May 14, 2009
Last Call: The Alcohol Brew-haha
Our final round on the drinking debate...for now.
The conversation based on Eric Reed's report, "Trouble Brewing," in the latest issue of Leadership has been...stimulating. What should church leaders be modeling for their flocks? Everyone agrees that sobriety is essential, but is enjoying an alcoholic beverage ever okay? Or should we prohibit ourselves and other leaders from drinking out of sensitivity to "the weaker brothers" among us?
We wrap up with two insights. First, a video depicting the era of Prohibition that shows how the church spoke about the issue in decades past.
And finally, a comment posted by "J. Joyce" from our previous post on the subject. Joyce has an interesting perspective on abstinence as it relates to other "sins":
It seems that we do not generalize abstinence in other behaviors. For example, we believe gays and lesbians should not have sex. But that's not because sex is wrong; it's because we believe their use of it is unhealthy. That's why we don't say married heterosexual couples shouldn't have sex.
Many Christians who believe gambling is reckless and irresponsible invest in the stock market. Clearly they don't think all gambling is wrong; just certain types for certain people.
I'm not sure how alcohol use is different from these examples. Christians in a loving heterosexual relationship can "cause their brother to stumble" when he wants companionship and finds it in another man; Christian businessmen can "cause their brother to stumble" when they say "we lost it all in the market" and another many says "why not lose it all at the track?"
The issue is personal responsibility. Some people shouldn't drink. Some people can--and perhaps some should.