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Thursday, August 18, 2011 | Comments (51)

Be sure to catch Todd Friel interview Phil Johnson today at 12:00 noon PST on his radio program, “Wretched with Todd Friel.” It’s sure to be a lively discussion about John MacArthur’s YRR series.

Listen to this 43-minute clip:

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#1  Posted by John Goodell  |  Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Very helpful discussion!

#2  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 8:10 PM

Here's the "Conflict" in a nutshell, the way I see it. I agree with Pastor Macarthur that the YRR or any other group shouldn't use beer drinking, tattoos, clothing, as a badge of honor, that part I get. I agree with Pastor Macarthur on that.

Where I disagree with him is his lesser implied message of Alcohol abstinence. It simply is not Biblical, unless you took a Nazirite vow. The Bible calls for discernment, moderation, and responsibility, not abstinence. If you can't handle alcohol moderately, than of course you shouldn't drink.

#3  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9:10 PM

To Tommy Clayton or any other moderator:

I would like to get GTY's take on the following documentary about youth and other age-segregated ministries. I think it correlates to the YRR discussion, but is quite different too.

Google "Divided the movie" and watch it. You'll notice commentary by many respected men of God, namely RC Sproul Jr. and Ken Ham, and ICR has posted an article about it as well.

I personally found it to be very compelling and agreeable at first watch, but I'll need to study the scriptures myself to confirm.

Thanks for your time!

#4  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9:41 PM


Would you guys like some cheese to go with your wine?

Seriously, if you want to drink, feel at liberty to do so. Don't let MacArthur be your conscience. You have not been specific in your accusations of legalism! You have not shown that it has been said by MacArthur 'if you drink you are going to hell, you are apostate and reprobate'. You have only been able to bring speculation and innuendo. Now, of course you say 'abstinence' is not scriptural. Does that mean Paul was being unscriptural when he said that he would not eat meat (sacrificed to idols was what he was most likely referring to but he seems general here) if it meant making the weaker brother to stumble, that is the very definition of abstinence. Unscriptural? Yes or No?

Look, forget about the weaker brother...well, the weaker brother really is not a issue is he! Drink on, to what ever moderation level is right for you, it is your right, right? You now know where Mac. stands, you can take his position or leave it.

#5  Posted by Timothy Wright  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 1:56 AM

I'd have to say that most of the "cool" christian music videos

and what nots have put on such an almost comical display of

bodily gew gaws accessories and whatever you call thems, seemingly

to identify with modern culture, has been painful to watch. Not only

that, its years and years behind the current trends.

In the world I had all the cool I could ever handle, being in multiple bands, being a well known prolific artist, and the life of the party kind of guy. And that being in a constant personal style of my own. "cool" is such a strange phenomenon in human culture. Who could ever explain it?

But i tell you what. I'm so glad that as time goes by, any "coolness" I've had has been falling off bit by bit like scales. That so strong desire for the praise of other people. And boy oh boy i could have it ALL back in a day if I would only turn back to the world and

forget about Jesus and sanctification. But I have been there, just about to the pinnacle of, popularity and the esteem of everyone around me and some abroad. But how could i forget

the hollowness of it? And the loneliness? And the Christlessness!

Beer? Come on man! Lets just think about people being saved from alcohol abuse. And there's some guy somewhere struggling greatly with the putting to death of that. Struggling with doubt,

and in his flesh hes grasping for a rationalization to grab another drink. Nothing better than a pastoral endorsement. "Oh ill just have one for the taste. Hmm, two more wont get me drunk because i was such a heavy user.Ive had three now, maybe I'm not even saved. Might as well drink a twelve pack because I'm lost anyway." Then its

back to screaming at the kids and pushing the wife around. Stuff Like that.

If you where to ask me about drinking and the church. I would suggest individual pastoral/brethren counseling. So that you and another believer could honestly asses if having a beer here and there would be safe for you. But a general broadcasting of the endorsement of alcohol form a pastor is dangerous. The internet is out there.

Whos ears are these endorsements going to fall on?

Im not trying to be too harsh but we all need to draw from the wells of older men in the faith who are more circumspect!

High Five John!

#6  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 6:09 AM

#2 Chris Lemi

Where I disagree with him is his lesser implied message of Alcohol abstinence. It simply is not Biblical, unless you took a Nazirite vow. The Bible calls for discernment, moderation, and responsibility, not abstinence. If you can't handle alcohol moderately, than of course you shouldn't drink.

Many have answered that question for you. The problem is not the liberty you have, but how you use that liberty. I have heard John MacArthur say in his sermon, that he choose abstinence for the sake of his testimony, responsibility for his ministry, for pursue of personal holiness and for not causing a weaker brother to stumble.

That is what makes him mature. He simply loves Jesus.

In this blog series, we have testimonies from brothers who came out of all kinds of alcohol abuse. Would you invite them to biblestudy in the local pub?

How mature is that? How loving is that? How Christian is that?

#7  Posted by Mark Cooper  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 12:27 PM

#5 Timothy Wright: Right on brother! Right on! I'm with you on the whole coolness factor. Before I stepped down from lead guitarist position at my old church, I strove for total coolness. Man, I had the Jimmy Page/Clapton thing down...but, it's not about me. When I stepped down (after 3 years) and got real with the Lord, my relationship with Him grew as never before. Christianity has no room for posers....I know, I was one. I still have to keep myself in check. I love your reference of how time goes by the coolness drops off like scales....Amen to that. You know what cool is? Being HIS and not trying to look like a Relevant magazine cover. Let's put our noses in the Word, reach out to our brother with strong love and give all the praise to God. Thank you, Timothy, you just made my day! And yes....If you're out there in cyber space reading this on your i-pad Pastor John....High five to you!

#8  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 1:39 PM

# 6 - Rudi, thank you for you comment above.

# 7 - Mark Cooper. "Christianity has no room for posers....I know, I was one. I still have to keep myself in check. " =) Well said. I particularly appreciate the fact that you recognize you haven't made it yet. None of us has, unless we are dead and typing from heaven? ;)

As a mother, I have seen it over and over again my kids agreeing with me but only when they look back (how do they say that in English again, hindsight?). I personally went through that as a child, and today I look back and see my parents wisdom in many things, and they weren't even Christians. They wanted the best for me. I can say that if I had followed many of their advices I wouldn't have gotten myself in so much trouble when I was young and foolish. Now, older and a Christ follower, I can see why the Bible refers to the wisdom of the elderly and the foolishness of the young.

Is with that in mind that the elderly and mature Christian needs to deal with the young. Not all young are foolish, of course, but we cannot deny that being foolish is inherit in being young.

And that's how I take all that Pastor MacArthur has to say. Although I am not a YRRer, I can heed his advice with the humility of someone who has been there one way or another. And I can apply the wisdom in his letters to my own life.

The way his letters have been misrepresented is really sad. Worse, the way the young has reacted on them is really shameful. Those who are too quick to quote verses and seem to defend the faith with so much passion, have conveniently forgotten how to behave and show respect to all people (regardless of age), when they are confronted with some of their "idols" (and we all have idols, in various degrees and various forms).

I for one am happy that there are still faithful pastors out there who won't be intimidated by the possibility of being ostracized but they will speak the truth, over and over again, no matter how many times it's needed. After all, they serve the Lord, and not men. I feel loved and really cared for when I am being well-shepherd. Leave it to me alone and I will get myself in trouble, and I will certainly display some of the arrogance that we all have seen these last days here on this blog and some others.

The attacks displayed throughout this series is totally uncalled for, and they should be examining their hearts. Maybe they will, in a few years down the road, I hope the Lord will grant them that so they can repent and continue growing in the faith.

Grace and peace to all,


#9  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 2:03 PM

#8 Elaine

If we learned from our mistakes, we would be very wise :-)

#10  Posted by Marc Lambert  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 2:15 PM

I love Todd and gty so both together was cool. The more I read the more I see the wisdom in restraint. I will never teach drinking is inherently sinful but given cultural norms and the inflamatory nature of the practice wisdom seems to dictate avoidance or quiet use at most.

More than anything this series has shown me need for love and unity. Christ says it is how we should be known. I'm on a mobile so I will leave it to someone else to cite the verses. But we all know them. In the wake of our liberty vs legslism debate have we forgotten love and unity?

#11  Posted by Charles Shanks  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Pastor John Macarthur is trying to do what Jesus Christ wants in my scriptural belief.He has a legacy of pastors and I have a legacy of drinkers and divorcers. I think He is right. I was a smoker, drinker,(beer) many nights a 12 pack, I have martial arts tatoos (7).They are not cool especially after decades. . Jesus set me free from smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes I rode motorcycles when younger,I do not want one now. I would much rather find a Church where the pastor preachs like John Macarthur,and I mean expository and with much prepareation. And a church that has 4-5 worship services and study-prayer meetings.Too many here where I live only have sunday morning and some home meetings many of which do not have qualified leadership as given in the pastoral espistles. I have and still do think and pray of moving from the mid-west to Grace Community Church. My prayer for blessed younger or any age man /pastor is that they be like Jesus Christ and not try to compete on American Idol. In love a brother ><>

#12  Posted by Allison Gray  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 2:48 PM

First I would like to say thank you to GTY for standing for the truth, in world where it seems no one wants to hear it (believers or not).

I am 33 years old, and I have seen my share of pastors doing anything hip or trendy in a desperate attempt to seem "cool". I find this very sad, because it comes across almost as if they're ashamed of the gospel. They so desperately want to be accepted by the "cool kids" (the unbelievers they try to attract to their churches). It's just like high school all over again. In my experience, the churches who try so hard to be cool, often have congregations who stay spiritually immature. Why? Because they are so incredibly afraid of offending people and losing their hip image that they will not rebuke and reprove when needed. Church, in those places, is nothing more than an hour of entertainment on a Sunday morning. Instead of walking in love and staying true to the Word of God, they think that because the world seems so hip, that the world must have it figured out and the church must be wrong. They seem to seek praise from people instead of looking to the only One whose judgement really matters.

What is even sadder is some don't realize is that people who come from unchurched backgrounds (such as myself), are so incredibly sick of the world, they want nothing to do with it anymore. That's why they're at church. That's why they are seeking the truth. They have already found out that the world is empty and full of lies. If a seeker is truly being led by God, the style of dress or music really does not matter. The truth does. My husband who was involved in the party scene prior to giving his life to the Lord, got saved at a very traditional, senior-focused church. But he sensed the love and that God was present. That, in the end, was all that mattered.

#13  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 3:47 PM

#6 Rudi

I would never invite a new Christian out to a pub right off the bat. I would first have to know them personally for a long period of time to invite them out for drinks. But after having known them for a time and assuming they were responsible, sure I would.

#14  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM

#4 Robert Cooper

I'm not a big wine guy, I prefer good American Microbrews. Not a big cheese person, although I love pizza. Actually on Monday nights, I like to have a couple of slices of New York style pizza with a couple of Microbrews, thank Jesus its a great combination. :)

#15  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 4:47 PM

May the Lord keep me from causing anyone to stumble. It is already hard as it is, we will never know how many times we made a brother or sister to stumble or how many times we have unwillingly hindered the Gospel.

# 13, Chris.

What if a new Christian asked you if you drink and go to pubs, what would you tell them?

What if some years from now you find out that one person became an alcoholic and your personal testimony was the seed planted that caused that to happen?

Who are you to determine when a new Christian is mature enough to be invited to come with you to pubs for some drinks?

Again, i really wish we didnt make the real point of this series to turn this way, but the more you speak the more I see the folly in your thinking.

#16  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 4:55 PM

Chris Lemi

I know some hard core alcoholics that are very responsible and can drink until the bar is closed and still not appear to be drunk. Is that all good with you? They say they are Christians and they certainly meet your standards, right Chris? I mean their limit is way higher than yours, but it is their limit. Wouldn't you be legalistic if you questioned their limit, especially if they could hold their liquor? The point of holding ones liquor is the moderation point, right? If not, then what is the moderation point?

By the way, you say 'abstinence' is not scriptural. Does that mean Paul was being unscriptural when he said that he would not eat meat (sacrificed to idols was what he was most likely referring to but he seems general here) if it meant making the weaker brother to stumble, that is the very definition of abstinence. Unscriptural? Yes or No?

#17  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 5:03 PM

Chris Lemi

How was I being a 'guilt tripper'. At least be as fair and specific as I have been with you. Adhominem really is not necessary nor is it a sign of someone that is secure in their belief system. Act like a adult Chris and defend what you believe like one!

#18  Posted by Sanford Doyle  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 5:09 PM

#14 Chris

From Sanford

I believe your comment about pizza combined with microbrews was made in jest and had a hint of sarcasm, which was fine.

But when you brought in the name of Jesus, The Son of the Living God to add to your jest, you made your comment blasphemous.

I don't think you meant it that way, but (to me at least) it came across that way.

Grace and Peace,


#19  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Chris Lemi

I hate to do run on responses but, we all know from God's Word that 'all food is blessed by God'. No one here has forbade you from drinking let alone eating food, getting married or any other liberty that God has granted to you. If you do not agree with this, 'specifically' point out the legalistic mandate that anyone here has laid down!

Second, since alcohol is a byproduct of the decomposition of food, it is not food and so it does not land under the heading of 'all foods', the body does not even respond to alcohol as it does to food. Alcohol is classified as a 'toxicant' in other words it is a poison to the body. When alcohol is ingested the body stops working on everything else and works on metabolizing the alcohol, because it is a poison and wants to get rid of it (you can look all of this up, and more facts about alcohol, on line since I cannot attach links here)! My point being, your defense of ingesting alcohol as a food is a faulty argument based upon the facts about alcohol. However, if you do not want to listen to the facts and still drink your alcohol then have at it. I do not question whether or not you are a Christian, you are certainly misled and deceived but most likely you are the Christian that you say you are. That being said, you can also be a Christian and die from liver cirrhosis, you can moderately drink and kill someone under the influence, you can even lead others into the deception that you are under and you do not even need to feel guilty about it. Now, if you want to call me a guilt tripper I suppose you can, but everything I said here is a fact and based in 'Christian liberty' definitely not profitable though!

#20  Posted by Carl Loar  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 6:21 PM

This was a very good interview. Wish more could hear it.

God bless,


#21  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 6:25 PM

Sigh. Now this is too ridiculous, people here automatically equate drinking with alcoholism.

#23  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 6:38 PM

Robert, does the Bible give very specific instructions regarding alcohol usage like say specific numbers.. no it doesn't. The Bible leaves out all the little details because the Lord knows that His children don't need them all.

The Lord knows His own very well and would trust that His children would use good judgement in this area, trusting believers with the indwelling Holy Spirit are capable of handling all the little details.

Fallen, self righteous people with a bone to pick however, demand all the details just to argue more.

#24  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Sanford, that wasn't blasphemous. I thank the Lord for everything.

#25  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Chris, there is alot of verses of drinking in the scriptures.

Better to tell the Gospel without a beer in a hand.

The bar is not the place to share the Gospel. Just a thought.

#26  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 7:49 PM

I believe it was John Piper who said legalism has sent more people to Hell than alcoholism. Take note Robert Cooper.

#28  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Robert, let me clarify.

If you have a problem in your conscience about drinking, that is ok. That is something you need to think and decide yourself. What is not ok is for you or anybody else to impose laws upon God's people that God has not imposed - in fact laws about things God has been pleased to give as a gift.

#29  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 8:05 PM


Wine as medicine- Luke 10:34

Ephesians 5:18 - And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.

This scripture below helped me not to get drunk on wine. God is good! Amen.

Proverbs 23: 29-35 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who

has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without

cause? Who has rednes of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine,

Those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look n the wine when it is red, When it sparkles in the cup, When it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, And your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, Or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink.

#31  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 9:33 PM

#5 Timothy Wright - That is an amazing perspective...being in a band and all. I know someone that feels your pain. That scene is so tainted. His words. Thanks for sharing. So many people would think you had "the life" and here you are seeking Christ.

When I watch people drink...even if it's one drink, they all look the same to me. It's as if they are trying so hard to be happy. For just one moment in their day.

Isn't alcohol just another lustful desire? Entertain me. Relax me. Loosen me up. Dull the ugly and let me think happy thoughts. Let me feel for just one moment that I am OK, that the world is OK. I just need to escape.

Really good wake up call. Thanks Timothy.

#32  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 9:40 PM

#7 Mark Cooper - Mark, you just made my day. Onstage whether secular or Christian music is a hard place to be. I'm so happy that you and Timothy listened to your consciences. Keep your eyes on the Prize, brothers. Hebrews 12:1-3 You both have been a big encouragement to me.

#33  Posted by Anderson Esteban  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 9:42 PM

1 Peter 2.11 does say this: Abstain from fleshly lust which are against the soul... so a truly follower of Jesus has to abstain his desires through self control...

those who say that drinking a tear of alcohol is not bad are ignoring the life in spirit... John 3.3. that what is born from the flesh .. and that which is born in spirit is spirit.. so if you guys have a constant communion in the holy spirit you won't want to break it just for one beer.

now days people & contemporary ministries have threw away the supernatural gifts to win the lost and have embraced the human efforts instead... behold why evangelism is so weak... 'now you do not know where does the world end and where does the church begins'

#34  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 9:47 PM

#8 Elaine Bittencourt - I could feel your heart in your words. Beautifully said. You spoke for many of us. It was our song too.

You were not confrontational at all and spoke with such gentleness and respect. And sincerity. You have blossomed into one fine Christian woman. Thank you.

#36  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 9:59 PM

#12 Allison Gray - I agree. It does seem like they are trying desperately to fit in as if the Gospel isn't enough. What does it matter if you are able to get people to come if they aren't serious seekers? And then, the pastor thinks he has to stay hip, keep the staff hip, the programs hip, the music hip because, after all, that's how they got them there to begin with. So now he's got to do what he can to keep them there.

It's as if some pastors are peddling the Gospel. And like most salesmen, they have a fear of rejection. So they try to be that slick kind of salesman. The one that acts like he's your best friend after meeting you once?

Great post. Really something to think about. Thanks for that!

#37  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 10:05 PM

#19 Robert Cooper - Really good info. Thanks for posting it. Don't get discouraged. I do believe that some are paying attention and taking it all in.

#38  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Friday, August 19, 2011 at 11:54 PM


Thanks for the encouraging words;

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness

I dare not trust the sweetest frame but holey lean on Jesus name

On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand,

all other ground is sinking sand.

As a side note, two of the best works I have seen on the Gospel and evangelism are written by Pastor MacArthur, 'Ashamed of the Gospel' and 'The Gospel According to Jesus', they both will knock your socks off, but be ready to be challenged and changed.

Chris Lemi

You are really panicking, because of that you judge me as a pharisee and you do not even know me. You are very conflicted and confused.

I only ask of you a couple of things. Since you keep using the term 'legalism', please Biblically define what it is.

As I said before, if you want number on things such as moderation then look to the government which God himself has instituted himself, read Romans 13 if you doubt me. there are governmental laws regarding alcohol consumption, use, production, sales and everything else you can imagine. The numbers are there too, guaranteed and irrefutable! You may not like what you find but it is all on the up and up and instituted by God. Now, please define moderation, and remember Chris, you are your brothers keeper!

#39  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 12:12 AM

Chris Lemi

On the Piper comment about more people going to hell via legalism than alcoholism? How does John know that and why do you think his statement is authoritative?

Now, please point out the legalistic quotations, I need to know what I to repent of so I do not repeat the same error.

#40  Posted by Darren D.  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 12:47 AM

#19 Robert Cooper

Thanks Robert and Right on! You make excellent points. To add to your statement about alcohol

being made from rotten food, decomposing grapes and how that relates to the bible makes total sense to me.

OUr Lord is the LIVING God / Lord. Reflecting on the wedding at Cana and Jesus miracle. The Lord of Love would have never made something that was rotted, decomposing in the form of rotting grapes...fermented to Alcoholic Wine. HE would have never made something that is a DRUG as alcohol is and that destroys lives in so many ways. He Loves life and I believe (as does Pastor John MacArthur and many others) that in His first miracle...HE did make wine, but it was non-alcoholic, it tasted the BEST and was the VERY Best grape Juice/WINE that has ever been made. The taste was out of this world and "Made the Heart Glad"! He would never have tempted people to become drunk with 150 gallons of Alcoholic Wine. He stands for LIFE ..not death. Freshly squeezed Grape Juice....not decomposing / fermented Grapes!

#41  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 1:28 AM

#40 Darren D.

That did not occur to me until some time after I wrote that down, and then, bang it came to me, why would Christ make anything that was decomposing or rotting, He is the Lord of the living and not the dead, He brings life not death. Just as there was never a bone in his body broken, nor was He abandoned to sheol or His flesh see corruption. The passover lamb was a fulfillment of the same thing and the people of Israel could not eat anything with leaven, nothing decaying or rotting. It all makes sense to me too, Christ may have eaten with the unclean, sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors and such was I but for the grace of God. He was perfect in every way, He followed the law to the letter, the perfect and spotless sacrifice lamb. I do not believe He ever drank anything, nor ate anything that was rotting or decaying, lest he defile Himself, or cause anyone to defile themselves. I am now certain that even at the last passover supper, He followed the rules of the passover to a t, had nothing with leaven in it nor did He drink alcohol.

It sure seems like the argument that Christ had anything alcoholic is not likely at all! Therefore, that justification is out the window.

What great stuff!

#42  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 1:58 AM

#13 Chris Lemi

I guess you get the point Chris. You have a very great responsibility with your liberty.

#43  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 5:53 AM

Comment deleted by user.
#44  Posted by Mary Kidwell  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 7:43 AM


In as much as legalism is an attempt to earn salvation through works or self perceived righteousness, I don’t see any evidence of it in these blogs. I suspect your concern stems from your perception that those who advocate abstinence are puffed up with pride in what they feel is a superior position and that they are perhaps looking down on those who feel the liberty to drink. I would caution that the tendency to be prideful and to want to feel superior to others is a sin which I believe easily entangles all who are saved but still live in bodies of flesh. It is something everyone must guard against and can be just as present in those who claim liberty.

This is not to say that it is always out of pride that one argues a position. Just that one needs to be on guard. We are called to exhort and encourage one another but as others have pointed out, we must make sure we speak the truth in love. We also need to check our responses to others that we are not reading in attitudes or motives that aren't there.

#45  Posted by Timothy Wright  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Mark Cooper - Thanks for the nice words man! Its great to hear about your awareness of pride in regards to music. I have the same thing going now. I have been considering membership at the church I'm attending right now, which is wonderful. And in the future i was thinking of using my musical abilities seeing that they are pretty shirt handed. Usually only a piano player and a acoustic guitarist or two, which is more than fine for me. I just got an autoharp from a pawn shop. Maybe i could use that hehe. And some see that as a "dorky" instrument, which is more than fine for me. But i know I need to guard from that old need to absorb praise from other people. You stepping down is courageous, and i hope I dont sound flattering when I say that. And I dont want to encourage you in the wrong way, but you being aware of sinful desires as far as playing music at church is really encouraging to me. When you say stepped down from lead guitar does that mean you left music all together? Or do you still use your talents for the Lord? Much Love!

Rebecca Schwem- Thank you! You would be a good example of say, if i where just loosely out drinking, of another believer I might offend. And the Bible clearly prohibits me offending you. I would not be imparting grace to you. :) Admittedly, i have had a beer with another believer (this is NOT an endorsement) who, at their house had some in the fridge. And It did seem sort of pointless. This was months ago. And I have a long time ago with my wife in private. But a tiny bit (again not an endorsement). I honestly dont give a hoot about beer anymore. I used to drink myself into oblivion in the world. To me its just a silly thing which, in excess, gets you drunk and make you lose youre senses. And way moreover, fills you with unrealistic dreamy thoughts and ambitions and desires.

And I know a deacon who says he LOOVES beer. and when he said that to me, what he meant that he wants nothing to do with it, because of how much he loves it. It would be a snare to him. So I want to avoid even talking about it (look at me talking about it now) hehe, so as not to encourage other believers.

As far as Pastor John, he does encourage abstinence, but not in a heavy handed way. He loves his people, and wants to guard them from stumbling. Most assertions i hear made about him are clearly not from folks who've heard alot from him. I work a job where I am allowed an ipod and I listen to sermons from him, sometimes two or three in a day. And Ive heard him approach the subject a few times. I never detected any legalism at all.

#46  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 8:22 AM

#40 Darren- Good point concerning the Living God in relationship to producing something that is rotten....that comes with age.

Could it be that when our Lord admonishes us to not get drunk, it's because He knew some knucklehead was bound to let his drink ferment? That's pretty much a no brainer. The law against prohibition didn't keep some from making moonshine.

Could it be that our Lord knew some would take what He meant for good and adulterate it? Was it that our Lord used and made fermented wine or was it that He was on to those that did? And if you get drunk, everyone knows you did. You let your wine ferment, didn't you?

If I tell a teenager, "You better not come home drunk!", what am I saying? Drink responsibly? Mine didn't think so. They knew what I meant. Had they come in drunk, they obviously had been drinking. No way to hide that fact. You're caught!

Do a search on yeast. Look at all the medical issues that come about because of yeast. Once in the intestinal tract, it's very hard to control. Because of the vast tributaries of blood vessels, it's constantly circulating. And because yeast does so well in dark, moist...well, you get the picture. Major health issues go undetected and symptoms are treated with little if any success. Seldom does your family physician get to the source.

Serious allergies are associated with it as well as stomach problems. Then if you are put on an antibiotic, it goes really haywire. Combine the antibiotic with beer, wow, you're really a petrie dish now. It's really sad how many people suffer from it and don't know they are regularly putting into their systems the reason for their suffering. It's a vicious cycle of inability to lose weight, to asthma like symptoms, to depression, to loss of energy (sluggishness). I'm really surprised at how few people are aware of the medical issues concerning yeast.

Now before someone yells,"What about bread? There's yeast in bread!" That's true. In most bread. There are tons of products now, including bread, that you can buy at the health food store free of yeast. It's expensive. But...if you give up your smokes and alcohol, you can probably afford it.

Alcohol fermentation is done by yeast and some kinds of bacteria. These microorganisms convert sugars in ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Alcoholic fermentation begins after glucose enters the cell. The glucose is broken down into pyruvic acid. This pyruvic acid is then converted to CO2, ethanol, and energy for the cell. Humans have long taken advantage of this process in making bread, beer, and wine. In these three product the same microorganism is used: the common yeast or Saccharomyces Cerevisae. Did Jesus really turn the water into this? Yucky!

As if our Lord didn't know that drink with yeast wasn't good for you. "Yeast for everybody! Drink up!" Or the guy at the bar, "This round of yeast is on me!" Wonder how many might move their glass away from them?

#47  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 9:43 AM

#29 Dan

Agreed. Drunkenness is prohibited.

#48  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 9:47 AM

#43 Rudi

Thank you. I guess some people have me confused, at least it was clear to you.

Robert Cooper

How do I define moderation? How do you define how much you've had enough to eat before you've crossed the line into gluttony?

#51  Posted by Chris Lemi  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 9:59 AM

#44 Mary

Thank you. Your words are understood. The problem I see is 9 times out of 10, when proponents of abstention insist on the reason, it is mostly from ignoble reasons than the noble ones. (ie. not wanting people becoming alcoholic)

Alcohol is not the problem Sin is. It is always about the heart. Jesus said that if you look upon a woman with lust you have already committed adultery. Hmmm, maybe we should ban women. Maybe if there weren't any rocks around, Cain wouldn't have killed Abel, wow why were there not any rock control laws back then, that would've solved it. Like I said, it bothers me when people impose laws on others that God Himself did not impose, in fact a gift He praised!! I will take God's Word (Sola Scriptura) over Man's. Peace Sister.

#52  Posted by Rebecca Schwem  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 10:19 AM

#44 Mary Kidwell - So well said. I agree. Abstaining does not have to be a pride thing. It can be someone that simply wants to do the right thing and wants to set the right example. Our Lord was always setting examples that are not necessarily mentioned in scripture. So many things to observe and learn from.

It reminds me of customer service. Have you ever noticed that some don't know how to give good customer service if it's not explicitly mentioned in the handbook? They're lost. They can't think on their own.

Even some Christians, though they have a relationship with Christ, have to be told, "Be fair. Be kind. Answer the question. Or admit you don't know. Be honest. Think before you speak. Be gentle. Be caring. Be willing to sacrifice."

As bible students, we are to read the Bible for ALL it's worth. As we mature, as we have a heart change. we don't always need to find a scripture that is specific and detailed to our every question or every whim. 1 Peter 3:3-4. We are to use scripture that we have, examples that we know, prayer, life experience and common sense. Common sense, that's hard to teach. We are to use our heads! Just a few scriptures concerning using our minds: Job 38:36, Psalm 119:113, Proverbs 12:8, Proverbs 19:21, Proverbs 28:26, Jeremiah 17:10, Jeremiah 20:12, Matthew 16:23, and last but not least,

"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

Mark 12:30. Your noggin and your heart and your soul...great combo! Don't leave home without anyone of them.

Lastly, if you are losing a debate, bow out graciously. Don't resort to false accusations. Exodus 20:16. That is a strategy some use when losing. They avoid the real issue and take a swipe at their opponents character. They throw out things that you can't disprove 100%. It's a distraction. Takes the focus off of themselves. A Christian counselor once told me, "They start the fire and watch the crazy people try to put it out!" They provoke and wait for you to react.

I can be losing a debate and throw out that your kids are ugly. Now that's not a fact. That's an assumption. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. Beauty is in the eye of the this case, the parents. You can't debate assumptions and prove them right or wrong. Don't let anyone get you caught up like that. Beware.

#53  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 11:07 AM

#48 Chris Lemi

What you have in liberty, I think you lack in love. Just a brotherly rebuke. There are brothers here that literally are getting hurt by this.

#54  Posted by Robert Cooper  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 12:25 PM


Gluttony is what defines drunkenness, it is not just over indulgence but it is over indulgence to the point of greed! Now greed is associated with plunder and that is where it always has to be more than fills your need, you have to take all of something to the point of exhaustion. Essentially drunkenness is a point beyond ones need and is one form of gluttony.

On moderation, the reason I keep asking you for that definition is because it is legally defined in that there are legal standards, numbers that define limits. Do you at least live by the worldly standards? You are accountable to these standards at the least, they are mandates and they are instituted by God.You drink alcohol, you live by the law.

You say that you drink alcohol simply because you enjoy it. You have no problem from me on this, as a matter of fact you have not even been able to point out where I have laid down any legalistic mandate that tells you otherwise. I have however pointed out why any Christian should steer completely away from alcohol consumption, and even in that I have not given any legalistic mandate.

I have pointed out to you the physiological reasons. Alcohol is a intoxicant, it is poison to your body, that poison is what drives your 'perceived pleasure', You cannot control it once you drink it, it controls you no matter how little you drink. Alcohol consumption slowly kills you because it is poison.

Lastly, any Biblical arguments that you have tried to set up about how Christ drank alcohol in the form of wine, therefore you should be able to drink, has been taken apart. Christ is, the author of life. He is not the author of death. Alcohol is a product of death, decomposition, rot! Alcohol consumption is absolutely the antithesis of Christ and the Christian life. However, God understands the world we live in and He understands that sometimes we may consume small amounts of this poison because it cannot be avoided, in that He shows us grace.

Now, you know some facts, all easily substantiated facts. You can drink alcohol, you just cannot justify your alcohol consumption in a qualified manner. So, shouldn't you question why drink at all? It is a poison. You do not need it. You lose control the moment you drink it. It absolutely hinders how you relate to others and Christ.

I hope you stop drinking alcohol Chris, alcohol is a implement of death in the human body, how could God bless that. He has not! I think that you really do know this.

I want to thank you for this Chris, I am a scientist by degree. You have given me something to research more thoroughly, both Biblically and scientifically. I do not know what I will do with this, I have always wanted to write a book and I think this will be a good thing to write on and put out there for Christians to educate themselves in. Anyway, cheers...not really, I hope God will really open your eyes to the truth of this Chris.

#55  Posted by Jeremy Ireland  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 12:32 PM

I'm sorry to jump back into this discussion because I don't see that much is being accomplished, but I can't believe this statement has gone unchallenged:

"The bar is not the place to share the Gospel." (comment 25 above).

If no one else has been concerned enough about this statement to comment on it (perhaps I've overlooked it?), then the two sides in this discussion are much further apart than I thought.

It just seems amazing to me that someone who is apparently a Christian would believe that there is a place we should not share the Gospel. Perhaps that's not what the comment meant, and if so, I apologize for misreading it.

[please note, this is not to suggest that I do a good job of sharing the Gospel everywhere, or even anywhere. My point is simply that as a Christian, I don't think there's any place we shouldn't share the Gospel, and I (apparently incorrectly) assumed that this was a commonly held belief among Christians.]

#56  Posted by Mark Cooper  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 1:46 PM

#32 Rebecca Schwem: I'm glad I could encourage you because, Lord knows, you have encouraged me as a newbie to the GTY blog world. Iron sharpens iron, right? I was actually hired on to bring rock and roll to a pretty conservative church. I was encouraged to rock out and let loose. Which I kindly did. Funny thing happened along the way. The world crept more and more into my heart as I brought more and more of the world into the church. Thank you Lord Jesus for having me to step down. You can only take so many close up video camera shots that are projected on massive screens, so many spotlights on you when you hit a solo, so much applause and requests for guitar picks....I mean, after a while, when the fog settles on the stage and you walk off...You're just left with an ego trip and.....In my case, a hollow heart. All of that fed my flesh. It brought me to my knees. Literally. That's been 2 years ago...And, to be honest, I'm still getting over it. Now, I give guitar lessons from my home studio and minister to my students. Music is my alcohol. You've heard of Worship Music? Well, I tend to worship.... music! This cannot be so....And, the Lord has shown me that He WON'T let it be so in my life. GTY and John MacArthur have been instrumental (No pun intended) in sound Bible study for me and they have steered me from false doctrine. I am so thankful for this ministry.

#45 Timothy Wright: Thank you for the encouragement brother. Dude, the Autoharp is NOT dorky! :-) Folksy...but not dorky. If you're playing for the Lord, then you're good to go. I've decided not to play guitar at church. I left my last church and have been with a Reformed Baptist church for the last 1 1/2 years now. They knew my rep as a player, but I told them that I would rather not play. Timothy, when I get on stage I become a ham...Plain and simple. More than a ham....I'm the whole blasted pig! I know my role...And it's not being Mr. Cool Guitar Dude w/ the truly killer jeans and awesome shirt. :-) It's keeping my nose in the Word, sharing His light with others and being a man of integrity. The Lord is my strength. He has blessed me through all of this by strengthening my relationship with Him, humbling me, giving me more of a spirit of contentment and having me to be the husband and father that I couldn't be without Him. I encourage you, brother, to tread lightly in the music realm and not have it be your god as it was mine. God bless you and keep you.

Alrighty, greetings and God's love from Atlanta, Ga all you fellow bloggers. Keep the armour on and fight the good fight!

Mark Cooper

#57  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Saturday, August 20, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Comments are closed. Thanks to everyone who contributed.