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Controversy
Catch these words from Peter Lumpkins, a SBC pastor who recently wrote the book:  Alcohol Today:  Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence:
“One would be hard-pressed to locate a belief — outside believers’ baptism by immersion itself — which reflects more unity among Southern Baptists than abstinence from intoxicating beverages for pleasurable purposes…
According to a report from Associated Baptist press, Lumpkins says that younger Southern Baptist leaders do not appreciate that history and instead view teetotalism as extra-biblical and nothing more than “Pharisaical legalism.”  He says that ‘relaxed attitudes’ about social drinking is the biggest controversy to hit Southern Baptists since the big showdown in the 80s over conservative vs. liberals in the SBC. He continues…
“Make no mistake: the popular, trendy appeal for Bible studies in bars; pastors leading men’s groups at cigar shops to puff, preach and partake; conference speakers who openly drink alcohol nevertheless are invited to college campuses as they carve out yet more influence into the youngest generation of Southern Baptists — all this makes an impending moral crisis among Southern Baptists predictably certain.”
This paragraph in the article stood out to me:
Without the abstinence standard, he argues the church either consciously or unconsciously helps promote a message in the larger culture that drinking is “cool.”
What do YOU think? Is social drinking wrong?  If you’re a Southern Baptist… what’s your personal view on social drinking? And finally… where will the SBC finally come down on this?  What will the stance of the SBC be on social drinking be, in say, 10 years, in 2021?  What’s your guess? Read more here… Todd
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Staffing
This is the question that more and more churches are having to deal with these days.  How do you deal with a pastor who has an addiction.  Maybe it’s an addiction to alcohol or drugs; maybe it’s a sexual addiction like pornography.  The question is… what should be done with a pastor that has an addiction of some kind when it is found out? This scenario has actually happened this past week at Twin City Fellowship.  Recently Bob Dewaay’s health was deteriorating and they weren’t sure what was wrong.  After a bunch of tests, it was determined that Bob had Alcoholic Hepatitis.  Bob had been a vocal part of the discernment movement (calling out those who he though here heretical) for the past years.  As it turns out, the diagnosis was news to everyone in his church, including his elders.  The reaction was quick.  Termination. You can hear how the church responded publicly here.  (It’s in the first ten minutes). How should a church respond when their leader is caught in an addiction? My thought is that the church acted properly in removing the man from leadership (although I think some of the words were rather harsh).  The shepherd of a congregation is held to a high standard, and I think this was the right decision. But what responsibility does the church have in the area of reconciliation? in the area of counseling and help?  and in the area of financial support of this man and his family? I think part of the answer to that question has to do with how the person caught reacts?  Are they repentant?  Are they making excuses?  Are they defiant? And if they are repentant, do you work out a restoration plan with them as a church?  Are they restored to their senior pastor role? And if you, for some reason, decide NOT to terminate, how do you proceed?  Publicly?  Privately?  Seems dangerous to the life of the church either way. As you can tell… I have few, if any answers. Dare I say what happens most often?  When this type of addiction is found in a staff person (especially a person in a senior role); many times the person if quietly fired (without giving a reason) and is simply moved on to another church.  This is what should NEVER happen. What are your thoughts?  If your pastor (or you) were diagnosed with Alcoholic Hepatitis (and no one even knew you drank); should you be terminated, rehabilitated, or what? Todd
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Controversy
Many of you know Charles Hill.  He’s one of the guys behind THE STICKS conferences.  Charles and his family recently moved to Utah to plant a church in a very difficult area of the country.  Little did Charles know that he would soon find his church plant cut off from funding… all over a beer. Here’s part of an article from The Christian Post: Very few things take church planter Charles Hill by surprise. But when a group that agreed to support his new ministry work in the middle of a predominantly Mormon community suddenly pulled its financial backing and gave him the boot, he was totally caught off guard. Hill had just begun to host Bible studies and reach out to the unchurched and those who were seeking something outside of the dominant religious preference in Utah – where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered – when he got fired. He was allegedly let go because he drank half a beer in public during the new “Beer and Bible” meeting he started last month. While he was told that was the main issue, he doesn’t have all the details because he didn’t receive a phone call or e-mail from the decision makers, he said. His boss, whom he respects and who had given him permission to conduct “Beer and Bible,” broke the news to him a couple of weeks ago. He now has less than 60 days before he and his family – wife and three kids – are cut off from all funding and left “abandoned,” as he put it. “It’s troubling,” Hill told The Christian Post. “We’re out here trying to reach people as Jesus would. “It’s still baffling to me that when your boss has given you permission that you can still get terminated for something such as that.” Hill moved out to South Jordan, Utah, last year, leaving a growing church he founded in Ohio to answer God’s calling in what he says is the most unchurched state in the country. He gained financial support from a denomination – which he declined to name in order to keep things as respectful as he can – after being drawn to and recruited by a dynamic church planter (his boss) in the church body. In a city where around seven or eight out of 10 people are Mormon, Hill said he prayed a lot and battled with how he was going to reach people. He determined that bars and coffee shops were the few places that he would be able to meet with unchurched and non-LDS folks. He knew that starting a Bible study in a bar could potentially be an issue with the denomination, so he asked for permission from his boss. He was given the green light. But once word about the “Beer and Bible” meeting spread and reached the upper leadership at the denomination, the 36-year-old church planter was cut from the $280,000 support he was being given for his outreach and ministry efforts. He was only five months away from a church launch in a region where not one non-LDS church exists in 25 cities. One of the leaders, who wished to remain anonymous, in the denomination released a brief statement to The Christian Post on Monday, saying: “It’s not an issue of immorality or improper biblical behavior. We simply discovered there were instances in which we were not able to reconcile our differences as it concerns general Baptist principles.” Hill, whose father was an alcoholic, said he doesn’t even like drinking and isn’t much of a drinker at all. Though he doesn’t believe it’s a sin, one of the biggest reasons he hasn’t drank alcohol is because as a senior pastor, he didn’t want younger believers to stumble and drink too much. You can read more here… Here’s a video for Beer and Bible: I got to talk with Charles briefly at Exponential last week.  He was truly discouraged, but knows that God is up to something.  Take a moment to read his response here. Here’s what I learned (at least Charles’ side of the story): 1.  He asked for permission before starting the ‘beer and bible’ thing. 2.  He was given permission 3.  He was shortly thereafter told that the group sponsoring him was cutting ties (and funding) 4.  Charles is pretty much in the middle of Utah with no funding just months away from launching services. 5.  Charles has not heard directly from the group that was sponsoring him (other than they wouldn’t be sponsoring him anymore).  There seem to be no open lines of communication at this time.  Charles has apologized (which I don’t think he really needed to do since he asked permission) and even told the group he would not drink again.  No response. Regardless of your view on alchohol, this is not a good situation for Charles and his family.  They are trying to reach an area of the country that does not have one evangelical church (but tons of LDS churches).  And they have lost $280k in funding (that’s about 95% of their funding). If you can help, please contact Charles at his website (linked to above). Todd
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Controversy
Cornerstone University is lifting a ban on faculty and staff alcohol use that has stood since the institution was founded 68 years ago. According to the Grand Rapid News, President Joe Stowell told Cornerstone’s 279 employees at a staff meeting Friday that alcohol abstinence — a component of a lifestyle statement that had to be signed every year — is being dropped because a three-year internal study concluded it is “biblically indefensible.” “Given scripture’s lack of a prohibition against use of alcohol in moderation, we are releasing our faculty and staff to discern what is best for them concerning its use in their personal lives,” said Stowell, in his second year as the university’s president. The change doesn’t apply to students, who remain banned from using alcohol. Faculty and staff are being told to avoid using alcohol in any setting where students are present. Cornerstone will continue to ban alcohol on campus and at all university-sponsored events, Stowell said. As some of you know, I grew up GARBC (General Association of Regular Baptist Churches).  Cornerstone used to be one of the GARBC approved schools.  Joe Stowell’s father was a leader in the GARBC as well. I’m sure that much will be made of this decision on many of the Baptist blogs.  That’s ok. Cornerstone has long been the outsider in those Baptist circles.  I mean, they dropped the ban on student dancing back in 2004.  ICABOD is written on the door!  :)  (Haven’t heard that phrase in a while) You can read more here… So… what do you think?  Good or bad move to ok alcohol for faculty and staff at a Christian college?  Shouldn’t we drop any rule that is ‘biblically indefensible’? I’d love to hear your comments… Todd
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