Freedom vs. witness
Steve McCoy has a great discussion going on his blog about SBC policies at seminaries. One of his concerns is at Southern Seminary the students are forced to sign an agreement not to drink alcohol while they attend seminary. He is concerned with "extra-biblical" rules that are placed on students such as obstaining from drinking alcohol. He says that some IMB missionaries are placed in difficult situations on the mission field in regards to alcohol. In some cultures it is accepted that wine, beer and other adult beverages are provided at every meal. But IMB missionaries are prohibited from drinking and often offend those who they are trying to minister to. This is a difficult subject for me. I don't drink. I never have been a drinker. My grandfather (father's side) was an alcoholic and died of liver cancer because of his drinking. I never had the desire to drink. My father told me if I wanted to try alcohol he would buy it for me and let me try it at home because he didn't want me driving on the road as a teenager. I grew up in Tuscaloosa, AL the home of party town USA. If I had wanted it, I could have easily had all I wanted. Then I was in a Fraternity in college. I guess I never wanted alcohol because it was never forbidden and I saw the dangers it posed to others. I entered the ministry and never have had a problem with wanting to drink alcohol. I enjoy OJ and coffee to much to worry about having a beer. When I was in student ministry I was asked if drinking alcohol was a sin. I can't support in the Bible anywhere that drinking alcohol is sin. Jesus turned water into wine. Paul suggested to Timothy to drink a little wine with his water for his stomach. So I can't in good conscience say that drinking alcohol is a sin. But I have never been a drinker. The only alcohol I have ever tasted was at an Episopal church in communion. I did not like it and vowed never to drink. I guess I became legalistic about alcohol because I associate drinking with getting drunk. I'm afraid if I were to drink I would become like Jim on Taxi because of my family history. A few years ago God began to break the box I had him in. I visited a man's house in Canton, GA who was a possible worship leader for our church. He was showing me his media room and I could not believe all of the alcohol in that room. It was like a bar. I was taken aback. Then at supper his 11 year old daughter brought in a neighbor that she had just led to Christ! WOW! Did I feel stupid. Is drinking alcohol a sin? No. But I don't get the facination with alcohol. In Jesus day the worst thing that could happen to a drunk driver was to fall off a camel! Now days, alcohol kills. Drunk driving is an epidemic. Not only that there are Christians who "flaunt their freedom in Christ" by saying they can drink because it is not a sin. Go check out the ooze and you will find Christians on that site with avatars of beer. They almost rub it in your face. If a believer wants to drink, then do it quietly. Don't flaunt your "freedom." Why do I refrain from drinking? First, my grandfather was an alcoholic and doctors say the disease can be inherrited. Second, it can be a bad testimony for me.
Romans 14:21 (NIV) It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.This verse is why I don't drink. I don't want to make someone stumble. Maybe this isn't an issue for you. But for me I would hate to keep someone from coming to Christ because I wanted to drink alcohol. I would hate to cause a younger Christ Follower to stumble because they saw me drinking. I feel the same about seeing certain movies. Would I eat a dinner with someone who does drink? Yes, I have and still will. I won't make them feel uncomfortable either. Jesus ate and drank with sinners. I will eat and drink iced tea or coffee with them and not say a word about their drink. I just want to be their friend and hope to share my relationship with Christ with them. If God doesn't give you the same conviction, fine. I can fellowship and worship with you. Those are my thoughts and they are not infallible.
posted by Kevin Bussey at 1/18/2006 08:49:00 AM