SBC. Pharisee? May It Never Be!
The Southern Baptist Convention has gone wonky. They passed Resolution No. 6 "On Alcohol Use in America" during their June assembly. This resolution saddens me greatly for it pushes the line of acceptability by coming full foot into the Pharisee’s camp. We should never seek to enforce our own restrictions on others where God has not spoken.Certainly we are free to make arguments based on principle and reason or wisdom and promote and defend them passionately and with great zeal; however, we cannot make our own laws. When we seek to speak where God has not and then attempt to 'legislate' that conviction we run the risk of hanging a stone tablet around the church's neck. Resolution No. 6 is a classic example of how one can leave the pages of Scripture and begin to make personal conviction a blasting juggernaut straight into the beauty of grace.
Here is the meat of the resolution and some comments.
Years of research confirm biblical warnings that alcohol use leads to physical, mental, and emotional damage (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35)
What about the command in Proverbs 31:6 “Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter.”?
Alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on our nation's highways.
Throughout this SBC statement the premises are false. ‘Alcohol use’ is not what leads to physical and emotional damage or to the breakup of families or to a life of addiction. The ‘abuse of alcohol’ is the problem.
The breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family
Again, the abuse of alcohol is the problem and is seen in many family breakdowns; however, so too is watching too much TV and overly career-minded moms, are they advocating a ban on television and working women next?
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
The SBC would toss the apostle Paul out of their Sunday school teaching position for advocating that Timothy have some wine for his stomach ailments. (1Timothy 5:23)
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"
I don't know of anyone who advocates drinking alcohol in the church apart from what God says in His Word. I like what the Rev. Increase Mather once wrote, "Drink is in itself a good creature of God, and to be received with thankfulness, but the abuse of drink is from Satan; the wine is from God, but the Drunkard is from the Devil."
To not be able to differentiate between correct and righteous use of alcohol and an immoderate use or abuse of alcohol is unacceptable equivocation. God’s Word speaks of the good and righteous use of alcohol. The psalmist declares that wine makes man's heart glad (Ps. 104:14-15). Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, “…eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works.” Clearly He approves of right use of alcoholic wine. It is His gift to us.
We also see that in Deuteronomy 14:24-26 God told Israel that if the distance was too great for them to bring their tithe, then they could convert it to money and buy anything they wanted whether oxen, sheep, wine, or strong drink and they were to eat and drink it in the presence of the Lord rejoicing in His glory!
The immoderate use of wine in particular is condemned in Scripture not the mere use of alcohol. Ephesians 5:18 says to “be not drunk with wine” and 1 Timothy 3:8 speaks of not being ‘addicted to wine’. Abuse of alcohol is a lack of self-control. It is the same sinful heart condition that will overeat. I noticed the absence of any resolution that deals openly with the sin of gluttony in the SBC. Southern Baptists almost make it a badge of honor to fix ‘big fixins’ and have large potluck dinners without any charge to watch their eating habits. If one chooses to adopt a use meter it would be good to equally apply the findings to all facets instead of just one.