Thideology news of the day

Becoming all things to all men

bookssm.jpgA church in St. Louis, Missouri (known as “The Journey”) has taken to hosting a Wednesday night gathering at a brewpub in order to discuss issues “ranging from racism in St. Louis to modern-art controversies to the debate about embryonic stem cell research” — all while enjoying a refreshing beer or two. It’s an outreach effort.

“We want to go where people are,” said Darrin Patrick, pastor of the church. “We don’t expect them to come to us.”

Granted.

Jesus told us to “GO and make disciples,” so I completely agree with the idea that we should not sit around on Sunday morning waiting for the world to clamor through our doors begging to hear the Word of God preached. We have to take the message to them.

Paul even says, in 1 Corinthians 9:22, that he had “become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some,” but certainly this does not mean every kind of conduct is permitted if the ultimate goal is to share the gospel.

  • Are we to murder in order that we may better relate to murderers?
  • Are we to rape so that we may better share with rapists?
  • Are we to become drunks in order to better witness to drunks?

Certainly not. In 2 Timothy Paul gives the instruction to “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace…”

So while the members of The Journey may argue that drinking is not a sin (and, according to Scripture this is true), I would argue that the Bible clearly characterizes getting drunk as sinful.

Yes, they may argue, but I can drink a beer and not get drunk.

Fine. What about two? Three?

The line between drinking and drunkenness may be hard to define, but I do know this: If you don’t take that first drink you can’t take the second. If you don’t have two you can’t have three. And if this is the approach you take toward drinking then the line between “just a few” and “drunk” never becomes an issue — does it?

Therefore, in light of Paul’s warning to Timothy to “flee the evil desires of youth,” I would say it is best to not even approach the line across which lies sin. Especially when Paul says in Romans, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

The Journey’s approach to evangelism is typical of the Emergent Church movement, whose followers seem to delight in dancing precariously close to the line. That’s a dangerous habit to develop. The trappings of this world are tempting, indeed. Trying to keep one foot in the world while trying to live a godly life doesn’t quite mesh with the biblical warnings against sin — even if we think our motives give us an excuse.

The State vs. The Market

Lawrence Vance, in an article at lewrockwell.com, points out the obvious difference between the state and the market — It’s Consent, Stupid. Oddly enough it was this issue of consent that made the original concept of American government so unique. The Declaration of Independence points out that the only just governments are those which govern with the consent of the governed…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Our government no longer recognizes this principle. But, fortunately for us the one man who has demonstrated his appreciation for this principle and his willingness to stand firm in its defense has officially announced his candidacy for president.

Bumper sticker of the day

ron-paul-for-president1.jpg

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

3 Responses to Thideology news of the day

  1. Russ says:

    Whoa, slow down. You’ve leaped headlong to the wrong conclusion about having a meeting in a brewpub. Most brewpubs are not like a “bar” where most folks go to get drunk. Brewpubs are most often where folks, like myself, go to appreciate fine beer.
    Secondly, I would humbly advocate that search out what Scripture says about drinking. There are more verses that encourage us to drink than forbid us to do so. Third, there is no warrant to connect alcohol consumption with “the evil desires of youth.” Lastly, it is another HUGE assumption on your part to assume that having one drink will lead to another and another resulting in a drunken state. With all do respect, you lack the understanding to remark on this subject. With your line of reasoning you need to dispose of your computer as you’re only one step away from viewing pornography.

  2. Chip says:

    Russ — A few points:

    First: I did not compare a brewpub to a bar. I merely pointed out that The Journey was hosting a meeting at a brewpub.

    Second: I have looked at what Scripture says about drinking. This is why I did not characterize drinking as sinful. Neither did I connect mere alcohol consumption with “the evil desires of youth.” What I DID say was that DRUNKENNESS is sinful. And, as we know, the only way to become drunk is to consume alcohol. So, the innocent act of drinking CAN lead to sin.

    Third: I did not say that one drink necessarily leads to a second and a third. What I did say is that a drunk person (again, drunkenness being a sin) has probably had the second and third drink and that if that person had never had the first drink they couldn’t have had the additional drinks which lead to their drunkenness (This was my “flee from sin” argument). Paul didn’t tell us to get as close to sin without actually going over the line, he said to flee it.

    You criticized my line of reasoning and suggested that I should dispose of my computer. With all due respect, Russ, I’m not sure you successfully followed my line of reasoning because my argument was not against drinking. It was against churches seeing how close they can get to sinful behavior without actually crossing the line.

    Perhaps the members of The Journey are perfectly capable of attending a meeting at a brewpub and “appreciating” a fine beer without being tempted to “appreciate” a second and third. I’ll give them the benefit of that doubt. But they are meeting there in the name of God for the purpose of drawing people to their church. Obviously their goal is to attract the unregenerate to these meetings — so they deliberately gather sinners in a place where the temptation to sin is a real possibility. I think a little more discretion could have been exercised.

    I find it hard to believe that the people they reach at the brewpub would not come to a similar meeting in another setting. After all, you said it yourself, a brewpub is not a place where people go to get drunk, it’s where they go to “appreciate” a fine beer. I’m sure those people sometimes have a hankering for a nice soft drink or a slice of pizza. Perhaps they could meet in a place where those items are served instead.

    I saw your website (nice one, by the way). If you are reformed then you know the chief end of man is to glorify God. You should also know that God’s glory should be the motivating factor in everything we do. Now, I ask you, which is more glorifying to God, drawing the unregenerate to a discussion group where the temptation to sin has been removed or drawing them to a discussion group where the opportunity to sin is deliberately presented?

  3. Russ says:

    Sorry, I should have responded to this before and let me say that I am not attempting to be harsh or argue unnecessarily with a brother. Having said that please take this all within the spirit in which it is intended and perhaps if we were to talk in person we could more easily come to an agreement.
    However, these are the same old arguments that are postulated against drinking… First, I would argue that many things we do are just one step away from sin. Consuming alcohol is just one. If drinking is not a sin then this is no different than any other thing we may do that can lead us to sin. No, we don’t have to consume alcohol but unlike you I believe that alcohol is a blessing rather than just a step away from sin as are many other things. Like anything else in life, eating, hobbies, relationships, we must exercise self-control. I have never been drunk. I have many Christian friends that drink and have not either and many of us frequent brewpubs. In saying that we should flee from sin by not having the first drink does that mean Christ should not have changed the water to wine? Of course, that is absurd. Again, many of us come close to sin every day but we don’t because we exercise self control.
    Although I don’t know the motivation of these folks, I would argue that they are not, or should not, be drawing people to their church. They should be drawing people to Christ. If that is correct, we should go to where the people are, or where they may feel comfortable to meet, in this case a brewpub. So, I don’t see this as a situation where anyone or a church is “seeing how close they can get to sinful behavior without actually crossing the line.” Have you been to a church sponsored ice cream social? Is that church not one step away from enticing someone to sin by overeating an unnecessary food that causes obesity? I see no difference between drunkenness and gluttony. This line of thinking is telling me we should not have a meeting at the local dairy Queen or for that matter, the local Pizza Hut, either.
    Lastly, and I know I’m not covering all your points; I would argue that drinking can and indeed is done to the glory of God every day! God is the creator of all things and all things are good because he created them. It is what man does with these things that makes them sin or not. How else do we explain vss. such as Judges 9:13 and Ps 104:15 that tell us that wine makes the heart of man and God glad? It is only this modern obsession in the church that has led us away from alcohol consumption. Your assumption is that the possibility of drinking to excess is present with every glass of alcohol consumed. That’s simply not true. To insist on that is adding to Scripture in my mind and therefore is binding one’s conscience. It is just not the same as a man walking into a porn shop.

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