It seems that the ‘conversation’ (read: “heated debate“) about alcohol and the church has been reignited in more than one of my social-circles lately. From family members to ministry-peers -the subject of alcohol and the church is a topic with a wide-range of (strong) opinions from people with a wide-range of personal experiences.
While I have a personal-conviction against consuming alcohol because of its ill-effects on individuals, families, and society and, similarly, a community-conviction (as a pastor and covenant member of the Wesleyan Church), I do still see GREAT benefit in having an ongoing conversation about the topic.
I have friends and family members on both sides of the “to drink or not to drink” argument and have myself been tempted to cut the conversation short in the attempt to ease the tension that arises out of disagreement. I find that when either side is unwilling to converse about their opinion (and this goes with any topic) we arrive at a dangerous dead end that can easily lead to legalism on the teetotaler side or the possibility of the so-called “slippery slope” of debauchery on the other.
Conversation, then, is important if we’re to maintain a healthy relationship with those inside the Church AND to “walk in wisdom toward outsiders” (Col. 4:5). In my family, our “conversation” has already begun – even with a 4- and 7-year-old. Thanks to commercials from the “World’s Most Interesting Man” (Dos Equis) and other advertisements (they’re literally EVERYwhere) we’re already talking about alcohol, its effects, our experiences, our convictions, and our family’s response.
I’m thankful to others who hold a similar conviction to me (and my theological tradition) who have recently engaged in the conversation and I think they’re recent posts are worth noting:
“A caution for every Christian that drinks alcohol” by Pastor Nathan Rouse has gained a bit of traction since it was posted on January 1st. Nearly 700-comments have already been posted as a part of the “ongoing conversation”. From Pastor Rouse’s post:
Like it or not, people hold Christians to a higher standard (as they should). Do you love alcohol so much that you’re willing to let your witness be tarnished? Do you love your “freedom” so much that you could care less how it affects another brother or sister?
This isn’t about rules being broken. This is about loving our brother and sister enough to limit our freedom in Christ so as to not cause them to stumble.
“Dealing with Alcoholism: My Interview with an Anonymous Pastor and Recovering Alcoholic” by Ed Stetzer also appeared first on January 1st and brings a bit more to the table in way of statistics and resource-links.
If we need any ‘proof’ that alcohol (and its excessive use) is anything we need to be talking about in the first place, please click-thru some of this list of alcohol-related headlines I found:
(even more ‘Drunk’ headlines here)