A Dry Convention?

Well it seems as though Southern Baptists would prefer to “load people with burdens hard to bear” rather than to even consider ‘integrity in church membership’. In all seriousness though, consider the resolution adopted this morning by the Southern Baptist Convention, which already has the secular media talking (ht: Tim Ellsworth):

WHEREAS, Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and WHEREAS, Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation’s highways; and

WHEREAS, The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, The use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path of addiction to alcohol and toward the use of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, There are some religious leaders who are now advocating the consumption of alcoholic beverages based on a misinterpretation of the doctrine of “our freedom in Christ”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to take an active role in supporting legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective and promote abstinence and encourage local churches to begin and/or support such biblically-based ministries.

According to Tim Ellsworth, “also added to this resolution was an amendment urging the SBC to disallow anyone who drinks alcohol from serving as an entity/agency trustee or an SBC committee member.”

Interestingly enough, when explaining why Tom Ascol’s resolution was denied, Dr. Tommy French apparently stated that in would be unwise ‘to throw out all those members who don’t attend because they are some of our best prospects for evangelism.’ Ironically, the alcohol resolution does exactly what Dr. French was fearful of: it makes those who we are commanded to lovingly reach the gospel with into the enemy, rather than the mission field.Total opposition to manufacturing, advertising, distributing, and consuming of alcoholic beverages”? That is unnecessarly harsh rhetoric in my opinion -no matter what sort of stand is taken on alcoholic beverages. The people involved in manufacturing, advertising, distributing and consuming alcoholic beverages need Christ just as bad as the Easter lilies who fill the church roll but not the pew! Oh, but let’s remember, the Easter lily is better inclined to receive the gospel, correct? And we cannot forget that some of them might tithe ever so often, right?

Unfortunately, using a political process to set a standard that scripture fails to set will do only one thing: it will simply bring more hatred to the SBC for all the wrong reasons. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus was hated, the darkness always hates the light. However, Jesus was called a ‘glutton and a drunkard’ simply for hanging around those who ‘distributed and consumed alcoholic beverages’. And it was the Pharisees, who were only interested in cultural morality, who attributed this reputation to Him. But Jesus had the right priorities, He was here to do the Father’s will and to ‘seek and to save that which is lost’. And how did He respond to this accusation that He was too close with sinners? “Wisdom is justified by her deeds”, and indeed it is. Now, weren’t there some statistics on church membership, Tom? Something about integrity? I think the issue here is much deeper than just a little roll-purging…


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4 Comments on “A Dry Convention?”

  1. Cary Loughman Says:

    Geesh, next thing you know, there will be a resolution to boycott Disney!

    I find that the word “use” rather than “abuse” in the language of the resolution interesting and just begging for marginalization of the opinion. Too bad some seem to think that reform in our churches simply means whitewashing tombs full of dead men’s bones.

  2. Michael Schueckler Says:

    It would be extremely embarrasing for the SBC if the media exposed this hypocrisy.

    Headline: Fighting alcohol is more important than membership integrity to the SBC.

  3. Timmy Says:

    I wrote about this over on P&P which can be found here:


    Here’s some of what I said:

    “I cannot begin to tell you backwards our convention priorities are when we are more concerned with SBC committee members who alcohol (which is a third level issue with little Scriptural support) than we are with our churches who have plundered their possessions to Egypt and Canaanized Christ’s beloved Bride. We are hypocrites plain and simple. We write resolutions about the “mint, dill and cumin” and have neglected the weightier matters of the law. Over and over again I was hearing in the annual meeting, “Let’s major on the majors. Let’s keep the main thing the main thing and not get on ‘side streets.’” This is a side street, my friend, where the marketplace of fundamentalist ideas take us away from the culture and world we are wanting to reach—those on the main street. So while we chase down liquor bottles in the SBC, we ignore the unregenerate alcoholics in our pews.”

  4. mikem Says:

    I know I’m late on the issue, and I’m not trying to be ugly, but (and I just posted this on Founders as well), I wonder how many overweight gluttons voted for the alcohol resolution. I think that probably more faithful Southern Baptists–pastors included–are slaves to food rather than alcohol. I also wonder when we’ll have a resolution on gluttony.

    And no, I’m not advocating a resolution on gluttony (I’d rather see one on church membership, for example). I’m just pointing out some hypocrisy.

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