Thursday, March 18, 2010

All Things To All Men

One of our favorite verses to use in our evangelism methods is where Paul said that he “becomes all things to all men” so that he might “by all means save some (I Corinthians 9:22).” This is certainly a good idea if we keep it in its proper context and application.

For example, I remember a time in high school where I knew a kid that loved skateboarding. Being the chicken that I am, I was never a skateboarder. All he would talk about was skating, and I knew none of his lingo. But to help develop a relationship with him (he was new to our church and didn’t know many people), I brushed up on my skating lingo so I could ask if he had done any sick ollies lately (impressed?). This would be like Paul saying “to the skateboarder, I became a skateboarder.” This is effective and necessary.

But then there are the people that use this verse to justify doing sinful things in the name of evangelism. The first one that comes to mind is about drinking. Some people will go into the bars to evangelize, which is a great idea, but then they order a round for themselves. If any sanctified Christian dares to oppose them on this practice, they will proudly cite their anthem: I’m becoming all things to all men.

Let’s step back and survey the damage that is done here. These pub evangelists have just given every lost person a license to continue in their very sin! “If he believes in Jesus and does the same things I’m doing, I must be OK.”

The same point was recently made to me in trying to defend a movie that used profanity. Someone told me that the profanity in this movie is being all things to all men. With that logic the same damage is done as with the pub evangelist. If this is the new justification in evangelism, where will we draw the line: Will we become porn stars to reach porn stars? Will we become drug dealers to reach our clients? Come on! This is ridiculous. Let’s stop taking the Bible out of context in order to excuse our sin.

Paul’s quote in I Corinthians 9 is being dangerously misapplied. His original point had nothing to do with giving himself extra liberty, but was all about denying himself the liberty that he already had! Look at his examples. To the weak he became weak, and though he was free, he made himself a servant. It is not that he fed his sinful appetite, but that he denied himself to reach some. We know for a fact that Paul denied himself the right to eat certain meat (which he had the right to eat) in order to keep the opportunity to reach others (read the previous chapter).

Do you really want to reach somebody for Christ? Then find a way to reach one by denying yourself, not by compromising your standards or beliefs. When we compromise, no one is actually reached for Christ, so we miss our goal. We are constantly reaching people by confronting them with their need for change. How many are being reached by drinking, swearing Christians?

Let’s be all things to all men so that we can reach some.


Tommy Mann said...

I wanted to leave this as a follow up point, sort of like an asterisk. I felt like this needs to be said, but I didn't want to interupt the flow of the blog.

When speaking of drinking, I know what so many people use to justify it. "The Bible doesn't say not to drink, it says not to get drunk." While that statement is true, the Bible does not say that we should drink, and nowhere in Scripture do we ever see Jesus drinking. If it was OK for Jesus to drink, then why would Paul tell pastors never to drink?

Then there is the fermentation issue. If I squeezed some grapes and left the juice out in the hot Israeli sun all day, I would not have the same drink I started out with. And the fermented wine in the New Testament and the alcohol content we have today are like apples and oranges.

Also, there has never been a homeless drunkar on the side of the road begging for money who did not take a first drink. Most people cannot control themselves, especially once alcohol enters their system, and they get drunk before they realized it.

And for all the people who endorse drinking, think about this. A pastor here in SC brags that he is allowed to have a few if he doesn't get drunk. Because of this, a young man at his church went out to have a few himself,lost control, got drunk, and was killed in a car accient that he caused. At his funeral, the boy's father grabbed that pastor by the collar and said, "You are to blame for this." He is absolutely right. You might think that is extreme, but I think driking a poison that makes you lose your mind is extreme.

But above any other point, consider this. If we were to survey every lost person in America and ask them if Christians are supposed to drink beer, what would they say? Remember, that question is based on what they perceive to be true. The vast majority would agree that Christians are ot supposed to drink, and if they do drink, they would be viewed as being hypocrites. With that in mind, a Christian loses his ability to witness when he is seen drinking. Instead of witnessing, this leads to postmodern discussions about how God is OK with drinking, which in turn leaves the alcoholic unchanged.

Even if Christians think they have a biblical duty to drink, they should, like Paul, give up their "right" to reach some. In this case, being all things to all men means acting like a Christian.

bmann24 said...

Tommy, not only does Scripture not forbid the enjoyment of alcohol by God’s people- there are times when it is actually encouraged (though to be fair, those are Old Testament). There are several things about the drinking issue as you have laid out that need to be addressed. The first is that Jesus never drank. What???? How could anyone as knowledgeable about the Bible think that Jesus never drank? First, He turned the water into wine (oinos), and lest you try to argue about the old wine, new wine thing, the governor of the feast was astonished that the best wine was saved for last. The governor said in Luke that no one dinks the old wine, then wants new wine, because the old wine is better. Also, the greek word for new wine (gleukas) is not used. The only time this word is used in the New Testament is in Acts 2:15, where someone is accused of getting drunk on the NEW WINE. Someone could even get drunk on the new wine! Also, Jesus himself admitted to drinking in Luke 7:33-34 when the Pharisees accused him of being a drunk because he came “eating and drinking”. Paul urged us to not be drunk on “oinos”, the same stuff Jesus made at the feast, and the same stuff he drank at the last supper. Jesus drank wine that could have gotten him drunk if he drank enough of it.

Secondly, the idea that alcohol content was different back then is completely irrelevant, even if it is true. Some people say that alcohol was not distilled until the 1500’s, and this strengthened the alcohol content of a drink. So what? Even if drinks are stronger now, no one gets drunk from one drink. If it took 10 drinks for someone to get drunk in the first century and 5 drinks to get drunk now, people in the first century would just drink more of it. There were drunkards in that time because people could get drunk on it. What’s the difference if it had less if they could still get drunk?

Third, you mentioned that Paul instructed pastors not to drink. I don’t know what verse you are referencing unless it is the passage in Timothy where he commands a pastor to not be given to MUCH wine. If you know of another verse that would cancel that out, please let me know. I know the priests were not allowed to drink wine when they went into the tabernacle (I know, Old Testament), but were allowed to at other times. (Num 18:12)

more to come...

bmann24 said...

Scripture does lay out boundaries and places some restrictions on the consumption of alcohol, to be sure. Paul says to not get drunk and to avoid drunkenness, and commands us as Christians to abstain when it will offend a Christian who doesn’t realize his freedom or choose to use it. This is why, when you and Alicia stayed at our house I never offered you a beer, nor did April and I ask if you would mind if we drank a glass of wine with our dinner – we were trying to stay faithful to Paul’s teaching to abstain while around other Christians who would be offended. Paul also says to not let anyone judge you in food or drink (Col 2:16), and talking about the same issue, Paul asks in 1Cor 10:29-30, why his liberty should be judged by someone else’s conscience, and wonders how someone could judge him for what he partakes of in thanks to God.

Scripture warns about the effects of too much alcohol all throughout the Old Testament, much of it in Proverbs, but it is always given in association with drinking too much. While it is true that no one ever became an alcoholic without taking a first drink, and while I sympathize with your pastor friend and the family of the one killed, this is precisely why self-control is listed as a fruit of the spirit. We are expected to be yielded to the Spirit and exercise self-control in all areas, not just with drinking. For some, this may mean that they choose to abstain totally. For others, they may choose to exercise their self-control.

And since the Scriptures never teach a total abstinence from alcohol, any teaching to the contrary must be given as an opinion of men. If all indications from Scripture are to use self-control and stay within God’s boundaries, anyone who teaches that Christians should totally abstain and tries to use the Bible to do it is being dishonest, since Scripture never comes close to doing this.

Tommy, you mentioned the “pub evangelists” and said that “when any sanctified Christians tries to call them on it…” Maybe it just sounds different than you meant it, but it sounds tragically arrogant. First, since you are calling them on it in your blog, you must be referring to yourself as a sanctified Christian, which is far from the humility of Paul who described himself as the worst of sinners. Secondly, since your position that any drinking is sinful is not based on Scripture and only on the opinion of a man, you include among the sanctified only those who share your opinion. I, as a head-over-heels, madly in love with Jesus, beer-drinking Christian, am pursuing sanctification just as you are, but I try my best to be humble about my opinions, knowing they could just as easily be wrong, and so I try to extend grace to those who do things or believe differently than I do on the little things, which is a far cry from calling me and those who think like me sanctified, and those who don’t sinners.

Just a few thoughts. Sorry I wrote so long.

bmann24 said...

ohh more thing....
you mentioned that many nonbelievers think that Christians are forbidden to drink and so we would only confuse them or cause them to think of us as hypocrites if we do. This may be true if some Christian has a beer in one hand is launching theological grenades with the other. However, there are many stereotypes and misconceptions that some nonbelievers have toward Christians, but all of these begin to melt away as we form real, genuine, meaningful friendships with the nonbelievers in our lives. As we befriend them, love them, and invite them to join us in following Christ, we get the privilege of tearing down the old stereotypes and watching them learn what following Jesus really looks like. No matter what their previous perceptions of Christianity, they will know that the one Christian or group of Christians who really loves them isn't judgmental, hypocritical, or self-centered (all the classic Christian stereotypes)and wouldn't be at all shocked to find that we drink on occasion too.

It all hinges on befriending and loving people, and being the church to those outside its doors. When we yell at people from a distance we only serve to reinforce every negative image of Jesus that they already may have had. When we are invested in the lives of those around us, they will see no conflict, because of our love for God and them, with the fact that we like to drink a beer while we watch the game- especially when they learn that God approves of it within His boundaries.

Tommy Mann said...

Thanks for your comments. Since I disagree with you, I will assume it was the beer talking. :)

First, let me say for the zillionth time in a blog comment, I am not arrogant or judgmental. I am not throwing spiritual hand grenades, nor am I yelling at people from afar. My blogs are for the purpose of teaching.

When I referred to sanctified Christians, this is a reference to the ones who are trying to live right. To be sanctified means to be set apart, and the opposite of that is looking just like the world. Drinking beer looks like the world, while abstaining from it looks set apart. All through the New Testament we are commanded to be sanctified. If I say I am sanctified, that does not mean I am saying I am perfect, that means I am in the process of changing my life every day to look like Christ. What is the opposite, then? Are you not sanctified? Are you not set apart to God and apart from this world? And if not, why not?

Let me reiterate that these blogs are not written to the lost, although they are certainly welcome to read them. But as I continually tell people, they are written to teach. Paul commands the pastors to teach, which is what I am doing. Do I claim to be perfect in my interpretation? Absolutely not! I have made mistakes in the past, and I will in the future. That does not mean that I will stand timidly back and follow up every point in a sermon by saying, “…of course, these are just thoughts. I may be wrong about this.” I am human, which makes me capable of making mistakes, but as a pastor, it is my duty to search the Scriptures, interpret them, and teach them. Not arrogantly, but because that is the job description of a pastor. Last week in AWANA I admitted to having taught something wrong and made a correction. That is why I welcome people to show me where I may have misinterpreted Scripture. But it seems that everyone who wants to defend drinking just accuses his accuser of being judgmental or legalistic or an old-schooler.

I will say this as nicely as I can. People continue to tell me that I am just giving my opinion. Yes, and I use Scripture to support all of my opinions. Are the people disagreeing with me not also giving their opinions? I don’t see why everyone is allowed to have an opinion except for me. On a lot of issues, both sides cannot be right, and I do not understand why people have a problem with me trying to teach truth. This idea that Christians need to be quiet and let everyone else teach our children is absurd. To teach them something false is a sin, AND to allow someone else to teach them something false is a sin. On this particular issue, if I teach that drinking is OK, it is very dangerous if I am wrong. They can destroy their lives because I gave them permission to.

I’ll address the drinking in the next comment.

Tommy Mann said...

I have witnessed first hand too many times the effects that alcohol has on someone. It destroys lives. In a literal way it destroys lives through liver disease, car accidents, and suicide committed while under its influence. In a figurative way it destroys lives by causing bankruptcy, divorce, abuse, and child-neglect. It also destroys the innocent, the ones who never took a drink. I’m pretty sure that this is not what Jesus had in mind when He raised His glass at the Last Supper (…of course, these are just thoughts. I may be wrong about this.) And for all the Christians who spend 99.9% of their time taking on poverty, have they ever realized that alcoholism causes more poverty than anything else? Maybe if they stopped endorsing alcohol they wouldn’t need to spend as much time with the poor (before I get a comment for that comment, I AM NOT SAYING I AM OPPOSED TO FIGHTING POVERTY. And I have my own record to prove it.)

And your response to this is to use self-control? Do you realize that it is medically proven that the first thing you lose control of under the influence of alcohol are your inhibitions, which is the ability to make decisions well. In other words, you lose your self-control when alcohol enters your system. I know you are passionately head over heels in love with Jesus (if I said that someone would call me arrogant), which is a great thing, but your love for Him will not allow you to keep your inhibitions while drinking. That could be perceived as an arrogant statement.

Read I Timothy 3:3 and Titus 1:7. These verses both say a pastor should not be given to wine, not MUCH wine, as you suggested. And why should a pastor not drink at all, according to Paul? For the very reasons I have already stated. They lose their self-control, they won’t be able to properly interpret Scripture, and they lose their witness! Maybe a “pub evangelist” under the influence of alcohol is the one who got the idea that we should all have a few. Paul also said pastors and their wives must not drink so that they can teach the people to be sober. This looks like it starts at the top and works its way down.

Did Jesus turn water into wine? Yes. Now please show me the verse where He drank it. In fact, the reason I BELIEVE He performed this miracle was for a sign. Just as Israel’s first deliverer Moses turned water into blood, their new deliverer was on the scene. Now stay with me.

The alcohol content issue is extremely important. Water was often in short supply, and there was never a refrigerator filled with chilled beverages. To keep from dehydration in the hot Israeli sun, a person needed to drink. People drank what they had to in order to stay healthy; this is the moderation issue. No one is doing shots of vodka for sustenance today. We have to look at the motive behind what took place, and not interpret the Scripture like they lived in 2010. To me, this is like taking a swig of cough syrup, which contains alcohol, to make me better. A spoonful of Dayquil and doing a keg stand are totally different, much like the motive behind drinking them is different. If a person had a little wine for health reasons (with very little alcohol content), that is moderation. If a person drank bottle after bottle of it to get a buzz, that is drunkenness. And no one—no one—drinks today for sustenance. In my personal opinion, 9 out of 10 people drink because of how it makes them feel, which is wrong.

Tommy Mann said...

I know someone can find some online source to support drinking, but consider this website:

Logos is always sound, and they cite Dr. MacArthur, who is likewise a great Bible expositor. This link is a great rescource.

bmann24 said...

Tommy, I appreciate your thoughts. Sanctification is something that we should all be striving toward, and I am as well. I just took your calling yourself sanctified to be saying you have achieved some level that most people haven't, which, like I said before, seems far from where the greatest apostle positioned himself as the worst of sinners. Sorry I misinterpreted.

And of course you are allowed to have your opinions. Especially in issues when Scripture is silent or vague. In these areas the best we can do is to read the Scripture and decide for ourselves. In those areas where there is disagreement, though, we are not really permitted to judge the other side as bad for having the other opinion.

You mentioned the issue of self control, and how it is the first thing to go when you start to drink. While that is certainly true, I have been drinking now for about 6 years and have never once been drunk. I know many people who drink - probably way more than you do, and I have only known one alcoholic. Some people at my last job would announce their plans to get drunk after work, but they went in knowing the limit they wanted to reach was to absolutely pass out. The VAST majority of people I know have 1 or 2 drinks and quit. From someone who drinks to someone who hasn't tasted alcohol since he snuck a beer from his grandpa's fridge when he was ten, let me assure you that with 2 drinks you are still well within your faculties.

Why would Jesus have made wine, which would be his approval of them drinking it, if it was a sin to do so? And this wasn't the oops-our-grapes-just-fermented-in-the-sun wine, this was the old wine, the good stuff. If it is a sin to drink, wouldn't you be in sin if you gave someone a glass of wine?

And yes, when Jesus raised his glass at the Last Supper, he was probably fully aware of the effects of the stuff. There were drunkards all throughout Jesus' culture as well as Paul's as Paul warns us over and over to avoid drunkenness, and the Pharisees blamed the drunks, among others, for God not blessing Israel. We abuse many things today because of sin that were not God's original design.

bmann24 said...

And some people are alcoholics (remember MOST people that drink aren't) and some of them have ruined a lot of lives including their own. But this isn't a product of alcohol - It is a product of sin. There is no real Christian who is falling over drunk every night of the week, because even if they were alcoholics at one time, they would be leaving that lifestyle behind (or trying to)Alcoholism is just a symptom of their having not yet come to Christ.

Doesn't "given to wine" carry the idea of being owned by it? Couldn't Paul be saying that a pastor should not be a drunkard?

Where do we find that people drank wine to stay hydrated? Alcohol sucks the water from your body. This is what causes the hangover headache - your body needs water to counteract the alcohol, so it uses the water around your brain. Alcohol can never be used for hydration. I know some people say that wine was mixed with water to purify the water, but we don't see this in Scripture or anywhere else, and Is 1:22 shows that wine mixed with water is bad wine.

In Duet14:26 God tells his people to spend their money on what they want, including wine, and it is shown as a blessing from God in Is 25:6, Jer 31:12, Joel 2:18-19 and the list could go on for quite a while. God even tells them to drink "strong drink" if they desired (Deut 14:26) And Jesus drank it! (Mat 11:18-19, Luke 7:33-34)

And yes, people drink because of how it makes them feel.Psalm 104:4 says wine makes glad the heart of man (talked about as a good thing. Its the same reason we have sex, the same reason we eat our favorite foods. The people in the Bible ate bread because it kept them alive. We eat pizza because it makes us feel good. We can sin when we chase the pleasures of women, wine, and food, but when we use all these things within God's boundaries, we are enjoying the amazing world He created for us.

Tommy Mann said...


I'm glad to know that you have never been drunk..or at least not that you can remember... :)

It is very easy to make the case that it is ok to drink. You have cited many verses, each using the word wine, so it looks like you have made an air tight case.

But there are 13 words translated as wine in the Bible, so we need to be careful how we use those verses. The most commonly used words (yayin in Hebrew and oinos in Greek) refer to a diluted drink. This is how a person could hydrate with was more water than anything else. Some of the words do refer to strong drink, like the one that says strong drink is a mocker, while others refer purely to fresh-squeezed grape juice.

You said in one of your comments that you don't advertise your drinking because it may cause someone to be offended, and yet you just tweeted about drinking. Anyone can read that and be offended, and without knowing that you yourself are not a drunkard, someone could take that to mean you endorse drinking, then get wasted and kill themselves. (I wrote this blog before your beer tweet)

And yes, I believe that the fact that a pastor should not be given to wine means that he should not touch the stuff. As I said before, he needs to be in his right mind to teach others how to be sober (Paul's words). And since Peter said we are a royal priesthood ourselves, (all believers, not just pastors)I believe we should all abstain from it.

To answer your question about why Jesus would make something that was a sin to drink, do you remember that one tree in Eden? God created a beautiful, tasty, refreshing fruit tree that he said not to eat. This was a test, and it allowed man to have to make the choice to serve God or not. I believe alcohol is in that same boat today.

And fnally, while I admit that these are my opinions based on Scripture, I want you to think about the damage you can do by endorsing it. One of my youth can read your comments and say, "Finally, biblical reasons to drink!" Then, without knowing his limits, could do a kegstand and be in a drunken stupor before he finishes his drink. A seasoned drinker like yourself might know when to stop, but a first timer wouldnt. I believe you will be held accountable for that, according to Mark 9:42.

If Christians want to believe they can drink and be ok, fine, just please keep quiet about it and don't lead anyone else down that path. It is a very dangerous road, and you are always only one too many away from wide-spread destruction.

My blog was not about drinking, I just used that as an example. But the point of my blog was this: even if you think it is OK to drink, Paul said to give it up in order to reach someone for Christ. I see Christians' beer as a hindrance to salvation, not something that will compel people to get saved. It goes right back to that "They are no different than me" epidemic. This is why we need sanctificaion.

And just for the record, I haven't snuck one from their fridge since I was 5.

Tommy Mann said...

True story:
As I was doing my devotions this morning, I went to read my Proverb of the day, and being the 20th, ths is the first verse I read:

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoseover is deceived thereby is not wise."

True story.

Scott said...

"Men can go wrong with wine or with women -- should we then prohibit and abolish women?" -Martin Luther, Reformer and Vinyard Owner.

Scott said...

Oh, and if one of your youth drink alcohol it is a sin anyway, Christian liberty or not, because it is a defiance of the laws of the land. Christian liberty and alcohol issues aren't even a legitimate discussion until they are 21.

bmann24 said...

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever IS LED ASTRAY BY IT is not wise. This doesn't say whoever drinks it is not wise. There is not one single place found in Scripture where alcohol is categorically prohibited-only warned against when used improperly. All these verses, and there are many of them, talk about the dangers of overindulgence.

Even the priests were allowed to drink when not performing their tabernacle duties, and the Nazarites were allowed to drink at the end of their term of service. If there is one verse somewhere that says that wine is bad and leaves it at that, we have to look at the whole body of Scripture and not just the one verse to make the case. This is why the Jesus’ Name Pentecostals require a strictly performed baptism for salvation- they focus on one verse instead of the whole body of Scripture. Wine is mentioned over 200 times in Scripture, with every one of them referring to wine, not grape juice, and almost all of them allowing for use within proper boundaries.

And about all the Hebrew words for wine, that is true. There are quite a few. Yayin is the most popular (used 141 times and could certainly intoxicate (Gen 9:21). The next most common is Tiyrosh (38 times) and it can also intoxicate (Hosea 4:11) The other 14 words for wine are only used 1-5 times each and every one refers to fermented, alcoholic wine, with some being translated as liquor in the KJV. The funny thing is that none of these refer to grape juice, because that word is used in Num 6:3 and says grape juice. Also, the Greek word for grape juice, trux, is never found in the New Testament. If God wanted to call something grape juice, he certainly had the words to do it. Looking at the word "wine" and interpreting it as alcoholic when it is warned against and interpreting it as grape juice when it is encouraged is pretty convenient interpretation. ;)

If I write something and someone takes it to some kind of crazy extreme, that would be a shame. But how are we to prevent something like that from happening? I could just as easily make a comment about intimacy with my wife, have a teenager read it and go contract an STD. Silliness. What happens outside your sphere of influence may be important, but how can we monitor that? Paul talks about abstaining from alcohol if it offends someone, but there is nothing about abstaining lest someone somewhere sometime be offended. As you say, the "postmodern crowd" tries its best to be unoffensive, (lol) but that would be taking it to an extreme. We should instead commit to teaching those under us the limits and boundaries and the importance of self-control, how to rely and yield to the Spirit, etc. And I realize that is what you are doing- teaching your people to the best of your interpretation. I doubt your teenagers will go home and pour out the listerine and chuck the hand sanitizer after learning from you that they should stay away from alcohol. They will avoid silly extremes because you directly influenced and taught them what you feel is the proper use. Still, though, I understand what you are saying about watching what you say or write, because you never know who is listening

bmann24 said...

And in the issue of Christian liberty, you are right that we should give up our liberty at times. That is the point. We don't just have the freedom to partake, but the freedom to abstain as well. Some may choose to abstain all the time, such as yourself, which is fine. Others may choose to partake at times and abstain when it is appropriate to do so, which is also fine. The sin comes when one side tells the other they have to do it their way, or has no regard for offending or judging other Christians. Both of these violate the boundaries of our liberty. But like Paul asked in 1Cor 10, "Why should my freedom be judged by another man's conscience?" Having the freedom to enjoy something but being told that the better Christians abstain from it is not freedom at all- it is guilt.

Finally, I didn't mean earlier to make it sound like I was accusing you of theological grenade-launching. I was talking about the "pub evangelists" who, if they were yelling at the "sinners" in the bar while drinking a beer would be sending a mixed message.

Thomas, I am fine with you not drinking, or anyone else for that matter. Its not like Christians are commanded to do it. The only time I know that that happened was before the Israelites crossed into the Promised Land they were commanded to worship God with drinking wine, but that was long ago....Of course you have the freedom to abstain and the responsibility to teach your best interpretation to those in your sphere of influence. And I encourage you to stand firm in your convictions. The only reason I write a defense is to show that well meaning, intelligent Christians who are pursuing sanctification have a solid case for enjoying alcohol and shouldn’t be automatically written off as “sinners”

As for me, I will continue to "eat my bread with joy and drink my wine with a merry heart, for God has accepted my works" Ecc 9:7, and will continue to eat and drink to the glory of God (1Cor10:31)until in Heaven we enjoy together "the feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines and fat things full of marrow" (IS 25:6). On that day, Tommy, we will raise our glasses and make a toast to an eternity with each other and with the One who loves us.

Tommy Mann said...

Scott/Martin Luther,

Thank you both for you comments.

I think the women and wine are apples and oranges. Don’t get me wrong, I know you can debate against what I am going to say, but the Bible isn’t filled with passages that say that pastors can’t have a wife, or teach to abstain from having a wife like it does about pastors and wine.

I’ve never cared for Luther anyway. Wasn’t he a Lutheran? I’m a closed-minded Baptist! (j/k)

In reference to my youth drinking, the youth at Philippi goes through college, so we have some that are legally old enough to drink. That is why this is a real issue.

Tommy Mann said...

Bobby (and probably Scott too),

I realize that I am not going to change your opinion on this, and it was never my goal to. I have read countless articles on this topic the last few days, an the general consensus is exactly what my blog was about—right or wrong is not the issue. It is the perception (and the motive behind it) that is important. And I still firmly believe that the perception is that Christians are not supposed to drink, and if they do, this makes them unable to tell people about Jesus. The blog was about denying your rights in order to reach someone for Christ.

The truth of the matter is that the majority of the words used for wine, which I already pointed our are yayin and oinos, are vague words that can either mean fermented OR unfermented, and the context is supposed to help the listener decide. This is kind of like in English, where we have the words too, to, and two. We easily know the difference from their context. With these words for wine, people have been making them fit whatever their pre-determined conclusion was. The context, then, would be the totality of Scripture. It depends on whether you believe the Bible has an underlying issue that says wine is either all good, all bad, or somewhere in moderation. What each person decides on that question will guide them in defining yayin and oinos. For me, I choose to stay away from it all.

On the abortion issue, which I hope you are still opposed to since you became a registered heretic (j/k), I once heard you say, “If you can’t prove when life begins, why not err on the side of not killing a life just to be safe?” I say, if you can’t prove beyond a doubt that drinking is either all good, all bad, or in the middle (which cannot be proven beyond a doubt due to the ambiguous nature of yayin and oinos), then why not err on the side of not committing the sin? If I’m wrong, I haven’t lost anything. Literally, beer is expensive, and I don’t want to die of liver disease. But if you are wrong, that has a lot more consequences.

But please don’t think that I am saying that anyone who doesn’t believe like I do is on the broad path headed for destruction, at least not on this issue. I don’t think I am better than the ones who drink. I just have an interpretation of Scripture that I think is worth considering, and obviously people who don’t hear me preach on a weekly basis read my blog, so I feel obligated to put the message out there.

Sorry for the delayed response. It’s just that I have been playing a lot of basketball with Rush of Fools and all. You know how that goes. (By the way, Wes, you’re lucky I didn’t have my Nikes!)

And hey, Marriage Supper of the Lamb…I’ll drink to that. Just not until I get there.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I accidently deleted the last post?

Random thoughts...

-The word motivation is key. What's one's motive? To be cool? So the lost think will think Christians are not holier than thou? My motivation behind not drinking it is to simply not look or appear worldly. There is absolutely no question the lost world understands drinking to be "bad" and "sinful".


-Every alcoholic started with just one.

-Is drinking alcohol at the expense of Christian liberty influencing anyone, especially the lost world, positively?

-In Jesus' day, I'm sure they didn't have quite the selection of yummy beverages we do today at feasts/celebrations. (Dr. Pepper being my personal favorite) I'm sure wine was one of few choices.

-Pub evangelism... Are we calling sinners out of that culture or just Christianizing it?

-Different topic, I know.. but If we drink w/ the alcholics to reach them for Christ, then one might feel called to sleep with and have a conversation with a pornstar, because hey, God invented sex and they’re gonna used it for the good amen! Sadly, I'm afraid this tolerant, compromising, "unity in diversity" movement is headed to this extreme!

too far?

For all readers...Please tune in for my next blog...

"From Suit-Wearing Legalist Larry to Tolerant, No Absolute Truth Trina, Finding Balance in Two Extremes"

coming soon or whenever I ever have a free moment from changing diapers :)

bmann24 said...

Alicia, I appreciate your thoughts...

About motivation- some may choose to drink because they think it makes them look cool. I think kids sometimes do this to try to fit in. Someone's motivation many times determines whether the act is good or not. If I give April flowers so she'll let me go to the Magic game, giving her flowers really wasn't nice. You are right-drinking out of a motivation to fit in or wincing as you force down a beer so you can appear relevent to someone at a bar is probably wrong. And if you drink while it violates your conscience, you are wrong. However, the lost world for the most part drinks moderately and is not made up of raging alcoholics. I don't know of anyone outside the faith who thinks drinking moderately is sinful-just that Christians will judge them for it.

Every alcoholic did start with just one. No doubt about it. Alcoholism is a manifestation of depression or hopelessness, though, and is a sad reality of a world that wants to remain in its brokenness rather than embrace Christ.

About Christian liberty- to drink (or do anything else) to the offense of another is a violation of liberty. I have the right to partake and the responsibiity to abstain when it will offend anyone-believer or nonbeliever. If it is going to cause a problem I am free(liberty) to set it aside and commanded to do so. You also have this freedom but are well within your rights to choose to never partake. You mentioned looking worldly- I can certainly understand your thinking within the context that you are living. In a very conservative Christian environment where most people view moderate drinking as sinful, you would appear worldly to them if you chose to use your liberty to drink. In the context I live in where getting drunk is viewed as sinful, moderate drinking does not appear worldly. At least to most.

Wine may have been one of only a few choices for Jesus to enjoy at parties and Last Suppers, but if it is wrong to drink something that could get you drunk, even if you don't drink to that point, then Jesus would have sinned. He probably would have opted for the water. Instead, he was accused of being a glutton and a drunk.

I don't know of anyone who wants to drink with an alcoholic to win them to Christ. Remember, just because someone drinks and are not Christians in no way makes them alcoholics. Those who are addicted should never have a Christian enabling them in a self-destructive habit, and I don't know of anyone who who would do this. Drinking with a nonbelieving social drinker, maybe. Drinking with an alcoholic-no. Though to be fair, I don't know any of these "pub evangelists" you guys have been talking about.

I appreciate your thoughts and don't want to seem argumentative. I don't want to see Christians compromise their standards in sharing the gospel either, and it is always good to think through these things.

Tommy Mann said...

I feel like I should clarify something I said to Scott. I actually do like Martin Luther--that was a joke, and I hope it came across that way.

Sorry if I offended any Luther lovers.

bmann24 said...

oohhh...If not "given" to wine means not to touch it or use it at all, doesn't Paul also forbid pastors to use or touch money as well? Titus 1:7 ;) I found the "not given to 'much' wine verse in Titus 2:2 talking to older women

Tommy Mann said...

oohhh...the verse in Titus 1:7 says that a pastor shouldn't be given to filthy lucre (KJV), which in Greek means to desire for based gain or greedy for money. The NIV translates it to say he should not pursue dishonest gain.

It doesn't say that a pastor can be greedy in moderation, or not given to much greediness.

So by this all or nothing logic, this verse says that a pastor should not be given to wine and should not be given to greedy desires. Shouldn't we translate the "given to" the same way?