Let's push all hermeneutics aside for a moment.
Steve, brother, can I ask you plainly why you drink? You may be thinking it's none of my business to ask this question, and you are probably feeling a bit defensive right now, but I want to assure you this is not an attack. I just have a few things to ask you, things that I believe deserve your serious attention. Brother, in humility and openess please try to consider the following: Is enjoying an occasional drink - even behind closed doors and without getting drunk - really worth forfeiting the authority you [i]could have[/i] with God if you didn't drink? Give this serious attention. Think of how much you lose out, brother, think of all the wisdom and unction in ministry you unknowingly relinquish because of this vice, think of how no serious man or woman of God will receive anything you have to say on holiness and sanctification and self-denial once they realize you drink (even in private), and think of how the Holy Spirit will put checks in everyone's spirit once you begin publically condoning alcohol consumption as a Christian (whether it's prohibited in the Bible or not). Brother, you cannot argue these things; this is reality.
When a man who professes Christ in the same breath also professes to consume alcohol and then [i]defends[/i] his drinking before other saints, he loses any unction he had in the Word and the Lord will not bring him to the deeper levels of His school. He bottoms out and meanders indefinately in an area where he no longer has divine influence upon other men. It has been my observation, and the observation of other saints down throughout history that God does not invest His power in men who drink alcohol as a form of personal recreation. Indeed, alcohol may be permissable, but this doesn't mean it's expedient in God's eyes. Alcohol may be permissable, but this doesn't mean it's beneficial to your progressing in maturity. Alcohol may be permissable, but it doesn't mean God is required to fill you with His power on account of it. The question, therefore, is permission versus expediency (I Cor. 6:12).
Now, the withdrawl of the authority of God in ministry is decidedly not expedient to a believer, and we understand that this sort of thing not only pertains to those who drink alcohol, but to any other type of vice the Holy Spirit refuses to sanction in the lives of those who would go onto the more glorious levels in the knowledge of God's grace. Sure, such men continue to learn about the Bible and participate in heated apologetics and polemics and politics and whatever else, but this earthly realm is exactly where they'll stay for the rest of their lives.
Brother, I say this in love, having followed your threads defending alcohol consistently for years now. I understand it's a self-fulfilling vice, otherwise you would have given it up years ago, like most do when they become apprehended by God. Others for whatever reason continue to cling to it, thinking they too can indulge in moderation and "have their cake and eat it too" spiritually, but it never pans out, and they always end up paying the price. God, Who is no respector of persons, doesn't disown you as a child, but the sad truth is that He doesn't use you either. Not in transforming lives, not at the level of influence He originally desired for your life. Right now, you're probably thinking about all the people you've influenced for Christ in the past, at home and in this forum over the years, and you think you've done pretty good. You feel decently used by God despite all I've said. This may be true, but I am speaking of an intimacy and an authority in God that is on a whole other level.
Brother, take this for what it's worth. Drinking alcohol and naming the Name of Christ doesn't cause me look any lower or love you less as a brother, but it does sadden me. Because I know with your zeal and boldness and in the open integrity you constantly demonstrate here before the brethren, you could be a much greater weapon in the hands of God.
O brother, won't you take this issue to prayer, in light of this post?
As always, I remain your brother in the love of Christ.
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/10/16 18:02||Profile|
| Re: Witness "wisetrack"|
Thank you Chris for a keeper link. The words on that track were even better than the picture.
Are those tracts available? I could just e-mail a link but there is something about having a piece of paper in you hand. Do you know the original Finney the paraphrase came from?
| 2008/10/16 18:27||Profile|
| Re: Pub Situation|
"Hi would you like to come to the pub on thursday, as a friend of mine from church is playing a gig there"
Was this a woman who was asking you to go?
" I am not comming, because I am a Christian "
So you think your are a wowser. Don't worry everything will be okay.
You could have just said "sorry I can't make it".
You don't have to give a explanation as to why you don't want to go.
| 2008/10/16 18:38||Profile|
"But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak" (1 Corinthians 8:9).
"And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (1 Cor.8: 11-13).
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor.10:31).
| 2008/10/16 21:21||Profile|
Hi brother Paul, would you add overweight people to those to whom the Lord will not invest His power? Serious question, because in the same sentence that they accused the Lord of being a winebibber(this is an insult aimed at people who drank alcoholic wine on a regular basis, the modern day word being "tippler.")they also accused Him of being a glutton. I am not convinced that you are right on what you say about Christians who occasionaly drink, but I think it is possible that you may be right. So, someone who is grossly overwieght, do you think they dishonor the Lord?....brother Frank
| 2008/10/16 21:55|
I am not convinced that you are right on what you say about Christians who occasionaly drink, but I think it is possible that you may be right.
Well, this is fine. It's not a doctrine or anything, just a pattern I have noticed. Most of the people who object to it are ones who drink occasionally anyhow (big surprise, eh?). The trap to not fall into is to understand that those who chose not to drink are not any closer to the Lord on account of their abstainment, but those who do drink are also not any closer to the Lord on account of their drinking. I just believe you come to a point in your walk where God puts His finger on drinking and tobacco and whatever else and says, "If you are going to come with Me any further, you will not need these things any more". And you can either let the Holy Spirit take them out of your life via mortification or you can continue to indulge, as God will not force you to comply. Every serious man and woman of God I know has been dealt the death blow to alcohol and/or smoking at some point in their walk. Don't ask me why - it's just a pattern we see in the Spirit's dealing with those He has called out to follow Him into deeper water.
So, someone who is grossly overwieght, do you think they dishonor the Lord?....
I see what you're getting at. I think this can fall into a slightly different category. If gluttony is the cause for their corpulence, and God has put His finger on their eating habits yet they refuse to reform...well, God is dishonored by their [i]disobedience[/i], and not the corpulence. The corpulence is the physical result of their disobedience, but in reality God had been dishonored long before they began putting on weight. Many awesome saints of God were overweight; three that come to mind are Henry, Spurgeon and Moody. Now, were these men obese by gluttony according to today's standards? Who knows. I think M. Henry may have had health issues - perhaps diabetes. He died in his fourties from a stroke. I think being grossly overweight is primarily a sign of overeating, but in rare cases it can also be glandular. There's factors invloved, but wheter it be drinking or eating, the fulcrum is obedience to the light you already have on the subject.
Many people who insist on their right to have an occasional drink or cigarette and then minister the Word of God to others have already been dealt with on those things - and have disobeyed God. And so God withdraws and they once again experience their "freedom", and now they ardently defend this freedom by pointing to the freedom verses in scripture.
in the same sentence that they accused the Lord of being a winebibber(this is an insult aimed at people who drank alcoholic wine on a regular basis, the modern day word being "tippler.")they also accused Him of being a glutton.
This argument doesn't work today. The next thing you can deduce if we follow your logic is that Jesus was also a stumbling block to others (He deliberatly was in this aspect), so let's not worry about being stumbling blocks either. You are welcome to follow His example in winebibbing and gluttony and being a stumbling block to religious people if you choose, but I will not, nor will I give occasion to those who are "without" to lay that claim against me. We have to remember that we are not the Lord, and there were certain things He did for a specific reason to level with sinners and confound the powers of darkness which I don't believe applies for us to emulate today. How do I know this? Well, Jesus was a winebibber, but the Holy Spirit to me expressly says "no" to winebibbing. The Holy Spirit also expressly says "no" to being a glutton, and He says this not only to me but to other men and women of God. He says the same about being a stumbling block, which I would be if I condoned winebibbing and gluttony here as a Moderator in the forums. It was the will of God for Jesus to do those things for that time and place and purpose, but expressly wrong for us to do them today by the will of the Holy Spirit. If anything, we are to be persecuted and mocked because [i]we are not[/i] winebibbers and gluttons and stumbling blocks! You've got it reversed, brother.
(edit) Hey Frank, just so you don't think I typed all this with a vindictive scowl, or I'm accusing you of gluttony and winebibbing:
You know I love you dearly, and honor your fellowship. I'd give you a big Christian hug right now if I could (even tho you don't like the Puritans, I guess I could still do it) :-P
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/10/16 22:42||Profile|
Gosh brother Paul, I thought you were angry and so on there with the "youve got it reversed brother," and so on. I was so glad to see the smiley faces. Actualy Paul, you could not deduce my stance by the questions that I asked. They are questions that will come at every Christian, once or many times in their lives. And, if you come from a drinking and smoking culture like Scotland or Russia or Australia, it is vital that we communicate our positions in love and in truth. To tell you the truth, if I did not agree with you, I think that I may have become defensive. :-) So, now for where I stand. I believe that I am totaly capable of taking the odd glass of wine, but, the decision to do so, especially in the places that I described where alcohol has caused untold devastation, could prove to be disaterous for my witness and for unbelievers observing me.I would say that also smoking is a very bad witness for Christians. And also to be obese shows a lack of self control and undealt with issues. I think you may go a little far in saying that the heavens are shut to these people and that ultimately God cannot use them. But I would agree that the level of dependency upon God, which truly determines our effectiveness for God, is diminished by people who smoke and drink and over-eat. For all the people who do that are getting a payoff by indulging in such behaviour. The anxious one who smokes or drinks to calm the nerves, is not living in the fullness of "be anxious for nothing," and is not living in the "peace that surpasses all understanding." The over-eater who is perhaps masking some emotional pain, or is bored, or simply greedy, is not finding all His needs met by His Lord and is displacing Him to a degree.
I would be interested in what you thought of C.S.Lewis who liked an occasional drink and smoke, yet whose writngs have been greatly used by the Lord.
Also the problem seems to be that people like C.S.lEWIS who was mightily used by the Lord despite their undeniable weknesses, can still be used more than the man who does none of those things but is proud. So, everything that flows from humility and surrender seems to be so sweet and from the Lord Himself. As an ex-alcoholic and drug addict, I was still a smoker for three years after coming to Jesus. No one had to tell me it was wrong, I knew it, right in the center of my heart I knew it. The Lord was so patient and kind, not one time rebuking it. I tried and failed a couple of times. I smoked two packs a day and had done for many years. Then one night, the Lord whispered into my heat"Frank, I want you to think about tomorrow without smoking." I sat down and thought about a whole day without smoking. It seemed like an impossibility. I knew without a doubt at that time I was enslaved. Then the Lord , very gently and with so much love whispered into my heart "Frank, if you do not smoke again tonight, you will never smoke again in your life." I stayed up till two in the morning, but did not smoke. That was 15 years ago.I have never smoked since. No withdrawels, nothing. No condemnation Paul, no rebuke from the Lord, simply a revelation and a conviction of my true state. I love the Lord Jesus. He knew where I came from and He knew where He was taking me and He was putting me back together piece by piece, with infinate patience and Love. So, if you are a smoker or drinker reading this, man, God loves you and wants what is best for you. I would just say, surrender to what you know to be true, you will never regret it and He will stand with you and enable you because you are His and He loves you. Perhaps we will hear testimony of God's delivering power and I know it will be with love. It is love that breaks the chains that bind us. It was love that caused Him to hang upon the tree for us. It was love that caused Stephen to cry out Father, forgive them and Love has conquered hell and the grave. When you consider that, know that God can deliver you from anything............brother Frank
| 2008/10/17 1:38|
Yeah, brother, I figured you might take my response as being angry; we've got to be very careful with this medium when discussing volatile subjects like this one. Emoticons come in exremely helpful :)
Okay, let me try answer some of your points.
I think you may go a little far in saying that the heavens are shut to these people and that ultimately God cannot use them.
No, no. What I meant to say was that God can not use them as fully as He could if they were clean from drinking fermented intoxicants and broadcasting their freedom of it to others. When a Christian picks up a wine glass or a cigar he or she destroys their witness on many different levels, and puts themselves in a precarious potentiality for becoming a stumbling block to weaker Christians. God typically will not use them as He will a man or woman completely free from these vices. Which isn't to say they can't become famous or influential, only that they will not have the same power and authority on their ministry as a man or woman who is clean from these worldy vices.
I would be interested in what you thought of C.S.Lewis who liked an occasional drink and smoke, yet whose writngs have been greatly used by the Lord.
I'm glad you brought up C.S. Lewis because I feel he perfectly illustrates my point above. C.S. Lewis is not a man I consider mighty in God, and I think there were serious flaws in his theology, and His writings I find more allegorical and intelligent than Holy Spirit unction-filled and transforming. C.S. Lewis was primarily an apologist for Christianity, which is pretty much the norm for men who cling to worldly vices with one hand and Christ with the other.
Tozer had this to say about Lewis, and I totally agree:
[i]"He (C.S. Lewis) brings to the defense of historic Christianity a mind as clear as sunlight and an amazing ability to make the faith of our fathers appear reasonable. His weakness, or rather the weakness of his books, lies in an almost total absence of [b]moral urgency[/b]. One may read his arguments, admit their soundness and remain completely unmoved by the whole thing. In short, his books persuade the intellect but never get the conscience in trouble. For this reason, C.S. Lewis must remain an apologist; he can never be a reformer."[/i] (A.W. Tozer, from "We Need Sanctified Thinkers")
I agree that C.S. Lewis' ministry lacked the divine life-giving unction of God. I tell you that I have never met a man who professed Christ and who drank socially and/or recreationally who had the life-giving authority of God on his ministry. I've met plenty of men who could write very good and thought-provoking Christian articles and argue the faith and quote scripture prolifically, but who lacked that mysterious and elusive authority of the Holy Spirit which is able to irretrievably transform a person's life for the glory of the Kingdom of Heaven. The latter is a stamp of a broken man who has given up all and has nothing but the Lord to cling to, with both hands free to grip the cross.
I was still a smoker for three years after coming to Jesus. No one had to tell me it was wrong, I knew it, right in the center of my heart I knew it. The Lord was so patient and kind, not one time rebuking it. I tried and failed a couple of times. I smoked two packs a day and had done for many years.
O brother, there's no condemnation at all. I would be one enormous hypocrite were I to sit here and type otherwise. I used to smoke pot and drink like a fish (I lived in the ex-Soviet Union for 5 years and then served in the US Army another 4 - totally unsaved and debauched). The day I got saved, I never touched another cigarette. I had half a pack of Camels on my credenza in the army barracks and I remember crushing them up and tossing them in the wastebasket. But the six-pack of Heineken in the fridge I kept and drank. And I still ordered beer in the restaurants, and drank margaritas with Marissa in her apartment (my wife now, then my girlfriend). This was all going on six months after my conversion! Drinking but no smoking. And then, one day, I looked at the half-empty bottle of rum in my refrigerator and had an epiphany. The Holy Spirit brought it gently and lovingly to my spirit - no condemnation, like you said - that the drinking would have to go. I knew in my heart 6 months ago that it was wrong, but I continued all the same, enjoying the adult recreation and relaxation alcohol affords, and all the time wondering why God didn't take it away like He took away the smokes. I used this logic to leverage the thought that it was somehow okay still to drink, but when God finally stepped in and put His finger on it, I knew the ax had to come down forever and resoluely on that root or I would be in flagrant disobedience and perhaps miss out on God's best for my life. And so I did, and the Lord gave me the grace to just walk away and not look back. See, when God steps in, giving things up is not a burden or struggle. You just agree with Him and the Spirit mortifies, but when you try to do it on your own, you fight and struggle and fail and binge. It's true. This is why I tell people not to listen to me, but to take everything to God in prayer and see what He says. If He says something needs to change, just agree with him and admit you have no strength to change on your own. God is looking for agreement unto obedience, and once this happens His Spirit can operate in our lives to bring about the change He desires.
I am 100% convinced that a Christian who clings to alcohol is sabotaging God's absolute best for his life, not because of the alcohol per say, but because of their disobedience in not doing what they know they should obstructing God's further work of grace in their spirits. Ministers who love the Lord will not try to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit in this matter with someone who drinks - and if I am guilty of that, I truly repent and apologize to you and Steve - but I do count it my duty and labor of love to exhort my brethren in considering what they may be missing in exchange for their vices, whatever those vices may be.
Peace and love dear brother,
Paul Frederick West
| 2008/10/17 2:55||Profile|
| Re: Pub Situation|
Thankyou Frank and Paul for addressing these issues on this matter. I'm so glad the Lord has allowed them to come up as they are sensity to many saints and you have both experienced similar situations concerning tobacco and alcohol.
I, myself, after backsliding miserably for 15 years became a prisoner to both these vices as well as compulsive gambling.
I could not preach the gospel even after I came back to the Lord because these still had a hold on me. I so did not want to shame Jesus by speaking of salvation while I was still bound by things that did not bring Him glory.
Then one day, in the midst of His gentle dealings, I knew the time had come and that they had to go together. I stayed up until 1:30 am drinking and smoking my last.
That was 5 years ago and than I was free to speak the word and provide a wonderful testimony as well to others bound. I had no withdrawels whatsoever after a 12 pack of beer and 2 pack of cigarette a day habit. How I thank Him.
Dear brethren that are still under bondage, I attest to the fact that He is still a deliverer.
| 2008/10/17 5:39||Profile|
I am 100% convinced that a Christian who clings to alcohol is sabotaging God's absolute best for his life, not because of the alcohol per say, but because of their disobedience in not doing what they know they should obstructing God's further work of grace in their spirits. Ministers who love the Lord will not try to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit
Peace and love dear brother,
I completely agree with Bro. Paul on the things he mentioned.
Before I got saved, i was into the habit drinking for almost like 5-6years and was completely a slave to it. I just did not know how to get rid of it. But, once the Lord touched me I got completely delivered of it. And it's been more than 3years since.
And i do think the Lord wants everyone to get delivered from alcohol completely- the calling of a Christian is a higher one (one to abstain from all appearance of evil).
Now to answer the questions by 'joeSOC':
* I think you did the right thing by disagreeing to there. We always learn from experience of how to respond to them that are 'without'- the Lord teaches.
-I am probably the only one in the whole of my office who doesn't drink at all. And i strongly stand by my convictions in all circumstances. So, be encouraged brother, the Lord needs people everywhere and sometimes His witnesses are alone.
-Initially after i got saved, i used to avoid going to office parties etc... but gradually whenever i felt led i did go and the best part is I usually ended up testifying to my colleagues of the Lord and of His saving power- sometimes even to my higher officials and people from other countries too. But, i only go when i feel that God was permitting and leading me. I don't run anywhere wherever i feel like. I think we need to be careful in making our decisions, lest we end up messing up things.
[i][size=x-small]1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)[/size][/i]
[i][size=x-small]You say, I am allowed to do anythingbut not everything is good for you. You say, I am allowed to do anythingbut not everything is beneficial.[/size][/i]
(Apologize for the length of the post- didn't know how to keep it short) :oops:
| 2008/10/17 6:55||Profile|