Baptists and Booze

The subject of Baptists and alcohol has been a recent subject of conversation in our home and among my preacher friends.

Perhaps it's because I occasionally get asked about my service on the 2006 SBC Resolutions Committee and about my support the now-infamous Resolution #5.

Perhaps it's because last week I ran into a wayward church member in the local Rite Aid as they were purchasing a huge 24-pack of Bud Light. By the way, why is it that when the pastor sees church members publicly buying booze, the PASTOR is the one to feel embarassment? But I digress.

Perhaps it's because of the fact that hardly a week goes by that I am not involved in ministering in some tragic situation where liquor was a major contributing factor to someone's spiritual, physical, and moral demise.

Perhaps it's because of the seemingly-growing number of churches and church leaders who claim an abstinence long as no one actually mentions it. At least if you do mention it, don't actually act like you mean it.

I have preached on the subject several times. There is no doubt in my mind I could go toe-to-toe with anyone wanting to argue the typical libertine approach to liquor use. The wedding at Cana, the Lord's Supper, Paul's instruction to Timothy, etc. But I won't argue those here because it's far beyond the scope of this post. Besides, most people who bring those things up really don't want a theological or moral discussion. They just want to justify their desire to drink alcohol...or their desire to go-along-to-get-along, please-don't-rock-the-boat.

I really just have a couple of simple questions. They are born out of a satirical conversation between me and my dearest pastor friend, Dr. Don Hattaway, who of course is in complete and total agreement with a 100% abstinence position. Here they are:

If marijuana and other addictive drugs were legalized, thus removing the whole "submit to governmental authorities" argument, upon what basis would pastors and church leaders remove staff members, deacons, committee leaders, and teachers who regularly smoked pot, sniffed glue, or snorted cocaine?

Would a youth pastor candidate be told, "We are personally opposed to casual drug use by our youth workers, but we'd rather you not make a strong statement against it in your youth workers' meeting. After all, it's not illegal. And if it's not at a full-blown, abusively-addictive level then their pot smoking, pill popping, glue sniffing, and coke snorting is really a matter of Christian liberty."