Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Baptists & Alcohol in North Carolina

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BP)--A motion to "study a policy of the social use of alcohol" passed by an overwhelming margin on a show-of-hands vote from messengers attending the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina's Nov. 8-10 annual meeting in Greensboro.
Presented by Tim Rogers, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indian Trails, the motion reads:

"I move the convention direct the Board of Directors to study a policy concerning the social use of alcohol as it relates to the funding of church plants, employment of personnel, and the nomination of persons serving on committees and boards of the Baptist State Convention of N.C. Inc. and report back to the 2011 annual convention."

Observers told Baptist Press that there were very few votes against the motion. Rogers said he noted only a "smattering of hands, maybe 10" from his vantage point.

"This motion was conceived in my quiet times alone with God, where I cried out to Him, asking for an avenue and the wisdom to place it before my fellow pastors and colleagues of the BSCNC," Rogers said.

With only three minutes to speak to his motion at the annual meeting, Rogers wasn't able to relate all of his talking points. He later told Baptist Press one such point is modern culture: "Today's culture reveals that many Southern Baptist pastors have no problem drinking a glass of wine with their dinner or having a cold beer after a hard day and thinking that's OK."

Rogers believes that attitude will, within a generation, introduce wine for communion services in Southern Baptist churches.

Rogers cited other motivations for his motion.

One motive was his recent reading of the book "Alcohol Today" by Peter Lumpkins, which Rogers said "presents a clear biblical position for abstinence and points out the weaknesses of many positions other than abstinence."

Another motive for his motion, Rogers said, was a question raised during a presidential forum at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary wherein seminary President Daniel L. Akin responded to several questions from students regarding alcohol consumption. Garnering particular attention and a rebuke from Akin was a question that asked whether students who signed the seminary's alcohol abstinence covenant should be allowed to drink between semesters since they believed they weren't technically students during those times.

Akin told students he was "dumbfounded" and "gravely disappointed" that some would raise such a question in search of a "loophole," and that he was "stunned" to receive such questions.

"Your problem is not your view of alcohol; your problem is your integrity," said Akin, who explained that, until a student either graduates or officially withdraws from the seminary, he/she is still considered a student.

"The bottom line is that Southeastern Seminary maintains a position of abstinence when it comes to alcohol.... That's not going to change as long as I'm president, here," said Akin, who also has publicly declared a personal policy of abstinence based on biblical wisdom and his Christian witness.

A third motivation for the motion was a statement in an article posted on the website of J.D. Greear, wherein the pastor of the 4,000-member Summit Church in Raleigh, states, in part:

"At this point, I still choose not to drink, personally, to be on the safe side ... unless I am in a situation where I feel like not drinking would hurt the cause of the Gospel. If my not drinking would be a stumbling block for an unbeliever, I drink. But, to be honest, I would still rather have a culture of non-drinking around our church than one of drinking."

Rogers takes exception to Greear's statement, saying such "an absurdity is being placed before us under the banner of freedom in Christ." He also deems Greear's comment a "false argument" that drinking could somehow advance the cause of the Gospel.

Illustrating his point, Rogers recalled a mission trip to Romania in cooperation with an evangelical group from Germany, whose team members imbibed daily and publicly at a bar in the campground where they were ministering. Rogers said he and his mission team from the U.S. found the Romanians far more receptive to the ministry of abstaining American Christians as compared to the "German Christians who had beer breath."

Saved at 29, Rogers said he "acquired a taste for alcohol" as a non-Christian. "And I was real good at it, too." During that season of his life, he had a conversation in a bar with a Baptist deacon, who told him that drinking was permissible. "I thought that was crazy," said Rogers, noting the negative impact that imbibing church-going people can have on the unchurched.

On the Biblical Recorder's website, editor Norman Jameson called Rogers' motion "simply unnecessary and extra-biblical" and said, "early Baptists in Kentucky sometimes paid their preachers in bourbon."

Noting that such payment was wrong on both sides, Rogers said, "The problem with Brother Norman's analysis has to do with an ethical ploy to win a debate. One tries to kill an absolute by using an extreme position in order to overcome the absolute."

Other talking points Rogers used in presenting his motion noted the BSCNC's opposition to Wake Forest University's efforts to serve beer for profit on campus; a Wall Street Journal article revealing that alcohol is more addictive than crack cocaine, heroin and other street drugs; and a 2006 Southern Baptist Convention resolution adopted in Greensboro stating, in part, "That we urge that no one be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any entity or committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that is a user of alcoholic beverages."

"The resolution passed by a majority vote," Rogers said, "but not until the shocking picture was etched, in the minds of Southern Baptists, of pastors standing in opposition to a resolution on alcohol."

Rogers also expressed concerns to Baptist Press regarding some pastors among the Acts 29 church planting organization who not only practice social drinking, but also use it as a tool to reach people.

"Whatever the position of a church -- that's their business," Rogers said. "But the motion I made merely directs a policy to be implemented that states to the world that the Southern Baptists who make up the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina oppose the moderate use of beverage alcohol and that we will not employ anyone who advances its use."
-Norm Miller is a writer based in Richmond, Va. (Full article posted at Baptist Press 11-22, 2010.)

A related article by ABP can be found at: Baptists debate social drinking
Find further information on alcohol under Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in Right Margin.
A new book by Brumbelow, Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case For Abstinence due out in 2011.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 28, AD 2010.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Greetings, a poem

The first holiday after the death of a loved one is always a tough time. But for believers in Jesus Christ, we know there are better days ahead. We know one day we’ll meet again. The following poem may be an encouragement to some. I came across the poem sometime ago in one of O. S. Hawkin’s books.

Christmas Greetings

I’ve had my first Christmas in Heaven:
A glorious and wonderful day!
I stood with the saints of the ages,
Who found Christ the Truth and the Way.

I sang with the Heavenly choir:
Just think! I, who longed so to sing!
And oh, what celestial music
We brought to our Saviour and King!

We sang the glad songs of redemption.
How Jesus to Bethlehem came,
And how they called His name Jesus,
That all might be saved through His Name.

We sang once again with the angels,
The song that they sang that blest morn,
When shepherds first heard that glad story
That Jesus, the Saviour, was born.

O, how I wish you had been there:
No Christmas on earth could compare
With all the rapture and glory
We witnessed in Heaven so fair.

You know how I always loved Christmas;
It seemed such a wonderful day,
With all of my loved ones around me,
The children so happy and gay.

Yes, now I can see why I loved it;
And oh, what joy it will be
When you and my loved ones are with me,
To share in the glories I see.

So Dear Ones on earth, here’s my greeting:
Look up till the day dawn appears,
And oh, what a Christmas awaits us,
Beyond all our partings and tears!
-Dr. Albert Simpson Reitz

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 19, AD 2010.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Duties of the Houswife in 155 BC

What were the duties of a housewife in about 155 BC? Enter a foreign Roman world over a century before the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. On some issues the people were surprisingly well educated. They knew agricultural practices and food preservation techniques almost unknown today. Slavery was common and accepted. Slaves were of any race. Slaves were made up of those who had lost in wars against Rome, or had simply been born into slavery. Greek and Roman gods were worshipped.

Cato was a Roman military leader, statesman, farmer, writer. He wrote On Agriculture, a farmer’s notebook. It reveals fascinating details of farm life and agricultural practices in the second century BC. Many of these practices were common through the centuries until the mid 1900s.

Following is some of Cato’s advice about the housekeeper:

“See that the housekeeper performs all her duties. If the master has given her to you as wife, keep yourself only to her. Make her stand in awe of you. Restrain her from extravagance. She must visit the neighbouring and other women very seldom, and not have them either in the house or in her part of it. She must not go out to meals, or be a gadabout.

She must not engage in religious worship herself or get others to engage in it for her without the orders of the master or the mistress; let her remember that the master attends to the devotions for the whole household. She must be neat herself, and keep the farmstead neat and clean. She must clean and tidy the hearth every night before she goes to bed. On the Kalends, Ides, and Nones, and whenever a holy day comes, she must hang a garland over the hearth, and on those days pray to the household gods as opportunity offers.

She must keep a supply of cooked food on hand for you and the servants. She must keep many hens and have plenty of eggs. She must have a large store of dried pears, sorbs, figs, raisins, sorbs in must, preserved pears and grapes and quinces. She must also keep preserved grapes in grape-pulp and in pots buried in the ground, as well as fresh Praenestine nuts kept in the same way, and Scantian quinces in jars, and other fruits that are usually preserved, as well as wild fruits. All these she must store away diligently every year. She must also know how to make good flour and to grind spelt fine.” -Cato, c. 155 BC.

What similarities do you see with housewives today?
What similarities do you see with women’s work up until about 60 years ago?
Would your grandmother or great-grandmother relate to any of this?
What differences do you see with the work of women today?
Have you ever preserved your own food?
What do you know about producing and preserving meat, grain, vegetables, fruit?
Have you ever told your children, or written about, your early experiences and jobs?
Do we have it better than in Cato’s day?
What differences do you see with your faith in Jesus Christ today?

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 14, AD 2010.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Quotes

“Last month was our giving thanks holiday, and Christmas is God’s way of saying, ‘You’re welcome.’” -Dennis the Menace to his friend Joey

“My nomination for history’s most profound event is the incarnation of God in Christ.” -Ralph Bailey

“Our main job is not to cry, ‘Look what the world has come to,’ but, ‘Look Who has come to the world.’” - Kermit L. Long

“God walked down the stairs of Heaven with a Baby in His arms.” -Paul Scherer

"Christ was born in the first century, yet He belongs to all centuries. He was born a Jew, yet He belongs to all races. He was born in Bethlehem, yet He belongs to all countries.” -George W. Truett

“In BC we know God is. In AD we know who God is.” -author unknown *

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. To redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. -Galatians 4:4-5

* Note: BC means “Before Christ.” AD is an abbreviation of a Latin term meaning, “In The Year Of Our Lord.”

Merry Christmas!
-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, December 12, AD 2010.