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

Conversion to Christ Over a Glass of a Wine

Some of my blogging friends believe the resolution on alcohol use in America, as amended by the Executive Director of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Texas, is an attempt to embarrass me, or possibly remove me from the International Mission Board of Trustees.

I would caution anyone about assigning motives to certain members of the Resolutions Committee or the leadership of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Texas regarding me. In addition, I am never embarrassed about my interpretations of the Word of God, because I have such a high view of the inerrant, sacred text. If anything, I sometimes get embarrassed by the actions of my fellow Southern Baptists, but never what the Bible says.

I teach my children and my church that abstinence is a wise choice for every Christian, and the best way to avoid drunkenness. I wholeheartedly support all believers who have an abstinence conviction. However, I believe the authoritative, inspired Word of God forbids drunkenness, not necessarily the drinking of an alcoholic beverage.

One person called me today and said this resolution is an attempt to "get me" off the IMB. I laughed. That won't work. If the trustees were to approve a policy of total abstinence for sitting trustees, I would, of course abide by it. As I have said, I am policy driven. I would, however, without hesitation, argue against such a trustee policy prior to adoption because of my belief in the inerrant Word of God. The trustees of any agency have the right to set any policy they desire, even extra-Biblical requirements for trustees, and though I will seek to prevent the adoption of any extra-Biblical policy during my tenure on the IMB, were the abstinence policy to be adopted, I would abide by it.

My Pledge

In fact, I will go even further. Resolutions are not binding, but since I am elected by and represent the Southern Baptist Convention, and since the convention adopted a resolution urging abstinence by trustees, I will abstain from drinking an alcoholic beverage during my entire tenure as an IMB Board member.

However, let me use this "alcohol" issue as discussed by Southern Baptists at our Convention as an example of the overall lack in our convention of sound, Biblical exegesis. The idea that to drink a glass of wine, or any other alcoholic beverage, is a sin against God is so foreign to the teaching of the inspired, inerrant Word of God that for anyone to say to a Christian who has no abstinence conviction, "You are sinning against God when you drink a glass of wine" is a sin in itself. To do so would be to accuse Jesus of possessing personal sin, the epitome of liberalism.

Jesus drank wine. The disciples drank wine. Jesus turned the water into wine. Paul commanded Timothy "Drink a little wine for your stomach." The Biblical prohibition is "drunkenness." The inerrant Bible says "Be not drunk with wine."

And make no mistake: Drunkenness is a sin. It is a scourge on our society. We must sharply rebuke anyone, including the alcohol industry, who minimizes or encourages drunkenness. Our church disciplines people for the sin of drunkenness, and we treat the sin very, very seriously.

However, the sin of drunkenness is similar to the sin of promiscious sex. We don't teach that a man should abstain from sex with his wife because other people are sex addicts. Similarly, we don't teach that individuals MUST abstain from alcohol because some commit the sin of drunkennes.

Likewise we don't DEMAND that those who are single get married, or those who choose to abstain from alcohol drink. Some things are matters of personal conviction and conscience. The pastor's job is not to force those who use sex properly, or alcohol properly, to abstain from either because some others cannot control the lusts of their wicked hearts, but rather, the pastor's job is to teach the Bible and urge God's people to live by Biblical principles.

I have never tasted beer. But I play golf every Friday with some wonderful men from my church that enjoy a glass of beer after the round. I don't condemn them for drinking beer and they don't condemn me for not drinking beer. And they don't get drunk.

There have been three people in our church in the last fifteen years, only three, who have undergone loving church discipline for the sin of drunkenness. All three people must now be --- by their personal choice and their corresponding accountability to our church --- absolute tea totalers. They have shown their inability to control their appetite for alcohol. Their drunkenness is a dishonor to the Christ who has saved them and a shame to the body of believers with whom they have joined. Their conduct has been a breach of our church covenant which forbids drunkenness.

Fortunately, the grace of God is apparent in all three and they willingly accepted the counsel of their families and pastors and agreed wholeheartedly that abstinence is now a requirement in their lives. If they drink, we all identify it as sin for them and immediately confront them. Yet, they understand abstinence is not demanded from others in the church.

Alcohol and the Bible

I believe one of the reasons Southern Baptists love to point to the act of drinking an alcoholic beverage as a sin in itself is because it is an action they can easily avoid and feel comfortable in their own self-righteousness. In fact, one messenger from Texas stated during the debate on the resolution that every Christian must ABSTAIN in order to be holy. Really?

The Bible teaches that claiming the righteousness of Christ is one's only hope of salvation. He is our holiness. We have His righteousness by faith. Imputed righteousness, of course, is not a license to sin, but the inspired Word of God never equates drinking an alcoholic beverage with sin. Drunkenness is the sin, according to God's word.

In fact, the Bible says wine was given by God for man's enjoyment. The Psalmist says that God gave wine to make men glad (Ps. 104:15). Jesus did not preach against the use of wine; instead he did like most other Jews of his day. He drank wine in moderation. In ancient times it was normally diluted with water for drinking purposes, but it was one of the principal beverages in Palestine at that time—as it is today-and it was, and is, alcoholic.

Jesus’ first miracle was to change water into wine (oinos). On this occasion Christ turned six jars of 20 or 30 gallons each into wine (oinos). This was no small miracle. This wine was of the finest quality— “You have kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10). At such wedding feasts, after people had drunk the better wine, the hosts brought out lesser-quality wines.

Jesus gave a parable involving the fermenting process of oinos in Matt. 9:17. At that time, instead of having metal or glass bottles to enclose wine, the skins of animals were used. The fermentation of the wine would break an old inelastic skin, but it would not break a new stretchable skin.

Another proof that oinos is fermented wine is the fact that the apostle Paul said, “Be not drunk with wine [oinos]” (Eph. 5:18). Paul did not mean to avoid getting drunk on grape juice! Paul instructed Timothy, “Drink no longer water, but use a little wine [oinos] for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities” (1 Tim. 5:23). He said to use only a little wine, not a whole lot. The purpose of this wine was Timothy’s frequent stomach ailments; small amounts of wine can help some stomach problems.

Some of the Corinthian Christians were getting drunk at the Lord's Supper (1 Cor. 11:21). They were using fermented wine, probably following the example that Paul had set for them. Paul did not tell them that they were using the wrong kind of wine. He simply told them to eat and drink at home, and to participate in the Lord's Supper in a respectful way. In Romans 14:21, Paul says that it is good not to drink wine or eat meat if it offends a weak brother. He is referring to fermented wine; grape juice wouldn't offend anyone. The implication is that there's nothing wrong with the wine in itself.

Drunkenness Condemned in Scripture

Both the Old and New Testaments contain many examples and commands against excessive use of alcohol and drunkenness. Drunkenness is listed as one of the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:21). That means it is the result of the undisciplined, indiscriminate use of alcohol. Jesus warned his followers not to be drunk (Luke 21:34).

The apostle Paul told the Corinthian church to “put away from among yourselves”—to have no fellowship—with a person who cannot control his or her drinking (1 Cor. 5:11-13). This refers to people who will not face up to or try to overcome drinking problems, not people who are working on and overcoming their problems. The Bible says that drunkards will not enter the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10, Gal. 5:21). No one who abuses alcohol should be ordained an elder in the ministry of Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 3:3, 8, Tit. 1:7). If a minister drinks, it should be in moderation.

Wine Used in the Conversion of a Sinner

The following story is a beautiful narrative of reconciliation, conversion, and ultimate redemption --- all initiated because of a glass of wine.

Years ago a man came into our services and sat through the preaching time weeping. He was a wealthy, high profile business man who had just gone through a heartwrenching divorce because of his own indiscretions.

After the service he introduced himself to me and set up an appointment to see me for some counseling. This began a six month pastoral relationship with this man that eventually led him to an understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ultimate experience of Divine forgiveness.

All that was now needed was reconciliation with his wife. He asked if I would counsel them. I said I would, but when he requested his wife to come with him to see me, she said, "No. He's a Baptist preacher. All he will do is condemn me."

The businessman was crushed. I asked him why his wife was so hostile about Baptist preachers. He told me she grew up Roman Catholic and the only time she ever attended a Baptist Church the preacher yelled and screamed about the sins of the people in the pews including drinking, going to movies, wearing short skirts and long hair, etc . . . and it turned her off from "the Baptist religion."

I suggested that rather than have her come to my office that the man might want to see if his ex-wife (a divorce had since occurred) would have my wife and I over for dinner, just to get acquainted. To his surprise, she agreed.

To our surprise she was a gourmet chef. We entered the lovely home with the smell of French bread wafting in the air, and sat at the table meticulously crafted for a true dining experience.

Unfortunately, though the introductions were cordial, I could tell the evening might be a long one because of the chill toward this "Baptist preacher."

As we sat down, I noticed the brilliant table settings, the scrumptiously prepared French gourmet meal, and the solemn expression on the woman's face.

I also noticed there was tea and water on the table.

So this Baptist pastor said, "You can't have a meal like this without wine. Where is the wine?"

I wish you could have seen her expression. She smiled and warmly said, "But I thought you were a Baptist preacher."

"I am," was my response, "And this Baptist preacher knows a great chef when he sees one, and no chef worth her salt would prepare a meal like this without wine."

She asked my wife and I to follow her as she took us down to the cellar. She was a wine collector and she proudly showed us her collection, passed down to her by her grandfather. She meticulously chose a bottle of wine for the occasion and we made our way back to the table.

I led us in prayer and we thanked God for the food and the drink and His provision for us. We ate a wonderful meal and I enjoyed a glass of wine. Nobody around the table had more than two glasses.

To make a long story short, the walls that had hindered the relationship came down. We enjoyed the evening with the couple and as a result five things happened:

(1). I was able to lead this woman to faith in Jesus Christ, showing her that Christ alone provided the righteousness she needed, and that she must forsake any trust in her own "self-righteousness." She trusted Him and was baptized shortly thereafter.
(2). It was my privilege to perform the private ceremony where wedding vows were exchanged again and this man and woman were reunited in marriage.
(3). The couple became very active in our church and have led out in our outreach of the lost in our community through Sunday School.
(4). They have personally given tens of thousands of dollars to the Lord's work through our church and Christian school, and have personally been able to lead several of their own family members to faith in Christ.
(5). They still have their wine collection and enjoy a glass of wine, but they have never been drunk since giving their lives to Christ as Lord.

Now, I ask this simple question to my Southern Baptist friends. What, if anything, is wrong with the events just described to you?

I am convinced that we Southern Baptists have for too long avoided teaching our children the principles of God's Word, and instead, substituted a system of religious morality that is often contradictory to the Bible, and therefore, when kids leave Southern Baptists homes they go off the deep end into addictions, rather than live their lives in the enjoyment of the things of God within the parameters established by God.

I have heard the argument before that "Even if one person becomes a drunk then I will abstain from alcohol because of it." The power of the gospel is absolutely lost in that kind of thinking. The drunk is a drunk because of the sin in his soul. His soul is transformed by the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, not by observing cultural prohibitions of a Southern Baptist. Christians around the world drink beer and wine without getting drunk. It doesn't hurt their witness. It seems the only weaker brothers I keep running into are Southern Baptist pastors who "stumble" when they see a Christian drinking wine. We Southern Baptist pastors claim to believe the Bible, but I sometimes wonder what Bible it is we are reading.

Let's teach the Bible. Let's proclaim the gospel. Let's focus on the essentials.
There is a lost world out there. It's time Southern Baptists were known for the transforming power of Christ rather than are cultural prohibitions.

In His Grace,


Wade

126 comments:

Anonymous said...

Folks,
This is why I am honored and thankful to call Wade my pastor and friend. Cant wait to see him when he gets back home.
Steve

GeneMBridges said...

When I heard of this and then the reaction to Tom Ascol's proposed resolution I was struck by the illogical thinking of the Convention today. They said that lapsed church members are our greatest prospect for evangelism (so much for having a regenerate church membership) while making abstinence a test of fellowship and the providers of alcholic beverages the enemy-the very people whom we should be evangelizing.

Simply amazing.

I'm reminded of the Corban rule and the way Jesus responded. Who really needs a stronger sense of Baptist identity, the M's on the mission field or the 75 percent of the Convention who voted not to consider Tom's resolution and the percent of the Convention who voted to affirm this one?

In all of this, however, Brother Wade, my pastor leaned over yesterday @ the Founders Breakfast and asked me to tell him about the CP. I spent quite a while explaining it to him, and there is real hope that we will be joining the SBC, which, as you know, I deeply desire for our church. This has been an odd Convention, but there is hope, and while I can't give them as good a report as I hoped, I think I can give them them a better report than I would have been able to give in recent years past.

Anonymous said...

You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'

Jesus called the crowd to him and said, "Listen and understand. What goes into a man's mouth does not defile him, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what defiles him.

Nothing that enters a man's mouth can defile the man. Nothing.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

Stefan Melikian said...

I wish everyone had as much exegetical sense on this matter as you do.

Robertson Alexander said...

Wade,
Does anyone realize that because of your pledge and the resolution that you and all SBC Trustees are breaking fellowship with Baptist around the world? As an IMB missionary that has lived overseas for two decades I have often taken the Lord’s Supper in national Baptist Churches. They use wine, not grape juice. No SBC trustee will be able to take communion with fellow Baptist. Does this mean that our IMB missionaries will no longer be able to take communion with fellow Baptists?
Robertson_Alexander
anonymous_imbmissionary@hotmail.com

Pastor Mike said...

Wade,

I would like to thank you for responding to, and soundly refuting, the illogical, and often unbiblical, thinking of many in our convention but doing so with a gracious and God-honoring spirit. Despite many of the possibly well-intentioned but misplaced and inaccurate accusations that have been leveled against you over the last several months, you have retained a very loving and gentle attitude (as has been apparent through your comments in various venues). This is the type of Spirit that was displayed by many great Christian leaders of the past, and it is a spirit that truly brings glory to our Sovereign God.

It is truly refreshing to find a like-minded brother who is not seeking his own advancement and comfort, but rather seeking to call our brethren back to the Scriptures as the basis for all that pertains to life and godliness. Often doing so at great personal costs.

May God richly bless and keep you.

Mike

jbub said...

I'm glad to see Wade stand up for what scripture requires from us, rather than the twisted imposition of culture upon scripture that the total abstinence position represents.

jim

Anonymous said...

This was one great blog...thanks for sharing from the heart, your experience, and your witness. Thanks so much...Wayne, from Alabama

WTJeff said...

Wade,

I'm sure you'll have some who don't agree, but I just want to thank you for your biblical perspective. One of the biggest issues that Christians face today is building relationships with the lost. You did not allow a man made tradition to become a stumbling block and because of your obedience, the Lord reconciled this couple and continues to use them for His glory.

Much of what I've seen at the convention has been encouraging, however, much of what I've seen leaves me shaking my head. Will we fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith before it's too late for the SBC?

Grace,

Jeff Parsons

Glen Woods said...

Thank you for sharing this, Pastor Wade. It is very helpful to me. Personally I have never touched alcohol (unless you count the occasional small helping of nyquil liquid medication in the past). This is a personal choice from my childhood. I simply don't trust myself to be responsible with alcoholic beverages so I choose to refrain altogether.

Interestingly, my denomination demands total abstinence from all of its credentialed ministers. They even ask the question on the yearly quesiontaire they send out to renew credentials. While it has never been an issue for me due to my own choices, I do wonder about the biblical justification for the stance. Your blog helps to process it a bit. I appreciate your distinction between the scriptural forbidding of drunkenness as opposed to forbidding partaking of any wine at all. I have had people tell me that the wine that Jesus and the disciples consumed was not wine at all and that it was grape juice, or at best a milder form of wine with less alcohol content. I think this is disingenuous, given the extensive biblical warnings about drunkeness. In any event, I just wanted to point out that SBC is not the only denomination wrestling with this and a number of other issues you have noted on your blog. I think this is why outsiders like me are taking an interest. It gives us a broader perspective from which to view our own denominational issues. Thanks again for sharing. :)

Blessings,

Glen Woods

Anonymous said...

Can you come teach a class about this at Southern Seminary? Please?

Troy Haase said...

God's people have no business having anything to do with alcohol.

http://www.wayoflife.org/fbns/should-biblechurches-abstinance.html

mixilmash said...

Wade, You put your finger right on the issue.....SIN and its power.

Jesus warned against the leaven of the Saducees AND the Pharisees.....neither the errors of Liberalism nor Legalism can adequately deal with the power of SIN....the Liberal answer to the power of SIN is to compromise with it by tacitly accepting its power as inevitable and the message is do the best you can.

The Legalistic answer to the power of SIN is to eliminate it, legislate it out of existence because of its inevitable power to control.

THANKFULLY there is another option; allowing the Holy Spirit to replace the power of SIN with the HIS power of HOLY LOVE!

Both erroneous extremes are attempts to cope with that which is humanly impossible to cope with....which is why THE SAVIOR is needed by all.

Unfortunately, Baptists have a blind spot about where SIN gets its power...we are in such a state that we are trying to "legal beagle" it out of our corporate lives, yet, SIN gets its power FROM THE LAW!! This is equivalent to trying to put out a fire with gasoline!! This is why the legalistic approach won't work in concrete reality...and why lost people are intuitively turned off by the censorious lovelessness that gets spouted as hypocrisy masquerades as love...they may be lost but they're not stupid!

This is also how hypocrisy starts; which is solidly condemned in Romans chptr. 2

The KEY CRITICAL ISSUE we are facing as a Convention is how will we deal with the power of SIN. Will we ignore our propensity toward living life in a spiritual subterranean slum of trying to outlaw it, thus insuring SIN continues to control? Or will we recognize our inability to counter the power of SIN and allow the love of God to be shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit?

Maybe we need to discover the book of Romans all over.....

Jim K said...

Wade,
I concur with all you have said about drinking and drunkenness from a scriptural perspective.

For me, the matter of drinking is like the matter of eating that Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 14. I do not condemn you for drinking. I do not sense that you condemn those who chose not to drink.

Yet, verses 19-23 is my absolute guide. I want to do what leads to peace and and to mutual edification. A great disappointment in my life would be to know that while I might exercise a freedom in Christ, I would destroy the work of God for the sake of drinking a glass of wine with a meal. I do take verse 21 seriously when it says is better "to not eat meat or drink wine or to do anyting else that will cause your brother to fall. (NIV)"
You have chosen to make known what you believe about this matter to others. When I preach, I preach just what the Scriptures reveal about both drinking and the sin of drunkenness. Yet, I know there are those in my congregation and especially lost persons in my town who believe wholeheartedly it is wrong for me to drink, no matter what freedom I personally may find in Christ. Paul hits the nail on the head when he says, "and everything that does not come from faith is sin." There are just too many who cannot drink any alcoholic beverage without it being sin for them. Thus, I cannot risk drinking, buying alcoholic beverage, or having alcoholic beverage in my home because some one who cannot raise a glass of wine in faith would be tempted to sin if they found me doing it or having that kind of beverage in my home.

So, for me, it does not matter what freedom I may find in Christ in this matter. My life is not adversely affected by not drinking. I hope you never find out that what you have so publically revealed about your personal freedom in Christ will cause someone to stumble.

Sincerely,

Jim Kirkland

Rob Ayers said...

To Anonymous:

Huh? I have plenty of ears, but not much white matter I suppose. Who is the audience of your prophetic utterance? Wade? Other posters? The SBC? To which is a hypocrite? Those who believe and practice the Word of God or practice the traditions of men? Your message is so general, it is hard to dicipher. The prophets were never unspecific, as they called the unrepentant by name, and were not anonymous for all to see. They never hid behind a cloak, and often paid for thier hard messages. How about you?

Rob Ayers

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Anonymous.

I could not post your comment. However, don't be silly, marijuana is illegal and a crime. We discipline for the use of illicit drugs. Someone in our church who uses marijuana is confronted and if there is no repentance, eventually removed.

Wade Burleson said...

Rob,

Forgive me but you make no sense. I have no idea what you are saying

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Alexandar,

If I am overseas I will never refuse communion with a brother in Christ. I would argue that is not covered by the resolution.

Anonymous said...

Why did John the Baptist not drink wine? And why did the Lord tell Zechariah that John should never drink wine or other fermented drink?

Anonymous said...

Wade,

You have portrayed exactly what I experienced as a young person growing up in a Southern Baptist Church. As young adults, my wife and I chose to leave the Baptist church because we were made to feel like hypocrites for taking an occasional social drink. We have been very active with another denomination for over 30 years before we began attending your church and worshiping with you and your congregation.
I support your position 100%.

One of your Friday golfing buddies

Alan Cross said...

Excellent application of the Gospel, Wade. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

Clay said...

I am currently listening to the closing message of the SBC. Are you listening? Not trying to put words in the speaker's mouth, but he just made it sound like we could baptize more if we didn't spend so much time blogging.

I now feel guilty because I was reading your blog while I listened to this.

Jason Bengs said...

Pastor Wade,
I agree whole heartedly with your biblical stand on alcohol. For me not to drink is, like you said, a personal conviction. I choose not to drink because my family has seen the effects of alcohol abuse. It leaves deep scars that can only be healed by Christ. I thank you for your clear interpretation of God's Holy Word. My other reason why I don't drink is because in this country it would be a stumbling block to many. In other countries there is not as much of a stigma on alcohol and would be a stumbling block if I didn't drink.

Bryan Riley said...

amen and amen. Oh, now i'm a lush. But seriously, what a wonderful, well thought out post about alcohol. I'm convinced that most legalistic rules are about pride and self-righteousness, as you eloquently stated in your post. I appreciate your honesty, conviction, and biblical analysis. Legalists save themselves, and such is contrary to the gospel.

Anonymous said...

From a Ctholic to A Protestant...good post.

Anonymous said...

I am a 52 year old Baptist pastor who had just about given up on the SBC. Now I am seeing some hope. I was raised in an independent Baptist Church where women could not speak, shave, wear makeup or teach boys over 12. I once found a great SBC pastor with an incredible sweet spirit and he taught me about grace and love. However, he is now on the "attack everyone bandwagon"
I have never met Brother Wade, but I will say that I would love to have him for a pastor and/or serve on his staff.

God Bless You Brother, don't let the persecution get to you. Protect your wife at all cost. Answer to God and Him alone. Live in peace

Anonymous said...

Wade and all,

Just wanted to make everyone aware of some excellent additional discussion
taking place - especially my part of it :) - concerning this timely subject you've raised.

If interested, go to www.BaptistLife.Com and simply click on (1) "Forums", then (2) "SBC News & Views." It's the thread entitled "Tom Ascol, Calvinists, and Social Drinking...", or something close to that.

Carry on,
Mark R.

Anonymous said...

Oops...correction:

The thread from BaptistLife.Com that I referenced earlier is entitled "Tom Ascol, Ben Cole, Calvists, and Social Drinking."
(Sorry about that.)

Thanks,
Mark

Vern Peterson said...

Well written and well argued. Most of all, based on good exegesis of the Scriptures as opposed to our traditional teachings on the issue. And, if you'll pardon me, it was refreshing to read that from an SBC pastor. Too many of the ones I've known and heard over the years have confused personal convictions on the issue for Scripture.

To my fellow Baptist preachers who so frequently say that we must preach the whole Bible and do what it says, I offer Proverbs 31:6, 7: "Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more." Go ahead. Look it up. I had to. Perhaps at our next block party, we ought to offer free beer instead of cold water. After all, that's what the Bible says! It's scriptural! Let me say, since you don't know me, that I don't seriously advocate this but . . . And then again, maybe we are a little more selective in what we believe then we've like to admit. Oops. I think I just left the subject and went to meddling. Anyway, good job.

Roger Simpson said...

Wade:

I agree with your blog about wine.

I am at about the 99.9% abstinance level on alcohol myself.

However, I did get drunk one time. This was when I had a very bad chest cold. A lady at the church told my wife to give me brandy and this would help clear up the problem. I guess she was supposed to give me a tablespoon full. Instead, she gave me half of the bottle. I was stoned!

Whatever this was it was not "social" drinking.

We do use wine once in a while in cooking when we make Chicken Chaccatori but I guess the alcohol is all burned off before we serve it from the oven. If you come over to our place you would see a couple of wine bottles on the top shelf that we use in cooking.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

You know I agree with you 100% on the alcohol matter.

Now on to blogging .... did you catch that gratuitous slam at bloggers in Dr. Welch's sermon?

Waddya wanna bet that Dr. Page doesn't say anything REMOTELY like THAT, next year. Thank goodness, lest THAT be the subject of another "eligibility motion".

frostburgpreacher said...

That story is truly an awesome example of God using you to tear down all the barriers that we put up in front of people to keep them from the gospel. I have had three sips of alcohol in my life, but I would hope I would have the ability to act with the grace you did. I enjoyed the short conversation we had Monday before the Young Leaders Summit. I hope your sons headache got better! May God keep blessing you greatly in your work and ministry. You are being prayed for.

Stephen Pruett said...

Interpreting the Bible on this complex issue seems to me to center on whether we emphasize passages that directly indicate that Jesus and the Apostles permitted consumption of alcohol or passages that have to be generalized to be seen as prohibiting alcohol consumption. I cannot see any justification for giving more emphasis to passages that must be generalized than to passages that deal very specifically with the matter in question. Jesus did not view providing large quantities of wine for a wedding party as causing the weak to stumble. Therefore, I am not sure how we can justify generalizing Paul's warnings about causing the weak to stumble to preclude alcohol consumption by Christians.

The personal experience Wade related about the family he was able to reach by sharing wine rather than condemning it is a perfect illustration of the fact that we must be sensitive to the needs of those we encounter in order to prevent them from stumbling. Condemning or condoning consumption can cause stumbling, depending on the persons with whom we are dealing. God never promised life would be simple!

Recent events in Greensboro suggest to me that enough of our SBC brothers and sisters are reading and talking about blogs that issues such as this one can actually be debated and decided on the merits of careful biblical interpretation. It gives me hope that disagreements on other non-essentials can be aired in such a way that those who have been "certain" of their positions will be able to see that others can make equally good or better cases from the Bible for a contrary position. If we are the people we should be, this will lead to greater unity (though not immediate uniformity) as we all search the scriptures day by day to determine which things are true. Perhaps we will even be able to accept, along with Paul, that there is much about which we cannot be and need not be certain on this side of Glory. The Bible permits certainty with regard to the essentials, but it seems to purposely leave room for different views on many issues. Maybe to keep us humble and to prevent us from focusing on less important matters?

70 year old Brother in CHRIST said...

WADE,
You are so FULL of GRACE and TRUTH. I thank GOD for your stand for GOD'S WORD (TRUTH).
Why do such narrow-minded people want to ADD TO and TAKE AWAY from the BIBLE.
May GOD continue to BLESS YOU and YOUR'S.

Bill Nettles said...

In response to Mr. Hasse I would say that he should be careful when he abrogates the Word of God as written in Deuteronomy 14:22-26. Surely these commandments about tithing were written to "God's people", Israel. If it was acceptable, at the command of the Lord, to consume strong drink (not just wine), why would Mr. Haase make such a pronouncement?

There is an easier argument to condemn the crosses that we have mounted in our sanctuaries as graven images than to condemn touching alcohol. However, our Southern Baptist tradition is to have crosses and not touch alcohol. Not that I agree with removing the crosses, but Packer makes some good points in Knowing God.

In regards to the weaker brother argument, how many are concerned about offending the weaker brother when it comes to going out to eat on Sunday after church. There ARE some people that strongly believe you shouldn't. I have some friends who won't eat out on Sunday. But they'll buy a tank of gasoline. I guess you've got to pull the ox out of the ditch.

In summary, if you take a good thing (not drinking) and make it a requirement for "spirituality" apart from a command from the Bible, then you have just made it a lie from hell. It just diverts attention from the Gospel: God in His grace has given His Son to take His judgement away from me, so that I can be viewed by God as righteous. By faith, I trust the FINISHED work of the Son. It is in this that God changes my heart and makes me righteous in His eyes. Does a drink of alcohol or a Sunday dinner out change that? NO! Does God rejoice that I don't drink? No, He is pleased that I know Him (Jeremiah 9).

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I can't get away from Proverbs 20:1. "Wine is a mocker.... " I am not going to give the liquor industry a chance to mock me or one of my loved ones. Wisdom tells me to stay away. I Corinthians 10:23 also tells me that not everything we are free to do in Christ is spiriturally profitable or edifying. I do, however, agree with your example of the lady you led to Christ and the example of one of the bloggers taking the Lord's Supper.

I pray for my 6 children that God would bless them with wisdom, knowledge, discernment, and understanding. Except for the rare occasions, like those that have been chronicled in your blog, I teach my children that drinking wine is not the wisest or most dicerning choice. Strong drink is not up for discussion in my understanding of the scripture.

I thank you for your article and while I agree with the over riding principle of our freedom in Christ, I believe and teach my teenage and adult children that abstinence is the wisest choice, but a glass of wine is not a sin.

Thanks for letting me share!
Spriggs8

Denise said...

Great Post Brother Wade.
And exactly how I have read the scripture. Am not sure how my pastor feels.

I'm an Enid girl raised in the Wesleyan Church but married a Texan and now I sit under Mark Estep here in Houston at Spring Baptist.

I have really enjoyed 'getting to know you' through your blog.

THank you for your stands on behalf of a lot of us in the SBC!

I'll have to visit Emmanuel next time I'm visiting the folks (who by the way now go to Family Fellowship which is Christian Union in doctrine I believe).

In HIM <>< Denise

concerned pastor said...

Wade:

While I appreciate your blog, how could you ever drink with lost people as if there were nothing wrong with it? I have crack smoking addicts across the parking lot of my church everyday that I share Christ with and I've never asked where the pipe was so we could share it! It sounds as if you were the one who initiated the wish to drink. Why? To make the man feel at ease? To soften the Gospel's blow? The Gospel is offensive. It should convict. For more info I suggest you order Dr. Johnny Hunt's "Why I Don't Drink Alcohol" CD. It is worth listening to. God bless.

John A. Jenkins said...

Wade,

This is my first time to write although I Have been reading your blog for a few months. I deeply appreciate the balance of scholarship and spirit you bring to your blog. This is an excellent post you have written; insightful, biblical and refreshing on a subject that desperately needs clear instruction as you have provided. I hope you get some rest from the Convention prior to this coming Lord's day.

scripturesearcher said...

Your position is scripturally correct...

...but because of the legalists in the SBC...

...you are forever branded...

Personally I like being branded as a Bible believing Christian, and have been for more than 50 years.

savedandsure said...

Ditto, Scripture Searcher!

GeneMBridges said...

Gordan" left this comment in one of our articles on the SBC @ Strange Baptist Fire:


In my county we have a dry Sunday morning, in which no alcohol may be sold before noon. Traditionally, this has meant that the Baptists buy their beer on Saturday afternoon.

Dr. Gary North once suggested that if we really want Baptists involved in the pro-life movement, then we should spread the rumor that abortion clinics give each patient a post-operative glass of wine.

Cheers.

Y'know...he has a point. I know many who won't go with us to the abortion clinic to preach but will demand that nobody take a drink, even in the privacy of their own home.

Caddiechaplain said...

"Taboo or Not Taboo?" - Chuck Swindoll preached a message using that very title probably twenty years ago. A great sermon because it was Biblical,Accurate, Relevant, and even Evangelistic.
As strong (versus weak) believers, we must use Godly judgement and discernment in whatever we do. I want to be a 10/31 man of God. "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (I Cor. 10:31).

K. Elijah Layfield said...

Good post, Wade.

Concerned pastor, it is not acceptable to take a legal thing like drinking alcohol, and equate it with something illegal like smoking crack. Also, you have to jump through exegetical hoops to find that interpretation in Scripture given the fact that our Lord provided wine for those people (with whom He is at the wedding) who were and were becoming drunk.

Anonymous said...

How drunk does one have to get before it becomes a sin? Falling down drunk? Just a little tipsy? Sluring a word or two? A little light headed? or Drunk enough to come home and smack the wife around a little?

I'm curious how you know when you're drunk enough that it is a sin that needs forgiveness?

Anonymous said...

I'm the first person to laugh and scowl anytime some lefty-extremist compares Christians in America to the Taliban, but this gnosticism that is prevailing in the Southern Baptist church, and many other protestant American churches, and what results from that Gnosticism, is really making it hard to defend them. These fundamentalists are really getting too close for comfort.

To teach that alcohol is evil in and of itself is not biblical, or logical, and is foreign to traditional, orthodox Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Troy Hasse: "God's people have no business having anything to do with alcohol."

Intersting. What do you have to say about the fact that Jesus blessed, and drank, wine?

craig from Georgia said...

I would really encourage folks to get a copy of the late Adrian Roger's sermon on social drinking. It's available at the "Love Worth Finding" site.

I've heard people use other countries as examples of social drinking being normal and acceptable, yet if you look at the spiritual condition of those countries you will see that, except for small pockets of believers, that Christianity is basically non-existent there.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Anonymous,

Only a sober man knows his need of forgiveness. We confront, discuss, urge repentance, and follow through with accountability with a sober man. We do not cast pearls before swine. Drunkenness is not hard to identify, particularly for any of us who have worked with homeless or street people.

In His Grace,

wade

Charlie said...

Wade
As usual, good responses. It is amazing when you use the bible as your guide how man's restrictions really conflict. I believe wine was and is wine. John the baptist may how been a teetoteler but JESUS who gave HIS life for us (not John) was declared a glutton and wine bibber. I personally don't drink alchohol, I have in the past but by my own choice don't. My wife is a teetotaler and feels the evils of mankind is caused by alcohol. It does "pain" me to hear pastors rant about wine and try to say it was always grape juice. At pentcost was it grape juice that people thought was consumed/ I don't think so. All this hubbard around you is allowing biblical issues to be brought to the front in our lifes.You have met the test and passed with flying colors. I am proud of you and I believe the HOLY SPIRIT is also pleased. Continue with GOS's blessings

Charlie of Gainesville

Jeff Calloway said...

Wade, you are on! Steve McKoy has a similar post at his blog.

Anonynous quoted the scripture in Proverbs in regards that "wine is a mocker..." I must remind that writer that Solomon wrote this scripture not as a command, but a wisdom. Just as he wrote, "train up a child in the way he shoud go..."

Wade's exegisis is beyond question. Let's not isegete what is not in the scripture.

Anonymous said...

I choose not to behave like "the world". Christ has called us to be strangers in a weary land holding forth a better way of life.
When you drink, for whatever reason you have lowered the standard of Christ.
To win someone with the argument of participation is nonsense. Why not tell the same truth, "I choose not to indulge." Rather than participate with the act that has even now harmed weaker brothers. Shame on you.

Rember, my warning from a couple of blogs ago?

Pastor you are arrogant and puffed up with yoiur OWN press(blog).

May God proyect your family and you from the sin that is so rapidly coming upon you.
You have little appreciation for the men who had alcohol issue settled by, "abstinance". God help you.
Pastor Dave
Romans 12:1-2

Lance Barker said...

Wade,
I agree with your biblical perspective. I am an ex-alcoholic that God delivered. I am now a church planter. I would never personally take another sip. I would never encourage someone else to try it for the sake of liberty. I have been there and wish no one else the pain. You never know when the point is that a drink turns into drunkedness. I can't explain it, but it sometimes just hits you and different people can drink different amounts and not be drunk. So be careful. Not from a legalistic sense, but why drink in the first place? I found no enjoyment from it unless I could get drunk. Maybe that was the unredeemed me, but I would never want to take the chance on someone else. I would never condem someone for taking a drink. Maybe I am the weaker brother you talked about, but I never know who is in the kingdom and who is not. I do believe that God can overcome alcohol in someone's life because I am a living testimony.
I do understand and agree with your point on scripture.

martyduren said...

Wade-
In honor of your blog design, I think we should all join Don Ho singing, "Tiny bubbles in the wine..."

Shannon said...

First, I grew up in a home where alcohol was merely part of "my culture". My unbelieving father (now a believer) DID NOT drink. My mother, who I consider the reason I grew up a Christian and with knowledge of Christ, enjoyed a glass of wine with her meal and with her friends. I never saw her drunk and she never had more than one or two glasses.

I also enjoy a drink every now and again. There is a line between sober and drunkness.

Regardless, Jesus drank wine folks. He made water into wine, drank the wine, and blessed wine. You can't get around it. I don't think anyone should violate their consciences but at the same time, don't condemn your brother or sister who's conscience permits it. I would never drink in front of someone who felt it wrong. But I ask they do not doubt my love of God because I don't have a problem with it.

As for the comment about countries who drink and their level of spirituality, that's a non sequiter. That's like saying that because there's a drought it must be due to people making wheels. You're drawing conclusions based on no actual causal evidence (you see lots of people making wheels, you see it hasn't rained, you assume a relationship).

Jesus drank wine with sinners, so who are we to think we're more holy than Him?

Zaac said...

Very well put Wade. The only thing I question is your statement that "Jesus drank wine." Logically, taking Jewish customs into consideration, we might conclude this. But Biblically,can we truly say that Jesus drank wine as God's Word does not say that he did?

Steve Bezner said...

Wade,

As a 30 year old pastor who has grown up in the SBC, allow me to say thanks.

The emperor has on no clothes!

Thanks for pointing that out.

Steve.

Royce Ogle said...

Brother Wade,

I applaud your courage and determination to live and minister according to the clear teaching of the inspired word of Truth.

Self righteousness is always wrong and sinful, even with the best intentions.

I could not agree more with your statement that Biblical exegesis is lacking in Southern Baptist pulpits.

The drinking of strong drink is only one of dozens of attempts of self righteous men to also put others in the yoke of bondage.

Paul said "...that you may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Chirst." The sort of leagalism practiced by some shows clearly the need to do what Paul suggested. Only when we start to grasp the vastness of the grace of God do we discover the freedom to forsake man made rules.

Godspeed,
Royce Ogle
Monroe, LA

Mike said...

Craig from Georgia,
You seem to imply that the cause of the spiritual condition of other countries is the use of alcohol. However, when one looks at America, what do we blame our spiritual condition on? Let's get even closer...what do we as Southern Baptists blame our spiritual condition on? We can't find over half our members...is that the fault of alcohol? Our sexual sins are overwhelming (divorce, adultery, pornography)...is that the fault of alcohol? The conservative resurgence has not resulted in greater numbers of salvation/baptism...is that the fault of alcohol? We have wars within the camp (Calvinism, IMB, NAMB)...is that the fault of alcohol? Too many of our churches don't baptize even one person a year...is that alcohol's fault?

I'm by no means a pessimist...I think some of our greatest days are ahead as Southern Baptists. While I abstain and believe that to do so is a wise choice, I'd rather have a wine-drinking, sold out, soul winning, Bible believing, self-denying, cross-carrying, commandment-following Christian than what too many times passes as Christianity where we don't drink, cuss, smoke, etc. but we're empty of the power of God because we glory in our self-righteousness instead of the righteousness of Christ. It's always been interesting to me that Southern Baptists seem to quickly attack the easily visible sins while, to at least some degree, ignoring the sins of the heart. Why not say that any trustee who is coveting cannot serve? committed adultery in his/her heart? has bitterness toward a fellow believer? uses course language, jests, jokes?

Philip said...

zaac,

Matthew 26:27-29
27And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, 28for this is my blood, which seals the covenant ◙ between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many. 29Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Matthew 11:18-19
18For John the Baptist didn’t drink wine and he often fasted, and you say, ‘He’s demon possessed.’ 19And I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it.”

70 year old Brother in CHRIST said...

WADE,
It's so sad so many people posting here and on other BLOG'S that don't KNOW or walk with the SPIRIT. If people walked with the SPIRIT, they would be corrected by the SPIRIT, AND THEY WOULD KNOW or SEEK GOD'S WORD. This is why the CHURCHES need to have and practice discipline.
JESUS said, "YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN"
May GOD continue to BLESS YOU and YOUR'S

Tim Cook said...

Wade,
It is great to hear a recognizable leader in the SBC articulate this position. I am from OK, not far from Enid, in Tonkawa, but now I serve as a Worship and Small group pastor in Illinois. I used to drink in college, but gave it up for the love of my wife, who was unsure about it. I was pres. of my BCM in college at NOC in tonkawa, and it broke my heart to see the lost who so desperately needed Christ being reffered to by the "Christians" in the bible studies as "Those people who drink and party", as if that were the defining characteristic of their lives! This issue is not about, for me, whether or not Christians drink, but about the inexcusable, judgemental attitude that most Baptists have to people who partake of alcohol as the worst kind of sinners.

Another anecdote: I was once a waiter in college at a restaurant that served bar drinks at the table. Even though I was a Christian, I dreaded the sunday Lunch crowd fresh from church. They wre frankly rude, abrasive, and lousy tippers as a rule. They nearly always offended other customers (who might be smoking or drinking). The best and most surprising experience I ever had, though, was wating on a group of three men on a weeknight. They ordered a beer each, then prayed over their meal as well. They were courteous and kind to me the entire time, and also left a good tip. Note to Christians of all types: A sweet spirit covers almost any exterior thing that might "ruin your witness", but rude and offensive attitudes (NOT drinking alcohol) will negate any witness you may have had through a prayer or any other "good example". If all the Christians who came in the restaurant were like these three men, the entire waitstaff would be ready to hear the gospel. Think about it.
Also, don't tip with a gospel tract, especially not one that looks like money.

Zaac said...

Phillip

Thanks for the verses. And not to make this into a debate over words, but perhaps you can tell me what your interpretation of the Greek is and why in Matthew 26:27-29 it has to be wine?

I translated the following for verse 29: "I am saying yet to you not no I may be drinking from at present out of this the product of the grape vine till of the day that whenever it I may be drinking with you new in the kingdom of the father of me."

And will our glorified bodies drink the product of the grapevine or is Jesus referring to something else?

Likewise, in the juxtaposition to what Christ was PERCEIVED to be in relation to John the Baptist, it was just that...a perception. They perceived Him to be a wine drinker. This doesn't say that he was. He came drinking, but we are never told what He is drinking.

Also, if we look at Isaiah 65:8, there seems to be instances where different translations refer to as wine what the Hebrew calls grape juice.The Hebrew translation roughly: "Thus he says Yahweh as which he is being found the grape juice in cluster..."

Whereas it reads this way in the KJV.

8Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants' sakes, that I may not destroy them all. Isa. 65:8(KJV)

The ESV, NASB,and the NKJV also refer to the juice in the grapes on the vine as wine.

While this is a point over which noone's salvation hinges, there however, still seems to be enough ambiguity about it that, because of what an exegesis of the text reveals, that we limit our proclamations to "Jesus may have drank wine but we cannot definitely say that He did."

Alex F said...

I'm a little surprised that Pastor Dave's vague assertions and later ad hominem attacks were allowed to remain on the blog. Maybe Wade is traveling. But, Dave, do you realize the irony of you calling Wade arrogant in your writing? Beyond that, why does a glass of wine lower the standard of Christ? How exactly does that work?

Wade, I suppose you need no reminder that being accused by the religious authorities of being a friend of sinners is nothing to be ashamed of. I have come to admire your courage and your irenic spirit. You speak for many.

Elizabeth said...

One of the things that has begun to concern me is the fact that we as Christians are so quick to believe what we have been taught instead of earnestly seeking Scripture to find out what it REALLY says. I was saved at 19. I'm now 43. I've always heard cute little cliche's from the pulpit concerning alcohol that everyone claps and cheers. (I was among them) But, we don't live by cliche's. (as good as they may sound) We must see what God's Word says, in it's entirity, about an issue. Pulling a verse here and there is not the way to come to a conclusion on something as important as this.
One thing I noticed at the convention when this resolution was being debated was a comment about how alcohol destroys lives and families. This is so true. But, I believe ANYTHING we do in our life that is carried to excess can become sin and ruin families. Alcohol, Workaholism, Pornography, Overeating, Greed, Abuse of power, etc. The enemy is the wickedness in our hearts, not the good gifts of God. We can't pass resolutions to prevent every possible area that WE may abuse the gifts of God. And yes, as hard as it has been for me to come to this conclusion after all of this time, the Scriptures are plain. Wine, sex, and food are blessings from the Father. The abuse of these
result when WE are not walking in the Spirit.

Anonymous said...

What of the millions of Christians all over the world who drink wine as part of Communion? Am I to believe that they aren't real Christians for that? Am I supposed to believe that Southern Baptist is the one true faith?

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Dave,

Please hear this as nice as I can say it but I struggle with your words. Let me say, I have been in the SBC 50 years. I work in an SBC church. I do not drink. With that said I must say that your statements concern me.

I think inerrantists are people who not only talk about the bible being without error but I believe they are people who apply the bible. Your words appear to have a righteous all their own not derived from the scriptures. As an inerrantist application of God's word is key. It seems you insisting that your personal convictions, not God's word are inerrant. Instead of pronouncing warning please do exegesis on the passages and show us all what you believe, from the scriptures. We are big boys and can take it.

My other concern is the hypocrisy I see in the SBC over this whole issue. Does anyone not see that gluttony in the SBC is a much bigger problem? But our gluttony does not seem to bother us a bit. Actually we appear to be proud of it.

Baptist pastors on avg. die 10 years earlier than the rest of our population, but gee, that does not seem to bother us. We hit the buffet and laugh about how much we eat! Meanwhile, as all our parents said growing up, there are starving people in Africa, China, Mongolia, and we do not seem too bothered by it.

Are we serious in thinking God condemns those who drink a sip of wine and not those who pig out at meal time and need a Zantac every night? I think as a whole the SBC has a greater danger of people being food addicts than drunkards.

70 year old Brother in CHRIST said...

ALL,
PRAY and Read these BIBLE VERSUS.
Joh_6:65. Jesus had taught that divine enablement was necessary for people to come to faith (Joh_6:44). The apostasy here (Joh_6:66) should not be surprising. Believers who remain with Jesus evidence the Father’s secret work. The unbelieving crowds are evidence that “the flesh counts for nothing” (Joh_6:63).
Joh_6:66. His rejecting their desire to make Him their political king; His demand for personal faith; His teaching on atonement; His stress on total human inability and on salvation as a work of God — all these proved to be unpalatable for many people. They gave up being His disciples (“disciples” here refers to followers in general, not to the 12 Apostles; this is evident in Joh_6:67).
LOVE
A Brother in CHRIST

Anonymous said...

Adios, farewell, goodby at last I am free from your exegesis. No more time wasted on this blog I have better things to do. I have been wanting to quit for some time.

Chuck Andrews said...

Wade,

Excellent exegesis!!!

Interestingly, most of the teetotalers I know, who are such because they say it is unscriptural, unholy, unwise, etc. to take a drink of alcoholic beverages, have no problem taking medicine that has alcohol (or narcotics) as an ingredient. In defense of this they say it is medical science or for medicinal purposes.

Teetotalers who try to hold to the above scenario may be more “worldly” than the believer who enjoys a glass of wine, beer, margarita, etc. in moderation. Why? Because they are more a people of medical science than they are a people of the Word. They argue that God’s Word says, “No! Absolutely Not! Total Abstinence. Anything else is unholy and unwise. Shame on you for purposing anything different.” Then they say, “Oh, but, it’s okay if it’s medical.” A faith in medical science has replaced their faith in God. Worldliness is not defined by behavior but the why behind the behavior. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”

In debating this issue, maybe we are exegeting the wrong authority for those teetotalers who may be described by the above scenario. Now medical science has determined that drinking a glass (4-12 oz) of Cabernet Sauvignon (wine) daily is beneficial for health and some doctors even prescribe it for certain conditions. This may set them free to have a glass of wine but it doesn’t change the problem of worldliness.

Though alcoholic beverages have created a large (pun intended) problem in our culture, a weightier (pun intended) problem in our culture is obesity and over weight health issues. From the looks of most of us in the SBC, I think the wrong resolution was made.

“Since 68% of the American population are obese or have over weight health problems, let it be resolved that we oppose the manufacture, sale, and consumption of food. While 1 Corinthians 8 and Romans 14 give us the liberty in Christ to eat we must not become so broad that we become a blockade. The results of gluttony can and does impede our testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that people become fat because they eat too much requires us to teach, ‘If you don’t take that first bite, you don’t have to worry about taking the last.’ Though this resolution is not binding we urge the exclusion of Southern Baptists who eat from election to the convention’s boards, committees and entities.”

Come on guys; let the truth of God’s Word set us free. Enjoy a glass of wine and eat less. If our spiritual condition is not changed at least we’ll be a healthier lot.

Chuck

Anonymous said...

i am disgusted by the sinfulness & compromise present in wade's "baptist boozing". using wade's argument you could go to a bordello, "briefly" indulge (after all, it's the OVER-indulgence that's the sin, right??), just to get a chance to witness to the Madam! how absurd! just one question, with all the "boozing & blogging", how do you find time to serve God?

Craig said...

I think most people who criticize you anonymously on this subject do so with a 40 of Schlitz Malt in their non-mouse hand.

Craig Smith

Rob Johnson said...

That's about the best explaination and apologetic I've read concerning how God's people should deal with this important cultural issue...rj

Mark Sims said...

After reading the post and all 62 comments (wow!) I'm left with a few assumptions and a few questions. Maybe someone can help.
Assumptions:
1. that all who have written here understand/agree that the consumption of alcohol and alcohol itself is nowhere explicitly condemned/prohibited in Scripture, as such
2. that therefore no one is seeking to appeal to Scripture for such specific/explicit prohibitions/condemnations
3. that those who call out "1 Cor. 8:9-13!" are seeking to adhere to the clear teaching of Scripture.
Questions:
1. How is it that 1 Cor. 8:9-13 is seen to contain a (an "implied"?)command so sharp as to demand total alcohol-abstinance?
2. Standing on 1 Cor. 8:7-8 as well as 9-13, and Rom. 14-15, whose position is that of a "weaker brother" (ie, offended by the use of liberty)?
3. Why are we demanding (in a non-binding, unofficially official policy known as a resolution) what Paul explicitly demonstrates to be a voluntary forfeiture of liberty?
4. What happens to those who agree w/ Bro. Wade, but never take a drink? Are they to be barred on principle?
There are bigger things at stake in these situations than proverbially pious sound-bytes.

Appreciation to you, Bro. Wade.

Mark Sims

Batgirl said...

You make me want to move to Enid. Not so I can drink wine (I hate it) but b/c you unashamedly preach the truth.
If people would remove their blinders, they would see the truth.

B-Rob said...

I am not a Southern Baptist, I do not know much about the church (except that it is staunchly conservative and Jerry Falwell is a leading light in the SBC), and I do not consider myself a devout Christian. But I truly appreciate a logical, Bible based solution applied to a normal life problem. Pastor Wade, thanks ot your blog, I now think much more of the PEOPLE in the SBC, even if some of the theology and policy of the leadership is somewhat illogical and out of wack!

pastor-john said...

We have just about beaten the alcohol issue to death, but now that I'm home from Greensboro I'll put in my two cents worth anyway. Yes, Jesus turned water into wine (not grape juice) and served wine at the Last Supper. Yes, most of the Scripture speaks of drunkenness, not drinking as the Scriptural problem. Yes, there is Proverbs 20, the "mocker" passage. When I was in Seminary twentish years ago, I heard Dr. John Eddins asked only one question that stumpted him--he got a bit flustered, and finally said, "Look, doing theology is a little like long division: sometimes it comes out even, but usually, you have a remainder left over." Sometimes, he explained, no matter how good your exegesis, there may be passages you just cannot figure out how to fit in--and he even went on to say that the problem isn't with Scripture, it is with the finite nature of the human mind. It seems to me this is one of those passages. (And yes, I know that mention of a pre-resurgence SEBTS professor will condemn me in some folk's eyes, or at least make me suspect as a "liberal." If so: it's your problem to deal with, I'm fine with it.)

In all this, I haven't heard anyone mention the historical account of Baptists & alcohol. The consumption of beverage alcohol in the ancient Middle East did not lead to a wide-spread alcoholism problem, probably because they drank naturally fermented fruit wines, possibly diluted with water. A person has to drink a long time in order to get drunk, and even then, you were liable to get an upset stomach first--which is why, in Acts, Peter can tell folks in Jerusalem that the apostles cannot be drunk because of the hour. In northern Europe, various Celtic peoples learned about distilled beverage alcohol, but it it was not an immediate problem, as Irish and Scotch whiskey were prohibitively expensive. But in the Industrial Revolution, a method for distilling cheap & potent whiskey was discovered--English gin--and THAT led to a rapid rise in alcoholism and alcohol-related problems in society. That was the point at which churches began to crusade against beverage alcohol. In early America, Baptists seem not to have had a problem with the consumption of beverage alcohol--it was just a non-issue for them. When I was in seminary, I did a lot of historical research, and ran across a fascinating entry in the minutes of the 1809 (I believe that was the year) Yadkin Baptist Association in western NC (actually, not too far from Greensboro). They passed a motion prohibiting the sale or distribution of alcohol IMMEDIATELY BEFORE A VOTE OF THE ASSOCIATION. This implies the issue was not the consumption of beverage alcohol, but vote-buying or possibly messengers getting too snookered to know what they were voting on. Actually, Baptists were pretty late to jump on the abstinance bandwagon--the Methodists, Weslyans, and Presbyterians were anti-alcohol before we were. I praise God that His Written Word is such that we can react to changing conditions without having to rewrite it (as the Mormons have done) or use "buffet theology" (pick and choose)!

Incidentially, I used to drink, and got commode-hugging drunk once, just to see what it was like (that was before Christ came into my life, at age 25). Anyone who has done that KNOWS the difference between drinking and being drunk, and for the rest, there is always the Photoelectric Intoximeter and the Breathalyzer (for which I was a certified operator when on the PD before making Detective). I completely quit when I was about 30, when I stumbled down steps carrying my then-one year old son while having a mixed drink at my (Baptist) boss's Christmas party. That was a wake-up call for me not to do that which makes my brother stumble--and me too.

mephibosheth said...

Wade - This example of your biblical study and teaching is one of the main reasons we drive the 40 miles each Sunday to be a part of Emmanuel. After having reared my kids in a "rules and performance" church, I sent them a copy of this blog to show them what real biblical application is all about.
I've been reading your blogs and you must be worn out. I hope you and Rachelle have a relaxing vacation. Garen

JRW said...

Wade: You still don't fully understand the nature of what you are up against. You are rational and believe that if you can make a rational case for your position on alcohol, you can convince others in the Convention. You can't. What I find interesting is the parallels between this issue and the issue of inerrancy. Moderates tried to make a rational argument that the Bible itself does not claim to be inerrant and it does not have to be inerrant to be authoratative and true. In fact, when it was pointed out that there are some Old Testament quotations in the New Testament that are different from the original, it is just shrugged off as unimportant. Inerrant is inerrant. Even the smallest error negates the claim. But this was the anvil on which the polity of the SBC was broken. I know you claim to be an inerrantist, but don't you see the same stubborn resistance to rationality in your stance on this issue and the stubborn resistance to rationality on the issue of abstainance. I am afraid that you have handed your opponents on the IMB board of trustees the weapon that they will use to destroy your credibility on the board and in the Convention. Maybe I am wrong, but that is the way Fundamentalists operate.

Rob Westbrook said...

Here's another thought-provoking article concerning this subject from Jerry Grace, blogger at SBC Outhouse.

http://sbcouthouse.blogspot.com/2006/06/is-flywheel-going-to-hell.html

Anonymous said...

I was at the convention too, and we must remember that neither the resolution itself nor the comments made in favor of the resolution called drinking a sin. The two main reasons for the convention to vote for this resolution are
1. Alcohol is a dangerous drug, and can create many more problems than it solves.
2. The consumption of alcohol, in many regions of the US, is seen as something Christians ought not do. Therefore, the Christian that drinks creates in the mind of the biased unbeliever a stumbling block.
The solution to (2) is clear. Educate unbelievers that drinking alcohol is fine and dandy with the Lord. If you see that as the thing that you ought to do, do it. If you consider the freedom to drink an important enough topic that you would feel empowered to preach the virtue of alcohol to the unbeliever, go ahead. As for me, I think the time is better taught teaching about the work of Christ.

Bryan Riley said...

It is really sad that the disagreements with Wade cannot point to scripture and instead point to outrageous and incomparable scenarios like illegal drug use and prostitution. Prostitution in and of itself is something we are told not to indulge in. I agree with the earlier comment, and was going to comment myself, on the fact that millions of Americans and "good" Southern Baptists rely on dozens of different types of anti-anxiety, depression, etc. medications without a single thought about whether they are wise for doing so, but they will stand on the internet street corner and cry out "SINNER! WINE BIBBERS AND ALCOHOLICS ALL!!" to anyone who dares drink any alcohol in small amounts or moderation. They may even do so after downing a Big Mac, super sized fries and a DIET?? Coke. They may say "Gosh" or "Darn" or or "sheesh" or "Dad gum," but they don't use what they call profane language. (Don't ever use friggin to make a point.) Praise God for His glorious grace!!!!

Speaking of hot button Baptist issues...and of salvation by grace and not works... I'd sure love to see a post on someone's blog (WADE or someone) about the biblical whys and wherefores for baptism as espoused by the SBC...

Anonymous said...

Wade,
This is a very interesting subject. I had no idea that you would use up so much space discussing the subject which you and already addressed in several postings. My wife and I grew up in a culture where strong drink (wine included) was not a part of our daily meals. The few who did imbibe did so excessively, and were the target of ridicule. The biggest reason was that we lived in a dry parish (county) so one had to travel a good distance in order to purchase any type of liquor.
our church had a "covenant" which we recited from time to time, and it contained a sentence or two about refraining from the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages. So my experience with partaking of such beverages is very limited. My wife and I have discussed the issue and have agreed not to partake. This was our own decision, partly out of our desire to honor God with our lives as well as with our bodies.
This does not mean that we condemn those who make a conscious decision to have a glass of wine or two with meals, etc. There are those who fast for a period of time, refraining from eating or drinking certain things, in order to focus more clearly on their relationship to God. Perhaps our decision is somewhat along those lines. I think some who have made disparaging remarks about believers who do abstain are as guilty as those who abstain and make disparaging remarks about those who do partake.
My greatest concern is that we seem to be drifting into a "majoring on the minors" mode, when we should (in my opinion) be focusing on the things that unite us.
My second greatest concern is for those who are alcoholics, whether they have taken their first drink or not. Some people have the capacity to drink without ever developing a dependency on alcohol. For others, one drink is enough to push them over the line.
I think great care must be taken lest we encourage some potential alcoholics to begin their downward slide.
It is one thing to have the freedom to drink or not to drink. It is quite another to become a slave to alcohol. Total aabstinence keeps us all free. That is my view, however you are free to follow your own conscience with no condemnation from me.
Milton

James said...

Wade,

Found your blog thru Andrew Sullivan's. Though I was raised a Baptist, I no longer adhere to the faith, but I'm curious to hear your views on this subject. It seems quite reasonable, since it is a well known fact that Jesus did imbibe, as well as encouraged his followers during the Eucharist.

You make a wonderful point that drinking itself isn't the sin, but you also adamantly argue that "drunkeness" is.

My question, coming from a secular "scientific" angle, is this:

At what point does the drinking of alcoholic beverages descend into drunkeness?

Myself, I'm a notorious lightweight and can feel myself getting "buzzed" after a few drinks. Would I have gone perilously close to sinful territory, or would it be too late?

Or is it a pattern of drunkeness that's sinful?

JP

Wade Burleson said...

James,

Your question is both thoughtful and honest.

I cannot answer your scientific question because I'm not sure scientists could even answer the question of "When is a man drunk?"

Allow me to answer Biblically.

The Bible says "Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit."

I would propose to you that alcohol abuse in most people is an attempt to substitute an artificial "high" for the genuine work of the Holy Spirit in the heart.

When alcohol controls you, when you drink alcohol to escape, when you lose sight of reality by the deadening effects of alohol on the mind, then you are obviously drunk.

The Holy Spirit can give you the same type of "joy" (or in your venacular "buzz") but you NEVER lose control of your mind, you never have reality distorted, you never have you emotions deadened, but rather the Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in your life is always in charge and He works in and through you.

So . . .

I will pray the Lord grants you faith and the happiness you seek in the world will truly be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

In His Grace,


wade

James said...

Wade, With a following like responded to your authorization to drink alcohol. One numerically kinda out front. Seems many,many SBCers just love the stuff. With a leader like you there is no limit to our potential. Separation??? Why? Let's eat and drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. And if you are weak and can't handle a few drinks don't blame us you are on your own. Or you could see Pastor Wade he surly can lead you back to sobriety. Woe is me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know that I agree fully, but there is an element to what you have shared that calls me to pursue more deeply.

I must say that I have been very impressed with willingness you posses to post comments, thoughts, interactions, and discussions even when they are not favorable of you and your stances. I realize that "blogging integrity" would demand that you do so, but you have the option to delete comments before they become live. Thanks for sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. It just shows us that there is nothing to hide and behind that keyboard is a man who is willing to face detractors and stand firmly in his views. Thank you Wade Burleson for following him, I know today I am following more closely because of men such as this.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the old "stumbling block" argument. I can tell you from experience that it works both ways. I grew up in an assortment of evangelical churches (not Baptist) and I attended a Baptist Christian school. I was married in my husband's hometown for pragmatic reasons (his elderly grandparents couldn't travel). To make it more inclusive for my family, I invited a pastor from a church we attended in my youth to co-officiate. My way-too-organized husband sent out a memo to everyone involved in the wedding, detailing all of the minutiae. Included in the memo was an instruction to the catering service that the champagne at the reception should be served immediately (ie, they shouldn't wait for the bride and groom to arrive). We had an afternoon wedding in a Methodist church, with a reception brunch at the local garden club (no open bar, just champagne, organge juice and other non-alcoholic beverages). The co-officiator sent us a nasty letter, saying that serving champagne was "a poor Christian testimony and a time-bomb for marriage failure."

We were stunned. We arranged a meeting with him to find out the Biblical underpinnings for his statements. He hemmed and hawed and finally said that because alcoholism is a major problem in this country we should never take a drink. We did not make such a vow to him, and he did not back out of marrying us, although he boycotted the reception. My husband's parents were/are not church-attenders, but they decided to not serve any wine at the rehersal dinner at their home in order to accommodate him. They never said anything to us about it, but I know that for them his strident position only confirmed their worst suspicions about God's messengers. Talk about a stumbling block!

Now tell me, who acted with more grace under these circumstances?

I am now a Roman Catholic, and no, not so I can take the occasional drink without guilt. Still married to the same guy after 17 years, so I guess the time bomb hasn't gone off. I must say that the divorce rate among my classmates from my Baptist high school well exceeds the national average. My theory is that one needs grace to sustain a marriage over the long-term, and although we heard the word bandied about a lot, we didn't experience it in any real way in that school.

Mr. Burleson, I was delighted to read your most reasonable interpretation on the wine question. I had to endure numerous chapel services dedicated to convincing us that the wine in the Bible was merely grape juice. I loved those almost as much as the ones devoted to proving that dinosaurs never existed. Those kinds of chapel services proved to be the ultimate stumbling block to my remaining a Protestant.

All this to say, the stumbling block argument should be used cautiously, if at all. It very well may have the opposite effect.

Kind regards,

Karen

Wade Burleson said...

Garin,

Thanks my friend! Rachelle and I saw your lovely wife in the Houston Airport on our way to Greensboro! I was on the phone (not unusual), but it was great to for us to run into a dear friend in the metropolis :). Hope she has a wonderful trip.

Blessings!

wade

JAMES S said...

I apologize to James because my statement follwed closely behind his so he did not make statement about eat,drink and be merry for tomorrow we die. I don't speak for him even if we do have same name. James S

volfan007 said...

in proverbs the bible says that a fool drinks grape juice when its turned in the cup...when its fermented. and, it says in another passage in proverbs that you are unwise to drink strong drink.

Jesus drank watered down grape juice. study it. He did not drink fermented grape juice.

besides, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, who needs alcohol???????

Terry Hamblin said...

Congratulations on making Andrew Sullivan's blog. I am a fellow evangelical baptist from England, and have always taken this same view of wine. It is sad that some people tamper with the plain meaning of the Biblical text in order to squeeze it into their prejudices.

I also applaud you decision to abstain during the period of your office, 'having regard for weaker brethren'.

As a doctor I am very concerned about the problems of alcohol abuse, especially among young women; we are seeing young women in their twenties die of liver cirrhosis. However, nobody ever got cirrhosis from a glass of wine with a fine meal.

I'm glad I found your blog. I shall bookmark it.

http://mutated-unmuated.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

ummmm--I think it's hilarious that you guiys think Jesus would really care about this. Shouldn't you all be out there helping poor people who are suffering. That's the problem with most churches these days: a sad obsession with semantic details about daily life (and worrying about somebody having a beer is most bizarre) that you lose sight of the real, concrete suffering of others in this world. I know you are just trying to be better Christians, and that's great. But wouldn't a better way fro the SBC be to stop worrying about somebody's drinking habits, and even refuse to engage in the discussion, and focus more on improving the lives of and offereing love to the billions of impoverished people around the world? Nah--worrying about Budweisers with dinner is worse.

Jim Sadler said...

One of your bloggers said, "Jesus drank wine in the alchoholic form at the last supper." I know I am far too simple but try this; the bread was unleaven representing the body of The Lord but the wine was leavened representing the Blood of The Lord. Let me see we remove the leaven from the bread and put it in the wine??? Oxymoron or what??? At least the bread was pure. Leaven? Sin? I thought I read that one signified the other. See how simple I am. Maybe someday I will learn how to use exegesis. I checked out how to make wine and step two after step one which is secure some quality grapes is to insert yeast (leaven) then proceed with the rest of the steps. Abstain from it yourself, teach others to abstain also and you will never go wrong.

pastor-john said...

I am surprized that my comment came through signed "pastor john." I mean, that is correctly how most people refer to me now-adays, but I value transparency and expected that my name would show. I understand some missionaries needing anonymity on these blogs, but the churches I have served know what I stand for. I have certainly done plenty to be embarassed about, but Jesus took my shame away, so it doesn't embarass me in the least for people to know that "Pastor John" is John Fariss.

Big Ol' Baptist said...

Jesus didn't drink no wine - Why in tarnations would he do such an evil, despicable thing? Alcohol is for minorities, not the lord's choosen flock.

Melissa said...

Pastor John,

I'll answer your question as to why some M's might not post their names. Some may live in security 3-4 areas and can't disclose their identity. Others may be so out of the loop on what is happening (like myself) that they are trying not to make it about who they are but rather trying to gather the facts before really coming to any real conclusions.

Personally, I have been pretty thrown back by how "Drinking" can become so heated. AT first it really threw me but now after having a day to ponder, pray and seek out the scriptures and again revisit my own convictions- I have to conclude that this is clearly - a Resolution based on "TRADITION". I understand the reason why people think it is better to be SAFE than SORRY or for some they think it is better to not cause some to stumble. But the truth is this: Jesus is our example. He ate and drank in the same house with those who did more than abuse wine . I think Jesus said it best when he was speaking about John the Baptist and said these words, Matt. 11:18-19 " For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a demon!" The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of the tax-gatherers and sinner!'
Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deed."
---This is the real answer to this debate---


I think this topic isn't about protecting "reputations" nor is it about "protecting the weaker brother" it is about men wanting to impose tradition and laws that are binding not for the edification of the body of CHRIST but for Man and man alone..

I have asked brother Wade to share his thoughts on where and when do we say - FALSE TEACHING! I'm praying and seeking out the scriptures on this one. I can't help but wonder if this is exactly what Paul warned the Philippian church about and others - to not allow such false teaching in to distort the the gospel and cause division.

There is power in the FREEDOM we have in Christ Jesus, There is Hope and Way of escape to those who seek it when tempted. We have to learn how to CONTROL our flesh- Walk in Faith - and Hope that in the end we have run the race well.

Romans 12:1-2
Changed from with in..........
Melissa H.

Melissa said...

Pastor John,

I am an M' that serves in a region that is closed. We have to be careful not to post our full names because of security. Hope that helps with your question. I think that most M's are very transparent - but I would have to ask why a name really matters?

Most of us post our family sites and keep things pretty low key. Some of us are bigger bloggers than others but due to our focus we try to keep our eyes on LOSTness.

However - I think this topic of drinking has caused me to wonder when False teaching should be screamed. For me personally this resolution is about "tradition and man's laws" - therefore at which point do we stand up and ask the question - is this FALSE TEACHING ? - Paul warned against those who would come into the church and impose laws and traditions that were contrary to the word of God. I wonder even though to some it may seem a small thing what will be next. And with all the SIN in the world why would some see Drinking as the one worthy of making a RESOLUTION? Why not- gluttony, divorce, sexual immorality? I mean when and where will the resolutions stop?

and Truly what purpose do they have?

If only to keep godly men and women from serving the LORD......

In which case, (based on this resolution) Jesus would be found not worthy of being a member of the IMB trustee committee and other offices.. I wonder? does this resolution mean that M's can't drink either? If so, Jesus would have been fired from the field....Oh... the implications scream to me.... FALSE TEACHING!

Matt. 11:18-19 Jesus is speaking about John the Baptist and he says: " For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a demon!' The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!'
Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."

So I ask? How can we set a standard higher than what our LORD set for us? Let us just focus on what CHRIST did and let HIM be our EXAMPLE to follow. He drank wine without sinning, He was angry without sinning. He walked in the desert and was Tempted by Satan himself all without sinning.

Oh that we may not be lead astray to think "men" have the right to set a standard higher than our LORDS it is FOLLY dear brothers and sisters.. FOLLY................

Blessings-
Melissa
Romans 12:1-2
changed from with in...............

Anonymous said...

Melissa,
I also am serving within the IMB and your comment about Ms drinking sent up a red flag to me.

It's been a while since I went through all the paperwork (12 years), but, I think I recall something about signing something indicating that I would not drink any alcoholic beverage while serving with the IMB. I believe there is an active policy that forbids us from drinking alcoholic beverages. I know that some regions may have variations on this to help in some major cultural missteps, but I think you can be dismissed/fired from the IMB if you drink any alcoholic beverage.

Maybe Wade could clarify this for us, since he is a trustee of that agency.

Personally, I agree with EVERYTHING that Wade has written here. We as Ms are constantly weighing what the Bible says to policy and some leave the field or are fired because of the convictions and integrity that occur when we really seek God.

Even though I agree, I would not put my calling in jeopardy. I have no problem if I am NOT permitted as an IMB M to drink alcoholic beverages, then it's OK for the trustees of that same organization to have to abide by that too. It happened with the BF&M, the trustees signed and then said, if we sign, you all have to sign too. We did... well most did. But that's another story.

I do think it quite silly to approve this resolution and not bring to the floor the resolution on integrity. One would hope an organization like ours would not have to make a resolution on integrity and pastors would do the right things to give accurate information of what is really going on in their churches.

"That's all I got to say about that."

Signed, M who really fears reprisal if I sign my name...

Anonymous said...

I forgot to add another suggestion that might be helpful for the trustees of the IMB to follow. Since you are joining us in the alcohol issue, please join us in the weight watching policy. If you are not within the weight restrictions that are placed upon IMB missies, then, you're out.

Signed,
The same anonymous M who fears reprisal.

Anonymous said...

I made a commitment at the age of 13 that I would never drink alcohol - because I thought it was un-biblical - not really - but because I had seen the suffering that it produced in the lives of my friends and others - from broken homes, abused children, traffic accidents. Alcohol in small quantities alters the personality - and if I have to change who I am to have fun or relax - then there is soemthing wrong with who I am. there is a definite appearance of evil in alcohol and as such a Scriptural case can certainly be made. As a m. serving in a muslim country - alcohol is a definite stumbling block to many Muslims. The board does have a definite policy prohibiting the use of alcohol by its personnel. I have traveled all ove rthe world and have been to all sorts of places where my friends - both Christians and non-Christian - have been drinking and I have been offered on countless occassions alcohol. I have always politely refused without preaching them a sermon - to me much of the problem comes not so much with abstinence teaching - but in the attitude that abstainers tend to have toward those who do not. I have many friends who have strong convictions about going to movies - and while I may go once in 5 years to a movie - I do not have the same conviction - however if I worked for a church who had a prohibition against my attending a movie - I would honor it - as I can certainly understand how it could also have an appearance of evil. So I guess what I am saying - those who wish to make policies on abstaining - no worries - and I have no problem abiding by them - however remember to treat with respect those who do not have the same conviction. On the other hand - those who do not abstain - please do not call those who have felt compelled (because of an appearance of evil with alcohol) to abstain legalists, distorters of the Scripture and other similar names.
Signed,
An IMB M

Wade Burleson said...

Good word IMB Missionary.

I agree

Anonymous said...

What!!!!!???? Drinking is NOT a sin?????
Next, you'll be saying that it is ok to have worship services at a time other than 11am on Sunday morning!!!!!!

Thanks for your level headed and godly approach to confronting the cultural norms that have assumed scriptural import through the years.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Thank you for your careful and winsome exegesis on the issue of alcohol and its consumption. I only hope that others will emulate your faithfulness to the scriptures and the humble attitude of Christ. As a teacher who has often despaired at the lack of clarity and maturity among Southern Baptist debate, I was greatly encouraged after reading your blog.

Just out of curiosity, prior to this new resolution and your present commitment not to consume alcohol for the remainder of your post at the IMB, did your church partake of wine in celebration of the Lord's Supper? My husband and I have discussed this issue in some depth and I wonder what you think. Should churches who interpret the scriptures as you do take communion with wine? I'm not certain about this one in our culture, but I'd appreciate your thoughts.

With gratitude to God for your faithfulness,

Emily

Anonymous said...

What!!!!!???? Drinking is NOT a sin?????
Next, you'll be saying that it is ok to have worship services at a time other than 11am on Sunday morning!!!!!!

Thanks for your level headed and godly approach to confronting the cultural norms that have assumed scriptural import through the years.

Wade Burleson said...

We don't at Emmanuel, but I would not have a problem with a church who does. When we have been overseas with fellow believers we have partipcated in the Lord's Supper using wine.

dr. & mrs. jim roebuck said...

wade,
my wife and i wanted to give you something to think about. we adopted our son when he was 6 days old. it was a joyous day in our life together. to be parents was a dream we had shared for several years. at the age of 1 month we began to find out about our son's problems. his birth mother drank & jon suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome (f.a.s.). this caused jon to suffer a stroke when he was 7 months in the womb. jon can't walk, he can't talk, he's legally blind, & his life expectancy is limited at best. now laying aside all the pros & cons people have been writing, one thing is certain. if jon's birth mother had never drank it would never have triggered the catastrophic events in his life. let's quit throwing stones at each other & point people away from the devil's devices. there will always be others who are affected by the decisions we make.
Dr. & Mrs. Jim Roebuck

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade: FYI ... I'm reporting to my SS class on the convention this morning. The "teaching part" will be 2 things.. one is the things God used me to do that I had not anticipated (1 Cor 2:7-16), and "Conversion over a Glass of Wine".

My newspaper-quoted remark about Baptist and beer-drinking caused quite a stir amongst the church folk and the time is ripe.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

Happy Fathers Day

Bobby Sunderland

pastor-john said...

I probably shouldn't write when I'm tired, as I apparently failed to make myself clear. I value transparency, but I also UNDERSTAND why missionaries often need to be anonymous contributors: security on the one hand based on their location, and concern about a sometimes unforgiving bureaucracy on the other. No problems here about "anonymous m's." Y'all do a great job, & I appreciate you. As for folks in the US: I see no reason why anyone (pastor or lay) should hide behind anonomity. Either have the courage to sign what you write or keep quiet. Reminds me of anonymous letters pastors (including myself) sometimes receive: occasionally true, always cowardly; and related, I rather believe, to triangulation (or as a counselor friend of mine puts it, "strangulation by triangulation").
John Fariss

volfan007 said...

again, who needs alcohol when you are filled with the Holy Spirit?

melissa said...

To the anonymous who blogged after me :) . I'm sorry you are worried about reprisal. I should probably have a bit of fear in me too but the truth is I'm claiming :) 1John 4:17-18 - I think it is healthy and good for us all to share our thoughts and process through what is really happening.

Let me just say this up front. It's been 10 year since we went through and I did not sign anything because I had not taken a drink in over 18 years. I was an abstainer(if you will) until our oldest began bringing the word to us and as a family we sat down and studied the word and made some changes in how we were raising our kids. We as SB's usually put the emphasis on the drink as the sin rather than the outcome and the truth is that it isn't the drink it is our FLESH! Our in ability to use self control. One drink on a birthday, wedding anniversary, or new years is far from over indulgence and this is how and when I have partaken if you will.

Now as for my call? I didn't mean to make it sound like I would for go my call over a drink of wine. My intentions were to say this:

If the Trustees want to say drinking isn't a healthy choice and if you want to serve under us then you have to abstain that is one thing. I would never let a "pleasure" become a roadblock to my obedience to CHRIST! However, what I read on the blogs and the SBC site was that there were some there who were making the case for this RESOLUTION that were "miss" using scripture and making a case that is FALSE!
This was my concern- my concern is when do we as believers stand up and say : FALSE TEACHING!

Let me just say this one more time: 1. I didn't sign anything that said I can't drink. 2. I don't think the sin is in the drink nor do I see the word condemning the DRINK but rather the ABUSE of WINE. 3. AT which point do we stand up and say FALSE TEACHING when the word of GOD is being MISUSED!

I guess to my newness of blogging that I responded a bit prematurely, I had just read all this and gone to the SBC site to read and I'm still not really sure as to why they have RESOLUTIONS and to what real Purpose they hold. But none the less - My final thought is this......... that I just think we need to make certain that we don't just follow blindly and that we make sure we ask the TOUGH questions and take it back to the WORD of GOD. Let that be our weight and balance.!

Go in Peace brother or sister and trust that you have no need to have a red flag... Blogging doesn't offer the face to face opportunities to talk but it is a great way for us all to be involved in a small way.

Trust and know that I'm processing this in new ways and with new information every day!

Blessings,
Melissa

melissa said...

okay and obviously you can see I posted two different responses that said basically the same thing but differently. :) that's because on my blog it show comment immediately. I guess this one has a delay on it? So I thought "Oh my" I lost my comment and I had to re-write it :) ... :) I think the second makes my point much better; )...


OH. the JOYS Of learning this blogging world! :)

Go in Peace all!

melissa

Anonymous said...

Dear Melissa,
Thank you for your clarification, and yes, it is not a face to face conversation, but it's the best we can do at a time like this. I appreciate your willingness to stand up and be counted.

After further clarification, I think the signing was if you had taken a sip of an alcoholic beverage within the last 10 years, one had to sign a paper saying you would abstain as long as you were a representative of the IMB. I think I had to sign something like that because I would have an occasional glass of wine with a meal. Maybe 3-4 times a year. But, I still had to sign it.

With that being said... There is a policy that forbids the use of alcohol as a beverage and you can be dismissed from your service as a IMB representative. It's pretty clear.

Yes, we as IMB Ms do continually weigh what scripture says to what is required of us. Many have 'picked their hill to die on,' and have left our ranks by taking early retirement, resigning, or being fired for their stance. I respect those who have taken a stand for what God has revealed to them though scripture and have had, through integrity, to leave the field. I lost many a friend in the BF&M issue. Some who had over 20 years of service on the field. I still support them in their decisions to stand up for what they believed was right. Even though they have been called 'liberals' by others, I know better because I walked and ministered beside them and know better.

So, I guess what I am saying, is this is the alcohol issue is not the hill I am going to die on. If the new policies recently imposed make it to the field, that may be my hill to die on. I know I will die on the hill when Jerry is replaced by one who walks among the 'good ole boys.' I pray I will not have to take the stand. I pray that all involved will come to their senses and apply to the missionary force what John Floyd asked for SBs to do... “trust these 87 men and women (trustees), who represent a cross-section of our convention, to do the right thing when it needs to be done.”

We have been tried and found true. Let us do our work with the integrity that we have been found to have. Stop imposing the political agendas and personal agendas onto the mission field. Let us be about our work. Trust us. If the trustees would trust us, we may start having the trust back. Have the faith in us to do what God has called us to do. Let us be about 'THE MAIN THING'.

M F R

Anonymous said...

Wade,
One of our pastors was reporting to a group of teachers some of the events of the convention, and I was really disappointed in the way it was reported. He said that some people brought up "social drinking" as an issue. Was this only in response to the resolution on abstinence by the trustees? If so, it's a shame it was repeated that way.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Anonymous,

This is the way it usually happens. Nobody brought up alcohol at the convention except those who wished to exclude Southern Baptists who affirm both abstinence and moderation as a Christian ethic. Some believe unless you demand abstinence of every Southern Baptist you are not a true Southern Baptist.

So the pastor absolutely misrepresented what occurred. All that happened when the resolution for exclusion came about, some individuals spoke against it based upon the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
It's me, Mr. Anonymous again (I've gotta get a blogger account set up...). Would you mind if I shared the original post with this pastor I referenced above? It is beatifully spoken, and I can't offer the personal testimony here that you can. My wife asked me how I responded in the meeting when this issue was reported, and I told her I was still reeling from hearing that we elected "someone whose conservative credentials were in question - we'll see." as president.

Trip "Anon" Rodgers

Anonymous said...

I would warn you to be careful that you are not so concerned about a drop of alcohol not touching your lips that you forget what is REALLY important in the kingdom--what comes OUT of our mouths. We, like the pharasees find it easy to control the "minors" to the detriment of the "majors".

Secondly, watch your back. Remember that the conservative resurgence was 10% about theology and 90% about power. They won't want to share their power with you, either.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Got really tired of reading that Wade is a god and that Wade is godless, in the never-ending argument over the use/non-use of wine in the lives of Believers.

I have a question for Wade. But, let me preface it.

In order for the woman in the story to become a Believer, she had to have been prepared to hear the Gospel as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit. As such, if the dog had shared the Gospel with her over a bowl of Kibbles and Bits, she would have been just as likely to Believe and be saved. Right?

That being said, she most likely had already considered the calling of the Spirit.

So, if "The Baptist Pastor" had said, "Many feel uncomfortable about drinking wine in front of a Baptist pastor. But, this is a fabulous dinner and wine seems appropriate. Please feel free to enjoy a glass with your dinner, if you choose. I will not be offended."

Then, when she asked if he wanted any, he could have simply declined with thanks, adding, "Like many people, I don't drink. Yet, I don't want to prevent you from enjoying your meal."

Here's the question:

Do you think that she became a Believer because you requested wine with your dinner? Or, might she have confessed the name of Christ if you had ignored the wine issue (or declined any offer to partake) and simply shared the Gospel?

Michele said...

Wade,
I originally posted this on another blog, but because you are referenced personally, I felt compelled to post it on yours as well.

"I have followed the debate over the use of alcohol with both interest and great frustration. This is not a new debate. Most Baptists in the US have been debating this issue with many of our Catholic and Episcopal brothers for years. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the body of Christ is edified by the back and forth punches being thrown as Scripture is pulled from its context. I think we would all be better served if each individual involved in this debate would go to scripture and then publish his or her own position statement regarding the consumption of alcohol.

In order to fairly and accurately treat the topic from a scriptural stand point, one would need to address a variety of topics such as:
What does scripture say about the use of wine vs. “strong drink”?
How does the wine we have available today differ (if, at all) from that of Jesus’ day and should that have an impact on our position?
Should our approach to the use of alcohol be modified in light of the culture in which we find ourselves?
If drinking is truly a “grey issue” in the Bible, what responsibility, if any, do we have toward our other brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as non-Christians?
To borrow a phrase from Andy Stanley’s book, The Best Question Ever, I think we must ultimately answer the question, “In light of all scriptural teaching, what is the wise person’s approach to the alcohol debate?”

The problem I have with Wade Burleson’s apparent defense of using alcohol as an “evangelistic tool” is that we do not benefit from knowing his complete biblical teaching on the topic. Personally, I feel his approach with the couple (asking “Where is the wine?”) was not the only option and, arguably, not the best way to lead this woman to follow Christ. Even if Wade believes it was the best way, it does not seem wise, to me, to publish his story on the internet for all to see, including a number of highly impressionable American youth.

Please, resist the temptation to take stabs at one another and do the work to present clearly your own biblically based position on this topic using the “whole counsel of God”. Then, let each one be persuaded in his own mind as to what is right."

sbc pastor said...

Wade,

In reference to your earlier reply to James, do you believe that the "joy" that the Holy Spirit of God brings to an individual is synonymous with a "buzz" from drinking beverage alcohol?

Anonymous said...

Hello Wade, Jeff and I lived in Europe for 8 years and alcohol was used in moderation by most all European Christians we met. We abstained because of our horrible experiences in childhood with alcoholic parents. We were considered odd by these sweet believers. Even the Lord supper had wine instead of grape juice. Your article was well stated.

Pege' Rogers said...

I lived in Europe for a number of years and it is common to drink alcohol with meals there. Christians had no difficulty partaking that were of European heritage and were a little confused about American attitudes concerning this as being a sin. Even the Lord's table had wine served at it. Your teaching has been biblical in this area. I wish American believers would mature in their faith to understand our freedoms in Christ.

sara4444 said...

In one of your blogs, you mentioned Dr.Johnny Hunt's CD, "Why I don't drink alcohol." Do you know how and where I can get a copy of that CD?

naelen said...

I was just wondering.... no one answered the question as to why John the Baptist didn't drink alcohol and why is was stated that he wasn't supposed t (posted by Anonymous on June 14, 2006)?

No response from anyone. Doesn't anyone know?

Here's a thought.. he might not have drunken wine for the same reason Samson didn't cut his hair. he might have been a Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-5).

Anonymous said...

Pastor Wade, with all due respect, how could you suggest that your dinner hostess bring out a bottle of wine to drink with dinner when the Bible clearly says, "Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink..." (Habakkuk 2:15)? For those of you who think that Jesus made an alcoholic beverage at the wedding feast in Cana, you should read the following article:

http://www.gotothebible.com/HTML/didJesusmake.html