Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alcohol, Sex, and Bob Jones University's Love Child

"I don't know of anyone who has ever been drunk who has never had a drink before."

In other words, you can't get drunk if you never drink, so you shouldn't drink. EVER.

This is one of the common logics I have heard someone say many times in opposition to drinking alcoholic beverages. A pretty terrible logic I might add. You could say that about almost anything. I don't know anyone who has ever shot anyone who hasn't held a gun. So guns are wrong. (I actually think thats a better argument.)

I know that drinking is pretty trivial to most people, denominations, churches, Jesus, etc, but where I am from (A small town in North Carolina) people still get pretty bent out of shape over it.

I enjoy a beer every once in a while, or maybe a glass of wine when out to dinner or with friends. However, this has not always been the case. I remember growing up thinking that anyone who drank was a bad person, and definitely couldn't be a Christian. I got this idea mostly from the school and church I attended.

I went to a VERY strict, conservative school my whole life, kindergarten through my senior year. When I say strict, think if Bob Jones University and Pensacola Christian University "got together" and had a child (which would never happen on one of their chaperoned dates) but that child would be my school. In fact, Liberty university was considered liberal. (no, seriously)

So it's safe to say that drinking alcohol, along with having long hair, untucked shirt tails, empty belt loops, NIV Bibles, Christian rock music, drums (they were believed to summon demons), or any instruments with a power chord or a volume button, was a sin.

Once, I got in trouble for wearing a t-shirt with a bible verse on the back of it... because it was NIV, or better known as the "Non-Inspired Version". (and you wonder why my beliefs are so screwed up) :)

So back to the alcohol.

Alcohol, if not used responsibly, can be harmful. So, instead of teaching responsibly and moderation, we have to throw it all out the window? We demonize it in hopes that our kids won't ever touch it.

Of course, this usually back fires, and as soon as kids get out of their "controlled" environments they go nuts, Indulging in whatever it is that was drilled into their heads and taught to be evil.

And sadly, I don't think the church has stopped with alcohol. We do the same thing with issues such as sex. I know people who still have a terrible view of sex because they have been taught their whole life that sex is evil, disgusting, immoral, and considered one of the worst things you could ever do (until one is considered, by the state, to be married that is). They have been scared instead of taught.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard that if you have sex before you're married, then once you do get married, your sex life will suck. This is called a scare tactic, and I know of marriages that have failed due to the fear and guilt.

The problem, is that when one is finally married, they can not see how anything has changed In the morality of the act of sex. There is still guilt involved. They still view the act as evil, disgusting, and immoral. They can not separate their married life from what they have been taught about sex their whole life. subsequently, their sex life suffers.

Why do we do this? Why would we rather condemn something all together and even demonize it (when there is no basis for it), rather than teach responsibility and/or moderation?



As you well know I have also been subject to this same argument of "I don't know of anyone who has ever been drunk who has never had a drink before." In the words of Martin Luther, “Do you suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused? Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?” What Luther points out is the absurdness in this "logic."

Although also being from a similar small town in North Carolina, I honestly have seen a huge shift since we were children and don't believe that alcohol is really that big of a deal to most people around here anymore. Sure, the people who have been here their whole lives maybe, but North Carolina is an area with so many transplants that I believe it has helped changed the atmosphere on some of this non-essential areas, allowing them to be looked at differently. I also think that guys like you and myself who have been in NC our whole lives have decided to actually search the Scripture to see if what we were taught growing up is actually the case of a sin issue.

I must say I enjoy and appreciate the analogy of Bob Jones and Pensacola creating a child together. People often wonder how and why I am the way I am today and I often attribute it to this same "child" and by the grace of God and him alone I am still in the faith because what I experienced there was nothing short of moralism and legalism that almost pushed me to the brink.

I remember getting in trouble frequently for wearing my mxpx hoodie, singing rock songs, wearing one too many bracelets, and of course getting my sideburns just a little too long, or having my hair just touching the top of my ear.

All in all for me looking back after all these years, this has now at least forced me to go further and further into the gospel and away from a false message of a list of rules that would make me a "good" Christian.

Overall enjoyable post, both of my alcohol posts are on the top ten list of all my post over at my blog, which your readers can find here: under November 2010.

JustinGaynor said...

Really sorry you guys had to go through all that. Sounds like there are a lot of wounds that need to be healed there, I would direct you to Matthew 18, you know how it's written 'be imitators of God, as beloved children'...well sitting down and doing the hard work of taking a full account of all the sins committed against you, that's the event itself and ALL the ripple effects, a FULL account as far back as you can go asking God to search your heart and mind, and then do business with it...'give it to Jesus'. Let them off your hook. Let the debt go, they will need to settle up with Him, but you will be forgiven in the measure that you forgive. Once the difficult business of forgiveness is done then you can move forward, having been made whole by Him, the only one from whom wholeness (peace) comes from.

As far as proper use of God's good gifts in God's good world, which includes wine and other fermented Luther's comment on it and that stands well with most early church father's, I would stand with them too with regard to those who insist on and will not repent of requiring total abstinence from certain food or drinks from either overseers or anyone in the body, Cyprian states that it is "contrary to evangelical and apostolical discipline" or Chrysostom who uses 1 Timothy 5v23 to refute 'heretics and immature Christians who say there should be no wine.' and states "Let there be no drunkenness; for wine is the work of God, but drunkenness is the work of the devil. Wine makes not drunkenness; but intemperance produces it. Do not accuse that which is the workmanship of God, but accuse the madness of a fellow mortal."

JustinGaynor said...

ps as someone who works with recovering addicts and alcoholics, there is always a requirement for wisdom and compassion. It's always been important for me not to pretend like I support complete abstinence, but to be honest about my stance and what the bible teaches. We need to be able to stand in solidarity with our family, coming along side them, as my brothers/sisters struggle with addiction and the freedom they have in Christ.

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