- I don't drink.
- Never have.
- I have to be careful about wearing my non-drinking choice as a badge of pride - because I have ZERO interest in alcohol and/or drugs. They have never been a temptation for me... so, I need to refrain from bragging about my incredible self-control when I simply have no interest in chugging a beer or sipping a cabernet.
- I'm the pastor of a Southern Baptist church (despite our non-Southern Baptist-y name)... and historically Southern Baptist churches have been anti-alcohol.
With those facts in mind, I want to respectfully (or not-so-respectfully) register my profound irritation at the resolution. Some other folks have done an excellent job of explaining why... if you want detailed analysis & carefully thought out arguments, you should check out these blogs:
- reformissionary: Wednesday & Happy Hour
- reformissionary: Biblical Liberty & Terrified Baptists
- reformissionary: Florida Baptist Take-Backs
- Grace & Truth to you: Conversion To Christ Over a Glass of Wine
OTOH, if you want my inadequately thought out gut reaction, here it is.
- I've experienced a bunch of people blowing their lives up with alcohol: family, friends, congregation members & youth I worked with. It feels like you're watching a car crash in slow motion.
- Those experiences have reinforced my personal choice not to drink... and my desire that others choose wisely in this potentially dangerous area.
- I wish it said "Don't drink alcohol" in the Bible (preferably in bold red letters), but it doesn't.
- It does clearly say "Being drunk is just about as smart as putting your head in a commercial blender and setting it on puree." (OK, it doesn't actually say it that way... I'm paraphrasing.)
- So, if there is no "don't drink" passage in Scripture, the resolution against "alcohol use" is, at best, Biblically problematic.
- At worst, it's like Satan figured out yet another way to talk followers of Christ into ignoring parts of the Scripture so as best to tick off & alienate people who desperately need to understand the grace available from the Guy who turned water into wine.
- And yes, I spent a lot of time using the "don't cause a brother to stumble" argument when I was in youth ministry... and it has some application to this question, but it doesn't magically turn the wine back into water.
Simply put: I think the best way to avoid being drunk (clearly a sin, according to the Bible) is not to drink. I choose not to drink but I can not fault those who do on the basis of Scripture. Alcohol abuse is a horrific problem and we who follow Jesus should do everything in our power to stop it. But, to quote Martin Luther, "Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?”
A final note: the Southern Baptist Convention is organized a bit differently than many other well-known Christian churches - rather than policy & theology coming from the top down (from a synod, executive office, Vatican, whatever), in Southern Baptist life this bubbles from the bottom up. Each local church is autonomous: they hire their own staff, own their facilities, and choose voluntarily to participate in the convention.
Which means that resolutions from the convention are "non-binding"... in other words, they are strongly suggested but not "law" for SBC churches.
I can't tell you how much I love the words "non-binding resolution" when stuff like this comes down the pipeline.