sweat and tears shed for? The work of mans hands? That pretty little building, that identity that differentiates? Separates? Divides?

What would happen if all us self proclaimed Baptists…suddenly became know as them dang Christians instead. Maybe then at least, the world would hate us for all the right reasons.

Joe W. said...

Ezekiel,

1)The proper definition of the word "distinctive" is...

American Heritage Dictionary dis·tinc·tive dĭ-stĭngk'tĭv)
adj.
Serving to identify; distinguishing: Note at distinct.
Characteristic or typical.

Hence I am not arguing for a division but a characteristic. In light of Romans 16:17, I would say that I am marking those causing division and offenses contrary to Bible Doctrine (ie. Believer Baptism)

2) Yes, I fully believe in the Doctrine of Seperation. One of the first things God did in Genesis chapter one was seperate some things. For the SBC to operate properly (and this what we are talking about, the SBC)... for Baptists to come together, pool money and resources, educate people... we do need to be likeminded in the essentials of the Faith (BF&M)

3) WOW! just WOW!

So in your estimation those who died for practicing Believer's Baptism were fighting for... "The work of mans hands? That pretty little building, that identity that differentiates? Separates? Divides?"

WOW! That is all I can say...

Tom from Indiana said...

For goodness sakes, those of you who are critical of Wade for his "criticism" of the ladies for their lack of physical beauty. Look at the picture, they are trying to look un-beautiful. They have scowls on their faces. It probably is not even a legitimate temperance society picture but a joke. Give me a break.

Just wait until Wade includes a picture of Bozo in an entry someday. Then you'll be able to criticize him for calling one of God's dear creations a "clown"!

Some of you should get out more.

Joe W. said...

For those that think Doctrine divides and weakens evangelism and missions, you might enjoy this B.H. Carroll quote (probably not)...

"The modern cry, "Less creed and more liberty," is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jelly fish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. …It is a positive and very hurtful sin to magnify liberty at the expense of doctrine."

ezekiel said...

Jow W,

What is so novel about a group of people over the span of many generations worshipping the work of mans hands? Is.. or is not the OT written as an example to us not to do the same thing a whole nation did? Wasn't that their error? You remind me of a Jewish Rabbi clinging dearly to the only form of religion he knows. And it still won't save him.

Citizenship is important. Do we consider ourselves citizens of the SBC or of heaven.

17Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will transform our lowly bodyto be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.



If you want to make a case for baptism by water as the only way to be saved, can you show us where Abraham was baptised?

Lin said...

For those that think Doctrine divides and weakens evangelism and missions, you might enjoy this B.H. Carroll quote (probably not)...

"The modern cry, "Less creed and more liberty," is a degeneration from the vertebrate to the jelly fish, and means less unity and less morality, and it means more heresy. …It is a positive and very hurtful sin to magnify liberty at the expense of doctrine."

Wed Apr 23, 03:45:00 PM 2008

Joe, I, for one, think doctrine is extremely important. And, I believe, most commenting here would agree that the essentials of the faith are the main thing we must unite on. Doctrine that SAVES.

But that is no longer the case in the SBC. Now, many are insisting we must unite on many secondary issues in order to cooperate. Even within the secondary issues the parameters are narrowing daily. We have gone from a past focus on the narrow gate, Christ alone, scripture alone and Priesthood of
Believer to NOW a focus on private prayer language, Patriarchy and creeping in is the eternal subordination within the Trinity in order to prove heirarchies.

I am blown away at how the BFM has become a creed that people sign off on. I feel like a Presbyterian when I see that.

Now, we are even seeing different interpretations of the BFM! (Klouda was a senior pastor at SWBTS?)

What I hear some saying is that they do not want to cooperate with those who do not agree on secondary doctrines. To think that disagreement on secondary doctrines automatically means Cheap Grace and less morality is an insult. Liberty is no license to sin.

Do we really want to set up an SBC police force? It won't work because we are talking about spiritual issues. Who polices the police?

I mean, think about it, anyone can say they agree with a document, sign it and not even be saved. they can abstain from wine and be hateful. They can agree on all secondary doctrines and harbor unforgiveness in their heart. They can be a pastor and not be saved. We all need to read Matt 7 more.

When a person is truly regenerated, it is obvious. A good tree can only bear good fruit. God does not allow those who are HIs to wander too far off the narrow road.

Doctrine is a means to an end. The end being that we Bear the Image of Christ. That is a work of regeneration. Not checking behavioral items off a list like the Pharisees did.

I fear we have already gone that way.

Anonymous said...

the beer t-shirt is way better then the second. Also no one would want to kiss those women anyways therefore the sign is pointless.

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

The BF&M is a creed.

Joe W. said...

Tom Parker,

Thanks for sharing your opinion about the BF&M being a creed, you can stop repeating yourself now. However, just because you say it doesn't make it so, even if you keep saying it, and keep saying it.

Ezekiel,

Somewhere along the way our conversation got off track. When I say believer's baptism; I mean the baptizing of a believer, not the baptizing of a person to become a believer. One only need read the N.T. to understand that this is the proper order.

Wade,

Again I applaude you for the way you handled this young convert. Good post...

John Moeller said...

Joe,

Question; If I, as a baptist believer for 40 years, didn't see any issue with wearing Budwiser t-shirts, would I be accepted at your church every week in jeans and my budwiser t-shirt. Why or why not?

The reason I ask is that you support Wades decision as do I, but then I read other comments from you that seem to differ.

where does the change come in?

ezekiel said...

Doctrine is pretty important thing. Unfortunaly some doctrine isn't very profitable and some men think theirs is pure.

Jobe 11:1Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:
2"Should a multitude of words go unanswered,
and a man full of talk be judged right?
3Should your babble silence men,
and when you mock, shall no one shame you?
4For you say, 'My doctrine is pure,
and I am clean in God’s[a] eyes.'
5But oh, that God would speak
and open his lips to you,
6and that he would tell you the secrets of wisdom!
For he is manifold in understanding.
Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.

Let's be careful to not confuse doctrine and the commandments of men.

So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word[b] of God. 7You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:
8"'This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
9in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"

You seem to be pretty convinced the doctrines you teach are just that, rather than the commandments of men that some of them appear to be.

Joe W. said...

John,

If you visited our church, you would be welcome I can assure you of that.

I support Wade's handling of the situation because I believe there is such a thing as being a babe in Christ, progressive sanctification, and growing in grace.

To answer your question directly... "Question; If I, as a baptist believer for 40 years, didn't see any issue with wearing Budwiser t-shirts, would I be accepted at your church every week in jeans and my budwiser t-shirt. Why or why not?"

If you were just visiting, yes.

If you wished to join yourself to our fellowship, and you had already been saved and baptised, and if you had been a believer for 40 years... yes.

However, before you joined, and before you ever took part in a worship service, our church covenant would be explained to you. In our church covenant it says, among many other things, that you as a potential member agree... "to abstain from the sale and use of intoxicating drink as a beverage." At our church, the wearing of an advertisement for such a drink would thus be frowned upon.

I have a question for you John.

If you... "a baptist believer for 40 years" had a pastor lovingly explain to you the reason he and the church would like for you to refrain from wearing your Budweiser T-shirts, would you do it? Why or why not?

Ezekiel,

I am very convinced about the Doctrine I teach.

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

I am more like you than you like to admit--so much of what you say is the same thing over and over--I want ask you to stop repeating yourself-so please don't ask me to. I believe you to be very strong-willed, but so am I. You are the type of person I would want around if my life was on the line.

John Fariss said...

Dear Joe W,

You tell Tom Parker that calling the BF&M a creed does not make it one. But does not missionaries and others being required to sign agreement with it make it one, at least for them? Does not the BF&M identifying itself as "an instrument of doctrinal accountability" at least move it toward being a creed? If not, why not?

John

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Ezekiel,
Just to be clear...Zophar was wrong in his analysis toward Job. He was saying Job had done something wrong to deserve what he had received. He hadn't.


The rest of your point is well taken. I just like keeping the deck chairs straight when quotin' scripture that we may be quoting someone who was making an incorrect statement.

CmlCros said...

Joe W.
What would your church do if someone wore a Nascar shirt to church? They are sponsored by alcohol companies. Do you allow unhealthy, fat people at attend....the body is a temple?
So people are welcome as long as they look and act like you?

I'm glad Jesus wasn't Baptist.
Camel Rider

Wayne Smith said...

Tom Parker,

I can see Jesus Christ would not pass the Test to be a member of Joe W’s Church by his Attitude and Church Policy. Jesus was always having to address the Legalist and Pharisees. Phar·i·see means self-righteous or hypocritical person: somebody who is self-righteous or hypocritical, especially with regard to adherence to rules and formalities (disapproving). Legalist means adherence to letter of law: strict adherence to a literal interpretation of a law, rule, or religious or moral code.



In His Name
Wayne

Wayne Smith said...

Sorry that should have been to John Moeller


In His Name
Wayne

Anonymous said...

To my friends in this comment stream who enjoy a glass of wine.. and to my other friends who don't:

As Ben Franklin said, In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is freedom, in water there is bacteria.

In a number of carefully controlled trials, scientists have demonstrated that if we drink 1 liter of water each day, at the end of the year we would have absorbed more than 1 kilo of Escherichia coli, (E. coli) - bacteria found in feces.

In other words, we are consuming 1 kilo of poop. However, we do NOT run that risk when drinking wine (tequila, rum, whiskey or other liquor) because alcohol has to go through a purification process of boiling, filtering and/or fermenting.

Remember: Water = Poop, Wine = Health

Therefore, it's better to drink wine and talk stupid, than to drink water and be full of crap.
There is no need to thank me for this valuable information, I'm doing it as a public service .

Elisabeth said...

Anon at 6:51 PM,

You kill me! :)

bryan riley said...

OC Hands - you are always spot on, it seems. Keep calling people to the call to our ministry of reconciliation! I enjoyed writing a post today about Calvinism, Arminianism, Open theism and the 3 friends of Job....

ezekiel said...

Joe W.

"I am very convinced about the Doctrine I teach."

Are you any more sure than the average Rabbi that I meet today is sure about his doctrine?

Are you any more sure than the leaders of the temple in John 9 were about their doctrine?

I think that is the point....

ezekiel said...

David,

Good point. I always wonder though if the problem was with their doctrine or the application there of...I know they were wrong, just can't really come to grips with why. Their doctrine looked pretty sound, but the application was all bad..

You don't reckon they were baptists do you? :)

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.,

Let me ask my question again with the same caveats: Didn't Jesus call for us to overlook our differences and follow Him? Isn't not judging others, being a neighbor to those who need help, giving selflessly and loving without concern for "who" the loved one "is" about unity?

Why then would it be good to celebrate "distinctive" differences?

I understand the importance of doctrine, especially in regard to salvation issues. But on secondary issues like alcohol, why can't we plant a church together? Is this not a meat/idol / day to worship type discussion?

More to the point, if I have a glass (or two) of wine with friends (like Jesus did) and refrain (by the Holy Spirit's fruit (self-control)) from drunkenness (like Jesus did), why does that mean that I can't go side-by-side with you sharing the Gospel to those who don't know Jesus?

Joe W. said...

Tom Parker,
You are right, I am very strong willed and stubborn (can be both good and bad). The reason I keep repeating myself, is because people keep asking me the same questions. :)

Ezekiel,
As Moody once said... "The ability to convince and persuade can only come from one who is both convinced and persuaded."

Ish Engle,
See above sentence to Tom Parker.

Wayne Smith,
Jesus is with us every time we meet at our church, and bears witness.

For all those reading who are confused by the comment threads on Wade's blog, I think I have deciphered the code.

Conservative = Legalist

Complementarian = Chauvinistic and\or Racist

Baptist = Pharisee

Southern Baptist who holds to the BF&M = Idol Worshipper

Doctrine = Anti-missions

Seperation = Cult

Hope this helps... I know how confusing these threads can get :)

John Moeller said...

Joe,

I appreciate your reply.

To answer your question;

I'd have to think about it.

For me, I don't like beer, have no use for a budwiser shirt, and it wouldn't affect me personally.

I would have to think though, hmm, if they have all these conditions that I need to meet to be approved or acceptable to worship in this place, I have to evaluate the following;

1. Is this biblical

2. Does it comply with my beliefs as I have studied them

3. Would I feel welcome to bring my workmates to this church knowing that most of them cuss, drink, smoke, have affairs, etc... I only have one chance at a first impression of Jesus for them, would they see the LOVE of Christ or would I have to escort them knowing that some deacon is waiting to critique them.

4. The drinking rule may not affect me, but which ones will? Will I ever be accepted for being who God made me or will I feel the need to fake it and I just can't do that.

I guess my real issue is that all of us are messed up in some way, so how can a church select a small set of rules to beat on.

Mean spirited, hateful, gluttonous, women chasers, wife beaters, porn watchers, road ragers and sexist are all welcome to keep their vices and would be able to be deacons, leaders, and the very ones who would frown on a budwiser shirt.

That's hypocritical, thats what burns me

Jim Paslay said...

Elisabeth said:

"One thing that bothers me about the legalistic total abstaining from alcohol position - it is declaring something sinful that Jesus partook in."

Why is it that your moderation position on alcohol comes across as holy and spiritual, but a person who totally abstains from alcohol is considered a legalist? Where does that thinking come from? Let me remind you that your moderation position is what is foreign to our denomination.

As for your "spirit"ual experience with alcohol in partaking of the Lord's Supper, I would remind you that the phrase "fruit of the vine" is used in reference to the cup.

With most of the people commenting on this blog advocating moderation with alcohol, I guess it safe to assume that the ole Church Covenant is not relevant anymore. Last time I checked it said something about "abstaining from sale and use of alcohol." But we Baptists have come out of the darkness of legalism (abstinence) and have come into His glorious light (moderation).

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.

The reason I keep asking the same question is because you continue to side-step it. If you don't have a good answer, please say so. I've noted that when someone asks a question you don't like or makes a point you can't refute, you begin to belittle them. That, above any point of your narrow doctrine, is why I consider you a Pharisee.

You wrote:
Conservative = Legalist

Complementarian = Chauvinistic and\or Racist

Baptist = Pharisee

Southern Baptist who holds to the BF&M = Idol Worshipper

Doctrine = Anti-missions

Seperation = Cult

First, conservative does NOT mean legalist. Closed-minded to other interpretations is what makes a legalist (ie, my way of reading it, no other!)

Second, I don't think Complementarian equals chauvinist or racist, just because some here have disagreed with your interpretation of Scripture (see point 1) doesn't mean you need to become a "martyred" labeler.

Third, Pharisee and Baptist are NOT synonymous. Non-thinking, rhetoric spinning, "high and mighty", "My way or else" talk makes Pharisees.

Fourth, I don't think devotion to your creed (spades are spades) makes you and idol worshiper. I think your putting its tenants above the love of Christ does, though.

Fifth, as I already said (and you'd know if you had actually READ my posts) doctrine is important. What I'm wondering is why you are adding doctrine to the Gospel message? Jesus didn't say, "Don't drink wine." He actually DID drink it. So, by your doctrine, you can't build churches or do mission work with Him.

I've tried to get you to explain this. I've tried to get you to share with me some valid reasons for this view. I've asked you to help me see your view. Instead, you ignored me. Then, you give me a "I can't bother repeating the fact that I keep repeating myself" answer.

If you can't think for yourself, stop trying. If you can't admit when someone makes a non-refutable point, stop mocking. If you can't answer a question, stop making smug posts.

Finally, separation=cult IF the separation can say, "You may be saved, but I can't share Christ with you because you haven't signed my creed". Much like you have said.

I'd love to say more, but I'm not going to let anger move my fingers that way. I will say that it is people like you, who refuse to engage in conversation about doctrine and insist that everyone believe your way, that kept me and thousands of others from Christ. I thank God daily that the Holy Spirit helped me to get past Christians to see Christ.

Tom Parker said...

Jim Paslay:

You said--"Last time I checked it said something about "abstaining from sale and use of alcohol." How do you know members follow this?--I really do not believe all members follow this part of the covenant. I also do not believe that most of the commenters on this blog are drinkers themselves, but recognize that the Bible does not say not to drink. It appears you want to place people under a law that does not exist in the Bible.

ezekiel said...

Jim Paslay,

Can you tell me more about the ole Church Covenant?

What was it, and what was it designed to do? More to the point, what is the scriptural basis for said covenant?

Bruce said...

Somewhere I think the idea has crept into our thinking that somehow we have to earn or pay for grace we have received by conforming to man-made rules. Granted, sometimes these rules are good to live by, but my friends if we think we are any better than our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ by following them then we have let the rules become more important than our love for each other and we definitely have not comprehended the meaning of GRACE.

Ish Engle said...

Jim P.

The position of allowing alcohol is more spiritual because it doesn't seek to impose its will on other people. Those in favor of allowing drinking don't mandate it as the norm, contrariwise, those who are opposed do seek a mandate.

I call your attention to this link. The "fruit of the vine" found in the cup has traditionally meant wine, not Welch's. Jesus would not have been accused of being a drunkard if he was drinking grape-juice. There would be no reason to serve the good juice first if it weren't wine. And, finally, since any Jew will tell you Passover is celebrated with wine, and since the Bible recounts Jesus celebrating Passover, it takes a great leap of faith to say that Jesus did not drink wine.

I respect your abstinence. I think it noble. I ask that you give me the courtesy of respect, too. Paul says we will have different views, but that if we are giving thanks to God, we are both right, for it is to God that we devote all our lives.

ezekiel said...

Tom,

" I also do not believe that most of the commenters on this blog are drinkers themselves, but recognize that the Bible does not say not to drink."

I do. 1-6 oz glass of red wine most nights before bed. It may have helped Timothy's stomach but for me it is my nose. Can't explain how it does it but no more allergies! One 12 oz beer with mexican food seems to offset my allergy to corn chips and salsa.

Having fallen that far into sin according to some around here, I figure what the heck, what is a baseball game without a (meaning one) beer and peanuts....

Given what Joe has said, do you suppose the SBC will send my tithe back if they find out? If they won't does this mean they are more concerned about my tithe than they are about their creed?

Steve said...

Jim Paslay,

Now, somebody must've irritated you, 'cause I know you're a good guy. Let me touch on one tiny part of our flow of words and knock just one nail down flat.

When our old church bunch was all sure we didn't want to drink, we were NOT being legalists. We had simply chosen one way to live up to an ideal we had chosen on our own.

((I don't know if that was official with many churches, but the retail liquor industry wouldn't be anywhere near as big as it is without Baptists' money.))

However, if we'd had set ourselves up as judges of other Christians, and perhaps had an inside door to a board of trustees somewhere that voted people yea or nay for some SBC post, and we THEN insisted that cooperation with us meant that applicants and all comers had best be abstainers, THEN we'd have been Legalists with a capital L, asnd I bet you'd agree because I've read your stuff before and I know you have a brain.

Now, y'all, tell me I'm wrong.

Ish Engle said...

Steve,

I love that you all have that belief AND that you are tolerant of those who don't share it.

That is the ground I wish we all could find, not watering down our own view, but also realizing that others may have valid alternative views.

So, I for one, will agree that you are not wrong! :-D

Anonymous said...

ish engle,

A convincing argument for juice rather than wine would take more than a big leap of faith. It would take an outright miracle.

Those that would argue the grape juice angle just don't understand what happens to grape juice when it is put in a goat skin and left outside without refrigeration. There is a reason new wine is put in fresh wineskins and it isn't for decoration. The newer ones can expand to handle the pressure from fermentation gases....Matthew 9:17

stan

Jim Paslay said...

ish engle said:

"The position of allowing alcohol is more spiritual because it doesn't seek to impose its will on other people. Those in favor of allowing drinking don't mandate it as the norm, contrariwise, those who are opposed do seek a mandate."

That is fascinating, I can't wait to go into the local convenient store and inform the man buying his 30 pack of beer that he is more "spirit"ual than the little old lady that practices abstinence. I guess I should apologize to my congregation for those sermons on the Sunday before New Year's dealing with the evils of alcohol and drunkenness. I have led my people into bondage! Shame on me!

Tom Parker said...

Jim Paslay:

There is nothing wrong with your sermons. I think it is an issue of Liberty not an issue of pride. We are not under the Law.

Tom Parker said...

Jim:

Do you preach abstinence or moderation? I could not tell by you last comment.

Joe W. said...

Ish Engle,

You wrote... "The reason I keep asking the same question is because you continue to side-step it. If you don't have a good answer, please say so. I've noted that when someone asks a question you don't like or makes a point you can't refute, you begin to belittle them. That, above any point of your narrow doctrine, is why I consider you a Pharisee."

I deemed your question to be the same or at least along the same lines as that of Ezekiel. See answer at 3:40pm yesterday concerning the distinctive answer.

My philosphy for ministry and life is that Christians ought to always take the High Road. Taking the high road is not choosing between the good and the bad, it is choosing between the good and the best, and ALWAYS choosing the best. This philosphy is born out of my theolgy. Since the Lord has given us His best, we ought to do the same. In order to win the world to Jesus, we must not become more like the world. Rather, to win the world to Jesus, we must become more like Jesus.

Jake Barker said...

Jim Paslay,
Why don't you come on down to Holdenville and visit me at the liquor store I own. I'll buy you a beer and you can watch as my wife and I get to witness to the broken, hurting folks that think they can solve their problems at the bottom of a bottle. Funny thing owning a liquor store.....I get to witness Christ's love to more folks than 99% of the pew sitters and preachers in town that want to talk behind my back about how sinful having a liquor store is.

Jim Paslay said...

To Tom:

I was being sarcastic on my last comment. I preach, teach, and practice abstinence.

I do need some help from those of you who preach and practice moderation. I will be teaching about 115 fourth through sixth graders in May about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. I used to have a straight and consistent message of "Just Say No" in reference to drugs and alcohol. But now I guess I need to tell kids "Just Drink A Little." You guys help me out here because I'm confused. I don't want to enslave these kids with a lot of legalism, they need their freedom too. If someone has a good lesson plan on how to teach kids to drink responsibly, let me know!

Jake Barker said...

Jim Paslay,
In addition to peddling ol' demon rum I have available on my sales counter pamphlets on the "Divorce Care" program our SBC sponsors. As well we help sponsor the local law enforcement program "Dare".
As to your assinine remark about how do you teach kids to drink....it starts at HOME!!!! Kids that see responsible drinking at home grow up responsible drinkers. Those that don't see the example at home (teetotalers) or excessive drinking learn from some of their friends and may learn the wrong thing. DUH!

CmlCros said...

Jim,
I agree that alcohol is dangerous when used in excess. But show me in scripture where it says you can't have a drink. And no one can tell me why alochol is bad but caffeine is ok. Both are bad in excess and why is overeating ok? No one addresses these things. Where in our heritage did we embrace total abstinence from alcohol? I would love to know what led to it.

And by the way, why are we against smoking? I don't smoke but I wonder why we're against it and yet allow sooooo many other things in the life of the church. Honestly, I'm curious.

Tom Parker said...

Joe W and Jim Palsay:

One question to each one of you--Did Jesus drink wine?

Joe W. said...

Tom Parker,

One may assume or infer that Jesus drank wine, however, the sacred text does not say.

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

What do you assume?

Jim Paslay said...

Jake Barker said:

"I'll buy you a beer and you can watch as my wife and I get to witness to the broken, hurting folks that think they can solve their problems at the bottom of a bottle."

May I ask what is your message to them as you sell them liquor? "Don't get stoned on Jack Daniels, get stoned on the Solid Rock of Jesus."

Seriously, I am at a loss as to how a person can justify owning a liquor store and sharing a Christian witness at the same time. Please explain how you do that. What do you say to the wife-beater who comes in for a fifth and you know that fifth is going to contribute to her getting a black eye? How do you minister to the woman who comes in to buy her liquor with the money she was supposed to buy food for her kids?

Also, do you ID everyone that comes in and have you ever sold liquor to underage kids? We have that problem with the two liquor stores in town. Just curious! By the way, on a lighter side, do you know my cousin in Holdenville? He owns a mini mart in town.

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.

Thank you for your courteous answer. I must apologize for my assumptions about you.

I did not read your 3:40 post as an answer to my question. That seemed to be a statement of tolerance to new Christians. What I am asking is why a this issue (drinking) prohibits Baptists and other denominations (say, Disciples of Christ, Methodist or Non-denoms) from working side by side in evangelistic efforts?

I am inferring from your posts that for you alcohol is ALWAYS bad (ie, not choosing between the good and the bad, it is choosing between the good and the best, and ALWAYS choosing the best.) Why do you believe alcohol to be bad? Why do you consider it wrong for a Christian to have an occasional drink?

Truly, I am not asking to bait you, I am curious as to your conclusion, your logic, and your Scriptural support. How do you read this issue in the Scripture?

When I read the Bible, I see God not saying "avoid the tree of alcohol," rather I see Him saying "avoid drunkenness and wild excess."

Again, I am truly interested in discussion, not argument nor "gotcha"s. I seek understanding.

Thank you in advance.

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.

Did you mean your 2:06 posting? Again, I'm not sure that answered my question, either. Why does being distinctly Baptist mean that you can't join folk from other denominations to share the Gospel?

I know that sounds like a barbed question, but it is not intended as such. I understand pride in your theological heritage, but I don't understand what appears to me to be an US/THEM mentality in the Body of Christ when dealing with lost souls. Could you elaborate.

Thanks :-D

Jim Paslay said...

Tom Parker asks:

"One question to each one of you--Did Jesus drink wine?"

Jesus uses the phrase, "fruit of the vine" to refer to the Lord's Supper and I interpret that phrase to mean grace juice. Also, I do not believe that Jesus turned the water into intoxicant wine at the wedding of Cana. So, I really don't knnow if He did or not. Do you have a clear text to prove He did?

Tom Parker said...

Jim:

I believe deep down you know that the wine that Jesus made had alcohol in it, it just messes everything up for you if it did.

ezekiel said...

Jim,

Deut 14:23And before the LORD your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you may learn to fear the LORD your God always. 24And 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, 25then 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 26and 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. 27And you shall not neglect the Levite who is within your towns, for he has no portion or inheritance with you.

A couple of things to consider about the enclosed scripture.

1)The tithe was consumed by the tither.
2)The tithe could be converted to cash and then converted to strong drink, food, whatever your appetite craves..
3)Was to be shared with the Levites….Priests.


When we consider whether or not Jesus drank wine, can anyone explain what the drink offering was Numbers 15:7 among other places, who it was for and who consumed it? Was it Jesus?

Jake Barker said...

Jim Paslay,
You assume that everyone that drinks has other vices ie: wife beating etc. That is a mis-assumption on your part. I am reasonably certain that the clientelle I serve wouldn't take food from one of their kids mouth for their drink. And yes I do ID, very strictly. I located my business in the heart of the business district on purpose to deter underage people from attempting to purchase alcohol. By being under scrutiny in such a public view I have very few underage people that even try to enter.
I have no problem with witnessing to customers and will even have a prayer with them if they wish. It's amazing how folks that can't be reached because of the "preachiness" that they have received from others can be reached just because I do sell liquor. It's called judgementalism and is responsible for driving more folks away from Christ than most evangelists will ever bring to Him.
I would assume that the relatives that you refer to are Glen and Mary and their son David. We have been friends for a number of years.

Joe W. said...

Tom,

I assume that Jesus did not drink wine.

I make this assumption based on the prohibition found in Lev. 10:8-10 on priests. I also do this based on the admonition found in Proverbs 20:1 which states one is not wise who is deceived by wine. Surely our Great High Priest would not have broken the law or done something unwise (my assumption).

I know Jesus states that He was accused of being a drunkard. However, He was also accused of being a blasphemer, liar, and demon possessed. I believe people said this about Jesus based on His attendance at the wedding, and thus made Him guilty by association.

Ish Engle,

You wrote... "Why do you believe alcohol to be bad? Why do you consider it wrong for a Christian to have an occasional drink?"

To me it is not whether one believes alcohol is good or bad, as it certainly is not best. If I become a stumblingblock to one person, it is not worth doing it for my enjoyment. For me, if something is questionable, I abstain.

I see in the Bible; commandments, principles, and standards. While refraining from drinking alcohol may not be mentioned specifically as a commandment... I think the principle and standard is present. For example; smoking pot, visiting strip clubs, buying pornography... these things are not specifically condemned in scripture with a "thou shalt not go to a strip club" law. However, if we understand that lusting is a sin, then we apply that principle to keep us from strip clubs and porn. In like manner, we understand that being drunk is a sin, so we refrain from drinking and also apply this principle to other mind altering drugs.

As far as cooperating with other denominations is concerned, I do not believe it possible, desirable, or beneficial based on Doctrine. When SBC churches give of their money and resources, they do so with the assumption that a certain level of doctrinal accountablity is built into the process (ie. BF&M on Homosexuality and sin, we are on our own on a national level on this one).

Anonymous said...

This is rather strange. How could one be wine and the other grape juice?

Why the admonitions in scripture not to get drunk on wine and then seeing that Jesus drank wine and Paul told Timothy to drink a little.

If one was not fermented, then why the same word in Greek for each mention? How are we to discern which wine is which?

Tom Parker said...

Jim:

Do you feel as strongly about smoking, overeating, etc. as you do alcohol? Do you preach sermons on the hazards of smoking, overeating?

ezekiel said...

Joe W.

It would be real nice if you guys that feel led to abstain from drinking be a little more honest in your interpretations.

1)Why can't you just simply say that in the tradition of John the Baptist, you choose to abstain? Enough said. End of story.

You could also say that you choose to honor God in the tradition of Jonadab, you won't drink because your father told you not to. Jer 35:8

That is so much better than the twisting and the gyrations you have to go through such as grape juice/ wine and Jesus was just accused but he didn't partake...

33For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, 'He has a demon.' 34The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, 'Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' 35Yet wisdom is justified by all her children."

Twisting it the way you do, representing it the way you do is only done for one reason. To control your pew. Let's face it, it has nothing to do with righteousness or anything else. Just forcing your will on other people.

When God restores Israel there will be wine. Lots of it. Amos 9. This I believe is what Jesus refers to when He says he won't drink any more until He drinks the new in "My Father's kingdom"

It appears that you would do well to spend some time with Micah 2. The Opressors. I am confident that you can twist that one as much as you have the others but just ask yourself, who preaches lies and deception today?

Wine = Grape juice.

Why don't you get yourself a goatskin, cleanse it the best you can and crush up some grapes, put the juice in the skin and hang it in the shade on your porch. If it doesn't explode in a few days, take whatever you get out of it and drink all you want. It will only be grape juice...right?

It is ok to say you don't understand it, it is ok to say that scripture isn't clear and so you chose to (fill in the blank).

At one point in time you may have been able to get away with twisting it. I think that time has long gone. Today, it appears that He is pouring out His spirit on His remnant. They are reading the word for themselves and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide and teach them.

ezekiel said...

Joe W,

"To me it is not whether one believes alcohol is good or bad, as it certainly is not best. If I become a stumblingblock to one person, it is not worth doing it for my enjoyment. For me, if something is questionable, I abstain."

I knew we would looner or later have to come around to this one. You claim to avoid creating a stumbling block...yet at the same time you are apparently willing to become a stumbling block on all sorts of cooperative missions, judgemental spewing and such. I don't think the pharisees ever saw themselves as stumbling blocks either but the WORD shows us through countless parables and first hand, eye witness accounts that they were.

So you choose to be a stumbling block on anything but drinking. Why don't you aproach gluttony and all the self righteous babble that we see. Your creating a stumbling block for me. Do you care?

Joe W. said...

Ezekiel,

Condescending much...

Perhaps one ought do a bit more studying of the scripture before he accuses someone of twisting it. John was said to have..."abstained from some kinds of food and wine, as a Nazarite. It does not mean that he did not eat at all, but that he was remarkable for abstinence".

Your understanding that wine always equals fermented and intoxicating drink is also faulty. It behoves one to understand the culture and times a little more before making such a statement. For example... in John 2:9... we see the phrase "good wine". We often use the phrase to denote that it is good in proportion to its strength and its power to intoxicate; but no such sense is to be attached to the word here. Pliny, Plutarch, and Horace describe wine as “good,” or mention that as “the best wine,” which was harmless or “innocent” - poculo vini “innocentis.” The most useful wine - “utilissimum vinum” - was that which had little strength; and the most wholesome wine - “saluberrimum vinum” - was that which had not been adulterated by “the addition of anything to the ‘must’ or juice.” Pliny expressly says that a good wine was one that was destitute of spirit (lib. iv. c. 13).

It should not be assumed, therefore, that the “good wine” was “stronger” than the other: it is rather to be presumed that it was milder. The wine referred to here was doubtless such as was commonly drunk in Palestine. That was the pure juice of the grape. It was not brandied wine, nor drugged wine, nor wine compounded of various substances, such as we drink in this land. The common wine drunk in Palestine was that which was the simple juice of the grape. We use the word “wine” now to denote the kind of liquid which passes under that name in this country - always containing a considerable portion of alcohol not only the alcohol produced by fermentation, but alcohol “added” to keep it or make it stronger. But we have no right to take that sense of the word, and go with it to the interpretation of the Scriptures. We should endeavor to place ourselves in the exact circumstances of those times, ascertain precisely what idea the word would convey to those who used it then, and apply that sense to the word in the interpretation of the Bible; and there is not the slightest evidence that the word so used would have conveyed any idea but that of the pure juice of the grape, nor the slightest circumstance mentioned in this account that would not be fully met by such a supposition.

John Fariss said...

The Greek word translated as "wine" in the New Testament is oinos. Jim and Joe W., go into a Greek restaurant today and order oinos and see if they bring you Welch's. . . or something a little stronger. I guarantee: what they bring you will knock you on your rear end!

And yes, I know there are those who have argued eloquently that the Biblical oinos also included some sort of boiled-down grape juice that was essentially pasturized and non-alcoholic. But as someonje else pointed out, grape juice stored in a goatskin (or a barrel) at room temperature over the summer in the Middle east will invariably ferment. I have to say that (1) I think the arguments about boiled-down, non-alcoholic grape juice are weak and best and aposterari at worst (I'm sorry, it's been a long time since Logic and Philosophy in college--I refer to an argument after the fact that argues backward from present premises rather than foreward from original context), and (2) your premise that Jesus never drank beverage alcohol (wine) just does not fit the context of such passages as Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37, John 2:9, or 1 Timothy 5:23, or for that matter the culture in which Jesus ministered and worked.

What is the matter with saying that "our" (and yes, I include myself in this group) opposition to the consumption of beverage alcohol arose from the cultural evils of the Industrial Revolution--when gin became readily and cheaply available, and started causing social problems on a scale previously unknown? Why is it you think that "we" have to give prooftexts to justify abstention?

Tom Parker said...

Jim:

If something authoritative was to be found that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus drank fermented wine would that destroy your faith?

ezekiel said...

Joe W,

"John was said to have..."abstained from some kinds of food and wine, as a Nazarite. It does not mean that he did not eat at all, but that he was remarkable for abstinence".

Too much commentary, not enough Word. When an angel of the Lord says he won't, I don't think he did. We are talking about wine and how it ties to the previous scripture where Jesus says that John came eating no bread and drinking no wine, Jesus came eating bread and drinking wine. I suspect the not eating bread had something to do with yeast or leaven. Incidently, yeast is the agent in the fermentation process as well.


Luke 1:11And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will begreat before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.



"We should endeavor to place ourselves in the exact circumstances of those times, ascertain precisely what idea the word would convey to those who used it then, and apply that sense to the word in the interpretation of the Bible;"

Joe, I could not agree with you more. I am however a little perplexed at your turn to whatever language you use to support your claim. That is nothing more than the typical ruse by a pharisee to make a claim that you are more learned or have a better understanding than the average bible reader. I find it very offensive that you or any other pharisee would tell me that I don't have enough information, a good enough bible or one in the correct language to attain understanding. Complete understanding. In doing so, you present yourself as a necessary mediator between me and the Holy Spirit and the WORD to enable me to come to a knowledge of the truth. That isn't biblical.

God gave us a functioning brain. Using it, and placing yourself alongside Abraham, Moses and Joshua, John the Baptist and Jesus, there are a few things on the micro-biological side of pure science that you seem to lack understanding of. They drank wine through out the year. The fermentaion process (alcohol content) was a way of preserving the fruit of the vine.

Anything with sugar in it will ferment. Grape juice prolly faster than most. If you can tell me how they would have prevented the fermentation process and kept grape juice available throughout the year then I might buy in. prolly not. Outside the science of it, then you would have to tell me why "wine" meant wine as in "causing drunkeness" in part of the Word yet meant grape juice in others.

If that distintion exists then you are telling me the inerrant Word wasn't capable of making the distinction clear enough that even dumb folk like myself could understand.

Jake Barker said...

Ezekiel,
Go Zeke go!!!! You are right on the money!

Jim Paslay said...

ezekiel said:

"Twisting it the way you do, representing it the way you do is only done for one reason. To control your pew. Let's face it, it has nothing to do with righteousness or anything else. Just forcing your will on other people."

It amazes me how someone that has never met me can know my thoughts and actions. ezekiel, are you god? Your condescending attitude raises my blood pressure. No, I'm not twisting for control but alcohol sure does.

Maybe that is why Proverbs 23:29-35 says not to even look upon it. I'm dumbfounded how so many on this blog almost gleefully advocate social drinking.

I had a man argue with me about drinking in moderation. I asked him what he would think if I came out of the 7/11 store with a can of beer in my hand? He said I couldn't as a pastor because it would harm my witness in the community. My reply to him was if it was not good for me as a pastor, it was not good for him as a layman. He quit arguing!

Jim Paslay said...

Tom asked:

"If something authoritative was to be found that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus drank fermented wine would that destroy your faith?"

No! If something authoritative was to be found that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus DIDN'T drink fermented wine, will you quit your social drinking?

Jim Paslay said...

john fariss said:

"The Greek word translated as "wine" in the New Testament is oinos. Jim and Joe W., go into a Greek restaurant today and order oinos and see if they bring you Welch's. . . or something a little stronger."

First of all you won't find me in a Greek restaurant. Secondly, would you not agree that we use the word "love" to mean different things in our culture today. A Greek would need to know if you were talking about "eros" or "fileo" or "agape" type love. The word "oinos" can be used to describe wine as well as the paste from the crushed grape. We naturally assume because of our culture when the word "wine" is used, everyone knows it means alcoholic drink. But not so in Jesus's day.

I'll tell you what I will do, If I am wrong, I will apologize to everyone going up to heaven but some of you may not be able to apologize to the ones you led astray if you are wrong.

Ish Engle said...

If it was grape juice, then why has the tradition handed down through the churches (until Welch) been wine? Why would the Jews switch to wine if grape juice was what was pure?

Another point here is this, grape juice has yeast in it, and is thus "unclean". Wine has no yeast (as it is converted in the fermentation process) and is a better representative for Jesus pure blood.

As Joe W. has said, "We should endeavor to place ourselves in the exact circumstances of those times, ascertain precisely what idea the word would convey to those who used it then, and apply that sense to the word in the interpretation of the Bible;" I agree. "There is considerable historical evidence that the common Passover beverage used by the Jews in the first century was “wine.” Dr. Jack Lewis states that: “Wine was ordinarily used at the Passover and is called ‘fruit of the vine’ in Berakoth 6:1” (Commentary on Matthew, Austin, TX: Sweet, 1976, Vol. II, p. 147). For an extended discussion of this, see John Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament From The Talmud And Hebraica, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979, Vol. 2, pp. 346ff. This does not prove that Jesus used “wine,” but it might be considered a presumption in that direction.

Also, the prohibition in the Law which you site is a prohibition about entering the Tent of Meeting (in Jesus' day the Temple) not about drinking at all. So, I don't see how a glass of wine at a party in Galilee, miles from the Temple, violates the Law.

And, being fooled by wine is a vague concept. I took it to mean becoming drunk by drinking a powerful wine too quickly (or in too great a volume). Drinking in moderation would seem to preclude this event as you are carefully watching what you intake. So, again, I don't see how this is a question of Jesus' wisdom.

Joe W. said...

Ezekiel,

When I speak to you in plain words you say... "It is ok to say you don't understand it, it is ok to say that scripture isn't clear and so you chose to (fill in the blank)."

Then when I explain the text, pretext, context, and original text... you say... "That is nothing more than the typical ruse by a pharisee to make a claim that you are more learned or have a better understanding than the average bible reader. I find it very offensive that you or any other pharisee would tell me that I don't have enough information, a good enough bible or one in the correct language to attain understanding."

One minute I am an idiot with no "understanding", the next minute I am a Pharisee with too much "understanding"... the real problem that I am having is "understanding" you. :)

This horse is pretty well dead, I think I am going to stop beating on it. As hard as it is for someone as stubborn as me to say it... "Go ahead and have the last word".

ezekiel said...

Jim,

"It amazes me how someone that has never met me can know my thoughts and actions. ezekiel, are you god? Your condescending attitude raises my blood pressure. No, I'm not twisting for control but alcohol sure does."

Sort of scary, huh? No, not God, but I sure have Him in me. I don't expect that Ezekiel (the original) did too much for sufferers of high blood pressure either. :)

Psalms 104:14You cause the grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth
15and wine to gladden the heart of man,
oil to make his face shine
and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

What amazes me is how a preacher today can stand in the pulpit and condemn the work of God's hands.

Even further than that, how we can claim to be spirit filled, free from the law and sin yet still find condemnation for a brother.

Romans 8:1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

If what you are preaching here is anything like you preach on Sunday then you are preaching that there is condemnation for a brother in Christ.

Ish Engle said...

My, we're all getting testy here!

Jim, I've had people tell me the opposite. I've had several people who felt comfortable enough to talk to me BECAUSE I was having a beer. The fact that I could control myself (Fruit of the Spirit) was a witness to them.

I'm dumbfounded that so many people on this blog gleefully feel they need to repress people. The original post was about this VERY thing -- why put a stumbling block between sinners and Christ?

I'm not saying that people HAVE to drink, but if they feel God allows them too, who are you to add to God's Word with prohibitions on them?

I think it is interesting, too, that so many people think that Jesus' sacrifice wasn't good enough to forgive something that is NEVER called a sin. That, and the "we don't drink so we're holier than you" attitude are WONDERFUL (note: that was sarcasm) witnesses.

Tom Parker said...

Jim:


You are a funny guy. You don't even know me but you have reached the conclusion I am a social drinker--sorry to disappoint you, but I assure you I have no problems with those that social drink.

ezekiel said...

Joe W,

Joe, I don't really think there is any difference in a pharisee and one that doesn't have understanding. They didn't in Israel, they don't here today.

One can quote a commentary and talk in hebrew or greek and still totally miss the message of the Gospel. That message, or at least part of it, is that Jesus died on the cross to atone once and for all, all of my sin. Yours too.

To sit around and condemn me for not abiding in your tradition or practice of the religion you seem to have created by more or less insisting on abstaining, tithing, or any other rule, or commandment of men, places you right along side of those jews insisting on circumsision for the Gentiles.

I know how we get to the point where we are free. Free from mans law, from Moses law and ultimatly free from sin. The only place that happens is when we abide in Him, His Spirit abides in us. At that instant, we are free from any and all condemnation. Paul says it. Jesus preached it and I believe it.

Jim Paslay said...

tom parker,

My apology to you, I had read most of your comments and came away with an assumption that was not correct.

Tom Parker said...

Jim:

Apology accepted.

greg.w.h said...

John 2:9,10--When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine (oinon--accusative case), and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine (oinon); and when men have well drunk (methusthosin--which could be interpreted ARE DRUNK), then that which is worse: [but] thou has kept the good wine until now.


Matthew 11:10, Luke 7:33--The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber (oinopotes--literally "wine drinker"), a friend of publicans and sinners.

Ephesians 5:18--And be not drunk (methuskesthe--same root as John 2) with wine (oinos), wherein is excess (asotia, which is arguably the opposite of being saved), but be filled with the Spirit.

Not sure how you see the wedding at Cana "oinon" as being non-alcoholic unless Paul is strangely telling us not to be drunk with non-alcoholic "oinos" in Ephesians 5.

Greg Harvey

Joe W. said...

Ezekiel,

FYI... the language is Latin, not Greek or Hebrew.

Joe W. said...

Greg,

The popular assumption that both in secular and Biblical Greek the word "oinos" meant fermented grape juice exclusively is simply not true. There are numerous examples from both pagan and Christian authors who used the Greek word "oinos" referring both to fermented and unfermented grape juice. In fact... the word "oinos" is used at least 33 times in the Septuagint to translate "tirosh", the Hebrew word for grape juice.

A better acquaintance with the word "wine," not only in the Greek language, but also in old English, Latin and Hebrew, would have saved you from falling into the mistaken conclusion that "oinos" can only mean fermented wine.

The truth of the matter is this... "oinos" is a generic term, including all kinds of wine, unfermented and fermented, like yayin in Hebrew and vinum in Latin. Thus the fact that the wine made by Christ at Cana is called oinos, offers no ground for concluding that it was fermented wine.

Yet I go on and on about language and facts... must be the Pharisee in me coming out again. :)

Anonymous said...

"Matthew 11:10, Luke 7:33--The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber (oinopotes--literally "wine drinker"), a friend of publicans and sinners."

Joe, so Jesus was called a winebibber because he was drinking unfermented grape juice? That does not seem logical. What would be the point?

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.

He was referring to the Gospel with the Hebrew and Greek, so unless you are Catholic ;-D, I don't think you are reading Latin.

As to assumptions, it seems a bigger assumption that the "good juice" was served first. What's the point, why switch to lesser quality juice later? With wine, the answer is obvious. While I understand that oinos can be either juice or wine, logic insists that in this case it was wine.

Again, I would like to point out that the Jews traditionally celebrate Passover with wine, not juice. This, too, would push toward an alcoholic juice understanding of oinos for Jesus.

By the bye, I thank you for the research. I found some interesting articles on grape preservation and juice availability. Interesting topic, and one that does not clarify the issue as I once thought.

Thanks for the exchange, you Pharisee :-D.


PS That last line was TOTALLY intended as a good-natured rib, not as anything more. The problem with text communication is that so much humor is lost. Oh well!

Joe W. said...

Anonymous says... "Joe, so Jesus was called a winebibber because he was drinking unfermented grape juice? That does not seem logical. What would be the point?"

Anonymous... Does it seem logical that Jesus was called demon possessed for casting out a demon? Does it seem logical that Jesus was called a blasphemer for making himself equal with God? Does it seem logical... you get the point. Just because they accused Him does not mean it happened.

Ish Engle,
Two things: one, the language was Latin in my 4:22pm comment to which he referred. Two, go back and read that comment posted today at 4:22pm if you want an explanation on the "good wine" to which you refer.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous... Does it seem logical that Jesus was called demon possessed for casting out a demon? Does it seem logical that Jesus was called a blasphemer for making himself equal with God? Does it seem logical... you get the point. Just because they accused Him does not mean it happened."


Joe, what is a winebibber?
Wine´bib`ber
n. 1. One who drinks much wine

Was there some prohibition on drinking lots of grape juice in the OT?

John Fariss said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for the reply. I really enjoy the give-and-take of good-hearted debate, and hope that you do too. Thanks again , and may you be blessed for it!

I will make three comments about your reply: FIRST, by not going to any Greek restaurants, you are missing some great food! And you don't have to order oinos with your meal--I don't, and unless you stick with fast food and a few other chain joints, you aren't going to find many (if any) restaurants that don't offer beverage alcohol. SECOND, my litle scenario is an example of the very a posterari reasoning used (I believe) by you and most of those who consider the consumption of any beverage alcohol to be a sin. Call it a red herring or a strawman if you like, but apparently you see the falacy of my argument; and I would suggest that your own "Biblical argument" is just as flawed, and for the same reason. THIRD, I neither drink beverage alcohol in any form nor advocate that others do. My real point--which you do not address at all--is to ask WHY do "we" prooftext abstinance as the only Biblical position when evangelicals (including Baptists, though the Methodists and Wesleyians were there first) developed abstinance only from the social ills which arose in the 18th and 19th centuries? I suggest that the reason is fear: fear that we will have some position, some stance, on some issue which is not clearly derived from a Biblical text. But God has given us minds and intellects with which we can deal with issues that did not exist 2000 years ago. We don't have to perform theological gymnastics for you and I to arrive at the same place. Tell me: what is wrong with advocating abstinance because excesses cause personal, spiritual, and social problems, without claiming that any consumption is a sin?

ezekiel said...

Joe W.

Might as well have been German for all the good it would do me. If it is not english or Tex-Mex border slang it doesn't do me any good.

I guess that is why they have the ESV, NASB, ASV and a few others I like to use.......

Do any of these say anything different? Better yet, does the Latin version say anything different? What about Hebrew and Greek?

Different versions

Jim will be especially interested in the amplified version. It answers his question as to where it says in the bible that Jesus drank wine.

ezekiel said...

Joe W,

You keep saying that people were accusing Jesus of drinking and comparing it to other accusations made against Him. But that isn't really what the verse says is it?

"Anonymous... Does it seem logical that Jesus was called demon possessed for casting out a demon? Does it seem logical that Jesus was called a blasphemer for making himself equal with God? Does it seem logical... you get the point. Just because they accused Him does not mean it happened."

Luke 7:34The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!

Jesus says the son of man is come eating and drinking. People were accusing him of being a drunk just because He drank wine. Sounds a lot like some people today....In fact the real story is that people were accusing Him of being a drunk, not accusing Him of drinking.

I hope you read Latin better than you do English. :)

Jim Paslay said...

John Fariss said:

"Tell me: what is wrong with advocating abstinance because excesses cause personal, spiritual, and social problems, without claiming that any consumption is a sin?"

I have thought about your above statement and clearly we agree that the Bible teaches drunkenness is a sin. I guess my point in a nutshell is that a Christian who is trying to live in a Christ-like manner will never have to deal with drunkenness personally if he or she makes that one big decision not drink intoxicating beverages.

Let me share why I am passsionate about this subject: In my first pastorate, I met a woman who was a member of my church for the first time in a detox ward. She was trying to get her life back together and she had completed her 30 day program. She came back to our community and started over with her kids and her relationship to Christ. She was really making progress when she met a man and eventually married him. He believed in social drinking from time to time. He kept alcohol in the house and she went back into her alcoholism. I begged her husband to relinquish his right to drink for the sake of his wife's health. He refused. Later, I left the church and found out several years later she died of alcohol poisoning.

On the night that Oklahoma passed liquor by the drink, I lost a dear friend who was my summer league basketball coach because of a drunk driver. He left a wife and small children.

In 1999, I was called to the local hospital and ministered to a man who lost his wife and unborn child in a car accident where the man who hit them was intoxicated and high on drugs going the wrong way on I-40. The father's other child, a 3 year-old boy, lived long enough for them to donate his organs.

In my twenty-two years as a pastor, I have never had an experience where alcohol brought me or anyone else joy! I will err on the side of caution. Paul said not be drunk, so I will not drink. I'm pretty sure I won't get drunk if I don't drink!

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.

We were doing so well there, and then you got snotty again.

First, I know that your post used Latin. I recognize that Pliny, Plutarch and others weren't speaking Greek or Hebrew. What happened though, was that once again you failed to read someone's post as it was written. He was referring to the language of Scripture (he said your understanding of Greek and Hebrew may not give you a good understanding of the Bible). Unless you've become Catholic recently (in which case you probably now drink wine, too!) your Bible is probably not written in Latin, nor do you make Latin your primary exegetical language for deeper research.

You might note, that in my post I pointed out that he was referring to the Gospel. Yes, he was half-referring to your post, but he specifically cited the Scripture as the source for Greek and Hebrew. Your post was Pliny, et al. So, again, you corrected someone for being correct and NOT in agreement with you.

Second, your post deals with what good wine "might" mean. Israelite tastes and Roman tastes are known to differ. You still have not explained, as I pointed out and you AGAIN side-stepped, why it makes sense. The main reason is that IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!!!! For a feast, serving the good juice first or last makes no difference. In fact, it may be worse, as people will note the decline in quality! BUT, serving the good wine (higher quality taste, not necessarily more alcoholic, but alcoholic none the less) makes perfect sense as a side effect of alcohol (which I understand you are oblivious to relating to) is that it deadens the taste buds. Thus, after a few glasses, you will not notice a decrease in quality.

Your explanation (or rather, smoke screen) about "good wine" being quality Welch's (from a ROMAN vantage) deals with A SPECIFIC meaning of "good wine". Your attempt doesn't make sense when any thought is given to it in the situation at hand.

Also, one more time, I will refer you to the traditions of the Jews. Grape juice is a modern addition to their wedding ceremonies; wine is a traditional part of those ceremonies.

John Fariss makes the most sense from all of the tea totalers I've heard posting here. He says, "not for me, but not a sin." That is what I read in Scripture. I still haven't seen you show me where it says, "don't drink," or "drinking is bad." I've seen people cite passages where God allows drinking. I've seen passages cited where God condones drinking. I've seen passages that some have tried to squint really hard at to make them say that they aren't about drinking (like the wedding at Cana). I have NOT seen any prohibitions on drinking from anything other than your SBC Creed.

I keep asking the same questions because you keep not answering them. I try to be civil, and you get arrogant, "I've already answered that!" No, you haven't. That's why I asked again in a different way, clarifying my question more. Your lack of attention to my responses goes well with your pretentious view that only people who interpret the Bible the way you do are true Christians (despite Paul saying we can/will have differing views and should STILL co-operate).

I tell you this-- your smug, "holier than thou" attitude will send more people away from Christ than to Him.

I've lost a lot of respect for you in that last post. I thought you were actually trying to communicate until then. Now I realize that you were just trying to hammer your opinion into a commandment that all must follow.

Ish Engle said...

Jim P.

What an eloquent, and wonderful post. I needed to hear that. Thank you.

I cannot say that I do not drink. But I drink, on average, 4 beers a year, and maybe 2 glasses of wine. I enjoy it. But, I recognize the danger of learning to love it, and don't let myself drink except for occasions.

Your case is the first good Biblical argument I've heard on the subject. In my mind, I heard Paul talking about eating the meat of idols before those who hold it to be a sin.

I don't need to drink. I seldom do drink. Mostly, I resent someone other than God, God's Word, or the Holy Spirit's guidance telling me what I can and cannot do as a Christian.

John Fariss said...

Jim,

I appreciate your passion and your reasons for it. As a pastor for the last 22 years also--and as a police officer before that--I too could share similar stories. As you point out, we agree that drunkeness is not only ill-advised but sinful behavior as well.

Since Wade has published the last installment of the article on women in ministry, I suppose this thread will diminish and fade, as it probably should, since it looks as though all that can be said has been said. And I suppose this also means that we have to agree to disagree as to whether any consumption of beverage alcohol is absolutely prohibited Biblically and is therefore a sin, or not. But look now: I CHALLENGE you to expand your horizons. Try something new and unique. Eat one evening at a good Greek restaurant! And if you don't like it. . . I'll send you my recipe for kotopitta. . . chicken, feta cheeze, mint, onions, baked together in fillo pastry, hmmmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Best and blessings,

John

Jim Paslay said...

John said:

" I'll send you my recipe for kotopitta. . . chicken, feta cheeze, mint, onions, baked together in fillo pastry, hmmmm, I'm getting hungry just thinking about it."

I am such a picky eater, John, that when you mentioned onions I started getting the shakes. Actually I have had some samples of Greek food in my past. Not my cup of tea, but eat some for me. I'm going to stay close to my ribeye, salad and baked potato. :)

As for the discussion on this post, I have been shocked into dealing with some of my own problems and vices. I need to be as passionate about overeating as I am about alcohol abuse. I will continue to argue passionately for abstinence but I am not a legalist. And I am willing to allow Scripture to be the final authority on the matter.

Joe W. said...

Ish Engle,

My last comment to you was... "Two things: one, the language was Latin in my 4:22pm comment to which he referred. Two, go back and read that comment posted today at 4:22pm if you want an explanation on the "good wine" to which you refer."

This comment was made at 8:15pm right before I left work, finishing off an 13 hour day. And, while it might seem short, it certainly was not snotty. With time getting away from me, I referred you back to an earlier post that in my opinion spoke to your concern.

But, even with all of that said, I am not sure how those two sentences led you to pronounce condemnation upon me (ie. leading lost souls away from Jesus). Again, I apologize for the shortness of my post. However, if one was to go back and read this entire thread, it will be shown that I consistently refrained from name calling and labeling people. Although, I was not shown the same courtesy. :)

If I am wrong on my interpretation of the scriptures, if I am mistaken, if I have erred... at least I have erred on the safe side.

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.,

The shortness is more consistent in your postings than the explanations. I have found that you routinely answer calls for clarification with "I've already answered that."

Though you have not name called,directly, as I pointed out, you have very obviously stated that you believe yourself more Christian than non-SBC people. Your devotion to doctrine rather than to the Gospel alone is where most of the Pharisee comments spring from.

AND, once again, you STILL have not answered my question about the logic of good juice/bad juice versus good wine/bad wine. You very wrongly state: "there is not the slightest evidence that the word so used would have conveyed any idea but that of the pure juice of the grape". I say very wrongly because, I as I have explained, alcohol deadens the taste buds, and thus moving from "good" WINE to rot-gut would not be noticed. Moving from quality juice to wine or bad juice WOULD be noticed, would reflect negatively on the the couple, and would be foolish in that society. The simple fact that people TO THIS DAY serve the good alcohol early and move to "the cheap stuff" late is MORE than slight evidence.

Unless you just choose to ignore what you cannot refute, as you have repeatedly done. Your attitude, in most posts, is condescending, arrogant, elitist and Pharisitical. It was people with no tolerance, like you, that kept me from Christ for over a decade because if being like you is what Christ wants, He was a hypocrite. He preached love, your preach law. He preached "come to me" you preach "unless you don't like doctrine".

During that period, I found that there are a lot of people who feel that way. Perhaps the main reason that churches across America are failing is because so many people don't trust the Holy Spirit to lead them, then only trust their rules.

I've typed this out four or five times based on your previous "responses", and each time, I've said, "No, this isn't fair." Well, I now know that you have no clue how much you push people from Jesus. Your shock at my accusation spoke volumes. Your tone, your legalism, your more-often-than-not short remarks do not speak well for the One Who declared God's love.

I hope you will consider what I've said, review your postings, see how you never answer questions that you know you can't answer, see how you snipe at people who disagree with you, see how mean spirited you have been, and repent. The great commandments were not have no women pastors and like unto it do not drink; they were love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbors as yourself. Jesus even upped the last one, "love each other as I have loved you." That is MUCH harder, because His love is unflagging, where even our love for ourselves sometimes fails. Your stipulations on how people must act speak of separation, not reunion. They speak of division, and not unity. We are supposed to be the Body of Christ, no part any better than any other. How can a member of the Body truly say, "As far as cooperating with other denominations is concerned, I do not believe it possible, desirable, or beneficial..."

The sad part is, you won't read this, or at least you won't give it any heed. I'll pray for you. I'll hope for you. I'll even offer to stand on a corner with you to evangelize to the lost. And though right now I really don't like you, I will still love you.

Joe W. said...

Ish Engle,

Your failure to accept an apology does not hold well for the condition of your heart my friend. But since you obviously are my judge, know the very intent of my heart, and know what I preach... who am I to judge you?

You have your answer if you wish to read and accept it. You appeal to logic as "proof" of your position... so I ask you...

Is it really logical to believe that Jesus provided a large quantity, and better quality, of intoxicating wine so that the wedding party could continue its reckless indulgence? Thus destroying the moral integrity of Christ’s character...

Is it logical that the Creator of "good" things (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25; Col 1:16), would exert His supernatural energy to bring into existence an intoxicating wine which Scripture condemns as "a mocker" and "a brawler" (Prov 20:1) and which the Holy Spirit has chosen as the symbol of divine wrath (Rev. 14 and Rev. 20)?

It is my opinion that Scriptural and moral consistency require that "the good wine" produced by Christ was fresh, unfermented grape juice. The very adjective used to describe the wine supports this conclusion. The adjective used to describe the wine made by Christ is not "agathos", good... rather it is "kalos", that which is morally excellent or befitting. This term is suggestive of UNintoxicating wine as moral (ethikos) wine.

You won't receive this, and that is fine. I am willing to let God be my judge in this matter.

Ish Engle said...

Joe W.

Is it really logical to believe that Jesus provided a large quantity, and better quality, of intoxicating wine so that the wedding party could continue its reckless indulgence? Thus destroying the moral integrity of Christ’s character...

I ask this, who ever said it was reckless indulgence? That is not the scene described in the Gospel. Just because some people drink recklessly doesn't mean all do. I've been to many weddings where drinking took place and there was no "reckless indulgence." Once again, you judge people too harshly.

You then wrote:
Is it logical that the Creator of "good" things (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25; Col 1:16), would exert His supernatural energy to bring into existence an intoxicating wine which Scripture condemns as "a mocker" and "a brawler" (Prov 20:1) and which the Holy Spirit has chosen as the symbol of divine wrath (Rev. 14 and Rev. 20)?

You ignore Psalm 104:14-15, Num. 28:7 (if God is against alcohol, why would He require it as an offering?), Deut. 14:26, Amos 9:13-14, Isaiah 25:6, 1 Cor. 11:20-22 (how did they get drunk on grape juice and why weren't they drinking grape juice if the accepted practice was to avoid wine?), Matt. 15:17-19, and Prov. 31:6. Scripture does NOT condemn wine and alcohol, it condemns abuse of them.

Remember that throughout the Old Testament, the abundance of wine is a symbol of blessing. By creating a massive amount of wine, Jesus provided a vivid picture of the return of blessing. The kingdom of God was being established, and Jesus’ first miracle proclaimed this fact. There is wine! There is much wine! There is much fine-aged wine! Ho! Everyone who thirsts! Come! This miracle was an announcement and an invitation into the kingdom of God.

Also, John 2:10 should be rendered "and when they have been made drunk." The particular verb, "methuskomai" means to become intoxicated/drunk and appears as a subjunctive aorist 3rd person passive. In fact, "methuskomai" makes another appearance in a negative sense in Ephesians 5:18 where it appears as a 2nd person plural imperative: Do not get drunk (methuskesthe) on wine."

Martin Luther said it best, “Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?”

Also, I have not judged you, just the fruit you've produced here, and it is truly bitter. With one thing I do agree, "You won't receive this, and that is fine. I am willing to let God be my judge in this matter."

Ish Engle said...

And let me repeat this, so it doesn't get lost, my Greek speaking friends, Also, John 2:10 should be rendered "and when they have been made drunk." The particular verb, "methuskomai" means to become intoxicated/drunk and appears as a subjunctive aorist 3rd person passive. In fact, "methuskomai" makes another appearance in a negative sense in Ephesians 5:18 where it appears as a 2nd person plural imperative: Do not get drunk (methuskesthe) on wine."

Jake Barker said...

200TH comment and lets end it there. Shalom to all commenters. And a special thanks to the Episcopalians and Methodists who purchase their alcohol containing communion wine from my store. And another special thanks to my SBC churchmates who can drink modestly enabling me to make an extra donation to our new cabin at Falls Creek.

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