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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

URC Ministers Gone Wild!

Behold! The inimitable "Flying Pub" flugtag (pictured above)!

Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we prohibit and abolish women?
-Martin Luther

It just so happens that my pastor, Adam Kaloostian, was part of a recent broadcast on the subject of wine, that I thought dovetailed nicely with my post on wine from a few days ago. He has a regular podcast entitled Sinners and Saints, where he and two other URC ministers (Moses Janbazian and John Sawtelle) discuss various theological topics.

You can hear the entire Sinners and Saints series entitled "To Bet, Drink, Smoke, and Chew, and Run With Girls Who Do."

What do we do when the Bible gives us a promise of blessing coupled with a stern warning? Paul tells us (in 1 Cor. 6) that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of heaven - and this sin is coupled with other ungodly sins:

the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

So the Bible tells us that if we are drunkards, yet look down on homosexual sinners, then we have a huge problem that is both logical and moral. Let's call it good ol' fashioned hypocrisy.

But then we go to Psalm 104, where we are to "Bless the Lord!" from the soul for various things, including

wine which makes man's heart glad,
So that he may make his face glisten with oil,
And food which sustains man's heart

Wine is clearly listed as one of the blessings we receive that we should bless the Lord for, and is a blessing in a similar way as "food which sustains man's heart." So one must conclude, from the preceding and subsequent context, that wine is God's gift that we are to enjoy and thank God for.

When faced with two biblical admonitions, we ought to steer a middle course that honors both scriptural principles. We ought not drink to the point of drunkenness. Those who embrace drunkenness, without repentance, are clearly said to be unbelievers, destitute of true faith. But those who drink in moderation are said to have glad hearts, as a blessing from God.

An excellent book, detailing (in a whimsical, entertaining way) the history of alcohol in the Christian church, is Drinking with Calvin and Luther.

If we believe that Jesus has come to redeem all of creation (a creation which, according to Romans 8, is groaning for restoration) then we ought not hesitate to embrace all of the good gifts in God's creation, including alcohol, while rejecting the world's abuses of God's good gifts.

Category: Theoblogia


  • Dave: Methinks you protest for "oinos" or "yayin" too much! Really, not so. One wonders if the division of the reformation churches could have been patched over a stein of good German beer or English ale!
    The famous White Horse Tavern brought the Gospel to many. Much of the Amnerican "evangelical" establishment is still infected by the temperance movement, which leads them astray. Charles PS. I used the Greek and Hebrew words for "wine"

    By Blogger CB in Ca, at 9:32 AM  

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