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A Pastor and A Beer.

August 3, 2012

This is a post that I have much reservation about. I would never set myself up as a judge.

During the last year or so the subject has come up in my circles concerning Christians and Alcohol.  I belong to a network of churches and ministers that have long held that Christians should abstain from alcohol.  It was during my research that I first learned of  a particular, very influential pastor.

He is the founding pastor of a mega church and is one of the world’s most downloaded and quoted pastors. His audience-fans and critics alike-span the theological and cultural left and right.  This pastor was named one of the 25 Most Influential Pastors of the past 25 years by preaching magazine, and his sermons are consistently at the top on iTunes each week for Religion & Spirituality with over 10 million of downloads each year.”

I shared the information above from an internet site to establish the amount of credibility and influence this pastor has. I must tell you that in reading some of his stuff and listening to many of his podcast I enjoy most of what he has to say.

My problem with him is over alcohol. By his own admission he was never a drinker. Not in High School or College.

In a podcast that I listened to and a video I watched where alcohol was the subject this pastor admitted that he never drank until about three years ago.

Here is my problem. One of the most influential pastors in the world who is especially influential with young adults never drank but now has decided to be a drinker.  My question is why?

If you were never a drinker why would you as an adult who is a Christian leader decide to start drinking?

I have a problem with alcohol.  You can read my post Christians and Alcohol to see my argument. But let me pose this question. How many young Christians have decided to drink because a pastor or other Christian does? How many of those young Christians who may have never been drinkers but now are because of a pastor or another Christians influence become alcoholics? How many of them will never be able to influence another person to come to Christ because of alcohol? How many of them will die because of alcohol?

I believe God has called Christians to a higher standard. I also believe that men and women of God who have been given influence over others are called maybe even to a little higher standard.

From what I have learned of this pastor he is a great man with a heart for souls. He is a gifted speaker, writer and leader. My hat is off to him for what he has accomplished in his young life.  I hope in the years to come I could gain just a fraction of the influence that he has already gained.   I just don’t understand why?

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  1. The Scriptures teach that drunkenness is a sin. Period. Drunkenness.

    The Scriptures also teach not to go beyond what is written. That means you don’t create “fence laws” around the Word of God to artificially try to protect yourself from violating the command of Scripture. Total abstinence from alcohol is a fence law to try to protect ourselves from drunkenness.

    Creating fence laws is not the answer. The problem with drinking alcohol is the same as the right to bear arms issue. People want to blame the guns for killing people instead of the people who use the guns. People want to blame not abstaining totally from alcohol for the addiction and drunkenness instead of blaming the people who do not exercise self-control (a fruit of the Spirit, by whom we are to be led and living) in their consumption of alcohol.

    Rather than deal with the real issue, which is a lack in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, we make a religious fence law called “total abstinence” from alcohol. Paul called these fence laws self-imposed worship based on the basic principles of this world, “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch,” rather than on Christ. He said they make you look good to people on the outside, but they lack any real value in restraining sensual indulgence.

    We are called to live by the Spirit, be led by the Spirit, and serve God in the new way of the Spirit, not the old way of a written code, especially an extrabiblical religious code of our own making. Instead of making fence laws about alcohol and other things, we need to be learning and teaching people how to hear and recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit for themselves, and how to use the resurrection power of the life of Jesus to enable them to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live “self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age”. That means exercising self-control in the consumption of alcohol, not making a fence law of total abstinence.

  2. jeffscurlock permalink

    alethia, thanks for your comment. While we do disagree slightly I do respect your opinion . Please keep reading and posting. God Bless, Jeff

    • Thank you for approving my comment.

      To me, the issue is the difference between the New Covenant and the Old Covenant. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are under the New Covenant, which means we “serve in the new way of the Spirit, not in the old way of the written code.”

      4 So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:4-6)

      Note that the “sinful passions” were aroused by the law, interesting, but now that we are in Christ we have died to sin and died to the law, and our behavior is to be controlled by the Holy Spirit living in us, not by a written (or unwritten) code that is external to us.

      The problem is that for most Christians, their relationship with God never gets farther than the written code, and that is what produces Pharisees and hypocrites.

  3. Darrin permalink

    Recreational use of drugs that tend to cause great harm to self and and others is unwise. Is it a matter of salvation? No. Is it a matter of sanctification? Absolutely!

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