Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Weaker Brother Argument and Drinking Alcohol

Joe Carter on bans on alcohol consumption by many evangelical institutions:

The "weaker brother" argument is often used as a justification for self-imposed (and institutionally mandated) teetotalism. And for good reason. It is scriptural admonition that must be prayerfully considered in regards to an issue like this in which personal conduct can have an impact on others. I myself am sympathetic to that argument and truly wish that I could be convinced that it provided the definitive answer. But no matter how much I want to accept that line of reasoning, I'm stymied by the obvious question: Why did Jesus not refrain from drinking alcohol if it is an obvious "stumbling block" to our "weaker brothers"?

There is no disputing the fact that alcohol abuse is, as my SBC brethren point out, the cause of much "physical, mental, and emotional damage." No doubt that was as true in 1st century Palestine as it is in 21st century America. So why didn’t Jesus say that we should avoid alcohol? If nothing else, why did he not refrain from drinking alcohol himself in order to set an example?

At Asbury, we like to joke that Jesus and John Wesley couldn't get into Asbury.

Previous post on this subject.


Art said...

Good points - funny joke. In the Church of Christ, they told me that the wine Jesus drank had no alcohol in it. Seriously. Welch's of Palestine, I suppose...

truevyne said...

While I was a student at Johnson Bible College, "friends" sent me a package with firecrackers, condoms, and beer. I am surprised I wasn't arrested on the spot. I still think I might have to go to hell for possession on hallowed ground.

Will Deuel said...

In his great book Open Secrets, Richard Lischer writes about his dilemma when offered a beer by members of his first parish (he's a Lutheran). Recommended reading!

Lorna (see through faith) said...

I don't think the weaker brother argument holds really - what IS needed is a way to make it really ok to refuse alcohol in different situations (and other things too for that matter!)

that said I think it's great that seminaries are alcohol and smoke free :)