Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ask Anything Wednesdays

When we arrived in Wilson and at RRBC, my plan was to utilize Wednesday nights to help the church to get to know us...well, more specifically, me and my understanding of key issues. So, I launched an Open Q and A night. (I have decided to call them Ask Anything Wednesdays by "borrowing" the name from Dr. Russ Moore...remember, Doc...imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!)

Anyway, so far we have dealt with leadership philosophy; thoughts on worship, culture and choirs; and this week: alcohol, funraisers and ministry alignment with vision. I will hope to use the blog and FB as a way to interact about the Q and A

Here was the brief scoop from this week on two big questions:
What is the biblical answer to alcohol use?

First...the bible does not address every issue in terms of "right / wrong." There are some issues that the Holy Spirit MAY personally convict us about, but may give another freedom (i.e. Rom 14:1-22). The use of alcohol is one of them. I say that because, on the one hand, the Bible indicates that wine (including fermented drink) is a gift from God that may be received with thanks. For example, Ps 104:14-15; Dt 14:26; and Jn 2:1-11. On the other hand, the Bible provides stern warnings about overindulgence with wine (i.e. Prov 20:1; 23:29-35). And, the Bible teaches that drunkenness is ALWAYS a sin (Eph 5:18). The most reasonable thing to conclude then, is that alcohol itself is not evil, but it's abuse is sinful.

Now, I personally do not use alcohol for five reasons:
1. I do not use it because I do not have freedom of conscience to do so. However, I will not judge others whose conscience is not so bound.

2. Alchohol is mind altering and I do not want to have anything affect the Holy Spirit's influene over my mind. I, personally, do not want to do anything that would inhibit me from taking every thought captive for Christ (2 Cor 10:5).

3. Alcohol is addictive. Here again, I do not want to push the limits of my "addictions." Right now they are limited to caffeine and, perhaps, Buffalo Wild Wings, but why take the chance that I might become addicted to alcohol.

4. Alcohol is destructive. The use (and abuse) of alcohol in our culture has had a number of negative and destructive effects. From drunk driving to destroyed marriages, alcohol abuse has been a frequent cause of death and destruction. To avoid alcohol is to make a strong social statement against such things. Further, it must be asked whether it is prudent to partake in something that has caused such destruction. For me, the answer is no.

5. I don't like the taste of it. Yes, I have had wine on a couple occasions and champagne once. I have never had an entire glass of any of it and have never had the occasion to drink beer. I do not say those things to boast or to wallow in some type of self-pity. Rather, to state an undeniable fact: I do not like how it tastes.

Again, I would urge every believer to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance regarding things like alcohol. Do not simply assume that your conscience will be bound or free...but, pray, and act in wisdom.

What do you think of fundraisers in the church?
Since this is running longer than expected...let me give a few thoughts.
First, we have to ask biblical / theological questions. Does the bible forbid fundraising? Simply put, NO. Jesus' anger at the money changers in the Temple was related to their CHEATING of people. So, fundraisers ought not cheat people!

We should also ask whether the fundraiser leads to sin...are we leading people to covet? For example, a "raffle" for a new car would lead beleivers to covet the such, it is sin. A car wash, trivia night, etc do not lead people to sin.

A third biblical question relates to the appropriateness of unbelievers underwriting God's work. On this I can only say that there is biblical precedent for it - Ex 12:35-36 says that the Children of Israel asked the Egyptians to finance the Exodus, and they did it! It may be a thin precedent, but there is one...

The other big issue is the practical administration of fundraising. I prefer that there be a limited number of fundraisers avaialable to ministries, the proceeds of which should be used for missions - both local and international. I am not in favor of fundraisers for facilities or for budgets...these are to be provided for through the regular tithes and offerings of God's people.

So...that was this week...if you have questions for next week or the next few, feel free to email me at

Pastor Rob

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As usual, very insightful and Biblically based (not tradition based), well done. I'll be interested to see some of the responses.