Tuesday, June 21, 2011

B. H. Carroll on Pastors and Alcohol

A question has recently been asked about B. H. Carroll and what he believed about drinking. B. H. Carroll (AD 1843-1914) was the famous founder and first president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas (swbts.edu). He has been very influential in Southern Baptist history. George W. Truett, L. R. Scarborough and many other leaders looked to Carroll with great admiration.

The brief quote below pretty well sums up Carroll‘s view on drinking.

“No man should be made the pastor of a church who drinks intoxicating liquors as a beverage.” -B. H. Carroll, Interpretation of the English Bible.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 21, AD 2011.

Note: Just before the quote above, Carroll said he was not going to raise the issue of “total abstinence.” Some have been confused then by his following statement. The answer is simple. While most today would use “total abstinence” to refer to not using alcohol as a beverage, Carroll was using the term to refer to no use of alcohol period, even as a medicine. Alcohol was viewed back then as an important medicine; it is not viewed that way today. For those wanting more evidence, they should also be aware that Carroll was a strong advocate for Prohibition. But he, like most abstainers today, would recognize a possible legitimate use of alcohol for medicinal reasons.

Related Articles:
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the book (includes more quotes by B. H. Carroll)
2006 SBC Resolution on Alcohol Use in America
Preserving Unfermented Wine in Bible Times
Acts 29, Alcohol, and the Southern Baptist Convention
B. H. Carroll on Hyper-Calvinism
Other related articles in Gulf Coast Pastor Articles (Labels) in lower right hand column.


  1. neat tidbit, my friend. praying all is well down there. selahV

  2. Thanks, good to hear from you. Other than being hot and dry, things are going well. Hoping to get some much needed rain in the next hour or two.
    David R. Brumbelow

  3. rain? what's that?
    glad I don't garden, yet. next year I plan on doing some. but I'll use the city's water to ensure my plants get a drink. lol. it's Oklahoma, after all.

  4. We finally got a good rain yesterday. Thank the Lord!

    You don't garden? What about those flowers your granddaughter discovered in your yard?

    Most of my gardening involves fruit and nut trees and antique roses, so they don't need a lot of water. Still, I've had to do some watering.
    David R. Brumbelow

  5. Anonymous,
    Put your name and who you are behind your argument, and I'll be glad to print it and engage.
    David R. Brumbelow

  6. Anonymous,
    It matters because if you want to argue on my blog, you should be willing to be accountable for what you say and how you argue. I am. I get a little weary of so many courageous anonymous advocates of alcohol.

    By the way, your arguments are easily explained and are in the forthcoming book, Ancient Wine and the Bible. Perhaps you will purchase a copy this Fall, 2011.
    David R. Brumbelow

  7. Just got your book, David. Am reading through it carefully, and slowly. I am a member of an acts 29 church, and two of our elders did a Q&A on the subject. They support a moderation stance on the scripture, even hinting at any that oppose alcohol are treading towards legalism. Of course, the buzz (pun intended) behind this position is the book by Gentry, God Gave Wine. "Have you read that book?" or "You should read that book" seem to be the recommended direction and advice given by those who inquire about moderation vs abstinence. This is the context of where I come from (more could be said).

    In studying out the new creation motif, where the kingdom and age to come has broken into our midst, I have come across a place where one New Testament author (of Hebrews) takes an Old Testament Scripture and places it into a new context, that of the new creation:

    The author of Hebrews in verse 2:12-14 quotes Isaiah 8:18 which refers to natural children and spiritualizes it to refer to spiritual children. This essentially interprets old covenant Scripture to reveal a New Covenant/Creation reality.

    That being said, consider the proverb "It is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink" (Proverbs 31). Following Hebraic Parallelism, the wine mentioned is referring to intoxicating drink. So, that brings me to this: What if through the finished work of Christ, we have been made kings and priests, now in this life, in the Kingdom of the Beloved Son thus being elevated to a position of rulership in the new creation under our King? That would clearly mean "it is not fitting for the redeemed people of God, priests and kings/a kingdom (see Rev. 1:4-6) to drink wine or intoxicating drink." We are kings and priests, and it is not fitting for us to drink alcoholic wine or intoxicating beverage.

    G.K. Beale, a leading biblical scholar on the New Testament usage of the Old, in His book "The Temple and the Church's Mission,' talks about 'transhistorical intentions' or 'open-ended authorial intentions.' He explains that "Authors may wish to include a potential in what they say to extend meaning into the indefinite future by espousing principles intended for an indefinite number of applications. Or, alternatively, authors may be aware that their original meaning has the potential to be recontextualized by subsequent interpreters who ascertain creative applications of teh meaning to interpret in a way that 'extends meaning'. Thus an original meaning is so designed to tolerate some revision in cognitive content and yet not be essentially altered." (pg 377). I am still searching it out, for "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter (Proverbs 25:2).

  8. Troy,
    Thanks for getting “Ancient Wine and the Bible.” I agree with you on how it is not for kings to drink wine.

    It is a profound shame to see churches use a pro-alcohol book to promote alcohol and condemn those who wisely abstain from recreational drugs.

    The pro-alcohol books seem very weighty until the other side is fairly presented. “Ancient Wine and the Bible,” along with other books recommended in Appendix I, present that evidence. It would also be helpful for more folks against beverage alcohol to spend time and money to distribute good books and information on this subject.

    Oh, and yes, I have, and have read the book you mention along with several other books on that side. You might ask them if they have read some of the representative books on the pro-abstinent side, or even give them one or two.

    You are on the right track and I wish you well in the days ahead.
    David R. Brumbelow


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