The Pseudo-Demarcation Line of Resolution No. 5 and the Shifting Sands of the SBC

Important Note: I realize that this is a LONG post (over 5,000 words). But please give it a fair hearing – and a full hearing. Thank you for taking the time to consider what I have to say as I hope that it can be profitable to the future of the SBC and our cooperative efforts in the spread of the gospel. Lord willing, this is my final post on this issue. I believe the SBC and the world around us is ready to move on.

Introductory Thoughts

I had originally decided to not post this piece in hopes that the alcohol issue would eventually die, but after reading this article, I feel it incumbent upon me to write this article. It’s a bit lengthy, but I can assure you it was not written in haste. Over a month has transpired since Greensboro, and the ultra-conservatives who have joined the blog world have made it their agenda to address the alcohol issue. Consider what Brad Reynolds said on his blog:

On a serious note, beginning this Wednesday, I will be posting some articles written by different leaders in the SBC, which may be very insightful to the ethical dilemma we are facing. I believe this issue deserves our attention and sober contemplation. Therefore I have asked the leaders of our Southern Baptist agencies, our current president, and two past presidents who helped lead the resurgence to write an article; each bringing their own clarion insights to this hot-button issue.

He then goes on to mention folks like Dr. Akin, Dr. Fish, Dr. Patterson, Dr. Phil Roberts, and Dr. Vines as already agreeing on this issue. We have already heard from Drs. Patterson and Akin, so there should be nothing new here. Furthermore, I do not expect to hear any more convincing arguments from the new contributors either (and I have heard a bunch already).

I am writing this article to argue that the alcohol resolution number five is a pseudo-demarcation line in the SBC. Over the past month, there has been a plumb line drawn in the shifting sands of the SBC over the issue of alcohol consumption, splitting conservatives over a nonessential matter. As you have seen SBC presidents and key SBC politicians are weighing in on the issue. However, I find it incredibly ironic and hypocritical that those in the SBC who are against this issue do not have the liberty to speak out against it. Just this week I heard of an SBC professor who publicly wrote his disagreement with the resolution. The response from some was, “What are you doing? Don’t you know that you can get fired for this?” The article was then removed. Furthermore, strong conservatives are being black-balled by the SBC because of their position on this issue. Within the accepted SBC ultra-conservatives you will find monolithic thought and one absolute interpretation. The scholars and pastors who disagree don’t chime in because, 1), they think this issue is silly and don’t want to, and 2), they can’t because the consequences they face in doing so are simply not worth it. The SBC is naïve and bullish to think that healthy discussion is possible when such suppression and domineering occurs on the one hand, and sneering and baseless rhetoric on the other. Furthermore, I have read dozens and dozens of comments from bloggers who are for this resolution, and after hearing their tone and sarcasm, I find myself distancing myself from those I actually agree with in practice. I would rather associate with a humble, godly brother who drinks wine than 99% of those making the abstinence arguments on the blogosphere. Call be drunk or label me liberal, but I have seen Jesus honored and the Bible expounded (that being ALL the Biblical data, not just the ones that supports one’s position) by my brothers in the moderation camp in a way that I simply have not among the total abstinence proponents.
Don’t get me wrong. There are times when it is prudent to draw a line in the sand over certain issues. The question is whether the dividing line is legitimate and carries sufficient grounds for doing so. In the case of the alcohol resolution, the case for moderation and total abstinence are both biblically argued, and BOTH can be reasoned and explained biblically. The rub comes when one position seeks to trump the other as in this case the total abstinence crowd (BTW I am a teetotaler) has done with the moderation crowd.

Why Demarcation?

So what is the point in having such a demarcation? According to Merriam Webster, a demarcation is “a delimiter which seeks to fix or define the limits or determine the boundaries of an entity.” It is absolutely necessary to define limits and determine boundaries as was shown in the ministry of Paul. Clearly there were some who Paul admonished that believers should “mark” off and avoid fellowship with, including false teachers and those who have “shipwrecked their faith” or “swerved from the truth” (see Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 1:6-9; Phil. 3: 17-19; 2 Thess. 3:6-12; 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:16-18; 3:1-9; 4:14-15; Titus 1: 10-14; 3:10-11). There were many who walked as “enemies of the cross”, who attempted to “preach another gospel” or pervert the ways of the righteous or claimed to have a secret, mystical knowledge of God. Therefore throughout the formation of the Church in NT times, drawing the line and determining the boundaries was absolutely necessary – but it was always over an essential matter of the Christian faith.
Throughout church history, as the faith was more precisely articulated, the practice of via negativa was as important in their denials of heresies as were the affirmations of orthodoxy. Ergo, the development of creeds and confessions were the universal agreement of a unified orthodoxy. Whether it was the Nicene Creed, the Definition of Chalcedon, or the Baptist Faith and Message, the essential doctrines and beliefs were affirmed while at the same time false teachings and false witnesses were definitively and unapologetically rejected.
But here we are in 2006 – 27 years after the Conservative Resurgence. We have reaped the blessings of a conservative convention now that stands on the inerrancy of the Word of God, the exclusivity of Jesus Christ, and the priority of missions and evangelism to reach our world. I have tremendous respect for those who were instrumental in bringing about such a reformation; however, I am afraid that those who have fought so hard on a worthy hill to die upon are seeking new hills and a new fight. Some have found that fight against Calvinists, and others have now found the issue of alcohol. Let’s be totally up front. This is not a debate of conservatives versus liberals. This is conservatives against conservatives, and what is at stake is the definition and delineation of what biblical conservativism really is.

Necessary and Unnecessary Demarcation: A Lesson from the Ministry of Paul

For the past month, what I have seen taking place is an unnecessary division based on a pseudo-demarcation determined by an illegitimate dividing line. Just as it is necessary to defend orthodoxy from liberalism, it is equally as necessary to defend it from ultra-conservativism. This was the threat Jesus faced as we as the NT apostles. I would say the conservative threat of the Judaizers and Pharisees was far more subtle and deceptive than the outright attacks of Gnostics and Stoics. The case is no different today. Let me give two examples in the ministry of Paul that explains a necessary and unnecessary demarcation:

1. Necessary Demarcation: Galatians 2:11-14
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”

The book of Galatians is a powerful case for the gospel of Jesus Christ, the power of the cross, and justification by faith. All three of these core beliefs were being comprised in Galatia by the influence of Judaizers who sought to add circumcision as a necessary qualification for one being saved. These Judaizers were involved in causing Galatians to “quickly desert” the God who had called them by the grace of Christ, so much so that Cephas (Peter) had bought into their party. Paul rightly drew a line of demarcation because of what was at stake and called Peter a hypocrite who “stood condemned.” This was an attempt to “nullify the grace of God” (2:21) and cause believers to boast in their circumcision rather than in the cross of Jesus Christ (6:13-14). With this dividing line and confrontation of Peter and the “circumcision party,” Paul was restating that “it was for freedom Christ has set us free” (5:1) and that they should not submit themselves to a yoke of slavery. If they do, Paul argues, “Christ will be of no advantage to you” (5:2). As you can see, this is without question a necessary demarcation. What was at stake was the gospel of Jesus Christ, the grace of justifying faith and imputed righteousness, and the glory of the cross. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.

2. Unnecessary Demarcation: Acts 15:36-41
And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Barnabas, cousin to John Mark (Col. 4:10), kept insisting to Paul that they should take him along with them on their journey. Paul, having been frustrated by John Marks earlier failure (at Pegra cf. Acts 13:13), had no confidence in him and did not want to take him. This resulted in a “sharp disagreement” in which their partnership in the gospel was dissolved “amicably but with violent emotions” (MacArthur 2:82). So was this dividing line necessary? Some may argue yes, but it is worth noting that John Mark, because of the encouragement ministry of Barnabas, later became a co-laborer in the gospel with Paul later on (Philemon 24; 2 Tim. 4:11; Col. 4:10) and eventually wrote one of the four gospels. F.F. Bruce writes, “It was a pity that the present dispute was allowed to generate such mutual provocation, but in the providence of God it was overruled for good, for in the upshot there were two missionary expeditions this time instead of one” (NICNT, 319). Therefore, looking back in light of providence and history we would say it was necessary, but Barnabas and Paul were not privied to this information.

Resolution No. 5: A Pseudo-Demarcation
Now, going back to the alcohol resolution, let me explain why I believe this resolution is a pseudo-demarcation. I have seven reasons:

1. The alcohol resolution is an attempt to parade a nonessential, obscure, and peripheral matter as the essential to cooperation and a litmus test for true conservativism.

Let me quote Carl F.H. Henry (from his book The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism) again from my earlier post in which he said:

What concerns me more is that we have needlessly invited criticism and even ridicule, by a tendency in some quarters to parade secondary and sometimes even obscure aspects of our position as necessary frontal phases of our view . . . it is needful that we come to a clear distinction, as evangelicals, between those basic doctrines on which we unite in a supernaturalistic world and life view and the area of differences on which we are not in agreement while yet standing true to the essence of Biblical Christianity . . . Unless we do this, I am unsure that we shall get another world hearing of the Gospel (emphasis mine) (xvi-xvii).

What we have done in the past month is parade a nonessential issue as essential to cooperation. Total abstinence has become the litmus test for true SBC conservativism and the boundary for cooperation. This is tragic in many ways, not the least of which is, as Henry says, doing stuff like this causes us to lose a world hearing of the Gospel. As I watched the live video stream of Greensboro, one could not help but hear over and over again the emphasis on missions, evangelism, and taking the gospel to the world. Whatever happened to that focus? Cooperation? Passion? Where we were once centered our attention on reaching the unreached people groups of the world, we have now centered our attention on the unreached arguments for total abstinence. Where we should be focusing on essential matters of our faith and denomination which are being threatened by our world, false doctrine, and compromise, we are debating over the percentage point of NT wine based on speculation and conjecture. Let us listen to Henry and “come to a clear distinction . . . between those basic doctrines on which we unite.” Alcohol certainly is no basic doctrine (and it isn’t a doctrine contrary to what some are arguing).

2. The alcohol resolution is seeking to equivocate social conservativism with theological conservativism, which is instable and inconsistent at best and fallacious at worst.

There are many manifestations of conservativism. There are political conservatives, social conservatives, philosophical conservatives, theological conservatives etc. However, as a Christian, what fundamentally determines what a conservative is through what one believes concerning the essential doctrines of the Christian faith. For instance, a theological conservative is one who holds to the inerrancy of the Bible, the exclusivity of the Christian faith, the reality of hell, justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and a conscious commitment to the evangelization of the world through gospel witness. This is not comprehensive of course, but simply serves to show what theological conservativism constitutes in part.

Social conservativism includes various issues as the standing against divorce, homosexuality, abortion, euthanasia, cloning, pornography, etc. There are certain social sins which the Scriptures have specifically addressed, but there are others where the Scripture is silent. There is nowhere in the Bible that says drinking wine is a sin. Drinking alcohol cannot be lumped into these evils simply because one consumes it in moderation. Drunkenness, of course, is sinful as much as gluttony as is gossip as is quarreling. But moderation and drunkenness are as distinct and different as the use or misuse of food consumption.
Furthermore, we cannot elevate social conservativism to the level of theological conservativism lest we develop so many artificial demarcations that no one can cooperate with one another. For instance, if I took the same stance with gluttony, from what I have seen in Greensboro, there would be many who would be disqualified from service and cooperation in the SBC – and you know this is the truth.

3. The alcohol resolution is “Made in America” and thereby reveals its culturally conditioned stipulations apart from the sufficiency and authority of Scripture.

Notice the title of the resolution: “On Alcohol Use in America.” I addressed this already over at Joe Thorn’s blogpost in which I said the following:

I thought it was interesting to note that the resolution is explicitly called “On Alcohol Use in America”. This is intriguing to me because they have culturally and geographically conditioned a resolution by adding “in America.” What are we to conclude by this? Abstinence should be resolved in America, but moderation in say Europe where drinking wine is more accepted in that culture? My point is simply to note how intrinsically attached to culture this resolution has been made. It is “made in America.” But the SBC and Christians base their wisdom and convictions on the universally applied Word of God which speaks to every culture and geographic region in the world. To say that the Scripture calls for abstinence in the United States and not elsewhere is contradictory in application. So why not draft a resolution that is unconditionally universal in its scope and not relativize it to the United States? Here’s the answer IMO. The resolution itself reveals itself culturally and geographically contingencies which displace the Word of God and its sufficiency for “life and godliness” through faithful instruction and universal application. While there are many things I like that are “made in America,” this unfortunately isn’t one of them.

4. The alcohol resolution is but the picking and choosing of social sins to the dismissal or even applause of others.

At Greensboro, one of the highlights was the speech given by Secretary of State Condi Rice. Now, given that she is a fellow Alabamian and has overcome so much to arrive where she is, I have much respect admiration for her. However, it is no secret that she is “pro-choice” regarding the unborn. I do not know of a greater issue that invokes more emotion and commitment from socially conservative Christians than defending the rights of the unborn. But you would not think it at Greensboro. As Mrs. Rice came to speak, American flags were waved and thunderous applause came forth from the masses in applause. This to a political leader who supports abortion! Is this not hypocritical?

As Derek Webb has said, we are trading sins for others which are easier to hide. Why alcohol? Why not divorce? Why not pornography? Why not gossip? I assure you there are hundred times more families and churches destroyed by these social sins explicitly condemned more sinful in Scripture than the “recreational” use of alcohol.

5. The alcohol resolution has lead proponents to develop arguments which are not in Scripture but regard them nonetheless equally as authoritative.

Several SBC proponents of this resolution have argued for what is “best” or “ideal” for the Christian. However, such wisdom cannot be unqualifiedly universally applied. What is wise in one situation may not be wise in another. An excellent example of how proponents have leaped Scripture and deduced logically their argument is the argument of Dr. Patterson on John 2:1-11. Consider what he said:

In Jesus’ miracle at Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11), one can neither affirm with certainty that Jesus turned the water into a non-intoxicating wine nor that He drank no wine Himself. But the following evidences cannot be easily bypassed:
The text nowhere indicates that Jesus participated. Either way the argument is from silence. (emphasis mine)

Given that no one can with certainty make determinative conclusions about this text since arguments are made from silence, one must assume that Dr. Patterson would follow his own advice. But he does not. He goes on to say:

From a standpoint of logic, the “oinos” that Jesus produced was more likely pure, rather than fermented, grape juice, since that which comes from the Creator’s hand is inevitably pure. (emphasis mine)

There you have it. In one breath, Dr. Patterson argues that no conclusive or definitive statements can be made and then immediately follows with one! I can make a lot of arguments from the standpoint of logic in this passage and others such as Ephesians 5:18. Why couldn’t the oinos in Ephesians 5:18 be the same in John 2? Paul clearly says that we should not get drunk with wine. Logically speaking, this must include the possibility that the wine made could get one drunk, lest this admonition be baseless. For a clear and comprehensive rebuttal to Dr. Patterson’s article, check out Concerned SBCer.

6. The alcohol resolution was immediately seen to be an attempt to remove (or at least an attack) Wade Burleson.

After the resolution was brought to the floor, the amendment that adds the language “we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages” was added (emphasis mine). Now, I do not want to contribute to the conspiracy theories which abound (many have argued this to be true), but it is true that many in the SBC are upset with Burleson, his blogging, and his position on alcohol. One might argue that if the IMB can’t get rid of him, then maybe this resolution could be plan B. Either way, both are representative of the very thing Burleson is working hard against – the narrowing of cooperation in the SBC.

7. Finally, someone’s personal preference on the matter of alcohol cannot be elevated to the status of a resolution when there is no Biblical precedence.

It is a personal preference of mine to abstain from drinking alcohol. Yet I cannot biblically argue that those who drink in moderation are not pursuing godliness because they do not conform to my standards. Where should we go with this? How about hair touching the ears? A suit on Sunday morning? You may choose to dress and look such, but there is just as much prohibition against the consumption of alcohol in moderation as there is the articles of clothing I wear. As Nathan White has said, “If you see total abstinence as anything more than a personal preference, then you undoubtedly begin to look down on others who do not follow your ‘conviction’. You will undoubtedly convince yourself that your abstinence is a mark of your obedience and holiness. Your adherence to a rule will only blind yourself further to the real sins of your heart.” Mark Lauterbach adds, “We have no right to bind the conscience of others by adding to the Word of God.” Simply put, where there is no biblical precedence, you cannot push your preference and make it law.

Concluding Thoughts and Personal Appeal

Let me conclude with a few personal remarks. I appreciate the concern of my fellow teetotalers concerning the dangers of alcoholism today. I too have experienced some heartache and pain brought about by ruined and even lost lives. However, we must be clear about something. The real problem is the human heart and its depravity, not alcohol. If we really want to address this issue of alcohol, let us address the human heart and trust the Holy Spirit to do his convicting work without our Pharisaical tendencies to do it our own way. As John Piper said,

“The enemy is sending against us every day the Sherman tank of the flesh with its cannons of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. If we try to defend ourselves or our church with peashooter regulations we will be defeated even in our apparent success.” (Emphasis mine)

What has this resolution accomplished? I don’t know exactly. Maybe the power brokers want a resolution like this to act as catalyst to rally the conservative base because of the events which took place. It was my guess that those who have been in control of the SBC and its future so far have felt threatened by SBC bloggers, and it makes sense that so many have joined the blogging world and using folks like Brad Reynolds to propagate their positions. Maybe.

But what I do know is that the three favorite words of the Pharisees was, “Is it lawful?” And Jesus’ favorite response to them was, “Woe to you, hypocrites!” Now I am not calling proponents of this resolution modern-day Pharisees or legalists, but there is a real danger they are facing which they must answer. As Thorn said, “You can’t raise a generation of men and women on the infallible/inerrant word of God and expect them to remain comfortable while introducing extra-biblical law and denying our Christian liberty.” Our conviction on the sufficiency of Scripture should cause us to rest in God’s complete revelation in the Word of God written and the Word of God Incarnate. Where Scriptures is silent, we must not speculate.

The other day I was thinking about the work guys at the Together for the Gospel are doing in bringing brothers together across denominational lines with a confessional identity that centers on the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is truly a beautiful thing! I cannot tell you how many brothers I have met from across several denominations who have immensely encouraged me in their words and walk. Now, juxtapose that picture with the alcohol resolution in the SBC. We are a convention being divided over such a pathetic issue as that of alcohol. We could learn some lessons from the T4G guys. Where they have learned to come together for the sake of the gospel, we have learned to be divided for the sake of alcohol. There could not be a more stark contrast than this!

There are three “all’s” which I try to think of regularly during my day. They are, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do ALL to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31), “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do ALL (everything) in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17), and “I do ALL things for the sake of the gospel, that I may be a fellow partaker of it” (1 Cor. 9:23). The glory of God. The name of the Lord Jesus. The gospel of Jesus Christ. These three we should do in all things, including what we eat and drink. Do I believe someone can drink wine in moderation to the glory of God? Yes I do. Jesus did.

I long for the day when Baptist Press’ First Person articles are confessions about our triumphalistic attitudes and denominational arrogance wherein we publicly repent of our pride. I long for the day when we point the fingers at ourselves and face the music by making resolutions on our need for reformation and revival. I long for the day when we forge new partnerships for the sake of the gospel and cooperate together for the glory of Christ. I long for the day when we can actually address that issues that exist rather than trying to develop one that doesn’t.

I hearken back the Apostle Paul in my concluding thoughts. At one point in his ministry, he drew a line in the sand over the issue of John Mark because of his weaknesses or ministry failures. I wonder if he pondered this during his missionary travels. Maybe he watched the ministry of Barnabas who encouraged John Mark along the way. I happen to think he did and was better for it. In a letter to Philemon, he makes an affectionate and bold appeal to him on behalf of Onesimus (which means “useful”) whom he called “my child” which he fathered while in prison. Onesimus was at one time useless to Philemon, maybe as Paul at one time thought John Mark was useless. But he is now making this appeal on behalf of Onesimus as “a beloved brother.” Paul expressed that his sending of Onesimus was the “sending of my heart” and Philemon should “receive him as you would receive me.” Paul, in his last days while imprisoned, was laboring as a spiritual father to raise up a generation after him who would partner for the gospel of Jesus Christ. He knew that his life was being “poured out as a drink offering” and that his time of departure had come. Where he at one time was divisive to the exclusion of John Mark, he is now cooperative to the inclusion and promotion of Onesimus.

This past Sunday, Dr. Danny Akin preached a very encouraging message about running the race and mentioned a hilarious story about him running as clean as possible, which included him running with no underwear. He mentioned that if we are going to run with endurance for the prize before us, we must focus on Jesus and follow his lead. Dr. Akin’s words are timely for the SBC. Let us lay aside the alcohol resolution like we did with the Disney Boycott, because this one will in the end prove to be as fictional as the latter. My friends, this is the underwear of the SBC, the weight that is hindering us from moving forward. To a very divided Corinthian church that faced far greater issues than we are facing today, Paul concludes with these words:

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11).

Let us, dear brothers, whether you are for or against this resolution take to heart these loving words of admonition from one who experienced them in his own life. The resolution is a pseudo-demarcation in the shifting sands of the SBC. We need to get back the solid rock of Christ and take our stand, hand in hand, lest we face the sobering reality that we have failed to finish the race.

>> Special thanks to those of you who proofread and edited this article. You know who you are.

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39 Comments on “The Pseudo-Demarcation Line of Resolution No. 5 and the Shifting Sands of the SBC”

  1. Timmy, it just occurred to me that the SBC was begun with the idea that even OWNING SLAVES should not be a demarcation line, but now many in the convention are trying to make this alcohol issue a type of demarcation line. Bizarre.

  2. Timmy Says:

    Yeah, I thought about that too. Talk about a moral issue! Also, I did a little research on the previous alcohol resolutions which is link below (it probably won’t work but oh well):

    Interesting stuff here.

  3. Allan Says:

    I have already given my thoughts on this issue to a previous blog on this site with Timmy and and others and my stance is still the same (abstain absolutely because if even one brother is against it I will not be the one to be a stumbling block for them – Paul paraphrazed)

    My question on it though, is this: I have been going back and reading the preachers of the past awakenings and revivals (John Edwards, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Moody, ect…) And I have found one of the most prevelent theing they preached against was alcohol and abstainment of it. I have yet to find any “preacher” of these types of moves of God abvocate drinking in moderation in any sermon. So my question is: Did any of these great prachers whom the Lord used mightly preach otherwise? If so where can I find it? And why did they preach against alcohol (not just getting drunk) if these men were so knowledgable in the Word and led by the Spirit? Just listening for some answers. 🙂 God be praised? Well of course He will…SO shout with the hosts of Heaven and find the whosoevers!

  4. Marty Duren Says:

    This year at G’boro we had some 10 resolutions having to do with political positions or social behaviors, 4 commending some aspect of convention life, and 1 on prayer for the President and military.

    The only resolution that called for introspection and repentance (Ascol’s on Integrity in Membership Reporting) didn’t make it out of committee.

    Your observation about the nature of resolutions makes me wonder if we have ever learned where judgment is to begin.

  5. Allan Says:

    The “most prevelent thing preached” is obviously outside of sin and repentence. That is a no brainer, I was speaking in the general sense and should have clarified that. Sorry

  6. Timmy Says:


    Yes, we are very good at congratulating ourselves. Earlier in the discussion, I remember stating that this has become the SBC’s next episode in “Adventures in Missing the Point.”


    For me, the issue is not the promotion of alcohol consumption. It is the mandate against it outside of Scripture. Biblically speaking, you cannot denounce or deny fellowship with a brother who drinks in moderation. Yet this is precisely what this resolution has become. A brother recently reminded me that the weaker the argument, the louder one has to shout. This is what is happening and resulting in such division. Behind the issue of alcohol is the matter of the sufficiency and authority of Scripture.

    So are you saying that revival is going to come when we preach against alcohol?

  7. Allan Says:

    LoL, oh no Tim. All I was stating was that for the last couple of centuries it has been preached to abstain (and as a buffer only, that it was preached dueing Gods greatest movings per say) and only recently (last 60 or so years) has it been much more pushed to alievate the hard core stand against. We look at Calvin, Spurgeon and other great men of Faith from years gone by and say “it has been so since early times we must not stray from what has been proclaimed…” (forgive me, I did go just a tad overboard there but you understand the meaning) Yet we choose OUR liberty over that of our brothers greater need. I understand you arguement and that given by others. But even though we may do all things not everything we CAN do is good for us TO do. Both sides can make a great case, but it isn’t about who case is the best, but is it a stumbling stone to my brothers. If one comes out of alcoholism, and you liberty is a little glass here and there, you can not deny the destructiveness that will bring to the brother to whom it is a stumbling stone. I am with you on the part about not allowing it to be a divider. But I guess MY thoughts are; is the alcohol the divider or is it that those who understand their liberty will not bow to the weaker brother any more? They will do their liberty regardless of what scripture says about as the example of abstaining for the sake of our precious brother and sisters in Christ till we all come to THE faith. I did like the post though.

  8. Allan Says:

    Disregard # 8 and if it can be deleted moderator please do so. It was just rambling.

  9. Timmy Says:


    Concerning Christian liberty and causing another brother to stumble, one cannot forget that along with having Christian liberty comes Christian responsibility. The Christian who drinks a glass of wine must consider the weaker brother principle when appropriately applied, but this does not have anything to do with refuting moderation altogether. It is situational, not universal. In any and every situation, we must trust the Holy Spirit to convict the hearts, minds, and consciences about when to abstain and when not to. I just don’t believe that there is a biblical mandate or absolute that one MUST abstain always and unconditionally. This is what it means to be filled with the Spirit. I would rather be filled with the Spirit than be lead on a leash with another law.
    Those words by Derek Webb ring in my ahead again:

    don’t teach me how to live like a free man
    just give me a new law

    i don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
    so just bring it down from the mountain to me

    i want a new law
    i want a new law
    gimme that new law

    don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
    i prefer a shot of grape juice

    don’t teach me about loving my enemies

    don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
    just give me a new law

  10. Allan Says:

    I did not state there was any mandate give in scripture about abstaining. I stated (paraphrase) we are to abstain from ANYTHING that would cause a brother to stumble. It is not the law for salvation that constrians us but the law of Christ. I Cor 8:10-13

    10For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12But WHEN YE SIN SO against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye SIN against Christ. 13Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat NO flesh while the world STANDETH, lest I make my brother to offend.
    (emphesis added)
    I Cor 9
    19For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

    As I said, my arguement isn’t about whether or not we can or can not drink but about our standing before Christ concerning our weaker brothers in relation to whether we SHOULD. I find in the above verse no where that Paul even aludes to havin the Spirit tell him when is a good time to eat meat (or anything else [drink] since it is an example) or not to do the same. There is no allowance for moderation in this statement nor to do it privately not to mention the fact that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself to be writen lends a lot of weight to the issue I am stating. However, if you can show me is scripture where it states that we can do contrary to what Paul states here regarding liberty and the weaker brother, I will consent and would be much intrigued to learn this. Not that it is not there but I have not seen this as of yet.

    I DO AGREE – it SHOULD NOT be a mandate for fellowship. But at the same time those who hold the view they can partake should respect the other brothers and for their sakes abstain from that which IS a stumbling block for many.

  11. I have enjoyed reading this post. I have been following Brad Reynolds blog and concernedsbcer and some others. I am totally sick of dealing with the issue. Now, Brad has posted an article by Jerry Vines on “separation”.

    I am beginning to think there is something going on here –

    1) Patterson accused Calvinists of being “antinomian” and even said he was referring to alcohol.

    2) The convention then debated and voted on this alchohol resolution.

    3) Primarily, calvinists have been arguing against the biblical foundation of total abstenance.

    4) The old guard fundamental conservatives have been arguing for total abstenance.

    I questioned the true motive of this whole thing on Brad Reynolds blog and now I am thinking that I stumbled onto something. I think this is really about driving a wedge between many calvinists and some of the leading fundamentalists.

    And guess what, it’s working! Of all things to divide us, it is “Alcohol”! Give me a break.


  12. I forgot to mention that Patterson’s statement was during the discussion on election at the pastor’s conference.

  13. David Hewitt Says:


    I have been thinking the same thing. Patterson’s comments in the election discussion seemed oddly out of place… until you have the context of the resolution on alcohol.

    I wonder if this is going to be the way to try to root out the “Calvinists.”

    I guess time will tell.


  14. Nathan White Says:


    You made a very valid point. Personally, and I hate to even say it in public lest people take me the wrong way, but those who reject the biblical teaching of GRACE alone (as Brad and other anti-Calvinists clearly do, thought they will not admit it), have a flawed gospel. This flawed gospel affects how they look at everything. One side trusts God to do His work, and the other side are still convinced that man must cooperate in the process. If salvation is something that anyone in the world has the capacity to conjure up, then undoubtedly it becomes a ‘work’ that anyone can perform. And if the foundation is based upon a ‘work’, then the rest of their understanding will be subject to that as well.

    When this logic of soteriology hits practical living, it’s synergistic (aka: works based) roots come out. They want a process for salvation, so they invented the sinner’s prayer. They want a standard for Christian living and a fast lane to sanctification, so they must set guidelines to gauge each other by. I’m not saying these men are heretics, certainly not! Many of them are very godly –praise God that perfect theology isn’t necessary for salvation. And I’m also not saying everything they look at is flawed, but I am saying that this is one example where their flawed gospel is rearing its ugly head.

    You won’t find many Calvinists who agree with this resolution…


  15. Allan Says:

    Wow, I didn’t know Godly men could have a flawed gospel. If it be a different gospel it be a different Christ. Would that not make them a heretic? if something is flawed it is in error, if it is in error it is not complete, and if it is not complete (concerning the gospel) it is inadiquate for (the knowledge of) salvation, and therefore a heresy. Paul said if one preaches a different gospel than what he brings… I’d be careful Nathan (not my business I know so I’ll shut up there)

  16. Timmy Says:

    While I have not listened to Patterson at the debate I have read First Person BP article. One of the things that struck me was his attempt to provide exactness in scholarship with regards to total abstinence position. Unfortunately, he chose not to include the passages that argue against his position.

    When I was first being taught how to write a solid position paper, a key element is providing the weaknesses of your argument while providing an answer to those weaknesses. Patterson simply avoided it altogether. One cannot have a sustainable or tenable position that does not thoroughly and critically weight all the evidence from primary sources (i.e. Scripture).

    Concerning Jerry Vines’ statements, this could not be more disheartening for me. What Brad Reynolds is doing is the fulfillment of this article in unnecessarily dividing the SBC over a functionally irrelevant issue. When we look back on this, I believe the three words that will come out of our mouths will be, “Shame on us.”

    This is not the promotion of moderation but a defense of the sufficiency of Scripture for life and godliness. Vines explicitly says,

    “The case against the use (not just the abuse) of alcohol is easy to build. Physically, socially, domestically, influentially, and yes, biblically, total abstinence is the only way to go for a Christian who takes Bible separation seriously.”

    The ONLY way to go? Really?

    There you have it. Yet another SBC political leader calling out SBCers from cooperation and redifning conservatism by an illegitimate and altogether insufficent criterion. As Justin Taylor reminds us today, this resolution say more than our position on alcohol. It reveals our “functional views of the sufficiency of Scripture and sound hermeneutics.”

  17. Jim Says:

    I know I’m a bit late with this comment, but CS Lewis spoke to moderation and “teetotalling” in his work “Christian Behavior” (1943). He did indeed support moderation instead of abstinence. (BTW I am also a teetotaller, but it’s because of Nadab and Abihu and the role of priest in OT — personal conviction.)

    Thanks for the post.

  18. Nathan White Says:


    If, for example, the 5 points of Calvinism were indeed the true teaching of scripture, and there were some men who denied these truths with their mouth but affirmed them with their actions, would you call them straight-up heretics or simply make mention that their understanding is slightly flawed?

    Thankfully, most synergists (the ones who are truly saved) do not live like synergists. They still pray for God to save the lost; they still give God credit for bringing about salvation in their lives; they deny the universal salvation of all men (thus, affirming limited atonement); they still believe that God will not fail to ‘finish what He started’ and preserve those whom He redeems, etc.

    I was not in any way implying that these men are in any way less godly, I was simply saying that their understanding of soteriology is flawed, and that they are applying this intellectual misunderstanding in other areas as well.

    Like it or not, where you stand on the Calvinism issue affects a whole lot of things.


  19. Gordan Says:

    I say this with none of the SBC leaders in mind: But my experience of fundamentalists in no way leads me to believe that they could sit back and rationally concoct a circuitous plan for getting rid of Calvinists. That is, if a fundy hates something, he turns up the amps on his mike and shouts about it louder and louder on Sunday morning, y’know?

    This resolution may have the effect of dividing Calvinistic and non-Calvinistic conservatives (clearly, it does,) but my life experience tells me it’s probably crediting the fundies with way too much premeditation to say they planned it that-a-way.

  20. George H. Rank Says:

    As a simple “layman” attending a SBC church I have followed the discussion concerning the resolution coming out of the convention regarding the use of alcohol. In discussions I have had with fellow members of the church I attend they agree that there is nothing in Scripture forbiding the drinking of wine but in reality that is immaterial because our church documents forbid drinking of any kind. I personally find this very troubling, yet I am told if you want to be a SB that’s the way it is.
    Yet in the same area where I live there is a SBC church, that by the way is a “mega church”, that has a Pastor who has been divorced twice. I bring this up not to be vindictive but simply to ask the question, how is that possible? It would seem to me if the convention wants to address issues that are decimating families divorce would be more appropriate. I believe there is more solid scripture ground for a pastor being the husband of one wife than there is about if he drinks wine with his meals.
    I wonder if a man would be allowed to continue pastoring if he was arrested twice for DWI?

  21. Mark Brown Says:

    I am alway amused when christians use Paul to force their belief on their brothers. It usually follows this trend “I have a problem with_______(you fill in the blank) and I know you do not. But you have to follow my convictions as it is the only way to go. For I am the weaker brother.” Paul also teaches that we should grow in our faith and not remain the weaker brother.

    The SBC and drinking. I can think of many many things within the SBC that needs to be addressed. And the issue of someone drinking a glass of wine or a beer or a whiskey is not up there.

    The SBC has flawed theology, unregenerate membership, pastors who get their sermons from Charlie Brown comic strips (yes it is true, a pastor boasted of this in the pulpit), failure to teach our children the scriputres beyond a few feel good bible stories and a re embracing of pelgian and gnostic teachings. Our people are theologically dry due to our pastors being theologically dry. Get an MDIV and you get 6 hours theology out of 90+ hours of study. The ignorant leading the ignorant.

    But let us go after the calvinist and those who drink. No wonder the world laughs at our behavior.

    In my town, a SBC/baptist minister has been arrested for tax fraud. His defense “I work for God and I am not a citizen of this world but heaven”
    Oh yea, let us brow beat those who may drink a glass of wine and create strawmen/red herring problems (calvinism) but ignore the sound of the approaching water fall.

    My 88 year old Grandfather has been a SBC pastor for almost 60 years. After this years convention he told me, in his old Alabama country way, the SBC has not been worth spit for 30-40 years. Boy, forget about the convention and pastor your sheep.”

    I think this is the best advice he has given me in a long time. There is too much childish behavior in the SBC and especially in the seminaries and leadership.

    I too have read Brad Reynolds blog and his “conversations” on the founders blog. A sad representive of the SBC teachers. But one I encounter all to often. It is also sad I have to go outside the SBC to find pastors who are not in love with the world system and will preach the entire counsel of God.

    Sorry for the bullet point approach.

  22. Timmy Says:


    I am not sure if some are thinking of Calvinists and moderationists as one and the same, but their approach to both is the same. Their treatment of both groups is inflammatory and accusatory that are baseless and unbiblical. As I stated in my article some 27 years after the Conservative Resurgence, there are some that still have a lot of fight left within them and are looking for a new hill to set up camp. It looks like they have found theirs. However, THIS resurgence will not be like the one 27 years ago (at least not in the minds of those leading the charge).

  23. Timmy Says:


    Welcome to SBF. Thanks for the comment.

    You made a really good point about divorce. As I stated earlier, we can easily pick and choose our social sins to the negligence of others, and divorce is one it seems the SBC is unwilling to address. Maybe those who put this resolution together thought this would be a shoe-in without any hiccups. But then again, this could also have been an intentional attempt to surface the growing differences and separation from SBCers from the old guard. Greensboro made a lot of statements but none bigger IMO than “change.”

  24. Timmy Says:


    You said,

    ” The SBC and drinking. I can think of many many things within the SBC that needs to be addressed. And the issue of someone drinking a glass of wine or a beer or a whiskey is not up there.

    The SBC has flawed theology, unregenerate membership, pastors who get their sermons from Charlie Brown comic strips (yes it is true, a pastor boasted of this in the pulpit), failure to teach our children the scriputres beyond a few feel good bible stories and a re embracing of pelgian and gnostic teachings. Our people are theologically dry due to our pastors being theologically dry.”

    This is tragic but true. Your point is well taken as we need to place our focus and labors on the real issues in the SBC.

    Concerning the worlds opinion of us, I do think we realize how we are being perceived. I know that some will argue that our focus should be on what God thinks about us alone, and I agree. But when we make it our priority to reach our world with the gospel through evangelism and missions, that very world we want to reach looks at what we are doing and scoffs.

  25. Allan Says:


    I will just say this. If a man preaches/teaches something knowing it is false, then that teacher by definition is a false teacher and therefore a heretic. The issue is, to quote you “…5 point Calvinism were indeed the true teaching of scripture…” This is a thing that has been debated for centuries and never been proven an absolute truth as a whole. (Some parts yes!) If it were an absolute truth as you tend to ascribe, it would be along side those others we ALL ascribe as absolute truths, such as the deity of Christ, virgin birth, death, burial and resurrection (along with a myriad host of others). It is just interesting to me that it is the Holy Spirit who reveals scripture and yet these “Godly” men can’t seem to grasp the basic principles (not only of faith but salvation) that apparently most first year college students can grasp concerning the abosulute truths of Calvinism. Anyhoo… this is about demarkation not Cal/nonCal views and I do appreciate your veiws Nathan and am still researching some other things we have discussed. Thank you.

    Mark Brown,
    You are right the scriture does say we are to grow up in the Lord. I just find it also amusing that we must grow up so that others can have their beer. Not to mention as I stated earlier it has been preached for at least the last couple centuries (that is as far as I have read) to abstian from alcohol in the general sense not just getting drunk. Timothy obviously thought it scriptural to abstian (to an extreme I admit regarding medicine) and Paul had to ask him to take some for medical purposes. I garantee according to Rom. Since Timothy (a Pastor) would not drink, Paul would never touch it either that his brother would grow in Christ and gain the more. It isn’t to me about Do and Don’t but for your sake I become a servant that you may grow up in the Lord. That means I willing set aside liberty that I may with joy bless you. That is all I see. God is so Good.

  26. […] « The Pseudo-Demarcation Line of Resolution No. 5 and the Shifting Sands of the SBC […]

  27. It is true, this division may not have been premeditated but none the less it is proving effective. My fear is that those continuing to push this issue are in fact joyful about it.

    I am starting to notice a common mantra among those advocating tee-totalism – If you don’t like it leave the SBC.

    sbc pastor said it, Brad Reynolds incinuated it, others of also added to the mantra. Be like us or leave. I thought the BFM was enough to maintain fellowship?

    One other thing, I have already chided Dr. Reynolds for placing such emphasis on the SBC founders and on John MacArthur on the issue of alcohol but ignoring their wisdom on the Doctrines of Grace.

    As Brad says, “Convenient!”


  28. Mark Brown Says:


    I do worry about how God perceives us. We are twisting His word to become Pharisees. From reading scripture, I do not think He liked them
    too much. Too many “woe” upon them to think other wise.


    You infer too much into the 1 Tim 5:23 passage. Paul nor did Christ nor did the church ever forbide the drinking of wine. In the 4th chapter Paul teaches Timothy of the false teachers leading the people astray. Telling them not to partake of certain things. These were some of the early gnostics. Those who hated the material and forbide the drinking of wine and eating of anything not plain. The part about drinking only water is an indication Timothy was falling under that false teaching. A reading of early church history will show that your interpretation of this passage was not the church interpretation.

    Justin, in his apology to Antoninus Emperor of Rome, described a worship service and explained how it was not incest or the eating of flesh or drinking of blood. How it was not a drunken party. Now why would the Romans think that? Because the eucharist consisted of unleven bread and wine. The only people I have found that preached abstaining were the gnostics. Who among other things denied christ and were excommunicated.

    Paul also taught in 1 Cor 7:25-40 that unmarried people could serve the Lord better than married. Married are distracted with spouses. One of the passages the Roman church uses to forbid priest and religious to marry. Paul stated that it was his opinion and not a commandment.

    The 1 Cor 8 passages are used as a “club” to force obedience. Paul is telling us that believers that have weak consciences are unable to dissociate various elements in pagan rituals. They become defiled because they think they are doing something wrong. If they see a mature christian partaking, they think sinning is alright and sin. The weaker does what he thinks is a sin, not the mature. In chapter 11, Paul admonished the people to stop feasting and getting drunk at the Lord’s supper. He did not abolish the use of wine. Just its misuse.

    I have a member in my church who thinks only the KJV is scripture and those that do not have the KJV are sinning. So I guess everyone needs to run to lifeway and get a KJV for the sake of the weaker brother? That is absurbed. So is this alcohol issue.

    Many people have used the scripture to support unbiblical practices. Pastors and christians used scripture to support chattel slavery in this country. Dispy pre trib rapture was not taught until about 100years ago.

    I think I will go with the interpretation of scripture that has been used for the last 2000 years. Instead of “new” interpretation of the last 100-200 years.

    This is not about some one drinking. But a flawed view of scripture and using that flawed view to impose something totally unbiblical upon other brethen.

    Why does not the SBC pass a resolution telling Pastors to not sleep with female staff members? Last pastors conference I attended that was the theme of the sermons. What about gluttony? Smoking? Bad and improper theology?

    If you and I do not want to drink fine. But we should not go beyond scripture to impose our extra biblical practice upon another brother in Christ. The scripture give us the requirements of pastor elder etc.
    Why do we want to be like the Roman church and impose unbiblical doctrine upon our members? Why not chasity? Paul thought that was the best for a minister and christian. Or do we just pick and chose scripture to support our belief instead of using scripture to form our belief.

    With all the problems in the SBC, I can not believe we are wasting time on this non biblical issue.

  29. Allan Says:

    Mark, Thank you for you posting, and it was interesting.

    You stated:
    Paul nor did Christ nor did the church ever forbide the drinking of wine.

    I never said it did.

    You stated:
    The part about drinking only water is an indication Timothy was falling under that false teaching.

    And you say I’m inferring too much? I have reviewed many commentaries and have not found one that holds to your thoughts indicated above. Here are some examples:
    no longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. Timothy had obviously committed himself to total abstinence from wine. He desired to be a model of spiritual virtue and never establish a pattern that could make someone assume a liberty that would destroy them (cf. Rom. 14:13–23; 1 Cor. 8:12–13).

    Barnes Notes:

    Mat. Henry:
    It seems Timothy was a mortified man to the pleasures of sense; he drank water, and he was a man of no strong constitution of body, and for this reason Paul advises him to use wine for the helping of his stomach and the recruiting of his nature. Observe, it is a little wine, for ministers must not be given too much wine;

    Victor Bible Background Commentary:
    (5:23). Timothy seems to have concluded from various teachings in Scripture that drinking alcohol was wrong, and so drank “only water.” It is interesting that Paul does not tell Timothy to claim or even pray for healing. Instead he advises the medicinal use of “a little wine.”

    Just to name a few and out of the 19 commentaries I have in my library NONE of them give even the remotest credence to your “interpretation” of scripture. However you know of some then please refer me to them, and I will definitely review them. Again regarding your statement on the passage, You can not even exegete from the scripture the point you are accrediting to it.

    You said:
    The only people I have found that preached abstaining were the Gnostics.

    You need to go back and read your bible. Priests were commanded to abstain from wine and the like, it is no stretch (even according to each commentary cited) that the ministers (counterparts so to speak of the Jewish priests) should…not be partakes of wine… (This Is Not An Argument Completely For Abstinence As Stated Earlier)

    You Stated:
    Paul stated that it was his opinion and not a commandment.

    This is most interesting, are you stating that the bible is mostly inspired and some opinions. The fact that Paul under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to write it makes it quite clear what he considered opinion was approved thought from God or else why would God allow mans opinions in His Word.

    You state:
    If they see a mature christian partaking, they think sinning is alright and sin. The weaker does what he thinks is a sin, not the mature.

    However, your view is in complete contradiction of what Paul himself emphatically states: 11And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12But WHEN YE SIN SO against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye SIN against Christ. 13Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat NO flesh while the world STANDETH, lest I make my brother to offend.
    (emphesis added)
    Or The RSV
    11And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. 12Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, YOU SIN against Christ. 13Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother’s falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.

    It has nothing to do with a club but the sword  He uses the meats/idol as an example in showing proper Christian conduct concerning your liberty and responsibility to other believers in their walk with Christ. That is why it is account as sin to the mature believer and if you notice not to the weaker, since as the mature believer you know it is not sin

    You state:
    I have a member in my church who thinks only the KJV is scripture and those that do not have the KJV are sinning. So I guess everyone needs to run to lifeway and get a KJV for the sake of the weaker brother?

    This argument is pointless as the KJV is not something even spoken of or alluded to in the scriptures whereas alcohol is. I could just as easily state I have a person in my church who believe the Word of Faith movement and their belief that if you say your save enough it will be so by the word of your mouth. Does that mean we should all hold this belief. Of course not, we speak of those things the scriptures speak of and if it does not we speak of it not. (oops slipped into old English there) Not a crack at you I just that it was funny how it came out. 

    On the whole slavery issue, are saying that scripture was inaccurate concerning how God told Israel to deal those to whom were their slave, how to treat them and even to the point of how long to keep them. I don’t advocate slavery, just like I don’t advocate drinking wine personally.

    You said:
    1. Dispy pre trib rapture was not taught until about 100years ago. I think I will go with the interpretation of scripture that has been used for the last 2000 years. Instead of “new” interpretation of the last 100-200 years.
    I don’t see how you can make that stick, unfortunately it sounds to be more of a wanna be slap. Are you an Amillennialist, or maybe a post-triber? That is another discussion. 😉

    You said:
    This is not about some one drinking. But a flawed view of scripture and using that flawed view…

    And you are right, And, I have shown you the many flaws therein. Although, I do agree we should not impose anything unbiblical on our bretheren, we as the bretheren (as I stated before) should yield our liberty like Paul did (on many occasions on different issues, ie. Money, authority…) and the example he stated we should be. Is that the end all, no but it should be the beginning.

    You said:
    Why does not the SBC pass a resolution telling Pastors to not… (we can fill in any sin here)

    Good question, I guess I would ask a question to be answered first on this. Why did Jesus not preach against homosexuality, gluttony, smoking, or bad and improper theology. Here is my answer: because it was not the most prevalent sin besetting His hearers. If the SBC is have problems with Pastor sleeping around it would be a good idea to make a resolution for those who come after to not it is not something we believe should be done among those of like faith. If a resolution is to be a general consensus among the associations I would say that is a good one. The alcohol I do believe does not need to be a resolution because I do not here of drunkenness, DUI’s to be a consistent thing cropping up in the SBC.

    You imply that the choice of a believer not to drink is “our extra biblical practice” I have to disagree with you that it is EXTRA BIBLICAL. I find it taught often and implied many times in scripture. But that is a personal (for this discussion anyway) decision.
    You state:
    Why do we want to be like the Roman church and impose unbiblical doctrine upon our members? Why not chasity? Paul thought that was the best for a minister and christian.

    Paul was absolutely correct in his assertion that chastity is better. He did NOT state they had to be unmarried but that the unmarried were not tied to a family and therefore hindered in the goings command by our Lord. Now your twisting it just a tad to conform to proclaim something that No Bible Believing believer or Church has ever declared but those of Paganism. I think you reached a little far on that.

    Lastly you state:
    With all the problems in the SBC, I can not believe we are wasting time on this non biblical issue.

    While I agree with this statement in general, the non biblical aspect is the only part I don’t consider accurate. But Yes there are better things to be dealing with and to change that is to get those who feel the same way, consistently bring it to the fore front. Is God not able to hear the cries of His saints and move heaven and earth for their cause. I think so.

  30. Allan Says:

    A correction

    You said:
    Why does not the SBC pass a resolution telling Pastors to not… (we can fill in any sin here)

    Obviously I added the (we can fill in any sin here) because you listed different sins so rather than typing it all I put it in.

  31. Josh Says:

    I feel like a hall monitor here but let me say it again: Salt and Grace brothers (Colossians 4:5 – 6) And MORE grace than salt is needed in this discussion. Why is it that we forget our manners when we’re online? Here I am a regular old layman and I feel like I have to go ’round reminding all these pastors about how to talk to one another. You all are at least being reasonably civil.

    Great stuff here by the way and I agree with most of the original post. Especially the part about reasoned arguments and “raising a generation….sufficiency of scripture” (something like that). You can’t just say, “because I said so” anymore when you have rank upon rank of young people who’ve had it driven into their head that the Bible is what matters. If anything saves it it will be that.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one worried about a split in the convention. Someone tell me there’s a way to shut this disagreement down before we have a meltdown.

    Much Grace

  32. Frank Page has publicly spoken about being a bridge builder with those of different views. Maybe this is the first item to address unity.

  33. Allan Says:

    In all honesty, I was not intending a “meltdown’ but after I re-read my post it does sound more cross than I intended. Mark and others here I appologize for the tone of the dissussion. I was intending to only make corrections to the states made to me. I stand by what I said but not the way it comes across. My stanse is still, “I” will abstain, and the weaker brother princible paramont in this issue, but do not believe it should be a madate or resolution is in order when there are definately more things to be worried about.

  34. Josh Says:

    Allan: When I wrote we I meant WE as in we baptists, we members of SBC churches, we members of a convention made up of Churches whose favorite method of church planting is buying a new organ then arguing about which side of the sanctuary it goes until the lefties leave and the righties stay and triumphantly label them heretics. That WE brother. Not you personally.

    Christopher: Frank Page like the new President of the Convention Frank Page? Does he read email? Or does he prefer snail mail? If one desires unity this alcohol thing would be a good place to start.

    Much Grace

  35. Timmy Says:

    One of the things I have been refreshed by Dr. Frank Page is his willingness to confront difficult issues in an open, transparent, and objective fashion. I sincerely hope that he does this concerning this issue (although he stated that he agrees with the resolution).

    Some of you will see that Mr. Reynolds has addressed my article on his blog (this is obvious). It appears that he thinks I have attacked him in some way. Whenever someone gets on the defensive, one must ask it there is a warranted offense that justifies such a response (as a necessary defense). In this case, that warrant is absent. It is as though those who are calling their brothers out of the SBC and/or that they should repent are now accusing the very ones they are calling out as attacking them. This turning the tables is tactical ploy we must avoid. Should any of you respond with your comments, I fear that your statements will only serve to justify his belief that he is being attacked. Therefore, let me encourage you to “abstain” for the sake of unity and hope for progress beyond this issue.

    As I concluded in my article with the words of Paul, “Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11). Mr. Reynold’s is a brother in Christ and a fellow SBCer. I have nothing against him or anyone else who has taken issue with what I have said. May the Lord indeed bring unity around the essentials of our faith (that is, matters of first importance), and in the non-essentials such as this alcohol resolution, may he give grace in our speech and charity in our approach to addressing those with whom we disagree.

  36. Allan Says:

    I thank you Josh, but whether you ment it for me or not the Lord touched my heart over it (the tone of my comment when reveiwed) and I have no problem stating my appology.

    Timmy stated and quoted:
    As I concluded in my article with the words of Paul, “Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace” (2 Cor. 13:11).

    I say Amen, Amen, and Amen to that!

  37. Mark Brown Says:


    Thanks for the long post. I am sure the commentaries will support your beliefs. But commentaries are not scripture.

    There is not a command to abstain, except to the Nazarites, Samson, etc
    Priest and minsiters were not forbidden. In scripture God actually commands the drinking of wine and other alcohol. Called the feast of the firstfruits is one such command.

    In the Timothy passages there is not a call to abstain, but to be temperate.

    Re read the 4th chapter and then grab a good church history book. The problem with most is that they read scripture in a vacum. Why did Paul write to Timothy. What was happening in the church? Once you understand the need for the scripture, the scripture becomes clearer. You can then exegete scripture correctly and not rely on commentaries for doctrine. Commentaries are the personal opinions of those you listed.

    As to Paul opinion, 1 Cor 7:25

    ” Now concerning virgin. I have no commandment from the Lord: yet I give judgement”… the passage to verse 40 “But she is happier if she remains as she is, according to my judgement”.

    Paul stated his judgement/opinion and told us it was not a commandment from the Lord. Does this invalidate the scripture? No. It is an area of christian liberty. It would be improper to impose chasity upon a brethen. The early church had problems with sects imposing this as doctrine. The early church father, some of which followed this doctrine, concluded it was not an essential or binding docrtine. But one for christian liberty.

    I use a Greek-English interlinear testament. Read the entire chapter, not just selected verses. Verse 10 transliterated from the greek states:

    “For if anyone see thee, who hast knowledge, in an idol-temple reclining (at table), not the conscience of him weak being will be built up so as things sacrificed to idols to eat?”

    It is not the eating of meat, but where and under what circumstances. An alcohol parallel would be a known christian drinking in a strip club.
    Both are someplace they should not be.

    I used the KJV issue to show how “weaker” brethen try to force their beliefs on others. You insert the alcohol issue into the scripture. Why can I not insert the KJV only issue? The issue in scripture is meat sacrificed to idols. There is not one word about alcohol in this scripture passage. But noitce how it is inserted by those who want to impose ex-biblical doctrine.
    The use of alcohol is inferred by this people. This passage of scripture is silent on alcohol use. Read chapter 10. It also deals with meat eating and stumbling.

    On slavery. Of course God gave directions on slavery. It was practice by this country for a short period of time. We called it indentured servants. But chattel slavery is what I am talking about. The enslavement of entire populations for life and their offspring. Big difference. Those who practiced slavery of that type used selected bible passages to show it was correct. Scripture was missused. I did not think you supported slavery of any form. This was used to show how people have twisted scripture to support what they want.

    Dispensational pre trib rapture pre-millennialism is recent. Classic pre-mil is much older. The early church fathers that were pre-mil would not recongize it today. Too many charts! :^)

    As to why Jesus did not preach on homosexuality etc. You are using the same arguement that the homosexual churches use. Jesus did not preach against it, so there fore it is ok.

    We can all agree that Jesus is God. While He was alive in the physical sense did He ever change the Old Testament laws? No. He lived them. He kept the law. He abolished the sacrifical system and the cermonial law. But not the entire law. So He did not need to preach on homosexuality, it is still wrong.

    I can not believe you do not think Jesus spoke out and preached against bad and improper theology. I will let that pass as a typo on your part.

    I re read my post. No I did not twist what Paul stated. You have obviously not understood what I said. I was comparing the SBC to the Roman church in twisting scripture to impose extra-biblical doctrine on its members. Chasity is to the Roman church as alcohol to the SBC. Both pass rules affirming a docrtinal stance that is not supported by scripture. Paul, Christ, Church or scripture ever commanded against alcohol or demanded chasity for its Christian ministers and the members of the church. You inserted a red herring by twisting my words. I never used bible believing or pagan. You infer incorrectly and incorrectly attribute to me things I did not say or infer. You stated your belief and attribute it to me. And I reject that belief.

    I reject the resolution the SBC pasted. It’s language and intent is wrong and unbiblical. The use of the “weaker brother” principle is used incorrectly. In our men’s group we have a man you was alcohol and drug addicted. He tried to use that principle on some members of the group who did drink. After a few months of talking and searching the scripture, he stated he was wrong for imposing his beliefs and fears of past sins upon his brethern.

    For the record, I never took Allans post as being hostile or combative. Email and typing take the personality out and limit communications. Communications is just not works but inflection, facial and body responses.
    If my post seem harsh, I do offer an apology to those you are unfamiliar with me and can infer. I did not infer hostility, but passion.

  38. Allan Says:

    Mark I will not go long with this one 🙂

    Commentaries, as you rightly claim, are not scriptue. However, neither is history, archeology, or those beleivers (pastors) that hold to your view or doctrine. But we use them to both bolster and substantiate views and or doctrine as the men who wrote the commentaries are held (typically) to have a high degree of understanding concerning the scriptures and are typically a common held belief amoung others of like faith. And as I said none hold to the position you accredit it.

    Just because false teaching was beginning to come into the churches, does not nessesitate that Timothy was under the influence of any such teaching and to imply this without any scriptural basis, (there are none) is pure speculation. And BTW The Levites were forbidden to drink ANYTHING alcohol while performing their duties. It is interesting to note that while they were performing their services unto God they were forbidden according to Lev. 10:9-10 to touch the stuff (drink) or die.

    And this issue with the weaker brother, you state:
    It is not the eating of meat, but where and under what circumstances. An alcohol parallel would be a known christian drinking in a strip club.
    Both are someplace they should not be.

    Not true, like you said if you look at the whole of scripture. Follow the rest of his writing. 1 Cor 8:13:
    13Wherefore, if MEAT make my brother to offend, I will eat NO flesh while the world STANDETH, lest I make my brother to offend.

    It has nothing to do with the place it has to do with what causes the brother to stumble. Notice it has NOTHING to do with the place but actually the meat. It is the partaking of what ever is a stumbling block to a brother knowing it is a weakness for him. And if it offend, While the world exists he will NEVER eat flesh (the meat) not go to the idol temple/bar.

    I am not using the same argument that the homosexuals are useing. They state He didn’t preach against it because it wasn’t sin. I said He did mention it because it wasn’t a prevent sin. It wouldn’t be when you consider anyone who was a homosexual was killed according to the Mosaic Law. That helps keep sin to very slim margin would you not agree 🙂

    It was a typo on my part, I copy and pasted your comment, good catch.
    And I would not say the SBC is like the Roman Catholic Church with regard to chastity/alcohol. There is nothing that states a person has to be unmarried and God obviously agrees with Pauls sentiment that an unmarried person can do more for God than a married person can. As one married serving Christ and before marriage serving CHirst I too can attest to this fact. But I believe like many others scripture says enough on the subject of alcohol and your testomony in Chrst to the world and Himself that you should abstain from it. It is ok to disagree. I AM WITH YOU on rejecting the resolution for its intent and perpose. But I also feel that if the autonomous churches want to make it apart of their churches it is right and biblical and if they it to is right and biblical.

    This is not a slight to you so please understand that, but I would comment a little of you brother who was drug and alcohol addicted at one point. I am sorry no one helped him to understand the principles of the weaker brother and those of liberty to understand theirs toward him as well. I find it a sad thing that one who is coming out of such bondage, could be found in a possible situtation where he would be apt to stumble due to the freedom of others. But, if he and the others have found a way to work it out to the Glory and honor of the Father in Christ Jesus, then stand in that before God and not men. Ok I lied it was moderate in length 🙂

  39. Allan Says:

    oos … Correction

    If they don’t want to (regarding the use of alcohol) it is right and biblical.

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