Make Mine a Double

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch this morning is another article on the position the Missouri Baptist Convention takes on alcohol. I could have let it go like most of the articles that get printed on this with just a shake of the head, but this quote by Rev. David Tolliver deserves more than that. The quote:

“I understand that the Bible does not say, never says, ‘Thou shalt not drink,'” said Tolliver. “It is also true to say that the Bible does not specifically refer to drinking as a sin. However…the only Christian position in this 21st century Show-Me state environment that we live in is total abstinence!”

This is biblical how? My disillusionment with the Southern Baptist Church started when I began to understand just how much legalism passed for actual theology. I know there is no perfect denomination, but to actually say, “Yes we know the Bible doesn’t say it’s wrong, but we’ve decided it is anyway,” seems awfully Pharisaical (and I’m pretty sure the Bible does have something to say about that).

I didn’t come to make trouble, but as long as I am, make mine a double.

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36 thoughts on “Make Mine a Double

  1. Ed says:

    Interestingly, I visited a Southern Baptist church the other day that had their statement of faith painted on the wall in the foyer. (Who says Baptists are non-creedal churches?)
    Among other things, they had listed in their statement of faith that, “we will not participate in the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.”
    To underscore your point…

    Like

  2. Ed says:

    Interestingly, I visited a Southern Baptist church the other day that had their statement of faith painted on the wall in the foyer. (Who says Baptists are non-creedal churches?)
    Among other things, they had listed in their statement of faith that, “we will not participate in the sale or consumption of alcoholic beverages.”
    To underscore your point…

    Like

  3. Renae says:

    Using grape juice as a sacrament… that’s another conversation in and of itself. That’s one I just can’t get my mind around, even though I’ve almost always taken Communion this way.

    Like

  4. Megan says:

    I, too, agree with the idea of not wanting to cause brothers and sisters to stumble. I think sometimes drinking alcohol can cause someone else to stumble. I also think sometimes NOT drinking alcohol can cause someone to stumble. I think the point is that we are given freedom here, and we are exhorted to use that freedom with wisdom and discretion. The position this ministry leader is taking is not a biblical one and I think will ultimately drive more people from the gospel than toward it.
    We live in a country of excess. Think back to the last church potluck you’ve attended and watch the way food is presented and consumed. The Bible also has words to say about gluttony, yet you don’t see many church leaders denouncing Christians who over-eat. Why is that? I’m guilty here and I’m not proud of that. Overeating is a socially accepted sin in Christian circles, whereas having a drink (which is not condemned in scripture) is.
    I grew up in a church where the cutesy mantra we were taught as youth was, “I don’t drink, dance, or chew and I don’t go with boys who do.” Funny, yes. Good morals, yes. The way I mostly operate anyway? Yes. Biblical mandate? No. And I lost my respect for church leaders making their personal convictions laws for everyone else a long time ago.
    Okay, slipping off the soap box for now…

    Like

  5. Nikki says:

    And yet…here we are forcing biblical exhortations/mandates to live under the umbrella of our cultural norms.
    We must remember that what God says about using wisdom in these matters has to exist above our American Christian hangups.
    For example, the Bible does not say that alcohol is a sin but that it is the excess of alcohol. In the same way, the Bible does not say that food is a sin but that it is the excess of food.
    So then…do we only serve fat-free communion bread? Do we serve bread at all? Too many carbs, you know–wouldn’t want a fellow Christian struggling with gluttony to struggle.
    The real issue here is that we’ve made addictions into diseases. But the Bible calls them idols.
    Abstinence then, is easy…but glorifying God and thanking Him for His good gifts, which can also be temptations, is the harder path of the Gospel and Christian moderation.

    Like

  6. Sean says:

    I totally love when we get to put our culture and our hang-ups above Scripture, because obeying the Bible and living in grace is WAY too hard!
    I find it ironic the John Wesley was appealed to because it gives me the chance to make the following point: Both he and Rev. David Tolliver would read Ephesians 1:5 “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” and go to great lengths to ‘splain how the Bible says, but doesn’t really say, God predestines us.
    Why spend so much effort enforcing what the Bible doesn’t enforce and then denying what the Bible doesn’t deny?
    Why not submit and obey- or will our idols not let us worship the one true God as He has revealed Himself?

    Like

  7. Charliam says:

    While I feel that it was not appropriate to say, “the only chrisitian position”; nevertheless, I respect them for their position. John Wesley made the move during his time to switch from using wine at communion to grape juice. His reason, he was reaching folks who had known first hand the devastation which can be associated with alcohol. Thus, he didn’t want the sacrament of communion to possibly cause a person to fall “off the wagon.”
    While the Bible may not explicitly denounce drinking it does speak againt the evils of excess, and instructs Christians to “avoid the very appearance of evil.” Not to mention the whole “don’t put a stumbling block in your brothers/sisters way” stuff . . . .
    In a country which glorifies excess and those who engage in it; I applaud those who take a stand ultimately meant to avoid temptation and the harm that so many have experience via alcohol. Especially when we (unlike in biblical times) have so many other options on how to quench our thirst.
    It may have been more effective for the gentleman who was quoted to share the reasons behind the conviction; but on this one I respect them for sticking to their conviction despite its lack of popularity in secular and christian circles.

    Like

  8. Renae says:

    Using grape juice as a sacrament… that’s another conversation in and of itself. That’s one I just can’t get my mind around, even though I’ve almost always taken Communion this way.

    Like

  9. Megan says:

    I, too, agree with the idea of not wanting to cause brothers and sisters to stumble. I think sometimes drinking alcohol can cause someone else to stumble. I also think sometimes NOT drinking alcohol can cause someone to stumble. I think the point is that we are given freedom here, and we are exhorted to use that freedom with wisdom and discretion. The position this ministry leader is taking is not a biblical one and I think will ultimately drive more people from the gospel than toward it.
    We live in a country of excess. Think back to the last church potluck you’ve attended and watch the way food is presented and consumed. The Bible also has words to say about gluttony, yet you don’t see many church leaders denouncing Christians who over-eat. Why is that? I’m guilty here and I’m not proud of that. Overeating is a socially accepted sin in Christian circles, whereas having a drink (which is not condemned in scripture) is.
    I grew up in a church where the cutesy mantra we were taught as youth was, “I don’t drink, dance, or chew and I don’t go with boys who do.” Funny, yes. Good morals, yes. The way I mostly operate anyway? Yes. Biblical mandate? No. And I lost my respect for church leaders making their personal convictions laws for everyone else a long time ago.
    Okay, slipping off the soap box for now…

    Like

  10. Nikki says:

    And yet…here we are forcing biblical exhortations/mandates to live under the umbrella of our cultural norms.
    We must remember that what God says about using wisdom in these matters has to exist above our American Christian hangups.
    For example, the Bible does not say that alcohol is a sin but that it is the excess of alcohol. In the same way, the Bible does not say that food is a sin but that it is the excess of food.
    So then…do we only serve fat-free communion bread? Do we serve bread at all? Too many carbs, you know–wouldn’t want a fellow Christian struggling with gluttony to struggle.
    The real issue here is that we’ve made addictions into diseases. But the Bible calls them idols.
    Abstinence then, is easy…but glorifying God and thanking Him for His good gifts, which can also be temptations, is the harder path of the Gospel and Christian moderation.

    Like

  11. Sean says:

    I totally love when we get to put our culture and our hang-ups above Scripture, because obeying the Bible and living in grace is WAY too hard!
    I find it ironic the John Wesley was appealed to because it gives me the chance to make the following point: Both he and Rev. David Tolliver would read Ephesians 1:5 “he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” and go to great lengths to ‘splain how the Bible says, but doesn’t really say, God predestines us.
    Why spend so much effort enforcing what the Bible doesn’t enforce and then denying what the Bible doesn’t deny?
    Why not submit and obey- or will our idols not let us worship the one true God as He has revealed Himself?

    Like

  12. Charliam says:

    While I feel that it was not appropriate to say, “the only chrisitian position”; nevertheless, I respect them for their position. John Wesley made the move during his time to switch from using wine at communion to grape juice. His reason, he was reaching folks who had known first hand the devastation which can be associated with alcohol. Thus, he didn’t want the sacrament of communion to possibly cause a person to fall “off the wagon.”
    While the Bible may not explicitly denounce drinking it does speak againt the evils of excess, and instructs Christians to “avoid the very appearance of evil.” Not to mention the whole “don’t put a stumbling block in your brothers/sisters way” stuff . . . .
    In a country which glorifies excess and those who engage in it; I applaud those who take a stand ultimately meant to avoid temptation and the harm that so many have experience via alcohol. Especially when we (unlike in biblical times) have so many other options on how to quench our thirst.
    It may have been more effective for the gentleman who was quoted to share the reasons behind the conviction; but on this one I respect them for sticking to their conviction despite its lack of popularity in secular and christian circles.

    Like

  13. Charliam says:

    I have always found this to be a strange paradox. If I share with someone that I abstain from alcohol because of predisposition to addiction that runs in my family; thus I don’t trust myself not to abuse alcohol–a person respects the decision. If a person shares that he/she doesn’t drink because they are a recovering alcoholic, people respect the decision.
    However, if I share that I abstain from alcohol because of a moral or religious conviction (even in some Christian circles), such folks are criticized. I am not Baptist, and I agree that Rev. Tolliver’s statement about “only Christian position” was over-reaching; but it seems to me that most of the posts have far more to do with being anti-SBC than the actual issue of alcohol consumption.

    Like

  14. yestheyareallmine says:

    Good post and comments!!! Dh and I have spoken of this subject recently and we also feel that alcohol is not wrong. Drunkeness is. How about another biblical saying that a little booze is good for the stomach. I am paraphrasing of course. I have never read the word booze in the bible. 😉

    Like

  15. Lindsey @ enjoythejourney says:

    My favorite SBC/Alcohol story is this:
    The former church I attended had a pastor who liked to preach about the sins of alcohol alot. He was a former alcoholic, or so he said (I’ve known some SBC minsters who equate any drinker to an alcoholic, so some have to wonder).
    Anyhow, he said he would never ever marry a couple who would be having alcohol at the reception. He would not patronize restaurants and businesses who sold alcohol.
    Then, a few years later this same pastor came into some money. He joined the country club because he liked to play golf and his wife liked tennis. Guess what? The club serves alcohol 24/7.
    A little bit of a slack in morals, hmmmm? 🙂
    I take mine on the rocks, with alot of salt on the rim. 🙂 (and no, I don’t go to an SBC anymore because of the sheer hypocrisy and legalism. The whole potluck/food issue you brought up has crossed my mind more than once or twice. The SBC has the pet sins and boy do the like to pet the drinking issue more than not!!!!)

    Like

  16. caron easley says:

    good post. fun to read. lots of us are passionate about our freedom to drinking…but i find myself being less passionate about bigger, more “important” things. tangled in the brush.

    Like

  17. Lindsey @ ETJ says:

    Charliam, while I see your point, I also have to say that most people when they (proud as a peacock) announce they “do not drink for religious reasons” it is met with a certain pious, holier-than-thou type of feeling, thus causing the negative response. If you truly, truly do not drink out of moral convictions, surely you believe in a spirit of humbleness too.
    I could go around telling people I don’t wear pants because I’m convicted, or I fast once a week because I think it is holy, or I only drive fuel-efficient cars because I think God wants us to care about the planet.
    And most people will roll their eyes and think I’m just bragging away about how religious or wonderful or holy I am, compared to them.
    Not saying that is what you’re doing, but you asked…and that is why most people (esp. those of us like myself in the church) groan when we hear the argument.

    Like

  18. Charliam says:

    I have always found this to be a strange paradox. If I share with someone that I abstain from alcohol because of predisposition to addiction that runs in my family; thus I don’t trust myself not to abuse alcohol–a person respects the decision. If a person shares that he/she doesn’t drink because they are a recovering alcoholic, people respect the decision.
    However, if I share that I abstain from alcohol because of a moral or religious conviction (even in some Christian circles), such folks are criticized. I am not Baptist, and I agree that Rev. Tolliver’s statement about “only Christian position” was over-reaching; but it seems to me that most of the posts have far more to do with being anti-SBC than the actual issue of alcohol consumption.

    Like

  19. yestheyareallmine says:

    Good post and comments!!! Dh and I have spoken of this subject recently and we also feel that alcohol is not wrong. Drunkeness is. How about another biblical saying that a little booze is good for the stomach. I am paraphrasing of course. I have never read the word booze in the bible. 😉

    Like

  20. Lindsey @ enjoythejourney says:

    My favorite SBC/Alcohol story is this:
    The former church I attended had a pastor who liked to preach about the sins of alcohol alot. He was a former alcoholic, or so he said (I’ve known some SBC minsters who equate any drinker to an alcoholic, so some have to wonder).
    Anyhow, he said he would never ever marry a couple who would be having alcohol at the reception. He would not patronize restaurants and businesses who sold alcohol.
    Then, a few years later this same pastor came into some money. He joined the country club because he liked to play golf and his wife liked tennis. Guess what? The club serves alcohol 24/7.
    A little bit of a slack in morals, hmmmm? 🙂
    I take mine on the rocks, with alot of salt on the rim. 🙂 (and no, I don’t go to an SBC anymore because of the sheer hypocrisy and legalism. The whole potluck/food issue you brought up has crossed my mind more than once or twice. The SBC has the pet sins and boy do the like to pet the drinking issue more than not!!!!)

    Like

  21. caron easley says:

    good post. fun to read. lots of us are passionate about our freedom to drinking…but i find myself being less passionate about bigger, more “important” things. tangled in the brush.

    Like

  22. Lindsey @ ETJ says:

    Charliam, while I see your point, I also have to say that most people when they (proud as a peacock) announce they “do not drink for religious reasons” it is met with a certain pious, holier-than-thou type of feeling, thus causing the negative response. If you truly, truly do not drink out of moral convictions, surely you believe in a spirit of humbleness too.
    I could go around telling people I don’t wear pants because I’m convicted, or I fast once a week because I think it is holy, or I only drive fuel-efficient cars because I think God wants us to care about the planet.
    And most people will roll their eyes and think I’m just bragging away about how religious or wonderful or holy I am, compared to them.
    Not saying that is what you’re doing, but you asked…and that is why most people (esp. those of us like myself in the church) groan when we hear the argument.

    Like

  23. Jennifer says:

    Hmm, seems like the pot has been stirred. 🙂
    A little SBC history, if I’m remembering correctly which is always problematic b/c my brain isn’t working well after having 4 kids, the major anti-alcohol stance came during Prohibition when it was ILLEGAL. Since then, I believe the abstinence of alcohol has been toted by the SBC b/c it differientiates them from everyone else. However, I do believe a few topics (alcohol, smoking, tattoos, piercings, etc) threaten to split the SBC (oh of course, Calvinism must be included as one of those topics). Anyway, so far the SBC is holding up and many good discussions are going on. (I’d include the above commenters.) I think the amazing thing is you’ll see lots of people nodding their heads in an SBC church but at home they have a 12-pack of beer in the fridge (oh, maybe beer isn’t considered alcohol?). (Off topic sort of, have you had bbq’d meat with and without beer poured over it? Much better with the beer, it adds moisture.) Here I am rambling, sorry, I’m not sure where the SBC is going to land on this issue b/c it isn’t biblical BUT admittedly it is easier to promote refraining from alcohol in general to prevent others from stumbling.
    About communion – you could go the Mormon route and serve water!
    (Yes, I’m SBC, grew up SBC and my father had a 6-pack of beer in the fridge and my parents would make strawberry daquiries for New Year’s (some for the kids and some for my parents).)

    Like

  24. Lindsey @ enjoythejourney says:

    Charliam, just so we’re clear, I didn’t mean YOU specifically, I hope you know that. I was just trying to answer the question with a broad generality. 🙂
    I’d imagine if you’re being met with resistance by clergy regarding your abstinence of alcohol, then you are most certainly NOT in an SBC???? 🙂

    Like

  25. Jennifer says:

    Hmm, seems like the pot has been stirred. 🙂
    A little SBC history, if I’m remembering correctly which is always problematic b/c my brain isn’t working well after having 4 kids, the major anti-alcohol stance came during Prohibition when it was ILLEGAL. Since then, I believe the abstinence of alcohol has been toted by the SBC b/c it differientiates them from everyone else. However, I do believe a few topics (alcohol, smoking, tattoos, piercings, etc) threaten to split the SBC (oh of course, Calvinism must be included as one of those topics). Anyway, so far the SBC is holding up and many good discussions are going on. (I’d include the above commenters.) I think the amazing thing is you’ll see lots of people nodding their heads in an SBC church but at home they have a 12-pack of beer in the fridge (oh, maybe beer isn’t considered alcohol?). (Off topic sort of, have you had bbq’d meat with and without beer poured over it? Much better with the beer, it adds moisture.) Here I am rambling, sorry, I’m not sure where the SBC is going to land on this issue b/c it isn’t biblical BUT admittedly it is easier to promote refraining from alcohol in general to prevent others from stumbling.
    About communion – you could go the Mormon route and serve water!
    (Yes, I’m SBC, grew up SBC and my father had a 6-pack of beer in the fridge and my parents would make strawberry daquiries for New Year’s (some for the kids and some for my parents).)

    Like

  26. Lindsey @ enjoythejourney says:

    Charliam, just so we’re clear, I didn’t mean YOU specifically, I hope you know that. I was just trying to answer the question with a broad generality. 🙂
    I’d imagine if you’re being met with resistance by clergy regarding your abstinence of alcohol, then you are most certainly NOT in an SBC???? 🙂

    Like

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