Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Centrality of Jesus Christ for Our Fellowship

This morning a group of about twenty five men met at the Grace Place here in Enid for our weekly discipleship meeting. The group is composed of businessmen, farmers, doctors, Air Force pilots, and other men from Emmanuel who meet for the purpose of discipleship and encouragement. This morning we studied the first two chapters of I Corinthians and discussed the causes of divisions within the body of Christ. Corinthian Christians were divided. Paul sought to unite them by reminding the church of the centrality of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross. The Apostle reminded his readers that when we lose sight of 'Christ and him crucified' we lose the basis of our fellowship, for it is the gospel, as applied to our hearts by the Spirit, that forms the basis of our spiritual power and unity.

Almost two years ago I wrote a post entitled Conversion to Christ Over a Glass of Wine. That particular post recounts leading a Roman Catholic woman to faith in Christ, and restoring her marriage to her husband over a meal she had prepared in their home for my wife and me. Though it is my usual custom to practice abstinence and I have never even tasted 'beer,' the recounting of the story of how this woman was brought to the place of recognizing the power of Christ to transform her life has been the focus of a great deal of attention over the past few months in the blog world. Because of it, one blogger concerned with Baptist identity has written an entire series on the sin of drinking wine. Another blogger has posted an email that I am a 'beer-guzzler.' Much has been written about the post, but nobody critical of it has ever asked me about the woman and her husband.

Let me introduce you to them. If you have about five minutes, I would encourage you to watch this past Sunday's worship service at Emmanuel, April 13, 2008. After the first set of worship songs, Kyle and Carol Williams, whose marriage was transformed and lives turned around by the power of Jesus Christ over dinner in their home, share their testimony of involvement in small group ministry at Emmanuel. During their testimony time you will hear how they are currently working with a group of Christians in Poland to establish a Christian Radio Network that will reach every city of that country. They continue to be active leaders in our church, evangelistic in their outreach to Enid's business community, and now use their wealth to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.

Our discussion in small group discipleship reminded me of this couple. Kyle Williams was there. He shared that his understanding of the gospel caused him to only use his wine collection in moderation, always avoids drunkenness, and has been able to lead others to Christ through his testimony. Another man at the discipleship group, Brent Price, shared how he used his personal conviction of abstinence has been used by God to lead basketball teammates to Christ. The professional basketball players around whom Brent spent several years of his life had no concept of moderation, and as Brent would eat dinner with them, and abstain, his abstinence would cause conversation to turn to Christ. Brent was a wonderful example to his teammates of the power of the Spirit to control fleshly appetites. I know the difficulties Brent faced as a Christian in the professional basketball world because when I was with Brent in Houston in the mid 1990's, his Houston Rockets teammate, Charles Barkley, invited me to go with him to the strip club - and that was after he found out I was Brent's pastor.

Kyle and Brent take different approaches on how they relate to the world around them. Both Kyle and Brent are Southern Baptists and two of the finest Christian men I know. During our meeting this morning Kyle affirmed Brent in his convictions and Brent affirmed Kyle in his. To me, that is an example of Christian unity. The ability to rally around the essentials of the faith and give freedom to tertiary issues is the key to Christian unity. There are areas where Scripture does not give either a direct command or clear prohibition. We will be healthier as a convention when we base our Southern Baptist fellowship and cooperation on the centrality of Jesus Christ and him crucified and resist the urge to demand others conform to any other identity of our own making.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...


Why is it that you did not ask for a glass of water? Do you really feel that drinking that glass of wine helped the Lord save this couple? How sad.

You wrote... "those areas where Scripture does not give either a direct command or prohibition."

The bible says in 1 Timothy 3:3... and this is a list of the qualifications of a Pastor or Bishop... "Not given to wine..." Now you and Lucy, Lin, Chris and others can explain how that in the original language this prohibition does not apply to you.

I agree we should rally around Christ and not divide over non-essentials, we just disagree on the essentials. I might also point out that the Bible warns us to abstain from the very appearance of evil. Why did you not go to the stip club and try to win Charles Barkley to the Lord?

Sorry if this seems harsh, I am a rather straight forward and blunt person. As my pastor used to say... "Blunt speech is easily understood!" :)

Joe W.

wadeburleson.org said...


If you actually observe the sacred text itself, the phrase is 'much wine,' translated 'drunkenness' in the ESV and other translations.

Drunkenness is a sin, as it would be to lust after another woman, so I refrain from both.



Bob Cleveland said...

Joe W,

I take it you didn't read the original post, or you wouldn't have asked a stupid question. And your misuse of scripture reveals a lot. I hope it's not indicative.

Sorry if this seems harsh, but blunt speech is easily understood.

Wade, delete this if you deem it appropriate to do so, but I had to say it.

I did watch the video and your point is well proven.

Anonymous said...

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'

WTJeff said...

I think this post is pretty indicative of the problems that exist within the SBC. I can't for the life of me see how someone would have any problem with this post. It seems so straight forward and indicative of the liberty we have in Christ. On the other hand, guys like Joe W. seemed to be the polar opposite. They can't for the life of them see how Wade could have consumed wine, regardless of the outcome with this couple.

The overall implication is clear...either we see each other as brothers/sisters in Christ and acknowledge the liberty Christ gives us or we will continue to fight and be known more for what we're against rather than what we're for. Resolution is needed so we can move forward with reaching an increasing lost nation.



Kevin Bussey said...


Praise God for transformed lives. What you are describing is freedom we have in Christ that is called "Grace."

Since I joined a new church recently I have been stretched. I went to the U2 3D movie recently with some of our new church members. At dinner 2 of them drank a beer. I did not. Part of me was glad it was on the other side of town. (still struggling with legalism) But they asked me about my stance on alcohol and I told them I don't drink because as one of their pastors I don't want to be a stumbling block. They were OK with it and I'm fine with them.

Both of these men are very active in our church and have a heart for reaching the community. Man, I hate it when God shatters my box!

Blessings to you and your ministry!

Anonymous said...

My only comment to this thread is as follows:

"What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice."


Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

It is not a sin to drink alcohol. You are trying to add to the Bible and that sir is a sin.

Anonymous said...


That is your best comment ever in my opinion, not that you need my approval or ask for it. I just really appreciate your word there.


I am so glad to hear Kyle's story. I was blessed by Kyle this past year and did not know anything about him or why he chose to bless my family with a gift. it is wonderful to hear a bit of his story here. Please tell him "hello" from this missionary and that we appreciate his love and prayers.

wtjeff, I agree with what you said and was shocked by the first comment. Praise God that He loves us even when we let our tongues run amuck.

Anonymous said...


You wrote... "Resolution is needed so we can move forward with reaching an increasing lost nation."

I know this is not what you meant, but here is a list of resolutions (75 to be exact) with the latest one coming in 2006 on the SBC and Alcohol... http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/AMResSearchAction.asp?SearchBy=Keyword&DisplayRows=10&frmData=alcohol

Liberty is not license...

For misuse of scripture please see the first 6 parts of the Biblical Primer on Women in the Ministry.

Joe W.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it that you did not ask for a glass of water? Do you really feel that drinking that glass of wine helped the Lord save this couple? How sad."

Joe, think for a moment. This woman prepared a meal at her home, set the table and served wine that was probably very normal for them.

So Wade is going to embarass her by making it known he does not drink even ONE glass of wine because he is so holy. So, now she feels like an idiot and becomes worried about other mistakes she might be making without realizing it. But one thing she would know: It is too hard to fellowship with Joe. I don't know the rules.

Better to offend the hostess than to go against the extra biblical teachings of man?


Anonymous said...


i feel i better give props to bro. paul as those are his words in his epistle to the saints at philippi...


*and we all know that i take paul at his word. :)

Anonymous said...

Brian even in quoting truth, KMC has to get his dig in - notice that he italicized pretence in that verse.

Love the consistency however KMC - lets not be truly inspired by changed loves!

Nice to have you here now that JLG has left the building

Jim Champion

Anonymous said...


I am not trying to add to the Bible, only follow it. A Bishop sir, is to be blameless.

I have liberty to do many things, yet for the sake of a weaker brother or sister in Christ, as well as for a testimony to a lost and dying world... I cannot partake. Only in a world this sick could a preacher taking a stand against alcohol be labeled as committing a sin.

Joe W.

John Daly said...

We were on a mission trip and our hostess worked very hard on our meal. She provide me with a huge slab of…goat. I went so far out of my way not to offend that I asked for seconds. And no, it didn’t taste like chicken.

I'm not saying we should down a whole bottle as not to offend but we shouldn't make sour grapes out of this issue. (I'm not a comedian but I did spend the night in a Holiday Inn express last night.)

Anonymous said...


You wrote... "Better to offend the hostess than to go against the extra biblical teachings of man?"

Not so... I just like pointing out inconsistencies. Wade understands that lusting after women is sin, so he avoids the strip club. He was not concerned with offending Sir Charles, yet Charles gives the invitation after learning that Wade is a pastor.

Why then... knowing that drunkeness is a sin, did Wade not avoid the alcohol like he did the strip club?

Joe W.

Anonymous said...

Joe W,

I noticed that you have not addressed Wade's answer to you, but have addressed others.

Knowing some of Wade's theological persuasion, I believe he wants to obey from his heart the law of Christ as found in the New Testament.

If Wade has misinterpreted 1 Timothy 3:3 in his response to you, could you share where he errs in his understanding?



Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

This post by Wade is not about drunkeness no more than it is about lying, gluttony, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think everyone here should read Galatians. A nice book found in the bible that explains a lot of the issue being discussed. Why would anyone ever think that having a new law (and especially drawing a circle around a law) would be good?

I believe if the church would for once preach that Christians had liberty, there would be many in the churches that would realize they were not Christians. If we proclaimed the liberty that we truly have in Christ, then asked everyone to look back upon their lives to see what they did with that liberty, it would be revealing as to whether the Holy Spirit was indeed sanctifying them and many would see no evidence of the Spirit and could subsequently be led to Christ knowing they had never been born-agian.

As it is now, we preach law to our congregations and because we are bound by law, when we look upon our life we see "Good deed" like abstenence, and mistaken this deed as the work of the Spirit. I believe because we preach a new law, many are deceived into thinking their good deeds are proof of their salvation, when in fact it is simply a legalistic approach void of any true conversion of the heart.

Preach liberty and let's let the Spirit work!


Anonymous said...


You wrote... "If Wade has misinterpreted 1 Timothy 3:3 in his response to you, could you share where he errs in his understanding?"

I have done so in each post, yet will endeavor to do so once more. Hear these words, not from me, but from Matthew Henry.

"If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love to Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office. A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. He must be of good repute among his neighbours, and under no reproach from his former life."

Again I ask... where is the consistency?

Joe W.

wadeburleson.org said...

I think you may be confusing the issue for lack of an understanding of one's motive or the work of the Spirit in a Christian's life.

My motive for drinking the glass of wine was not to get drunk. I can think of very few motives that are good as to why someone might go to a strip club. A few might be emergency personnel to break up a fight, or a father to rescue a daughter from a horrible lifestyle, or an undercover officer to arrest a criminal, etc . . .

A Christian who goes to the strip club is usually going with the motive of lust. I can assure you that my motive to drink the glass of wine was to 'become all things to all people' in order that I might win some. Of course, I would have never participated in the violation of the biblical standard - drunkenness.

The fact that you cannot see the difference between consuming a glass of wine at dinner in someone's home and paying a cover charge to enter the doors of a strip club is evident that you consider even drinking a glass of wine, or having a glass of beer 'sin,' regardless of the motive. The hosts of the dinner were wine collectors and no more considered drinking a glass of wine 'sin' than you and I consider drinking tea a 'sin.' And, since I am cherish the sacred text, I believe that drunkenness is the sin, not the consumption of a glass of wine - though I personally usually choose to abstain for other motives and reasons. If the Lord clearly convicts you that a glass of wine is a sin for you (as is the personal conviction of Brent Price), then all fellowship around the Jesus Christ with others who disagree is a personal humility that not all Christians are led by the Spirit the same, and love for those who are different.

I can assure that even Charles Barkley knows the difference between the motives for going to the strip club and that of drinking a glass of wine as a guest in a home.

Alan Paul said...

Wow Joe - you picked 4 words out of the entire new testament (while ignoring the clear command to not get drunk) and you establish a new commandment for us all based on those four words. Wow.

greg.w.h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
greg.w.h said...

Jerry Grace had a good post a few months ago on how we know a lot more about alcohol now than we used to, and our knowledge should lead us to treat it as the toxin that it is. I like that approach because it teaches wisdom instead of rules. (It's worth noting that the reason alcohol is an effective antiseptic is also because of the toxic effect of alcohol, by the way. But modern wines also usually contain sulfites to minimize bacteria that are also wine-bibbers...so to speak.)

If Jesus was satisfied with the rule-based living that was occurring around the time he was born, why would he bother dying on the cross? There must have been something about it that wasn't sufficient. And he spent more than a little bit of his effort expositing to his own disciples exactly which kinds of behavior didn't hit the mark (i.e. were sinful.)

One of my dad's favorite sermon subjects--he preaches a lot in other churches both in supply and as an interim and has over the years--is the story of the prodigal son. He likes to point out that there were TWO prodigals in the household: the older brother also had a heart issue that he wasn't willing to address or to forsake. So while the younger brother returned to the Father, the older one hadn't.

While we Christians read that as the Jews, Jesus undoubtedly intended it to mean those that didn't accept that the requirements of the Law were being fulfilled through Grace. And today there are many that still do not accept the Scandalon that is Grace.

I see nothing wrong with a Southern Baptist choosing teetotaling or even teaching it as a matter of wisdom. But Southern Baptists traditionally haven't been able to restrain their worst instincts and insist on institutionalizing this "wisdom" that they have discovered in the Bible. It is NOT missing the mark to drink wine. You shouldn't sign up to a church covenant that has the traditional anti-alcohol statement in it and then drink wine, though, but who is requiring you to sign up to that Covenant and to treat it as the force of law?

If you answer "the weaker brother that wrote it and used the human political process to ensconce it in the local congregation", you're getting very close to the truth of the situation.

I counsel you, therefore, Joe W. to seek to be a stronger brother who understands and accepts that the Holy Spirit works with us individually. Such a stronger brother/sister will no longer rely on legalism to try and conform another Christian to the eikon of Christ Jesus.

That God redeems our sin so that it no longer has a penalty is not the completion of the redemption story. He also redeems the same sin so that it becomes a lesson in our conformation to the eikon of Christ Jesus and that is...as Paul Harvey is known to say (no relation by the way, and Harvey is an adopted stage name for him)...the rest of the story.

We aren't in charge of making people perfect. We're in charge of helping them understand that God forgives the sin because of the spilled blood of Christ Jesus. In order for drinking wine to be a sin, that blood would have to lose its power because that view makes Jesus a sinner. It is only by faith that we can appropriate that forgiveness and only by faith that it is imputed to us AS righteousness ("and that not of ourselves, so that no one can boast.") It isn't faith that declares drinking alcohol a sin. It is folly.

But there is wisdom in counseling that alcohol's intake as a mood changing substance should be done with great consideration and personal assessment, especially taking into account some of the more toxic influences of the drug. And those that conclude it should never be ingested are to be commended for making the tougher choice...at least as long as they recognize that there is not even one iota more righteousness in their decision than another Christian deciding to drink with moderation. Not one. And even the argument that teetotaling is WISER than moderation is a difficult one to prove beyond a shadow of doubt.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

"Why then... knowing that drunkeness is a sin, did Wade not avoid the alcohol like he did the strip club?"

Because a glass of wine is not automatic drunkeness.

Let us get to the heart of the matter. Was the wine in the bible fermented or not? I have seen some serious mental gymnastics by some to prove it wasn't. If it wasn't then why the admonition to not get drunk?


Lin said...

" A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. He must be of good repute among his neighbours, and under no reproach from his former life."
Again I ask... where is the consistency?"

Where is the irony since Paul
told Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach. :o)

Sobering, huh?

Bill said...

If exercising liberty is a sin, then it is not liberty. Good grief. These people were not weaker brethren. They were lost.

I almost get the impression that people prefer that these people remain lost than that our "baptist identity" (how I am coming to hate that phrase) be violated.

No one is calling for the use of alcohol as an evangelism tool. It was a situation and an opportunity. One that called for a decision on what was more important, baptist identity or putting a defensive person at ease for the chance to share the Gospel.

Kelly Reed said...


Those mental gymnastics are better called:

The Baptist Two-Step or Polka

It's the closest some Baptists will ever get to Dancing.

Lin said...

Bill, Thanks for explaining it so well. I was thinking just now that being around drinkers in a bar would NEVER be a temptation to me or cause me to sin personally by getting drunk.

But, boy could I sin at the bookstore spending what I should not spend on tons of history books that I love to read that would take me away from scripture for long periods.

Kevin Bussey said...

why is it that Wade shares a life changing story and some get more caught up in a glass of wine than the fact lives were changed?

Anonymous said...


You said "A Bishop sir, is to be blameless."

Is this what I am supposed to take as engaging 1 timothy 3:3 without defining what blameless is according to the text?

I'm talking about showing a little exegesis, not a little Matthew Henry.



Tom Parker said...


Sadly they just do not see this as Great News!! How sad.

Anonymous said...


Shall I try once more? Why not?

1 Timothy 3:3... "Not given to wine..."

A primary particle of qualified negation (whereas G3756 expresses an absolute denial); (adverbially) not, (conjugationally) lest; also (as interrogitive implying a negative answer [whereas G3756 expects an affirmative one]); whether: - any, but, (that), X forbear, + God forbid, + lack, lest, neither, never, no (X wise in), none, nor, [can-] not, nothing, that not, un [-taken], without. Often used in compounds in substantially the same relations.

From G3844 and G3631; staying near wine, that is, tippling (a toper): - given to wine.

Because as Proverbs 20:1 points out... "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."

If we must partake of alcohol to win some people to the Lord... what must we do win others. How far are you willing to take this line of thought? What really suprises me, is that this line of thought comes from people who supposedly believe in the sovereignty of God and are reformed.

God does not need your help to touch a heart. He could just as easily convicted this couple of their sin if Wade had drank the water or tea she prepared. Where oh where is the consistency? Let's make sure we give credit where credit is due. It was not Wade suggesting he drink a glass of wine that changed this couples lives, Kevin.

Joe W.

Debbie Kaufman said...

why is it that Wade shares a life changing story and some get more caught up in a glass of wine than the fact lives were changed?

Because that is what legalism does. It looks to his own law instead of grace, not seeing how God could use such a thing.

BB said...


Yes and Amen to this posting.

As a sidebar before making my main observation, you do realize that IMB missionaries would not be able to follow your example here and avoid giving offense to their host/hostess without violating their commitment to the BFM?

I have observed that most posters on this website go to great lengths to prove, or at least verbally attest, that their views or beliefs are based on scripture. I recall my history professor at SWBTS delineating the differentces between Catholics and Baptists - one difference being that Catholics rely on tradition while Baptists rely solely on scripture.

I've lived a few years since that class and I think that anyone of us is extremely shortsighted in affirming our commitment to, and practice of, Sola Scriptura. No one comes to the scriptures with an untainted world view or cultural view. We come with well-set thought patterns, world and cultural views, recognized, as well as unrecognized, prejudices - all formed by the influences of our teachers, our cultures, our families, our mothers and fathers in the faith, our churches, our various church histories and teachings, our traditions . . .

Everyone brings, it seems to me, so much attendant baggage to the scripture that any affirmation we make to interpreting the scripture apart from all that other "stuff" seems a bit arrogant (no, I did not call anyone arrogant - I do see, however, where you could get that). In the light of all the above, it seems to me that it would behoove all God's children to embrace an open and "generous orthodoxy". I use that last phrase with full cognizance that I lay myself open to multiple potshots and lobs of fire and brimstone, but I can't help myself - feeling it one of my callings in life to provoke others to think more deeply than they might otherwise.

Just some of my musings.

BB in KY

wadeburleson.org said...


Nobody ever said the glass of wine converted Carol. The Holy Spirit converted Carol to faith in Christ through the proclamation of the gospel. It just so happens that Carol opened her heart and mind to actually hear the message, from a messenger she thought she would despise (a Baptist preacher), because that preacher was not interested in following written or unwritten Baptist identity 'rules,' rules which would have turned off the Roman Catholic from listening to his message, as much as he concerned with simply showing the importance of the centrality of the gospel of Christ in his life.

Lin said...

Joe, Paul is talking about 'too much wine':

1 Tim 3

8(A) Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued,[a](B) not addicted to much wine,(C) not greedy for dishonest gain.

Or else he would be a hypocrite here:

1 Tim 5
23(No longer drink only water, but(A) use a little wine(B) for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)


Would Timothy be 'blameless' not above reproach for taking a little wine?

John Moeller said...


I supported you when the original post was published, and time has proven your choice correct!

Not offending, being all things to all people, and knowing how to show grace to a lost family is one of your gifts!

Just like with all the gifts, there will always be those who pharisaically judge you, and you know what Jesus said about that....

Keep up the Grace Wade, we love you for that!

Christopher B. Harbin said...


We definitely have our traditions!

Joe W.,

I agree wholeheartedly with you that the end does not justify the means. I have to say, however, that the Bible is not quite so clear on alcohol being evil as you seem to interpret.

While pastoring in Appomattox County, VA, I had the privilege to read some of the association's history. 200 years ago, Baptists gathered at the associational meetings, passing around the alcoholic cup of fellowship. It was not until the social prohibition movement that Baptists picked up on this abstinence only motif.

Joe, while you would have us ask our theological forefathers about women in ministry, why not ask them about the consumption of alcohol? We don't even have to go back to Luther and Calvin to find that they drank alcohol. It was the ONLY beverage onboard for those traveling to the New World.

Why would Jesus turn water into wine, if all should abstain? This is a religio-cultural issue of tradition, not Scripture.

Anonymous said...

Deuteronomy 14:26 (22-29 for whole passage) ... God, speaking in the first person, and giving specific parameters for His tithe, gives His people license to exchange their tithe for silver and use it to buy "wine or other fermented drink" or "whatever you wish."
It's God doing the talking, not Paul. And God would never suggest His people sin, whether OT or NT.

Patricia Jones

Anonymous said...

Joe W,

You silly guy you.

Wade said "If you actually observe the sacred text itself, the phrase is 'much wine,' translated 'drunkenness' in the ESV and other translations."

Is Wade out in left field here, claiming to be rubber duckey, in need of Oprah or what?


P.S. I only ask that you be blunt this time.

Anonymous said...

I'm in need of a dictionary:

It's rubber duckie, not rubber duckey

[hitting my forehead at this point]:)

Anonymous said...

I have for a long time held that the SBC could be as useful in the future as it has in the past. My prayer is that it can. I only hope that the remarks on this page are not indicative of those in the pews, otherwise I am discouraged. If we can argue to such lengths about drinking, when nobody is advocating drunkenness, but simply the consumption of a drink that Jesus consummed himself (which begs the WWJD question), then how in the world are we going to cooperate for missions when there are so many other issues that we can argue over after this one is resolved next millennia.

Wade, your point that narrowing the parameters will limit missions in the future is WELL taken. It isn't that the parameters will be narrowed, but that the process it takes to narrow them will kill the SBC.


Anonymous said...

Don't despair. Jesus faced the very same attitudes 2000 years ago. He too was called a "winebibber" by the "religionists". These are the very same people who, when Jesus healed the paralytic on the Sabbath, complained about the newly healed man carrying his mat, instead of rejoicing with him (John 5). The saddest part is that the Pharisees were blind to their arrogance and legalism, as many SBC'ers are today. To be judged and put down by this group puts you in pretty good company!

david b mclaughlin said...

Thanks for adding pictures to your posts.

Nice touch!

David Mc

david b mclaughlin said...

Joe W.

This may horrify you and the rest of the list...

but while I wouldn't go wandering around in a strip club looking for some random soul to save, I would not hesitate to walk straight in one if I needed to reach out to a friend or someone in need.

Flame away!
David Mc

PS-The word verification is asking me to type "mecca".

This is proof that Wade is a closet Muslim.

Gram said...

oh my word, here we go.......

davidinflorida said...


The comments don`t make a difference, you are where you need to be.

Christ and Him crucified.....whatever it takes to get someone to seek repentence.

You get it....they don`t

Anonymous said...

I'm a Catholic that sometimes visits this blog. I just finished a nice brandy with some club soda mixed in, it was very tasty. I think I'll have another before praying the rosary with special intentions for the Pope.

Reading all of these comments never fails to make me more settled in my faith. I can't understand an offshoot of a faith tradition that's been around for what, almost four centuries, still debating matters like temperance, tongue speaking, baptism, calvinism, women in ministry, authority, et cetera, without much indication that matters will soon be put to rest. Isn't the Bible supposed to be your infallible guide in all things regarding faith and morals? If so, why so much conflict?

It's a wonder all of you don't do some serious drinking.

A V Pepper

A Pepper

Alan Stoddard said...

The issue of alcohol use is tricky. I tend to lean toward two ideas: 1) Alcohol use is permitted in Scripture in moderate use, and 2) I don't use it because it would mess up my witness more times than it would help.

I'm excited for the people who came to Christ during the visit and how they have become functional followers of Jesus. Yet I'm not convinced their experience proves the moderation method of evangelism. It's always hard to argue against a view when saved people are the picture of success. Who is going to argue against that?

I was a serious drunk before I became a believer. The sin associated with my actions were not good either.

Our problem in Baptist life is not with exegesis. It is with application.

I won't say what could have happened other than what did happen in the past.

I can say I would not feel any obligation to compromise my Scriptural beliefs to witness to someone. I would gracefully explain my gratitude as I simply stated, "I don't drink." I could have done it without being legalistic. It would not have bothered me if they drank. I expect that because they are lost. Even if saved, I won't have a fit over it.

I'm not legalistic because of my position. Am I?

Anonymous said...

Catholic Pepper,

No one on here (and I speak for everyone) cares whether or not you want to drink wine or beer, or roll a joint if you so choose. What we ALL care about is that you understand that salvation is by faith through grace plus NOTHING. There is one mediator between God and man and His name is Christ Jesus. You cannot find eternal life in tradition, nor obtain salvific grace through the sacraments. We would all earnestly plead with you to test your faith by Scripture--God's Word. We as Baptists have our traditions. But none of them are tied to salvation. They are tied to Godly living. Please reject the traditions of man which claim to lead to salvation in Christ. Please seek a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, God's only Son. Ask Him into your heart. Repent to Christ of your sins once and for all. Pray only to the Father in heaven through His Son. Mary and the Saints who are with God are without body and form. They exist in bosom of Abraham, they exist in the glory of Glory of God. One day we will see them only if we believe. But it is for God's glory and His glory alone that we believe through the power of the Holy Spirit.

May the Spirit draw you near to Christ.



Anonymous said...

David in Florida,

i have 2 problems with this statement: "whatever it takes to get someone to seek repentence"

1: Not you, not I, not Wade, nor anyone else on the planet now or ever, will EVER "get someone to seek repentance." That work is entirely the job of the holy Spirit and He alone.

2: "Whatever it takes" is not biblical. Paul said "by all means possible." Not all things are possible if one is to use the whole of Scripture.


wadeburleson.org said...


With your background with alcoholism I would think that total abstinence is the only wise and prudent policy for you, and I would think that every Christian would respect that and help you to never violate that conviction.

Steve said...

When I worked in education, part of my job was to show pictures to students and have them respond. One day I showed this large, busy, complicated picture to a boy, and he surprised me by zeroing in on a tiny part and talking about it when no one else ever had. I looked, and that part was less than a thousandth of the whole picture and had no impact on its meaning. It was the ONLY thing he noticed about the scene and literally could NOT focus on what was going on, etc.

I think maybe that boy has a fine future ahead of him in the area of religious legalism and authoritarianism. To pick one word out of an entire description and miss the meaning of the passage completely!

Wade, you just keep on telling it like it happened. Going to young adults and winning them - that's how the church will prosper.

Greg Harvey, you're right again, of course.

P.S.: Time to check my medicine - I'm starting to like reading Crowder's stuff.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's just throw common sense right out the window.

The misery that alcohol abuse causes in our world every day should lead any mature person, and certainly any pastor, to recognize that the best road to promote is total abstinence.

One drink of wine, maybe does not constitute "drunkenness". But the alcoholic intake of one glass of wine begins to give one a warm fuzzy feeling, especially for those not adept to drinking on a regular basis. You begin to become less inhibited, say things that you would not say without having that one drink. Then there are those of us who seem to have the DNA to become alcoholics and the introduction of one glass of wine creates a desire for another. Maybe YOU do not have that inclination, but the one with whom YOU are a model may.

Then you consider all the people that are aware that you have had that "one drink". Many do not accept that this is the only drink you have ever had. They use you as an example to justify their drinking.

Few people that drink socially never have occasion to get intoxicated eventually. That one time of over-doing it at the New Year's celebration could be the time they cross the line and kill someone on the highways. Ask the families of those killed by drunk drivers what they think about telling people, "It's okay to have one drink."

No, you don't have to offend those who do not relate to a church culture. I their culture, drinking may be the norm. I have explained why I no longer drink to Italian friends who consider drinking wine as natural as drinking water. I explained in a way that showed respect and love for them and which not only did not offend them, but earned their respect for my personal convictions. The fact that they subsequently invited me to their home and to eat with them frequently testified to me that we were still close friends.

Given the use of carefully chosen words, we do not have to compromise our ideals in order to not appear to be judging others who have different positions.

So, you go ahead and argue for the Scriptural basis of drinking a glass of wine. Although it breaks my heart to see Baptist leaders as advocates of that position, that's their chosen path to take if they choose.

I prefer to be able to simply say, "No thank you. I don't drink."

Anonymous said...

"There is one mediator between God and man and His name is Christ Jesus."

Women, too? Are you sure that after reading comments here, Mr. Pepper, may not think that Baptist women must be sanctified by their husbands..their earthly priests?

And what about pastors...aren't we to be under their authority? Kinda like a Pope?

Alyce Faulkner said...

Wade, I can't believe it been two years since that post. I loved it then and now to hear how God has blessed and matured this couple is indeed something to rejoice about.
We have a 37 yr old man who has been living with us for 7 month. He has been sober for 7 months for the first time in his life. I thank God for delivering him.
Needless to say we don't drink here, we didn't before he came. But like many have said here, I'm much more interested in hearing about the transforming power of Christ than I am about what beverage you had with dinner.

John Daly said...

Mr. Pepper,

While we may have internal, intramural debates–and vigorous ones at that–this is within the context of the imputation of Christ. That He has taken our sin and has given us His righteousness. We don’t cooperate with His Grace, we accept it; we don’t have any doubts about our future home for His active obedience to the Law and His passive obedience in death and His marvelous resurrection is indeed sufficient. Christ did His work (ONCE)on the cross to placate the wrath of God and our confidence remains in Him alone.

So throw your stones at us, your insults, we still implore you to come out of your man made trappings–here we stand, we can do no other.

John in the STL

Christopher B. Harbin said...

"I don't use it because it would mess up my witness more times than it would help."

From my experience, the concerns here are really about witness among believers, but not really with those outside of the church. I have not found that unbelievers are phased by a believer having a drink. If anything, I have found it to work just the opposite way. They see the believer with a drink as someone who is not there to judge their behavior, but to love them.

Wade, thanks again for clarifying for us all that Christ Jesus is the center, focus, and source of our unity and commitment. That was the point of the sermon at last night's meeting of the Piedmont Baptist Association here in Virginia.

No flame throwing here. I would agree with you, though it would be a tough challenge. (We will have to keep our eyes open for other hidden Islamic references...)

On the missionfield, it was necessary for us to take a folk dance class as an entryway into a closed population group. It was a struggle for me to step out against a whole lot of tradition, even though I knew there was no problem with dancing itself. What we found out, however, was that the group we were seeking to reach held to higher morality concerns in some expressions than our local Baptist churches did.

As to the alcohol served, it did indeed reduce inhibitions. When someone would get drunk, they would make a beeline towards me to ask questions of theology, church history, and Baptist heritage. No, I did not need to drink there, but I did need not to criticize others for their different ways, just build bridges of love and concern to open the door to sharing faith, love, and grace.

greg.w.h said...


Your comments make the argument very well that in order to drink wine responsibly, we need the transformation that God offers. And once we have that transformation, alcohol becomes a poor substitute for the infilling of the Holy Spirit that brings to our lives a sense of completion that misuse of alcohol can never bring.

At least that's what I think Paul meant when he offers the implicit contrast between "not being drunk with wine" and "being filled with the Spirit." That is an argument from wisdom that does not require a "rule" to be enforced. In order for us to grow up in Christ Jesus, we need to let go of the rules and live in relationship to him. The rules are crutches for listening to the whispering voice of the Spirit as God is available to guide us--in an experience I've heard repeatedly described as "soft nudges"--in practically every decision we make.

When God doesn't seem to be answering, the nudges are still there, but they're usually softer and sometimes it seems God isn't nudging at all but counting on us to make decisions that are inherently consistent with the path he has been nudging us down. And sometimes he even allows Satan to rain down pain and suffering in our lives and simply waits to see how our faith in him directs our choicemaking.

All of these kinds of situations require a maturity that is well beyond enforcing rules. And building those rules to enforce over the conscience of people who truly are listening to God is insulting both to God and to those people.

Demanding teetotaling is no different than Pharisees saying you can't wear shoes with nails in them on the Sabbath. It's a hedge against permitting the individual believer the liberty to make the good decision without being coerced. It's the same liberty that goes with seeing NC17 movies, speaking "swear" words, playing poker, going to Las Vegas to "game", and so forth.

In fact, it is the same liberty we received in the Garden of Eden when God restricted us from eating from the tree. I say us because Paul's comments suggest it was as if we were there when Adam and Eve sinned, almost as if WE are the great cloud of witnesses to THAT sin. And by counterposition, the writer of Hebrews uses the exact same argument--not rulemaking--in order to convince believers to behave in a way that is heroic in the sight of God.

We have a unique opportunity to become as a group of people who God REALLY intends us to be not by moralizing on drinking, but by teaching imputed righteousness seeks God's leadership and lives gratitude out loud by following that leadership to the best of our ability to discern it. We can break with tradition right now and establish a thoughtful approach to life that doesn't depend on rule crutches (while, arguably, still keeping in sight the wisdom that was placed in each rule.)

That's how Jesus lived his life. And as we conform to the image of who he is (I AM!), we grow a new sense of liberty that is found in being exactly who God desires us to be without being self-righteous at all.

That is why this is such an important discussion. Without that, our self-moralizing and self-rule-writing is pride. And the fact that you used the term 'earned' when talking about your friends respecting your convictions is precisely the point where pride entered your explanation. There is nothing for them to admire in you not taking a drink of alcohol with them. It's simply a choice you've made to be a teetotaler. Not even Jesus made that choice according to the Bible. Have you exceeded HIS righteousness through YOUR choice?

And if you haven't, how do you justify your heartbreak that some Baptists view this as a non-issue?

Greg Harvey

Jon L. Estes said...

I never have had a drink, that I know of. I did have a coke at a high school football game that made me feel real good, but no absolutes to it being spiked.

One of the compelling reasons I refuse to drink is that I want my children to not drink. I don't want them to even be tempted to accept the moderation mantra, try a drink and become addicted. I don't want to have a policeman stand at my door and tell me my child caused a wreck while drinking and driving, knowing all along it was my influence which gave the OK to consume alcohol.

Maybe I could keep it under control for myself but I must always be aware of who I am influencing and is such influence going to help come to know Christ and have them walk soberly before Christ.

Therefore, since the bible does not command that we should not drink it would seem the best path to take for a believer, and those who God has placed under them to influence, to choose to abstain.

The human cost of drinking is way to high to even have this debate among American Christians where the land of the free and home of the brave bury to many children and others due to this drug of choice.

Anonymous said...

KMC - Others might begin to like what you are saying such as the guy above, but you will never fool a lover of God's word with your own nonsense mixed in.

You said to Catholic Pepper, "What we ALL care about is that you understand that salvation is by faith through grace plus NOTHING."

Are you trying to quote Ephesians? Is this another "innocent mistake" by you just as you attributed a quote from Piper to the catechism in the last post?

Do you really have a foot-shaped mouth?

Ephesians 2:8 says,
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.

This is the NIV so maybe you can follow it. Do you see that we are not saved by faith through grace as you said. Do you have enough snap to know the difference here? Your reckless comments are leading me to believe that you do not.

You get angry at Wade when he leads a catholic to Christ when he could have tore her down with a stupid conversation about alcohol, but you feel okay with pushing a catholic further away by misquoting scripture?

Please stay away from the pulpit until you have studied more and your testing is complete

...and you pass!

I hate having to portray this kind of attitude toward you. But as everyone here knows, you won't have it any other way. You think you know everything, even when you are hit between the eyes with facts that prove differently.

Lord have mercy on us all. Especially me!

Jon L. Estes said...

Anon 10:15

Are you referring to me as "the guy above"?

Please share how I like what KMC is saying? I quit reading his entries due to the perceived attitude he was displaying. I simply shared my opinion and concerns about drinking.

If you find a parallel with what KMC is saying and how, please demonstrate.

If you think my position holds no water, please enlighten.

I'm willing to discuss this with you without comparing you to anyone else and hold you to no ones words but your own.

david b mclaughlin said...

I'm a protestant (though I hate the word) but I'm also a little off put by the not so subtle assumption in KMC's post that the Catholic in question is not a Christian.

Yes, trust me, I clearly understand the doctrinal problems with the official teachings of Rome. But I know many Catholics that I believe are genuine believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. To assume one is not without getting to know them is an insult to them, in my humble opinion which I greatly respect.

David Mc

John Daly said...

I’m a Protestant and I’m still protesting…not against individuals but against official teachings. We are not to weigh hearts but doctrines that are clearly available for all to compare against the light of Holy Writ. The very core of how a person is justified is what separates the two, the gap is indeed wide.

Who am I to examine another’s heart? If a person claims however, to believe and adhere to a certain set of teachings that are found wanting then who am I not to examine?

Tim Greer said...

Thanks for your post.
All Christians agree that drunkenness is a sin, just like gluttony or lying are sins. I myself hold to the moderationist view of alcohol. I have no problems with anyone who holds the abstentionist view if they can hold it without binding others by their own conscience, in violation of I Cor 10:29. But I fear those who hold the prohibitionist view ("Wine is inherently evil, and any use of alchohol is sinful by definition,") are false teachers. If wine is sin, we have no Savior. If people would read their Bible, they would realize the prohibitionist view is out of bounds for Christians and is a cancerous legalism.

Alan Stoddard said...


I can't refute your point that drinking with unbelievers can gain buy-in. It seems the place of drinking is often the wrong place to be. I see your point, but am not sure how far we should use this method. I'm not sure it's required to accomplish something good for the Lord.


Christopher B. Harbin said...

jon estes,

My wife reviewed a study in seminary about alcoholism and faith traditions. Ctholics had the highest incidence of alcoholism. Baptists were next. The lowest were Jews.
Catholics tend to say, "Go for it!" Baptists tend to say, "Abstain!" Jews teach moderation.

We do children a disservice if we do not teach them by example to use moderation, then allow them into an arena of life with what is to be banned. I would much rather teach my children to respect alcohol, that it can be used in an appropriate manner, but also that it should not be abused. If we can cover that in the safety of a home environment, they will be much better equipped to deal with alcoholism issues later in life, especially in a university setting.

Jon L. Estes said...


I hope you would agree that we can teach them respect of alcohol without partaking in it. We do this with so many other things in society which are destructive to lives.

I am not advocating that drinking in moderation is sinful but it can quickly lead to destructiveness if misused. Therefore, I believe it is best to not even open the door for a taste. I have taught my kids well and they know the destructiveness of drinking. Will they ever drink? Maybe, maybe not. If they chose not to then I can be assured they will not be put in a position of being reckless due to alcohol. I just have to pray God will protect them from the deacon's kids who started with moderation because that's what they were taught.

Just a pastors tease about deacons kids, nothing personal.

I wish my kids and all kids were always responsible. Yet, many are not.

Christopher B. Harbin said...


After being a PK, then MK for all my life, recently I became a DK, as well. I am not sure where that puts me now in terms of watching out for the deacons' kids...

Yes, one can teach respect in an abstinence forum, but modeling and example are often much stronger methods of teaching than words. Teaching abstinence does not tend to work quite as well as we would hope.

I have seen too many cases in which what actually happened was that abstinence teaching simply meant that a child experimenting was shamed into silence, rather than finding the freedom to discuss problems with a parent. That is not to say that the parent was overly harsh, but the child imbibed in a context in which there were not the safety aspects of a loving home. Often as not, the parent simply remained unaware of the child's struggles.

This is what I believe the results of the study pointed to. Where there is open discussion of pros and cons, it is easier to convey the message of restraint, respect, and moderation.

In my own family (an abstinent background open to but never following through on providing alcohol experience in home), one child was never tempted in college with alcohol, while two abused it during certain periods. My personal opinion reflects those facts from my own background along with the experience of peers.

Anonymous said...

I think the bottom line to this issue is this: Is the Christian to only obey the law of Christ or obey the law of Christ PLUS some other law[s]?

My position is that the Christian is to obey the law of Christ ALONE.

Part of the logic that seems to be used with this issue [and many other issues?] goes something like this:

__________________ can lead to __________________. Therefore, it is [or seems] best to _______________.

Alcohol consumption can lead to begin a drunk [and/or cause others to stumble]. Therefore it is [or seems] best to abstain from alcohol consumption.

Dating can lead to immorality. Therefore, it is [or seems] best to abstain from dating.

[more examples could probably be given]

But there is a big difference between this kind of logic and what can actually be exegeted from the law of Christ as found in the New Testament.

If someone, out of Christian love, wants to warn others of the dangers [whether they be real or not] of something according to the logic I have given above, then that is one thing.

But it is another matter to GO BEYOND the law of Christ by telling other Christians that it would be a sin to do something that Christ Himself has not said would be a sin to do.

We are NOT the lawgiver.

We are to STICK with the law Christ has given and NOT go beyond it.

Ultimately, it does not matter what our DADDY, COMMON SENSE, CHURCH, DENOMINATION, TRADITION, EXPERIENCE has or has not told us.

It's either "Hither shall I go and no further" or "Hither shall I go and then some"

Anonymous said...

Nativermontor, et al.

I never meant to insult anyone, sorry if I offended you. I think I reacted to some comments in Wade’s posts over the past couple of weeks that seemed a little anti-Catholic.

C. S. Lewis, had a healthy relationship with alcohol, I try to line up with his attitude toward it.

There was a great Presbyterian missionary, Frank Laubach (not real sure on spelling), that had an immense impact in Muslim countries back in the 1930s and 40s. For a long time he had almost no success in seeing converts. But then, he did a simple but important thing, he read the Koran and began meeting with and discussing it with Muslim clergy and educators. Though this effort to understand better the faith of those he wanted to bring to Christ, he was given a great entry point in method, he discovered and perfected a way to develop alphabets where none had ever existed. He’s credited with helping at least ten million people learn to read. He had great success in his missionary endeavors as a result.

The point I hope to make is that if we are settled in our faith, we should then also be secure enough to get to know a little of what other’s really believe. I don't often talk with Protestants who have curiosity regarding what Catholics believe. If you want to “witness” to us, a less combative posture and more respectful attitude tempered with a little curiosity, may get you a more attentive listener.

God help us all.

A Pepper.

Anonymous said...

"One of the compelling reasons I refuse to drink is that I want my children to not drink."

My mom was very legalistic about alcohol of any sort. I grew up around this attitude and that only made it more enticing when I was in High School. The biggest secret drinkers were the kids that grew up like me...pastor's kids, deacon's kids, etc.

What is strange is that this was just about the ONLY legalism we were taught.

I believe that had it not been presented as a mortal sin and instead as a personal choice (with the understanding that drunkeness is a sin) it would not have held the same allure. After all, the Presbyterians next door drank wine and they were perfectly nice, moral people. Were they really not saved? It was quite confusing to a kid who was only told that we are not to judge those things because if it was sin...then they were sinning at dinner!

We were literally taught that the wine in the Bible was not fermented. So, it was always a mystery how the wine at Cana was the 'best' and saved for last. :o)


greg.w.h said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Let me add this to the conversation...
It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies and keeps me (thank goodness), because if it were up to me I would have been shaken greatly when I discovered some things as I grew in the faith. Namely, I discovered in the Bible that there was no verse that said a black man and a white woman couldn't marry, and I did not find a verse that said you couldn't drink alcoholic beverages, etc. I was shaken when I realized that a lot of the preaching and parental 'guidance' I had receieved growing up as SB was really to keep me where my parents and pastor wanted me. It was a place where things were 'controlled.' They were clean and sterile.

It is funny because when in college I had a discussion with a believer who was Methodist about alcohol. I tried to defend my total abstinence position using the "bad witness" line of defense. He stated, "That's the point, you guys are the ONLY ONES who think its a bad witness." At the time I thought everybody thought drinking was bad.

Bob Cleveland said...


I noticed something creep in there that's crept up before, and I thought it time I raised my hand. It concerns the fact that your raising the subject of wine at that dinner, and drinking a glass, had nothing to do with her salvation or the family's restoration. I'd like to offer my rebuttal.


When we make the statement that it didn't, we're speaking from God's standpoint. We have enough folks around who do that, and they shouldn't, that we really don't need to. You can only conduct yourself from man's standpoint, and leave the results to God.

I don't play "what if", but if I did, I'd venture that without your actions, the results would have been tragic. God USED what you did in their lives.

We don't DO great things down here. Moses didn't part the Red Sea, he held up a stick. Same deal for all the other guys ... they prayed and left things to God, or they did their menial tasks .... asking God to glorify Himself, tossing down a staff, setting foot into a river, whatever. God used that stuff .. things done in faith, which would be otherwise meaningless ... and great moves of God, Himself, ensued.

If you want to take that glass of wine out of the picture and say the move was all of God, irrespective of your actions, then you're somewhere miles to the right of any hyper-calvinist I have ever met.


Anonymous said...

Bob Cleveland,

You wrote... "I don't play "what if", but if I did, I'd venture that without your actions, the results would have been tragic. God USED what you did in their lives."

Without Wade's actions the results would have been tragic!!! What are you talking about?

So now a Holy God is dependent upon the actions of the finite to accomplish His plan?!

You also wrote... "If you want to take that glass of wine out of the picture and say the move was all of God, irrespective of your actions, then you're somewhere miles to the right of any hyper-calvinist I have ever met."

Who is to say that God could not have used Wade drinking water to reinforce His conviction power upon her dark soul? Please Bob... we are begotten by the Word, not the Wine.

enough already... Joe W.

Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

Why are you so hung up about alcohol? It is not a sin to drink alcohol.

Anonymous said...

Tom Parker,

On Alcohol Use In America
June 2006

WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of "our freedom in Christ"; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages.

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.

SBC - Greensboro, NC

Joe W.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to leave the SBC for the CBF.
We would prefer Heretics to leave the SBC.

Love God Hate Microsoft

Anonymous said...

Joe W,

The Bible itself will give both the Divine Side and the human side to something.

For example, check out Paul giving both sides to the men on this ship in Acts 27:


22And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be NO LOSS of any man's life among you, but of the ship.

23FOR there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,

24Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee ALL them that sail with thee.

25Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I BELIEVE GOD, that it shall be even as it was told me.


31Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, EXCEPT these ABIDE in the ship, ye CANNOT be saved. (all emphasis mine)

It would be a mistake to say "Paul cannot both tell these men that they WILL be saved and then turn around and say these same men CANNOT be saved unless they do something."

The truth is God was going to save them THROUGH the men abiding in the ship.

Now, in the example of Wade, I'm not saying that if Wade had chosen to refrain from drinking wine, the Lord would not have still saved her.

However, Wade chose to not put up a potentially unnecessary hindrance [i.e., not drinking the wine] to speaking the gospel to her [the human side] and the Lord saved her [the Divine side].

YOU believe it was wrong for Wade to have partaken of the wine and thus reason based off that premise.

If Wade is wrong in his interpretation of 1 Timothy 3:3, then why don't you point out where he errs?

Anonymous said...


Since we are followers of Christ, I will once more refer you to his own words:

"The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!'

For a people who claim to have "no creed but The Bible," it is hypocritical to cite a SBC resolution as authoritative.

-Do you realize that this resolution would disqualify Jesus and his Apostles from SBC Service?

When we claim to live "holier" than God we've got a problem my friend.




Tom Parker said...

Joe W:

You can say all you want to, the Bible does not say drinking alcohol is a sin. You are adding to the Bible.

Jon L. Estes said...

Mr Harvey,

I never said drinking was a sin. I did say...

I am not advocating that drinking in moderation is sinful but it can quickly lead to destructiveness if misused.

Please don't put words in my mouth.

I also trust God completely but I also honor God by training my children up in the ways which lead to holiness (the way which they should go). Please demonstrate for us where drinking leads to holiness?

I know you don't let your kids run wild and do what they want trusting God to keep them safe and godly. Rules are in place for a purpose.

I see no need to respond further to your comments that in no way represent what I have stated.

Anonymous said...


Do you not realize that a resolution passed at the SBC is not binding since every church is autonomous and as Baptists we believe that every person is free to interpret the scriptures through the guidance of the Holy Spirit? This resolution is passed only because the people there voted for it, and it holds no control over our congregations.

Anonymous said...


Tom asked a question... I answered the question.

Joe W.

WTJeff said...

Joe W.,

Since you referenced my observation that "resolution is needed" and have continued to include SBC resolutions to support your opinion, let me plainly say....Your resolutions mean nothing to me. If I choose to abstain from alcohol, I will do so because the Holy Spirit has convicted me that it's best for my context. If that prevents me from cooperating with you, so be it. My conscience is clear.


Anonymous said...

Hear the word of the Lord:

He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘ This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’[b]

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men[c]—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’;[d] and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’[e] 11 But you say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”—’ (that is, a gift to God), 12 then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
14 When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: 15 There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”[f

Anonymous said...


I am glad your conscience is clear.
I can assure you mine is as well, inspite of the "extra-biblical" accusations.

Just count me among those who have seen the destruction and prefer to put the stop sign before the intersection, not after.

Joe W.

Anonymous said...


I am glad your conscience is clear.
I can assure you mine is as well, inspite of the "extra-biblical" accusations.

Just count me among those who have seen the destruction and prefer to put the stop sign before the intersection, not after.

Joe W.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why that posted twice. Also the "inspite" should be "despite". I would hate for the english professors to get upset.

WTJeff said...

Joe W.,

You can count me among those who trust the Lord's foot on the brake and not my own. If I'm doer of the word, not merely listening to what it says, the Lord will protect me. If I'm disobedient, I have a whole host of sins that will be my undoing long before the consumption of a beverage.


Tom Parker said...

jake barker:

So many want to focus on drinking, but what about obesity, lying, stealing, etc. Folks want to focus on something that can be seen and known, but these other items are just as sinful.

greg.w.h said...

Mr. Estes,

I ended up responding mainly to the post timestamped: "Wed Apr 16, 09:55:00 AM 2008" that occurred immediately after my first comment.

I didn't see the other ones, but I think the several together present the same kind of balance that I've tried to suggest.

My apology to you for my failure to see and incorporate both responses in my comments. It wasn't an intentional oversight, but I would characterize it as misleading with respect to your well considered views. As such I deleted my perjorative response with respect to that original timestamp.

I recognize, because my dad grew up in a home where not just the drinking of alcohol but the symptoms of alcohol abuse were present, that the teetotaling position is the only choice for a family that has endured that. I also recognize that we want to protect our children from mistakes that we have seen or have made ourselves.

Greg Harvey

Bob Cleveland said...

Joe w.

Guess we can stop sending all that money to the IMB and NAMB then. Apparently, we don't really have to do anything.

And over something that the Bible doesn't forbid, but rather merely cautions against the misuse of.

Anonymous said...

Attention Historians: Has the SBC passed a Resolution Against Gluttony?

Anonymous said...

Kerussocharis brought to you by Budweiser.
The baptist potluck brought to you by the king of beers


Anonymous said...

Joe said, “I also trust God completely but I also honor God by training my children up in the ways which lead to holiness (the way which they should go). Please demonstrate for us where drinking leads to holiness?”

I have not seen anyone argue that drinking “leads to holiness” – but, since Jesus drank wine, miraculously produced wine, and offered it as an element of The Lord’s Supper it is clear that merely drinking wine does not lead to “unholiness.”

If a brother or sister drinks wine but does not commit the sin of drunkenness it is as wrong to place restrictions on their Christian service asit would to single Christians who dance “lest it lead to fornication.”

No one is attacking your decision to refrain from alcohol. However when you say the behavior modeled by the sinless Son of God and his disciples is now prohibited for believers you have just placed yourself above God and added to his commandments as given us through The Bible.

wadeburleson.org said...

It is sad to say that most in this comment stream who are critical of my post, and a few supportive of it, have missed the point entirely.

I am not advocating moderation. I am not advocating abstinence.

I am advocating unity between evangelical, conservative Christians who interpret the Scriptures to mean a personal abstinence with those evangelical, conservative Christians who interpret the Scriptures to mean personal moderation.

I am not arguing FOR a position one way or the other for anyone:

I am suggesting we as Southern Baptists should be able to get along even though there are two legitimate applications of the sacred text in this issue.

That's the point of the post.

wadeburleson.org said...


Since Blogger doesn't number comments, this sometimes helps keep track.

Anonymous said...

-Point well taken.

So here, once more, is the concluding statement in Wade's post:

"The ability to rally around the essentials of the faith and give freedom to tertiary issues is the key to Christian unity. There are areas where Scripture does not give either a direct command or clear prohibition. We will be healthier as a convention when we base our Southern Baptist fellowship and cooperation on the centrality of Jesus Christ and him crucified and resist the urge to demand others conform to any other identity of our own making."

-Can I get an "Amen" ?

JR said...


If you can tolerate an evangelism strategy composed a bunch of powerlifters tearing phonebooks in half and bending crowbars over their heads (which they are out there)...then others should be able to tolerate you sharing Christ with a couple over a meal that involved a glass of wine.

Perhaps the divide isn't even biblical...perhaps it's cultural?

david b mclaughlin said...

I don't often talk with Protestants who have curiosity regarding what Catholics believe. If you want to “witness” to us, a less combative posture and more respectful attitude tempered with a little curiosity, may get you a more attentive listener.

Which was exactly my point as well.

My Catholic friends find my enjoyable to talk to because I dont instantly condemn them as heretics. Instead, I ask questions about what they believe and how that compares to what the Catholic church teaches. It is often enlightening for both me and them. Many of them are stunned to learn that I own and read a copy of the catechism on a pretty regular basis.

My point is, there are many people who are "catholic" who I believe are genuinely saved. There are also many people who are "baptist" who will fry in hell. We need to get off our high horse and talk to people before we go making judgments about them.

Anonymous said...

David M,

I am sometimes a walking Chick track and tend to be more so online than in person. Understanding that that is not always the best approach, if Catholic Pepper is a true believer, then he ought to appreciate someone sharing the Gospel; even if I did transpose Faith and Grace. :) We all know that regeneration comes before faith anyway, and that all grace is of God, and that grace come before, during and after faith, so really, the nasty person who replied to me was just wearing too small of panties.

It’s all good though, it is hard to offend me. But Dave, would it not be better to assume more folks are not believers and just try and win them all?

To the nasty anon: You said:
"You get angry at Wade when he leads a catholic to Christ when he could have tore her down with a stupid conversation about alcohol"

If fact, I did NOT get angry at Wade, nor did I condemn him for having the drink. I am indifferent to this specific case. My personal opinion is that abstinence is a "best practice" for believers, but fully understand that the Bible does not explicitly forbid the action, rather it contains certain principlic directives for Godly living which in some cases may or may not be applied to the use of alchohol in certain or all situations regarding some or all believers in all or parts of the world.

One thing is for sure; the Bible in no way explicitly prohibits female pastors from drinking to excess. :)

Tom Parker said...


Don't give up your day job, because your attempts at humor fail miserably.

Anonymous said...


Reading the Catechism is a good thing, I'm glad you do it. Cardinal Newman, a great Catholic thinker and writer of the 19th century, who was convert from the Anglican church, said no one really hates the Catholic Church, they only hate what they think the Catholic church is. Keep it up, you won't have any problem engaging Catholics regarding faith matters.

One of my favorite Christian authors is Dallas Willard, another is Calvin Miller, both Southern Baptists. I have been reading their books for over 20 years. There's many other Protestant writers that I like as well.

I believe that our salvation comes in accepting the grace that extends from a loving God through Christ Jesus. As a Catholic, I believe all who accept this truth and live accordantly are oriented toward Heaven, regardless of denominational identity. I very much enjoy intruding upon this good blog once in a while and reading what so many of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, have to say.

Many blessings,

A Pepper

greg.w.h said...

A Pepper writes:

I believe that our salvation comes in accepting the grace that extends from a loving God through Christ Jesus. As a Catholic, I believe all who accept this truth and live accordantly are oriented toward Heaven, regardless of denominational identity. I very much enjoy intruding upon this good blog once in a while and reading what so many of you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, have to say.

While we Baptists get concerned about how appropriation of grace appears mechanized (thanks to Aquinas's influence on the interpretation of the sacraments), I'm going to set that concern to one side and applaud your statement. Praise God for your clear confession of faith in Christ Jesus!

Greg Harvey

Rex Ray said...

I’ve enjoyed your many comments. I haven’t read all the comments on this post, I guess because I’m not that interested in the subject.

You said, “This woman prepared a meal at her home, set the table and served wine that was probably very normal for them.”

From memory, (that’s unusual) I remembered the dinner that Wade had with the lady. The woman served only tea and water. Wade could have drunk what she served without offending her, but knowing her background the following account took place: (Had to copy paste.)

Wade 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.”

BTW, I don’t know how many women chefs Wade insulted with the little white lie he told the lady to make her feel good, but I know he’s never eaten my wife’s cooking.

So, what do I think about drinking? Who cares?

Jon L. Estes said...


I hope you did not find in my words the idea that the way I raised my kids concerning alcohol was by presenting drinking as a mortal sin. If you did you totally misread me.

The one line you quoted from me is one of may in my post that states very clearly that I did not want to be an influence to drinking.

In our home, we talked about drinking... what the bible says about it... how society treats it... the dangers of it... the health risks associated with it...

As homeschool parents we studied these things from a social platform and had both kids write reports about the subject.

Will my two kids drink? They are grown, one has given us two grandchildren. The other will probably be married in the next few years. One serves in the USCG, the youngest just got out of the USCG and is enrolling in school. To answer my question, they might. But it won't be because I promoted the pleasures of it but the worked to get my kids to take a real look at the subject and see for themselves the percentage of drinkers who easily do stupid things after drinking.

Just because drinking is permissible does not make it beneficial.

Anonymous said...

"I believe that our salvation comes in accepting the grace that extends from a loving God through Christ Jesus. As a Catholic, I believe all who accept this truth and live accordantly are oriented toward Heaven"

1. No one "accepts grace"

2. "accepting truth" is not part of the plan of salvation.

3. "living accordantly" is not part of the plan of salvation either.

4. Oriented toward heaven? What on earth does that mean? A space shuttle could be oriented toward the moon and miss it completely--maybe that IS the point.

5. Praise God for Martin Luther who led the cause in fighting against a future justification.

6. Catholic Pepper, I would emplore you to read the book of 1 John. Pray the book of 1 John. Allow the Holy Spirit to change you and fill you with the assurance of His love.



Anonymous said...

I started reading these comments last night when they numbered 104. I've given up trying to read them all. Someone may have already pointed this out... but here I go anyway.
I found it interesting that the exact scripture I was studying yesterday was mentioned here... and that was "flee from the appearance of evil."
What I found more interesting is that the King James version is the only one that uses the word "appearance." Every other version I checked translated it as "form." I can't study the original language since I don't know it, but I tend to think that if 9 out of 10 translations use "form" then form must be the better translation.
And if it is, then we are to flee from actual forms of evil... not things others perceive as evil.
Drinking alcohol only hurts your witness b/c you are baptist and baptists aren't supposed to drink. I've known many to change denominations (not over the alcohol issue, but the music) and then drink a glass of wine at a restaurant.
I've given this argument before, and I'll give it again. There are many things we are not to abuse. Alcohol is not the only one, but with that one, we say "since it CAN be abused, stay away entirely." But we don't do that with sex. Sex can be abused too, but we certainly don't say "don't do it... ever! It is NEVER ok b/c it can lead to an addiction." That sounds silly, does it not? If sex is ok b/t husband and wife, why can't they have a glass of wine as well?

Anonymous said...

Spurgeon says today,

“Such a man will never be content with mere ordinances. He will say, "I want Christ; I must have Him—mere ordinances are of no use to me; I want Himself; do not offer me these; you offer me the empty pitcher, while I am dying of thirst; give me water, or I die. Jesus is my soul's desire. I would see Jesus!”

See all of it here

In similar ways, we as Baptists today appear to spend more time cleaning the outside of the cup while neglecting what is in it. Mere ordinances, don’t drink, don’t dance, and whatever man made rule we can come up with. More often times than not, all coming from a man that can’t pass up the desert on Wednesday night. Or any other night.
Passing an empty pitcher while our congregations die of thirst.

Greed and self indulgence anyone?

23 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! 25 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.


Anonymous said...

Well the link didn't work but here it is again. Spurgeons daily devotional.

The evening reading but the this morning is excellent as well.



Anonymous said...


Some know all the correct terminology yet don't 'have it'.

Others do not have the right terminology but have it.

You may run into an on fire for Christ person who says, Hey! I accepted Jesus!

I certainly hope you don't say: That is impossible as no one 'accepts' Jesus. If you do, you will be missing for the forest for the tree and could even be a stumbling block to a new believer.

I am afraid that is the sort of thing many of my reformed brethren are doing these days.


Christopher B. Harbin said...


Though your point was that we can disagree on issues and still get along, working together, I am afraid there has been too much discussion from SBC circles that "we must agree in order to walk together."

That was one of the clarion points of the BF&M2000, unity under doctrine.

Unfortunately, that will never fly unless we will all submit to a central doctrinal authority, give up on reading Scripture for ourselves, and turn off all dissent.

I pastor a CBF church with my wife. We are members of the local Baptist association, of which we are both committee chairs. We are the only CBF church in the association, but were received with grace and the recognition that we all have our doctrinal differences.

At the associational level, we are cooperating. At the level of national agencies, we cannot. Yes, there are voices crying that the relationship needs to be severed over our differences, but fortunately, these voices are all but silent as we cooperate for issues of God's reign instead of our own.

I would have no qualms with our church leaving the association, except for 1) we are to participate in cooperation with others, not seek the comfort of our own select priorities; 2) Christ calls the body to unity, living at peace as long as it depends upon us; 3) as independent as Baptists are, Christ does not call us to independence, but to interdependence; 4) when I cut myself off, I curtail my opportunity to call others to growth and to have them call me to growth, as well; 5) I have witnessed and experienced the hurt being engendered within SBC towards those who do not toe the line, and must remain connected in some way to decrease the effects of this violence upon others.

Would that we could all cooperate for the reign of Christ Jesus without feeling the need to put others down in the process.

ezekiel said...


1. No one "accepts grace"

2. "accepting truth" is not part of the plan of salvation.

If we compare what you have stated against the word, there seems to be some confusion. If the Word is Jesus and grace and truth comes from Jesus then doesn't the warning in Hebrews 12 indicate that one can reject truth? Isn't rejecting truth (Jesus, The WORD) done every day by many people? In this context, how can you say that accepting truth isn't part of the plan?

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, This was he of whom I said, He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. 27 This phrase, Yet once more, indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

When we think of it, why do so many today in the Baptist churches appeal to the congregation to "accept Christ today" "let Him come into your life" "ask Him today".....

You appear to be going down the "God is sovereign and the elect are saved regardless of what they do path". Am I reading you wrong?

Anonymous said...


The greek word is 'eidos' and one should not focus too hard on either the use of 'appearance' OR the use of the word 'form' alone.

Thayers: "the external or outward appearance, form figure, shape form, kind

LJS: A. that which is seen: form, shape B. form, kind, or nature C. class, kind

The root os eidos is eido, and here is the meaning of eido:

to see
to perceive with the eyes
to perceive by any of the senses
to perceive, notice, discern, discover
to see
i.e. to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything
to pay attention, observe
to see about something 1d
i.e. to ascertain what must be done about it
to inspect, examine
to look at, behold
to experience any state or condition
to see i.e. have an interview with, to visit
to know
to know of anything
to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive
of any fact
the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning
to know how, to be skilled in
to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to

While the language of the KJV is many times archaic, in some cases, like in the case of this word, it has better captured the meaning of the Greek.

**I could be wrong about this, but I think this is where we get our word "idea" How about this: abstain even from the idea of evil.

I think Jesus might agree.

Anonymous said...

EZ and Lucy,

I will address you both together if that is ok because I overall I think you are both making the same point. So here is my point:

I indeed hate the traditional evangelical witnessing terminology. If we accept Christ, then salvation is synergistic.

"Ask Him into your heart?" the Bible says to repent and confess. And this repentance and confession does not stop at the "sinner's prayer" (another wacked idea).

Developing new terminology is difficult and I admit that I use some of the old for lack of better terminology.

EZ: I do believe that all the elect will come to know the Lord. But it is not a matter of regardless of what they do. John tells us that if we abide in truth, the truth will abide in us. This is not either/or, but both/and. That which we have heard from the beginning WILL remain in us to the end.

Btw, Jesus might be called Truth, but all truth comes from the Holy Spirit--including He who is called Truth. We know about the power of the Christ ONLY through the Truth of the Spirit.

Father may be realign our thought and speech to line up with your Word...Amen.

wadeburleson.org said...


You, a Southern Baptist woman, have successfully taught 90% of us men in this comment section with your insight.


Christopher B. Harbin said...


I heard one missionary on the field essentially say that it did not matter what was done to people in bringing about the "Conservative Ressurgence," since everything that happened was the will of God. If people were slandered, suffered violence, emotionally attacked, etc, it was ultimately all part of God's sovereign will and plan. Those carrying out the attacks were just instruments of God's wrath.

Careful how far you go with that.

Anonymous said...

Becca and Wade,

Let me add further insight into Becca's argument that we are to flee the "forms of evil" rather than the "appearance of evil".

The word is eidos... meaning the external or outward appearance, form figure, fashion, or shape.

Hence, while the word form is a proper translation, your inference that it means "kinds or types" is faulty.

As Barnes notes... "There are many things which, in themselves, may not appear to us to be positively wrong, but which are so considered by large and respectable portions of the community; and for us to do them would be regarded as inconsistent and improper."

By the way, did anyone notice I no longer have the anonymous tag hanging over my head. :)

Anonymous said...

kmc, you missed the point of my comment.

{{{banging head on wall}}}


Lin said...

"If people were slandered, suffered violence, emotionally attacked, etc, it was ultimately all part of God's sovereign will and plan. Those carrying out the attacks were just instruments of God's wrath."

Chris, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard that myself by certain well placed Christian leaders..in private, of course. Another one I witnessed was to tell the victim to turn the other cheek while the evil perpetuated toward the victim by a Christian leader was ignored. They got a pass for evil. The victim was to be like Jesus.

Some really do believe a 'title' or 'position' supercedes Christian orthopraxy.

ezekiel said...


"Btw, Jesus might be called Truth, but all truth comes from the Holy Spirit--including He who is called Truth. We know about the power of the Christ ONLY through the Truth of the Spirit."

John 12:48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.

We see here that Jesus, the WORD doesn't speak on his own authority but that of His Father. We see it again here.

John 14:8 Philip said to him, Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us. 9 Jesus said to him, Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, Show us the Father? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

When we talk of the work of the Holy Spirit, we have to understand that He only relays, or teaches what the father says, and wants taught. All authority is with the Father and the Son. He is Truth and Grace.
It says here,

John 14:26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The "Helper" will bring us to remembrance and teach us all things that Jesus, The Word has said.

So Truth comes FROM the WORD, Through the Holy Spirit.

You might call this a fine line and a dispute that isn't necessary. However, I simply point you back to the Word and His authority which is exactly what the Holy Spirit does. When we start saying that the Holy Spirit is the Truth, we start opening the door to all sort of...."the Spirit told me" stuff that doesn't line up with the WORD and lacks any authority or power of Christ. A subtle difference but one that the anti christ will use to deceive many.

ezekiel said...

KMC, BTW, I am not calling you an anti christ, just exhorting you to teach it correctly.

Christopher B. Harbin said...


Sorry to know that I am not the only one who has heard it. I would prefer to think it was more limited than than.

A friend once told me that no one will injure you more gleefully than one who considers himself spiritually superior and acting on God's behalf.

If only we could all see the spirit of Christ more clearly.

Anonymous said...

I have not had a chance to weigh in in a while and have tried to read all of these comments this morning. I can relate to the problem you are having in trying to get people to see the real issue, beyond the "glass of wine".

I met my wife while we were in college. Her roommate "hooked" us up. While in college, I was a "heavy" drinker (of much more than wine) and on top of that, I DANCED!!!!!. I have no doubts that I was and am a Christian, but was not in any kind of close relationship with my Savior. And yet, He chose me to "witness" to this girl by inviting her to church with me as our "first" date. In spite of the fact that I drank and went to dances with her, the Spirit was moving (even though I did not realize it at the time). She was as lost as a goose flying east in the summer and so were her father, mother and 6 brothers and sisters.

After our dating for 2 years (yea, I'm a little slow), we became engaged. About 6 months after we began dating, I quit drinking because I was afraid I was turning in to an alcoholic.

My then future wife never made a comment for or against my alcohol consumption. In fact, it wasn't until about 3 years after we were married that the subject even came up.

Anyway, about 3 months before we were to be married, my future wife called me and told me she had visited a church in Shawnee, where she was living, and the pastor came to visit her that afternoon and led to Christ. She was baptized and now has been a Christian for 29 years. Since that time, her father has died a lost person, BUT 1 brother, 2 sisters, 4 neieces and nephews and her mother have received Christ as their personal Savior; her mother 2 days before she died.

I say all that to point to the "central issue", as I see it: God used this incredibly "back-slidden" Baptist, who was using alcohol quite liberally, to "plant the seed", in spite of the alcohol abuse. It really didn't have anything to do with the alcohol; it had to do with the fact (as she told me later) that I had invited her to church (and no one else had in 23 years of her life) and she could see "something" in my life that she wanted. Yes, the Spirit could have moved without any help from me, but I hope that you see, again, that the central point is not about the ALCOHOL!!

I hope I have made some sense and have contributed.
Thank you Becca and others for your insightful comments.

Anonymous said...

Marty, I can identify with your experience, at least somewhat.

When I first met my wife (on a blind date), I was an unchurched, unsaved pagan. I drank, although I was not an alcoholic. She, on the other hand, had been in church all her life and a Christian since age 12. But although she invited me to church, she never "unloaded" on me about beverage alcohol, or any of my other bad habits. She had her standards and values, and held to them. Had she done differently. . . I think I would have been just as argumentative as possible, could have cared less about any proof-texts she might have shown me, and it well might have soured our relationship. Whether the latter would have happened or not is purely speculative; but I knew people back then who proof-texted alcoholic prohibitions and added the junk about it "ruining" one's Christian witness, even to the point of refusing alcohol-based cough medicine, and I utterly rejected them. But her witness was constant and positive, and eventually I not only became a Christian, but decided on my own to cease drinking (1 Corinthians 10).

Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Joe W.,

You say "Only in a world this sick could a preacher taking a stand against alcohol be labeled as committing a sin."

I think long ago Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 that one can have faith that moves mountains, but if it is done without love it is worthless - it is sin - it is missing the mark. So, it doesn't take blaming anyone or anything if your heart isn't right. God asks each one of us not to point at others but to be responsible for our own actions and responses - even to the most heinous of sins.

Anonymous said...


Its ok, I have been called the antichrist before. :)

Do you not make a distinction between the written Word and the Living Word? I am all for finding a way to make Scripture the 4th person of the trinity (as it were), but in reality I see the distinction. We will never fully understand the HS till Christ returns, but for now, the HS is the person of the trinity with whom we connect. We pray to the Father in the name of the Son, but it is the Spirit which connects our hearts with the heart of God.


Keep banging your head. I did not miss your point, but I ended up speaking more to Ez. Someone running around shouting "I accept Christ" does not get me all excited. The Bible says we will know them by their fruits, not by their shouts.

Salvation is about continual Conviction, repentance and confession, and then drawing closer to God.

God starts it, he will finish it.

We cannot one day decide to "accept Christ."

We really need to change the lingo.

Know the hymn with the line: "the Savior is waiting to enter your heart; won't you just let him come in..."?

What a crock! Poor Jesus needs our help.....boohoo!

Lucy: too many people are running around thinking they are saved when one day they will be in hell.

Do you care that this is a problem? Should we continue to preach this false Gospel?

We Baptists need a huge self-correction. If it were not so sad, it would be funny: We have forgotten how to get saved.

Anonymous said...

"God asks each one of us not to point at others"

Correction to all who might attempt to be faithful to the Word of God:

God never said this. Not in any manner or form.

Anonymous said...


"Salvation is about continual Conviction, repentance and confession, and then drawing closer to God".

Kinda of a Catholic thing to say, for such a Calvin kind of guy.

A (Catholic) Pepper

Anonymous said...

"I accept Christ" does not get me all excited. The Bible says we will know them by their fruits, not by their shouts."

Ok, so when someone very excited tells you they 'accepted Christ' or my favorite 'found the Lord' (as if HE were lost) are you going to tell them they didn't?

Or, are you going to rejoice with them and over time help them THROUGH scripture see that it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin and our need for a Savior? And that repentance is daily?

"Salvation is about continual Conviction, repentance and confession, and then drawing closer to God."

This also happens to people who do not know the correct lingo.

And I agree with you on every point because I am reformed. And I know that without Holiness, we cannot see God. And by their fruit, we shall know them. Now, what is fruit? If we agree that fruit is also comprised of living out the beatitudes then we should have concern for some of our SBC leaders/pastors who talk doctrine but show very little brokeness or humility. (GASP...I said it)

I also agree that our churches are filled with unsaved people because we love numbers instead of care for souls.

My point again: one can know the correct lingo and not be saved. One can not know the correct lingo and be saved.


Anonymous said...

The Bible warns about strong drink not about wine. I don't why the SBC does not contend from that standpoint instead of abstainance. It takes aprox. 40 minutes for the average male to metabolize one serving and about 55minutes for the average female. Blood content contains on average a very minor percentage.

Anonymous said...

Noticed Joe W. comments....the qualifications also state that he must not be a quarrlesome man either....We need some grace in perspective on this or all would be disqualified. Actually not be given to wine mean it is not a pastime or he is consumed by it...this is just too often the standard of holiness in SB life...I believe that Christ says it best not to neglect the weightier aspects of HIs commandments (Matthew 23:23) The Law and fruits are not always in sync with each other (Premise for Galatians)
The Gaelic Sage

Only By His Grace said...


Allow me to steal something from D.G.Barnhouse. When I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord, I had never been to church in my life. By a miracle of God, I bought Barnhouse's "The Cross Through the Open Tomb" and was hooked. Being a baby Christian but an adult, I needed basic Christian doctrine. I went back to the Baptist Book Store, 1960) to ask for another book by Barnhouse. It just so happened that the fourth book of ten in his commentary on Romans just came to the store. I bought the first, read it; bought the second, read it; until I eventually purchased and read all ten volumes.

Barnhouse was a master illustrator. He gives this illustration about "accepting" Jesus Christ:

"On just two little words a person's whole destiny is turned and the lives of two people are forever changed. Standing at the altar a man is asked the question, 'Do you receive this woman as your wedded wife?' He says, "I do." She is asked the same question about him as her wedded husband and she responds with the same two words, 'I do.' Just on those two words all life is forever changed for them. It is the same with a lost person, 'Do you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior?' The response, 'I do,' changes a person's destiny for all eternity beginning the very first moment he accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior."

I agree with Barnhouse. I think you can get too caught up in terminology. God does not save us because we say the right words the right way or even use the right passage of Scripture.

Half of my church has been saved using Revelation 3:20 that is not about a lost person inviting Christ into his heart, but about a church inviting Christ into their presence for Lordship.

Remember II Chronicles 16:9, "But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart" God looks far closer at intention than he does at words or even actions.

One of the outreach missionaries of the Navigators was an alcoholic. He stopped into a bar of a small town as he was just passing through on his way to California. A man in the town who had been a dynamic Christian had a terrible head injury. The only think he could remember or say was, "Jesus saves." He would duck into store after store screaming the words and dart right back out. The future Nav missionary was having his first drink for that morning and in pops the "the town idiot" shouting Jesus saves. The Holy Spirit hit LeRoy with deep conviction. He left the bar to live a holy life in service for God.

What difference does our terminology really make? I rejoice when anyone accepts Christ or makes known his election which you seem to prefer.

I think you are speaking in hyperbole when you say you do not rejoice, also. I just know I talked to three fifth grade girls the other day and all three accepted Christ as Lord and Savior. You may not rejoice, but I think you do, plus the Written Word of God says the very angels of Heaven rejoice.

"Receive" is to "accept" as far as I am concerned. John 1:11-12, "He came unto His own and His own received Him not, but as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."

This Sunday, the Lord willing, I will baptize a seventh grade boy already fooling with drugs, an eighth grade girl and a ninth grade girl. I have a feeling you rejoice with us at their acceptance of Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior.

Phil in Norman,

Anonymous said...


I take no issue with your post. (except--*see below) You will have to forgive me if I am a tad jaded with the waters of the Baptist Baptistery. I have been researching my little church. I have found that there have been about 100 baptisms since 1999. We have 172 and about 35 average morning worship attendance. Few transfers of letters and about 10 deaths.

My conclusion? About 100 of those 172 members of my church will one day be in hell. Of course that is my assumption. Why? Read Hebrews 10 Why? No fruit. Why? No life change? Why? You got me.

I take my last final next Wednesday. Then I am spending 2 weeks doing some intense visiting. You can pray for me if you do night mind. I want to look people in the eyes and ask them if they are going to heaven when they die. I want to ask them what happened at the altar of the Baptist Church. I want to know how it felt to be baptized and then never attend church again.

Obviously I will not be saying or asking those things I "want" to say or ask. But will be praying for the words to say.

I do know I will be sharing the Gospel. I will be encouraging a return to the fellowship. I will read Scripture. I will pray.

And sadly, in some cases, I will be wiping the dust off my feet.

I rejoice with you at your part in the increase of the kingdom. I rejoice for the young souls who have professed their faith in Christ. But statistically that is where it ends. I will pray that the discipling continues.


*I have not read Dr. Barnhouse. But I am going to assume that your portrayal of his ideology is not correct. Saying "I do" does not save anymore than saying "I do" seals the commitment to marriage. The changed heart comes through the power of the HS and a changed life is the result. I might agree that God gives us an "I do" of the heart. But mere acceptance of knowledge does not save.

Would you disagree?

ezekiel said...


"Do you not make a distinction between the written Word and the Living Word?"

I did until I met a chap who has read it (Him) through about 12-13 times. An uneducated type guy, victim of our local school system that has trouble writing complete sentences without a lot of grammer and spelling problems.

I wish you all could meet him. Today, if you sit down with your bible and open it up anywhere, Genesis to Revelations and start reading, He can pretty well instantly tell you book and chapter. In many instances, he can finish the verse for you.

We have "church" most every day. He will come into my office and we will discuss whatever pops up, where I am reading, where he is reading. I have watched him for about 15 years, worked shoulder to shoulder with him, supervised him and cried with him the day they found he had terminal bone cancer.

That was back in 1997. Today, he has been in remission for 5 years. He would talk of all the hopeless people he would meet at his chemo sessions and I always wondered how he kept going. The stories I could tell you would curl your toenails.

Anyway, about 2 years ago, I was the guy on the left hand side of Wade's chart, not knowing or caring, pretty well bent on doing what I wanted, being totally wrapped up in me. Then Isaiah 2:12 happened.

I turned to the only person that I thought could help. The WORD. I am here to tell you that Christ is risen. And He is to be feared and respected, looked upon with mind numbing awe. Malachi 2:25 or Hebrews 12:28

I simply started reading the WORD and asking for the Holy Spirit to lead me to the Truth. It is the Spirit that testifies of the TRUTH, John15:26, 1 John 5:26. The Spirit didn't shed His blood on the cross, Jesus did. The WORD.

John 1:The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

We are told to "abide in me and I will abide in you". Well, now I know how that happens. Once the Holy Spirit opens your ears and eyes, you hunger and thirst for spiritual food. That food is the WORD. John 6:54. This gives a whole new meaning to the Lord's prayer..."give me this day my daily bread".

I have read Him in KJV, ESV and NASB. Cover to cover. Now, I know how this friend of mine can do what he does. Anytime I get into a conversation regarding doctrine, or religion now, scripture floods through my thoughts. I have begun to think in scripture. That is what we talk about when we say "having the mind of Christ".

1 Cor 2:16 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

So you can call me a bible idolater if you want, some have, some worse. But you will never have the mind of Christ and He will never abide in you if You don't abide in Him. You can stand in the pulpit and preach till you turn blue and until you start getting out of the way and pointing people to the WORD, you are a hindrance to the Holy Spirit more than you are a help. EZ 34

Those folk you preach to can hit every sermon, be there every time the doors open and put every last cent they have in the plate and they won't be a step closer to heaven until they abide in Him. Isaiah 1.

I am not suggesting memorizing scripture. I have trouble memorizing my phone number. I am talking about simply sitting down and having intercourse with Him daily.(Spurgeon)

The Holy Spirit then can bring you to remembrance of everything the WORD has said. So it is only paper, a little leather and some ink. Burn it, destroy it mark it up and leave it outside in the rain. It is just a book. But the WORD in it....now that is a living breathing person. Crucified and Risen.

I still have a lot on the left side of the chart. But it is less now than it was. Maybe after I read Him a couple more times I will have more going on the right side of the page. That is what we call sanctified and washed with the WORD.Eph 5:26

Anonymous said...

The bible says to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. The bible says to fix your eyes on Jesus, not on yourself or on others. The bible says to judge not, which is a bit confusing given other verses about teaching and confrontation, but reading through it all one sees that the difference between what is commanded and what is proscribed is a person who gets personal satisfaction out of judging by placing himself above the one judged. The judgment that is commanded is the judgment that sees wrong and then acts in an unselfish and loving way toward the one judged to build that person up and move them toward repentance. It never ceases to love and accept.

I may have not seen your heart as indicated by your italicization in your first comment, but God sees all.

ezekiel said...


As you work through your visitation list, I would suggest you think about a few things. You are going to be talking to people that have heard down through the years "once saved always saved". They have heard "we are all sinners" and "come on down to the front and give your heart to Jesus"....

In other words, you will be talking to folks that think that the dip in the tank got it done. Why do they need to attend church, stop sinning and serve the LORD? Some preacher before you has preached "peace, peace" and "we are in the NT now" a NT church.

More than likely he never preached from Revelations, and never explained that the destruction of Israel is recorded as an example to us. 1 Cor 10:11 Recorded and documented so that we don't believe as Israel did and were destroyed by Jesus in the wilderness. Jude 1:5

If we look at it closely, we can see where Baptists today are not all that different from Israel in the wilderness. We repeat the same error that they made. 1 Cor 10. The results are going to be the same. See Rev 1-3. He is talking about the church there. Judgement on the churches.

Just remember they have been led there in many cases by self serving preachers, interested in numbers, offerings and the next bigger church on the horizon. Hirelings and false prophets.

Good luck and Godspeed on your effort to gather your flock. Lets all pray that it isn't too late and find them destroyed in the thicket.

Anonymous said...


As to: "I may have not seen your heart as indicated by your italicization in your first comment, but God sees all."

You actually said it best when you said: "not that you need my approval or ask for it."


Only By His Grace said...


We are not far apart in theology. Here are a few things I have found after forty-five years as a pastor.

Each person has various gifts and your gift may very well be in some area of rebuke; however, whatever your gift is, it must be immersed in deep love for anyone you rebuke.

I was using James Kennedy's Evangelism Explosion as early as 1965. The manual has been refined with each edition.

I ask the same thing you are going to ask your church members with the second diagnostic question: "If you were to die tonight and stand before God, and if He were to ask you, 'Why should I let you come into my Heaven?' What do you think you would say?"

I find the question if used wrongly and out of love offends, causes anger and deep hurt. Used correctly, it can be a tremendously useful tool to ascertain how a person stands before God.

We must be very careful that when the Gospel offends that it is not because we are offensive ourselves. The Lord reminded the Twelve that we must be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. It is easy to be as stupid as doves and as harmful as serpents; been there, done that.

On the words, "I do." If you stand before the altar and say, "I don't," I think the results are far different than when you say, "I do." It is the same when I witness to a person and bring them through a Gospel explanation to the place of commitment, "Would you like to place your trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation?" The "yes" or "no" makes a lot of difference.

Remember, you will have three types of people in any good church: the victorious Christian member, the unsaved member, and the carnal Christian member. Not only can we not separate the tares from the real wheat, we are forbidden to even try because we can uproot the whole church causing great discord.

I like your way of doing it much better than I would like any critic's way of never doing it, even if you make mistakes. Mistakes God can cover over, but it is even difficult for Him to win the lost to His Son if no one ever does anything.

Phil in Norman.

Aussie John said...


Is the cultural divide on opposite sides of the world so great that this Aussie cannot discern much evidence of Christian charity and grace in one or two of your correspondents?