Peter Lumpkin's ridiculous post about Southeastern Theological Seminary and Peter's baseless accusation of a problem with rampant "drunkenness" on the campus of SEBTS, Dr. Danny Akin, the President of SEBTS, signed in to "comment" (comment #113) on Peter's baseless post. Dr. Akin was gracious but firm in his denial of Peter's charges. Peter Lumpkins responded to Dr. Akin by writing:
"Dr. Akin did not really address the main point of the two posts I’ve written."
I find that statement ironic since Peter invited me to debate him on the subject, but subsequently deleted every single one of my comments. Peter did not have the ability to delete Dr. Akin's comment, so he simply dismissed Dr. Akin as someone who "did not really address the main point of the two posts I've written." So,I will dialogue for a moment on Peter's assumptions in a place where he cannot delete what I write.
Question: What is the "main point" of Peter Lumpkins' posts? Here it is in Peter's own words:
Main Point: "When one makes the consumption of intoxicants for pleasurable purposes, a consumption of which is widely accepted within our culture, into a mere unimportant, insignificant third-tier, non-gospel-centered, libertarian, amoral issue, what under the blue sky do you think is going to happen?"
Peter is perturbed that some faculty members and administrators at SEBTS have either taught moderation of alcohol from the Bible and/or have invited speakers to the seminary who hold to personal "moderation." Peter believes they are not only wrong, but they pose a danger to the SBC. To Peter and Southern Baptists of his ilk, total abstinence is a first-tier, gospel-centered, foundational moral issue. You either agree with his position of total abstinence, which is the ONLY "official" Southern Baptist position, or you are "immoral." If one dares teach "moderation" as the biblical position, as some professors at SEBTS do, then one can expect the sin of drunkenness to be rampant on the campus among the students.
Wade's response to Peter's main point - Hogwash.
Let me be clear. What is hogwash is not Peter's personal conviction for total abstinence. I respect that and affirm him in it. What is hogwash is Peter's demand that every Southern Baptist conform to his interpretation of Scripture and accuse those who don't, as in the case of some at Southeastern, as immoral Christians or at best on the verge of rampant immorality. That kind of condemning spirit is legalism; or it could be called Fundamentalism with a capital "F."
Dr. Gresham Mechan, the great conservative Biblical scholar was once asked if he considered himself a "Fundamentalist" or liked being called a "Fundamentalist." Listen to his response:
"I regret my being called by a term that I greatly dislike, a "Fundamentalist?" Most certainly I do. (Stonehouse, J. Gresham Machen, p. 337).
John Piper gives seven reasons why Machen never spoke of himself as a Fundamentalist. To Dr. Machen, Fundamentalism meant. . .
(1). The absence of historical perspective;
(2). The lack of appreciation of scholarship;
(3). The substitution of brief, skeletal creeds for the historic confessions;
(4). The lack of concern with precise formulation of Christian doctrine;
(5). The pietistic, perfectionist tendencies (i.e., hang-ups with smoking, drinking alchohol, etc . . );
(6). One-sided otherworldliness (i.e., a lack of effort to transform the culture), and,
(7). A penchant for futuristic chiliasm (or: premillennialism).
The SBC should avoid Fundamentalism. It will kill us. We should never take third-tier issues of fellowship and place them in the first-tier category. I have written before on the freedom Christians should give one another on the issue of alcohol consumption. The Biblical command is to "abstain from drunkenness." Whether someone in the Southern Baptist Convention drinks wine, or beer, or alcohol--unless it is a violation of the law (such as "underage drinking" or "drunkenness")--should be none of our business.
The "main point" of Peter Lumpkins should be vociferously resisted by all Southern Baptists, vocally and in writing, because if the spirit of Peter Lumpkins is allowed to become the predominant and prevalent spirit of the SBC, our great Convention will die a slow death as it is strangled by Fundamentalism. Remember, the issue is NOT whether or not someone should be free to follow a personal conviction to abstain from alcohol, but the issue is whether or not one's personal conviction should be forced onto the entire Convention. Fundamentalism says it should.
God says it shouldn't (Col. 2:16; I Cor. 10:31; I Timothy 5:23 ).
In His Grace,