Saturday, June 17, 2006

Christian Liberty

There has been much discussion regarding the recent SBC resolution of "total opposition" to the consumption, distribution, purchasing or selling of alcohol. The speakers to this resolution did so with no biblical warrant. Instead, they were left with appeals to moralism.

In affirming this resolution, the convention has made the use of alcohol a sin on the same level as murder, adultery and covetousness. In effect, the Convention has now bound the conscience of its members with extrabiblical legislation - the very definition of LEGALISM.

Now, if you want to talk about a subject that the Bible classifies as sin and that Jesus denounced with a holy hatred, we will have to talk about legalism.

In a good series discussing the Christian and the liberty we enjoy in Christ, Mark Lauterbach over at "GospelDrivenLife" writes four articles that are worth reading. You can find them here:
  1. The Christian and Liberty - Part 1
  2. The Christian and Liberty - Part 2
  3. The Christian and Liberty - Part 3
  4. The Christian and Liberty - Part 4
Lauterbach is my pastor's good friend and former seminary classmate. He is always thought-provoking and gracious in his posts and shows a keen exegetical and theological mind. In short, he is well worth reading on a regular basis.

PS: I feel that after a few posts like this that I must make something clear - I do not drink alcohol and will teach my children that the best decision is to abstain from alcohol use. To discuss this issue on a biblical basis is to come across to some as "liberal" or "pro-alchohol." I am neither. I simply want my convictions to be based on the biblical text as I fully believe it is the SUFFICIENT guide to life. There is no need for me to add to what it says I must or must not do.


Jim Pemberton said...

Outstanding articles by Mark Lauterbach!

Another issue that takes a second or third to the use of alcohol is dancing. While our culture has had its bouts with anti-dancing because of its poor popular use in the secular sector, the Venezuela teams have learned that much of the Hispanic culture is very responsive to dancing. They use it to enhance meaning visually in music as well as a medium for familial bonding and fellowship. For example, when we dance with the Venezuelans, they understnad that we really care about them and when we add dance to music, they absorb the meaning of the music better.

Something Mark brought up that you repeated, Jeff, is the instruction of our kids. This is very important. I'm keenly aware of what my kids are exposed to and what they are not. Knowing that they will eventually be exposed to things I don't want them to see, I expend significant cognitive resources planning what and when I should expect my kids to be exposed to things and how I can prepare them to handle such correctly. I constantly question them to discern what experiences they have had in my absence. I badger them for verbal reports about the material they see on TV and plan my responses carefully to teach them what it all means. I know that they are learning to pay attention to the messages the writers of these programs have for them and assess them according to Biblical principles.

impossibleape said...

Hi Jeff
I have always found it hard to understand how so many 'Bible Beleivers' could find T-Totalism in the Bible.
The only way I could see it justified was by taking the position that the nazarite vow was required of 'true' believers. Somehow the hyperbole of Jesus' saying that for us to get to heaven our standard of conduct would have to be higher than the Pharisee's has been misunderstood as literal and not hyperbolic.

This sort of misunderstanding a problem for people who want to take everything literally. And it causes some without faith to wonder about everything else we teach as gospel.

impossibleape said...

I appreciate your cultural sensitivity. Being able to prevent insulting the ones you wish to serve by agreeing to dance with them is very much in tune with the spirit of the gospel.

Some would have insisted that the dancers become wallflowers as a requiremrnt for salvation but that is not (IMHO) in tune with the life that Jesus demonstrated to us.