Friday, September 16, 2011

A Follow-Up to "Alcohol and Membership Requirements"

A lot of people viewed the article I wrote on this topic some months back.  One person asked a good question that I am afraid no one will read because it is an older post, so I am reprinting my response to his question here for further insight into my views on this.  I want to be honest about this and admit my views have changed immensely since I was a young minister.  The reasons are in this post.  Here is my response to the question regarding why the church would have expectations about alcohol now that would have omitted Jesus and the disciples from membership in the church today:

Since we are talking about a form of governance and not a heaven or hell issue, I do not believe we have to qualify why Jesus turned water into wine at Cana in Galilee.

We have seen such miserable and embarrassing failures in the leadership of the church over the last 30 years that I believe we need to go the extra mile to show that we are serious about integrity and character among our leaders. In Acts 21:26, Paul had some of the Gentiles ritualistically purified to appease the Jewish community even though they didn't have to be in God's eyes. He did this in order to appease people who thought Paul was getting carried away with his freedom in Christ. Sometimes it is better for leaders in the church to submit themselves to the expectations of the whole to create a peaceful environment in the body.

Jesus made Himself submissive to even death for the sake of saving His church. He could have exercised His freedom - and been right to do so - except that no one would have been saved. Now He has called us to be servants of all; submissive to the authorities that exist.

As the church has become larger and more organized, we have seen divisions happen for all kinds of reasons. We have seen false teachers and weak-willed believers create an atmosphere of doubt about the church, our sincerity and whether anyone really believes what we say, anymore. I believe this has changed our obligation to the Lord and to the world in what we expect of ourselves to live "above reproach" in our day. I think this is "What Jesus Would Do".

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